Name ID 554

See also

Fosbrooke, Henry Arusha Integrated Regional Development Plan
Page Number: 119
Extract Date: 1870

The Wakefield Map

Paper IX: Early Maps of East Africa

The map was published in the journal of the Royal Geographical Society, Vol. XL, 1870. Accompanying an article by the Rev. T. Wakefield, missionary of Mombasa, entitled "Routes of Native Caravans from the Coast to the interior of Eastern Africa."

It is the first known map to show either Ngorongoro or the Serengeti. A general concept of the country south east of Meru was beginning to emerge. The Rift Wall is shown running due North and South from Lake Baringo to Lake Manyara.

Along the line of the rift, on its western flank, running southward from Lengai, Serengeti is shown. A caravan route, distinct from the main routes to Lake Victoria detailed in the text, is shown running westward from the Pare Mountains, and terminating at Ngorongoro, rightly placed to the west of the rift and just north of the northern tip of Lake Manyara.

Original size 48cm x 39 cm. Photograph by Hugh von Larwick

Extract ID: 3216

See also

Schaller, George, B. Serengeti: A Kingdom of Predators
Page Number: 02
Extract Date: 1907

Sea of Grass

"And all this a sea of grass, grass, grass, grass and grass. One looks around and sees only grass and sky", exulted Fritz Jaeger; who in 1907 was one of the first Europeans to visit the area.

Extract ID: 4245

See also

Turner, Myles My Serengeti Years
Page Number: 026
Extract Date: 1909

James Clark looks south

As late as 1909, James Clark of the American Museum of Natural History, when hunting along the Kenya-Tanganyika borders in the Nguruman area, looked south across the Serengeti, and was told that it consisted of

'low, hot, fever-ridden country with miles of low bush and little game or water ... a God-forsaken land.'

Extract ID: 165

See also

The Serengeti National Park

first professional hunters

The first professional hunters came in 1913. They found the wildlife plentiful, especially the lions, but saw no elephants. Seven years later, an American arrived in a strange new contraption known as a Ford motor-car and news of the wonders of the Serengeti had reached the outside world. Because the Hunting of lions made them so scarse (they were considered 'vermin'), it was decided to make a partial Game Reserve in the area in 1921 and a full one in 1929. With the growing awareness of the need for conservation, it was expanded and upgraded to a National Park in 1951. Eight years later the Ngorongoro Conservation Area was established in the south-east as a separate unit.

Extract ID: 4151

See also

Turner, Kay Serengeti Home
Page Number: 019a
Extract Date: 1913

Stewart Edward White

The Rediscovered Country (New York: Doubleday, Page & Co, 1915)

Stewart Edward White, an American Hunter, crossed from the Great Rift Valley via Loliondo to Lobo Springs.

In a book called The Rediscovered Country (New York: Doubleday, Page & Co, 1915), he described the Serengeti as

'the haunt of swarms of game' and, added,

'in this beautiful, wide, populous country, no sportsman's rifle has ever been fired.'

White moved among

'those hordes of unsophisticated beasts as a lord of Eden would have moved,'

Extract ID: 1107

See also

Schaller, George, B. Serengeti: A Kingdom of Predators
Page Number: 11
Extract Date: 1913


. . . And the view described by Stewart White in 1913 in what is now the northern part of the park still exists today: "Never have I seen anything like that game. It covered every hill, standing in the openings, strolling in and out among groves, feeding on the bottom lands, singly, or in little groups. It did not matter in which direction I looked, there it was; as abundant one place as another"

Extract ID: 4246

See also

Samler Brown , A and Gordon Brown, G (Editors) South and East African Year Book and Guide for 1920, 26th issue
Page Number: 520-521E d
Extract Date: 1916

History of East Africa : The War with Germany in East Africa 1916

1916, - Later in the year, 1915, General Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien was appointed to the command and measures were taken to connect the Uganda railway at Voi with the German line from Tanga at a point near its inland terminus. Owing to the ill-health of General Sir H. Smith-Dorrien, Lieutenant-General Smuts was nominated to the chief command and landed at Mombasa on February 19th, 1916.

Prior to this, our forces advancing along the railway extension above mentioned, had driven the enemy from Serengeti Camp (January 24th), but General Smuts found them still strongly entrenched on British soil behind the Lumi River with their centre on Taveta, S.W. of Kilimanjaro Mountain, and their right on Lake Jipe.

The immediate plan of campaign centred around the snow peak of Kilimanjaro, of which the fertile slopes form the richest and most desirable portion of the German Colony. Fifty miles to the N.W. Longido was already in the hands of a British column under General Stewart, whose objective was a flanking movement, around the western slopes of the mountain, to the enemy's rear. On March 7th General Smuts bridged the Lumi River ten miles north of Taveta and on the following day, by fine strategy and hard fighting, forced the Germans from the swamps and forests which they had been fortifying for eighteen months. On the following day they were driven from Salaita. van Deventer occupied Moshi, the German railway terminus, on the 13th, where he was subsequently joined by General Stewart's column from Longido.

The main body of Germans retreating from Taveta took up strong positions at Kahe station and along the Ruwu River, another body entrenched on the Latema-Reata Nek and were only dislodged after the fiercest fighting (March 19th). The Kahe position was turned by van Deventer on the 21st and on the following day the enemy were in full retreat down the line, destroying the bridges behind them. With the capture of Arusha, the occupation of the Kilimanjaro district was completed.

The second phase of the war opened after a brief interval devoted by General Smuts to the organization of the positions gained. It was soon evident that fighting would no longer be confined to one area.

In April, Belgian troops from the Congo, moving via Uganda, entered the German province of Ruanda, situated at the N.E. of the Colony, and Kigali, the capital of that rich and populous province was entered on May 6th. Germany had declared war on Portugal on March 10th, 1916, and forces were moving on the Rovuma River which forms the southern boundary contiguous to Portuguese territory. In May an independent British column, under General Northey, operating in the south-west from Rhodesia and Nyasaland, completed the investment of the German land frontier.

Having finished his preparations, General Smuts detached van Deventer early in April to proceed in a south-westerly direction at right angles to the German railway which was to form his own line of advance. On April 19th van Deventer, "after ceaselessly marching and fighting", and with the loss of most of his transport animals, seized the important position of Kondoa Irangi, where he was heavily counterattacked with superior forces by the German Commander-in-Chief on May 9th-11th. All attacks were repulsed, but it was only after the advance of a second British Column on his left that van Deventer again moved forward.

In the meantime General Smuts had been fighting his way towards the sea. On his left were the Pare and Usambara Mountains which sloped prepitously to the railway at their base; on his right was the Pangani, an unfordable river, running parallel to the mountains, and the strip, about 15 miles wide, between was densely clothed with bush. The main advance was along the Pangani, the main German defences had been prepared on the line of railway and in this way the enemy was manoeuvred out of one strong position after another. Zame was occupied, May 25th; Micocheni, May 30th; Mombo, June 9th; and Wilhelmstal, an important town north of the line, on June 12th. Tanga itself fell on July 7th, after slight resistance, practically completing our possession of the Usambara Railway, although some bush fighting was still required to clear the district of small bodies of the enemy.

Prior to this it had become evident that the Germans intended to retire on the Central Railway, via Handeni, and General Smuts with his main column crossed the Pangani in pursuit at the end of May. The advance was on a parallel line with that taken by van Deventer but 120 miles further east. This column captured Handeni (June 20th), situated at the head of a light railway and defeated the Germans at Lukigura River (June 24th) after an advance of about 200 miles. Difficulties of transport and sickness made a halt necessary, and the British force remained encamped at the foot of the Nguru Mountains till early in August.

van Deventer now moved forward again (June 24th), seized Dodoma, 85 miles to the south, the first point reached on the Central Railway and commenced to push the Germans along the line eastward towards Mpapwa and westward towards Kilimatinde, both of which he occupied in due course. A further advance eastward to Kilossa (taken August 22nd) brought van Deventer into touch with the British main column who had fought its way from the Lukigura, across the Wami River (August 18th), dislodging the enemy force from the Nguru Mountains.

Part of the defeated forces joined the German troops resisting van Deventer's eastward advance along the railway and assisted in the stubborn resistance he encountered at Kilossa (captured August 22nd); the main body retreated from the Nguru Mountains to Morogoro, the last point held by the Germans on this section of the railway and their provisional seat of Government. This important town was occupied by the British on August 26th, and the remnant of the German forces escaped southward to the Uluguru Mountains where preparations for a determined stand had been made. The German force from Kilossa had also retreated south towards Mahenge.

Without any halt to recuperate and to replenish the almost exhausted transport General Smuts continued the pursuit into the mountains , from which the Germans were driven to Kissaki on the Mgeta River. This position was captured on September 15th, and the enemy retired to a defensive line between the Mgeta and Rufiji Rivers, when, pending the reorganization of the attacking forces he was left unmolested.

The capture of the port of Tanga on July 7th brought the naval and military forces into close touch for the first time; an advance was made by combined forces to the southward, the ports of Pangani, Sadani (August 1st), and Bagamoyo (August 15th) were taken, and on September 4th, Dar-es-Salaam, the former seat of Government, surrendered. Naval forces completed the occupation of the coast line by the capture of Kilwa (September 7th), Lindi and Mikindani (September 16th), and Kiswere (September 18th).

Meanwhile a Belgian force about 10,000 strong, under General Tombeur, had seized Usumbura, at the head of Lake Tanganyika on June 8th and, pushing forward, had, in conjunction with the British, cleared the enemy from between the two lakes and completed the occupation of the lakes themselves, the British capturing Mwanza, on Lake Victoria (July 14th-15th), and the Belgians Ujiji and Kigoma, on Lake Tanganyika (July 29th) at the lake end of the Central Railway. (For naval fighting in the lake, see p.672). Rolling stock was brought across the lake from the Belgian Congo terminus at Albertville and a systematic advance along the line to Tabora commenced. A Belgian column from Ruanda on the N.E.; the British from Mwanza, due N., and a second British force starting from Kirando, a lake port 220 miles south-west of Tabora, cooperated in this movement. After considerable fighting Tabora fell on September 11th.

In the South-West the third attacking force, under General Northey, had cleared the frontier between Lakes Tanganyika and Nyasa of the enemy by the end of May, captured New Langenburg on June 8th, 1916, and Bismarcksburg at the foot of Lake Tanganyika. The force then advanced in a N.W. direction through Malangali (where the Germans were routed "in a brilliant little action" July 24th), on Iringa, occupied August 29th, a military station about 160 miles from New Langenburg and 120 miles south of the Central Railway.

Summing up the position in October, 1916, General Smuts wrote, "with the exception of the Mahenge Plateau they have lost every healthy or valuable part of their Colony".

The effect of climate on the health of the troops, the losses of animals and the bad state of the wheeled transport necessitated a thorough and prolonged rest and refit. It was decided to send home all white troops affected by the climate with the result that nearly 12,000 were evacuated. Kilwa, a port south of the Rufiji position was prepared as a base and a considerable force transported there by sea.

Extract ID: 3532

See also

Snelson, Deborah (Editor); Bygott, David (Illustrator) Serengeti National Park
Extract Date: 1929

full Game Reserve

a section of what is now the central Serengeti, including Seronera, was made a full game reserve and it was at about this time that the Serengeti become world famous for its lions

Extract ID: 908

See also

Arusha: A Brochure of the Northern Province and its Capital Town
Page Number: 13-15-17
Extract Date: 1929

The Hunter's Paradise

It is safe to say that Tanganyika holds a front place among our East African Colonies for the number and variety of its game animals. The belt from Tanga through to Lake Victoria is where game is most numerous. There is an abundance of the commoner antelope, and in certain parts the rarer species such as the Greater and Lesser Kudu, Gerenuk, etc., are still fairly plentiful. Big game like the Elephant, Rhinocerous, Lion and Buffalo, all of which hold for the hunter a new thrill and experience, are to be found in this area in such a variety of country and cover that the Hunting of no two animals is ever alike.

Here the hunter passes through most interesting country; Kilimanjaro with its snow-capped dome, running streams and dense forests, across the plains to the Natron Lakes and the Great Rift Wall with its volcanic formation and on to the great Crater, Ngorongoro. In his travels he will come into contact with some of the most interesting and picturesque tribes that inhabit Africa such as the Masai, Wambulu, etc., each with their own quaint customs and histories.

The Ngorongoro Crater, the greatest crater in the world, measuring approximately 12 miles in diameter, seen from the Mbulu side, is a delight to the eye with its teeming herds of game ; Wildebeest alone running into tens of thousands. This scene conveys to one the idea of a great National Park. Nature has provided the crater with a precipitous rock fence for tns most part and with lakes and streams to slake the thirst of the great game herds which inhabit it. The unalienated part of the crater is now a complete game reserve in which a great variety of game is to be found such as Rhinoceros, Hippopotamus, Lion, and all the smaller fry. The Elephant although not in the crater is to be found in the forests nearby.

The Serengetti Plains lying away to the northwest of the crater holds its full share of animal life and here the sportsman has the widest possible choice of trophies. The Lion in this area holds full sway and is still to be seen in troops of from ten to twenty. Recently, Serengetti and Lion pictures have become synonymous. The commoner species of game are here in abundance and the plains are second only to the crater for game concentration. The country lying between the Grumeti River - Orangi River and the Mbalangeti from Lake Victoria to the Mou-Kilimafetha Road has recently been declared a game reserve.

Game animals that inhabit the northern area are well protected an'd their existence is assured to posterity by the great game sanctuaries and regulations which govern the Hunting or photographing of game.

In the Northern area there are six complete reserves and two closed areas. These are as follows:

(1) Kilimanjaro.

(2) Mount Meru.

(3) Lake Natron

(4) Northern Railway.

(5) Ngorongoro.

(6). Serengetti.

The closed areas are :

Pienaar's Heights, near Babati and Sangessa Steppe in the Kondoa district. The boundaries for these are laid down in the Game Preservation Ordinance No. 41 of 1921. There are, however, vast areas open to the hunter and the abovementioned sanctuaries do not in any way detract from the available sport which the Northern Tanganyika has to offer.

