Apart from the numerous elephants and several exciting viewings of lions, the other animals we saw here were:
Many of these we had seen already in the Ngorongoro Crater, but the impala, oryx and mongooses were new additions to our list. I particularly liked the latter as I had grown up with the story of Riki-Tiki-Tavi – OK he was an Indian Mongoose and these were African Banded Mongooses, but it was still cool to see them in the wild!
Although the elephants were the “stars of the show” for me at Tarangire, there were plenty of other animals to see. My other favourites, as a big cat lover, were the lions. We had several encounters with these. Firstly, on a pre-breakfast game drive, we found a single lioness on her own, stalking zebra. I couldn’t decide if I wanted her to catch one or not – it would have been exciting to watch but maybe a bit gruesome too. In any case, on this occasion they got away.
Later on the same drive, we came across another lioness “baby-sitting” a group of three cubs. As you can see from the photos, these had mottled coats which help camouflage them when they hide under bushes as these were doing The rest of the pride must have been hunting in the area, but Reginald was unable to track them down. We did however see a large pride of lions on the afternoon of the same day, but a long way off – clear enough through our binoculars but too far to capture on camera.
We had already seen a lot of animals when we arrived here, and Ngorongoro was always going to be hard to beat, but in one respect Tarangire was a clear winner – elephants! The park has one of the highest population densities of elephants anywhere in Tanzania, and they really are everywhere. A particular focal point though is the Tarangire River that flows through the centre, and when we visited towards the end of the dry season (in October) its refreshing waters were attracting large herds to its banks, especially in the evenings. Herds can be as large as 300 elephants, though the largest we saw was about 40. I was also thrilled to see several youngsters in each herd, and enjoyed watching the ever-patient elders look after the young ones in their care.
African elephants are the largest land animals on Earth, larger than their Asian cousins and with larger ears that look a little like the continent of Africa itself – a good way to remember which is which if ever you’re unsure. Another difference is that African elephants have two finger-like features on the end of their trunk that they can use to grab small items, whereas Asian elephants have just the one. By the way, an elephant’s trunk contains almost 100,000 different muscles, and they can make really subtle movements with them, another source of fascination when watching them.
I couldn’t quite believe how many photos I took of these magnificent animals when I got home and processed the film, but I’m really happy to have captured my memories of them all.
I you go slightly out of season you get the whole park almost to yourself.
It is so lovely to be able to take as much time as you want to sit and look at the wildlife and scenery without queues of jeeps hurrying around.
Tarangire is a really lovely park, and the animals love it because of the river running through it.
The public campsite we stayed in had newly installed toilets which when we went in June 2005 were spotless. This is unusual because most of the facilities at the other camps are pretty grim!
There is a view point on a hill. There is also a parking space and some kind of toilet here, so this is one of the very seldom places where you can leave the car.
From the hill you have a great view on the river below. You can watch the animals from up here (bring some binoculars).
In the picture you can see (if you have good eyes - my camera zoom is not that good) two lions. One in the river, really exhausted, the other still hauling their prey - the zebra - over to the river.
I wished for a better camera. there, The picture would have been spectacular....
In dry season a baobab becomes a tank with more than 1000 liters of water in it.
Elephants know how to get water out of baobab, but this usually ends with such a strange picture...
Maybe the best time to see the park.
The light is ideal for taking pictures and since its not so hot anymore the animals are up.