Tarangire National Park is one of the largest and loveliest national park in Tanzania.This park is located at only 70 km from lake Manyara and it’s crossed by the permanent Tarangire river.Tarangire’s vegetation comprises of mostly dry, open woodlands, with many baobabs, see picture below, bushes and Acacia trees. There is also a flat swamp area in the southern part of the park and a riverine forest along the Tarangire river.
Although overshadowed by Seregenti and Ngorongoro National Park, this park well deserve also a visit due to the large number of baobabs, wild elephants and other 25 species of large mammals that migrate periodically here during the dry season, from June to October.
The park is also home of over 500 species of birds, which include some specialities like Yellow-collared Lovebird, African Grey Flycatcher, Ashy Starling, Donaldson’ Smith Nightjar, Speckled-fronted Weaver, African Orange-bellied Parrot,Mouse-colored Penduline Tit, Northern White-crowned Shrike, Northern Pied Babbler, Von der Decken’s Hornbill, Rufous-tailed Weaver, Slate-coloured Boubou and Pink-breasted Lark among others.The best time for bird watching is from November to April, when many migratory birds are present.
To get there, i firstly did some research trying to find a package tour that included Serengeti and Ngorongoro parks as well.I checked in different agencies in Moishi but prices were quite high.Finally i could find an agency that fit my budget.The tour i got costed 600 euros for a 4 days 3 nights trip, including entrance fees, guide, transportation, accomodation in basic tents and food.
Next morning the driver picked me up at 7 o’clock.He picked up other people in Moishi and then headed towards Arusha, where he stopped to get other costumers as well. Our trip took us several hours before arriving to the park’s gate.
On the park’s gate the driver stopped to get the entrance tickets and the necessary permits.To make the most of my time, I stretched my legs around the gate area.Next to the roof of the park’s post i could spot 3 Yellow-collared Lovebirds nesting here.
I was very happy to see this beautiful birds free in the wild.This family of birds is native from Africa, with 9 species of lovebirds, and they are well known for being affectionate and mating for life.
I continue my short stroll scrutinising the branches of the Acacia trees and bushes.I found a White-headed Buffalo Weaver moving while feeding among the bushes.This bird was quite big when compared with the size of other weavers.Suddenly, the bird jumped onto the trunk of a tree and i took the chance to take this beautiful picture.
On another tree i saw a couple of Nubian Woodpeckers looking for worms or other little insects.
I was so entertained and thrilled to see these birds that i didn’t notice the call of my driver for quite a while.I jumped into the car and we entered the park.The landscape of the park was amazing, with many baobab trees and some Acacia trees and bushes scattered along the savannah.
We stopped in front of a tree where our guide showed us a beautiful exemplar of Yellow-necked Spurfowl descending on a branch.Notice its characteristic yellow patch on its throat.
After a while, we stopped again to observe a Lilac breasted Roller perched on another tree.This bird was very close to the car, and this allowed me to take a pretty decent shot of this colourful bird.
Along the way we found a solitary Southern Ground Hornbill walking among the grass.
Red-billed Hornbill was seen foraging on the ground several times of the day.Notice its white spots on the sides of the wings.
Van Der Decken Hornbill was another nice addition to my bird checklist.Notice its thick beak with a yellow tip when compared with Red-billed Hornbill.
We spotted an Ashy Starling perched on an Acacia tree late in the morning.
A juvenile Black Stork was seen on top of a tree in broad daylight.
African Elephants were very abundant, although other mammals were scarce due to most of them already migrated to northern areas.Nevertheless we could see a few individuals of Massai Giraffes, see on the top of the post, impalas, and Defassa waterbucks.
Warthog, the famous “Pumba” in the movie “The Lion King”, was usually spotted in groups of one mother with her calves.
Late morning we stopped near the river where i could take a short stroll and observe wild elephants crossing the river.We took our lunch and stayed there for about 30 minutes.
The heat started to beat down at noon and some animals gathered in shadow areas.See the herd of wild elephants below this beautiful exemplar of baobab tree.
On the way back I got excellent views of a Red-necked Spurfowl crossing the path.This bird was quite tame, spending even a few minutes walking in front of us.
When coming back we spotted a single Tawny Eagle looking for prey while soaring the skies.
Black-faced Sandgrouse was seen on a side of the road early afternoon.
Northern White-Crowned Shrike was another interesting bird seen perched on dry branches of bushes and in the shadow of an Acacia tree early afternoon.
We crossed the gate about 2 o’clock and we almost bumped into a chameleon that was crossing the road.Our driver suddenly stopped and our group rapidly descended from the car to check if the animal was injured.Fortunately he was perfectly fine.
While we were approaching to him, the animal moved fastly and climbed into the branches of a bush.Then he jumped into a tree and suddenly its dark green pattern changed into a more conspicuous one, splashed with vivid yellow dots.
I had a great time in this national park spotting some remarkable wildlife and enjoying of its beautiful scenery !!!
Next stop Serengeti National Park, with many pictures of mammals and some of the most iconic Tanzanian birds !!
See you soon my friends !!!!