Herds of up to 300 elephants scratch the dry river bed for underground streams, while migratory wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, impala, gazelle, hartebeest and eland crowd the shrinking lagoons. It’s the greatest concentration of wildlife outside the Serengeti ecosystem and the one place in Tanzania where dry country antelope such as the stately fringe-eared oryx and peculiar long-necked gerenuk are regularly observed.
During the rainy season, the seasonal visitors spread out over a 20,000 sq km range until they exhaust the green plains and the river calls once more. But Tarangire’s mobs of elephant are easily encountered, wet or dry. The swamps, tinged green year round, are the focus for 550 bird varieties, the most breeding species in one habitat anywhere in the world.
On drier ground you find the Kori bustard, the heaviest flying bird; the stocking-thighed ostrich, the world’s largest bird; and small parties of ground hornbills blustering like turkeys. More passionate bird-lovers might keep an eye open for screeching flocks of the colorful yellow-collared lovebird, and the somewhat drabber rufous-tailed weaver and ashy starling.Tarangire’s pythons climb trees, as do its lions and leopards, lounging in the branches where the fruit of the sausage tree disguises the twitch of a tail.
Easy drive from Kilimanjaro, Arusha or Lake Manyara following a surfaced road to within 7 km of the main entrance gate; can continue on to Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti.
Guided walking safaris.
Day trips to Maasai and Barabaig villages, as well as to the hundreds of ancient rock paintings in the vicinity of Kolo on the Dodoma Road.
WHEN TO GO
Year round but dry season (June – September) for more numbers of animals.
Two lodges, one tented lodge, two luxury tented camps inside the park, another half-dozen exclusive lodges and tented camps immediately outside its borders.
Several camp sites in and around the park.