Jewels of Tarangire
Last year I travelled to Tarangire National Park in northern Tanzania – slightly off the main safari route – but I was so impressed! This lesser visited wildlife hotspot is a fantastic place to whet the appetite before visiting the Serengeti or the Ngorongoro Crater. Lying between the start of the safari route at Kilimanjaro and the famous Ngorongoro Crater – it makes sense to include it!
As you enter Tarangire National Park, you will be in awe of the scenery. Epic baobabs stand tall against grassy savannah plains and vast swamps. Naturally, elephants are drawn to the swamps to drink (and they come in droves as Tarangire boasts herds of up to 300!), Silale swamp lions relax at the water’s edge and the swamps are an absolute haven for birdlife. With over 550 bird species, Tarangire National Park needs to be on every birdwatcher’s “bucket list”. In this park, nature’s rhythms unfold. In the dry season from July to October the wildlife congregate around the Tarangire River. The short rainy season sees a complete transformation as the wildlife disperse across the Masai Steppe.
Game drives here are truly thrilling. I saw tree climbing python, abundant bird life, lion, elephant and many antelope species unique to East Africa including the lesser kudu, fringe eared oryx and Grants gazelle. Cheetah, hippo, giraffe, hyena, buffalo and many more are also found here.
At the end of your safari, I highly recommend a stay at Nimali Lodge, set in a private concession on the boundary of the National Park. This stunning lodge is the perfect place to relax with a sundowner. I loved the style – picture a luxury tented camp perched on the crest of a small kopje (rocky hill) set against a backdrop of desert hues. Relax on the over-sized couches of the main guest area or head for the large dining table where they serve the most divine food to appreciative guests! As the sun sets you retire to one of six luxury tents complete with a large deck overlooking the river below (or riverbed depending on season). The next morning, you’ll have breakfast by the pool and you may find you are joined by elephants wandering up to the waterhole for their morning drink just metres away!