The Tarangire National Park is located between the meadows of Masai Steppe to the south east and the lakes of the Great Rift Valley to the north and west. Among the rolling area where the park lies, it occupies an area of 2,600 square kilometers. The perennial Tarangire River takes over the northern part of Tarangire. Through the cut ditches, the River flows upwards up to when it leaves the corner of the park, in the North West flowing into Lake Burungi. There are a number of wide swamps which dry into green plains during the dry season in the south.
The park is famous for its high density of elephants and baobab trees. Visitors to the park in the June to November dry season can expect to see large herds of thousands of zebra, wildebeest and cape buffalo. Other common resident animals include waterbuck, giraffe, dik dik, impala, eland, Grant's gazelle, vervet monkey, banded mongoose, and olive baboon. Predators in Tarangire include lion, leopard, cheetah, caracal, honey badger, and African wild dog. The oldest known elephant to give birth to twins is found in Tarangire. A recent birth of elephant twins in the Tarangire National Park of Tanzania is a great example of how the birth of these two healthy and thriving twins can beat the odds.
The Tarangire River has shriveled to a shadow of its wet season self. But it is choked with wildlife. Thirsty nomads have wandered hundreds of parched kilometers knowing that here, always, there is water. 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 observed.
During the rainy season, the seasonal visitors scatter over a 20,000 sq km 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.
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.
Welcome to one of Africa's most underrated parks. Thanks to its proximity to Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire National Park is usually assigned only a day visit as part of a larger northern-circuit itinerary. Yet it deserves much more, at least in the dry season (July to October). It's a place where elephants dot the plains like cattle, and where lion roars and zebra barks fill the night.