The Tarangire National Park was established in 1970 and excels in beauty and scenery. The park’s main feature is the Tarangire River winding like an enormous snake through the landscape, the source of life for the many animals that gather on the river banks in the dry season. Another mayor characteristic is the giant baobab trees that dot the hilly terrain.
The ‘upside down tree’ is a magnificent actor to use in sun-set images as it stands perfectly still! The last specialty of the region are the sometimes enormous termite mounds that form the home of many smaller and larger creatures.
The park, with its 2 850 km², is the sixth largest park in Tanzania and often visited as part of ‘northern circuit safaris’. The southern part of Tarangire National Park is relatively unknown and contains an enormous swampy area called Silale, inaccessible during the wet season.
Tarangire is one of the best places to see elephants in Tanzania. Often red in color (the soil contains a lot of iron), the elephants come in big numbers to the riverbed in the dry season to quench their thirst. Since the riverbank in the north is quite high, elephant viewing can be absolutely stunning. There are a number of other animals that are worth mentioning. Tarangire is home to tree-climbing African pythons (they normally live on the ground) and, just like Lake Manyara National Park and Mikumi National Park, tree-climbing lions. The gerenuk and fringed-eared-oryx give the park extra flavor, as they can’t be seen anywhere else in Tanzania.
Location (3°50′ S, 36°0′ E)
Tarangire is serviced by excellent roads and is only 115 km from Arusha. The park is easily reached by tar road in about two hours from Arusha or by charter plane.
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Located in the middle of the Tarangire wilderness, Oliver’s Camp overlooks a much wider eco-system: The Ngorongoro highlands, the Great Rift Valley, the Lake Manyara region and of course Tarangire National Park itself. Walking safaris and fly-camping are the specialties here, and the only 8 beautifully furnished guest tents provide for an intimate experience.
Sanctuary Swala is located in an exceptionally private section of Tarangire National Park, offering visitors a luxurious and very exclusive safari experience. Sanctuary Swala, which has twelve tents, has recently been completely rebuilt to the highest eco-friendly standards. From the entrance of the park it is another 67 km to Sanctuary Swala. The road winds through the park and offers some spectacular game viewing en route to the camp. Kuro airstrip is approximately 30 minutes drive from Swala. There is a once a day scheduled light aircraft flight into Kuro from Arusha.
Built on top of a high bluff with a breathtaking panorama, the simple Tarangire Safari Lodge offers one of the best views in Africa: the Tarangire River, a favorite watering place, attracts impressive numbers and variety of game. The lodge is only 10km from the north gate, and is served by a well maintained dirt road.
Hidden among the kopjes lies Tarangire Sopa Lodge, surrounded by ancient baobab trees. It is the home of the greatest concentration of elephants in Africa and other game, including the elusive leopard. Over 400 bird species can be spotted here as well. With water constantly available in the area, the greenery is lush providing a wonderful contrast to the burnt ground. Close to the north gate, the lodge is about 2 hours drive from Arusha.
With its spacious suites perched high up in the age old Baobab and Marula trees, astride the path of the Elephant Migration, Tarangire Treetops sits alone in a private game reserve bordering Tarangire National Park and the Maasai Steppe. Amid rolling hills with views to Lake Manyara and the Rift Valley wall, only a one-hour drive from the nearest gate, there are 20 luxury tents, built atop tree-attached platforms, overlooking the Tarangire Sand River.
Kikoti Tented Camp is a good value tented camp outside the park itself. Located near to Tarangire Treetops, this lodge shares the same areas as Treetops, and hosts a good population of elephant. A good option for an economical Tarangire visit. With only 10 tents you are guaranteed to enjoy a level of intimacy with the environment denied to all but the most selective traveller. This simple, but beautiful camp harks back to the days when Ralph Lauren was not seen on the bed linen! The balance of the camp is just right with relatively simple but tidy rooms and a stunning communal area with thatched dining area and camp fire. On the whole, this camp, while suffering slightly from being outside the park, is a very good choice for those looking to save a bit of money but still have a really authentic experience.
In the west of Tarangire National Park, the very basic Mawe Ninga Tented Camp has an impressive position on a high kopje, overlooking the soda lake of Lake Burungi, with Lake Manyara in the far distance. The best vista is across the small central bridge to the dramatic campfire, sited on the edge of a large rounded boulder. Mawe Ninga’s 12 canvas tents are raised on high wooden decks. Some are cantilevered from boulders to lend vertiginous, but spectacular, views from small verandas. The tents are internally divided to create a bedroom and bathroom/dressing area, and facilities are very simple. There are no resident guides at this camp, so you must visit with your own safari guide.