elephant looking into the camera

Elephant watching the photographer.

Tarangire national park is located to the north west of Tanzania’s Maasai Steppe and east of the Great Rift Valley. The park is part of an extended ecosystem that includes Mkungunero (south) and Lolkisale (north-east) game controlled areas.

Tarangire gets it’s name from the river that threads its way through the park. The river provides a permanent source of water for wildlife. During the dry season, from June to September, when the river bed is at it’s driest, the resident herds of elephant dig deep into the earth to discover underground water. The exposure of waterhole’s draw animals from the dry Maasai Steppe – wildebeest, zebra, buffalo and gazelle. Following in their path are lion, leopard and other predators.

Among the 500 plus birds recorded here are the kori bustard, ostrich, hornbill and screeching flocks of colorful yellow-collared lovebirds.

More recent residents of Tarangire are the Pancake Tortoise. Originally a Tanzanian species, they were confiscated from smugglers in the 1980’s and brought to Tarangire for behavior and habitat research.

The flood plains and grasslands of Tarangire cover an area of over 2,600 sq km. The scattered acacia woodlands, ancient baobab and palm trees within the plains, swamps and rivers add to the diversity and beauty of the park.

Tarangire has the highest concentration of ebony trees remaining in Africa – the hardest wood in the world.


Located 120 kilometers south of Arusha town, Tarangire is a popular destination for a day trip as well as part of a longer safari itinerary.

Guided walks on the park borders; see the tree climbing pythons in the sausage trees; see ancient forests of baobab trees; spot rare visitors to the park, species such as eland, kudu roan antelope and fringe eared oryx.