Tarangire National Park is the sixth largest national park in Tanzania after Ruaha, Serengeti, Mikumi, Katavi and Mkomazi.The name of the park originates from the Tarangire river that crosses through the park, being the only source of water for wild animals during dry seasons. Day after day of cloudless skies. The fierce sun sucks the moisture from the landscape, baking the earth a dusty red, the withered grass as brittle as straw.
The Tarangire River has shrivelled to a shadow of its wet season self. But it is choked with wildlife. Thirsty nomads have wandered hundreds of parched kilometres knowing that here, always, there is water.The park is famous for its huge number of elephants, baobab trees and tree climbing lions. Visitors to the park can expect to see any number of resident zebra and wildebeest in addition to the less common animals. Other common animals include waterbuck, giraffe, and olive baboons. Home to more than 550 species, the park is a haven for bird enthusiasts who can expect so see dozens of species even in the dry season. The swamps are the focus of the largest selection of breeding birds anywhere in the world.
Herds of up to 300 elephants scratch the dry river bed for underground streams, while migratory wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, impala, gazelle, hartebeest and eland crowd the shrinking lagoons make the greatest concentration of wildlife. During the rainy season, the seasonal visitors scatter over a 20,000 sq km (12,500 sq miles) range until they exhaust the green plains and the river calls once more. But Tarangire’s mobs of elephant are easily encountered, wet or dry.
On drier ground you find the Kori bustard, the heaviest flying bird; the stocking-thighed ostrich, the world’s largest bird; and small parties of ground hornbills blustering like turkeys. More ardent bird-lovers might keep an eye open for screeching flocks of the dazzlingly colourful yellow-collared lovebird, and the somewhat drabber rufous-tailed weaver and ashy starling Ã± all endemic to the dry savannah of north-central Tanzania. Disused termite mounds are often frequented by colonies of the endearing dwarf mongoose, and pairs of red-and-yellow barbet, which draw attention to themselves by their loud, clockwork-like duetting.