The best time to go on safari in Tarangire National Park is towards the end of the dry season (September to November), when animals from the surrounding ecosystem concentrate in large numbers near the Tarangire River, which is the only permanent water source in the area. There are two rainy seasons, the short rains which generally occur in November and December, and the long rains, from mid March to the end of May.Although many visitors are anxious about the rains this can be a great time to visit the park. Dramatic skies and fabulous sunsets are not uncommon. Rain showers are usually heavy but short, allowing plenty of time to get out and see animals indulging on the flush of verdant grass.
Herds of up to 300 elephants scratch the dry river bed for underground streams, while migratory wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, impala, gazelle, hartebeest and eland crowd the shrinking lagoons. It's the greatest concentration of wildlife outside the Serengeti ecosystem - a smorgasbord for predators – and the one place in Tanzania where dry-country antelope such as the stately fringe-eared oryx and peculiar long-necked gerenuk are regularly observed.
During the rainy season, the seasonal visitors scatter over a 20,000 sq km (12,500 sq miles) range until they exhaust the green plains and the river calls once more. But Tarangire's mobs of elephant are easily encountered, wet or dry. The swamps, tinged green year round, are the focus for 550 bird varieties, the most breeding species in one habitat anywhere in the world.
On drier ground you find the Kori bustard, the heaviest flying bird; the stocking-thighed ostrich, the world's largest bird; and small parties of ground hornbills blustering like turkeys.
More ardent bird-lovers might keep an eye open for screeching flocks of the dazzlingly colourful yellow-collared lovebird, and the somewhat drabber rufous-tailed weaver and ashy starling – all endemic to the dry savannah of north-central Tanzania.
Disused termite mounds are often frequented by colonies of the endearing dwarf mongoose, and pairs of red-and-yellow barbet, which draw attention to themselves by their loud, clockwork-like duetting.
Tarangire's pythons climb trees, as do its lions and leopards, lounging in the branches where the fruit of the sausage tree disguises the twitch of a tail.
What to see and Do
Tarangire National Park is noted as a safari destination for its elephant population and spectacular baobabs of every shape and colour. The parks name is derived from the Tarangire River, the parks only source of permanent water. In the dry season this river is the lifeline, attracting much of the game. Huge herds of elephant, Zebra, buffalo, wildebeest and rhino and lion enjoy this terrain and are frequently seen.The Tarangire Park is also synonymous with two of the rarer game species; The greater kudu and the Fringe-eared Oryx. In addition, leopardand tree-climbing pythons often inhabit the trees. Due to the low volume of traffic in the park, the game is wild, being unaccustomed to vehicles, this offers a truly unique experienceFor guests on the Full Game Package, two game viewing drives in open-topped 4WD vehicles are included in the package. Large herds of antelope of all sorts including: eland, lesser kudu, Kongoni, impala, Zebra, gazelles, buffalo, wildebeest, leopard, elephant, rhino and lots of smaller mammals.
Where to Stay
Offers 20 luxurious safari tents, built on raised viewing decks overlooking the Tarangire Sand River. Each tent offers en-suite facilities, hair dryers as well as a private veranda and lounge area offering beautiful views. The reception area of Tarangire Treetops is built around an ancient baobab tree approximately 700 years old. The lodge offers comfortable and peaceful areas where guests can relax and unwind; a large comfortable sitting area in the centre of the lodge is available with soft cushions as well as a cosy fireplace offering the ideal spot for after dinner drinks or lazy afternoons. Tarangire Treetops also has a swimming pool. A laundry service is available. The dining and bar area overlook the swimming pool and the busy water hole. Romantic bush dinners as well as bush breakfasts and sundowner picnics and barbecues can be arranged.
Offers 12 elegant guest tents offering magnificent views over a busy waterhole. Each tent offers its own private butler; the tents are tastefully decorated with chairs and comfortable sofas as well as en-suite bathrooms offering complete luxury. Swala offers luxury under canvas combined with a traditional wildlife experience. The main dining area, deck and library are situated on stilts and built around a huge baobab tree. Guests can also relax and refresh in the beautiful infinity swimming pool overlooking the water hole.