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Monday, 18-Feb-2013 02:42 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Tanzania Safari: Tarangire National Park

If you thought Tanzania was all about Serengeti or beach 'n' bush holiday-options, there are plenty of other options available in this magnificent country. Tarangire National Park is one such hidden gem.

Since game-viewing here is largely seasonal and best undertaken during July-October, many visitors to Tanzania tend to by-pass Tarangire and move onto other year-round destinations. But wild-life enthusiasts are well aware that Tarangire is a treasure-trove of game-viewing round the Tarangire River, spectacular scenery, night-safaris and fly-ins to beautiful camp-sites and locations where rare species like the fringe-eared oryx and gerenuk can be seen.

Tarangire is famous for its huge elephant herds. The dry season means there's a massive concentration of game on the banks of the Tarangire River, with enormous herds of elephants, wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, impala and gazelle jostling for water and the cool waters of the nearly dry river-bed. The presence of deadly predators like lions, leopards, cheetahs and hyenas ensures that visitors can witness the daily drama of life and death.

This national park is also famous for its wonderful diversity of bird species, with more than 500 varieties of local and migratory birds making Tarangire their habitat. Tarangire is unique for its wetlands and riverine swamps, which remain verdant all the year-round, making it one of the best breeding grounds for birds in the world. The dry areas of the park are notable for the presence of the strange looking Kori bustards, elegant and regal looking ostriches, flocks of delightfully hued, noisy love-birds, ashy starlings and red-and-yellow barbets. This area is also known for its gigantic pythons which lie in wait for their prey on the branches of Tarangire's weird-looking sausage trees, and also the towering termite mounds which often house a dozen different species of occupants!

Tarangire is easily accessible from Arusha town or the Lake Manyara area and many visitors combine a Tarangire adventure with trips to the Ngorongoro Crater or Serengeti. Travel can be either via road or charter flights. Apart from private lodges outside the park, there are several lodges, camp-sites and tented campsites, both luxury and budget, within the park as well, which offer a variety of facilities, depending on your budget and requirements. The famous luxury lodge Tarangire Treetops is located just outside the park and is built around a 1000 year old baobab tree. Guides, support-staff, drivers and cooks are also available in and around the park.

Other interesting things to do around Tarangire include a visit to the site of ancient cave and rock paintings on the Dodoma road, near Kolo, trips to the nearby Masai and Barabaig settlements for a glimpse of the traditional life-style there. You can also purchase souvenirs and gifts to take back home, interact with the residents and sample their cuisine.

If you're looking for an off-the-beaten-track Tanzania experience, Tarangire is the perfect choice!

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