Tarangire - The Park Of Chocolate Elephants

Trip Start Mar 08, 2013
Trip End Mar 22, 2013

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Flag of Tanzania  ,
Tuesday, March 12, 2013

    The first real stop of this trip (for pleasure rather than for necessity) was Tarangire National Park...our travel companions Brian and Vicki - who flew different airline and arrived as scheduled - were already there, so we were looking forward to this little reunion...


    Tarangire is a few hours drive from Arusha airport - not even because of the distance but because of less than ideal roads...I, however, enjoy all kinds of roads - the bumpier, the merrier!...so it was not a bad ride at all...especially since everything seemed so new and different...Masai men in their bright red and blue clothes minding herds of various domestic animals - cows, sheep, donkeys, goats, all mixed together (never saw any pigs or chicken though and later learned that Masai people don't usually keep them)...farmers working their land the old-fashioned way - with plows pulled by oxen and mules...women gracefully carrying large loads on their heads...modest villages and colorful markets...such a treat for my insatiable curiosity!...


    Withing 5 minutes of entering Tarangire we saw a pride of lions stalking some warthogs...my immediate thought was "oh, let's follow them now!", but then I realized that Tarangire is a national park, and in national parks off-road driving is not allowed...when we were in Botswana 2 years ago, we stayed in private concessions where we would often follow a predator wherever he was going, roads or no roads...but in national parks you have to stay on the road...so we couldn't follow these lions too far: as soon as they crossed the road, they disappeared in the tall grass...and that was the end of it...


    Tarangire is a very pretty park with a terrain of gently rolling hills...and, since it was the beginning of the rainy season, everything in the park - grass, bushes, baobab trees - was lusciously green...in a stunning contrast to all the green color - the color of the soil there is reddish...maybe it's some type of clay or some unusual composition of soil, but the dirt roads we were driving on were almost brick-like in color...elephants spray themselves with dirt all the time, and with this reddish dirt almost all elephants in Tarangire looked not grey but chocolate...I was absolutely delighted when I saw these chocolate elephants...and in my memory Tarangire will forever remain as "the park of chocolate elephants"...


    Speaking of elephants - Tarangire is famous for its huge number of them...during the dry season, according to our guide, there could be several thousands of elephants congregating near Tarangire river (which is the only water source during the dry season) ...and even though we saw lots of elephants in the park, I can only imagine what it would look like - to see thousands of them together...so - definitely Tarangire is better during the dry season - in August, September maybe, but I wouldn't want to miss it regardless of the time of year....


We stayed at the Oliver's Camp, far in the depth of the park...it was a charming camp, but if I had to do it again - I probably wouldn't stay there in March (the beginning of the rainy season)...the roads near the camp were muddy and the ride was bumpy to the point of uncomfortable (and I am the one who normally likes bumpy rides!)...during the dry season though I wouldn't hesitate to stay there... actually, it would probably be ideal because there is water near the camp where lots and lots of animals congregate during the dry times...

All this being said - we enjoyed Oliver's...the hosts - managers of the camp Jackie and Justin - were nice, young and fun...the communal dinner - where all the guests dined at the same table -was quite enjoyable, too...Oliver's is an Asilia camp, and even though not as luxurious as And Beyond camps - it was quite pleasant...

From Tarangire we went to the Ngorongoro Crater with a game drive in Lake Manyara Park (en route to Ngorongoro)...Lake Manyara is a very special park to me, and we would actually spend a night there at the end of our trip, so I will devote a separate entry to it...meanwhile, let's move to Ngorongoro! :)

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David on

You guys are so adventurous! Looks awesome, next stop: gorillas (but hopefully not any guerillas)

irenan on

That's why we are thinking of going to Rwanda and not to Congo :)

Geoffrey on


irenan on

and more "awesomeness" to come! :)

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