Day after day of cloudless skies.
The fierce sun sucks the moisture from the landscape,
baking the earth a dusty red, the withered grass as brittle as straw.
The Tarangire River has shrivelled to a shadow of its wet season
self. But it is choked with wildlife. Thirsty nomads have wandered
hundreds of parched kilometres knowing that here, always, there
Herds of up to 300 elephants scratch the dry river
bed for underground streams, while migratory wildebeest, zebra,
buffalo, impala, gazelle, hartebeest and eland crowd the shrinking
lagoons. It's the greatest concentration of wildlife outside the
Serengeti ecosystem - a smorgasbord for predators – and the
one place in Tanzania where dry-country antelope such as the stately
fringe-eared oryx and peculiar long-necked gerenuk are regularly
During the rainy season, the seasonal visitors
scatter over a 20,000 sq km (12,500 sq miles) range until they exhaust
the green plains and the river calls once more. But Tarangire's
mobs of elephant are easily encountered, wet or dry.
The swamps, tinged green year round, are the focus
for 550 bird varieties, the most breeding species in one habitat
anywhere in the world.
On drier ground you find the Kori bustard, the
heaviest flying bird; the stocking-thighed ostrich, the world's
largest bird; and small parties of ground hornbills blustering like
More ardent bird-lovers might keep an eye open
for screeching flocks of the dazzlingly colourful yellow-collared
lovebird, and the somewhat drabber rufous-tailed weaver and ashy
starling – all endemic to the dry savannah of north-central
Disused termite mounds are often frequented by
colonies of the endearing dwarf mongoose, and pairs of red-and-yellow
barbet, which draw attention to themselves by their loud, clockwork-like
Tarangire's pythons climb trees, as do its lions
and leopards, lounging in the branches where the fruit of the sausage
tree disguises the twitch of a tail.
About Tarangire National Park
Size: 2,600 sq km (1,005 sq miles).
Location: 118 km (75 miles) southwest of Arusha.
Easy drive from Arusha or Lake Manyara following a surfaced
road to within 7km (four miles) of the main entrance gate; can continue
on to Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti.
Charter flights from Arusha and the Serengeti.
What to do
Guided walking safaris.
Day trips to Maasai and Barabaig villages, as well as to the hundreds
of ancient rock paintings in the vicinity of Kolo on the Dodoma
When to go
Year round but dry season (June - September) for sheer
numbers of animals.
One lodge, one tented lodge, one luxury tented camp inside the park,
another half-dozen exclusive lodges and tented camps immediately
outside its borders.
Camp sites in and around the park.
info on accomodation