Elephants roaming hillside, Tarangire, Tanzania

Tarangire and Manyara National Parks

With huge baobabs scattered across its skyline, Tarangire National Park presents an almost surreal picture with many of the trees being rubbed raw by the huge herds of elephant which pass through in search of food.

Apart from the Tarangire River itself, which runs into huge swamps in the south and which concentrates most of the game, the park is exceptionally dry. In direct contrast, the neighbouring Lake Manyara National Park is lush and green with swaying vines and twisted fig trees.

Wildebeests in front of guests, Chem Chem, Tarangire National Park
Chem Chem, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania
Baobab, Tarangire, Tanzania
Tarangire National Park, Tanzania
View from Lodge, Swala, Tarangire, Tanzania
Sanctuary Swala, Sandton, South Africa, Tanzania
Relaxing on the verandah overlooking the floodplains, Oliver’s Camp, Tarangire, Tanzania
Oliver's Camp, Arusha, Tanzania, Tanzania
Giraffe behind swimming pool, Chem Chem, Tarangire National Park
Chem Chem, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania


Herds of up to 300 elephants scratch the dry Tarangire river bed for underground streams, while migratory wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, impala, gazelle, hartebeest and eland crowd the shrinking lagoons.

It’s the greatest concentration of wildlife outside the Serengeti ecosystem and the one place in Tanzania where dry-country antelope, such as the stately fringe-eared oryx and peculiar long-necked gerenuk, are regularly observed.

Woodland kingfisher, Lake Manyara, Tanzania
Woodland kingfisher, Lake Manyara, Tanzania
African lioness sleeping on a tree
Manyara National Park, Tanzania

Lake Manyara National Park

The compact game-viewing circuit through Manyara offers a virtual microcosm of the Tanzanian safari experience. This deep forest is home to thousands of monkeys, birds and the rare, tree-climbing lion. Manyara provides the perfect introduction to Tanzania’s birdlife.

More than 400 species have been recorded, and even a first-time visitor to Africa might reasonably expect to observe 100 of these in one day. The wall of the Rift Valley, which flanks one side of the park, provides a wonderful setting for several lodges.


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Elephant herd, Tarangire, Tanzania

Elephant Herds

Encounter Tarangire’s vast herds of elephants, with hundreds of them flooding the landscape en route to the lush marshes.

Suggested Holiday Idea

African lioness sleeping on a tree

Tree-climbing Lions

Spot lions relaxing on broad tree branches in Lake Manyara National Park. This is one of the few places where they exhibit this unusual tree-climbing behaviour.

Sundowners with lake behind, Chem Chem, Tarangire National Park

Slow Safari

Stay at the home of the “slow safari”, Chem Chem Lodge. This beautiful lodge sits in a private concession adjoining Tarangire National Park and has perfected a wonderful mix of relaxation and wildlife.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Woodland kingfisher, Lake Manyara, Tanzania

Lake Manyara Birdlife

Lake Manyara is home to a spectacular array of birdlife and offers one of the best locations in Tanzania for birding. With more than 400 species found here, you can often spot as many as 100 in a day.

Where to stay

Some of the wonderful places to stay that we frequently recommended.

Oliver’s Camp £££££

  • Tanzania

Oliver’s Camp and Little Oliver’s Camp are both situated in the exclusive southern part of Tarangire National Park. Placed only a few minutes’ drive from one another, they blend perfectly into the natural flora of Tarangire. Providing an immersive bush experience and often visited by passing wildlife, the tents of Oliver’s and Little Oliver’s are well spaced – ensuring intimacy, exclusivity and tranquillity.

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Little Chem Chem £££££

  • Tanzania

Located in a private concession that adjoins Tarangire National Park, Little Chem Chem sits on the edge of an acacia forest, with the hills of Tarangire behind. The camp looks out over savannah grasslands towards the distant waters of Lake Burunge. Behind the lake, the Rift Valley rises up, with the Babati Mountains forming an impressive backdrop. Five elegantly decorated safari tents are spread along the fringes of the acacia woodland, facing the flamingo-dotted lake. A private fire pit sits in front of each tent. Inside, a spacious dressing room and en-suite bathroom adjoin a large bedroom.

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Kuro Tarangire £££££

  • Tanzania

Kuro Tarangire moves between a number of selected campsites towards the more remote southern section of the park, from which both the game-rich Tarangire river and the wilderness walking areas of the park are equally accessible. There are four uniquely designed Bedouin-style safari tents: inner bed tent area with large comfortable beds, optional roll-down canvas sides and shade netting. The outer living area is also netted with optional roll downside, kelim rugs, screened dressing area and en-suite bathroom, traditional bucket showers and hot and cold water available on demand. Hammocks and safari-style tin baths outside the tent help you to keep cool during the heat of the day.

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Sanctuary Swala £££££

  • Tanzania

Nestled in a remote pocket of Tarangire National Park, Swala is sited in a copse of majestic acacia trees at the edge of the Gurusi wetlands and the unfurling savannah beyond. Swala’s nine private, permanent tents feature en-suite bathrooms with showers, complemented by fittings and fixtures crafted from local materials to mirror the understated elegance of the time-honoured safari style.

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Chem Chem £££££

  • Tanzania

Situated on a private concession overlooking Lake Manyara, Chem Chem is a lodge where you are encouraged to relax and breathe. The cool interiors offer many spaces to escape to for the signature “Slow Safari”. Time to contemplate, walk and dream whilst every need is taken care of by attentive staff. The rooms are large and well-spaced for ultimate privacy and each overlooks the soda lakes, the flamingo and the escarpment beyond. Don’t be surprised if you wake to the sight of a journey of giraffe or perhaps you would prefer to glide on the wind in a hot air balloon? Tarangire is a short drive away for the big game, this is a great place to unwind before or after a safari.

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Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Illona Cross

Born in a small South African town, I have always followed my passion for nature and discovery. After studying Nature Conservation in Pretoria, I was one of the first women to complete a very tough cadetship in the Natal Parks Board. It was here where I cut my teeth in African wildlife management.

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  • 01285 880 980

Chris Johnston

Chris is the Conde Nast Traveller chosen Specialist for Africa.

25 years ago, my first trip to Africa took on a life of its own. I planned for three months, I stayed for two years. Whilst there, I was mistaken for a priest, attacked by sharks and arrested. Yet the countless, clattering journeys opened my eyes to the beauty of the landscapes and the grace of the people. My recent trips are undoubtedly more comfortable, but the welcome is as warm as ever and the best experiences are still those I never see coming.

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  • 01285 880 980

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