Part of the legendary northern safari circuit of Tanzania, Tarangire is nonetheless a stand-alone safari destination that moves to its own unique rhythm.
© Sundowners at the baobab tree near Camp Swala
A Place of Africa's Giants
Storms were breaking all round, washing the air in the invigorating first-rain scent, and at times the sun broke through the storm clouds enhancing the heartbreaking beauty of the place. Baobabs littered the horizon while others played in the valleys. A herd of elephants on the river seemed irrelevant to the scene until my soul settled into the sense of place and the magic of Tarangire showed a part of its self to me - and the elephants and baobabs became the rhythm.
In Tanzania there is a park that has stood in the shadow of icons such as the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti for many years - only now gaining some sort of reputation in the safari scene. Tarangire is arguably one of Africa's greatest wilderness areas.
Many of the iconic reserves and national parks of Africa have a distinguishing feature, be it endless plains, a river or mountain, unique wildlife or simply a wide variety of species. Tarangire combines all these features into one, but this combination is not the distinguishing factor of the park. Baobabs and elephants dominate an almost indomitable beauty.
Elephants and Baobabs
Bound to each other in human philosophy baobabs and elephants, the giants of the African wilderness, move to a rhythm in Tarangire. It is here in Tarangire that the wisdom of the earth is expressed through these carriers of the wisdom.
A baobab can survive a great deal of stress from elephants, even continuing to grow while lying on the ground after toppling over. A baobab with a hole through its centre, carved by elephants seeking moisture, is one of the examples in the park of how the two species are linked.
Elephants on the road near Lemala Safari Lodge
The Tarangire River attracts vast numbers of animals during the dry season, with zebra and wildebeest using the river as a refuge. The danger to these animals is the concentration of predators during the time they are frequenting the park. The park is renowned for the large herds of elephants during the dry season. On my last visit I was awed at the quantity of game in the presumed off-season. Elephant herds were everywhere and we also saw many zebra and wildebeest, all against a backdrop of ancient baobabs.
With its accessibility to Arusha and the great wilderness areas of Ngorongoro and Serengeti it is surprising that an area of such possibility has been overlooked by safari-goers in the past. It is the perfect combination, with Lake Manyara, for the two iconic destinations.
One of the attractions of Tarangire is that due to its lesser reputation there are fewer vehicles and people, allowing for a more personal African safari experience. Tarangire is one of the most dramatic wilderness areas in Africa. Tarangire is quintessential Africa.
- Periodically has one of highest concentrations of wildlife in Tanzania
- Large herds of zebra, wildebeest, buffalo, hartebeest and elephant
- Excellent birdwatching - over 350 recorded species (migrants can be seen between October and April)
- Large baobab trees that characterize the park
Best time to visit Tarangire: Excellent during dry season June to October, although good to visit all year round
Tarangire National Park Safari
See tours and safari lodges in Tarangire National Park