The following game licences are now in force (Shillings)

:Visitor's Full Licence - 1500

Visitor's Temporary Licence (14 days) - 200

Resident's Full Licence - 300

Resident's Temporary Licence (14 days) - 60

Resident's Minor Licence - 80

Giraffe Licence - 150

Elephant Licence 1st. - 400

2nd. - 600

To hunt the Black Rhinoceros in the Northern Province it is now necessary to hold a Governor's Licence, the fee for which is 150/-. This entitles the holder to hunt one male Rhinoceros. Elephant, Giraffe, and Rhinoceros Licences may only be issued to holders of full game licences.

Now that the Railway is through to Arusha it is not too much to hope that with the assistance of a healthy public opinion the Sanya Plains may become restocked with game which would be a great source of interest and an attraction to the traveller visiting these parts.

Extract ID: 3404

See also

Turner, Myles My Serengeti Years
Page Number: 036
Extract Date: 1930's

The fame of the Serengeti lions

It was probably during the early 1930�s that the fame of the Serengeti lions began, due to the baiting and feeding of them by hunting parties. It is said in those days that one merely drove along the Seronera and the lions, hearing the cars, would follow, hoping for a meal. Sensational tricks were filmed, such as feeding lions in the back of trucks and filming through the rear window of the cab. One film company actually stuffed a human dummy with zebra meat and filmed a lion pulling the body from a tent.

Extract ID: 683

See also

Fosbrooke, Henry Ngorongoro: The Eighth Wonder
Page Number: 110

Commercial Trips

... during the 1930's two pioneers rendered great service to wildlife by encouraging the swing from shooting to photography. The first was the late R.R. (Ray) Ulyate, proprietor of the New Arusha Hotel who organised trips on a commercial basis from Arusha to the Serengeti for the purposes of lion photography.

Extract ID: 46

See also

Turner, Myles My Serengeti Years
Page Number: 055
Extract Date: 1933

Flying in the Serengeti begins

Flying in the Serengeti could be said to have begun with Martin and Osa Johnson, who took their Sikorsky amphibian planes up from Cape Town in 1933 and covered 60,000 miles of Africa. .... They landed at Seronera and spent two weeks photographing lions.

Extract ID: 371

See also

Moore, Mrs Audrey Serengeti
Page Number: Inside Cover

Map of Serengeti Plain

Extract ID: 3380

See also

Monbiot, George Planet of the Fakes
Extract Author: George Monbiot
Extract Date: 1950's

Planet of the Fakes

Published in the Guardian 17th December 2002

But these reserves were tiny by comparison to the wildernesses the British colonists made in East Africa. At first the land they seized was set aside for hunting, but as the game ran out, they began to preserve it for the camera rather than the gun. After the Second World War, Bernhard Grzimek, "the father of conservation" in East Africa, announced that he would turn the Serengeti in northern Tanzania into a vast national park. This land, which is possibly the longest-inhabited place on earth, was, he declared, a "primordial wilderness". Though there was no evidence that local people threatened the wildlife, Grzimek decided that "no men, not even native ones, should live inside its borders." His approach was gleefully embraced by the British. Thousands of square miles of savannah in Kenya and Tanzania were annexed, and its inhabitants expelled. Only the whites could afford the entrance fees to the reserves, so only they were permitted to enter the new, primordial wilderness.

This project was, from the beginning, assisted by wildlife films. Grzimek's documentary, Serengeti Shall Not Die, generated massive enthiusiasm for his ethnic cleansing programme.

Extract ID: 3712

external link

See also

Claytor, Tom Bushpilot
Extract Author: Tom Claytor
Page Number: 18h
Extract Date: 1996 July 03

the Grzimeks

It was the German Veterinarian, Bernard Grzimek, who said, 'Must everything be turned into deserts, farmland, big cities, native settlements and dry bush? One small part of the continent at least should retain its original splendor so that the black and white men who follow us will be able to see it in its awe-filled past glory.' His battle cry was, 'Serengeti, at least, shall not die.'

Bernard and his son, Michael, landed in Serengeti after flying 4,000 miles from Frankfurt in their Dornier 27 bush aircraft. There was no mistaking their aircraft; it looked like a gigantic zebra with black and white stripes across its entire length. I have flown this type of aircraft before and it is perfect for landing anywhere in the middle of nowhere. I remember looking at pictures of this famous plane surrounded by thousands of game is a vast open treeless plain. Bernard and Michael had come out to study migration patterns in the Serengeti and demonstrate that the proposed excisions would be disastrous for the Serengeti ecosystem. In Bernard's book, Serengeti Shall Not Die, he stressed that it can be easier to work with a dictatorship on matters of conservation than it is to work with a democracy, because you don't have to deal with parliaments, and you can get on with the job.

Extract ID: 3652

See also

Cooke, J One White man in Black Africa
Page Number: 052

Serengeti Tracks

In 1953 there was only a rutted two-wheel track through the dust [of the Serengeti], sometimes braiding into a broad series of tracks where people had avoided progressively deeper ruts.

Extract ID: 913

See also

Cooke, J One White man in Black Africa
Page Number: 062


Banagi was always a good place to visit. It was the residence of the game ranger responsible for the east lake region including the Serengeti, probably one of the finest wildlife regions in the whole of East Africa. The Banagi lion had been made famous by Monty Moore, a pre-war ranger who had half-tamed a number of lions by feeding them on carcasses towed behind a truck. A number of wealthy, mainly American, big game aficionados had thus been attracted to the area.

Extract ID: 914

See also

Green, Geoff Capital Capers
Page Number: 54

Fauna Preservation

Extract ID: 3363

See also

Tanganyika Standard
Extract Date: 1954 May 22

Lease of Trading Rights - Serengeti National Park Tenders are invited . . .

Notice in The Tanganyika Standard

Lease of Trading Rights - Serengeti National Park

Tenders are invited for the lease of premises and the right to trade there from in the Serengeti National Park. The premises are:

1. Shop and living quarter at Ngorongoro Market

2. Shop and living quarter at Ondoldol

3. Shop and living quarter at Nainokanoka

The present Rights of Occupancy of Traders at the above mentioned places expire on 30th June 1954 and will not be renewed. The successful tenderer(s) will replace these Traders; and will be required to be ready to commence trading on 1st July 1954.

The subject of the Tender will be an annual renta Shs. 720/- per annum for the plot and premises thereon, together with an annual concession premium of Shs. 400/- payable quarterly in advance.

Copy of the relative form of Lease Agreement can be obtained from the Secretary P.O.Box 180, Arusha on payment of a fee of Shs. 5/-. Tenders in sealed envelopes clearly marked 'Tender for Trading Rights' must reach The Secretary, P.O.Box 180 Arusha not later than 5th June 1954.

G.H.Swynnerton, Chairman, Board of Management, Serengeti National Park. Arusha, 18th May 1954

Extract ID: 1326

See also

Cooke, J One White man in Black Africa
Page Number: 070

Peter Bramwall

Bramwall was a Kenyan, and had been at Banagi for about a year, during which time he had completed the first phase of the construction of what was to become the Seronera game lodge for tourists. This first stage consisted of only a few concrete rondavels, with thatched roofs, and a water collection system from a nearby rocky kopje.

Extract ID: 915

See also

Marsh, R.J. and E.P Safari Diaries
Page Number: 10
Extract Date: 1955 August 2


Monday morning David and Paul woke early and we were underway with a cooked breakfast by 7.30 am. It was the usual cold and misty morning of this time of the year at the Crater, though the mist often cleared and we got some good views of the Crater from 7 onward. The mist was moving all the time, but the whole of the camp site was always clear. ... Neither D nor P seemed concerned to go down into the Crater again, and David was anxious we should get out to see the Serengeti.

I saw the camp manager, Joe Salter, as we came in last night, and during the morning I saw Maj. Hewlett, the Game Warden. He said a trip along the road toward the Serengeti was possible and told me of a new track he was opening up into the crater, which we could take for about 4 miles. ...

We had a fairly substantial �elevenses� and then went out from the Camp along the road towards the Serengeti Plains which could be seen in the distance after about 5 miles. At 7 miles out there was a good view point (Windy Gap) into the crater from a point much further round from the Camp site. We saw some Maasai folk here and tried to get photos also of the Crater. Just past this point was the new track which ran off the road for about 4 miles and took us further round into the Crater so that we were looking at it from the other end from the Camp. We came back from here and went on further to about 12 miles to what I suppose might be called the edge of the Serengeti, where the road straightened out and dropped more steadily and obviously just went on and on into a typically dusty desert-like African Plain. There were no lions!

We returned straight back to camp by about 2.30 p.m. and had a late lunch which was tackled heartily by the boys. Then we went out again along the Crater road in the Oldeani direction. ... we all got to bed early. It was much colder during this second night at the Crater.

Extract ID: 575

See also

Taussig, Louis Resource Guide to Travel in Sub-Saharn Africa, Vol 1 East and West Africa
Page Number: 005
Extract Date: 1957

Excursion flights

East African Airways commenced dry season excursion flights to the Serengeti

Extract ID: 3178

See also

Turner, Kay Serengeti Home
Page Number: 187
Extract Date: 1957

Excursion Flights

Visitors to the Serengeti were few until East African Airways began their excursion flights in late 1957. During the dry season two Dakotas from Nairobi would fly to Seronera every Sunday with about 40 people on board. They would be met and driven around the Serengeti for a day in the Serengeti's entire fleet of vehicles: two Land-Rovers and a 5-ton truck.

Extract ID: 917

See also

Turner, Myles My Serengeti Years
Page Number: 019
Extract Date: 1957~

Serengeti was closed to visitors

In those days the Serengeti was closed to visitors during the long rains of March, April, and May, and Kay used to lay in two or three months� supplies at that time. And there we would sit, with the flooded Mgumgu and Orangi rivers on each side of the house, in splendid isolation, like Daniel among the lions.

Extract ID: 1327

See also

Turner, Myles My Serengeti Years
Page Number: 077
Extract Date: 1958

A DC3 and a secretary bird

One aircraft, a DC3, collided with one of these [secretary birds] birds at Seronera aerodrome and landed with a shattered windshield and badly buckled cabin roof.

Extract ID: 1328

See also

Duncan, Brian Arusha Photographs
Extract Author: Brian Duncan
Page Number: 19a
Extract Date: 1958-1962

Holiday camp Serengeti 1

Bob, me and Avril Saddler.

Extract ID: 5276

See also

Duncan, Brian Arusha Photographs
Extract Author: Brian Duncan
Page Number: 19b
Extract Date: 1958-1962

Holiday camp Serengeti 2

Extract ID: 5277

See also

Duncan, Brian Arusha Photographs
Extract Author: Brian Duncan
Page Number: 19c
Extract Date: 1958-1962

Holiday camp Serengeti 3

L-R � Nora Duncan, me, Bob Duncan, Joan Saddler, John Saddler, brother Bob and Avril Saddler.

It is believed that the Saddlers originally came from Forfar, Angus in Scotland, which is only ~16 miles from where I now live.

Extract ID: 5293

See also

Duncan, Brian Arusha Photographs
Extract Author: Brian Duncan
Page Number: 19d
Extract Date: 1958-1962

Ostrich nest

In the Serengeti Park. From L-R - Avril Saddler (family friends), brother Bob and me. We took one egg from the nest which I still have today.

Extract ID: 5291

See also

Matthiessen, Peter The Tree Where Man Was Born
Page Number: 161
Extract Date: 1972

Cave paintings

In a similar cave [he is in the Gol Mountains] in the Moru Kopjes, shields, elephants and abstract lines are painted on the walls in the colours that are seen on Maasai shields; the white and yellow come from the clays, the black from ash of a wild caper, and the red ochre is clay mixed with juice from the wild nightshade. Presumably the artists were a band of young warriors, il-moran, who wander for several years as lovers, cattle thieves, and meat-eaters before settling down to a wife, responsibilities, and a diet based on milk and cattle blood. ...

Until 1959, when their herds were banished from the Serengeti, they [the Maasai] lived intermittently at Moru Kopjes and elsewhere in the park, and signs of their long stay include mints and peas that thrive in the wake of overgrazing by domestic herds.

Extract ID: 918

See also

Snelson, Deborah (Editor); Bygott, David (Illustrator) Serengeti National Park
Extract Date: 1959 July

Conservation Area

Eastern Serengeti, including Ngorongoro, made a conservation area. Extensions added to the Serengeti in the north and south

Extract ID: 919

See also

Allan, Tor Ndutu memories
Page Number: d
Extract Date: 1960�s

East African Airways Sunday excursion package

I remember the two Bedford trucks they used. They were the ones used on the special East African Airways Sunday excursion package from Eastleigh Airport in Nairobi, bringing in weekenders for fun. The packages cost 180/- for the return DC3 flight, morning and afternoon game drives and lunch served by an EAA stewardess somewhere out in the bush. They arrived at about 8.30 in the morning and left Seronera at about 4.30. It was hugely popular. No problem with Customs and Immigration � we all just moved between the countries as we pleased then.

The tourists had their game drives in the Bedfords and one Land Rover, guided by my father, Gordon Pullman, Myles Turner or Gordon Harvey.

Extract ID: 5390

See also

Turner, Myles My Serengeti Years
Page Number: 120
Extract Date: 1960's

Serengeti visitors

Among many memorable visitors were Charles Lindbergh, Senator Robert Kennedy, HRH Prince Philip on the occasion of Tanzania�s Independence in 1963, President Tito, the King and Queen of Denmark, HRH Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, and many writers including William Tryron, Peter Matthiessen, Alan Moorehead, James Mitchener, and Robert Audrey.

Extract ID: 1329

See also

Turner, Kay Serengeti Home
Page Number: 096a
Extract Date: 1961


Severe drought in Serengeti

Extract ID: 210

See also

Matthiessen, Peter African Silences
Page Number: 218
Extract Date: 1987

refuel at Barafu Kopjes

In 1961, the Serengeti was my ultimate destination in East Africa; in the winter of 1969 it was my home. We land and refuel at Barafu Kopjes, a beautiful garden of huge pale granite boulders and dry trees, in the clear light, where years ago I accompanied George Schaller on long walks across the plain to learn how primitive humans might have fared in scavenging young, dead, or dying animals. The wind is strong in the black thorn of the acacia, and a band of kestrels, migrated from Europe, fill their rufous wings with sun as they lift from the bare limbs and hold like heralds against the wind on the fierce blue sky.

Then we are aloft again, on a course Northeast toward the Gol Mountains, in a dry country of giraffes and gazelles. Olduvai is a pale scar down to the south, in the shadow of the clouds of the Crater Highlands, and soon the sacred volcano called Ol Doinyo Lengai rises ahead, and in the deep hollow in the land that is Lake Natron, on the Kenya border. We will fly across Natron and the Athi Plain and be in Nairobi in an hour.

