Tarangire National Park
Day after day of cloudless skies. The fierce sun sucks the moisture from the landscape, baking the earth a dusty red, the withered grass as brittle as straw. The Tarangire River has shriveled to a shadow of its wet season self. But It is choked with wildlife. Thirsty nomads have wandered hundreds of parched kilometres knowing that here, always, there is water.
Size: 2,600 sq km.
Location: 118 km southwest of Arusha. Getting there: Easy drive from Arusha or Lake Manyara following a surfaced road to within 7 km of the main entrance gate; can continue on the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti. Charter flights from Arusha and the Serengeti.
What to do: Guided walking safaris. Day trips to Maasai and Barabaig villages, as well as to the hundreds of ancient rock paintings in the vicinity of Kolo on the Dodoma Road.
When to go: Year round but dry season (June-September) for sheer number of animals.
Accommodation: one lodge, one tented lodge, one luxury tented camp inside the park, another half-dozen exclusive lodges and tented camps immediately outside its borders. Camp sites in and around the park.