Lodges

Whistling Thorn Tented Camp

Get off the well-worn northern Tanzanian safari circuit at this rustic stop

Whistling Thorn Tented Camp

Whistling Thorn is a small, simple camp just north of Tanzania's Tarangire National Park. Although the camp lies outside the park, close to farms and rural settlements, the area is an important corridor for wildlife that moves between Tarangire and Lake Manyara, 10 kilometres to the west. The area is called the Kwakuchinja Wildlife Corridor for exactly that reason, so at different times of the year you can see large herds of elephant, zebra and wildebeest wander right past the camp. It's operated by the Masai Olasiti community under the Moivaro brand umbrella, linking nature conservation and culture, through tourism.

At the lodge

The hotel

The main area is set on a cleared patch of earth under a large Acacia drepanolobium – a whistling thorn tree. Designed for dedicated bush lovers, it's a simple structure – a large, open-sided canvas tent with a coffee station, dining table and small seating area – that is clean and meets one's basic needs quite adequately, but offers no fancy extras. In front of the tent, an open-air campfire has a few canvas camp chairs in attendance.

The rooms

Six rustic tents accommodate up to 12 guests, meaning the camp is never crowded. All have tall thatched roofs to keep them nicely shaded, and a veranda with a couple of chairs. Inside are a double or twin beds, a desk and clothes rack. A zipped flap leads to the en-suite bathroom, with its toilet, bucket basin and a bucket shower – you'll need to request hot water in advance. There's no electricity; gas lamps provide lighting.

On safari

Experiences

Take a guided bush walk to explore the area's rich plant and animal life – you may well get the chance to approach giraffe and zebra, among others. (Beware of high-kicking ostriches!) Day and night drives are also on offer, the former being conducted in Tarangire Park, home to many elephants and giant baobabs. Have your own wheels? Investigate both Tarangire and Lake Manyara on your own. Visit the local Masai community and buy some beautiful beaded and woven crafts.

When to go

Tarangire by month

January

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are high with plenty of sun, rainfall usually takes the form of sporadic afternoon showers.
  • Wildlife has spread out over a large area, making game a little more difficult to spot.
  • The park is green and in bloom with migratory birds present in breeding colours.
  • The park is green and in bloom with migratory birds present in breeding colours.
  • Insect numbers increase at this time of year, so have your repellent close to hand.

February

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are high with plenty of sun, rainfall usually takes the form of sporadic afternoon showers.
  • Wildlife has spread out over a large area, making game a little more difficult to spot.
  • An interesting time for photography, the park is at its most spectacular visually, with plenty of sunshine hours in between the rainfall.
  • The park is green and in bloom with migratory birds present in breeding colours.
  • Insect numbers increase at this time of year, so have your repellent close to hand.

March

Season: Wet
  • An interesting time for photography, the park is at its most spectacular visually, with plenty of sunshine hours in between the rainfall.
  • Known as the 'Emerald season', the park is beautiful and green with migratory birds present.
  • Insect numbers increase at this time of year, so have your repellent close to hand.
  • Hot temperatures with plenty of sunshine, rain can fall for prolonged periods making safari a gamble during this period.
  • Wildlife has spread out over a large area, making game a little more difficult to spot.

April

Season: Wet
  • Hot temperatures with plenty of sunshine, rain can fall for prolonged periods making safari a gamble during this period.
  • Wildlife has spread out over a large area, making game a little more difficult to spot.
  • An interesting time for photography, the park is at its most spectacular visually, with plenty of sunshine hours in between the rainfall.
  • Known as the 'Emerald season', the park is beautiful and green with migratory birds present.
  • Insect numbers increase at this time of year, so have your repellent close to hand.

May

Season: Wet
  • The end of the wet and the start of the dry season, with a handful of afternoon showers, humidity is low and temperatures are hot.
  • wildlife viewing can be difficult with animals spread over vast tracts of land.
  • Migratory birds fly North over the course of the month, lowering birding from exceptional to excellent.
  • A good time to visit Tarangire with visitor traffic lower than conditions dictate.

June

Season: Dry
  • The start of the dry season, temperatures are hot, humidity is low and rainfall is unlikely.
  • Wildlife begins to make migrate back into the Tarangire area, improving game densities.
  • The ideal time of year for a walking safari and fly-camping, if you are feeling a little more adventurous.
  • A good time to visit, with visitor traffic lower than conditions dictate.

July

Season: Dry
  • The dry season is now in full swing, with cooler but still warm temperatures, rain has dried up.
  • Game viewing should be exceptional, with the Tarangire River drawing in wildlife from the surrounding areas.
  • The lack of clouds produce incredible night skies, showcasing the Milky Way in all its glory.
  • Photography conditions are good, the air is relatively thin and still, with sunrises and sunsets being particularly good.
  • The ideal time of year for walking safari and fly camping, if you are feeling a little more adventurous.
  • Visitor traffic can pick up at this time of year, leading to shared sightings and a less intimate bush experience at many of the camps.

August

Season: Dry
  • The dry season is in full swing, with cooler but still warm temperatures, rain has dried up.
  • Game viewing should be exceptional, with the Tarangire River drawing in wildlife from the surrounding areas.
  • The lack of clouds produce incredible night skies, showcasing the Milky Way in all its glory.
  • Photography conditions are good, the air is relatively thin and still, with sunrises and sunsets being particularly good.
  • The ideal time of year for walking safari and fly camping, if you are feeling a little more adventurous.
  • Visitor traffic can pick up at this time of year, leading to shared sightings and a less intimate bush experience at many of the camps.

September

Season: Dry
  • The dry season is in full swing, with cooler but still warm temperatures, rain has dried up.
  • Game viewing should be exceptional, with the Tarangire River drawing in wildlife from the surrounding areas.
  • The lack of clouds produce incredible night skies, showcasing the Milky Way in all its glory.
  • Photography conditions are good, the air is relatively thin and still, with sunrises and sunsets being particularly good.
  • The ideal time of year for walking safari and fly camping, if you are feeling a little more adventurous.
  • Visitor traffic can pick up at this time of year, leading to shared sightings and a less intimate bush experience at many of the camps.

October

Season: Dry
  • The dry season is coming to an end, temperatures and humidity rise before the first afternoon showers fall.
  • Game viewing should be exceptional, with the Tarangire River drawing in wildlife from the surrounding areas.
  • A difficult month to predict changes on the ground with uncertain rainfall transforming the dry dusty landscape.
  • If you don't mind the heat, a great time to visit with tourist numbers dropping drastically in the park.

November

Season: Wet
  • The wet season has arrived bring with it higher temperatures and usually short afternoon rainfall.
  • Game viewing is still good with animals slowly spreading out as food and water becomes readily available.
  • The migratory birds begin to return as the park transforms, with new greenery ushering in a time of plenty.
  • If you don't mind the weather, a great time to visit with tourist numbers dropping drastically in the park.

December

Season: Wet
  • The wet season has arrived bring with it higher temperatures and usually short afternoon rainfall.
  • Game viewing is still good with animals slowly spreading out as food and water becomes readily available.
  • The park is green and in bloom with migratory birds present in breeding colours.
  • If you don't mind the weather, a great time to visit with tourist numbers dropping drastically in the park.

Wildlife


Animals are plentiful in the Tarangire National Park, a landscape of famous upside down trees (baobabs), acacia woodlands, riverine forest and swamps. If you want to see elephants, this is the best place to go. Large herds roam the plains, among zebra, wildebeest, buffalo, tree climbing lions and the occasional leopard. A real treat is the birding, with more than 500 species recorded across the park. This is a true wildlife wonderland.

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