Tarangire National Park

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Tarangire National Park, the overlooked rival of the Serengeti

by Laura van Dijk

Elephant lovers, pay attention. During dry season, Tarangire National Park is reported to have the largest concentration of elephants in the world! Another striking feature of the park is the abundance of baobab trees. There are also some beautiful stands of acacia tortillis trees - the flat-topped acacias which are so reminiscent of films like the Lion King or Out of Africa. And let this overlooked Serengeti rival be within easy distance from Arusha. We think it makes the perfect first stop for your Roadtrip Tanzania safari. Thinking of visiting Tarangire National Park? Than read on. 

How to get to Tarangire National Park on a self drive safari

Tarangire lies in a semi-arid region inhabited by various traditional pastoralists. Most famously the Maasai, who live in the immediate vicinity of the national park, but also the Barabaig and other sub groups of the Datoga further southwest. The park is located 100 km southwest of Arusha, about 7 km off the main Arusha – Dodoma road. The turn off at Kwa Kuchinja is clearly signposted. The road is tarred and in perfect condition and the journey takes less than 2 hours.

How much are the park fees for Tarangire 

The fees for Tarangire charged by TANAPA as of 2018 are US$ 53.10 per person / 24 hours. Entry fee for your Roadtrip rental car is 23,600 TSH for the RAV4 (appr $10 ) and 41,300 TSH ( appr $ 20) for the Landcruiser. This is a one time payment per park entrance, valid for multiple days. Public campsites costs $ 35.40 pp/per night. So-called special campsites, a concession given to a private safari outfitter to operate a mobile camp, costs $ 59 pp/per night. If you are staying in a private mobile camp, ask if TANAPA camping fees are included in the price. Interesting to know, bush walks and guided night drives are organised by most lodges.

Best time to visit Tarangire National Park? 

Animal concentration peaks between July till the start of the rains in November, early December. From November to May, much of the game leaves the park. Herds of wildebeest and zebra head Northwest to the Rift Valley floor and the vast open areas of the Maasai Steppe. During dry season, Tarangire has, after the Serengeti, the highest concentration of wildlife of any Tanzanian National Park.

Some baobab fun facts 

For ages, the baobab has been a secret, precious tree to the pastoralist tribes living in the area, because of its multiple purposes. They store massive amounts of water in their swollen stems and the fruit and leaves are used in traditional medicine to treat problems such as fever and kidney disease.

Interesting to know is that the West has also set its sights on the baobab tree. The baobab fruit has just been given EU approval to be used in smoothies and cereal bars and food marketers have labeled it already as the next super fruit; it is reported to have six times more vitamin C than oranges and twice as much calcium as milk. Anyone fancy a baobab smoothie?


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