Travel Tips

Explore Tanzania’s best National Parks

TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK

Tarangire National Park is the sixth largest national park in Tanzania. It is located in Manyara Region. It covers an area of approximately 2,850 square kilometers (1,100 square miles.) The landscape is composed of granitic ridges, river valley, and swamps. The park is famous for its high density of elephants and baobab trees. During June to November dry season, visitors to the park can expect to see large herds of thousands of zebras, wildebeest and cape buffalo. Other common resident animals include waterbuck, giraffe, dik dik, impala, eland, Grant’s gazelle, vervet monkey, banded mongoose, and olive baobab. The impalas also exist in large numbers as well, buffalo and giraffes, Bohor reedbuck, Thompson’s gazelle, greater and lesser kudu and the Coke’s hartebeest. On some rare occasions, the common usual gerenuk and fringe –eared Oryx are also seen. A few black rhinos are also residents here.  Predators in Tarangire include African lion, leopard, cheetah, caracal, honey badger, and African wild dog.

It is a home to more than 550 bird species and therefore a haven for bird Enthusiasts. The Park is also famous for the termite mounds that dot the landscape. Those that have been abandoned are often home to dwarf mongoose. Vegetation is a mix of Acacia woodland, Commiphora-Combretum woodland, seasonally flooded grassland, and baobab trees. The name of the park originates from the Tarangire river that crosses the park. The Tarangire river is the primary source of fresh water for wild animals in the Tarangire Ecosystem during the annual dry season. The Tarangire Ecosystem is defined by the long-distance migration of wildebeest and zebras. During the dry season thousands of animals concentrate in Tarangire National Park from the surrounding wet-season dispersal and calving areas

The wild animals in this park differ depending on the season. Many of the animals leave the park during the months of November to May. The zebras as well as large herds of wildebeests move into the north-western direction towards the Rift Valley floor amongst the large numbers of animals that spread across the large open areas of the Masai Steppe. The game goes back to the Tarangire swamps during the dry season around the months of June to October most especially, the river system. This is noted as the best season hence enjoys the best of animal viewing during your safari visit to Tarangire around this time. You will obviously see big numbers of elephants gather here as well as the wildebeests and zebras.

RUAHA NATIONAL PARK

Ruaha National Park is the largest national park in Tanzania. The addition of the Usangu game reserve and other important wetlands to the park in 2008 increased its size to about 20,226 square kilometers (7,809 sq. mi), making it the largest park in Tanzania and East Africa. The park is about 130 kilometers (81 mi) west of Iringa. The park is part of the 45,000 square kilometers (17,000 sq. mi) Rungwa-Kizigo-Muhesi ecosystem, which includes the Rungwa game reserve, the Kizigo and Muhesi game reserves, and the Mbomipa Wildlife Management Area. The name of the park is derived from the great Ruaha river, which flows along its southeastern margin and is the focus for game-viewing. The park can be reached by car on a dirt road from Iringa and there are two airstrips – Msembe airstrip at Msembe (park headquarters), and Jongomeru Airstrip, near the Jongomeru Ranger Post.

The park formerly was known for its large elephant population, numbering 34,000 in the Ruaha-Rungwa ecosystem in 2009 but only 15,836 (plus or minus 4,759) in 2015. More than 571 species of birds have been identified in the park. Among the resident species are hornbills. Many migratory birds visit the park.

Other noted animals found in this park are cheetah, African leopard, lion (Africa’s second largest population, representing 10 percent of the world population), African wild dog (third largest population in the world), spotted hyena, giraffe, hippopotamus, African buffalo, and sable antelope. The best time to visit for predators and large mammals is during the dry season (May–December) and for birds and flowers, during the wet season (January–April).

LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK

Lake Manyara National Park is a Tanzanian national park located both in  Arusha Region and Manyara Region, Tanzania. The two administrative regions have no jurisdiction over the parks. The park is governed by the Tanzania National Parks Authority. The majority of the land area of the park is a narrow strip running between the Gregory Rift wall to the west and Lake Manyara, an alkaline or soda-lake, to the east. The park consists of 330 km2 (130 sq. mi) of arid land, forest, and a soda-lake which covers as much as 200 km2 (77 sq. mi) of land during the wet season but is nearly nonexistent during the dry season.

Lake Manyara National Park is known for the flamingos that inhabit the lake. During the wet season, they inhabit the edges of the lake in flocks of thousands but they are not so present during the dry season. More than 400 species of birds inhabit the park and many remain throughout the year. Because of this Lake Manyara National Park is a good spot for bird watching. Visitors to the park can expect to see upwards of 100 different species of birds on any day. At Terrain Safaris, we have all the packages you need to plan your Safari to Tanzania.

Leopards, Masai lions, cheetahs, elephants, blue monkeys, dik-dik, gazelles, hippopotami, Masai giraffe, impala, zebras and many more wild animals inhabit this park and many can be seen throughout the year. There is a hippo pond at one end of the park where visitors can get out of their cars and observe from a safe distance. The leopards and lions are both known to lounge in the trees while not hunting for prey.

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