There is day after day of cloudless skies in Tarangire National Park. The fierce sun sucks the moisture from the landscape, baking the earth a dusty red, the withered grass as brittle as straw. The Tarangire river has shrivelled to a shadow of its wet season self. But it is chocked with wildlife. Thirsty nomads have wandered hundreds of parched kilometres knowing that here there, is always water. Herds of up to 300 elephants scratch the parched riverbed for underground streams while migratory wildebeest, zebra, buffalo gazelle, hart bees, eland and Oryx crowd the shrinking lagoons. It’s a smorgasbord for predators, the greatest concentration of wildlife outside the Serengeti ecosystem.
Located 120km from Arusha, Tarangire is the sixth largest park in Tanzania
With baobab and acacia trees, much like the Serengeti, Tarangire is home to a legions of elephants which inhabit this park in large herds. In the park you also find other game such as rhino, buffalo, eland, warthog, the fringe-eared oryx, lesser and greater kudu, gerenuk and a large number of impala.
The rains scatter the seasonal visitors over a 20,000 square kilometre (about 12,500 sq miles) range until they exhaust the green plains and the river calls once more. But Tarangire mobs of elephant are easily encountered, wet or dry. The swamps, tinged green year round, are the focus for 50 bird varieties, the most breeding species in one habitat anywhere in the world. On drier ground you find Koori bustard, the heaviest flying bird; the stocking sighed ostrich, the world largest bird; and ground hornbills that bluster like turkeys. Tarangire pythons climb trees, as do this lions and leopards, lounging in the branches where the fruit of the sausage tree disguises the twitch of a tail.
Tarangire National Park is one of the most underrated parks and you could spend a great deal of time exploring this park. It’s usually a stop over day between the Serengeti or Ngorongoro Crater.
Tarangire has some reknown lodges, including the Tarangire Treetops Lodge and Tarangire Sopa Lodge.