Ndutu Lodge

Name ID 434

See also

Herne, Brian White Hunters: The golden age of African Safaris
Page Number: 203c
Extract Date: 1960

Russell's partner, George Dove, sported an enormous waxed mustache as his trademark. Dove was a pleasant, hardworking man with his heart in the right place. George, and his son Mike, built two important tourist lodges, Kimba camp at Ngorongoro Crater, and Ndutu Lodge on the southern border of the Serengeti national park.

Footnote: After Tanzania's independence there were a number of deportations of whites from the country. Because of this uncertainty George and his family settled in Australia.

Extract ID: 3823

See also

Ndutu Lodge Ndutu Lodge Brochure
Page Number: 2a
Extract Date: 1960's

Ndutu's History

To appreciate Ndutu, you must understand its history.

The lodge was originally created by George Dove - his portrait hangs in the dining-room, where his flamboyant waxed moustache rivals some of the trophy horns mounted on the walls! George had given up professional hunting at an early stage and chose the Ndutu area as a regular campsite. It was wild and remote, giving easy access to the Serengeti Plains for his clients.

During the 1960's, as tourism steadily increased in Tanzania, George Dove saw the need for a more permanent base in the area, and he was welcomed by the then Conservator of Ngorongoro, Mr. S. ole Saibull, who allowed him to build on the Ndutu site.

Extract ID: 208

See also

Ndutu Lodge Ndutu Lodge Brochure
Page Number: 2c
Extract Date: 1967

Ndutu Tented Camp

Thus in 1967, Ndutu Tented Camp, as it was then called, was born. The original concept was very simple; a central dining-room and kitchen, flanked by rows of sleeping tents on concrete foundations. It was built to last for five years, it was comfortable, but never luxurious, and certainly no-one foresaw that it would still be flourishing more than twenty years later.

However, the Camp quickly established a reputation for a friendly and welcoming atmosphere, good service, and simple food well cooked, and became a favourite stopping place for many different and interesting people. Several distinguished zoologists and photographers, such as Jane Goodall and Hugo van Lawick studied, filmed and wrote about wild dogs, hyenas and jackals in the area.

Extract ID: 3640

See also

Oldupai Exhibition

building the Lodge

Exhibition at Oldupai - visited April 1999.

While building the Lodge, George Dove brought in building materials from Laetoli Gorge and noticed that they included a large number of fosils. Some of these can be seen embedded in the wall of the dining room at Ndutu. George told Mary Leakey about these, and they persuaded her to shift her attention from Oldupai to Laetoli, leading eventually to the discovery of the footprints.

Extract ID: 649

See also

Cole, Sonia Leakey's Luck
Page Number: 112-113
Extract Date: 1935

The man who mended the clutch

After this brief reconnaissance [to Laetoli] they returned to Olduvai to find that the pool which they had been using for their water had turned to mud and become the property of a resident Rhino, who used it for his daily ablutions. Worse still, in order to keep the wallow moist he urinated into it freely. More inviting water supplies were available both at the spring at Olmoti and at Ngorongoro, but petrol was too short to be used for this purpose. They tried to collect rain water off the roofs of the tents, forgetting that the canvas had been impregnated with insecticide; there were dire results, and all the party were violently ill after drinking the water. By this time they were also running short of food. Sam White and Peter Bell were due to return to England, and the lorry taking them back to Nairobi was to bring much needed supplies to the garrison at Olduvai; but it never returned.

For the next fortnight Louis and Mary's diet consisted almost entirely of rice and sardines. An even greater hardship was the lack of cigarettes, and they had to resort to picking up fag ends scattered round the camp. When the lorry failed to appear after two weeks they set out to look for it. At one point they had to turn back as the road was in such a terrible state, and they spent the rest of the day helping to extract Indian traders' lorries from the mud. Their reward was a little flour and sugar, but they were still very hungry. Next their own car overturned in a gully, and they spent a whole day trying to extricate it with a plate and some spoons. (The lack of proper tools seems curiously uncharacteristic of Louis, who was usually so efficient.) Watching their efforts was a crowd of supercilious Masai warriors who considered it beneath their dignity to do any manual labour. It was just as well that Louis did not try to press them: almost at that very moment the District Commissioner at Narok was being murdered by Masai for ordering them to help with road work. Louis and the Masai treated each other with mutual respect, and many of them had cause to be grateful for the treatment they received at the clinics he ran at Olduvai.

