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Tarangire national park

Tarangire National Park is a relatively small park but still an attractive safari destination. It is located slightly off the main safari route in Manyara Region of Tanzania and its name comes from the Tarangire River which crosses the park. The river is a primary source of fresh water for the animals in the Tarangire Ecosystem, especially in the dry season.

Established in 1970, the park is under the management of Tanzania National Parks Authority (Tanapa), just like other national parks in the country. Tarangire National Park is the sixth largest national park in Tanzania. The park covers approximately 2,850 sq km (1,100 sq mil) in area. The landscape in Tarangire National Park varies from granitic ridges, river valley, to swamps. The grasslands which are flooded in the rainy season, and the acacia woodlands are largely the type of vegetation found in the park.

Tarangire National Park is famed for its high density of elephants and a great number of huge baobab trees.

  • Nearest city/ town: Arusha, 2 hour’s drive
  • Accessibility: By tarred road from Arusha or direct small flights up to some airstrips inside the park.
  • Accommodation: There is a wide selection of accommodation ranging from public campsites, special campsite, seasonal tented camps, and lodges/ hotels.
  • Best time to visit: During the dry season (June-December) although the park has a lot of attractions throughout the year.


Wildlife In Tarangire National Park

Although famous for it high density of elephants, Tarangire National Park also boasts of other animal species. Common resident species are dik dik, eland, impala, giraffe, among others. Huge herds of cape buffalo, zebra and wildebeest are also a common sight during the dry season.

Tarangire National Park also hosts the big cats. The king of the jungle, the lion; the fastest land animal, the cheetah; and the stealth hunter, the leopard are resident to Tarangire.

It is usual to spot other animal species such as monkeys, baboons, mongoose and warthog in this sanctuary.

The Baobabs of Tarangire National Park

The gigantic baobab trees in their great numbers have put Tarangire National Park on the pedestal of Tanzania tourism. The iconic trees with their huge trunks are a marvel of nature.

In Arabian folklore, one narrative holds that the devil plucked out the baobab tree and thrust its branches in the earth while leaving the branches in the air. This is probably on account of the tree’s appearance.

This tree is famous for its big barrel-like trunk which stores large volumes of water, as well as for its longevity. Its fruit, which is shaped like a gourd and woody is used to make a refreshing drink. Some people refer to the baobab as the ‘tree of life’. Its leaves and bark are a source of herbal medicine.

Due to their giant stature, the tree is a habitant for animals like the mongoose. Elephants also use these giant trees to sharpen their tusks.

The Tarangire River

Tarangire means, ‘river of warthogs’. This river which is perennial is a major source of water for the animals in that ecosystem.

The river attracts a lot of wildlife as well as a variety of birdlife. There are good chances, especially in the ideal season, of seeing predators and preys trying to outwit each other. Birds of prey, such as the tawny and fish eagles are usually spotted within the surroundings.

Tarangire River: Source, course and mouth

The Tarangire River traces its sources from the highlands and escarpments of Babati District in Manyara Region; and the Irangi Hills and Irangi Escarpment of Kondoa District in Dodoma Region. Therefore, it basically has three primary sources.

It goes through the Wasi Highlands, then falls down the eastern Kondoa Escarpment. The river then flows in the eastern direction to Chubi where it turns northward to cross through the Tarangire National Park.

The Tarangire then meanders west and then south, before emptying its waters in Lake Burunge.

Tour Activities in the Tarangire National Park

The Tarangire National Park is never short of tourism activities. Tanzania’s sixth national park not only offers wildlife viewing opportunities, but it also has other activities that make a visit there worthwhile.

Game Drives

This activity presents visitors to the Tarangire National Park with great opportunities of game viewing.

Game drives can be scheduled in the morning, afternoon or evening.

During morning game drives, chances of viewing various types of game are most high as animals are most active during this time of the day. Afternoon and evening game drives also offer good game viewing experiences, but the animal numbers may not be as huge as during the morning game drives.


Tarangire National Park is home to over 500 bird species, some of which are unique to Tanzania. Resident bird species, as well as migratory birds, in the appropriate season, abound in the park.

Ostriches, which are the fastest, heaviest and largest birds on land, can be seen in the drier parts of the park, and so can other species like the hornbill, kori bustards, starlings and weavers.

Migratory birds can also be viewed around the marshy floodplains. Other birds seen around the swampy areas are hammerkops, brown parrots, swallows and starlings, among others.

Nature Walks

In Tarangire, tourists, accompanied by a ranger guide, can enjoy nature walks. These give them an opportunity to have a close encounter with the environment. Tourists view wildlife and learn about the ecology.

Nature walks also give an experience of enjoying the awe-inspiring scenery of the park whilst having a close encounter with some animal species such as elephants, impalas, waterbucks as well as zebras, among others.

The southern side of the Tarangire National Park has a number of walking safari camps. This gives tourists an excellent experience of exploring wild Tanzania.

Cultural Visits

Tanzania is a country that is rich in culture. It is a country that has over 120 ethnic tribes.

Cultural visit around the Tarangire National Park present a great chance of learning and knowing more about the Maasai people and their deep cultural heritage.

Tarangire National Park also boasts of other attractions such as, Lemiyon Triangle, Poacher’s Hide and the Matete Woodlands among others.

Lemiyon Triangle

Shaped like a triangle, Lemiyon Triangle, on the northern most part of Tarangire National Park, is a beautiful area with a diverse landscape. It is also a great birding site known for its huge flocks of red billed quelea birds and dense populations of raptors.

Lemiyon Triangle is also famous for a great number of giant baobabs.

Poacher’s Hideout

Southwest, off the Tarangire Hill, is Poacher’s Hide, an old baobab tree with a partially hidden small entrance that leads to a carven in the tree’s broad trunk. 

In the bygone years, poachers used to hide inside the chamber of this baobab tree. It was their hideout.

Nowadays, though, this tree cavern is a refuge for smaller animals and sometimes swarms of bees.

Matete Woodlands

Nestled on the western side, Matete Woodlands gets its name from the tall elephant grass and spiky reeds growing along the river’s banks. It is popular for leopard viewing experiences. This area also gives visitors a chance of spotting the rare oryx antelope.


Tarangire National Park is a must visit place for a safari in Tanzania.

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