With its lovely and quiet wilderness Tarangire National Park usually ends up being the biggest surprise package on the Northern circuit. Tarangire has impressive concentrations of game during the dry season from July to December and even then there a little numbers of visitors compared to Ngorongoro or the Serengeti. Tarangire is one of the best places in Africa to see large herds of elephants with as many as 500 individuals.
The landscape and vegetation is amazingly diverse with seasonal swamps along Tarangire River and a vast tree savanna featuring big numbers of baobab and acacia trees, and tall borassus palms. The climate is drier and gives a good impression of the endless Maasai Savanna of central Tanzania. Due to its great extension Tarangire National Park features a rich biodiversity and authentic safari atmosphere which is completely different from other parks.
Tarangire National Park actually is just a part of a big migratory ecosystem which includes Lake Manyara National Park and five additional wildlife areas. At the height of the rainy season wildlife spreads all across these areas. During the dry season from July to November animals gather in large numbers along Tarangire River which is then the only water resource in the surrounding environment. Elephant, wildebeest, zebra, giraffe, buffalo, impala, Thompson’s gazelle, greater and lesser kudu, hartebeest, long-necked gerenuk, eland, and baboon crowd the rapidly shrinking water pools. It’s the greatest concentration of wildlife outside the Serengeti ecosystem – and of course an invitation for predators such as lions, leopards, and cheetahs.
A special highlight of the park is the African rock python that inhabits the Silale Swamps and gets occasionally seen climbing on trees. Although it is Africa´s largest snake pythons are quite difficult to spot due to a perfect camouflage body pattern. Furthermore even hippos can be seen at the Larmakau Swamps.
Tarangire National Park is also one of Tanzania’s finest birding destinations. The park seasonally hosts more than 550 bird species. Tall ostrichs can be seen roaming the savanna and yellow-collared Lovebirds occupy the trees along the Tarangire River. Common birds are hornbills, herons, francolin, yellow-billed stork, purple swamphen, pelican, red kite, fish eagle, and vulture.
Certainly the most spectacular feature of Tarangire National Park is that it serves as a refuge for the largest elephant population in northern Tanzania. Up to 3,000 elephants are roaming the vast tree savanna plains and the Tarangire River banks. Large herds of 300 individuals and more that are frequently encountered what makes Tarangire National Park an outstanding destination to watch those awesome and graceful giants.
African Elephants are the largest living terrestrial animal with some males weighing up to 13,000 pounds (6,000 kg) and standing four meters tall at their shoulder. They live in socially complex family units made of eight to ten animals comprising related adult females and their immature offspring.
African elephants are amongst the world‘s most intelligent species and exhibit a large variety of behaviors what are surprisingly similar to primates and humans.