Tarangire, Tanzania’s sixth largest national park covers an untamed 2850 sq. Kms. Uncrowded and unspoiled, it possesses a wild beauty and contains most of the animal species expected to be seen on a safari with the exception of Rhinos, which were wiped out by poaching in the 1980’s. The park has a range of different habitats, from grasslands and woods to the north to low hills, scrub and swampland down south. Cutting through these habitats is an evergreen corridor, the Tarangire River, the park’s main watering source for wildlife during the dry season. The park was named after this river that crosses it and empties its waters into Lake Burunge to the west. The park’s landscape and vegetation is of its own uniqueness with lightly wooded hills, dense bush and high grasses that can be found nowhere else in the northern circuit.
The park is famous for its large herds of elephants (up to 300 in a herd have been recorded) and baobabs, weird, ungainly and impressive trees that are several thousand years old and provide excellent silhouettes against the sky for sunset photos. Lions, leopards, cheetahs and its tree climbing pythons also attract a number of visitors throughout the season. Other large animals found in the park include wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, impala, Grant’s gazelle, hartebeest and eland among others. It is also the only park in Tanzania where rare antelopes such as the fringe-eared Oryx and peculiar long-necked Gerenuk are regularly observed.
The evergreen swamps are the focus for 550 bird varieties, the most species in any park in Tanzania and about a third of all Tanzania’s species. Tarangire is also one of the world’s most important breeding grounds for Eurasian migrants. Other species of birds found in the park include yellow-collared lovebird, the Kori bustard – world’s heaviest flying bird, Ostrich and small parties of ground hornbills. The woodlands are rich in hoopoes, hornbills, brown parrots and the white bellied go away bird. Game birds such as the helmeted guinea fowl, yellow necked spurfowl and crested francolin abound. Over fifty species of raptors have been recorded, from the common Bateleur eagle, whose name means “tumbler” in French, to the Steppe eagle, a migrant from Russia and giants such as the lappet faced vulture to the tiny pygmy falcon. Here, where birdsongs start well before dawn and continue well into the night is the keen birders’ “piece of heaven on earth”!