Adolph Siedentopf

Name ID 561

See also

Fosbrooke, Henry Ngorongoro: The Eighth Wonder
Page Number: 175

A brief chronology

1892 Baumann visits Crater (March)

1899c. Siedentopf establishes himself in Crater

1908 Fourie visits Siedentopf

1913 Professor Reek's first visit

1916 Siedentopf departs (March)

1920 British mandate over Tanganyika

1921 Sir Charles Ross, Barns and Dugmore visit Crater: first Game Laws introduced

1922 Holmes' photographic expedition: Hurst living in Crater

1923 The Livermore safari

1926c Veterinary camp established at Lerai

1928 Crater declared Complete Reserve

1930 All Ngorongoro and Serengeti declared Closed Reserve

1932 First motor road to crater rim

1934 Author's first visit to Ngorongoro

1935 Building of first Lodge commenced

1940 East rim road to northern highlands: first National Parks legislation: unimplemented

1948 First National Parks Ordinance receives assent

1951 National Parks Ordinance comes into operation: boundaries of Serengeti gazetted (1 June)

1952 Park administration moves in (August)

1954 D-O. posted to Ngorongoro: cultivation prohibited by law: 'squatters' evicted

1956 Sessional Paper No. i publishes Government's proposals re Ngorongoro and the Serengeti

1957 Committee of Enquiry Report (October)

1958 Government Paper No. 5 announces Government's decision

1959 Conservation Area inaugurated (i July)

1961 Arusha Conference and Arusha Manifesto: author takes over as Chairman of Authority (September)

1963 Authority disbanded and Conservator appointed

1963 Catering first started at Lodge

1965 First Tanzanian Conservator appointed (September)

Extract ID: 2928

See also

nTZ Feedback
Extract Author: Graham Mercer
Page Number: 2004 09 13

Researching Siedentopfs

Firstly, congratulations on the website - it's extremely interesting and useful!

I've been interested for years in the Siedentopf brothers who farmed in Ngorongoro Crater but there are still gaps in my knowledge - do you know:

a) when the stone-built farmhouses were erected, as Fourie in 1908 talks of the brothers being "still in tents"?

B) how Friedrich Willem actually died?

C) how Adolf died? One source (quoted on your website) says he was killed by a Maasai spear but this is untrue, as he didn't die until 1932 when it is thought he may have committed suicide in Alabama, USA.

D) I believe Friedrich Willem never married - any confirmation of this?

Many thanks, and thanks for the website - it's really good -

Graham Mercer, DSM

Thanks for you kind comments.

Are you "THE" Graham Mercer of various books, including the Beauty of the Ngorongoro?

I suspect that I would have turned to your texts to try to answer your questions, but obviously that's not the place to go.

And no answers (yet) to your questions. I've just spent a while looking to see if I can find anything. Like you, the Siedentopf's have captured my imagination, and I have already put on the web site most of the relevant quotes.

I missed one from Fosbrooke (page 176). I suspect you have his book, but if not I'll scan it in for you. He describes Adolph as the dominant character, with FW in a more subordinate role. He says Adolph entered the Crater about 1899 as a squatter.

On p28 Fosbrook says that there is a short book in German recording the life of Siedentopf - maybe this is a source that needs tracking down (and translating).

If you are in Tanzania, perhaps you have been able to see Fosbrookes paper's, which I understand to be kept at the University in Dar es Salaam. Maybe there will be more details there about this book.

Your correction c) to the claim that Adolf was killed by a Maasai spear is interesting, because it is the second correction I've received to "facts" found in Brian Herne's book.

So other than this, nothing really by way of answers to your questions, but I'll keep looking. If there are any specific places where you think it may be worth looking, do let me know. There's quite likely to be something somewhere in Tanganyika Notes and Records, but unfortunately I only have two editions, and rely on trips to Rhodes House, Oxford to find more. Mary Leakey may well have recorded somewhere whatever she knew, as part of documenting the digs she carried out in the crater.

Finally, one of the Siedentopfs is buried in Mbulu. We visited it in Dec 1996, and I think I have some video which I took at the time. I'll see if I can dig it out, and see if I managed to record any more detail about which one it was, and when he died. I wish I had been more diligent at the time.

