In previous work, administration of a commercial tannin preparation, quebracho, as oral drench was shown to reduce significantly faecal egg counts (FEC) and worm burdens of temperate sheep with experimental Haemonchus contortus infection. In the current work carried out in Morogoro, Tanzania, three separate animal trials were carried out to investigate the effect of drenches of wattle tannin (WT), a similar tannin preparation that is readily available in the tropics, on nematodes of tropical goats and sheep. In the first trial, 36 young Small East African (SEA) goats were experimentally infected with a single dose of mixed nematode larvae and FEC were monitored regularly. On day 30 post-infection (p.i.), the animals were blocked on the basis of their FEC and randomly assigned into three equal groups (n=12). For 3 consecutive days, two groups received low and high doses of drench at a rate of 1·2 and 2·4 g WT/kg bodyweight, respectively, whereas the third group received a placebo drench (i.e. water). All goats were humanely slaughtered on day 42 p.i. and their worm burdens were assessed. Neither FEC nor worm burdens were significantly reduced by the administration of the low or high dose of WT. The second trial had an identical design but two groups (n=14) of growing Black Head Persian (BHP) sheep were used instead. One group received the drench at 1·5 g WT/kg body wt for 3 consecutive days, whereas the other group received a placebo. Unlike in goats, worm burdens and FEC were significantly reduced (P<0·001) by the drench administration. In the third trial, the effect of WT drench against a naturally acquired nematode infestation in a flock of 34 BHP sheep was determined. FEC were examined three times in a 2-week period and the egg counts were used to block the sheep before being randomly assigned into two groups (n=17). The treated group received the drench at 1·0 g WT/kg bodyweight for 3 consecutive days, while the remaining half was given a placebo. The two groups continued to graze together as FEC were being monitored. Results indicated a significant (P<0·001) reduction in egg counts, which remained low for at least 3 weeks after the drench. The current study demonstrated that the WT drench had significant anthelmintic activity against important nematodes in sheep but not in goats, suggesting an existence of species differences between the two hosts. It was concluded that WT drenches could be used in combination with other worm control strategies to reduce or control nematode infections, at least in sheep.