TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK.
Tarangire National Park is located on the northern part of Tanzania in Manyara Region. It covers an area of approximately 2850 square kilometers. Tarangire landscape is composed of granitic ridge, river valley, squelchy green swamps and ponds that makes Tarangire so special. It covers a diverse array of habitats which range from open savannah, grassland, thorny, dense woodland, open plains spotted with grand old baobab trees ( About the only place in Northern Tanzania where these wonderful trees which are virtual living ecosystem in their own right can be seen).
The name originates from Tarangire River that crosses the park. The River is the primary sources of fresh water for wild animals in Tarangire ecosystem during the annual dry season.
Tarangire ranks as the 6th largest National park in Tanzania. The park is most popular for its large elephant herds and mini-wildlife migration that takes places during the dry season which sees about 250000 animals enter the park. From June –November Tarangire hosts a wildlife migration which is not dramatic as the wildebeest migration in Serengeti. Most of places seems dry during the period of June to November Tarangire river remains the only source of water and consequently attracts large number of animals like the Elephants, wildebeests, Hartebeest, Buffalo, Gazelle and Zebra accompanied by predators who come for water and hunting around the river banks.
From November to May Zebra and Wildebeest moves into the north west direction towards the rift valley and spread across the large open area of the Maasai steppe and move all the way to lake Manyara.
Tarangire is well known for its large herd Elephants which can be seen in the savannah plains of the national park As well as other animals like the; Oryx, Gerenuks, Buffalo, Giraffe, Dikdik, Impala, Eland, Grant gazelle, Fringe eared Oryx, Kudu, Bohor reedbuck, Vervet monkeys, Banded Mongoose, Olive baboon, Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Caracal, Wild dog, Hyena and honey badger.
This National park is a home to one of the largest elephant population in Africa with several herds of up to three hundred members per herd. The Elephants are rulers in Tarangire national park they lumber and splash around the swamps and re-shape the forest. The oldest elephant who gave birth to twins is also found in Tarangire National park. And in 2015 the Giraffe that was white due to leucism (An animal condition in which there is partial loss of pigmentation resulting in white, pale or patchy coloration of the skin, hair, feathers, scale or cuticle but not the eyes) was spotted in the park.
The park scenery consist of Baobab trees that are among the unique features that standout from the rest of other trees. The baobab are important to the ecosystem of the park because the Elephants uses them as water reservoir during the dry season.
Tarangire and the great swathe of the country side around it is a place of seasonal extremes. In the wet season it is very wet in deed and the greater Maasai steppe that surrounds the park has water where wildlife can quench their thirsty and where grasses are short, green and nutritious. But in the dry season when the land grasps for water the wildlife is drown magnetically towards the year around water of the giant swamps of Tarangire and at such time the quantity of wildlife in Tarangire is very high.
If you are birder the rainy season is the time to visit Tarangire with the most breeding species of one habitat anywhere in the world. Tarangire is a home to more than 550 bird species the park is also called the haven for birds. The grasses turned emerald green, flowers everywhere and the muddy river turned to crystal clear water.
Activities that can be done at Tarangire national park.
This is one of the major activities that are done at Tarangire national park as tourist engage and explore while observing a lot of animals. Lions are common, buffalo congregate forming big herd, wildebeest and zebra streams into the park but it is the Elephants that rules the park. The activity can done at any time of the day and also at night with permission from the Tarangire authority.
Walking safari always give tourist a wildlife viewing experience on foot and a close encounter of the natural surroundings, enjoying the cool breeze and breath fresh air. When you choose to do nature walk at Tarangire you will spot animals very close, view different bird species, spot a lot of beautiful butterflies and other insects. The tourist ate always accompanied with the park ranger guide during the nature walks around the plains of the Tarangire national park. This is mostly done in the morning or the evening depending on the tourist’s choice.
Tarangire national park is a home to more than 550 recorded bird species which makes it one of the best birding destination in Tanzania. Different bird species can be spotted when one visits Tarangire National park. The bird species range from endemic birds, migratory birds, water birds and so many other rare species. If you are a birder the best time of the year to do bird watching is during the wet season that is from November to March as it is the breeding season of the local birds and also a good time to spot some migratory birds in the park.
There are some villages that surrounds the national park, they are mostly Maasai villages as they settle adjacent to the park so as they get the grazing land for their cattle. Tourist can visit the Maasai bomas and engage in various activities like learning the Maasai culture, and the Maasai dance and also purchase local craft work that Maasai women make like the necklace, earrings, anklets and many other traditional products.
In Tarangire balloon safari is also conducted and mostly during the early morning hours and the tourist gets the opportunity to spot a lot of animals. Balloon activity in Tarangire National park takes about an hour and the path of the hot air balloon depends on the wind and after landing one enjoys bush breakfast with a breathtaking view of the park.
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