African Elephants

Künkel, Reinhard


Book ID 140

See also

Künkel, Reinhard African Elephants, 1998
Page Number: Introduction
Extract Date: 1998

I want to mention the names of a few people

I want to mention the names of a few people without whose support my new elephant work could not have happened, especially Mr E. Chausi, the conservator of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, who so warmly welcomed us back to this splendid Garden of Eden, as many visitors call the Ngorongoro Crater, after my wife and I had explored life and wildlife on the Australian continent for a year. It had been great fun and we were very tempted to stay.

The people of Ngorongoro and other friends helped us to decide to continue working in Tanzania.In this context I would like to thank Dr Richard Faust, president, and Dr Markus Borner, regional director, of the Frankfurt Zoological Society, who supported us in many ways. Both men are strongly committed to continuing the pioneering conservation work Professor Berhard Grzimek started decades ago, the essence of which is contained in his famous appeal: 'Serengeti shall not die.'

Aadje Geertsema and Margaret and Per Kullander invited us to stay at their Ndutu Safari Lodge on the Serengeti plains. It is a fabulous home from which to explore the surrounding plains and woodlands, the heart of the annual wildebeest migration during the rainy season. Sometimes the elephants move right through nature's endless garden spreading in front of our windows, to our everlasting joy. Thanks to our generous friends.

The people of the Ndutu Safari Lodge not only treat their guests to a special atmosphere, but also keep our cars together (not an easy task!), feed us (Little John's pancakes are the best in the world) and help us with the hundreds of problems everyday life in the bush offers one as challenge. And it is all done with a smile. Thanks to Leonard and Moody, to Little John and Ndelay, Marcelli and Josef, Hamisi and Mirando, Bifa and Augustin. I certainly would love to name them all, but then there would not be enough pages left for the elephants, so these few names have to stand for the great team of Ndutu. Thank you very much.

And thanks to Leonce and Mohamed too, and to Paul and Louise, who joined as managers just in time for the special challenges of a long El Nino season. I think few of the many people who come through on safari realize what an enormous amount of organisation it takes to run a lodge in the middle of nowhere. It is more than a full-time job and requires all the energy, competence and imagination that can be mustered. And still, sometimes humour is all that is left to keep the links together.

Aadje and Margaret, we appreciate your work! It allows us to forget about logistics and face our own specific set of problems. Like finding the elephants. They are big animals. But the forest is even bigger. Whole herds can disappear into the woodlands along the Olduvai Gorge. And do. It is wonderful to be free to look at them. Again our thanks.

Barbie Alien, as always, supported my work and this book, with her inspiring advice, strength and humour, not to mention providing a vital communication link and a home in the last stage of the production of this book.

Many thanks.

Reinhard 'Leo' Kunkel

Ndutu Safari Lodge

Ngorongoro Conservation Area


June 1998

Extract ID: 435