Lovely to get your prompt response!

Yes, I am the "Graham Mercer of various books", for better or for worse! But my interest in the Siedentopfs is personal as well as "professional" - in fact I'm interested in "East Africana" generally, if we can call it that, and especially its colonial history.

I do have Henry Fosbrooke's book - it's a treasure trove of info as you know, though there are some blank spots as always. Henry actually came to find me here in Dar some years ago and we became friends, though unfortunately he died two or three years later. He wanted me to write a history of Ngorongoro and each time he came to Dar (he was fighting a court case on behalf of his beloved Maasai and would come down - at the age of about 85 - on the bus or train!) he would bring material with him and share it with me. In fact I have a copy of the Livermore diaries which he gave me, which covers the 1923 Livermore safari to the Crater etc, with some interesting material from Fourie's journals also, and from John Hunter's book, which I think I have in England. Fourie was a fascinating man in his own right, as was John Hunter.

I've found a German website (posted by a descendent of the Seidentopfs, it seems) which appears to confirm that Adolf Seidentopf died in 1932 in Alabama, perhaps by committing suicide by poisoning himself. On the same website he talks of Friedrich W S dying as a result of an accident, but I don't speak German and the translation is poor. I've sent a cutting from the text to a German friend and am hoping to find out more.

I'm actually writing a brief history of Ngorongoro right now as part of a proposed new Ngorongoro guide, though as I say my interest goes much deeper than this and I've always been fascinated by the Siedentopfs (I once camped on Friedrich Willem's old lawn, just outside the cottage by the Lerai, with the anti-poaching squad).

I often consult your website since discovering it a few months ago - most of what is on there I know about as I tend to read quite a lot of books etc about East Africa, and I have quite a few copies of Tanzania Notes and Records, which are excellent. But there is always something on your site which is new to me, and in any case the site represents a wonderful, see-at-a-glance reference source - it's great! I shall certainly include your name in the acknowledgments sector of the Ngorongoro guide (if it ever sees the light of day!) and you website in the bibliography) - don't get too excited...

Many thanks, and all the best with the website!

Extract ID: 4864

See also

Kjekshus, Helge Ecology Control and Economic Development in East African History

By 1905 he [Siedentopf] held more than 2,000 head of . . .

By 1905 he [Siedentopf] held more than 2,000 head of cattle and had plans to expand up to 5,000. (Fuchs)

Extract ID: 674

See also

Smith, Anthony Throw out two hands
Page Number: 155b
Extract Date: 1962

Siedentopf brothers

Certainly nothing eruptive has happened within it in the past few thousand years. Its steep walls grow trees, and permanent streams ensure fresh drinking water for all the animals. The crater bottom is porous, and therefore the water can drain away. Less than a hundred years ago it was discovered for Europe by a German explorer. Shortly afterwards, and at the turn of the century, a pair of German brothers moved in to farm the fertile spot. They built houses some 8 miles apart from each other on the crater floor, and began to grow the conventional crops. Naturally, both the animals and the local pastoral tribes were an encumbrance; and were dealt with summarily, whenever they interfered. After all, this is the nature of agricultural invaders. Everything else must be sacrificed to their cause.

The Siedentopf brothers fought the animals, fought the Masai, and also fought the many natural hazards. It cannot have been an easy existence, however barbarous their methods, and when the Great War came they had to give up altogether. Tanganyika was German-occupied territory, and Kenya was not very far to the north. A small contingent of Germans kept a large army of British and South Africans on the move throughout the war, but plainly it was no time for farming sisal and wheat in the Ngorongoro Crater. In fact, the German force did not surrender officially until news came through of the Wehrmacht's collapse in Europe, but for practical purposes it had been defeated a couple of years before.

Extract ID: 3748

See also

Gillman, Clement An Annotated List of Ancient and Modern Indigenous Stone Structures in Eastern Africa
Page Number: 50
Extract Date: 1913

Ngorongoro Tombs

A Siedentopf, who had established a cattle ranch on the crater bottom, and his assistant Rothe discovered mounds near their homestead in 1912 and soon recognised them as burial cairns. They were later examined by Drs Reck (in 1913) and Arning (in 1915), who found in one of them the skeletons of a man, a woman and, lying between them, of a child.

