In early 2019, we were lucky to spend a couple of months travelling through Africa. We absolutely loved our time there and loved every country we visited. We were so sad to leave, and we vowed to return to see more of what has now become our favourite continent.
So back in February 2020, we booked another safari to Tanzania and Kenya, two countries in Africa that we had yet to visit. Little did we know that a month later, the Australian borders would close for almost two years. After rescheduling this trip twice, finally in July this year we managed to make it back to Africa. After two and a half years stuck in Australia thanks to Covid, we couldn’t wait to be on foreign soil again.
It was a long trip to Arusha from Brisbane, with an awful 20-hour transit in Doha airport. But those 40 hours of travel time were so worth it, considering what came next.
The first stop on our safari on the Tanzanian side was the Tarangire National Park and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
Where is Tarangire National Park?
Tarangire National Park is in northern Tanzania and forms part of Tanzania’s northern circuit. It is only a couple of hours drive from the city of Arusha to the park entrance. Most of the roads to the park are bitumen, until you reach the turn off to the park from the main road; so, it is a pleasant enough drive. It is also just 50 kilometres south of Lake Manyara, another popular safari destination. The two can easily be combined.
Why visit Tarangire National Park?
Tarangire National Park is the 6th largest National Park in Tanzania. It covers an area of 2,600 square kilometres. It is famous for having herds of up to 300 elephants and for its mini-wildlife migration that takes place during the dry season. During that time, the park has the highest concentration of mammals in the country and sees about 250,000 animals passing through. Tarangire National Park is also home to the iconic Baobab trees and an incredible amount of birdlife.
The wildlife of Tarangire National Park
Not as famous as the Serengeti National Park, Tarangire National Park is however a fantastic safari destination if you want to see a large variety of wildlife. It certainly rivals the Serengeti and we couldn’t believe how many different animals we saw. They were coming at us from every direction. We were also not expecting to spot lions so easily on our first game drive.
Some of the mammals that you are likely to spot in Tarangire are elephants (pretty much guaranteed), zebras, giraffes, wildebeest, impala, lions, waterbucks, banded-mongooses, vervet monkeys, Grant gazelles, Dik Diks and so much more. If you are lucky, you might even see a leopard or a cheetah.
The incredible birdlife
While in Tarangire National Park, you can enjoy seeing a huge range of beautiful and rare birds. Tarangire is a bird haven, boasting over 550 species of birds including some species endemic to Tanzania; Red billed hornbill, Lilac Breasted Rollers, Ostriches, Great White Pelicans, Yellow-Collared Lovebirds, Northern White Crowned Shrikes, Superb Starlings, Ashy Starlings and so many more species can be seen in the park. Make sure to bring binoculars and a very good zoom lens.
The baobab trees
The impressive Baobab tree is a distinctive feature of the Tarangire National Park. They are well-known for their upside-down appearance. Baobab trees can live between two and three thousand years, with a growth rate of only eight millimetres every ten years.
Tanzanians call the Baobab tree the “Tree of Life”. Their roots are extremely strong. They absorb and store water in their vast trunks during the rainy season, which means that during the dry season they can produce nutrient-dense fruits when everything around them is dry and arid. Those trees are a big draw to wildlife in the dry season.
Tarangire is famous for its huge herds of elephants. There are approximately 300 herds living in the park, so you can’t spend a day there without spotting many of them.
When to visit Tarangire National Park?
The best time to visit Tarangire is during the dry season, from late June to October. This is the best time for wildlife viewing as most of the animals migrate out of the park during the wet season.
Our Camp for the night – The Acacia Tarangire Luxury Camp
We sadly only had one night in Tarangire, and we stayed at the Acacia Tarangire Luxury Camp. We really wish we had spent at least another day there.
The Acacia Tarangire Luxury Camp is a luxury thatched camp located in a private corner of the Tarangire National Park. It offers total privacy amongst giant acacia trees and incredible views of the national park.
There are twelve fully furnished deluxe tents and each tent has its own en-suite, with a shower, toilet, hand basin, and washing facilities.
Each tent also has a deck where you can relax after a day of game driving, enjoying the scenery and watching for more wildlife.
We really enjoyed the “bush TV” or fire pit, where we had sundowns after a long day.
The camp is not fenced, so after sundown, you’ll need an escort to take you to your tent to avoid an encounter that may make you uneasy!
After a day spent in Tarangire, we carried on to Ngorongoro Crater.