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Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National Park

Tanzania’s Tarangire National Park is an easy drive from Arusha or Lake Manyara; a surfaced road comes within four miles of the main entrance gate. The park is about 1,100 square miles, and visitors often combine a visit to Tarangire with sightseeing in the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti.

The park is an excellent year round destination, but the dry season is when animal numbers are at their peak. But if you are planning a visit, make no mistake; the sun is hot, the red earth is baked dry, and there is little to no moisture. The Tarangire River is a trickle when compared with the wet season, but it throbs with wildlife. Animals have roamed across the parched landscape, knowing that here is water. Herds of up to 300 elephants use their mighty feet to dig for underground water in the dry river bed, while migratory wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, impala, gazelle, hartebeest, and eland crowd the shrinking lagoons. It is the greatest concentration of wildlife outside the Serengeti ecosystem, and this is the only place in Tanzania where dry-country antelope such as the stately fringe-eared oryx and peculiar long-necked gerenuk are regularly observed.

When the rains come, the seasonal visitors scatter over an area of almost 12,500 square miles and stay there until their numbers exhaust the green plains and the river calls once more. However, the Tarangire elephant remain in the park year round.

For birding enthusiasts, it is the green tinged swamps that beckon. Around 550 bird species have been recorded, the most breeding species in one habitat anywhere in the world! On drier ground, regular sightings of Kori-bustard (the heaviest flying bird), strutting black plumed male and drab grey female ostrich (the world's largest bird), and smaller groups of turkey-like ground hornbills are made. And then there are the screeching flocks of the dazzling yellow-collared lovebird and pairs of red-and-yellow barbet. Also seen are the slightly less exotic rufous-tailed weaver and decidedly non-exotic ashy starling. All are endemic to the dry savanna of north-central Tanzania.

Sausage trees in Tarangire are home to leopard, where they are often seen waiting for prey. Usually only the twitch of their tail betrays their presence. Unusually, pythons in Tarangire climb trees as do its lions!

Activities in Tarangire will include game viewing, photography, bird watching, guided walking safaris, day trips to Maasai and Barabaig villages, and visits to the hundreds of ancient rock paintings in the vicinity of Kolo on the Dodoma Road.

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