Tarangire National Park is in Northern Tanzania, just south of Lake Manyara National Park. It is named after the Tarangire River, which acts as the only source of water for the park's wildlife in the dry season. Due to its location, Tarangire National Park is off the main safari circuit, meaning it’s generally quieter than Tanzania’s other National Parks. However, with roughly 1,100 square miles of terrain and home to Tanzania’s largest elephant population, we would highly recommend a visit.
Tarangire Park Dry Season
The dry season is the best time for game viewing in Tarangire National Park. By this point, the vegetation has thinned, and it is easier to spot the game. As mentioned, the Tarangire River acts as the only source of water during the dry season, meaning huge congregations of animals migrate to its banks in search of water, whilst predators such as tree climbing lions, leopards, cheetahs, and hyenas lie in wait. Unique to the park is the fringe-eared oryx, the greater kudu and ashy starling, all of which are endangered species!
Tarangire National Park offers the opportunity to spot four of the big 5, only missing the rhino. Other commonly sighted animals are giraffe, hippo, buffalo, zebra, wildebeest and the lesser spotted wild dog. There are a number of ways to explore the wildlife, whether a morning or evening game drive, night drive, walking safari or from the skies in a private hot air balloon!
Unfortunately, Tsetse flies can be found year-round in Northern Tanzania, with higher numbers in the dry season. Though this shouldn’t deter you from planning a trip, we’d recommend visiting the park outside of the midday sun and wearing long-sleeve-neutral clothes to deter them as best you can.
In addition to the huge congregations of wildlife, the scenery is simply stunning, varying from its sweeping grasslands to the dry savannah, acacia forests, giant baobab trees and towering red termite mounds. Throughout the year, the temperature remains consistent with daytime temperatures averaging 24-30 C and dropping to around 13-18 C at night. June – September are slightly cooler months, so we would recommend bringing a warm top for morning and evening game drives!
Tarangire Park Wet Season
The wet season typically runs from November to December and again from March until May, with rains gradually increasing throughout. Generally, we wouldn’t recommend visiting Tarangire National Park during the wet season due to the heavy downpours of rain and absence of game, who have typically migrated away during this time. Though heavy rains are expected, these usually fall in the afternoon and are unlikely to last the whole day.
However, if your focus is birding, then this is a great time to visit the park as it marks the arrival of the migratory birds. In fact, there are more breeding species of birds in Tarangire National Park than anywhere else in the world. Accommodation is much quieter and cheaper during this season, allowing you to enjoy the luscious green landscape in peace. Don’t forget to pack your bug spray as there will be more mosquitos during the wetter weather!
Tarangire Park Short Dry Season
There is a short dry season that falls between January and February, which may spark interest from those looking for cheaper rates and fewer tourists. Although the grass is much longer, it’s not enough to conceal the towering giraffes and grazing elephants that remain in the park, with guests reporting ample wildlife sightings during these months.