In spite of everything, we managed to have quite a range of remarkable travel experiences in the last year. We feel especially lucky to have been able to do as much as we did in 2021, considering how restricted movement was in 2020. Our travels still required a little more effort than before, but that encouraged us to savor each experience to the fullest.
Wildlife Experience of the Year: Elephants in Tarangire National Park, Tanzania
Tarangire National Park in northern Tanzania is an intriguing mixture of swamps, acacia woodland and savanna scattered with enigmatic conical hills and crisscrossed by long granite ridges. Its name derives from the perennial Tarangire River, which meanders through the park into Lake Burunge. The reserve is particularly famous for the density of its elephant population, with herds up to 600 strong. Unlike other areas of Tanzania, notably the Selous Game Reserve, where the elephant population has been decimated by ivory poaching, and the survivors are terrified of humans and extremely aggressive, the Tarangire elephants have clearly not been harassed or hunted. As a result, they are astonishingly calm, and even mothers with young calves seem completely relaxed. We pulled up close to one group, turned off the engine and sat quietly to watch. After a while, the elephants had come to within 20 or 30 feet and, completely unconcerned, continued snatching up trunkfuls of grass.