Tarangire National Park

"Herd with the elephants"

It is the vast number of baobabs that first capture the eye as you enter Tarangire National Park. The gently rolling countryside is dotted with these majestic trees, which seem to dwarf the animals that feed beneath them. The park is spectacular in the dry season where many of the migratory wildlife species come back to the permanent waters of Tarangire River. Huge herds of wildebeest, zebras, elephants, elands and oryx gather to stay in Tarangire until the onset of the rains when they migrate again to good grazing areas.


Introduction
Tarangire National Park covers approximately 2600 sq km and, in the dry season, is second only to Ngorongoro Crater in the concentrations of wildlife to be seen here. The park lies to the south of the large, open grass plains of southern Maasai land and derives its name from the Tarangire River, which provides the only permanent water for wildlife in the area.
 
Most animals leave the area near the Tarangire river at the beginning of the short rainy season in October/November. The first to move are the numerous wildebeest and zebras, soon followed by Grant's and Thomson's gazelles, buffalos, eland, elephants, oryx and hartebeest. Only the resident species, which include waterbuck, impalas, warthogs, dik diks, giraffes, rhinos and lesser kudus stay behind.
 
The second rainy season begins in March and at its peak the Tarangire animals are spread over an area of more than 30,500 sq km of Maasai country. At the beginning of June the long rains end, the Maasai steppe dries up rapidly and the migratory species return to the Tarangire River.
 
As in all ecosystems the vegetation and the types of animals you find are closely correlated. The principal features of the Park are the grasslands and floodplains, which may be divided into Acacia tortilis parkland; tall acacia woodland; drainage line woodland; Acacia-Commiphora woodland; Combretum-Dalbergia woodland; and rocky hills.
 
Acacia tortilis parkland consists of open grassland with flat-topped or umbrella acacia trees and a few scattered baobas (Adansonia digitata). Tall acacia woodland is dominated by fever trees (Acacia xanthophloea) and Acacia sieberiana. Both of these trees have yellow bark but A. sieberiana has a more rounded canopy and is not as tall as the fever tree. Drainage line woodland occurs beside tributaries which run into the Tarangire River. These are rich woodlands and include the 'sausage' tree (Kigelia africana), A. sieberiana and the tamarind tree (Tamarindus Indica). Combretum-dalbergia woodland is often known as 'orchid bush' because of the even distribution of the trees. In Tarangire Dalbergia melanoxylon, or African ebony, only grows as a large shrub, whereas Combretum zeyheri can attain the height of a small tree. Recently the woodland habitat of fever trees, umbrella acacias and A. sieberiana, along the Tarangire River from Matete has become more open. This is primarily a result of heavy utilization by elephants.
 
Associated with these different vegetation zones and places are different types of animals. Giraffes need trees to browse and so will not be found in open grasslands. Lions will usually follow the migrating antelopes and waterbirds will be found on the flood plain. It is obviously impossible to say exactly when and where different species will occur but it is possible to build up a picture of the most likely species to be found in any area at any particular time.
 
Over 300 species of birds have been recorded in the Park, some of them Eurasian migrants which are present from October to April.
 
Tetse flies are found in Tarangire and have played a major role in the land-use of the area. Tsetses carry typanosomiasis, a form of sleeping sickness to which domestic stock are highly susceptible. This has meant that Tarangire has not been used as a dry season rangeland by the Maasai and wildlife has remained undisturbed.
 
The wild animals have, over a long period, built up a resistance to 'tryps' and can survive in a tsetse-infested area. Large areas in Africa contain no human settlements because of the small tsetse fly, but recent projects to eradicate tsetses and open up these areas threaten the existence of large populations of wild animals and their natural habitats.


Accomodation

Budget camping

Enjoy animal encounters in your 4x4 safari vehicle and the spend your night camping in a light dome tent, with distant roars of lions and the laughs of hyenas, in designated campsites across the plains of northern Tanzania. A much closer to nature approach for the more adventurous and cost conscious travellers. A personal cook (who will accompany you in your vehicle) will freshly prepare all meals at your campsites.
Kigongoni Campsite

A basic campsite located on a small hill not far from the main tarmac road from Arusha. The most convenient place to stay on the way to Tarangire National Park with the park gate is just 10 minutes drive away.
 
