The Tarangire Airstrip is located at the northern end of the Tarangire National Park, near the park headquarters and within walking distance of the main entrance gate. It is the most used airstrip inside the park and serves small regional aircraft. The airstrip is about the same size as Kuro airstrip and can accommodate both take-offs and landings.
It serves as a gateway to the park, providing easy access for tourists and researchers alike. The airstrip is owned and operated by the Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA) and is open to all types of aircraft, from small planes to larger turboprops.
If you’re planning to go on a safari adventure in Tanzania, the Tarangire National Park is a destination that should be on your radar. And if you’re looking for a convenient and hassle-free way to get there, the Tarangire Airstrip is your best bet. In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about this small but mighty airstrip and how it can help you make the most out of your safari experience in the Tarangire National Park.
Here are some key facts about Tarangire Airstrip:
- Size: Tarangire Airstrip is a small airstrip, with a runway length of 800 meters and a width of 23 meters.
- Airlines: Several regional airlines operate flights to and from Tarangire Airstrip, including Coastal Aviation, Auric Air, and Regional Air.
- Location: The airstrip is located within Tarangire National Park, near the Tarangire River. It is approximately 2.5 hours’ drive from Arusha, the nearest major city.
- Facilities: There is a small airport building at Tarangire Airstrip, which serves as the lobby and administration offices. The airstrip also has a refuelling station.
- Best time to visit: The best time to visit Tarangire National Park is during the dry season, from June to October, when wildlife viewing is at its best.
- Accommodation: There are several lodges, tented camps, and campsites located within Tarangire National Park, offering a range of accommodation options for visitors.
- Activities: Tarangire National Park is known for its wildlife, including large herds of elephants, as well as giraffes, lions, zebras, and more. Visitors can enjoy game drives, walking safaris, and bird watching in the park.
Whether you are flying in or out of Tarangire Airstrip, or simply visiting the park, there are plenty of opportunities to experience the natural beauty and wildlife of Tarangire National Park.
How to Get to the Tarangire Airstrip?
You can get to the Tarangire Airstrip by air or by road. If you’re driving, you have the option of a self-drive safari using a private or rental vehicle, or buying a safari package from a tour operator. If you’re flying, most flights to this airstrip are regional ones from airports or airstrips nearby. You may have to book your flights elsewhere, but you may get a last-minute one if you’re lucky.
The Tarangire Airstrip can be reached by air from several cities in Tanzania, including Arusha, Dar es Salaam, and Zanzibar. Many airlines, such as Auric Air, Coastal Aviation, and Safari Air Link, operate regular flights to and from the airstrip. Alternatively, visitors can book a private charter flight to the airstrip or drive from Arusha, which takes approximately two and a half hours.
Best Time to Visit Tarangire National Park
While you can visit the Tarangire National Park any time of the year, the park is best experienced during the dry seasons of July to February each year. During this time, the park’s vegetation thins out, making it easier to spot wildlife as they congregate around the Tarangire River, which is the park’s only permanent water source.
What are the Facilities at the Tarangire Airstrip?
Despite its small size, the Tarangire Airstrip offers a range of facilities to ensure the comfort and convenience of passengers. The airport features a tarmac runway that is well-maintained and can accommodate small to medium-sized aircraft. There is a small terminal building that includes a waiting lounge, a restaurant, and restrooms. Visitors can also find a souvenir shop and a tourist information desk that provides information on the park and its wildlife.
Tarangire Airstrip Schedule
The Tarangire Airstrip operates daily from sunrise to sunset, subject to weather conditions. The airport is busiest during the high season, from June to October, when the park is at its prime for wildlife viewing. During this period, flights may be fully booked, and it’s recommended to book in advance.
Tarangire Airstrip Fees
Visitors flying into the Tarangire Airstrip are required to pay a landing fee, which varies depending on the type and size of the aircraft. The fees are payable to TANAPA upon arrival, and visitors are advised to carry cash in USD or Tanzanian Shillings. Private charter flights may also incur additional fees, such as parking and handling charges.
What are the Benefits of Using the Tarangire Airstrip?
Using the Tarangire Airstrip offers several advantages for visitors to the park, including:
- Time-saving: Flying into the park reduces travel time and allows visitors to spend more time exploring the wilderness.
- Convenience: The airstrip is located within the park boundaries, making it a convenient point of entry.
- Scenic views: The flight to the airstrip offers stunning views of the park and its wildlife from the air.
