Tanzania’s best-kept secret may just be Tarangire National Park, a sprawling wildlife hotspot bestrewn with elephants, baobabs, big cats and green acacia wilds. Named after the Tarangire River hewing the land in two, this park has so many superlatives that its nickname “Little Serengeti” hardly does it justice.
Here are six reasons to explore Tarangire National Park on safari.
1. Elephants Dot the Landscape
Tarangire is choc-full of elephants. An estimated 2,500 roam the park’s 1,100 square miles in herds of up to 300, meaning Tarangire has the highest concentration of elephants in the world.
Elephants are so populous that they’re easy to spot even during the green season, when wildlife tends to spread broadly throughout the park. During the dry season, you can sometimes spot them digging in the dried-up Tarangire River in search of underground water.
2. Tarangire is the Baobab Capital of the World
Ancient history is alive in Tarangire: just look to the baobabs!
Baobabs are Tarangire’s most iconic feature: woody, columnal titans that tower over the plains like sentries. They’re old (some are over 1,500 years old), bigger than any other baobab species on earth and live in extremely high density in Tarangire. This has earned the park the unofficial title of Baobab Capital of the World.
With sturdy trunks and root-like branches, these “upside-down” trees play a critical role in Tarangire’s ecosystem, providing food, water, shelter and more for Tarangire’s creatures.
Some fast facts:
3. Tarangire is a Birder’s Paradise
Birds are plentiful year-round in Tarangire, but during the green season, migratory birds flock en masse and make the park their paradise (as well as a paradise for birdwatchers). Over 550 species of birds can be spotted in Tarangire, the largest variety in Tanzania.
Potential sightings include kori bustard, ostrich, ground hornbill, yellow-collared lovebird, rufous-tailed weaver and ashy starling, among many, many others.
4. The Mini Migration is Exciting
During the park’s dry season from June to October, almost all water sources dry up, and the Tarangire River’s dwindling streams become the park’s best source of water. Some 250,000 animals migrate to the dribbling riverbanks to quench their thirst.
While it’s no Serengeti Great Migration, this “Mini Migration” brings into proximity wildebeest, elephant, gazelle, zebra and predators like lions and leopards. It’s incredible to see so many animals clustered so closely. Because the vegetation is sparse and arid, the wildlife viewing is excellent.
5. The Silale Swamp is Tarangire’s Heart
Located in southern Tarangire, Silale Swamp is more than just a beautiful, sprawling landmark covered in marshes and lush green grass. It’s also a life-sustaining water supply that perfectly complements the needs of the changing seasons.
In the green season, Silale sponges up tons of rain (27 square miles of it), and in the dry season, it slowly releases that water into the parched Tarangire River, giving life to the hundreds of thousands of animals who need a drink.
These marshy lands are green no matter the season–throngs of elephants visit year-round to feed on the grasses, and plenty of big cats and wild dogs can be spotted as well.
6. You Can Try the Nyumba Lifestyle
Camping inside Tarangire doesn’t have to be a hardy, rugged trial! Thomson’s Tarangire Nyumba Camp is set deep within the park, blending the rustic touches of safari with an unwavering dedication to comfort. Amenities include queen-sized beds with pressed sheets, private en suite bathrooms and private showers with hot water.
Enjoy a sundowner on your veranda, charge your devices in the lounge tent and eat delicious meals prepared by the friendly camp staff. You’ll fall asleep under Tarangire’s starry night skies, and wake to the sound of the resident wildlife in the distance.
Experience it on Safari
Ready to see the elephants, birds and baobabs? Explore our safaris that visit Tarangire. *Ask about adding Tarangire onto these safari itineraries.