Ndutu memories

Allan, Tor

2006

Book ID 950

See also

Allan, Tor Ndutu memories, 2006
Page Number: a
Extract Date: 1960’s

Holidays were in the Serengeti

In the 1960’s my school holidays were in the Serengeti where my father was Assistant Game Warden-cum-Seronera Lodge Manager.

Seronera Lodge was the only place to stay; just six mabati & thatch rondavels, en suite with cooking areas, self-catering but with accommodation nearby for guests’ cooks. My mother had a big kerosene freezer where guests could keep their perishables. You can see the concrete plinth of the house which was our home to this day, just by Park HQ.

We had some great pets, among them an abandoned lion cub which I used to bottle feed, and an otter which came from Lake Victoria. Major Ian Grimwood gave Mother the otter; it lived in the bathroom at night, in a few inches of water in the tub. There was an illustrated chapter about it in a book called “Elephants arrive at Half Past Five” by Ilke Chase who stayed at Seronera on one of her safaris and met us all.

These were the days when Joy and George Adamsons were in the Serengeti, working on the release of Elsa’s cubs (remember the books Born Free, Living Free and Forever Free?) They used to call into our house in the evenings on the way back from the Mbalangeti area where they had been trying to locate the released cubs.

Extract ID: 5387

See also

Allan, Tor Ndutu memories, 2006
Page Number: b
Extract Date: 1960’s

Three causeways

Another bit of trivia for you: Sid Downey, Donald Ker and Elizabeth Sanger each donated 2,000/- for the construction of three causeways across the Seronera River to allow visitors access into and out of Park HQ at Seronera. That was a huge amount of money then. Anyway, back to my story…….

Extract ID: 5388

See also

Allan, Tor Ndutu memories, 2006
Page Number: c
Extract Date: 1960’s

Removal of the Maasai

One day my father said, “We’re going down to remove the Masai from Moru Kopjes with Miles Turner and Gordon Pullman.” The villagers had been given notice to leave but were still there when the deadline date arrived. Serengeti had already become a National Park and was being extended to include more of the migration routes. If you look carefully at some of the big rocks at Moru, you’ll see where the manyattas were. On the leeward side of most big kopjes in the Moru area, there are remains of rather large circular stones and rocks which I believe are remains of the villages, unless they’re the remains of the Stone Bowl people before, or both.

I remember that day as hell and bloody fury – flames and smoke and dust, confusion, animals and people, shouting and shooting. The smoke and the burning – the horror of it all. The villages were torched and the dogs were shot. One dog was breathing through a great bleeding hole in its neck. The women and children were rounded up into trucks. Hundreds of cattle and other livestock were herded away by the young warriors and middle-aged men towards the east into part of Hidden Valley, past the springs at the eastern end and from there south east to the top end of Ndutu/Olduvai gorge, and down across the Lake Lagarja beaches. I know it was Lagarja because I remember seeing the flamingos. I think after that they were resettled in the Crater Highlands.

Extract ID: 5389

See also

Allan, Tor Ndutu memories, 2006
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

Allan, Tor Ndutu memories, 2006
Page Number: e
Extract Date: 1961

Duke of Edinburgh’s visit to Seronera

In the middle of December 1961, in preparation for the Duke of Edinburgh’s visit to Seronera after the Independence Day celebrations in Dar Es Salaam, my father and I went out towards Banagi where dad shot six topi, one of which was immediately set upon by lion. We had to drive up to them in the little Land Rover to get them off the carcass.

We took the topi back to Seronera that afternoon and spending what was left of the day and early next morning before the Duke arrived, locating three or four different prides of lion. Each pride was fed with a dead topi, ready for the Royal game drive.

Needless to say, the lion had eaten topi that morning and by the time the Duke arrived they were fast asleep – but at least they were easily found. On departure from Seronera the Duke’s aircraft of the Queen’s Flight got stuck on the airfield after a lot of rain. We had to use Tanganyika jacks to raise it so that we could put kindling and stones under the wheels – hasn’t changed much has it – just busier.

Extract ID: 5391

See also

Allan, Tor Ndutu memories, 2006
Page Number: f
Extract Date: 1970's

Ndutu Lodge

Ndutu Lodge didn’t exist then of course but I remember George Dove, wife Mibs and son Michael very well from the early 1970’s. George was hunting down at Makau and I used to do ornithological trips with Don Turner, where we’d be stationed at Ndutu for 2 ½ weeks at a time while Don’s groups rotated all around East Africa. The chairs round the fire were awful steel school classroom ones with no arm rests!

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

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

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

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

Extract ID: 5392
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