.... Professor Ankermann - in an appendix to Reck's paper - states that the Ngorongoro tombs show several similarities with. but also contrasts to, those of Engaruka, but that both types prove Hamitic origin. He is unable to decide their age but doubts whether they should be ascribed to a Neolithic culture, as Reck does.

Extract ID: 1217

See also

Herne, Brian White Hunters: The golden age of African Safaris
Page Number: 122b
Extract Date: 1927

Hunting near the Crater

In 1927 Dick Cooper engaged Blixen for a three-month safari. Blixen was on hand to meet his client on the docks at Mombasa, and the safari was soon making its journey inland.

. . . . .

Blixen subsequently took Cooper into Tanganyika to hunt in the area surrounding Ngorongoro crater. In 1927 there were still no roads in the region, which teemed with an assortment of wildlife. Bror had engaged porters at Nganika Springs, northeast of the crater, and the safari had trekked up the steep slopes to the forested rim at eight thousand feet, then down the other side to the floor of the crater at six thousand feet.

Blixen had obtained permission to camp in the crater so that Cooper could obtain exotic wildlife films. Before the war two German brothers named Siedentopf had lived on the crater floor and killed thousands of wildebeest in order to can the tongues, which were carted out on the backs of porters all the way to Arusha.

One of the brothers, Adolf, wound up dead with a Masai spear through the abdomen. Arusha white hunter George W. Hurst was subsequently granted a 99-year lease on the crater.

When Hurst was later killed by an elephant, the lease passed to an Englishman [sic: he was Scottish] named Sir Charles Ross, manufacturer of the Ross bolt-action rifle, and its advanced .280 Ross cartridge (.280 nitro). Ross had first visited the crater on a foot safari during which numbers of rhino, lion, and other game were shot, but once he acquired a proprietary interest, his attitude changed, and he took measures to reduce hunting and protect the animals, many of which were migratory.

Extract ID: 3811

See also

nTZ Feedback
Extract Author: Dr. Dirk Englisch
Page Number: 2008 03 27

Adolph Siedentopf - Ngoro Ngoro

Dear East Africa enthusiast,

being at present posted in the German Embassy in Nairobi I happened to run across this interesting website about NTZ.

In a novel about a German officer taking part in the German-East Africa (GEA) campaign (Otto Inhülsen: Wir ritten für Deutsch-Ostafrika -We rode for German-East Africa - 1926) I found the person of Adolph Siedentopf thoroughly described and would like to share these information with the interested reader:

Inhülsen was on a raid to British East Africa, to confuse the British about the real low strength of the German troops in Northern GEA, which brought him from Arusha through the crater highlands almost south of Nairobi , passing what now is Norok province north of the Masai Mara Game Reserve):

> Adolph Siedentopf:

September 1915: 44 years old

Born in Hanover - Western Germany

Apprenticeship as a pharmacist.

Arrived in the middle/end of the 1880s in Dar es Salaam to work in the local German pharmacy.

Being adventurous travelled soon up country to nowadays Mwanza to trade with ivory and cattle. Begin of a close relationship with the Masai tribe whose language he learnt.

Since 1905 farmer in Ngoro-Ngoro ( received 6000 hectare of land by the German administration, although he claimed 24,000 ha, i.e. the whole crater area).

1 “young wife”, no children so far (9/1915).

Later constant quarrel with the administration because of the meanwhile established Masai reservation in the area, not allowing settling and farming anymore.

Had 6 former ascaris from the Belgium Congo province as bodyguards and lived peacefully together with 20 Masai families, who had lost there livestock during the rinderpest (1915: 1000 cattle). Boor farmers helped him to build his farmhouse in “boorish style”.

Interestingly Inhülsen mentions in his book that during his visit in 1915 Siedentopf´s brother lived in the crater, too. Inhülsen entered the crater from the South East side (possibly on the present SE descent). After 2-3 Km (!) at the Lemunge River the farmhouse was situated. I.e. not in the NE of the crater, where you can visit the remnants of a German farm today: is it possible that these are the ruins of his brother’s farm? Are there still ruins in the SE area of the crater?

