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Tarangire National Park

Tarangire NP

Overview

Wildlife

Birds

Best Time To Visit

Weather & Climate

Getting There

Malaria & Safety

Overview – Tarangire NP
Tarangire National Park is renowned for its substantial elephant population. These majestic creatures can be found in significant numbers year-round, reaching their peak from July to November during the Dry season. It’s during this period that zebras, wildebeests, and various other animals from the broader Tarangire migratory ecosystem gather in the park, drawn to the Tarangire River. This river acts as the singular water source in the area, making it a vital hub for wildlife in search of hydration.
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Best Time To Go
From July to November, animals gather at the Tarangire River.
High Season
Between June and October, the park is bustling with visitors.
Size
2,850km² / 1,100mi²
Altitude
985-1,528m / 3,232-5,013ft
Pros & Cons
Remarkable year-long gatherings of elephants
Outstanding wildlife observation during the Dry season
Superb bird-watching opportunities featuring numerous species unique to arid environments
Breathtaking landscapes dotted with majestic baobab trees
Outstanding accommodations, ranging from mid-tier to luxurious lodges
The area experiences increased visitor numbers in the peak season (June to October).
Wildlife disperses during the Rainy season.
Wildlife
During the Dry season, elephant herds, sometimes numbering as many as 300, are observed searching for water in dry riverbeds by digging for subterranean streams. Meanwhile, migrating animals like wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, impala, gazelle, Coke’s hartebeest, and eland gather around the diminishing water holes. Among the larger predators, lions are the ones frequently seen. The park is also home to a variety of smaller predators, including black-backed jackals and bat-eared foxes. Dwarf mongoose colonies often take up residence in deserted termite mounds.
Scenery
The centerpiece of the park is the Tarangire River, which can become quite parched. Despite this, the area boasts a lush landscape, rich with acacia bushes and diverse woodlands. What stands out most are the colossal baobab trees scattered abundantly throughout. Towards the southern part of Tarangire, a sprawling network of seasonal swamps takes precedence.
Weather & Climate
The Rainy season in Tarangire spans from November to May, with November and December typically marking the period of lighter, short rains. The more intense, long rains occur from March to May. There is a short dry spell in January and February, breaking up the wetter months. The Dry season falls between June and October.
Best Time To Visit
Tarangire transforms into a wildlife hub from July to November, drawing animals to the Tarangire River—the primary water source. During these months, early morning safaris can be chilly with the sun hanging low, so it’s wise to bring along warm clothing.
​Wildlife & Animals – Tarangire NP

Between July and November, the Tarangire River becomes an irresistible attraction for migrating wildlife including wildebeest, zebra, eland, Coke’s hartebeest, gazelle, buffalo, and an astonishing number of elephants. Lions are also more readily observed during this period.

Buffalo
Zebra
Wildebeest
Hippo
Black Rhino
Giraffe
Elephant
Hyena
Wild Dog
Cheetah
Leopard
Lion
Wildlife Highlights

Tarangire National Park hosts unique species of dry-land antelopes, including the uncommon fringe-eared oryx and the distinctive gerenuk, known for its elongated neck. The park’s southern marshlands present fascinating wildlife sightings. Common sights include elephants and buffalo indulging in the mud, but fortunate visitors might also spot the Silale Swamp lion pride or even encounter elusive wild dogs.

Best Time for Wildlife Viewing

From July to November, as water sources in the wilderness dwindle, wildlife viewing reaches its prime. During this period, vast groups of animals move into the park from neighboring regions. The thinner vegetation and the congregation of wildlife near the Tarangire River make animal sightings more frequent and easier. Starting around December, many animals begin to migrate away from the park, leading to a decrease in wildlife visibility.

Wildlife Photos
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​Birds – Tarangire NP
Tarangire National Park stands out as an exceptional destination for bird enthusiasts, boasting over 500 species. It serves as a habitat for many birds typically found in drier regions, including the northern pied babbler and vulturine guineafowl, marking the limits of their geographical range. Devoted birdwatchers will delight in spotting the vibrant yellow-collared lovebird, as well as the more subdued rufous-tailed weaver and ashy starling, species confined to the dry savannahs of north-central Tanzania. Additionally, the park becomes a haven for migratory birds from November to April, adding to its avian diversity.

Notable Birds in Tarangire NP

Ashy starling
common
crown
common
common
Red-and-yellow barbet
common
Von der Decken’s hornbill
common
Best Time for Bird Watching

Birdlife thrives throughout the year in this region, yet the peak season for birdwatching coincides with the arrival of Palearctic and intra-African migratory birds from November to April. This period also aligns with the nesting season for many resident birds, making it an ideal time to observe them in their colorful breeding plumage. For those interested in general wildlife, the period from July to November offers the most rewarding viewing experiences, as animals are more easily spotted during these months.