He travelled in 1961 and 1969 and stayed in and around the Serengeti, the Crater Highlands, and the Arusha National Park, writing the classic book "The Tree Where Man was Born"

Extract ID: 4290

See also

Turner, Myles My Serengeti Years
Page Number: 180
Extract Date: 1961, November


In November, thirteen inches of rain fell on Seronera, and floods rose all over the Serengeti. ... the floods continued well into the following year.

Extract ID: 1349

See also

Turner, Kay Serengeti Home
Page Number: 172
Extract Date: 1962

Cataclysmal rain

Cataclysmal rain in Serengeti

Extract ID: 921

See also

Smith, Anthony Throw out two hands
Page Number: 233
Extract Date: 1962

Nairobi to the Serengeti

Normally there is a road leading fairly directly from Nairobi to the Serengeti via Narok. Unfortunately, for several months it had been out of action, and so we had to take the long way round via our old haunts. The first leg was from Nairobi to Arusha, A big locust swarm spattered itself against our windscreens, and we scraped them clean when it had gone by. From Arusha we travelled south on the Great North Road, had trouble with a broken fan belt, and then turned right at Makayuni for Manyara.

At Mto-wa-Mbu we had the ritual drink of cold Cokes from those two Indians, and discussed ballooning with those of our ground crew who wandered up. On the escarpment we had trouble with a trailer shackle, and got it fixed at the Manyara hotel. Then on to Ngorongoro, and to pick up all the camping kit we had left there. Finally, having driven past Windy Gap, and the spot originally chosen for the crater flight, we started on the long twisting descent towards the Serengeti Plains.

Extract ID: 3776

See also

Smith, Anthony Throw out two hands
Page Number: 234
Extract Date: 1962

Serengeti Plains give their traditional welcome

There are first impressions that can never be forgotten. I had never dreamed that the Serengeti could be so beautiful. At first the country was still fairly broken, and at one point we crossed the Olduvai Gorge, but when we met the great plain itself I was astounded. We were in three trucks, for Alan had brought another of his, and so I was alone in the Gipsy. This meant that I could give full rein to every sort of expression of amazement, and wonder; and meaningless jumbles of words could pour out without trespassing on the nerve-endings of someone else. I love to shout, especially above the drone of an engine, at magical sights that are passing by. I love letting this instant happiness flow out as I sing the praises of the world in view. So I sat in that noisy cab, bouncing up and down from the hummocks on the track, talking and singing and shouting, and trying to grasp that such a place was real while our three trucks drove through it, and the thousands of animals bounded along by our side.

Of course there had been much wild-life in the crater, but driving in it had been quite different. It had not been a matter of going anywhere, or of going fast; the rocks and the bogs and the nature of the ground had seen to that. Out on the Serengeti, with the whole flat plain ahead, and with a horizon to reach, driving became a carefree occupation. It assumed something of the animals' own disregard for the ground they were running over. It was in harmony with their own enthusiasm and zest. They pounded along by the side. They kicked at the ground, and we helped to turn its earth into flailing dust.

The three of us kept apart from each other, for there is no fun in breathing the gritty air chucked up by another, and so each man had his own thundering world to himself. Some instinctive reason meant that the animals hated a truck driving in front of them. They had to pass in front of the truck. Therefore, if they saw an interception coming, the wildebeest and zebras and gazelles would double their pace at once. They had to pass in front. They had to win. And they stepped up their speed accordingly- They would rarely change their course to prevent that possible interception, once it had been foreseen; and they put all they had into getting there first. It was this competitive urge that hammered the ground at every angle. Our horse-power and their leaping limbs raced along side by side. The Serengeti Plains were giving their traditional welcome.

It was not just the big wildebeest and zebras who had this fervour, but the Grants and Tommies as well. Instead of hurtling heavily by, they would leap and dance in their own enchanting manner. However long they kept up the chase, it never seemed to tire them. A gazelle, even after a lot running, still seems as light upon its feet, and nothing like a pant or puff was ever visible. Before they started to run, and after getting to their feet, a sort of shudder would twitch through their little bodies, and at the same moment they would be off, leaping, swerving, and then hopping over the ground.

Extract ID: 3777

See also

Smith, Anthony Throw out two hands
Page Number: 235
Extract Date: 1962

Jetzt, noch ein Loewe

Many days later, and at the spot where I first saw the Serengeti, I met a small party of Germans. Most of them were talking among themselves, but there was a very old man apart from the others looking back at the great plains through which he had just been driven. The jolting could have been none too easy for him, but he was ecstatic. It took him time to find words. Most of his mind was still back where he had been, but he did eventually speak. I am an old man. I have seen much. But never before have I had such a day. It was a miraculous day.' He underlined that last adjective with a cracked kind of power, and shook his fuzzy head from side to side in amazement at it all. 'Jetzt, noch ein Loewe,' said the others, and bundled him back into his seat; but his head was still moving slowly from side to side in incredulous wonder as they drove him off to look for another lion.

Extract ID: 3778

See also

Smith, Anthony Throw out two hands
Page Number: 249a
Extract Date: 1962

The Plan for the Serengeti flight

Briefly, the plan was to go just beyond the Serengeti boundary, near the Loliondo road and beneath the hill range known as 0l Doinyo Gol. All five vehicles would move there in the evening, and would select a site 10 miles upwind of the herd for the inflation. In choosing this place we would have to allow for the herd's movement when we were sleeping, and then take off in the early morning aiming to go right across the middle of it. This meant inflating the balloon during the latter part of the night. It would be foolhardy blowing it up the day before and then tethering it while we slept. We had often been woken to sudden squalls that had hit the plain from nowhere, and we wished to reduce the time to the minimum between inflation and departure. After all, the Manyara storm had warned us of this peril. The idea was to turn on the gas at 4 a.m., to reach the tricky stage of the basket's attachment by first light, and then to take off with the earliest hint of the morning breeze. For the flight itself, there was the whole wide plain of the Serengeti to be traversed.

Extract ID: 3779

See also

Smith, Anthony Throw out two hands
Page Number: 249b
Extract Date: 1962

The herds?

Alan and Douglas came back after midday bewildered by the herd's behaviour. The animals had been thundering through the country near Lake Lagaja and moving very fast. The 30,000 of them were still together, but much more closely, and there was now nothing like 15 miles between the front and the back. Admittedly, any transect across the Serengeti would mean flying over animals, but it was imperative to go over a packed herd as well. We ate a meal, and then left camp with the essentials for one night's stop and with the balloon in its customary trailer. The two 5-tonners trundled along behind.

Alan made a detour on the way, to look for the herd again and was no less perplexed. It had entirely left Lake Lagaja. [Lake Ndutu] However, it was still moving in the same direction, and we chose a camp site 10 miles south of that 0l Doinyo Gol range. Four lions slunk away from the spot as we approached, and they did not wait to watch us start the preparations. We laid out the balloon on its tarpaulin, arranged it correctly, and attached the cords. The net was then draped over the fabric, pulled symmetrically, and finally anchored with one sandbag to every four meshes. We removed the cylinders from the trucks, unscrewed their caps, joined ten of them to the ten-way filler, and attached that to the inlet pipe. The balloon's valve was put in place, the basket was made ready, and for the last time it was only a matter of turning on the gas.

Extract ID: 3780

See also

Smith, Anthony Throw out two hands
Page Number: 252
Extract Date: 1962

Inflation is a thing of wonder.

Sitting there in that most welcome sun of early morning, sipping the hot drink, feeling it seep down, and casting happy glances towards the secure balloon was extremely pleasant. The fear of what might happen still existed, but everything was safe for the time being. The sky was clear. The day was calmer than any we had known on those plains. The coffee produced a sense of wellbeing that only coffee can.

It was at 7.30 that we attached the basket. This was done with a simplicity not equalled before on the trip, and soon the whole balloon was towering high above us. I have said before that it ended up 55 feet tall, but the repetition may be necessary because each time its dimensions took me by surprise. Between every flight, when its entire substance was packed into that diminutive basket, memory of the balloon shrank with it. The subsequent inflation was always a thing of wonder.

Even when everything was ready, the air was still so calm that I decided to try some captive flights. These had only been barely possible on the previous African trips, and quite impossible at Nairobi; but on the Serengeti the ground crew attached the trail rope to a car for safety, and then let the balloon rise to 200 feet. I had a selection of the helpers on board, and together we looked for and pointed out animals in sight. It was indeed a superb lookout point. It was also not a problem going up and down. One man on the ground could have done it, but everyone in fact pulled on the rope to bring us back to earth, mainly I think to try and sharpen the bump. I took on fresh passenger batches, and each time tried to spot more animals from that 360-degree viewpoint. Eventually the day began to stir as the sun warmed it up. It was time to go. The breeze had come to carry us over the herd.

When at Zanzibar, and to a varying extent on the subsequent flights, we had been ready to depart, we had just departed. Without so much as a handshake, we had taken off as soon as we could, while the necessary civilities were forgotten in the general anxiety. Zanzibar had been the most ill mannered, for hundreds of people had helped us there, and thousands had turned up to watch; but all they got was an abrupt wave from a couple of hundred feet. So, on the Serengeti, and with a slender handful of observers, we at last managed to effect a leave-taking that was polite. A balloon's departure should, at the very least, not affront the people on the ground. Douglas and Alan and I shook hands with Joan and Kiari. We then did the same with the lorry teams, and with the gang from Olduvai. No one else knew it, but justice was at last being done to Zanzibar. Jambo could now take off.

Extract ID: 3783

See also

Smith, Anthony Throw out two hands
Page Number: 253a
Extract Date: 1962

Serengeti Flight

It was also the best departure of the series, and so it should have been. It was not Etten, with its churches, poplars and chimneys. It was not Manyara, with its yellow thorn trees, nor Birmingham, nor the lip of Ngorongoro, nor Nairobi, nor any hazardous spot; but the Serengeti, with its eternity of open land leading away downwind. Up we went, with the trail rope on the ground, and then stabilized at 300 feet - another record. The wind up there was about 5 knots, and very nice it was. I decided to fly as I had never flown before, by giving 100 per cent attention to the instruments. I saw no reason for any repetition, however small by comparison, of that leapfrogging over the Ngongs and beyond. As soon as either the altimeter or the variometer gave a flicker of a movement downwards, I would trickle out a little sand. I would let no momentum build up. I would fly on as even a keel as could possibly be arranged. Admittedly, this should always be the aim, but from Nairobi it had been impossible. Very quickly we had been forced into the relatively crude business of throwing out half sacks at a time, and then of cannoning into the ground.

On that early Serengeti morning things were different. When sand went overboard it was in half handfuls or less, and the flight started off with a finesse never achieved before. The first animals below us were Thomson's gazelles, slightly frightened initially, but soon quite calm. They stopped their trotting and turned to have a look at us. A rhino, 50 yards away, next saw us, but did not raise his tail. Then a hyena, sitting by its hole, moved off straight beneath us and trotted along at our speed. We could hear the grass rustling as its furry body brushed past, and I scattered some sand on its back as we started coming too near. The intention was to travel no lower than 200 feet and no higher than 300: the range in between was optimum.

As the flight progressed a measure of confidence in ballooning began to return. There was no ocean span to cross, no jungle ahead, no distraught airstream; and it was still the calm of the morning. Well to the east of us were the Ngorongoro Highlands, now shrouded in cloud, and obviously a place where trouble could be expected, A few miles in their direction was the great crack of the Olduvai Gorge, a dry and arid scar across the ground. Beneath were the animals and the moon-shaped barkan, those Shifting Sands where we had spent that infantile afternoon. They had zebras cropping the grass near them, and a herd of eland further away. These big antelopes are the most timid of the lot, allegedly because they know their meat is prized. Some are being husbanded in captivity as an alternative to beef, and even from our height we could see the heavy folds of flesh. Those below us were wild, but every member of the species, whether being fattened or not, always seems to have plenty of meat on board. Their long twisted horns reaching back over their necks must have saved them again and again. I looked down for too long and had to throw out sand hastily, for a descent had begun to build up.

Extract ID: 3784

See also

Smith, Anthony Throw out two hands
Page Number: 254
Extract Date: 1962

Ballooning over the wildebeests

After an hour of travelling, and a mounting concern about the big herd which lay ahead, we first caught glimpses of it. The sight was astounding. I had never imagined the world could be quite so full of animals. To begin with, they appeared as a kind of blur, with dust rising above them all. Then the blur changed to specks, and the dust columns rose higher into the air. Then the specks changed into individual forms, some galloping, some quite still, until the whole horizon in our path was full of them. Our point of aim had been perfect. We were due, sudden contrary winds permitting, to go over the very centre of that vast animal concourse.

Alan and Douglas made everything ready with their cameras. I arranged the remaining sacks conveniently at my feet, and promised a stable run over the herd. We were much too involved to be particularly happy, or rather to show that we were; but everything was going exceptionally well. I dropped the height down to less than 200 feet, and the tip of the trail rope began to touch the ground. There was an occasional brief tugging as it went straight over a solitary tree, but the trees were rare and becoming rarer. The herd was in an open place, and there was nothing but a few drying water-holes, the slender traces of dust, and those thousands upon thousands of animals. Meanwhile, for the sun was in the east behind the balloon, our shadow moved steadily ahead of us, and showed the way. It moved over the ground like some giant amoeba, undulating slightly at the edges with the unevenness of the earth, and then pushing out a pseudopodium as it climbed up one side of an isolated rise in the ground. It became an exceedingly sensitive form of altimeter, for the eye is good at appreciating whether something is growing or shrinking before it. So I stared at that shadow leading us towards the herd, and threw out sand accordingly.

At last we came near, and as we did so an immensity of noise came up towards us. I had listened to that congregation on the ground, but when heard from the air it was far more deafening. The nasal grunts of the wildebeest were strung together so continuously that it sounded as if a swarm of buzzing bees had dropped their note an octave or two. It was a raucous vibration coming from everywhere. It was the real noise of a migration on the move, not the half-hearted imitation of it we had heard when on the ground. It was one mighty impulse. It was a herd, and it was careering, walking, eating, and galloping on its way. It was magnificent.

