Tarangire is less well known than other parks in the Northern Circuit but in terms of wildlife concentration, it supports a similar range of large mammals to the Serengeti. And like Serengeti, Tarangire is part of a wider ecosystem with a great deal of migratory movement. Tarangire, however, is more densely vegetated, covered mostly in acacia and mixed woodland. This sometimes makes it difficult to see the full range of predators. During the wet season, most of its animals disperse into the Maasai Steppe while the larger Antelopes and Zebra move northwest to the rift valley floor between Lakes Natron and Manyara.
Tarangire becomes rich with animals in the dry months between July and November when large herds of game get attracted to the permanent waters of Tarangire River and make the park as alluring as Serengeti.
Concentration of Game
Tarangire is famous for its prolific Elephant herds that congregate along the river during the dry season. The colonial Dwarf Mongoose is characteristic of the park and often seen on termite hills. There is quite a healthy wildlife population in Tarangire, especially during the dry months when Tarangire River serves as one of the few water reservoirs in the area. Large predators include Lions, Leopards, Cheetah, Golden, and Black Backed Jackals, Bat Eared Foxes and Spotted Hyena. Nocturnal predator includes Civet, Serval, Genet and African Wild Cat. Other mammals include Hippo, Waterbuck, Bushbuck, Eland, Giraffe, Zebra, Wildebeest, Buffalo, Warthog, Baboon, Impala, Fringe-Eared Oryx, and Gerenuk.
Like Lake Manyara, Tarangire is also rich in birdlife and up to 500 different species have been recorded. These include Raptors like Bateleur Eagle, Fish Eagle, and Palmnut Vulture. Saddle-Billed and Yellow-Billed Storks and several other water birds are found at the river. Other prominent species include Yellow-Necked Spurfowl, Orange-Bellied Parrot, Barefaced Go-away bird, and Red-Fronted barbet, Silver bird and Red and Yellow Barbet. Other species associated with dry areas are Vulturine Guineafowl, Donaldson-Smiths’ nightjar, Pink-Breasted Lark, Mouse-coloured Penduline Tit and the lovely Yellow-Collared Lovebird.
Best time to visit
Tarangire is open and receives tourists throughout the year. The best time to visit would, however, be during the dry months between July and November. This is the time where there is the highest concentration of animals in the park, especially near the Tarangire River. Location – it is 120 km from Arusha, bordered with Tarangire Wildlife conservation area to the northeast, an area set apart by the government, to cater for the needs of the local people as grazing for their herds.