Tarangire, one of Tanzania’s most underrated ecosystems offers a wildlife experience different and complementary to the wildlife experiences in the more famous Serengeti ecosystem. Baobab-dotted landscapes, iconic umbrella thorn floodplains and sausage tree-lined water courses provide a home to an incredible diversity of wildlife including less common fringe-eared oryx, and gerenuk not to mention some of the best elephant viewing on the continent.
As the dry season begins to peak, thousands of zebras and wildebeest as well as all the other water-dependent wildlife, find water in the permanent stream known as the Tarangire River and Silale swamp providing plenty of prey for the park’s predator population. Extending beyond the park’s north eastern boundary lies Randilen Wildlife Management Area, an area jointly managed by the government and local communities.
At Olkeri Camp, strategically located deep in Randilen on the National Park border, we offer activities such as walking safaris, night drives, bush dinners and organic cultural visits led by Maasai employed in camp.
Getting to Olkeri is an easy 2 hours from Arusha, via the Arusha-Babati road, or through Tarangire National Park’s Boundary hill gate allowing for an easy pick-up at Kuro airstrip.
If you fly into Kuro, we’ll pick you up at the airstrip. It is usually a 25-minute early flight from Arusha, allowing you to get into the heart of the park and on a game drive before you’re ready for your mid-morning coffee. Our guide will bring a picnic lunch (and of course a coffee kit) allowing you to enjoy a game drive in the park, bumbling along slowly and allowing things to unfold. After finding a shady tree for your picnic, drive the length of Silale swamp having had your fill of wildlife for the day and over the ridge to Olkeri in time to settle into camp with a hot shower and convene around the fire for a fireside drink.
Rise the following day and have breakfast, leave camp by vehicle and head out of the east side of Randilen into Maasai land with one of our Maasai staff, to one of the Maasai bomas for a window into their livelihood. This is not your side of the road, commercial boma visit, but a genuine visit to someone’s family home. Your Maasai guide will lead you through the boma, take you for a short walk to where they water their livestock and get some insight into
Returning to camp for lunch, take some downtime and enjoy the view from your tent. As the day’s heat begins to wane, it is time to head out to Olkeri’s fly camp. Without National Park restrictions, the guide can decide whether to drive to a point to start walking or walk out of camp following elephant paths, exploring tree-lined sand rivers and anticipating elephants heading for water. You can walk for an hour or 3, depending on what your interest is (and the heat). As the sun begins to sit low on the horizon sending beautiful shafts of orange sunlight through the Acacia’s, you’ll bumble into our fly camp. A cold drink and campfire always await you and as the evening sounds reach their crescendo making way for more distinct nighttime sounds, dinner will be brought around the fire.
The word fly camping derives from the simplest of camping experiences, where you merely sleep under a fly sheet, but we’ve designed our own tents and done away with the fly sheet, opting for the same mesh materials of a tent window. Retreating to your tent after the action-filled day, you’ll rest your head on a plush pillow, and wrap yourself in the duvet, watching the Milky Way make it’s way across the sky, as the distant roar of lions, the screech of the tree hyrax, and gentle purr of the African scops owl fill the night.
Rise early this morning, have coffee and a light breakfast around the fire before heading out on a short walk, reading the tracks and signs of wildlife that have come and gone through the night.
Bundling into the vehicle for the quick drive into the park, carrying a picnic lunch (just to give you that added flexibility), make your way down less traveled roads as you make your way around Silale Swamp. The guides always make decisions based on what has been happening recently but expect a wildlife-filled morning, but today’s goal is not to be out the whole day.
Returning to camp in the early afternoon, and taking some downtime before venturing out again in the late afternoon either for another walk or an afternoon game drive. Meet up at a predetermined special location for a set-up sundowner and bush dinner. Sitting around the fire telling stories, wait for the darkness to envelop the landscape and the Milky Way to become bold before heading off on a night drive, searching for nocturnal genets, civets, porcupines and white-tailed mongooses and always hoping to catch the local lion pride or leopard as they become active.
Finally, you fall into bed under down duvets and drift off to sleep to the sounds of the bush. But for the animal population, it’s just another wild night following a wild day – and we’ll give you a VIP pass to it all.