 
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Twiga Campsite

A private campsite located at the most popular stopover point in the Northern Safari Circuit where there is the colourful market village of Mto wa Mbu, close to the entrance gate of Lake Manyara National Park along the foot of the Great Rift Valley Escarpment and a convenient stopover point from/to Ngorongoro crater/ Tarangire National Park
 
 
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Budget lodge

Explore the Park in your 4x4 vehicle and reach budget lodges (usually outside of the National Parks) for your Dinner and overnights. A perfect choice for those on a tight budget who do not wish to sleep in a tent
Lake View Diamond Maasai Lodge
A lodge built and owned by Maasai from local rock and thatch. Lodge offers an authentic Maasai feeling and offers a viewing deck over the rift valley, a bar, and dining room. Rooms are available in doubles or twins and all rooms are en-suite with hot/cold running water and western toilets.
 
 
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Mid range lodge

Explore the Park in your 4x4 vehicle and reach mid-range (equivalent of 3*) properties for your Dinner and overnights. A perfect choice for those on a medium budget safari.
Tarangire Safari Lodge

Tarangire Safari Lodge was the first to be built in the park. Since 1985, it has been owned and managed by the Simonson family.
Tents are sturdy and comfortable - built on a solid base, with a thatched roof and verandah, screened windows with large curtains and en-suite bathrooms with solar heated showers. The five bungalows are built from local stone in the circular style of Maasai huts. The thick walls, large windows and thatched roofs ensure that they remain cool. Each bungalow has a shaded verandah allowing for comfortable viewing of a large water hole. There is also a swimming pool available. 

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Mid High-range lodge

Explore the Park in your 4x4 vehicle and reach mid-range (equivalent of 3*) properties for your Dinner and overnights. A perfect choice for those on a medium budget safari.
Tarangire Safari Lodge

Tarangire Safari Lodge was the first to be built in the park. Since 1985, it has been owned and managed by the Simonson family.
Tents are sturdy and comfortable - built on a solid base, with a thatched roof and verandah, screened windows with large curtains and en-suite bathrooms with solar heated showers. The five bungalows are built from local stone in the circular style of Maasai huts. The thick walls, large windows and thatched roofs ensure that they remain cool. Each bungalow has a shaded verandah allowing for comfortable viewing of a large water hole. There is also a swimming pool available. 

Trip Advisor Reviews

High-Range Lodge

Explore the Park in your 4x4 vehicle and reach mid-range (equivalent of 3*) properties for your Dinner and overnights. A perfect choice for those on a medium budget safari.
Tarangire Safari Lodge

Tarangire Safari Lodge was the first to be built in the park. Since 1985, it has been owned and managed by the Simonson family.
Tents are sturdy and comfortable - built on a solid base, with a thatched roof and verandah, screened windows with large curtains and en-suite bathrooms with solar heated showers. The five bungalows are built from local stone in the circular style of Maasai huts. The thick walls, large windows and thatched roofs ensure that they remain cool. Each bungalow has a shaded verandah allowing for comfortable viewing of a large water hole. There is also a swimming pool available. 

Trip Advisor Reviews

Semi-permanent Tented camps

Explore the Park in your 4x4 vehicle and reach mid-range (equivalent of 3*) properties for your Dinner and overnights. A perfect choice for those on a medium budget safari.
Tarangire Safari Lodge

Tarangire Safari Lodge was the first to be built in the park. Since 1985, it has been owned and managed by the Simonson family.
Tents are sturdy and comfortable - built on a solid base, with a thatched roof and verandah, screened windows with large curtains and en-suite bathrooms with solar heated showers. The five bungalows are built from local stone in the circular style of Maasai huts. The thick walls, large windows and thatched roofs ensure that they remain cool. Each bungalow has a shaded verandah allowing for comfortable viewing of a large water hole. There is also a swimming pool available. 