Facts & Figures

Bird Species

450+

Migratory Birds

Nov to Apr

Best Time To Visit – Tarangire NP

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

The prime period for observing wildlife in Tarangire National Park falls between July and November, aligning with the mid to late Dry season. This is when animal sightings are at their peak. Conversely, from November to May, during the Wet season, many animals tend to migrate away from the park, leading to a noticeable decline in wildlife viewing opportunities.
Best Time
Between July and November, animals congregate around the Tarangire River.
High Season
From June to October, the park is teeming with visitors.
Low Season
In April and May, rates might be lower.
Best Weather
Between June and October, there is minimal rainfall.
Worst Weather
March and April are at the height of the wet season.
June to October – Dry Season
Wildlife moves into the park from adjacent regions.
Spotting wildlife becomes simpler as the vegetation thins.
The climate is delightful and filled with sunshine.
Mosquito populations decrease, reducing the risk of malaria.
Bringing warm attire is crucial for the cold morning safaris from June to August.
The park experiences high visitor numbers.
November to May – Wet Season
The foliage is vibrant and lush.
Prices may be reduced due to it being the off-peak season.
This period is optimal for birding, as migratory species are in attendance.
Numerous animals leave the park, resulting in less optimal wildlife viewing compared to the Dry season.
March to April marks the height of the Rainy season.
Wildlife Photos
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Weather & Climate – Tarangire NP
Tarangire National Park features a moderate and pleasant climate year-round. The Rainy season is split into short rains from November to December and long rains from March to May, with a brief dry spell occurring in January and February. Rain typically falls in the afternoons and rarely lasts the whole day. While the temperatures seldom reach extremes of heat, the mornings and evenings can be quite cool, making it advisable to pack warm clothing for early morning wildlife drives.
Dry Season – June to October

The weather is predominantly sunny, with rain being a rare occurrence. As the season advances, the air becomes dustier, and the sky appears hazier.

 

During June, July, and August, the afternoon temperatures hover around 24°C (75°F). The days are marked by clear, blue skies, though it becomes cooler at night, with temperatures falling to around 14°C (57°F).

 

In September and October, the dryness intensifies, and daytime temperatures increase to about 28°C (82°F). The arrival of the first rains towards the end of October is often welcomed as a refreshing change.

Wet Season – November to May

Afternoon temperatures typically reach around 28°C (82°F), while at night, they cool down to approximately 17°C (63°F).

 

In November and December, the ‘short rains’ season occurs, with October to December seeing up to four weeks of rainfall. The onset of these rains is often unpredictable, but they seldom disrupt travel plans, as all-day rain is uncommon.

 

January and February experience a dry period following the short rains, though the exact timing can vary from year to year.

 

The ‘long rains’ dominate March, April, and May, featuring frequent rainfall that usually doesn’t last all day, although cloudy conditions are the norm. During April and May, cold fronts can bring significantly cooler temperatures.

Tarangire National Park
Tarangire NP Photos
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​Getting There – Tarangire NP

Tarangire National Park is a key highlight of the renowned Northern safari circuit, often explored alongside Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater, with most journeys beginning in Arusha. The optimal entry point for international visitors is through Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), located 50km (31 miles) away from Arusha. Alternatively, travelers can arrive via Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) in Dar es Salaam, and then continue to Arusha Airport (ARK) or Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO).

 

For those looking to reach Tarangire, there are routine flights from both Arusha and Serengeti, although taking a car is also a feasible choice. The drive from Arusha to the park’s main gate is a pleasant 2-hour journey, with the final 7km (4 miles) being the only portion off the tarred road. Furthermore, the park serves as a convenient starting point for trips to Lake Manyara National Park (100km/60mi, roughly 2 hours) or Ngorongoro Crater (180km/110mi, about 4 hours).

**Note that these driving times are approximate and travel conditions can cause significant delays.
Main Park Map
Tanzania Travel Guide Map
Airlines & Ticket Prices

Consider exploring Skyscanner to discover which airlines offer flights to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) or Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR), as well as to get an idea of ticket prices.

Domestic Flights

Your travel planner, typically through Bush 2 City Adventure, often arranges domestic and charter flights between parks as part of your safari itinerary. For air transfers to Tarangire, we have cultivated special partnerships with several domestic airlines to enhance your journey:

 

Coastal Aviation, offering flights to Tarangire, as well as to Arusha and Kilimanjaro Airports.

 

Air Excel, Regional Air, Safari Air Link, Auric Air, Air Tanzania, and Precision Air, all provide services to both Arusha Airport and Kilimanjaro Airport, facilitating seamless connectivity.

 

ZanAir and As Salaam Air, focus their flights on Arusha Airport, ensuring a broad selection of options for your travel needs.

Passport, Visa & Other Entry Requirements

Visit our FAQ section on the Tanzania page to find comprehensive information regarding passport, visa, vaccination, and other entry prerequisites.

​Malaria & Safety – Tarangire NP
Safety

We believe traveling in Tarangire National Park is exceptionally safe. Instances of crime targeting tourists are extremely rare within Tanzania’s parks and conservation areas. While it’s advisable to observe standard safety measures during drives between parks and in urban locales, such occurrences are uncommon, particularly on guided safaris. For additional details, refer to the ‘Cities & Urban Areas: Safety Precautions’ section below.

Malaria & Vaccinations

Before embarking on your journey, it’s recommended to update your vaccinations. For tailored advice, it’s best to speak with your healthcare provider or a travel health clinic. Additionally, taking measures against malaria is crucial. Applying mosquito repellent, particularly those with DEET, and using antimalarial prophylaxis can greatly reduce your risk. Dressing in long-sleeved shirts and trousers during the evening hours is another effective strategy for avoiding mosquito bites.

Wildlife Viewing

Heeding the guidance of your safari guide ensures a secure wildlife viewing experience. For those embarking on a self-drive adventure, adhering to the park’s rules and regulations is crucial for safety. For further details, we recommend consulting the ‘Wildlife Viewing Safety Precautions’ section provided below.

Photo Gallery of Tarangire National Park

Map of Tarangire National Park

Photo Gallery of Tarangire National Park

Main Park Map

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