- Flexibility: Visitors can choose from a range of flights and airlines to suit their travel plans and budget.
Things to Do at the Tarangire National Park
As a visitor, your main goal is to use the Tarangire Airstrip as your gateway to the Tarangire National Park. Most flights to this airstrip are regional ones, requiring those from international locations to get a connecting flight at larger airports nearby such as those in Kilimanjaro, Songwe, and Dar es Salaam. Once you’re at the airstrip, you can catch a flight into or out of the park. While you may have to book your flights elsewhere, you may get a last-minute one if you’re lucky.
Another way to make the most out of your visit is to take advantage of the various safari activities offered in the area. Game drives in the park are a must, and you can opt for both day and night drives. Camping, bird watching, balloon safaris, picnics, and other outdoor activities are also available for visitors.
The Tarangire National Park is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts, offering a wide range of activities and experiences to enjoy. Here are some of the top things to do in the park:
- Wildlife safaris: The park is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including elephants, lions, zebras, giraffes, and more. Visitors can embark on game drives or guided walking safaris to explore the park and spot these animals in their natural habitat.
- Birdwatching: With over 550 species of birds, the Tarangire National Park is a paradise for birdwatchers. Some of the popular species include the kori bustard, yellow-collared lovebird, and the rufous-tailed weaver.
- Nature walks: Guided nature walks offer an opportunity to explore the park on foot and discover its flora and fauna up close.
- Cultural tours: Visitors can also experience the rich culture and traditions of the local Maasai people through cultural tours and visits to their villages.
- Hot air balloon safaris: For a unique and unforgettable experience, visitors can take a hot air balloon ride over the park and enjoy panoramic views of the wildlife and landscape below.
Accommodation near Tarangire Airstrip
There are several accommodation options available for those visiting Tarangire national park and using the Tarangire airstrip. Some of these include:
- Tarangire Treetops – This luxury lodge is located on the private conservancy just outside the park, but close to the airstrip. It offers stunning views of the park, and is known for its elevated rooms built on stilts.
- Tarangire Sopa Lodge – Located inside the park, this lodge offers comfortable accommodation and stunning views of the surrounding wilderness. It has a swimming pool, restaurant and bar, and is ideal for families.
- Swala Camp – This luxury camp is located in a secluded area of the park and offers a more exclusive experience. It has just 12 tents, each with its own private deck overlooking a nearby waterhole.
- Tarangire Safari Lodge – This lodge is located just outside the park, but close to the airstrip. It offers comfortable accommodation in traditional round huts, and has a swimming pool and restaurant.
- Oliver’s Camp – Another luxury camp, Oliver’s is located in a remote part of the park and offers an authentic safari experience. It has just 10 tents, each with en-suite bathrooms and private verandas.
All of these lodges and camps offer guided game drives, and some also offer walking safaris, night drives and cultural visits to nearby Maasai villages. It is recommended to book accommodation in advance, especially during peak season.
FAQs about Tarangire Airstrip
Q: How long does it take to drive from the airstrip to the park entrance? A: It takes about 10-15 minutes to drive from the Tarangire airstrip to the park entrance.
Q: Can I fly directly to Tarangire from outside Tanzania? A: No, Tarangire airstrip only serves regional flights from within Tanzania. International visitors will need to fly into one of the larger airports nearby and get a connecting flight.
Q: Is it safe to stay in lodges or camps inside the park? A: Yes, all lodges and camps inside Tarangire national park are safe and secure. However, it is still recommended to follow the safety guidelines provided by your accommodation.
Q: Are there any shops or restaurants near the airstrip? A: No, there are no shops or restaurants near the Tarangire airstrip. However, there are several options for food and supplies at the park entrance and in nearby towns.
Q: What is the weather like in Tarangire national park? A: The park has a dry and hot climate, with temperatures ranging from 20-35°C (68-95°F) during the day. The rainy season is from March to May and November to December.
Q: What animals can I see in Tarangire national park? A: Tarangire is known for its large herds of elephants, as well as lions, leopards, cheetahs, giraffes, zebras, wildebeests and many more. It is also a great place for bird watching, with over 550 species recorded in the park.
Tarangire airstrip is a convenient way to access Tarangire national park, with several accommodation options available nearby. The park is known for its diverse wildlife and stunning landscapes, and is a must-visit destination for any safari enthusiast. Whether you are looking for a luxury lodge or a more rustic camping experience, Tarangire has something to offer for everyone.