Our Tanzania Safari Part 1 – Tarangire National Park

By: Heather

A bull elephant looking after his family in Tarangire National Park.

Exciting, Thrilling, Unforgettable are just a few epic words to describe our 4-day camping safari with Materuni Tours. Our trip took place in mid-September during the height of the dry season. We had just missed the great migration, but that made little difference on the number and types of animals we saw. Luck was on our side; we saw the Big-5 plus lots of others.

When we first decided to visit Tanzania we knew we wanted to hike part of Mt. Kilimanjaro and go on a camping safari. We wanted to book with a company who would be able to provide us with both experiences. A friend of ours had used Materuni Tours earlier in the year for both her Kili hike and Safari. She raved about the amazing service Materuni Tours provided. The company’s professionalism and quick and thorough replies surpassed our expectations.

We emailed Ambrose, Materuni Tours owner, an idea of what we were looking for and he perfectly matched us with their 4-day camping safari through Tarangire National Park, Serengeti National Park, and Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The trip included our tent, all our meals, round trip transportation and all the park entrance fees. We chose to rent our sleeping bags and pillows from Materuni for an additional $10 USD per day/each.

Our driver and guide, Mykoni, picked us up from our hotel in Moshi at 8:30 am. We packed up our gear and headed on our way. Our route was Tarangire National Park to Serengeti National Park (via Ngorongoro) and back to Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Transportation time (actual safari time not included) to/from Moshi and between the parks was roughly 18 hours over the four days. 6-7 of those hours were moving between Ngorongoro and Serengeti where we saw lots of animals (even camels) as we headed to/from the different campsites. Our total time on safari (only looking for animals) was 5-7 hours per day. We felt we had more than enough time every day to see animals.

Each park had its personality and animal specialty per se. Tarangire National Park known for its huge elephant population was our first stop, and it did not disappoint. By the time we headed to camp for the night we had seen 13 lions, some warthogs, a few dik-diks, and rock hyraxes. Birds of all varieties surrounded us at every turn, and we even stumbled on a huge porcupine that was not too happy to see us. A silent highlight of the park was the varying landscapes, ranging from swamps to grasslands that were sprinkled with termite mounds and immense baobab trees.

A lion and lioness

Some elephants getting a drink

Some zebras

A mother elephant and her calf

Two elephants playing around

A water buffalo and his bug cleaner

A glimpse of the herds in Tarangire National Park.

A glimpse of the herds in Tarangire National Park.

A colossal baobab tree.

A colosiul baobab tree.

A line of wildebeests

A fabulous bird we spotted

The camp set up was small and quiet (which we wish they had all been this small. The bathrooms had showers (warmish but not hot water) and both squat and sit toilets. The campsite was quite open, very few trees and as we learned throughout the night the elephants, zebras, gazelles, and lions (yes, lions) all liked to frequent at night. During the night, we heard the elephants and zebras grazing and moving about and at some point in the wee hours of the morning the guides heard lions very close. We didn’t see them, but several of the guides and cooks assured us they were there.

Our campsite in Tarangire National Park

After breakfast, we headed back out into Tarangire for a few hours where we saw more of the same animals along with foxes and mongoose. As we were out in the park Jimmy, our cook & camp specialist, prepared our camping & cooking supplies for packing to our next destination, Serengeti National Park.

Heather leading us on the safari

Logistics:

Tarangire National Park: is 2850 sq km (1,096 sq miles) and is located 118 km (75 miles) southwest of Arusha, Tanzania.

When to Go: Year-round but the dry season (June – September) for sheer numbers of animals is particularly good.

Why Go: Tarangire has the second-highest concentration of wildlife of any Tanzanian national park (after Serengeti) and reportedly the largest concentration of elephants in the world. Not to mention the more than 700 resident lions are sure to provide thrills for any visitor. While there simply marvel at the great stands of epic baobab trees.

Visit Tarangire National Parks official website here, and get accommodation information here.

Visit Materuni Tours here for more information about booking your safari.

Sunset at Tarangire National Park

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* Thank you to Materuni Tours for providing us with a discounted safari. As always, our opinions are ours – honest, not biased and as we experienced.

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