Welcome to one of Africa’s most underrated parks. Thanks to its proximity to Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire National Park is usually assigned only a day visit as part of a larger northern-circuit itinerary. Yet it deserves much more, at least in the dry season (July to October). It’s a place where elephants dot the plains like cattle, and where lion roars and zebra barks fill the night.
But here the wildlife tells only half the story. Dominating the park’s 2850 sq km, Tarangire’s great stands of epic baobabs should be reason enough to visit. There are also sun-blistered termite mounds in abundance, as well as grassy savannah plains and vast swamps. And cleaving the park in two is the Tarangire River, its meandering course and (in some places) steep banks providing a dry-season lure for animals and thus many stirring wildlife encounters for visitors.
Tarangire is a park for those who want to step that much further off the beaten track to experience a truly wild area. It boasts large herds of elephant and buffalo, and a remarkable concentration of big cats. 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.