The shadow cut clean through animals, so to speak, and they disregarded it. The zebras. Tommies, Grants, and wildebeest were all the same. The sudden blotting out of the sun by the sharpness of our form caused no reaction. We might as well not have been there, but for the fact that we spoke. This made them aware of us. It seemed silly to us, assuming stealth when so blatantly visible, and assuming quiet when the whole earth is pulsing with a remarkable din. So we spoke, more out of enthusiasm than with any intent to say a message; but we did speak, and the animals heard us. The group immediately below frisked up their tails and cantered off in the idiotic heel-kicking manner of the wildebeest. We experimented with other groups. If we were quiet, all was well; but if we talked, we were instantly overheard, despite the din.

Extract ID: 3786

See also

Smith, Anthony Throw out two hands
Page Number: 255
Extract Date: 1962

the flight had to come to a stop

Having learnt this lesson, we respected its findings and remained silent. This was easy, for there was plenty to observe and too much to say. The whole sight was so magical. To both sides there were ten miles of animals. To the front of us, and to the back, there were thousands of them. And above them all we floated with the simplicity that only a balloon can possess, provided the air is calm and the African day is young. Of course, it was growing older all the time, and we were soon beginning to realize it. My job was becoming steadily more difficult, and that nice constant height of 200 feet was becoming exceptional rather than the rule. However, to begin with, this meant only more attention by me, and the general photography and observation was still well under control.

Towards the end of the herd, when its flanks were behind us to the left and right, and when only a few animals remained in front, we were pleased to note that a water-hole was certain to pass directly beneath us. It was nearly dry, but some wildebeest were standing in the mud by its edge, and some others were on the hard, dry, down-trodden earth around it. I'll go over this at 200 feet. You just wait and see.' 'Fine,' said Alan. It looks well, I'll use up the rest of this magazine on the approach.'

Alan did in fact use up the film, and the approach was at the right height; but then we hit the air above that hot patch. Alan had disappeared into the basket to fix the camera, but Douglas and I watched the ground sink rapidly below, and knew that the gentle hours were over. I read the altimeter casually, knowing only too well the sort of thing it would say, and saw the needle rise from 200 to 1,500 feet. The hot patch's thermal was having its effect. During this rise Alan had been down in the wicker bowels of our vehicle, and he rose at the end of it to see a world transformed. He clutched suddenly on to the rim, and his shoulders shrunk from vertigo. Neither Douglas nor I had bothered to point out the obvious to each other, but Alan had been unaware of it and had suffered accordingly. The world had no right to vanish like that. He had left it a mere 200 feet below. It was a third of a mile away when next he looked at it.

From then on the flight did not have its previous serenity. Intermediate landings were frequent, and sand was thrown out several pounds at a time rather than the gentle and occasional trickle of before. However, there was plenty of Serengeti still to come, even after the herd had gone, and we continued the flight, although more erratically. I remember a dead zebra down below, with the vultures swooping in from our height In a sense we were only seeing things as the vultures had seen them over the centuries. They have watched the life on the plains, and they have always been ready to scavenge them free from death. The vultures used outstretched wings on their effortless way down to the zebra, and only flapped them at the very end. We watched, and then prepared for another intermediate jolt of our own.

Eventually, despite the yearnings to go on, the flight had to come to a stop. Our path through the air had become more and more distorted, and the turbulence increasingly did what it liked with us. I achieved the best I could, but it was plainly not good enough and at the twentieth unintentional bounce I decided it was time to land. There was no hazard in the way, and the bounces were injuring nothing and no one; but they were extremely tangible tokens of the disturbances to come, and each was harder than the last. Besides, the herd was now behind us and we could imagine no rival that would compete with it. We hit the ground again, having dropped from 300 feet despite volumes of sand, and this time it hurt. The next occasion would definitely have to be the landing.

Douglas and Alan sorted out who would film it, because the man holding the cine needed both hands for that job, and the other man had to hang on to both the operator and the basket so that no one would leave it prematurely. I, meanwhile, prepared the valve and rip lines, blue for valve and red for rip. Instead of waiting for a downstream to take us earthwards, I valved a little and down we went in our own time.

It's coming. Hang on. I'm about to rip. Ripping now.' And it came. The basket creaked, but did not even bounce. Slowly it tipped on its side, and slowly we went with it. The coarse grass of the Serengeti brushed against our faces, and the flight was over. Jambo deflated herself in the proper manner, and all was finished. There were three shapes inside a basket, a lot of orange fabric, some netting - and nothing more. Traditionally, safely, beautifully, a balloon had expired. It was no longer a part of that most excellent canopy, the air. It had flown, but its journey was now ended. Its African days were over.

Extract ID: 3788

See also

Turner, Kay Serengeti Home
Extract Author: Anthony Smith
Page Number: 206
Extract Date: 1963

The Serengeti is a legacy

quoting from Throw Out Two Hands, London: George Allen and Unwin,

'The Serengeti is a legacy that must always be. Whatever the difficulties, it must survive, it must survive: its destruction is unthinkable. For anyone who imagines otherwise, let him go there and be enriched by it'

Extract ID: 961

See also

Turner, Myles My Serengeti Years
Page Number: 183
Extract Date: 1963 December

torrential rains

The 1963 poaching season closed with torrential rains in December.

Extract ID: 1351

See also

Turner, Myles My Serengeti Years
Page Number: 185
Extract Date: 1964

unusually dry weather

Aided by unusually dry Weather the 1965 poaching season began early

Extract ID: 1352

See also

Guardian (UK)
Extract Date: 1994 June

Small groups of endangered species may be driven to extinction . . .

Small groups of endangered species may be driven to extinction by the researchers trying to keep them alive, according to the Journal Nature. The packs of wild dogs in the Serengeti and Masai Mara that died out between 1965 and 1991 were those studied by zoologists. Techniques such as trapping, darting, radio collaring and tissue sampling, caused stress and made them more susceptible to rabies.

Extract ID: 1332

See also

Reuter, Henry J. Official Touring Guide to East Africa: 1967 International Travel Year
Page Number: 069
Extract Date: 1967

Serengeti National Park

Serengeti National Park, (Park entry- fees residents 201/- per day. Cars 10/- per day).

Serengeti - a name that seems to conjure up all that is wildest in wildest Africa - is 5,600 square miles of plainsland, reachable from Dar es Salaam, Mombasa, or from Nairobi, via Arusha, Its Northern boundary joins the Mara Game Reserve of Kenya, to the West, the Park stretches in a long corridor to within five miles of Lake Victoria, and on its Eastern boundary lies Masailand, with its famous Ngorongoro Crater.

From Arusha, it is a relatively easy 208 mile drive on all-weather roads to the Seronera Game Lodge, on the Western side of the Serengeti plains. Alternatively, you can fly to the Seronera strip, which will take aircraft to the size of a Douglas D.C. 3.

The Lodge has 64 beds, 24 of which are under canvas. Full catering facilities are available, and there is a fully licensed bar. The Lodge tariff varies according to the season.

From July 15th to September 15th, and December 15th to April 15th a double room or tent with full catering costs 80/- per day per person; a single room or tent with full catering is 90/- per day; and the daily tariff for children under 12, sharing, is 40/-.

In the "off season" - September 16th to December 14th and April 16th to July 14th - the prices are reduced to 65/- per person per day for a double room or tent with full catering; 75/- per day for a single room or tent with full catering; and 35/- for children under 12. A new lodge to cater for 100 visitors, will be built shortly in the National Park.

The Lodge is a wonderful centre for game viewing. Within the park, the country varies from the vast, treeless central Serengeti plains and savanna-type stretches, dotted with flat-topped Acacia trees interspersed with magnificent rock outcrops, to riverine bush, thick scrub and forest, in the North and along the Mara River.

Streams, rivers and small swamps and lakes all add to the fascinating variety of scenery. Altitudes range from 3,000 to 6,000 ft.

The outstanding feature of the area is, of course, its fauna. It contains the greatest remaining concentration of plains game in Africa, and on a scale which has no parallel anywhere in the world. The most abundant herbivores are:

Wildebeeste 330,000

Zebra 150,000

Thomson's Gazelle 60,000

Grant's Gazelle 40,000

Topi 20,000

Buffalo 20,000

Giraffe 19,000

Impala 10,000

Eland 5,000

Hartebeest 5,000

In addition, there are hundreds of hippopotami, dik-dik, steinbuck, klipspringer, oribi, warthog, reedbuck, waterbuck, and rather fewer roan-antelope, duiker, and rhinoceros, which live in their somewhat restricted habitats in the region. Elephant, occasionally exceeding 1,000 in number, frequent the area.

Serengeti is also famed for its lions, and contains a wide selection of bird life. It is world famous for its annual game migrations, which usually take place in May and June.

Then the wildebeeste and zebra move from the central plains to the permanent water of the Western corridor. The great herds gather and then move steadily westwards, forming a column six or seven abreast and sometimes several miles long � one of the unique sights of Africa.

At the tail end of the procession come the cripples and those too old to keep up with the rest, often falling victim to the inevitable following of lion and other camivora.

The great procession passes through the central ltonjo Range, and gradually disperses throughout the length and breadth of the corridor, until many of its number spill over the park boundaries.

Extract ID: 3470

See also

Turner, Myles My Serengeti Years
Page Number: 187
Extract Date: 1967

unusually hot, dry months

January and February 1967 were unusually hot, dry months in the Serengeti.

Extract ID: 1353

See also

Turner, Myles My Serengeti Years
Page Number: 188
Extract Date: 1967 December

Exceptionally heavy short rains

Exceptionally heavy short rains fell in December 1967...

Extract ID: 1354

See also

Turner, Myles My Serengeti Years
Page Number: 120
Extract Date: 1968

the Director decided that something more palatial was needed

In 1968 the Director decided that something more palatial was needed to accommodate the heavy inflow of VIP�s visiting the Park. A well-known firm of Nairobi architects was given the job of designing it with no expense spared. The was to be the guest house to end all guest houses - a superb new Taj Mahal. It stands today near the old Taj and every effort was made by Les Talbot, the best construction engineer the Parks ever had, to make it perfect.

Extract ID: 1331

See also

Matthiessen, Peter African Silences
Page Number: 217
Extract Date: 1987

Serengeti was my ultimate destination

The Serengeti Plain is a hundred miles across. Flying low over its western reaches, the plane dodges the vultures that attend the endless herds of wildebeest and zebra that scatter away across green grass below. Hyenas in a ditch, a lone male lion. Thousands of wildebeest are streaming across the plain south of the high rock island known as Simba Kopje, near the long road that comes into the park from Ngorongoro and Olduvai Gorge. Nowhere on the Serengeti, in this high tourist season between rains, do we see dust raised by a vehicle, not even one. More ominous still on a hundred-mile west-east traverse of the whole park, not one elephant is seen where years ago I saw five hundred in a single herd. "Poachers," Jonah said. "The Serengeti elephants are down seventy-five percent. What's left of them are mostly in the north, toward the Masai Mara."

He travelled in 1961 and 1969 and stayed in and around the Serengeti, the Crater Highlands, and the Arusha National Park, writing the classic book "The Tree Where Man was Born"

Extract ID: 589

See also

Caro, T.M Map of the Serengeti National Park

Map of the Serengeti National Park

Extract ID: 3973

See also

Caro, T.M Map of the Serengeti National Park

Map of the Serengeti National Park - enlargement

Extract ID: 3974

See also

Sinclair, A.R.E and Arcese, Peter M (Editors) Serengeti II: Dynamics, Management, and Conservation of an Ecosystem

Border with Kenya closed. 70,000 tourists in 1976; 10,000 . . .

Border with Kenya closed. 70,000 tourists in 1976; 10,000 in 1977

Extract ID: 1333

See also

Turner, Kay Serengeti Home
Page Number: ii

Extract ID: 4251

See also

Source Unknown

Major Wildlife Census

Major Wildlife Census

Extract ID: 923

See also

Sinclair, A.R.E and Arcese, Peter M (Editors) Serengeti II: Dynamics, Management, and Conservation of an Ecosystem

Partial re-opening of the border for tourism

Partial re-opening of the border for tourism.

Extract ID: 1334

See also

Fetner, P. Jay The African Safari: The Ultimate Wildlife and Photographic Adventure

'The world as it was at the beginning'

'This is the world as it was at the beginning'

Sign at the entrance to the Park, according to:

Extract ID: 1335

See also

Turner, Myles My Serengeti Years
Page Number: 038
Extract Date: 1988

Extract ID: 4250

See also

Turner, Myles My Serengeti Years
Page Number: viii
Extract Date: 1988

Extract ID: 4249

See also

Toto Africa
Extract Date: 1990


Album: Past to Present

I hear the drums echoing tonight

But she hears only whispers of some quiet conversation

She�s coming in 12:30 flight

The moonlit wings reflect the stars that guide me towards salvation

I stopped an old man along the way

Hoping to find some long forgotten words or ancient melodies

He turned to me as if to say, hurry boy, it�s waiting there for you


It�s gonna take a lot to drag me away from you

There�s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do

I bless the rains down in africa

Gonna take some time to do the things we never had

The wild dogs cry out in the night

As they grow restless longing for some solitary company

I know that I must do what�s right

Sure as Kilimanjaro rises like olympus above the serengeti

I seek to cure what�s deep inside, frightened of this thing that I�ve become


(instrumental break)

Hurry boy, she�s waiting there for you

It�s gonna take a lot to drag me away from you

There�s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do

I bless the rains down in africa, I bless the rains down in africa

I bless the rains down in africa, I bless the rains down in africa

I bless the rains down in africa

Gonna take some time to do the things we never had

Extract ID: 4778

See also

Hoopoe Maps

Serengeti National Park - Dry Season

Extract ID: 3959

See also

Hoopoe Maps

Serengeti National Park - Wet Season

Extract ID: 3958

external link

See also

Claytor, Tom Bushpilot
Extract Author: Tom Claytor
Page Number: 19b
Extract Date: 1996 08 Jul

visiting Baron Hugo van Lawick

I land at lake Ndutu to visit Baron Hugo van Lawick. I first met Hugo when I was working on a film called 'Serengeti Dairy' for National Geographic. The film was a celebration of his 25th year living and filming wildlife in the Serengeti, and I was part of the crew that tried to capture this place from the air. I park the plane in an empty cage designed to keep the hyenas and lions from chewing the tires, and soon a vehicle arrives to collect me. When I arrive in camp, Hugo comes out to greet me. He is in a wheelchair, and we sit by his tent looking out over the lake and drinking tea.

