Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National Park is scenic region with the Tarangire River at its heart. This provides a year-round water source which is especially valuable in the dry season (July to October) when it attracts wildlife from a wide radius. During these months you can see large populations of game and vast herds of elephants.

That having been said, Tarangire has many resident game so is a good safari destination all year. The terrain is varied, too, with floodplains, grasslands, hills and giant baobab trees. You’ll be reaching for your camera time and time again. And it’s just a 2-hour drive from Arusha, ideal if you have limited time.

Things to do in Tarangire

  • Game drives – perennially popular, the 4x4 game drive remains one of the best ways to observe wildlife in the vast expanse of Tarangire. All camps and lodges offer this option, and you can expect to see zebra, giraffe, impala and buffalo as well as elephant, and predators such as lion and leopard.
  • Meet the locals – at many camps you have the chance to accompany a guide to a village to spend time with the local people. There are different tribal groups in the region including the Maasai, and it’s fascinating to learn how they have adapted to life in this environment.
  • Guided walks – although usually not permitted within a national park these are possible from certain Tarangire properties such as Oliver’s Camp and Swala Camp, as well as camps just outside the park. Walking with a specialist guide is a great opportunity to see the bush at close quarters and is an immersive experience.
  • Elephant viewing – Tarangire is justifiably known for its elephants. During the dry season herds up to 300 strong are common, gathering by the river alongside the other game. Even outside these months there are resident herds to be seen, and they are sure to be among the stars on your Tarangire safari.
  • Watch that tree! – Like nearby Manyara, lions in Tarangire are known to climb trees. The reason for this behaviour may be to survey their surroundings, escape flies or try to catch a breeze. Whatever their motives, lions in trees make for good photos. And it’s not just lions, leopards and pythons get in on the act, too, so watching the trees may prove interesting.
  • Bush meals and sundowners – dining out in the wilderness is all part of a safari in Tarangire. This is a great way to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the scenery, while savouring tasty food. Sundowners, too, are a staple of the safari tradition, whether by the camp fire or in a special location selected by your guide.

When to visit Tarangire

The dry season, roughly July to October, is when game is most plentiful, but wildlife can be seen all year and most camps and lodges are open year-round. Being less famous than the Serengeti, Manyara and Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire has the added benefit of fewer vehicles, even in the dry season.

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  • This is classed as the dry season and is also peak season
  • Vegetation is sparse making wildlife easier to spot
  • Animals congregate at waterholes and rivers
  • The sun shines every day
  • This is peak season so the park will be busy
  • Peak season usually means higher prices
  • Concentrations of animals at the beginning and end of season can vary depending on the rains
  • Early mornings and evenings can be cold. Wearing layers is the key


  • Low season usually means lower rates for accommodation
  • You will have more choice of accommodation when it is less busy
  • Many migratory birds will be in the park at this time
  • Vegetation is lush and green, perfect for photography
  • Wildlife viewing is not as good, with plenty of water available, the wildlife disperses
  • March to May sees the peak of the rainy season and tsetse fly can be an issue

Where to stay in Tarangire

Tarangire does not have the same volume of properties of some of the other Northern Circuit parks, but there is a variety of accommodation available. There are traditional tented safari camps, luxury options and larger lodges, plus some properties situated in land adjoining the park that can also offer guided walks and night drives.