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Where and what to see
The early mornings and late evenings are the best times to observe birds and animals. During the heat of the day much of the wildlife rests under cover. Leave camp or lodge early and remember to drive slowly. Look under trees and bushes for the pricked ears of some animal raising its head, and also keep a watch out in trees for the dangling tail of a leopard as it lies on a branch. Observe movements of the plains animals which may appear disturbed for no apparent reason - they may have seen, or bee suspicious of, nearby lions. Tick birds may indicate a kill worth investigating. Footprints on the road surface will tell you which animals have recently passed by.

When you first see members of a certain group of animals like a pride of lions or a group of zebras they all look much the same. If you spend a few moments watching you will begin to see individual differences. No two zebras have the same stripe pattern, individual elephants can be recognised by the different patterns of nicks or damage to their ears and by the size and shape of their tusks. Lions can be told apart by scars on their faces and the pattern of their whisker spots. Baboons have tails of various shapes and lengths and individual antelopes may have unusually shaped horns.

Look to see the composition of the group: is there one male with several females, or all males, or all females or a mixture? As you watch carefully you may begin to notice the way the animals interact with each other, how the young play together, how closely they feed together, whether some animals seem 'dominant' to others, what a courtship display looks like. If you watch for long enough you can be rewarded by learning a lot about the 'social organization' of a group of animals and get as much enjoyment out of watching the herbivores and the carnivores.

Note the below is a guide for all of the various places in the Park. It may not be possible to visit all during your game drive.

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Lemiyon
The area in the most northerly part of the Park within the triangle formed by the eastern and western boundaries and the Tarangire River as it flows westwards towards Lake Burungi, is called Lemiyon. The vegetation is composed of some open grassland on 'black cotton' soil (a fine, dark volcanic soil), an area of Combretum-Dalbergia woods and a more extensive parkland of umbrella or flat-topped acacia trees. The toothbrush bush (Salvadora persica) is also very common, showing up bright green even at the height of the dry season.

But the most striking feature of this part of the Park are the majestic, old baobab trees. With their massive silvery trunks, spindly branches and gourd-like fruit, they are strange and impressive trees. The young leaves are edible by humans and the wood, which has a long fibre, is used for weaving and rope-making. As many baobab trees are hollow, they frequently serve as reservoirs for rain water, as the site of wild bee hives or as nesting tress for hornbills.

Wildebeest and zebras are common here, as they are in many other parts of the Park. Both species need to drink regularly so unless there are pools of surface water, they do not go far from the river. Wildebeest or white-bearded gnu are rather ungainly looking animals with massive shoulders and slender hindquarters. Adults are a dull slaty grey colour, with dark streaks and stripes across the back and flanks. The young are rufous fawn in colour. Wildebeest (the name means 'wild cattle' in Afrikaans) are grazers and are often seen on the new flush that appears after a grass fire, especially on the 'black cotton' soils early in the dry season. Wildebeest live in large herds and are very vocal. Their constant grunts and loud explosive snorts are very characteristic.

Wildebeest have many predators, including lions, cheetahs and hunting dogs, and hyenas take a heavy toll of newly born calves. When attacked wildebeest will form a defensive circle, snorting at their attacker. Their erratic bucking actions are part of their evasive tactics against predators. The zebra present in Tarangire is Burchell's zebra. They move in large aggregations, which consist of family units each containing a stallion and up to a dozen females and young, and bachelor herds of mainly immature males. Each family is controlled by a stallion, who defends it both against potential rivals and against predators such as hyenas and hunting dogs. Mares also cooperate in defending the family and especially protect foals against predators. Foals are born in all months except during the dry season. The group defence is so effective that hyenas prefer to hunt in packs for zebras, whereas they usually hunt singly for antelopes.

ADDRESS

Moshi, Kilimanjaro- Tanzania

CONTACT

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