The nice thing about this part of the world is that traveling is so difficult that one does not usually get a lot of visitors. A visitor brings news from the outside world, and this is something that one can yearn for. Hugo first came to Africa in 1959, because he wanted to film animals. He came for two years, and he never left. He made lecture films for Louis Leakey and at age 24 shot the photographs for the articles on the Leakey's work in Africa. He was married to Jane Goodall for 10 years, and he has spent most of his life observing and recording wildlife through a lens. He is having trouble breathing with his emphysema now, but he wastes no time in filling me in on what has been happening. It seems all the wild dogs have all been exterminated by rabies brought in by the Maasai dogs; the lion numbers are down due to feline distemper, and so the cheetah numbers are up. The bat-eared foxes have been hit by rabies, and the poaching is still bad on the western boundary. According to Hugo, some people there have never tasted cow meat, only wild game meat. There are snares everywhere along that boundary, and the park used to feel very big when there weren't so many tourists. Hugo relays all this news as one might talk about the traffic jams on the way to work, and I have to quietly smile as I listen.

He then tells me about the pilot Bill Stedman who crashed his motor glider while coming in to land here last year. He was working on Hugo's film 'The Leopard Sun'; the plane just dropped out of the sky, and Bill was dead. We both pause and looked out across the lake. I ask Hugo if he remembers when we landed on that lake and built a fire on the edge as part of our 'camping scene' for the film. He remembers and chuckles about this. I was arrested shortly after that back in Seronera by armed scouts. They took me to the park warden's office, but I had no idea why. I was asked what I had done the previous day, and I explained that we had been filming by the lake and had landed on its edge. A little man confirmed that I had landed on the edge of the lake, and then I was released because I had told the truth. I was still a little confused by all this. I was told that they were going to 'compound' me and the plane, but that since I had told the truth, I would now only have to pay a fine. I shuddered to think what this fine would be, but it was only 1,500 Tanzanian Shillings (about $3).

Extract ID: 3657

external link

See also

Claytor, Tom Bushpilot
Extract Author: Tom Claytor
Page Number: 19f
Extract Date: 1996 08 Jul


Long before the sun rises, Tracy Robb and I have left camp to prepare her balloon. The clients arrive and we are airborne drifting across the Serengeti. From up here, the Serengeti comes alive. It is covered with animals. On the ground, the wind is from the south, and as we increase in altitude the wind comes from the east. The higher we go the more we turn to the left. This is how she steers. In the northern hemisphere it is the opposite; you will turn to the right with height. Tracy is from South Africa, and ballooning is her passion. I find my eyes are fixed to the ground as we drift along. The wildlife below is looking up at us, not knowing whether to watch or run as we pass.

Back on the ground, I am starting to notice that there are more female researchers than male researchers here. I feel a little bit like a Thompson's gazelle surrounded by cheetahs, and I am not sure that I am very comfortable about it. This surprises me, because I would have imagined that I wouldn't mind the attention, but this is different. I think males naturally like to hunt their prey or their mates, but they aren't so keen to have it the other way around. I find myself trying to avoid places and situations where I might be hunted. This is certainly a new experience for me, and I soon find security with John wildebeest.

John tells me that before the Drought of 1993, there were 1.6 million wildebeest. Now, there are .9 million. There are a quarter million zebra and a half million Thompson's gazelle. John conducts his research by putting grass on a one meter square platform sled and dragging it up to a group of gazelle. He doesn't stop his vehicle, so as not to frighten the gazelle, but he releases the sled. The idea is that the gazelle will then come up and feed off the sled. He can then compare the weight of the grass before and after they have fed. So far this hasn't worked, because the gazelle haven't fed of the platform, but John remains optimistic.

Late in the afternoon, I sit east of Seronera and watch the sun set over the horizon. After the sun goes down, the sky turns a brilliant red as the sun shines up on the base of the clouds. Normally, the sun sets quite quickly along the equator, but this red glow continues for a full 15 minutes as the surrounding darkness envelopes me. This is taking far too long. I study this until I become convinced that I have made a great discovery. The sun must surely be reflecting off of Lake Victoria like a mirror and bouncing back up into the sky. I cannot imagine any other explanation for what I am seeing, but unfortunately no one thinks this is possible.

Extract ID: 3661

external link

See also

Africa Online
Extract Date: 1996

the government's move to tighten security

� 1996, Features Africa Network All rights reserved Distributed by Africa Online, Inc.

The US and the Italian envoys in Dar es Salaam have welcomed the government's move to tighten security in Tanzania's national parks. The move comes in the wake of an attack on two women tourists and a driver in Serengeti by a gang of robbers in an ambush. One of the women in the September 8 attack later died.

In a recent press conference, the Minister for Tourism and Natural Resources, Dr. Juma Ngasongwa, said security measures taken by the government included increasing the number of rangers in the national parks, training them to combat banditry under a Zimbabwean expert already in Tanzania and the deployment of more police to reinforce ranger patrols.

Extract ID: 1336

See also

Source Unknown

el nino rains

Extract ID: 924

See also

Arusha Times
Extract Author: Said Njuki
Extract Date: 14 April 2001

Serengeti attracts over 300,000 visitors

The Serengeti National Park has handled a total of 310,550 visitors in the last three years.

According to the Serengeti Chief Conservator, Eunice Msangi between 1998 and 2000 a total of 198,206 foreign visitors and 112,238 local ones have visited the park.

Ms Msangi revealed that between 1997 and 1998, a total of 91,763 tourists visited Serengeti, 60,806 of whom being foreigners. Between 1998 and 1999, the park received 103,168 visitors and only 37,522 of them were local tourists.

In the period between 1999 and 2000, a total of 115,624 visitors toured Serengeti, and 71,754 of them were foreign tourists.

She remarked that the number of tourists visiting the park has been increasing with each passing year and called upon the hotel owners and campsites operators operating in the park to improve the quality of their services in order to attract more visitors.

The Serengeti National Park boasts over 70camp sites and some hotels such as Sopa Lodges and Serena Hotels.

The conservator also expressed her concern to the fact that, local residents never seem to have much interest in their national parks and wildlife as whole. She however noted that, local companies have never tried to promote these tourists attractions locally adding that staggering costs of visiting national parks also serve to scare local visitors away.

Serengeti is one of the national reserves with many attractive features such as the great animal migration.

Extract ID: 3129

See also

Seal, Jeremy Safari revelations in Tanzania
Extract Author: Jeremy Seal
Extract Date: 1999 May 29

Tanzania's game parks are among the wildest, biggest, best stocked and least visited in Africa

Virgin Net Travel guide. Copyright 1999 Times Newspapers Ltd.

Our naturalist guide pointed at a sprig of wild asparagus in the half light. 'Tanzanian Viagra,' he proclaimed. But, at 6.30am, most of our walking group, still swallowing dawn-call muffins and tea, had our minds on things other than the saucier contents of the Serengeti's natural medicine cabinet.

The bark and leaves of flora such as acacias and combreta may combat everything from impotence and venereal disease to cataracts, labour pains and cattleworm, but the armed guard who had moved ahead of us to check thickets of deep bush for any lurking mega fauna served as a useful reminder - better to rely instead on a dose of caution, an eye for climbable trees and, finally, your guard's AK47 if it comes to about a ton of single-minded buffalo charging at you out of the dawn.

Tanzania may have arrived late in the play for the international safari market, but it has been quick to acquire a strong hand. While still lagging in the specialised markets - you'd probably choose Botswana for horseback safaris, Zambia for walking safaris, and South Africa or Kenya for private wildlife ranches and farms - the country has impeccable core credentials .

Its national parks, among the wildest, biggest and best- stocked in Africa, are also some of the least visited. The sort of Land Rover scrums that have recently been disrupting the hunting strategies of cheetah and driving them to the verge of starvation in Kenya's Masai Mara reserve (with its 36 lodges and tented camps) is not an issue in Tanzania's vast, adjoining Serengeti, which has seven such establishments in eight times the space - an area the size of Northern Ireland.

Tanzania is also largely free of the crime and ethnic and political unrest that Kenya, its East African neighbour, is currently suffering. Even the bomb that exploded in Dar es Salaam last August, taking 11 lives, was on a different scale to the devastation simultaneously wrought on Nairobi - and Kenya's tourism industry.

Our dawn walk was taking us across the same landscape I had savoured from my hammock during the previous afternoon's siesta: lurid purple Roupell's starlings and scented yellow flowering acacia trees which gave way to the Ndabaka Plains in the middle distance; a classic Serengeti expanse dotted with umbrella thorns, stately giraffes and skittish wildebeest.

This will do, I thought; my hammock was slung from the veranda of my raised tent at Kirawira camp, an unobtrusive hillside haven in the Serengeti's western corridor that confounds Tanzania's reputation for unremarkable bush accommodation.

Kirawira is a winning synthesis of eccentric Edwardian luxury, hammock simplicity and excellent food. There is a huge marquee of a bar, complete with library, comfy leather, armchairs and even an old gramophone which could play a 78 of Begin the Beguine if a frog had not interfered with the acoustics by moving into the megaphone.

My morning apprehensions soon faded as the only buffalos we encountered were in distant, docile, just-awoken herds. I was beginning to enjoy myself. We also saw wildebeest, impalas and giraffes, baboons, hyenas and even, briefly, an elusive serval cat loping for cover.

Derry Hanratty, from Worcester, who has safaried extensively in South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe, was impressed. 'I've never seen such truly wild country,' he marvelled. 'Nor such quantities of game.'

'Then he should have been here three months ago,' said Julian Nicholls, camp manager at Kirawira. The Serengeti's annual migration, when wildebeest and other plains game follow the clockwise movement of the rains in search of fresh pastures, had been in August - later than usual because of this year's exceptional spring rains. 'For days on end,' Nicholls recalled, 'the plains around the camp were black with a million migrating wildebeest. The sound and smell was unforgettable.'

There were also wildebeest kills by the notorious 20ft crocodiles as the great herds crossed the nearby Grumeti River: a brutal if spellbinding spectacle seen by Kirawira guests on 35 separate occasions during the migration.

Among Tanzania's many attractions, the exotic island of Zanzibar is currently enjoying a feverish vogue. Then there are Ruaha and Selous, the remote wildlife areas to the south, currently attracting increasing numbers of visitors. Even the hard-to-reach chimpanzee sanctuaries in the far west are featuring on the more interesting itineraries. But the northern circuit - Lake Manyara, the Ngorongoro Crater, and the Serengeti - deservedly remains the country's prime attraction.

The Serena hotel group, which cut its teeth on the safari accommodation business in Kenya, moved into northern Tanzania two years ago. It built fine lodges at Manyara, Ngorongoro and Seronera in central Serengeti as well as the camp at Kirawira, doing much to enhance accommodation options in the area.

Our first stop, the Serena lodge at Manyara, is perched on the escarpment high above the Rift Valley, with memorable views of Manyara Lake and the adjoining national park, famed for its elephants and tree-climbing lions. The skyline setting of the ethnic-style rondavel huts may bear a bizarre resemblance to Don Quixote's La Mancha windmills, but the surroundings have been enchantingly landscaped with thick-trunked baobabs, desert roses, aloes and acacias, and there's a sublimely-sited swimming pool where crimson-rumped waxbills bathe and minature dik-dik antelopes come to drink.

We drove north across the Mbulu highlands and its scattered holdings of wheat, maize and coffee. Then we were climbing through the mist-fingered rainforest that clings to the outer slopes of Ngorongoro, a collapsed volcanic peak that has left a vast crater 12 miles across.

From the crater rim this great amphitheatre unfolded before us like a model landscape viewed in some developer's office. All Africa seemed to have been included; the fever trees of the Lerai Forest, the lake tinged pink with blooms of distant flamingos, a white-watered stream running through a swamp to a hippo pool, a rash of hillocks, and the plains running to the crater walls on all sides. With our binoculars, we could even make out a distant lion, a dark-maned male strolling across a bone-white salt flat.

It's not hard to see why Ngorongoro has attracted perjoratives for the simplicity it brings to game viewing. It's also true that the crater can swarm with safari vehicles, which can at the very least be unsettling in empty Tanzania.

Still, the sheer profusion of wildlife that we saw in the crater the following day - lions, hartebeest and elands, vervet monkeys strumming their flea-ridden stomachs at the foot of the fever trees, countless birds, including fish eagles, kori bustards, pelicans and flamingos, even a solitary rhino - caused the biggest gasps from the travellers in our Land Rover.

The long road north wound down from the Ngorongoro highlands towards the Serengeti. Groups of young Masai men stood swathed in black robes, their faces made up in white.

Their dress signified they were on the threshold of manhood, our driver explained. (Their roadside presence suggested they had also rumbled the dollar potential of their photogenic appeal.) Then the Serengeti engulfed us, board-flat except for the rocky kopjes, small hills rising like islands where lions sat, castaways vigilantly scanning the horizon for topi antelopes.

On our last morning at Kirawira, our Land Rover came across a straggle of plump lionesses leaving a recent wildebeest kill. Five jackals were quick to take their place. A solitary hyena, with a pronounced limp which heightened his natural lack of confidence, approached in a series of tangential hops until the jackals scattered and he reached the remains, the ribcage bright red and fanned like the feathers of some fallen Indian headdress.

True to his nature, the hyena hauled off the most unappetising piece, a hindleg from which the tail hung like a moth-eaten fly-swat. We were on our way to our own breakfast, a lavish bush affair of champagne and pancakes, eggs and bacon, taken in the shade of a huge umbrella thorn. An hour later, when we passed the recent kill, only the horns and a ragged hem of hide remained.

Safari revelations in Tanzania

Jeremy Seal travelled with Serena Hotels, S.A. Alliance Air and Southern Africa Travel. S.A. Alliance Air (0181-944 5012) flies to Kilimanjaro via Dar-es-Salaam in conjunction with Air Tanzania from �540 return including tax. Serena Hotels (00 255 57 41 58, has five lodge, hotel and camp properties in Tanzania. Full board starts at �120 a night.

Jeremy Seal's trip was arranged by Southern Africa Travel (01483 419133). A typical two-week package to Tanzania, including flights, accommodation and transport, costs around �3,640 per person. Nine-day packages start at �1,610 per person.

When to go: The Serengeti migration takes place in July or August - it is hard to predict exactly when. Rainy season is from December to May: the heavy rains, to be avoided, fall in March.

