Is Tarangire National Park The Best Place to See African Elephants?

Is Tarangire National Park The Best Place to See African Elephants?

Our #safari trip to #Tanzania center on one thing, elephants. This area is known to be the best place to spot African Elephants #active in the wild, the park has up to 3,000 elephants. Moms, dads, babies, they're all here. Oh, and zebras, giraffes, and birds make the park their home as well.


Tarangire is often said to be the best National Park to see elephants in Tanzania. True enough, you can see herds of up to even 300 elephants roaming the vast plains. Tarangire National Park offers also the greatest concentration of wildlife outside the Serengeti ecosystem, so you will have opportunities to spot a huge arrrange of other animals as well. 

Mature and baby elephants
Mature and baby elephants

Besides the mobs of elephants, the migratory wildebeest, zebras, buffalos, impalas, gazelles, and hartebeest crowd this National Park. And these are just to mention a few species from this 2,850 square kilometers’ area of variable landscapes.

Getting There & When To Go?

The easiest way is to drive from Arusha, where most of the safaris start from, following a surfaced road to the main entrance gate. Tarangire National Park is also easily acessible from Lake Manyara. The most common option to continue from here is to the Ngorongoro and the Serengeti. There are also charter flights from Arusha and the Serengeti, if your wallet allows it.

The mobs of Tarangire’s magnificent elephants are easily spotted.
Amazing view of the wildlife
Amazing view of the wildlife

You can visit Tarangire year round, but dry season (between June-September) gives you the highest number of animals. No matter is it dry or wet season, the mobs of Tarangire’s magnificent elephants are easily spotted. We visited in March and enjoyed the advantage of seeing lots of baby animals.

The wildlife
The wildlife

Inside The Gates

Can you imagine a place where almost everywhere you lay your eyes on, you can see something new? An animal, a bird, a tree you’ve never seen before? There are numerous elephant families walking on the savanna with their slow, majestic way. Zebras and warthogs are eating grass side by side in the shadows of the old baobab trees. The pythons, lions and leopards of Tarangire climb trees, where they can be so well disguised that only a trained eye will spot them. There are more than 550 bird varieties on the swamps and the Tarangire River is choked with wildlife, no matter the season. It sounds like a paradise for wildlife spotters and that’s exactly what it is.

from  $1,690

Tarangire, Serengeti & Ngorongoro Tanzania Lodge Safari

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We were in Africa for the first time in our lives when we drove through the gates of Tarangire National Park with our 4WD safari jeep. When we saw our first herd of elephants, the feeling was surreal. 

Baby elephant
Baby elephant...how adorable is he?!

The scenery in front of our eyes was one formerly seen on nature documents only, and I had to pinch myself as to believe I was really there and not dreaming. I could smell all the strong and mild scents in the air and I was spellbound with Africa from that moment on.

Feeding in nature
Feeding in nature

Less Crowded Park With Packed Photo Opportunities

When driven forward into the park, we encountered many more elephants, both individuals and packs. As it was the season of baby animals in March, we came across many newborns. One herd of roughly ten elephants were literally just few meters away from our jeep, eating peacefully, with many infants among them. Seeing baby elephants in their natural habitat was one of the most adorable things I’ve ever seen and I filled a large portion of my memory card with dozens and dozens of frames of them.

This particular heard was also somewhat special to me. Maybe it was the privilege they let me have – to be so near. I observed them and they observed me, rising their trunks high in the air and sniffing us. I had mixed feelings of slight fear and huge respect especially when the big males were staring right at me, almost on a touching distance. Yet they were undisturbed by our presence and their surprising tranquility made me respect the elephants even more.

Elephants are amazing animals
Elephants are amazing animals

To fully enjoy the spectacular sceneries of wildlife and nature unfolding before you, you should have a jeep with a pop-up roof. It allows you the 360 degree’s view at all times and so you won’t miss anything. Though this should be automatically provided by your safari company, it’s worth to double check when booking the trip. If you want to know what else you should take into consideration, check our Comprehensive Guide to Choosing a Safari Operator in Tanzania.

Wandering into the park
Wandering into the park

There are up to 3,000 elephants in Tarangire National Park during the peak season, and even outside these months there are so many that you will be presented with more photo opportunities than you can take advantage of. 

It has a fraction of the visitors of the more famous parks.

Tarangire National Park is also delightfully less crowded than for example the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro, and is often overshadowed by them. It has a fraction of the visitors of the more famous parks of the Northern Circuit, but it has pretty superb game viewing just because of that.

Cute baby elephant
Cute baby elephant

The habitat is also completely different and less people will mean that you’ll get the quietest game viewing environment of all the parks in the Northern region. If this isn’t enough reason to go visit this surprisingly large National Park with excess beauty, nothing is. It simply offers an absolutely great value! Some say that it has less value outside the dry season months, but I disagree. You may see a bit fewer animals in general, but if you go for example in February/March you will be heartily granted with the great numbers of newborns.

Amazing creatures
Amazing creatures

A Birder’s Paradise

Even though I’m more interested in the mammals and great predators, it is worth a mention that Tarangire National Park is also a bird watcher’s paradise. Not only it has countless species to see, but the swamps are the focus of the largest selection of breeding birds in the world. So if you like to spot birds, bring your keen eye and binoculars here and you won’t be disappointed.

Zebra's in the wild
Zebra's in the wild
A cute giraffe!
A cute giraffe!

Where To Stay

There are many options both inside and outside the boundaries of the park and it’s pretty much a matter of what you prefer. Options include lodges and tented camps of variable categories, mainly from mid-range to luxury. When in Tarangire National Park, we stayed just outside the park boundaries.

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