The lorry turned up just in time to pull the car back on to the road - its delay had been caused by clutch trouble. (By a curious coincidence the man who mended the clutch at the Motor Mart in Nairobi became Mary's nearest neighbour at Olduvai thirty-five years later: he is George Dove, a 'character' with magnificent waxed moustachios who ran a delightful little tourist lodge at Ndutu, some thirty miles from Olduvai, in the early 1970's.) The car itself was in far worse condition than the lorry had been, with the whole of the bodywork damaged, but amazingly it was still able to run. Louis and Mary returned to Olduvai to pack up before setting off for their next target, a place called Engaruka.

Extract ID: 3126

See also

Allan, Tor Ndutu memories
Page Number: f
Extract Date: 1970's

Ndutu Lodge

Ndutu Lodge didn�t exist then of course but I remember George Dove, wife Mibs and son Michael very well from the early 1970's. George was hunting down at Makau and I used to do ornithological trips with Don Turner, where we�d be stationed at Ndutu for 2" weeks at a time while Don's groups rotated all around East Africa. The chairs round the fire were awful steel school classroom ones with no arm rests!

Lots of us guides developed an absolute passion for you during your serval research years!

Accommodation was in tents, with outside loos and showers behind them. I remember my shaving brush always went from white to red after a few days because of the water. The main bar area was there though. An American called Jerry Rilling helped to manage the camp" he was a polio victim and heaved himself around on crutches. He grew a handle bar moustache like George's. And there was Peter the Swiss who left for home and started a home-made chocolate business.

The early 1970's were particularly good for rhino, but we never saw many elephant. I remember elephant being discouraged at Seronera as they were ring barking favourite leopard trees. The road between Seronera and Ngorongoro went North of Naabi Hill, east across the plains past Shifting Sands, into Olduvai and up past where the present museum is. Serengeti was always closed in April/May" no one was allowed in.

I remember early Ndutu staff members so well: Thomas, Big John the chef and Little John the assistant chef, and of course dear old Marcelli.

Extract ID: 5392

See also

Ndutu Lodge Ndutu Lodge Brochure
Page Number: 2d
Extract Date: 1974

George Dove leaves Ndutu

1974, George Dove and his family left Ndutu for wilder frontiers (the Australian outback) and the lodge changed hands. Soon afterwards came a slump in Tanzania's tourism that lasted several years, accompanied by formidable shortages of fuel and imported goods. Against challenging odds, the staff tried to uphold Ndutu's standards, but as the buildings and equipment deteriorated without being replaced, inevitable decline set in.

Extract ID: 3641

See also

Pearson, John Hunters of the Plains
Page Number: 108
Extract Date: October 12 1977

John Pearson at Ndutu

October 12

Leave Ndutu later than anticipated but still in good time. However, I get even further behind schedule by calling in at the Ngorongoro Conservation office so decide to spend the night at Ngorongoro Safari Lodge instead of going on to Arusha.

October 13

A message has come through to say that the Land Rover which has just been purchased by the Ngorongoro Safari Lodge has broken down at the Lake Manyara Hotel. So before going on to Arusha I drive to Manyara and tow it back. One does these favours all the time in Africa. With luck, or perhaps bad luck, you'll one day find yourself on the receiving end.

Extract ID: 3132

See also

Pearson, John Hunters of the Plains
Page Number: 113
Extract Date: October 23 1977

We set out for Ndutu more or less as planned with jenny driving the Range Rover and me with the Land Rover. We plan to stay the night at the Ngorongoro Safari Lodge. It's such a restful, attractive place it's no hardship at all.

Going up the escarpment after Manyara the throttle linkage on the Land Rover breaks. To repair it is a simple job, but the only way to get your hand far enough into the engine compartment is to tie the bonnet up onto the windscreen and stand on the cylinder head. The engine is so hot though that it's going to take an age to cool down. So we hitch the Range Rover onto the Land Rover and pull both it and the trailer, all three vehicles loaded to the gills, to the lodge where we have tea and let things cool down before sorting the trouble out. The Range Rover is tremendously impressive when it comes to this sort of thing.

