Tarangire is the surprise package on the Northern circuit. Often overshadowed by the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire has huge concentrations of animals in the peak months and a fraction of the visitor numbers of any of the other Northern parks. From July through to October safaris here are superb, and the atmosphere and habitats are completely different from other parks. Tarangire is surprisingly large, giving visitors the quietest game viewing environment of all the parks in the region. The South of Tarangire is especially quiet, and lodges such as Swala and Oliver’s Camp are the perfect place to explore this remote area, and to really get away from any other travellers. Overall, a superb little park that offers great value compared to its neighbours and a seriously good option for getting away from it all.
During the dry months the concentration of animals around the Tarangire river is almost as diverse and reliable as in the Ngorongoro Crater. However, the ecosystem here is balanced by a localised migration pattern that is followed by the majority of game that resides in and around the park. As a result, Tarangire is superb in season but questionable the rest of the year. Elephants are the main attraction, with up to 3,000 in the park during the peak months. Peak season also sees good numbers of wildebeest and zebra as well as giraffe, buffalo, Thompson’s gazelle, greater and lesser kudu, eland, leopard and cheetah. The real prizes in the park are dwarf mongoose, oryx and generuk – but viewings are very rare. Tarangire is one of Tanzania’s finest birding destinations.
The main activity in Tarangire is daytime game driving, however, staying outside the park makes walking and night safari a possibility. There are no boat safaris on the rivers here but Oliver’s Campoffers adventurous fly camping trips and very good walking safaris. Both Oliver’s Camp and Swala have recently started night safaris within the park itself. Ask us for more information as the regulations here seem to change every year!
When to go
The game viewing from July though to October is exceptional but for the remainder of the year the majority of game migrates out of the park, onto the floor of the Rift Valley and to the grazing grounds of the Masai steppe. As a result, we would advise visitors not to expect high concentrations of game in the off season months, but would still recommend travelling here to those who want to avoid the crowds.
Where to stay
There are many lodges that surround the border of Tarangire but we have always believed that staying in the park itself is the right choice. Swala and Oliver’s Camp are the top end choices in the park, with Oliver’s offering very good value for money considering the quality of accommodation on offer. Tarangire Treetops is located outside the park but its beautiful rooms are raised up into ancient baobab trees, making it, without any doubt, one of Tanzania’s most unique properties.
We try and make our website as comprehensive as possible, but if you would like some more background information on Tarangire, or Tanzania in general, have a read through the Cadogan Guide to Tanzania and Zanzibar, written by our director Annabel. The most recent edition was published in 2005 so some of it is slightly dated but it remains pretty comprehensive.