Health precautions: A yellow fever inoculation certificate is required for entry to Tanzania. Anti-malarial medication is also essential. Recommended shots - ideally starting several weeks before departure - typhoid, tetanus, cholera, hepatitis A and polio. Pack good sunglasses, high-protection sun cream and insect repellent.

Red tape: British passport holders require a visa (�38) from the Tanzanian High Commission (0171-499 8951), 43 Hertford St, London W1. Open 10am-12.30am weekdays.

Reading: The East Africa Handbook (Footprint, �14.99) is a solid and reliable guide (also available through The Times Bookshop for �13.99 with free p & p. Call 0870-160 8080). But there are also several books on Tanzania alone, such as the colourful Nelles Guide Tanzania (�8.95).

Further information: Tanzanian Tourist Centre (0171-407 0566); Serena Hotels' website at

Extract ID: 1499

See also

Africa News Online
Extract Author: Nicodemus Odhiambo
Extract Date: 1999 October 29

Tanzanian Authorities Crackdown On Poachers

Copyright (c) 1999 Panafrican News Agency

Wildlife authorities have launched a massive crackdown on poachers in Tanzania's national parks, amid reports that the country had lost 35 percent of its wildlife population in the past five years.

A total of 4,333 arrests have been made in the sprawling Serengeti National Park, in Mara region, northern Tanzania, in the last four years alone.

Authorities also recovered a total of 24 guns, 100 hunting dogs, 32 axes and 673 machetes during the same period in the world-famous Serengeti.

The crackdown comes at a time when speculators say that the country's wildlife had plummeted tremendously.

A recent report in the British newspaper, The Guardian, said that animal population in Tanzania had dropped to an 'unsustainable' point.

Independent sources say that the population of rhinos in the south-eastern Seolous Game park alone had declined from 2,000 in 1970 to less than 150 three years ago.

Government officials, however, say that the number of elephants there had risen from 30,000 to 57,000 within 10 years. As a measure to curb the Poaching menace, park wardens are currently being retrained in skills that would help them fight off sophisticated poacher weaponry, the Tanzania National Parks Authority, said.

The authority's director-general, Gerald Bigurube, said that the body was also enlisting the support of villagers to betray the poachers before they struck. In the Selous Game Reserve, 45 villages are now engaged in the protection of the wild animals on their land.

Village scouts are assisting the Selous game authorities to combat Poaching in return for an income which the villages deploy in development projects.

Similar efforts are being employed by the Kilimanjaro National Park Authority where Poaching, especially of bushbuck and buffalo, is very rampant.

Confirming that Poaching is rampant in the region, the authority's chief park warden, L. ole Moirana, said game trophies found their way to markets abroad while game meat was often supplied to local butchers.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that game wardens often work in difficult and at times dangerous situations without necessary logistics like weapons and radio equipment.

Compared to the 1980s, authorities are, however, elated that elephant Poaching has at least been brought to a bare minimum.

The incidents had been so rampant in the Selous that a special campaign code- named 'Operation Uhai' (operation life) was launched to avert the slaughter of further beasts.

As the largest protected area in the world and home to over half of Tanzania's elephants, the Selous is a big attraction to tourists.

Extract ID: 1442

See also

McNaughton, Samuel J. A General Tour of the Serengeti National Park

Because of the altitude, the temperature is always pleasant.

Daytime high temperatures average a balmy 28o C (81o F), so you can work up a sweat in the sun, and nights are a cool 14o C (57o F), so you sleep under a blanket most nights. Because the humidity is low, seeking shade can rapidly cool off daytime sweat.

But there are strong seasons here. Seasons are not temperature-dependent. Seasons here are rainfall-dependent; a rainy season, and a dry season. The rainy season is normally from November through May, the dry season from June through October. This seasonality is due to the movement of the Intertropical Convergence Zone, a low-pressure system that oscillates over the Equator. When it is directly over the region, rainfall is heavy. However, the strength of seasonality is greatest in the SE, where the Serengeti Plains lie, and least in the NW, where the Isuria Escarpment rises above the plains. There is a rainfall gradient from below 400 mm (16 inches) annually in the SE to above 1100 mm (43") in the NW.

This rainfall gradient is accompanied by a gradient in length of the growing season, around 70 days in the arid SE, while it is near year round in the subhumid NW. Rainstorms are typically due to convective clouds that begin forming in late morning, then condense to a level leading to rain, often resulting in violent downpours in mid-afternoon, then dissipating afterward, leading to sunny evenings.

The map shows isolines of rainfall in centimeters (an inch = roughly two and -Serengeti Rainfall Gradients a half cm) and the annual movements of the migratory herds in relation to the rain gradient. The migrants spend the rainy season, when most young are born, at the lowest end of the gradient. They move toward the west and north between seasons, and spend the peak of the dry season in the far NW, the wettest part of the region.

Extract ID: 3924

See also

Kapuscinski, Ryszard, trans Glowczewsk, Klara The Shadow of the Sun
Page Number: 043

Witnessing the birth of the world

Tall grasses, thick fleecy shrubs, spreading umbrella trees. It's this all the way to Kilimanjaro and the two little towns nearby, Moshi and Arusha. In Arusha we turned west, toward Lake Victoria. Two hundred kilometers on, the problems started. We drove onto the enormous plains of the Serengeti, the largest concentration of wild animals on earth. Everywhere you look, huge herds of zebras, antelopes, buffalo, giraffes. And all of them are grazing, frisking, frollicking, galloping. Right by the side of the road, motionless lions; a bit farther, a group of elephants; and farther still on the horizon, a leopard running in huge bounds. It's all improbable, incredible. As if one were witnessing the birth of the world, that precise moment when the earth and sky already exist, as do water, plants, and wild animals, but not yet Adam and Eve. It is this world barely born, the world without mankind and hence also without sin, that one can imagine seeing here.

Extract ID: 3162

See also

Sher, Antony The greatest show on earth
Extract Author: Antony Sher
Page Number: 2
Extract Date: 2002, Feb 18

The greatest show on earth - Kusini

We move on to the Serengeti. Kusini Camp. Posh tent accommodation set among spectacular prehistoric boulders. The manager is also our safari guide: Colin McConnell - Kenyan born, a rugby forward with specs and a sense of humour.

The Serengeti is my idea of fantasy Africa: vast savannahs dotted with herds in such numbers they look like insects, the horizons so wide you think you can see the curvature of the earth itself, and those infinitely high skies occasionally brushing the land with dark skirts of rain. Here again we have terrific sightings - like the gang of adolescent male lions we called The Magnificent Seven and drove alongside for an hour or so - but in the end it's a tiny and insignificant animal that becomes the real star of the trip.

That morning we had stopped to breakfast on a bleak stretch of plains. As far as you could see in either direction was a migrating herd of wildebeest. They trudged past in single file, heads down, with a determined fatalistic look. "Like the queue for the ladies at Stratford," said Greg.

Richard was helping Colin load the hampers back on to the jeep when we suddenly heard him exclaim, "And where on earth have you come from?" There was a miniature green chameleon on the running board, its bright orange mouth open and hissing. Colin thought it could have been knocked into the vehicle when we set off at camp, reversing under some trees. Because the Serengeti is a singularly flat landscape, we decided to transport the creature home, and christened him Kermit - the facial resemblance was uncanny. As we set off, and now resident on Greg's forefinger, Kermit began to wildly swivel his bulbous eyes in separate directions, as though desperately scanning his colour chart for flesh and finding nothing there. Then he realised there was no danger and relaxed.

This being the season of the short rains, plagues of flies had been hatching daily and tormenting us. Now was our chance for revenge. As one unsuspecting customer landed on Greg's knee, he shifted it within Kermit's reach. The long tongue shot out. And again, and again. "That's five. That's six!" Greg reported, aghast. As Colin rightly pointed out, "Given his size, that's like you or me eating six turkeys."

By the time we got back to camp, Greg was smitten. When he carried Kermit over to the nearest tree to say his farewells, the scene began to resemble Joy Adamson's parting with Elsa. Richard whispered: "I think we should leave them alone," and guided me away.

Extract ID: 3580

external link

See also

Guardian (UK)
Extract Author: Tim Radford, science editor
Extract Date: August 23, 2002

Dark secret that gives male lions a head start

Gentlemen may prefer blondes but lionesses go for males with dark and bouffant manes, researchers report today.

But the alpha males pay a price. They may get the lion's share of the lionesses, but they also take the heat. Dark colours absorb sunlight, pale colours reflect it.

Peyton West, an ecologist at the University of Minnesota, said: "A male with a dark mane may have to work harder to stay cool, behaviourally or physiologically, and is advertising that toughness, along with his toughness in battle.

"Dark colour tends to be found in high testosterone males. Therefore, it isn't surprising that females prefer darker manes, and males would be intimidated."

Ms West reports today in the US journal Science that she and a colleague, Craig Packer, devised a test, setting up pairs of dummy lions in the Serengeti plain of Tanzania, then broadcasting sounds of hyenas eating at a kill - a sure way of ringing the dinner gong for lions. Given a choice of long and short manes, males approached the short-maned dummy nine out of 10 times.

Confronted with light or dark manes, males went for the light one. Lionesses, however, showed a distinct preference for dark manes, nine out of 10 times. And over the long term, when females had a choice of males, they selected the darkest mane in 13 out of 14 cases. Darker manes also had higher testosterone levels.

The research might help conservation. "As climate changes, things like manes, brightness of bird plumage and size of deer antlers may be sensitive bio-indicators," Prof Packer said. "They can tell how well an animal is doing in the environment."

Sexual Selection, Temperature, and the Lion's Mane

Peyton M. West and Craig Packer

Science 2002 August 23; 297: 1339-1343.

Extract ID: 3561

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nTZ Feedback
Extract Author: Steve G. Finegan
Extract Date: 7 Oct 2002

Ngare Nanyuki River

In the Serengeti National Park, did the short rains commence more or

less at the end of October, first of November in the year 2000, or were they

early or late that year. Thanks in advance. Steve

Steve G. Finegan

Creative Director, Writer, Producer

StoriedLearning Incorporated

Puzzled for why you are interested in year 2000 info.

At you can find rain

information for Ndutu Safari lodge which is on the border of the

Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Conservation area. Select October and you

will see that in 2000 they had 6.9mm and 2 wet days - much less than

Oct in 2001. Conversely, November was much wetter in 2000 than 2001.

The Ndutu newsletter for December 2000 records "The rains have arrived!

The first drops of rain finally fell in the middle of November. We had

a total of 89.5mm making it one of the best Novembers in terms of


Of course rainfall is very varied, and one place can be wet while

another remains dry. This September many places in Northern Tanzania

were subject to torrential rain, whilst Ndutu only had 4.6mm (on the


Please let me know if you are able to find rainfall information for

other places in the Serengeti.



ps must declare an interest - I maintain the Ndutu web site.


I'm writing a novel which is set, in part, near the Ngare Nanyuki River, south of the river and several miles east of Turner Springs in late Oct., early Nov. of 2000. It's kind of important for me to have a solid thundershower in this area about this time of year; if it's even plausible, I'll go with it. But I don't want readers saying, "Hey! I was there and that was a drought year!" Just striving for accuracy. Thanks for your help.

Extract ID: 4113

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2003 Publishes: Nangale, George Serengeti Today

Extract ID: 4437

See also

Newman, Owen Cats Under Serengeti Stars

Natural World - Ultimate Wild Night

Nomination details from Wildlife Film Festival 2004






49:00 Minutes


The night-time world is still rarely explored but with stunning images and a breath-taking sound-track, this is the story of one night in Africa. The starring role is a caracal cat that�s battling to find food for her three kittens. The bright moon is against her and some of her neighbours are dangerous. As the night unfolds, we meet other animals, many of whom have never been filmed before. There are wild cats, serval cats, lions, leopards, aardvarks and zorillas; the drama increases as our heroine tries to save her kittens from some of the most dangerous animals around.




Series Producer

Michael Gunton


Owen Newman & Amanda Barrett


Owen Newman


Owen Newman


Owen Newman


Stuart Napier


Amanda Barrett


John Alder


Charlotte Rampling

Sound Editor

Lucy Rutherford

Sound Mix

Andrew Wilson

Extract ID: 4769

See also

Philip Briggs Northern Tanzania: The Bradt Safari Guide with Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar
Extract Date: March 2006

Author's Note, by Philip Briggs

Tanzania/Kenya, savannah, Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem

This vast cross-border ecosystem, centred on Tanzania�s Serengeti National Park and Kenya�s abutting Maasai Mara Reserve, is Africa�s premier game viewing destination - no ifs or buts about it!

Impressive on every conceivable level, the Serengeti-Mara is surely without equal for predators. Trademark blond-maned lions lounge nonchalantly in the shade, solitary cheetahs pace the open plains, hyenas lope and sniff around their subterranean dens � even leopard are seen regularly in specific areas. Smaller plains residents include the dainty bat-eared fox, all three African jackal species, and half-a-dozen endemic birds, while punctuating koppies (granite outcrops) are frequented by the colourful agama lizard, scurrying rock hyrax and dainty klipspringer.

A great many upmarket lodges - some say too many - operate on both sides of the border, ranging from impersonal �hotels in the bush� to intimate luxury tented camps. Somewhat obtusely, crossing directly between the Mara and Serengeti is forbidden, so most visitors opt for one or other reserve/country. For pure game viewing, the Mara possibly has the edge, but the Serengeti is more extensive, with remote corners such as Lobo and the Western Corridor still carrying remarkably little tourist traffic. If it�s wildebeest you�re after, December to March is when they calve in the southern Serengeti, moving northward through Lobo or the Western Corridor over May to July, then concentrating in the Mara from August to October.

Extract ID: 5134

See also

Poole, Robert M Heartbreak on the Serengeti
Extract Date: Feb 2006

Heartbreak on the Serengeti

The Maasai people of East Africa, who have always gone their own way, do not count the years as others do. For them each 12-month span contains two years�a year of plenty, olaari, coinciding with the rainy season on the immense Serengeti Plain and Crater Highlands of Tanzania, followed by a year of hunger, olameyu, commencing when the rains cease, the streams run dry, and the great wildebeest migration, more than a million strong, thunders off toward the north in search of food and water. Then the Serengeti grass turns the color of toast and crackles underfoot, and the Maasai herd boys and warriors embark on long, loping marathons to find sustenance for their beloved cattle, which remain the measure of wealth and well-being in this pastoral society.

