Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Tarangire National Park, Tanzania: Elephants Are Everywhere. Literally.

Last safari stop on our 5-day tour was Tarangire National Park.

What It's All About:
Tarangire National Park is in Tanzania, and is most well-known for having zillions of elephants. Yes, I said zillions.  Or maybe 3,000. Which is still a lot.

So this pano photo of Tarangire looks like it has a couple elephants chilling on the right hand side - but look farther into the distance in the back, and there's like 15 more elephants in the background. Seriously, elephants EVERYWHERE.

Cliffnotes of the Day:
  • After spending hours cruising through the park with an occasional sighting of a dik-dik here, a baboon there, a giraffe over there in the back (and by this point, nothing is worth taking a photo of unless it's a gazelle riding a warthog) - we stumbled across elephant wonderland. I can't even describe how many elephants there were (well I already did; it was zillions) as far as the eye can see - and we got to get SO up close and personal with them!!  Also, bonus points, there were also a zillion baby elephants everywhere - was it mating season recently??   Anyhoo, I hope you like elephants because you're about to be assaulted with them. 

But first, a huge herd of baboons!

Do you know what IS worth taking a photo of??  A BABOON SLURPING OUT THE BRAINS OF A BABY DIK-DIK. I was looking through the binoculars at this one and the details of what I saw has scarred me for life.

And then we found a giant hollowed-out tree and stood in it even though the inside smelled terrible. Also interesting was that the inside of the tree had climbing pegs that went to the top: Herman said they were originally put in by poachers to hide inside the tree from authorities

And then we came across elephant wonderland! Look at the freakish adorableness of that baby elephant.

This one. Taking it home. Pack the bags.

The entire elephant clan loving on the baby elephant. Which they obviously should. 

slurp slurp slurp

This tiny puddle didn't look too clean but the elephant drank from it anyway.

Elephant bath time! If bath time involved slurping up copious amounts of the bath water as well

So a bunch of these elephants were splashing around for a long time, and then abruptly, they all seemed to know to get out at the same time. Do we think they were scared of wrinkly skin? (DAD JOKES, YOU'RE WELCOME)

Do you know how you can tell if an elephant is right-handed (....tusked?) or left-handed (....tusked??). You look at which one is worn down more. This elephant is clearly very, very dominantly right....tusked (tried it, doesn't sound right).

Watching this baby elephant try to keep up with its mom, bouncing up and down and ears flapping drunkenly in the wind, was the highlight of my life.

A con about Tarangire - they have TSE-TSE FLIES. Which are basically house flies on crack that BITE you (AND IT HURTS) and can transmit the sleeping sickness. Worst.

We basically had to have massive tse-tse fly extermination sessions in the car

Here is a mongoose living in a termite mound! ADORBS.

Nat Geo, waiting for my call.  Unless J. Rich took this photo. Which he may very well have.

We got SO close to the elephants. It was magical.

J. Rich really loved these giant baobab trees, that live to be thousands of years and are gigantor. See elephants underneath for scale

I guess I'll throw in a photo of a giraffe

Majestic sunset elephant

  • That night, we stayed in the Sangaiwe tented camps - our room was this adorable tree-house on stilts kind of contraption - it had absolutely stunning views.  J. Rich and I had a grand time sitting on our patio, looking over the trees, drinking contraband wine, and watching the sunset. Toast to the end of safari!  It was amazing, and 5 days was a perfect amount of time for us. I don't know what people who take those 2-week safaris do - by the last day, we were definitely not as gush-y over some of the less-interesting animals (flashback to Day 1 when we would see a deer and be like "OOOOH AMAZING" and take 10 photos).

Patio of our adorable tree house

Sunset views over the forest

Fun (Elephant) Facts of the Day:
  • They have a 22-month gestation period.
  • They like to throw dirt, mud, and grass on their backs to protect their skin from flies. Especially the terrible demon tse-tse flies, which in my opinion, should cease to exist forever.
  • Elephants grow six sets of teeth in their lifetime - many times when elephants die, it's from starvation after they've gone through all the sets (this is according to Herman; sounds fishy).


  1. Question - isn't the elephant whose right vs. left dominance you were discussing actually "left-tusked" because the *left* tusk is the one that's worn down? Please advise, or I will probably never be able to sleep again without the truth. Anyway, LOVE YOU AS MUCH AS AN ELEPHANT WEIGHS (TONS). #dadjokes

    1. ZOMG YOU'RE SO RIGHT. Also, how did "left-tusked" roll so seamlessly off your tongue like that???? So impressed with your close-reading skills (and touched as well).