The Tarangire National Park is a diverse and attractive African wildlife sanctuary and is located just southeast of Lake Manyara on the Tarangire River, from which it derived its name. During the annual dry season (from August to October), the 2600 sq km Tarangire National Park attracts one of the highest concentrations of wildlife animals in Tanzania. During this time, the River provides the only permanent water in the area and forms a “dry season retreat” for the animals of the southern Masai land in Tanzania. There are normally fewer safari tourists visiting the Tarangire National Park compared to the Ngorongoro National Park, which makes this African national park even more attractive. Safari activities are normally centred on game drives featuring excellent landscapes views of beautiful riverine forests, acacia woodlands, ancient African baobab trees, and endless rolling hills. This alone makes the Tarangire National Park really worthwhile visiting. The park is reputed to contain some of the largest elephant herds in Tanzania or even in Africa. This African national park is also home to three rare species of animals – the Greater Kudu, the Fringed-eared Oryx, as well as a few Ashy Starlings.
Tarangire Migrations: The Tarangire National Park forms part of a bigger wildlife ecosystem covering over 20,000 sq km, which include the Lake Manyara National Park in the north, as well as five other surrounding wildlife controlled areas. The key to this wildlife ecosystem is the Tarangire River, and the local animal migration in the area begins from this river, at the start of the short rainy season around October every year. At the height of the long rainy season, the animals, which include wildebeest, Thompson gazelles, zebra, and even African elephants, will be widely spread out over this 20,000 sq km area. When the wet season ends, the animals begin their migration back towards the river and spend the dry season July to October, concentrated in large numbers around the river.
Baobab Tree Zone: The Lemiyon route covers the most northerly triangle of the Tarangire National Park. The park headquarters, airstrip and the public campsites are located in this section of the national park. During the dry season, animals are very often encountered in great numbers in this area and this is also where you will see some really fascinating and majestic African baobab trees. Many of them are very, very old, dating back to the first millennium. One particularly famous one, known as the “Poachers Lookout Tree”, features a small man-made entrance that leads you into its hollow interior, which easily provides room for about six people to sleep in.
The Gursi and Lamarkau Zone: Are located in the southern part of the park and mainly features grasslands, home to many plain grazing species, including the ostrich. During the wet season, large areas in this region are transformed into swamp areas, where it is possible to see hippo. The most southern end of the park is split into two areas known as Mkungunero (south-west) and Nguselororobi (east), which offers a number of freshwater pools, attracting many different species, including the elusive cheetah, if you are lucky.