The year of hunger was several weeks old by mid-July, when the clouds tumbled and split over Ngorongoro Crater, illuminating a drama already in progress on the crater floor.

There in the yellow light a pride of lions padded up out of a streambed, intent on a herd of grazing zebras; a lone hyena, big shouldered and narrow hipped, maneuvered among skittish warthogs; and a pair of cheetahs sat alert in tall grass, almost invisible as they scrutinized a hundred Thomson's gazelles with professional interest. Sharp-eyed vultures surveyed the morning from above, wheeling through white salt clouds whipped up from Lake Magadi.

The night belonged to the animals, but morning brought people down into the crater�Maasai to water and browse their hundreds of cattle, biologists to study the rhythms of life among elephants and lions, tourists to ogle the Maasai herders and the varied wildlife for which this part of East Africa is justifiably famous. People, wildlife, and livestock all converged here on a typical day, living in a workable�but inevitably wary�coexistence.

The first cattle appeared about eight o'clock, inching in single file down the steep, narrow track to the crater floor, urged along by a Maasai warrior named Moma, who would walk for 12 hours with his herd on this long day. A red cumulus of dust marked Moma's progress down the escarpment trail; he made a melody of clanging cowbells, singing, and urgent whistling, which grew louder as he trudged into view, first to arrive on the crater floor. Like most Maasai, he was lean from a meager diet and much walking, and he looked like a biblical prophet in his dusty sandals and red toga, which billowed and flapped in the cold wind. He carried a long spear in one hand as he whistled his herd of 80 down to the spring, left them guzzling there, and strode over to take his measure of the pasty looking tourists who had just arrived in the crater, the first of hundreds who would spend the day there.

They brandished cameras when they saw Moma, who struck a proud pose with his spear, his plaited hair bright with beads and bars of aluminum that caught the sun, his earrings dangling from pendulous lobes, his skin smeared bright with animal fat.

"Man," cried a distinctly American voice behind one of the cameras, "this looks just like a National Geographic picture!" Moma stepped over to view his own image on the camera screen and to relieve his portraitist of a thousand Tanzanian shillings (about a dollar). He collected similar sums from two other tourists.

"What would you do if a lion attacked your cows?" someone asked.

"I would put this spear right in him!" Moma declared, banging his weapon on the ground to emphasize the heartfelt sentiment. Maasai have never been hunters, but they are fierce in their defense of the herd, and they kill a lion or two when circumstances require it.

Moma stuffed the shilling notes deep inside his robe and, morning rounds accomplished, reentered the world of his ancestors: a gaunt figure guiding his herd through another dry winter in a land haunted by lions and hunger. The khaki-clad tourists, meanwhile, popped open the top hatches of their Land Rovers, emerged from the roofs like tank commanders, and rumbled off in a haze of diesel fumes to hunt for other exotic sights.

They would find the wildlife thriving on their safari, much as it does elsewhere in the heart of Serengeti National Park and its companion Ngorongoro Conservation Area, contiguous protected regions comprising more than 8,000 square miles (21,000 square kilometers) of rolling grassland, acacia woodlands, and mist-draped volcanic highlands in northern Tanzania. This area sustains the largest community of migrating ungulates in the world, as well as its greatest concentrations of large predators.

Surveys show the wildebeest population at about 1.2 million, a recent high number for this keystone antelope species, which annually renews the Serengeti's pastures with its massive grazing, trampling, and droppings; the shaggy wildebeest also provides ready prey for lions, hyenas, and other predators. Healthy populations of zebras, numbering more than 200,000, hold steady throughout the region; elephants, which virtually vanished during the ivory-poaching days of the late 1980s, have bounced back, now totaling more than 2,000; black rhinos are stable; lions are on the upswing, numbering 3,500, despite earlier setbacks from disease; populations of impalas, topi, eland, gazelles, giraffes, and Cape buffalo are at healthy levels and rising. The only animals in decline seem to be the wild dog and the warthog. On a continent where much of the wildlife has been wiped out, the picture remains generally favorable in the protected areas.

"The Serengeti itself is in good health," said Christiane Schelten, a program officer with the Frankfurt Zoological Society, which advises the Tanzanian government on conservation. "It's intact, and it seems to be working."

It would be nice to end the story on that note, but the narrative becomes less hopeful when one exits the parks to explore the larger Serengeti-Mara ecosystem, where the future of the region's wildlife and people is being written. This larger area, defined by the annual wanderings of the wildebeest herd, wraps around the Serengeti, sprawling over some 10,400 square miles (26,900 square kilometers)of Tanzania and southwestern Kenya, from the Crater Highlands and Great Rift Valley in the east, across the grassy plains and woodlands of the Serengeti interior, westward down a narrow corridor of hills and scattered woodlands leading to Lake Victoria, and finally northward across the Kenya border to the Masai Mara National Reserve, a small but critical haven where migrating animals find plentiful forage and water in the dry season.

Once sparsely settled and hospitable to the Serengeti's wildlife, the ecosystem has shrunk to half its former size, eroded in the 20th century by booming human populations in Tanzania and Kenya. In Tanzania, where the numbers have tripled to more than 36 million since the country won its independence in the early 1960s, Serengeti and Ngorongoro have become islands of wilderness washed by a rising sea of humanity, with people pressing right up against the patchwork of game reserves and conserva-

tion areas that buffer the protected core. Land is at a premium in this poor country of farmers, where less than 5 percent of the earth is cultivated and a quarter of the land is reserved for parks. Almost 40 percent of the populace lives below the poverty line.

Day and night, people steal into Serengeti to poach wood for building and cooking and to hunt resident and migratory wildlife in increasing numbers. Their proximity to the park brings native Tanzanians into constant conflict with wildlife.

"You see more farms, more livestock, more cotton and rice cultivation moving toward the park each year," said Justin Hando, chief warden for Serengeti National Park. "People who used to live 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the park now live five or six kilometers (three or four miles) away�so it's much easier for them to engage in illegal activity. The animals from the park try to do what they have always done�they cross back and forth over the boundaries. The difference now is that the free movement of animals is no longer possible," said Hando. "They have more interaction with people."

That interaction is not always heartening. During several weeks of exploring the Serengeti and Ngorongoro region, I confirmed many reports of human-wildlife conflict�an elephant stomping and killing a villager armed with a bow and arrow in Robanda; black rhinos bolting in Ngorongoro Crater, where tourists in cars had approached too fast and too close, sending the animals fleeing; poachers setting out hundreds of wire snares on the park's western borders in hope of snagging a wildebeest, a zebra, or some other protein-rich ungulate for the table or for the lucrative traffic in wild meat. The illegal bush-meat trade, a rising threat in almost all of Africa's protected areas, annually feeds an estimated one million people in northern Tanzania alone.

The wire snare�preferred by poachers because it is a cheap and silent method of taking game�is also indiscriminate, grabbing any passing animal unlucky enough to step into a noose secured to a tree. This method recently hooked a Serengeti giraffe around the leg, a lioness around the neck, and a wildebeest by the horns. Another lion, snared in the western corridor outside the park, wrestled himself free of his wire noose, cutting off his hind leg in the process; he has been seen galumphing through the bush on three legs, a sturdy survivor who dominates his territory.

Twenty years ago, when the pressures of population were less, few Serengeti scientists worried unduly about poaching. "It would not be correct to call killing an antelope or zebra or wildebeest to feed one's family meat poaching," said Markus Borner, the Frankfurt Zoological Society's top scientist in the region, interviewed for a National Geographic article in 1986. Now, however, with the market for wild meat flourishing in Africa, villagers around the park can make more money by hunting in the Serengeti than they can by almost any other activity, so the annual harvest of animals in the ecosystem has risen dramatically in recent years. Because hunting is illegal, precise figures are hard to come by. Estimates of the poaching toll range from a low of 40,000 animals a year to a high of 200,000, most of them wildebeests. Such a harvest cannot be sustained at the higher figure without causing fundamental damage to the ecosystem.

"You can only remove so many nuts out of an airplane before it falls out of the sky and crashes," said Rian Labuschagne, managing director of the Grumeti Reserves, an enterprise that recently leased almost 280,000 acres (110,000 hectares) of hunting concessions in the western Serengeti to restore the beleaguered ecosystem from the outside in.

Bankrolled by Paul Tudor Jones, a futures trader and visionary American conservationist, the Grumeti Reserves project has already invested at least 20 million dollars in Tanzania to conserve vital migratory habitat in the western corridor; to crack down on illegal hunting by indigenous Africans; and to help struggling villages outside the park by building schools, drilling new wells, providing scholarships, creating tourist jobs, and training farmers in beekeeping and aquaculture�all aimed at weaning citizens away from poaching.

How to pay for this ambitious scheme? Easy: You build one of the world's most exclusive safari lodges on a bluff overlooking the sweeping Sabora Plains, fill the lodge with Victorian antiques and millionaires, charge the high rollers $1,500 a night, and collect additional trophy fees when they go out to hunt for lions and buffalo. You coddle guests with a health spa, two tennis courts, a yoga room, a state-of-the-art exercise facility, and gourmet meals by a Cypriot chef. You build an infinity pool on the edge of the bluff, affording a panoramic view for those who like to soak while watching their wildebeests. You make the experience special by banning anyone except paying guests from your private preserve.

After operating costs are covered, any excess from the Grumeti Reserves goes to a subsidiary known as the Grumeti Fund, which will pour its resources into community development and security.

"We dream a bit wide," said Labuschagne, a bluff South African with an unstoppable conversational style that leaves visitors gasping in his wake. We chatted in the welcome shade of a massive acacia on a July morning, as workers put the finishing touches on Sasakwa Lodge. This gleaming 18-bed centerpiece of the Grumeti resort had just received its first guests, which he marks as a turning point for conservation in Tanzania.

"We are taking care of this world-class resource and creating something that will be sustainable for the next hundred years," said Labuschagne, a veteran conservationist who earned his spurs restoring black rhinos in Ngorongoro Crater. "We want to bring the millionaires like Ted Turner in here and squeeze as much money out of them as we can. The more money we squeeze out of them, the more we will put back into the community, so that people in the villages can finally have some money in their pockets. They have to get something out of it too."

It remains to be seen whether the big spending of Paul Tudor Jones, combined with the big ideas of Rian Labuschagne, will succeed in Tanzania. Conservationists are cautiously optimistic that they will.

"All of these transitional zones around the park are supposed to accommodate both people and wildlife," said Christiane Schelten. "So far the buffer zones have worked better on paper than they have in reality." At least some conservationists view the Grumeti scheme as a positive alternative to the failed approaches of the past. "A lot of people think that trophy hunting is a horrible thing," she said. "But as long as it's sustainable and you have the right quotas in place, it can be a money earner for the local economy, and with no harm to the resource."

Not everyone, however, is enamored with the grand vision laid out by Labuschagne and company. In Robanda, a scruffy but vibrant village of 2,763 just outside the western gates of Serengeti National Park, any mention of the Grumeti scheme provokes a sharp response.

"We are their enemy, and they are our enemy!" said Kenyatta Richard Mosaka, the village vice chairman. Like others in his town, Mosaka views the Grumeti people as meddlesome outsiders who want to move them far away, where Robanda's fiercely independent Ikoma people will not interfere with the resort's luxury safaris.

And indeed, this is exactly what Labuschagne would like to do. He supports plans by the Tanzanian government for the Ikoma Wildlife Management Area, which would severely limit hunting, farming, and other human activity in a 96,000-acre (39,000-hectare) wedge surrounding the village.

"Robanda remains the problem," he said. "You've got human activity cutting a wedge out of an ecosystem there." He believes that the village has become a hotbed of the bush-meat trade, and there is independent research to support this view. He also asserts that the town is an obstacle to wildebeest migration in the western migratory corridor.

To remove this barrier, Grumeti has offered to lease village lands and relocate Robanda's citizens. Robandans would retain ownership of their old lands, and they would have a say in management of the new wildlife area�but they could no longer live there. "Their land would become more valuable with time," said Labuschagne.

Mosaka snorts at this suggestion. "They want to ban us from hunting," he said. "They say that our village interrupts the migration of the wildebeests. Why are there more wildebeests now than ever before? They offered to pay us to move. Our village rejected the offer. Now the people here see a white man and they get angry."

The troubles in Robanda have deep origins, dating from the creation of Serengeti National Park in 1951, when Tanganyika, as Tanzania was then known, was still a colony of Britain. The Ikoma people, a Bantu-speaking tribe of hunters, were booted out of the new park so that they would not interfere with its animals. The displaced settlers came to roost a few miles away in Robanda, where they made the transition from hunting to farming, put down roots, and watched their population flourish. "We've already been moved once before," said Mosaka. "Nobody is eager to move again."

It is easy to see why. Although Robanda is poor, the village thrums with energy and pride, with barefoot children racing through dusty streets, and women squatting beside braziers, making tea and fried maandazi bread on a Sunday morning. Hawkers tout fresh tomatoes and bananas at open stalls, while a contingent of grease-stained men, muttering like surgeons, gathers under a ficus tree to work on the village tractor�all to the constant, thudding rhythm of muscular women pounding millet with a massive mortar and pestle.

Across the street a cell phone goes off, playing "Jingle Bells," and Kenyatta Mosaka, a gangly man in green shorts and a Statue of Liberty T-shirt, comes drifting into view on his black bicycle. The vice chairman of Robanda stops to greet neighbors and to gossip with patrons at the Millennium Y2K Everything You Need Shop.

"It's a good place to live," said Mosaka, propped on his bike while soaking up the benign pageant of life swirling around him. Just beneath the surface, though, tensions boil in Robanda. Determined to crack Robanda's willful habits, the Grumeti Reserves has stepped up its anti-poaching patrols in the region. Nobody in Robanda wants to admit to poaching meat or firewood. Asked about these practices, Mosaka said he knew of no such activity�then he smiled sheepishly and jabbed at his arm as if punching a vein. "Of course if you take some of my blood here, you may find evidence of wild meat in my system."

On several occasions, the Grumeti antipoaching patrols have clashed with villagers, who allege that they were beaten and, in one instance, raped�charges that officials from the Grumeti Reserves dismiss. "The charges are absolutely ill-founded and totally untrue," said Brian Harris, supervisor of the antipoaching squad.

"Look," said Labuschagne, "you've got to maintain your boundaries in places like this. You've got to put the law down." If that does not work, he said, it may be necessary to build fences around the park's western boundary to separate elephants and other wildlife from growing human settlements.

