Tarangire national park was established and gazetted as the national park in 1970 and measures about 2,850 square kilometers and this area size makes it be the fifth-largest National park in Tanzania after Serengeti National Park, Mikumi, Katavi and Ruaha national parks. The name Tarangire came from a river that gives permanent water to wildlife from Lake Burungi.
Presence of only one lake (Burungi), gives a positive impact on the park since most of the animals concentrate at the lake and make it easy for game viewing. Tarangire National park is the only national park in Tanzania that has a high number of elephant population whereby there are about 300 herds of elephants.
Apart from having a high number of elephants, also Tarangire national park has many other animals, plants and birds that will make tourists have varieties of tours inside and outside the park. Some of the animals found in Tarangire are lesser and greater kudu, bushbucks, eland, impala, gazelles, waterbuck, buffalo and many other animals. Also, scattered vegetations of baobab and acacia in the park make it easy and simplify wildlife viewing.
Tarangire national park is located in the eastern parts of the great rift valley that run through Tanzania. The ecosystem of Tarangire consists of Mto wa mbu game-controlled area, Mkungunero game-controlled area and Kwakuchinja open area.
Location Of Tarangire National Park
This national park is located just 118km southwest of Arusha town. It is one of the parks found in the northern circuit of Tanzania Tourism Circuits, and it is found in Arusha city the only region to has a high number of national parks in Tanzania.
- Wildlife: Tarangire national park has a diversity of animals both big mammas and small mammals that attracts a lot of tourists to visit in this park. The abundance of elephants in this park is the major reason for most people to visit this park. Apart from the richness of elephants, there are many other mammals like buffalos, elands, impalas, gazelle and a lot of others. All these make sure that people who visit cannot forget the marvellous wildlife viewing in the park.
- Birds: There are about 500 species of birds in Tarangire national park where tourists will have a chance to do birding tourism in the park. Groups of birds have been flying from one part of the park to another and other groups of birds come from neighbouring lakes like Lake Manyara especially during the migratory session during the breeding season. Some of these bird species are doves, hornbills, woodpeckers, weavers and hundreds of other species that are available in this beautiful park to make tourists not to dare to miss wonderful bird watching activities in the park.
- People and Culture: Around park boundaries, there are special tribes and there are some tribes that are conservatives to cultural values that boost cultural tourism in Tanzania. For example, the Maasai is the leading tribe that still keep their culture regardless of technological changes and lifestyle changes in the communities. Also, we have some tribes apart from Maasai who still conserve their culture known as barbaiq (mang’ati). There are other tribes like Wambugwe and wa Iraqw and all these play part in attracting of tourists to do cultural tours.
Activities in Tarangire National Park
- Game Drives: Travelers get a chance to drive in the park and see various animals, birds and tree species particularly the high abundance of the baobab tree that creates a good view in the park as well acacia trees. There will be some stops if necessary for places where animals are abundant. Most of the game drives are done to experience animals and their behaviors.
- Bird watching: The Availability of more than 500 species of birds has created a great potentiality of making birding tours in the park. Visitors get a chance to watch various bird species either by using naked eyes or by using binoculars depending on the distance from the viewer to the position where the bird is located. The tourists opt to use binoculars due to their zooming preference regardless of the distance because they want to see the bird(s) more closely.
- Balloon safari: Balloon safaris are organized for those who want this adventurous tour in Tarangire national park where visitors will have wonderful moments to view animals and other attractions in aerial view by using the hot air balloons
- Walking tours: There are walking tours but due to dangerous animals this tour is extremely guided by park rangers and some other guides to ensure the visitors’ safety against those animals. But visitors should not worry about their safety.
Accommodation services are available inside and outside the park and all these are used to accommodate visitors who are gifted to visit Tarangire national park. Inside the park, there are campsites, hostels, and tour lodges. Lodges and camps in Tarangire include Tarangire Simba Lodge, Tarangire Sopa Lodge, Eco Science Lodge, Tarangire River Camp, Sangaiwe tented lodge, Maramboi Tented Camp, Lake Burunge Tented Camp, Tarangire Acacia Luxury Camp, Nimali Tarangire, and Ang’ata Tarangire Camp among others.
Best time to visit Tarangire National Park
The park has a variation in climate that results in seasonal changes, for instance, the dry season starts from June to October that is possibly the season for fire outbreaks in the park. Also from November to May, the wet season is experienced, but from December to February the park experiences less rainfall, and from August to October is the best time to see the migratory wildlife in this corridor. But throughout the year there is an abundance of wildlife in Tarangire national park.
Getting to Tarangire National Park
Tarangire national park is accessible by both road and air. By road, one will access Tarangire national park by an easy drive from Arusha or Lake Manyara following a tarmac road to within 7km (four miles) of the main entrance gate also visitors can opt continuing on to Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti national park after passing to Lake Manyara National Park. Most of the main roads are drivable all year round but some are not during the wet season especially those of flood plain and river valley areas.
By air Tarangire is accessible by organized private flights from Arusha town that are mostly organized by private aviation companies, also charter flights are organized from Arusha to Tarangire or from Serengeti to Tarangire.
Airstrips in Tarangire National Park include Kuro Airstrip and Tarangire Airstrip.