Extract ID: 4486

See also

Ndutu Lodge Ndutu Lodge Brochure
Page Number: 2e
Extract Date: 1986

New Owners

The Lodge was taken over in 1986 by the present owners. Then began the gradual process of renovation, which continues today. Comfortable and attractive stone cottages have replaced the barrack-like rooms erected in 1976 to replace the original tents. The aim of the management is to use local materials only which blend in with the rustic surroundings.

Extract ID: 3642

See also

McHugh, Kathleen (Editor); Willis, Delta (Consulting Editor) Kenya, Tanzania, Seychelles

Ndutu Lodge

The lodge, near the shores of Lake Ndutu, has cottages, permanent tents, a campsite, restaurant and lounge. The lodge is undergoing renovation, with expertise refined at Gibb's Farm. It is one of the top lodges in Tanzania. During the rainy season there can be many flies.

Extract ID: 3696

See also

Briggs, Philip Guide to Tanzania

This low-key lodge on the Serengeti border

This low-key lodge on the Serengeti border is in the acacia woodlands overlooking Lake Ndutu. You can observe animals coming to drink from the bar. Accommodation is in self-contained bungalows.

This extract is the funniest of them all - what do the animals drink?

Extract ID: 653

See also

Ndutu Lodge Ndutu Lodge Brochure
Page Number: 1
Extract Date: 1994

Ndutu Safari Lodge: the brochure

Ndutu Safari Lodge is a self-contained tourist lodge with 32 double rooms and 6 double tents. It is situated in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area but it borders the Serengeti National Park. Placed in attractive acacia woodland, overlooking Lake Ndutu, it is surrounded by the short grass plains of the southern Serengeti.

There is radio communication with Gibb's Farm in Karatu and our main office in Arusha and there is an airstrip one km away. Distance to Arusha is 280 km, to Karatu 140 km, and to Ngorongoro and Seronera both 80 km respectively.

Extract ID: 207

See also

Ndutu Lodge Ndutu Lodge Brochure
Page Number: 3
Extract Date: 1994

How Ndutu Works.

Cultivation is not allowed in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and anyway, neither the soil nor the rain pattern is suitable for cultivation. Therefore all the supplies, varying from nails to fresh food have to be bought in by road, either from Karatu (140 km away) or Arusha (280 km away), as does diesel and fuel which powers the lighting via the generator. Most of the fresh vegetables and meat are supplied by Gibb's Farm at Karatu, which is closely associated with Ndutu.

Water has always been a problem at Ndutu. The washing water in the bathrooms comes from a dug-out waterhole near the lake, about 2 km from the Lodge. It is hauled by tractor every day to the Lodge and pumped up to the watertower into four storage tanks. This water contains dissolved minerals (mostly sodium carbonate or 'washing soda') which is impossible to remove and makes the water feel soapy. For this reason it cannot be used for drinking or cooking, nor for mixing cement. Also, uniforms, sheets and towels, which are regularly washed in it, deteriorate after a few months, so replacing these is a constant problem.

Fresh water is an even more precious commodity. All the drinking, cooking and building water needs to be collected from the metal roofs during the rainy season. When the Lodge runs out our only solution is to send a truck to haul fresh water from mountain streams in the Ngorongoro Highlands, some 80 km away. As there is sometimes no rain for 5 or 6 months during the dry season, our resident staff need to be very disciplined about the freshwater supplies.

Simplicity remains the secret of Ndutu's survival. Dead dry wood is collected in the surrounding area, then placed in the 'Tanganyika boilers' to provide hot showers. At the laundry, the wind dries clothes and coals from the fires are then used in the charcoal irons with which clothes are pressed. Most food is still cooked on firewood but wood reducing stoves with small fireboxes are now installed. We are in the process of starting to use solar power thus minimising the impact on the environment.

Ultimately it is the staff who make or break a lodge. Some of Ndutu's staff have been here since the beginning, many young newcomers have joined since. They live at Ndutu under difficult conditions and far from their families. We hope that their dedicated work adds to the enjoyment of your stay.

Extract ID: 648

See also

Ndutu Lodge Ndutu Lodge Brochure
Page Number: 3b
Extract Date: 1994

The beauty of Ndutu

The Ndutu area boasts some of the finest Acacia woodland of the entire Serengeti and you will enjoy the sight of the sunset or sunrise behind these quintessentially African trees. At dawn, the woods ring with the gentle purring calls of an infinity of ring-necked doves. At breakfast you may be joined by superb starlings, aptly named in their iridescent blue and orange plumage, or speckled grey rufous-tailed weavers. If there is still water in the dam, you may see giraffe and elephant or impala as they come to drink in front of the Lodge.

