Tarangire National Park, Tanzania
Uncrowded and relatively unknown, Tarangire National Park covers approximately 2 850km² just south of Lake Manyara in the northern region of Tanzania. Famous for its vast herds of elephants and forests of enigmatic giant baobab trees, the rugged landscape is incredibly diverse and stands out from any other on the traditional northern safari circuit.
Tarangire is a park for those who want to step that much further off the beaten track to experience a truly wild area. A Tarangire National Park safari boasts large herds of elephant and buffalo, and a remarkable concentration of big cats and is one of the best National Parks in Tanzania. The African wild dog, kudu, oryx and gerenuk, rarely found in other parks in the northern circuit, can also be found here, along with arguably the best bird diversity in Africa. More than 550 species are attracted to its vibrant swamps. During the dry season from August to October, Tarangire has the highest concentration of mammals of any of Tanzania’s renowned national parks.
Snapshot of Tarangire National Park
- Exciting big cats and plains game viewing year round
- Remote and exclusive wilderness area
- Prime walking safari experiences
- Unmatched wildlife viewing
- Exceptional walking safari experiences
- Not your normal safari destination
The hustle and bustle of the popular northern circuit happily bypasses Tarangire National Park, which is a delightful surprise southwest of the Serengeti (but just as extraordinary). This blissfully quiet part is virtually untouched by travellers, leaving the prime, game-dense wilderness free to be explored in peace and solitude, different to other Tanzania National Parks. The southern part of the park is especially quiet, and Oliver’s Camp and Little Oliver’s are superbly positioned if you want to get away from it all.
The park – which protects critical dry season wetlands – is part of the Tarangire ecosystem and is named after the Tarangire River that runs north to south through it. The river attracts an incredible range and concentration of game in the dry season, when it remains the only permanent water source.
The most striking impression when you first arrive in Tarangire is of the ancient baobab trees that dot the grassland plains. However, as well as medium and tall grassland, the vegetation includes bushland, riverine woodlands, wetlands and seasonal flood plains, rocky hilltop vegetation and deep gully vegetation. This wide variety of habitats supports a rewardingly diverse range of species.
The park boasts the biggest population of elephant in northern Tanzania. Impressive herds of up to 300 elephant plus large herbs of buffalo are an incredible sight, and you also can expect regular sightings of migratory zebra, wildebeest, waterbuck and giraffe. Tarangire hosts both big cats and small. A high concentration of leopard and lion as well as serval, caracal and genet make for high-adrenaline viewing as they prey on the plains game that provide a moving smorgasbord. During the dry season the park features one of the highest densities of wildlife per square kilometre in all of Tanzania, as the permanent Tarangire River provides a welcome water source and a crucial refuge for large numbers of animals.
Home to more than 550 bird species, the park arguably has the best bird diversity in East Africa and ornithological enthusiasts can expect to see dozens of species, even in the dry season. In addition, the swamps of Tarangire are the focus of the largest selection of breeding birds in the world.
Below is our list of some of the sightings to be enjoyed in Tarangire:
- Wild dog (rare)
- Spotted hyena
Asilia’s Oliver’s Camp and Little Oliver’s are acclaimed for the standard of guiding on offer, as well as for the unusual range of activities on offer.
There are few activities more rewarding than the privilege of exploring through the bush on foot – with Asilia’s renowned and experienced guides, a walking safari will be the highlight of any itinerary in Tarangire.
For those seeking something a little more adventurous and even more private, safari doesn’t get more wild than fly camping at Oliver’s small and intimate fly camp, set up exclusively for you in a spectacular bush location. You are accompanied by an armed guide and a small team of staff, and spend the afternoon walking to the fly camp, a comfortable yet solo set-up deep in the bush that offers an opportunity sleep under the stars and experience the wild side of Africa.
Hot-air balloon safaris
There is nothing quite like gliding serenely over the vast plains of the Serengeti as the wildlife teems below, on a romantic and evocative balloon safari.
Night game drives
A night game drive in Tarangire provides an unforgettable opportunity to try and spot some of the area’s rare nocturnal creatures, an experience not often permitted in Tanzania’s national parks.
With a reputation for fantastic guiding, Oliver’s game drives take you to the heart of the action every time. Drives are offered twice daily in the cooler mornings and evenings. Most of our game drives make use of an open game-viewing vehicle – this lets you sit at different levels and gives everyone a ‘window’ seat. Our open vehicles have power points where you can recharge your devices, and are fitted with fridges to keep your drinks deliciously frosty. We also have e a closed game-viewing vehicle (with roof hatches that allow standing up). Private vehicles are available at an additional cost. (Note that families with children under 12 must book a private game-viewing vehicle.)
Tarangire National Park has wonderful experiences to offer throughout the year. The vast herds of wildlife drawn to the waters of the Tarangire River in the dry season make for outstanding viewing, while the lush grasslands and wildflowers that flourish just after the long rains provide the best opportunity for walking safaris. It is particularly hot during the short rains in November and December.
Dry season: August to October (cooler); January to March (hotter)
Rainy season: April to early June (long rains) and again for a few weeks in November to December (short rains)
Peak of wet season: April/May
Max. temp. range during the day: 29°C / 84°F
Min. temp. range at night: 13°C / 55°F