Fences were unknown to the pastoralists like those who first appeared in Greco-Roman literature around 200 B.C. These free-ranging sub-Saharan people went where they pleased, revered their cattle, subsisted on milk and cow's blood, and buried their dead "to the accompaniment of laughter," according to those early accounts. By the 18th century the Maasai had established a strong presence in the Great Rift Valley, where they controlled much of the interior and stamped the land with their own descriptive names. Perhaps the most famous of these was the word they chose for the heart of their homeland, siringet, "the place where the land runs on forever." The Serengeti.

Hope must have seemed as boundless as the horizons for Maasai who lived there. They knew no equals, followed the seasons, delighted in fighting, and deferred to no man. Believing themselves to be God's chosen tribe, entitled to all of the cattle on Earth, they cheerfully raided other tribes to enlarge their own herds, and their reputation for fierceness taught neighbors to give the Maasai a wide berth. Arab slave traders avoided their area, as did the earliest European explorers.

The Maasai remained aloof and self-sufficient until the age of Victoria, when drought, disease, and trouble brought them low. Thousands died from a cholera epidemic in the 1880s, followed by an outbreak of smallpox in 1892. Then a plague of rinderpest, a bovine viral disease, wiped out most of the Maasai's wealth and nourishment overnight, and civil wars diluted their grip on the region.

Little fight remained in them following World War I, when the British consolidated their grip on Kenya and took control of Tanganyika. On the Serengeti, the British took the first bites out of Maasai holdings in 1929, establishing an 800-acre (323-hectare) game reserve for hunting, which became the basis for Serengeti National Park. Maasai continued to live there until 1959, when repeated conflicts with park authorities over land use led the British to evict them.

"They paid us nothing," said Ole Serupe, the only surviving Maasai elder who was party to discussions with the British. "We were told to move because they wanted to make a place for the wild animals," he said. A frail old man in three blankets and orange tennis shoes, he now lives with his extended family and a contingent of goats in a fly-specked compound outside of Endulen, a Maasai village on the edge of Ngorongoro's Crater Highlands.

"We refused to move," Ole Serupe said, "because the Serengeti had been the home of our mothers and fathers. Our cattle loved the place. It was a place that even a human could love," he recalled, looking at me through eyes clouded by years in the African sun. "But they made us go. Because I was the senior man among the elders, it was from my hand that they took the Serengeti."

Sitting on a low stool by his hut, Ole Serupe recalled how the British had promised him new land in exchange for the move. "They said we would get a better place to live�one with good water and grass."

The Maasai got nothing of the sort. The British peeled off a 3,000-square-mile (7,800-square-kilometer) parcel to the east of Serengeti National Park and created a new home for the pastoralists in 1959. Designated the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, this reserve encompassed the desolate lands around Olduvai Gorge, the arid plains contiguous to the Serengeti, and a portion of the Crater Highlands, including the Ngorongoro Crater. An experiment in multiple land use, this new territory was to be a refuge for Maasai and their herds, for exceptional wildlife, and for the development of tourism.

Almost 50 years into that experiment, it would appear that wildlife and tourists are thriving in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, but that the Maasai are struggling. Theirs is the old problem�too many people and too few resources, the same hard calculus that has caused so much conflict on the Serengeti's western borders. Numbers tell the story: The Maasai population has grown fivefold in the conservation area, from around 10,000 in 1954 to more than 50,000 today. At the same time they have less territory, having lost the most fruitful part of their new homeland in 1974, when they were evicted from the crater floor. Constrained by these and other developments, the Maasai face an uncertain future, hemmed in by Serengeti National Park to the west, by Ngorongoro Crater to the east, and by growing communities all around. Because their grazing range is limited, they have been unable to enlarge their herds to match their growing population. The result is that their wealth�still measured in livestock�has evaporated with the years, from an average of more than 26 cattle, goats, and sheep per person in 1960, to five for each Maasai today. They are forbidden to supplement their pastoral existence by farming on any scale larger than a subsistence basis out of fear that more intensive cultivation will degrade the area's natural habitat.

Bruno O. P. Kawasange, natural resources chief for the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority, worries that the growing Maasai population blocks migratory corridors connecting the Ngorongoro Crater with the Serengeti, an important conduit for lions, wildebeests, zebras, and other animals traveling between the two areas. "We want to make sure that these corridors remain open�especially for the lions," said Kawasange. To make room for the big cats and other wildlife, some 250 Maasai households will be moved.

"We can't support large-scale agriculture in the conservation area," explained B. M. Murunya, the authority's tourism chief. "Conservation does not go along with agriculture." Given how farming and development have encroached on parks and reserves in northern Tanzania, this seems a reasonable concern, but it does little to reassure the hard-pressed Maasai.

"The wildlife gets better treatment than the people here," said Francis Ole Syapa, a Maasai living in the windswept foothills of the Crater Highlands, where we sat in a zebra-striped hut and watched the clouds boil up from ruined volcanoes. Syapa was expressing a sentiment I heard from many Maasai. "The area is supposed to be not just for the wildlife," he said. "That's why it was established as a multiple-use area. Understand? We Maasai should be allowed to have our own plan to protect the wildlife, to develop tourism, and to decide how the people's lives can be improved here. As it stands now, we have no real say." Syapa pointed out that Maasai hold no key positions within the conservation authority, and that only one serves on the group's advisory board�this, despite his people's overwhelming numbers in the region. "We live here on the land, but we cannot plan for ourselves how to use it. We don't have the same rights as other Tanzanians," he said.

Surely, I suggested, the community must benefit from the millions of dollars flowing to the region�Tanzania's top tourist attraction.

Syapa gave me a long, searching look, followed by a longer silence. He took a swig of Kilimanjaro beer, placed the bottle on the table between us, and spoke with great deliberation: "I really don't have the information," he said, "but I can tell you we don't see very much of that money here."

This was painfully obvious down the red-dirt road in Endulen, a Maasai village of cockeyed plank shacks that looked as if they might blow away on the next wind. So did some of the people in this town of 8,000, which suffers from tuberculosis, malnutrition, and malaria, according to doctors at the region's only hospital. "We also get brucellosis, which comes from drinking unboiled milk, fractures from fighting, and quite a few injuries from buffalo attacks," said Jeanine Heeren, a doctor in Endulen's 80-bed missionary hospital. She also reported that HIV had made its appearance in Endulen, a sign that residents of this community were venturing into the world and bringing new problems to the village.

Endulen was busy, though. Women with shaved heads and jangling silver necklaces picked through oranges and onions in the market, where a butcher in a red robe and baseball cap hung glistening slabs of goat meat in his stalls, watched closely by a pair of hopeful dogs. Warriors with spears led cattle down a path to Olndogom River, which flowed through town.

Half the village seemed to be in and out of the stream�women washing clothes and spreading them to dry on thorn trees, children fetching buckets of water for the school, herders waiting in line with donkeys and cattle for their turn at the stream. Some of the herders, I learned, had walked three or four hours to get here, a rare source of fresh water.

"Nobody could survive without it," said a Maasai who had lived his whole life in Endulen.

The village draws its water from the river because the government has built no infrastructure in this region, which grows bigger and more established with each passing year�with or without government help.

"We have been waiting for water for 50 years," said Raphael Ologolie, an elder I met on the outskirts of Endulen. We sat on the ground outside his neatly fenced compound and talked, Ologolie, sitting with his knees drawn up to his chin, cocooned in a red blanket so that only his head was visible. "Since the Maasai were first moved out of the park, the government has been making these promises�to bring water, to bring schools, to bring health care. Our people are going hungry. They come to my house every day asking for food�a little cornmeal, a little salt, a little sugar, but it's never enough. Nobody has kept a single promise to the Maasai."

For its part, the government says that it will do nothing to encourage permanent settlements in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which is supposed to be occupied by Maasai nomads living lightly on the land.

"The idea that pastoral people, people who are moving from place to place, will have a fixed source of water and other amenities that the settled communities have, well, we can't provide those things," said Samson S. Mkumbo, chief manager of community development for the authority. "For those Maasai who want to make the shift from the nomadic life to farming, we are seeking an area outside the Ngorongoro Conservation Area."

Having been uprooted twice before, the Maasai do not want to move again. And whether the government acknowledges it, the Maasai have already settled in to the Ngorongoro region for the long haul, having begun the slow, agonizing transition from the world of nomadism.

They still keep livestock�any Maasai worthy of the name must do so�but they have more goats and sheep than cattle these days, and they spend less time on the land, going out for a day or two rather than weeks or months. They return to live in permanent dwellings, fret about educating their children, take a keen interest in politics, and scratch away at the earth, working in vegetable plots outlawed by the conservation authority. The old ways are fading: Maasai intermarry with neighboring tribes, fewer girls are circumcised, and fewer youths have the stretched and decorated earlobes of old. In Maasai country today, hiking boots, sneakers, and T-shirts ("Washington State Volleyball Band") have begun to replace traditional robes and sandals; and everywhere the twittering of cell phones sings from deep in the folds of Maasai togas. A new generation is leaving the villages to make their way in the world.

"I know where I am from," said one of these educated Maasai, Jombi Ole Kivuyo, who recently traded his warrior's spear for an apartment and a paycheck in Arusha. "But I don't know where I am going. I am like a blind man feeling his way."

This young Maasai may stumble on his journey, but it is more likely that he will survive it, just as his ancestors survived the earlier disruptions of plague, war, eviction, and hunger because they were, to borrow a Maasai phrase, "tough as a hyena's sinew." They remain that way, striding along under the immense African sky, looking for the next hill.

Extract ID: 5121

See also

McKie, Robin Drought will halt wildebeest trek
Extract Author: Robin McKie
Extract Date: January 14, 2007

Drought will halt wildebeest trek

The Observer

Across the plains of east Africa, one of the greatest wildlife spectacles on earth is under threat

One of the planet's greatest wildlife shows - the annual Migration of more than a million Wildebeest across east Africa's plains - is facing obliteration.

Scientists have warned that climatic uncertainty now threatens to turn the grasslands through which these great beasts trek each year into an uninhabitable desert. And the drought is blamed squarely on human activities: global warming triggered by carbon dioxide emissions from cars, planes and other factors. Intensive farming depleting fresh water supplies has also been blamed by climatologists.

'The Migration is the greatest wildlife spectacle on Earth, and it would be catastrophic if we were no longer able to experience it,' said John Downer, who spent most of last year following the Wildebeest on their great trek for a documentary.

The award-winning film-maker made use of remote cameras to track the movements of the Wildebeest in places where it would have been too dangerous for humans to operate. One camera was hidden inside the head of a model hippo, enabling shots to be taken as the creatures made their perilous crossing of the Mara river, while a lens concealed inside a model dragonfly allowed close-up aerial views to be captured. Another camera was disguised as dung.

The Migration - which has occurred without interruption for thousands of years - is one of the most extraordinary movements of animals on the planet. Around 1.5 million of these huge creatures trudge across Kenya and Tanzania in a vast 3,000km arc.

En route, the animals eat 7,000 tonnes of grass a day and drink enough water to fill five swimming pools. And around this time of year the migrating animals reach the Serengeti plain where they calve, triggering the biggest baby boom known. In three weeks, half a million Wildebeest will be born.

But scientists fear this great cycle of reproduction could be wiped out if east Africa's drought gets much worse. In the past other mass migrations, in both Africa and Asia, have been disrupted and eradicated by humans who have fenced off land and diverted rivers and streams.

Ten years ago a million saiga antelopes migrated across central Asia. Now their population, has been reduced to 30,000, linked to habitat loss and the hunting of males for their horns to be used in traditional medicines. 'Such events seemed so indestructible but have been proved to be very fragile,' said Downer.

In recent years droughts have killed up to half a million migrating Wildebeest in east Africa. If these droughts had continued by only a few more weeks, they would have killed off the region's entire Wildebeest population. Now scientists fear that another major episode of water loss could trigger so many deaths as to leave no migrating Wildebeest in east Africa. 'This is how serious the situation is,' said the WWF's eastern Africa regional office project manager, Doris Ombara.

One key threat comes from the Mara river, one of the region's principal waterways. Its flow has now dropped by more than half in the past few years. 'The river is dying,' said Ombara. On top of this, global warming has been linked to a drought that is gripping much of Africa - 'the strongest rainfall anomaly on the planet,' according to Dr Douglas Parker of Leeds University.

� Part One of 'Trek - Spy on the Wildebeest' will be shown at 8pm on BBC1 tonight.

Extract ID: 5162

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Source Unknown


Serengeti . . . derives from Maasai siringet, Meaning 'extended place'

Extract ID: 906

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Turner, Myles My Serengeti Years
Page Number: 024

the origin of the beautiful word 'Serengeti'

Visitors to the park would often ask about the origin of the beautiful word 'Serengeti'. It is definitely a Maasai name, but it has been changed by both Swahili and English. Originally it was Siringet, but the English rendered it Serenget and the Kiswahili language added the final 'i'.

The word itself appears to be taken from Siringitu Meaning 'tending to extend', and is closely related another Maasai word 'siriri' Meaning straight or elongated. Either way, the sense of space is clear: the place where the land runs on for ever.

Extract ID: 907

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Claytor, Tom Bushpilot
Extract Author: Tom Claytor
Page Number: 19a
Extract Date: 1996 08 Jul


All across this land remain the names of places that the Maasai have given them.

Ngorongoro means the place with mountains and gorges.

Oldupai is the wild sisal that grows in the Olduvai gorge, and Siringet is the Maasai word for a vast place.

From the northern edge of the Ngorongoro crater, I follow the 90 meter deep and 50 kilometer long Olduvai gorge west into the Serengeti. The first time I ever came here, I didn't have a map. A bush pilot and filmmaker named Alan Root drew me a map on a piece of scrap paper. There was a bump on the horizon and a line for a road. He put a dot where the road intersected a river, and that he said was where I would find the airstrip.

This place is not so different from his map. It is simple. There is a sea of yellow, and a sky of blue. Perhaps, it is because the colors are complimentary to each other that makes them so powerful together; the one magnifies the other in a surreal way that makes me feel like I am floating between heaven and earth. Amidst the endless tawny yellow below are the distinctive island kopjies of the Serengeti. These little rock islands are mini ecosystems with birds, lizards, hyraxes, and sometimes, a resident leopard. There are no trees, and you can see the wind flowing like waves across the grass.

Extract ID: 3656