Many kinds of animals can be seen in the dry season, if you take the time to search for them: the resident lions around the lake, perhaps a cheetah near the marshes, some hartebeest, dik-dik in the bush areas, hippos in Lake Masek or a graceful steinbuck. All species of larger and smaller cats occur at Ndutu throughout the year. Many species of bird are attracted to the water that is put out for them in the dry months. During this period visitors can enjoy the peace and quiet and beauty of Ndutu.

When you arrive at the Lodge in the evening, look for genets in the rafters of the lounge. Like slender, graceful, spotted cats, they are in fact related to the mongooses and they perform a valuable service by controlling rats, and other small rodents, and insects.

Without a doubt, however, the best time to visit is during the rains, especially from December through April. After the first heavy storms, the plains are instantly transformed and the migrant wildebeest, zebra and Thomson's gazelle come to feast in the lush, green pastures and to give birth to their young.

Wild flowers bloom on the plains and in the wood the migratory birds crowd the bushes, plains and lake-shores.

There are few places left these days, where one can hear the silence or listen to the sound of the wind playing through the treetops. Around a small fire in front of the Lodge at night you can enjoy the sounds of the African bush, or simply admire the beautifully clear and starlit night. Please don�t use your radios.

We hope you enjoy your stay.

Karibu sana.

Extract ID: 3643

See also

Künkel, Reinhard African Elephants
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

See also

2000 Publishes: Ndutu Safari Lodge Map of Ndutu Area

Extract ID: 3039

external link

See also

Barrett, Amanda A cat called caracal
Extract Author: Amanda Barrett
Extract Date: Feb 2004

A cat called caracal

Film maker Amanda Barrett describes her months on the plains with the elusive caracal - the sleekest, most elegant and most catlike cat of all.

Images: Owen Newman

Over the years, Owen Newman and I had filmed cheetahs, lions, leopards, African wildcats and servals (for the first ever film of them) but never caracals. In fact, in all that time, we'd only ever seen one once - eight years ago in Zambia. It was a tantalising glimpse of black ears and almond-shaped eyes that made us hungry for more.

Eventually, it was the caracal's turn. The BBC commissioned us to make a Natural World programme starring caracals, and with the help of Ndutu Safari Lodge and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority, we were able to stretch the budget to cover 10 months. We knew we'd need every day of that, and sure enough, from November to January, we had nothing but two brief glimpses of the cats.

Then one night in late January, we found one, and to our relief, got some footage. But we never saw that caracal again and, after three nights of looking, decided to go elsewhere. And there - right out on the plains, two or three kilometres from any woodland - was another one. She looked heavily pregnant and was stopping every now and then to inspect aardvark holes. We knew that if we could keep up with her for the next few weeks, we were on to a winner.

We did, and she turned out to be a star. The night we found her, we filmed her catching a stork, leaping so high to grab it that Owen could barely keep her in the frame. Our luck had turned. We then found others, and we began to see patterns in their behaviour, which made them much easier to predict.

The female had her kittens, three of them, and we filmed them suckling. Several weeks later, we found her chewing on the carcass of a stork next to an aardvark hole. As she was eating it, we all heard something coming and waited nervously. At the last minute, the kittens shot down the hole - and spotted hyenas arrived.

We'd seen leopards and even lions run from hyenas, but the caracal stood her ground. She hissed, spat and arched her back, and the hyenas kept their distance, though they did manage to grab the stork. When they'd ripped it to bits, they ran off into the darkness. The caracal waited for a second or two, then went to the kittens' hole and called with a soft meow and purr. All three tumbled out, and the mother and babies trotted off, not stopping until they were a good kilometre away.

That turned out to be the last time we ever saw the family. Maybe the female took her kittens elsewhere in case the hyenas came back. From a film-making point of view, it didn't really matter. In the time we'd spent with her and the other caracals, we'd got all the footage we needed - and had had all the excitement we could have dreamed of.

From an original article in the February 2004 issue of BBC Wildlife Magazine.

Extract ID: 4698