About Tarangire National Park
Tarangire National Park is the sixth largest national park in Tanzania, it is located in Manyara Region. The name of the park originates from the Tarangire River that crosses the park. The Tarangire River is the primary source of fresh water for wild animals in the Tarangire Ecosystem during the annual dry season. The Tarangire Ecosystem is defined by the long-distance migration of wildebeest and zebras. During the dry season thousands of animals concentrate in Tarangire National Park from the surrounding wet-season dispersal and calving areas.
It covers an area of approximately 2,850 square kilometers (1,100 square miles.) The landscape is composed of granitic ridges, river valley, and swamps. Vegetation is a mix of Acacia woodland, Commiphora-Combretum woodland, seasonally flooded grassland, and Baobab trees.
Tarangire National Park lies 120 km south of Arusha, along The Great North Road highway, and is very popular for day trips from the town. Tarangire offers a wide variety of wildlife in its area of 2,600 sq. km. As in all ecosystems, the vegetation and the types of animals you find are closely correlated. The principal features of the park are the flood plains and the grassland, mainly comprising of various types of acacia trees, and a few scattered baobabs, tamarind and the sausage trees. The Tarangire River, after which the park is named, provides the only permanent water for wildlife in the area. When the Maasai Steppes dry up with the end of the long rains in June, migratory animals return to the Tarangire River, making Tarangire National Park second only to Ngorongoro in the concentration of wildlife. This period stretches between June and November and it is the best season for game viewing in Tarangire.
The most common animals found in the park include zebras, wildebeest, lions, leopards, waterbucks, giraffe, elephants, gazelles, impala, gerenuk, lesser kudu and the beautiful fringe-eared oryx. You may be lucky to spot the tree-climbing python, for which the park is famous, or the kudu and the roan antelope which are rare species in Northern Tanzania. Over 300 species of birds have been recorded in the Park.
The park is famous for its high density of elephants and baobab trees. Visitors to the park in the June to November dry season can expect to see large herds of thousands of zebra, wildebeest and cape buffalo. Other common resident animals include waterbuck, giraffe, dik dik, impala, eland, Grant’s gazelle, vervet monkey, banded mongoose, and olive baboon. Predators in Tarangire include African lion, leopard, cheetah, caracal, honey badger, and African wild dog.
Home to more than 550 bird species, the park is a haven for bird enthusiasts.
The park is also famous for the termite mounds that dot the landscape. Those that have been abandoned are often home to dwarf mongoose.
In 2015, a giraffe that is white due to leucism was spotted in the park. Current wildlife research projects in the park include the Tarangire Elephant Project, Tarangire Lion Project, and Masai Giraffe Conservation Demography Project.
Tarangire NP’s weather in general
Weather in Tarangire is temperate and enjoyable. The altitude varies widely from 982 to1646 m (3222 to 5400 ft). Temperatures drop by about 6.5°C for every 1000m you climb (or 3.5°F per 1000ft), so even within the park there are wide climatic variations.
Wet seasons consist of: ‘long rains’ (March to May) and the ‘short rains’ (November to December). It usually rains in the afternoon and seldom for the entire day. Over the year, temperatures do not change much. It rarely gets too hot, but the evenings and mornings tend to get cold. Warm clothes for early morning game drives are recommended.
- June, July, August, September & October – Afternoon temperatures are close to 25°C/77°F. Days are clear with calm skies. It is possible for the short rains to begin in October, should they start early. It cools down at night with temperatures dropping to about 14°C/57°F. Occasional cold fronts can lower temperatures to freezing. It is advised to pack enough clothes to keep you warm on early morning game drives.
- Wet season – November to May
As in the dry season, temperatures are moderate during the wet season as well. Afternoon temperatures are usually around 29°C/84°F and night temperatures are around 17°C/63°F.
- November & December – ‘Short rains’ – October through December brings about 4 weeks of rain, the start of which is unpredictable. It will rarely have a negative effect on your trip, as it would be strange for it to rain all day. Showers normally occur in the afternoon. Daytime temperatures are typically around 29°C/84°F while night and early mornings hover close to 17°C/63°F.
- January & February – A dry spell occurs after the short rains, the beginning of the spell is difficult to predict.
- March, April & May – ‘Long rains’ – On most days, rain occurs, although it rarely rains the entire day. Cloudy skies are common. Average daytime temperatures are around 27°C/81°F and 17°C/63°F at night. Cold fronts commonly occur in April and May causing temperatures to get much colder.
Home to the giant & mystical Baobab and the largest population of elephants in Africa
Home to the giant & mystical Baobab tree and the largest population of elephants in Africa, Tarangire is the sixth largest national park in Tanzania covering an area of 2,850 sq km. Situated between the plains of the Maasai Steppe in the southeast and the Great Rift Valley to the north and west.
The Tarangire River cuts through grassland and woods in the north of the park and low hills, scrub and swampland
in the south. It’s the key to life for game and birdlife in the dry season (July to late October, early November). Thanks to a number of the river water-pools, many of which were created by elephants digging up the dry river bed with their tusks, the park attracts large numbers of giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, eland, gazelle, impala, warthogs and buffalo. In the dry season you will find large numbers of animals congregating around the river,
which makes for phenomenal game viewing. Lions can often be found, and the ever-elusive leopard which spends most of its day in the branches of the sausage tree – are sometimes spotted.
Tarangire National Parks is one of the most diverse parks in Tanzania, with scattered acacia woodland, plains swamps and rivers. It has a wonderfully wild and rough-around–the-edges feel and contains almost every animal species; you could hope to see on safari.