Tarangire is the last place on earth for really big and wild elephants. We had amazing encounters.
We stayed in the southern part of the park where there are accommodations for only a few tourists. The vast majority stay to the north of Tarangire Hill.There are plenty of elephant in the north, but most of them are residents there. They’ve come to know tourists. We saw several hundred there on our first afternoon driving south towards our camp. They’re just as large and beautiful as the ones in the south, but not as wild.
So most of our time was spent in the south among hundreds if not thousands of the last great giants of the earth. Some were friendly enough that we could approach fairly closely. One wonderful family seemed almost oblivious to us: The matriarch was engrossed scratching herself on a tree.
Her little one-year old even managed to get on the other side of the tree and mimic her!
But most of our encounters in the south aren’t quite as peaceful. We had many trumpeting us, several charges and many times had to keep our distance to avoid disturbing them.
Part of the reason for their anxiety is that there’s just too many of them. The elephant density is so great today in northern Tanzania that normal elephant behaviors are breaking down. Families have no choice but to spend some time near one another, something they didn’t do when there weren’t so many.