Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National Park in Tanzania is the perfect dry season park retreat. Based in the prime location of the Northern Circuit and next to the Serengeti National Park. Tarangire is one of the best areas of all of Tanzania, but it is all too often overlooked. As to why this is, we are unsure. Tarangire attracts some of the most awe-inspiring wildlife in Africa, including waterhogs, giraffes, zebras, and the park’s speciality: elephants. Here elephants roam the plains and the riverbanks in particular in their hundreds, making for an enchanting experience for any traveller.

For more details about the differences between the Northern and Southern Circuit safaris in Tanzania see our Tanzania Safari - Complete Travel Guide.

  • Best Time To Go


  • Average Safari Cost

    From $200 to $600 pp/day

  • Highlights

    Perfect weather for animal-watching, a dense elephant population, the Big Five, the gorgeous Tarangire River is at the heart of the park, a suitable beginning or end to a safari tour of the Northern Circuit

Why Visit Tarangire National Park?

As a rarely unearthed and extremely special part of Tanzania, Tarangire is well worth a visit. It’s home to so many elephants it is not uncommon to be in the presence of 500 all in one day, often by the riverside where they enjoy the sun, the water and, of course, the mud.

The Tarangire River is the staple of the park – and for good reason. In the dry season, it is not just elephants which congregate here, but hyenas, wildebeest, impala and lions venture there too, putting the water feature at the heart of this safari experience.

And there are plenty of birds at Tarangire as well, which are best viewed in the dry season but make the park a much brighter place all year around.

Pros And Cons

  • Excellent wildlife viewing in the dry season
  • A very special and dense population of elephants
  • Beautiful landscape with baobab trees
  • Bird watching is especially successful here
  • It is in the advantageous location of being next to the Serengeti National Park
  • Wet season is not great for wildlife viewing due to migration and dispersal
  • There are large crowds in the dry season
  • There is not so much variety in the wildlife meaning one can only really spend two days at most in the park

Best Time To Visit

We would strongly recommend visiting the Tarangire National Park in Tanzania during the months of June through to October, the dry season in the country. At this time animals are migrating and tend to congregate at the riverbank and lagoons along their journey.

These animals include the most sought-after on safaris: lions, hyenas, antelope, gazelles and plenty more. To enhance your chances of spotting a good number of animals at the Tarangire, the dry season is the best time to do it as the vegetation is also thinner, meaning it is easier to see through and of course take your photos in too.

If you wish to head to the Tarangire National Park in the wet season, November through to May, you will be in luck with the bird population at the park. At this time the birds are in their prime and so you can get far ahead on your observing as well as your wildlife photography, especially as the vegetation is thicker, luscious and replenished.

However, most animals have migrated or dispersed into the Maasai Steppe at this time, so you will be hard-pushed to spot some of the most incredible players of the African safari experience. As well as this, there is an increased risk of malaria due to the higher number of mosquitoes around during the wet season.

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Wildlife And Birds

Animal viewing at Tarangire is great for the African Big Five, especially elephants. There are herds of 300 elephants roaming the plains, so this is the perfect park for any ellie-loving traveller. It is also perfect for those who enjoy a surprise now and again as the wetlands have, in the past, been home to pythons spotted by eagle-eyed travellers, so keep them peeled!
The List Of Animals

Rare Animals

  • Leopard
  • Cheetah
  • Wild dog

Frequently Seen Animals

  • Elephant
  • Giraffe
  • Hippo
  • Buffalo
  • Zebra
  • Wildebeest
  • Lion
  • Hyena (occasional)

Over 500 species of bird have been recorded at the Tarangire National Park where they breed at the swamps and enjoy their prime during the wet season. The birds, all throughout the year, make the whole park that bit more vibrant and wonderful and if birds are your thing, you’re in luck with this park.

Endangered Birds

  • Basra reed warbler
  • Cape gannet
  • White-winged apalis
  • Swynnerton’s robin
  • Eastern imperial eagle

Endemic Birds

  • Red-billed parrot
  • Ashy starling
  • Speckle-fronted weaver
  • Red-and-yellow barbet
  • Tawny eagle
  • African grey flycatcher

Getting There And Safety

As the Tarangire National Park is part of the Northern Circuit of safari circuits, you should fly into Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO). From here your tour operator will usually pick you up and transport you to your accommodation. You should also check your country’s visa requirements in Tanzania, though you can, in most cases, acquire one upon arrival in the country.

If you are based in the UK and Europe, check out these flights to Tanzania

If you are based in the USA and Canada, check out these flights to Tanzania

For more details see our Tanzania Safari - Complete Travel Guide.

For details about visas see our Tanzania Safari - Complete Travel Guide.

Please note that malaria risk is high around the year in all areas below 1,800m. To protect yourself you should avoid mosquito bites by wearing long sleeve tops and long trousers especially in the evenings, using insect repellents and, when required, sleeping under a mosquito net.

For more details about vaccinations see our Tanzania Safari - Complete Travel Guide.

Drinking Water
Tap water is not considered safe in Tanzania, so it would be advisable to always use bottled water or bring water sanitation tablets with you. These will come in handy for using water to brush your teeth.
Travel Insurance

Going on a safari in Africa comes with obvious risks. We recommend you get travel insurance for all safaris in Tanzania. Make sure your insurance has full medical coverage, emergency air evacuation, repatriation and the standard travel insurance for cancellations, delays and luggage cover.

Check World Nomads’ travel insurance calculator to see the cost of the safari trip cover.

What To Pack

You should pack clothes suitable for both hot and cold weather as days can be very hot followed by very cold nights. Your clothes should be in neutral tones, not bright colours. Other items to pack include: insect repellent, camera, torch, binoculars, sunglasses and sun block.

For more details on what to pack see our Safari Packing List.