Exploring Tanzania’s Tarangire National Park

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Tarangire vs. Lake Manyara

To be honest, I had never heard of Tarangire National Park before I arrived in Tanzania. (Bad travel blogger!) The itinerary for our Tanzania safari with Shadows of Africa stated we’d be heading to Lake Manyara National Park, so that’s what I had researched prior. Okay so maybe I just Googled it quickly to see some pretty pictures of what I’d be getting myself into, but still, at least I made an effort, however small that effort may have been.

Tarangire National Park sign

The reason for the last-minute park swap? More animals. Turns out animals like to be on the move. And although Tarangire is a bit further afield than Lake Manyara, word among guides in the know is that today more animals have elected to set up stakes there. So Tarangire-bound we are. And on this particular day, it’s evident the switch is well worth it. There are critters and creatures everywhere. 

Small critters like this one. (Can you see the snakes’s head poking out?)

Green snake in Tarangire National Park Tanzania

And his little lizard-y pal.

Lizard, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

And bigger creatures like my favourite, the Zebras.

Zebra Crossing,  Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

Lone Zebra -- Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

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Zebra family -- Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

And flocks (or gaggles, or murders, or whatever you would call these…) of the Red-and-yellow Barbet.

Red-and-yellow Barbet -- Tarangire National Park Tanzania

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I’m not a huge bird enthusiast or anything, but I gotta give this little fella props for the blue feathers and for his name — Superb Starling.

Superb Starling -- Tarangire National Park Tanzania

Rounding out the bird-spotting in Tarangire are the Yellow-necked Spurfowl,

Yellow-necked Spurfowl -- Tarangire National Park Tanzania

the Red-billed Hornbill,

Red-billed Hornbill -- Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

the White-headed Buffalo Weaver

White-headed Buffalo Weaver -- Tarangire National Park, Tanzania.

and this guy — the Marabou Stork — who wins hands-down (or is that beaks-down?) for most original pose.

Marabou stork --- Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

There are plenty more birds of course, but I’m too slow on the draw to capture photos of many of them — you know, them being birds and all, they do have an maddening propensity to fly.

There are scores of baboons too, both big and small.

Adult baboon -- Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

baby baboon climbing a fence -- Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

And Mongoose.

Mongoose digging a hole -- Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

Mongoose -- Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

And now all of a sudden I’m bothered that the plural is mongooses and not mongeese.

Mongooses -- Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

There are plenty of Grant’s Gazelle.

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And more Elephants than I know what to do with.

Herd of elephants, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

Elephant close-up -- Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

Herd of elephants -- Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

Including this chap. Originally I had thought we came upon a rather lame attempt at pachyderm hide-and-go-seek.

Elephant in a tree -- Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

Turns out he was just eating the tree out. 

Elephant eating tree -- Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

So what’s the point of all this? I suppose it’s that sometimes plans change for the better, and a knowledgeable guide is definitely better than sticking to an itinerary.

I later find out that Shadows of Africa does the visit to Lake Manyara from December to March, and Tarangire from October to June, so months where there is an overlap, the park you visit depends on where the animals are. Makes sense to me.

Have you been on safari? What was your experience like?

 Note: I was a guest of Shadows of Africa during my time in Tanzania, but all opinions are my own.

I am a travel blogger and freelance travel writer. I left behind my cubicle-shaped cell to see the world. Now I inspire others to shake the shackles and escape through travel. This is my blog.

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