Tarangire National Park is famous for its prolific number of elephants.
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Tarangire National ParkTarangire National Park covers an undulating area of 2,600km², between the plains of the Maasai Steppe to the south-east, and the lakes of the Great Rift Valley to the north and west. The northern part of Tarangire is dominated by the perennial Tarangire River, which flows through increasingly incised ravines until it leaves the north-western corner of the park to flow into Lake Burungi. In the south are a series of vast 'swamps' which dry into verdant plains during the dry season.
Although Tarangire is one of only four parks on Tanzania's sometimes frenetic 'northern circuit', it is often either missed out, or given less than 24 hours, by the many relatively cursory mini-bus tours. This means that few get beyond the park's busy northern section, where the majority of camps and lodges is situated.
If you decide to come to Tarangire at all, then we recommend spending a few days in the south of the park, which gets few visitors and retains a real air of wilderness.
Flora & Fauna of Tarangire National ParkThe park's most obvious features are the permanent Tarangire River, which runs the length of it, and the vast 'swamps' – which are, in fact, dry for most of the year. Despite the fact that Tarangire is drier than the Serengeti, its vegetation is generally much more dense including densely packed elephant grass, large areas of mixed acacia woodlands and some lovely ribbons of riverine forest.
AnimalsThink of Tarangire as part of a much larger ecosystem, and you'll understand why its game varies with the seasons. From November to May, much of the game leaves the park; herds of wildebeest and zebra head north-west onto the floor of the Rift Valley, whilst many animals disperse across the vast open areas of the Maasai Steppe. From around June to October, it's dry and the game returns to Tarangire's swamps, and especially, its river system. This is the best season for a game-viewing safari in Tarangire, which can be excellent.
Particularly large numbers of elephant herds congregate here, as do many wildebeest and zebra. There are also substantial populations of impala, giraffe, eland and buffalo. Thompson's gazelle, Coke's hartebeest, bohor reedbuck and both greater and lesser kudu are found here. The localized and unusual gerenuk and fringe-eared oryx also occur here, though in our experience they are seen exceedingly rarely. There are still thought to be a few black rhino in the park.
Lion are common throughout Tarangire, as are leopard, whilst cheetah seem to favour the more open areas of the south. Spotted hyena are always around, and whilst wild dog do sometimes pass through; sightings of them are rare.