Wildlife in Tarangire National Park
Tarangire National Park is an excellent place for wildlife. At the peak of the rainy season, the Tarangire river floods the area and attracts thousands of wildebeests, gazelle, buffalo, eland, and elephants. A few predators are also seen lurking on the fringes.
The park is also home to thousands of birds and bird lovers will have a field day viewing hundreds of common and rare species.
If you want the best bird views, then visit the south of the park for some exciting viewing opportunities as this includes some wallowing buffaloes and elephants, the wild dog, antelopes and a pride of lions. If you’re visiting unaccompanied, be wary of huge pythons that can sometimes be seen on trees when the swamp is drying up.
What is special about Tarangire
The park is beautiful during dry and wet seasons. Only 118 km from Arusha, it is an excellent destination throughout the year for its wildlife. Except for the critically endangered rhinos, this park is home to the country’s most iconic animals such as the tiny dik-dik, the giraffes, the massive African elephant and much more that attract visitors from all over the world.
Anyone who visits Tarangire is full of incredible tales of how the animals appear to form village clusters of their own as they graze or hunt in groups. The biggest attraction are the elephant communities that appear to resist any weather change, whether heavy rain or blistering heat.
One should visit the park to view this large elephant population, the largest in the whole of Tanzania. During the dry season, it is not unusual to see clusters and herds of over 300 strolling together searching for water in the now fast drying Tarangire river. Even when rains are pouring hard, when other inhabitants of the park are sheltered, elephants will still be seen roaming the park.
With its vast ecosystem and food sources, Tarangire is popular among bird watchers. There are at least 500 species of birds, the most significant number in the whole country, the park is indeed a birdwatcher’s paradise.
If you venture inside the Tarangire woodlands, you may encounter brown parrots, hornbills, birds with white bellies as well as birds that are hunted for game like the guinea fowl, other species of fowls and the francolins.
Other varieties that call the park home are lilac-breasted rollers, yellow-collared lovebirds, striped swallows, hammerkops, plovers, Kori bustards, and bateleur eagles.
The baobab trees
The noble baobab tree also straddles the park like an ever-present big brother companion. In the local community is it commonly known as the tree of life. It is believed that the tree can store 500 to 1000 litres of water, and produces a nutrient rich, edible fruit. Carbon dating techniques have shown some baobabs to be over 3000 years old!.