Most travellers to northern Tanzania are on their way to the world-famous Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater; few realise that the region is also home to one of the country’s most rewarding reserves – the Tarangire National Park.
Tarangire National Park – one of Africa’s little-known gems – should be on the itinerary of all lovers of wilderness and solitude.
At 2,600km2, the park is hardly the biggest of the Tanzanian parks, but its open plains dotted with thousands of baobabs make for a truly incomparable landscape.
The park is also easy to access and has some of the greatest concentrations of game in Tanzania (second only to the Ngorongoro Crater). Another attractive point is that there are not nearly as many tourists as other Tanzanian parks.
Game viewing in Tarangire is largely affected by the presence of water, and during the dry season many animals congregate at the Tarangire River, the park’s only permanent source of water.
Tarangire is also the best place in Tanzania to see large herds of elephant (up to 300 at a time) and buffalo.
In fact, the game numbers overall are staggering: 30,000 zebra, 25,000 wildebeest, 5,000 buffalo, 3,000 elephant, 2,500 Maasai giraffe and over 1,000 fringe-eared oryx (gemsbok). Predators include lion (prone to tree-climbing just like their Lake Manyara cousins), cheetah and leopard.
The park is also known for its great avian diversity, in which it is surpassed only by Lake Manyara. Birders will want to look out for the endemic ashy starling, rufous-tailed weaver and black-collared lovebird.
As a safari holiday destination Tarangire is a lot less busy than other parks in the north of Tanzania. Going on a safari here offers you a chance to savour a real slice of Africa’s wilderness. Be warned though, the going can be rough and many of the tracks are impassable in the rainy season.