After touching on Tarangire National Park in our Safari Tip article; we didn’t feel we quite brought to life the magic of the 8th largest National Park for your Tanzania safari.
Tarangire is located in the Manyara region and is one of Tanzania’s more modest National Parks – at 2,900 sq km. While we had heard a lot about the big parks such as Serengeti and Masai Mara, a Tanzania safari in Tarangire deserves a shout out for its magical charm. Tarangire is named after the river that runs through the park; and the main water whole that provides life to the wildlife of Tarangire!
While every safari in Tanzania will be different and truly unique, here are our reasons why you have to include Tarangire in your Tanzania safari.
TARANGIRE IS IN CLOSE PROXIMITY TO ARUSHA AND MOSHI
Arusha is the safari capital of Tanzania, where you will find most tour operators. Tarangire is located around 3 hours from Arusha. Moshi, a neighbouring city, the home of Kilimanjaro is also a similar drive, so if you prefer, you can organise your tour from Moshi.
Moshi is considerably quieter and has a few more attractions you can plan for your trip if you decide to stay here. We organised our tour from Moshi with Mega Adventure – you can read more about selecting a tour guide here. We stayed in the Mountain Bike hostel slightly outside of Moshi centre which we would highly recommend. You can see Kili from the front door and even use their bikes to take a bike around the area to find a better view of Kili.
The road leading to Tarangire National Park is lined with bonas where a lot of Masai reside and tend their herds. If you wish you can arrange with your tour to visit the bonas, see how the Masai live and join in with a masai dance!
If you’re planning a shorter Tanzanian safari you don’t want to spend your time on the highway – go to Tarangire for maximum game viewing time!
ADMIRE THE SCENERY AND ICONIC BAOBAB TREE
While we were exploring and trying to find new animals in Tarangire, we had a few moments where would simply admired the landscape.
The Tarangire landscape is something in itself. At higher inclines, you can admire the vastness of the landscape and can see for miles. Throughout the park, the park is dotted with Africa’s iconic baobab tree. Just want you picture in your mind when you think of a Tanzania safari!
These trees provide food for the wildlife and a habitat for the birds and bees. In particular, Elephants, chew on the bark as this soaks up moisture like a sponge. The elephants often create hollow holes in trees over time. Unfortunately, poachers have been known to use these holes as hideouts. We learnt of this unfortunate news from the park ranger who took us on our walking safari! More on this below.
They also create a mystical aura during sunset hour and provides that picture perfect safari scene during golden hour.
AN ABUNDANCE OF ELEPHANT HERDS
One of our requests to our safari operator was to see Elephants. We had heard Tarangire was one of the best parks for elephants but didn’t expect to come across these beautiful majestic animals as soon as we entered the park.
Throughout our day we continued to stumble across different herds making their way to watering holes. The park is used as a refuge and therefore you can find around 2,500 elephants in the park.
Elephants tend to walk in herds, with one dominant male within herds. Elephants are incredibly emotional creatures and have often been found to celebrate the birth of a new calf. They are very protective of their young, always shielding and circling the calf to protect from danger. While elephants cannot see very well, they have a very good sense of smell, often raising their trunks to smell for danger.
We fell in love with these beautiful giants during our time in Tarangire. We would also recommend a walking safari in Tarangire, as you will have the opportunity to walk alongside these gentle beasts!
A NUMBER OF LION KING SCENES THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY
As well as Elephants, you will also be treated to a variety of other wildlife. We were fortunate to see; lions (around 500 in the park), zebra, giraffes, wilderbeast, ampala, wild boar, ostrich, buffalo, and even a leopard! To name a few. Throughout the day, we watch a number of Lion King scenes unfold before our eyes.
Due to the size of the park, you are always lucky enough to see wildlife throughout your game drives.
LESS EXPENSIVE AND CROWDED PARK
It has been claimed that Tarangire is far less busy than neighbouring parks such as Serengeti. The park is much more relaxed and you won’t be fighting for space to see wildlife scenes unfold.
We realised how fortunate we were when we visited neighbouring Ngorogongoro crater, this park felt a lot more busier and it felt like we were disturbing the wildlife as large numbers of cars surrounded animals. At one point, during a lion kill, we counted over 45 jeeps fighting for space!
As we were on a budget safari, Tarangire worked well with our budget as the park fees are a lot cheaper. You should pay $45 entrance fee for Tarangire whereas Serengeti is $65 for non-residents.
Only Tarangire permits Walking Safaris
If game drives in a jeep just don’t cut it for you then a guided tour around a small section of the park on foot could be just what you’re after in your Tanzania safari! An armed ranger took us around as we walked down wind of elephants so they couldn’t pick up our scent, admired how different zebras and giraffes behaved towards humans when you were on foot and learnt about the iconic baobab tree. We’re pleased to confirm our ranger informed he’d never had to use the gun on a walking safari but did once encounter a lion!
You can camp in the park overnight
Apparently the walking safari was only available to those who camped in the park overnight (or so we were told). We weren’t sure of this but either way both sounded like incredible experiences! Other than a slight worry of the hyena call’s in the middle of the night it was something we’ll never forget. It also meant whilst those who had accommodation outside the park were leaving at 5pm we had the park in golden hour all to ourselves and were able to watch sunset inside Tarangire park! The same applied the next morning a we beat the crowds for the first hour who were still making their way through the entrance whilst we were game viewing.