Tarangire National Park covers approximately 2600 square kilometers and, in the dry season, is second only to Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area in concentrations of wildlife. Tarangire lies to the south of the large, open grass plains of southern Maasailand, and derives its name from the Tarangire River, which provides permanent water for wildlife in the area.
The northern entrance to Tarangire National Park is about 60 miles to the south west of Arusha below the Rift Valley escarpment (a half hour flight or drive of two to three hours). The northern section of the Tarangire park lies close to the southeastern tip of Lake Manyara National Park and from here it stretches southwards some 60 miles into the maasai steppe.
In fact, the game numbers overall are staggering: 30,000 zebra, 25,000 wildebeest, 5,000 buffalo, 3,000 elephant, 2,500 Maasai giraffe and over 1,000 fringe-eared oryx (gemsbok). Predators include lion (prone to tree-climbing just like their Lake Manyara cousins), cheetah and leopard.
The park is also known for its great avian diversity, in which it is surpassed only by Lake Manyara. Birders will want to look out for the endemic ashy starling, rufous-tailed weaver and black-collared lovebird.
As a safari holiday destination Tarangire is a lot less busy than other parks in the north of Tanzania. Going on a safari here offers you a chance to savour a real slice of Africa's wilderness. Be warned though, the going can be rough and many of the tracks are impassable in the rainy season.