Destination Tanzania, Serengeti, Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar

Tanzanian Tarzan: Brenden Talks To Elephants. Grew Up With Beasts in Tarangire

There is ‘Tarzan’ in Tanzania.

Brenden Simonson, is only 29 years old. However his age seems long enough to enable him learn to enjoy a good chatting with wild animals in Tarangire.

And it is not just ‘Mumble Jumble in the Jungle,’ this guy can clearly be understood by the giant elephants in the National Park.

“I speak with elephants, the animals listen and understand everything that I say.”

Apparently the Jumbos also recognize Brenden voice regardless of where he might meet them within the vast Savannah wilderness.

Rover Roving , Brenden is better equipped than Tarzan

Brenden was born inside Tarangire National Park in 1992, where his father has been running the Safari Lodge. Since then, his childhood would be spent among wildlife.

He therefore grew to understand most species of Tarangire.

Some species, like the giant elephants, also grew to understand him. Well, sort of.

“Mine should be the most outstanding happening in the six decades of the country’s Independence, as far as conservation is concerned.”


Except for the fact that his family lived in thatched huts located adjacent to the Tarangire Safari Lodge, equipped with almost all creature comforts, Brendan could have easily mimicked Tarzan’s lifestyle.

His father, the late Jon Simonson, an American by origin and who started out at Ilboru in Arusha, established the Tarangire Safari Lodge in 1985. It was also the first such facility to operate in the National Park.

When he was only about three Brenden recalls that there used to be an extremely huge elephant which liked to visit their lodge on daily basis.

“My father named it ‘Thor’ after the legendary Greek God” Stated Brenden.

As it happened, the towering Thor was the elephant which introduced the ‘Jungle Boy’ to the other wild jumbos of Tarangire.

Brenden then led us to the Lodge’s Patio where he unhooked a framed photo of himself, his father and the giant elephant, which hangs on the wall.

“See this kid? That’s me. That it.”

Tarangire, established in 1970, is mapped within Arusha, Manyara and Dodoma regions. The National Park is famous for its larger than life elephants.

Ali Omar is the Tanzania National Park’s Conservation Ranger Grade I, working in the Tarangire.

In Tarangire we have the largest such mammals and even bigger herds of them. This park is usually used for scientific studies of jumbos. Elephants have great memory and even sharper senses of smell which is 160 times more than humans’

Ali Omar -Conservator Ranger (TANAPA)

Huge elephants, their large herds and frequency occurence in Tarangire sometimes result to even stranger happenings. There is the recently case in which an elephant in the precinct gave birth to twins, something which isn’t common in other areas.

The Jumbo family arriving at Brenden’s office for the usual ‘Courtesy Call’ (Photo by Brenden Himself)

Nearly three decades after ‘Thor’ visits, there is still a large family of elephants that pays regular visits to the Tarangire Safari Lodge, a property which Brenden runs now, following the death of his father.

He named the Jumbo family members as Mother Doris (Mama Tembo), Mponda, Ahsanta and Ronaldo.

The Elephant named Ronaldo earned the footballer name due to his habit of kicking everything that falls on his path.

Apart from speaking to animals, Brendan also speaks the local Kiswahili and Maasai languages rather too fluently. In fact, he earned a Maasai name, Mollel from the residents of surrounding villages.

Leave a reply

your email will not be displayed