Tarangire National Park

Traveler: Danielle

When: October 2019

Where: Tanzania – Tarangire National Park

Overall Experience

Pronounced “Tare-in-guy-er”, was the southern most and last park we visited during our honeymoon safari travels to Tanzania. This park covers 1,100 square miles and is named after the Tarangire River which runs through it making it popular with the migrating animals during the dry season, so it’s best to visit between June and November.

It’s known for its large population of elephants and over 500 unique species of birds.The landscape is a little different here than the vast plains of the Serengeti. In Tarangire, Boabab trees and massive termite mounds dot the landscape. Additionally, you’ll find some tree climbing lions napping here too!

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Grazing Elephants

Where to Stay

There is no place like the Nimali Camps in this area. The site in Tarangire sits adjacent to the north eastern part of park and a dry river bed. Just like in the Serengeti Nimali there are no fences and the animals move freely throughout the area.

This camp is a permanent structure so the walk ways and common areas are more built up. Additionally, there is a gorgeous pool that overlooks the watering hole so you can quietly observe the animals taking a drink while you’re taking a dip! When we pulled up to the camp, the zebras and buffaloes were having a little party in the watering hole! It was a memorable greeting.

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Come here often?

The animals in Tarangire can be mischievous!! At the camp, the elephants are known to rip open the water pipes from the guest tents so they can take a nice long drink. There are also small chubby hyraxes all over the place chasing each other, basking in the sun and jumping on the tent roofs in the middle of the night! They are absolutely delightful to watch!

Comforts in the Nimali camp are luxurious. The staff is beyond welcoming and treated us like family. They are great story tellers and warmly described their lives at the camp and in their favorite animal interactions. Each tent is assigned an attendent who assists with meal times, room services, laundry and answers all your animal questions! The communal lounge and dining area are straight out of a magazine cover. There are comfortable seating areas where we enjoyed gin and tonics after a long day animal spotting as well as a campfire area. The rooms are impeccably designed with all the wished for creature comforts like hot showers, comfy beds and fluffy robes.

Safari in Tarangire

Our wake up call consisted of hot coffee delivered to our room bright and early. We were able to start the day with a warm cup and enjoy the critters playing in the dry river bed next to our room. After a filling breakfast, we hopped into our jeep with our guide and hit the road so we could see the wildlife. Before we even got through the “official gate” of the park, we were already coming across zebras and giraffes grazing along the road creating a very wild traffic jam.

Entering the park, we followed along the Tarangire river and were blown away but the vibrant contrasting landscapes of river, grasses and mountains. Additionally, this area is known for the massive and spongy Boab trees and termite mounds, since it’s not as windy.

Along this road, we saw countless bird species, a beautiful cheetah enjoying all the attention, tortoises, monkeys, ostriches, warthogs, waterbucks, and lions napping in trees and playing in the mud.

Southern ground horbill

The Southern Ground Hornbill finding some grub

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Pretty cheetah

Deeper into the park, we stumbled upon a large herd of elephants grazing in a gully and seemed completely unperturbed by our gawking.

We stopped for lunch at a park picnic spot and enjoyed the incredible views mischievous Vervet monkeys who were keenly observing everyone to determine who would be an easy target to steal lunch from. Make sure to keep an eye on your food, belongings and car keys!

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Picnic Views

Finally, we saw another lion kill in the park. As compared to what we saw in Ngorongoro Crater, This one weighed on us quite heavily and was incredibly difficult to see unfold before our eyes. It was a small pride of three lions, two females and a male who preyed on a baby elephant (we’ll spare you the graphic photos). We were really surprised that the lions found a baby elephant alone, as the herds are incredibly protective of their young. Our guide explained that it was entirely possible the baby wandered off when the herd was sleeping. He impressed upon us that groups are essential to survival out here and any animal wandering alone would most likely be set upon by predators within a day. It was a sobering reality to the harshness of life and death on the safari.

The vicissitudes of Tarangire National Park can be astounding but such is the circle of life. Everyone has to eat. The park’s allure can not be overstated and I would love to visit again and explore the southern areas.

Tips

  • Here’s a handy animal checklist to keep track of what you see during safari
  • You’ll pass through villages on the way to Tarangire’s main gate, make sure to bring local currency so you can pick up a few souvenirs. We get a great Masai blanket and a few bowls.
  • For additional tips and safari planning, check out our post on the Serengeti National Park

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