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Christmas Presents

Beat about the bush

Laura Griffith-Jones sets out on a thrilling walking safari in the beautiful, underrated Tarangire National Park, coming face to face with elephant on foot and fly-camping under the stars
Tarangire is famous for its vast herds of elephant, which roam the park’s unspoilt floodplains and bushveld.
Specialist walking guide Chris Belo leads the way, stopping to examine a skull.
LAURA GRIFFITH-JONES

The smell of hot dust is heavy on the air — that rich, earthy aroma you only encounter in the African bush in the dry season. It is mid-October in the heart of Tarangire National Park and we are beginning to wilt.

This hidden jewel on Tanzania’s northern circuit is often overlooked in favour of the better-known Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara and the Serengeti. But the country’s sixth largest national park is a glorious place for the discerning traveller. Baobabs pepper the savannah, like Ents in Middle-earth, and the Tarangire River meanders through. Its diverse habitats range from grasslands to bushveld and swamps, all home to varied wildlife. Elephant herds speck the floodplains. Lion, Burchell’s zebra, Masai giraffe, eland and buffalo roam its 2850sq-km expanse.

The rare fringe-eared oryx and long-necked gerenuk are occasionally spotted.

More than 500 species of bird reside here, with noteworthy species including the northern pied babbler, vulturine guinea fowl, ashy starling and rufous-tailed weaver. But more significantly, this is one of the country’s best places for a walking and fly-camping safari.

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About Travel Africa

Life as a chimp - everything you need to know about this great ape • Kafue National Park's natural attraction • Driving around Zimbabwe • The Waterberg and Madikwe, South Africa • Tarangire on foot • Stunning leopard portfolio • Learning to guide in the Mara • Taking tea in Malawi • The Himba today... and much more!
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