Tarangire National Park Safari Guide
Tarangire is one of the more seasonal parks in northern Tanzania, with a lot of migratory movement within the greater Tarangire ecosystem. In the Dry season, between June and October, large herds of animals are attracted to the Tarangire River. At this time, the elephant numbers are spectacular and the park should be part of any safari in northern Tanzania.
Pros & Cons
Top general wildlife viewing in the Dry season
Incredible concentration of elephants in the Dry season
Excellent birding with many dry-country specials
Stunning scenery with many baobab trees
Excellent mid-range and luxury lodges
It gets crowded during peak season (June to October)
Animals are scattered in the Wet season
Wildlife & Animals
Tarangire is outstanding seasonally for wildlife. In the Dry season, the Tarangire River is a magnet for migratory animals such as wildebeest, zebra, common eland, hartebeest, gazelle, buffalo and elephant – of which there are more than you can imagine. Lion are quite easily spotted at this time, as well.
Tarangire is home to some dry-country antelope, such as the rare fringe-eared oryx and peculiar, long-necked gerenuk. The swampy areas in the south of the park offer some interesting wildlife viewing opportunities including wallowing elephants and buffalo, the Silale Swamp lion pride and sometimes wild dog. Big pythons can sometimes be found in trees when the swamps are drying up.
Tarangire is a great bird-watching site with more than 500 species recorded. The park harbors several dry-country bird species at the extremity of their range, such as the northern pied babbler and vulturine guineafowl. Serious bird-lovers should also keep an eye open for flocks of the dazzlingly colorful yellow-collared lovebird, and the somewhat drabber rufous-tailed weaver and ashy starling – all restricted to the dry savannah of north-central Tanzania. Migratory birds are present from November to April.
Best Time to Visit
The middle and end of the Dry season, from late June to October, is the best time for wildlife viewing in Tarangire National Park. Most of the animals migrate out of the park during the Wet season, and wildlife viewing is considerably less productive.
June to October – Dry Season
Animals migrate into the park from surrounding areas
Wildlife is easier to spot because they stay near the rivers
The weather is beautiful and sunny
There are fewer mosquitos and malaria risks are lower
Warm clothing is essential from June to August since morning game drives are cold
November to May – Wet Season
The vegetation is lovely and green
Rates may be lower because it is low season
It is prime bird watching time since migratory birds are present
Many animals migrate out of the park and wildlife viewing is not as good as the Dry season
March to May is the peak of the Wet season
Weather & Climate
Weather in Tarangire is temperate and enjoyable. 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. It rarely gets too hot, but the evenings and mornings tend to get cold. Warm clothes for early morning game drives are recommended.
Dry Season – June to October
June, July, August, September & October – Afternoon temperatures are close to 26°C/79°F. Days are clear with calm skies. It cools down at night with temperatures dropping to about 14°C/57°F.
Wet Season – November to May
Afternoon temperatures are usually around 28°C/82°F, and night temperatures are around 16°C/61°F.
November & December – 'Short rains' – October through December brings about four weeks of rain, the start of which is unpredictable. It will rarely have a negative effect on your trip, as it would be unusual for it to rain all day.
January & February – A dry spell occurs after the short rains. The exact timing 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. Cold fronts commonly roll in during April and May causing temperatures to get much colder.
The park is part of the popular northern safari circuit and is typically visited together with Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater. Most safaris start from the town of Arusha. The best option to get there is to fly into Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), which is situated 46km/29mi from Arusha. It is also possible to fly to Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) near Dar es Salaam and book a domestic flight to Arusha Airport (ARK) or Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO).
There are regular flights from Arusha and the Serengeti to Tarangire, but it is a comfortable two-hour drive from Arusha to the entrance gate, of which only the last 7km is not tarred. Moving on, it is an easy drive to Lake Manyara (100km/60mi in about two hours) or the Ngorongoro Crater (180km/110mi in about four hours).