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.
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. It’s the greatest concentration of wildlife outside the Serengeti ecosystem – a smorgasbord for predators – and the one place in Tanzania where dry-country antelope such as the stately fringe-eared oryx and peculiar long-necked gerenuk are regularly observed.
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.
The swamps, tinged green year round, are the focus for 550 bird varieties, the most breeding species in one habitat anywhere in the world.
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 – 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.
Tarangire’s pythons climb trees, as do its lions and leopards, lounging in the branches where the fruit of the sausage tree disguises the twitch of a tail.
Day 1 Arusha – Tarangire National Park
We will collect you from your hotel in Arusha and following a 2-3 hour drive, you will arrive at the Tarangire National Park. In this region, Hemmingway often went on big game hunting safaris. After the formation of the national parks in 1970, they turned the seasonal marshes and the endless savannah that one sees today into, once again, profitable hunting grounds. Today however, cameras thankfully have replaced the elephant guns. The Tarangire National Park has the highest density of elephants in North Tanzania and you can view these animals all year round in which the herds often can reach an impressive number of 300 animals. The Tarangire River has water all year round and during the dry season, between July and October, many animals from the surrounding areas come to the river for drinking. If you visit the park during the dry season, you will witness an unforgettable natural wonder as you can observe wonderful creatures such as lions, giraffes, buffaloes, wildebeests and zebras as well as various types of antelopes and gazelles and with a little luck, you can also spot a python! This area is during the dry season also a haven for bird watchers with over 550 different species including the Masai Ostrich -the world largest bird. Around lunchtime, you will stop at a suitable picnic place before the afternoon is dedicated to more wildlife watching. Before sunset, you will be taken back to your hotel in Arusha.
- Day trip according to the itinerary
- Transportation in a 4×4 safari vehicle
- Professional, English-speaking guide
- Meals according to the itinerary
- Mineral water
- All mentioned activities
- All national park fees
- Flying Doctors insurance (AMREF) during the day trip
- Optional activities
- Alcoholic and soft drinks
- Visa fees
- Personal spending money for souvenirs etc.
- Travel insurance