Inhülsen describes Mr. Siedentopf as a very impressive, tall, energetic and tough person, which nevertheless was very sympathetic and humorous. He entertained the visiting officers over hours with funny campfire stories - “Once you learnt to know him you would never forget him”. Inhülsen met him again in Summer 1916 in the POW camp in Nairobi, where Siedentopf meanwhile had developed into the sports champion of the camp.

There the description ends.

Having emigrated into the US in post war Germany with already inflation in 1919 (having lost possible family property in Germany), famine, political turmoil, unemployment and economic depression – considering my family’s history - appears plausible to me. This goes even more for somebody used to the free and different live in Eastern Africa…

Suicide in 1932 around 72 years old , if really committed, could than have been caused by chronic disease or the 2nd economical break down in Adolph Siedentopf´s live, during the great depression after the wall street crash in 1929.

If these additional information will help to bring more light in the life of Adolph Siedentopf, please let me / us know.

Extract ID: 5604

See also

Fosbrooke, Henry Ngorongoro: The Eighth Wonder
Page Number: 175

A brief chronology

1892 Baumann visits Crater (March)

1899c. Siedentopf establishes himself in Crater

1908 Fourie visits Siedentopf

1913 Professor Reek's first visit

1916 Siedentopf departs (March)

1920 British mandate over Tanganyika

1921 Sir Charles Ross, Barns and Dugmore visit Crater: first Game Laws introduced

1922 Holmes' photographic expedition: Hurst living in Crater

1923 The Livermore safari

1926c Veterinary camp established at Lerai

1928 Crater declared Complete Reserve

1930 All Ngorongoro and Serengeti declared Closed Reserve

1932 First motor road to crater rim

1934 Author's first visit to Ngorongoro

1935 Building of first Lodge commenced

1940 East rim road to northern highlands: first National Parks legislation: unimplemented

1948 First National Parks Ordinance receives assent

1951 National Parks Ordinance comes into operation: boundaries of Serengeti gazetted (1 June)

1952 Park administration moves in (August)

1954 D-O. posted to Ngorongoro: cultivation prohibited by law: 'squatters' evicted

1956 Sessional Paper No. i publishes Government's proposals re Ngorongoro and the Serengeti

1957 Committee of Enquiry Report (October)

1958 Government Paper No. 5 announces Government's decision

1959 Conservation Area inaugurated (i July)

1961 Arusha Conference and Arusha Manifesto: author takes over as Chairman of Authority (September)

1963 Authority disbanded and Conservator appointed

1963 Catering first started at Lodge

1965 First Tanzanian Conservator appointed (September)

Extract ID: 2928

See also

Fosbrooke, Henry Ngorongoro: The Eighth Wonder
Page Number: 176
Extract Date: 1919~

Munge farm purchased

Siedentopf's Munge farm was purchased after the War (WWI) from the Custodian of Enemy Property by Sir Charles Ross, who undertook no development, and did not enforce his rights.

Extract ID: 881

See also

Fosbrooke, Henry Ngorongoro: The Eighth Wonder
Page Number: 027b
Extract Date: 1920~

Captain G.H.R. Hurst M.C. lived in the ruins

Captain G.H.R. Hurst M.C. lived in the ruins of W.F.Seidentopf's farm at Lerai. Killed by an elephant near Dar es Salaam by 1923. Squatting at Ngorongoro in the hopes of buying Adolph Siedentopf's farm from the Custodian of Enemy Property, but outbid by Ross.

Extract ID: 339

See also

Fosbrooke, Henry Ngorongoro: The Eighth Wonder
Page Number: 026
Extract Date: 1933

Reck visits Siedentopf

[Reck, Professor Hans] Visited Adolph Siedentopf and published a record of his impressions in his book 'Oldoway' in 1933.

Extract ID: 863

See also

nTZ Feedback
Extract Author: Frannie Lèautier
Page Number: 2007 09 08

The Siedentopfs

I read your website with interest. I have a few queries.

You mention that Adolph Siedentoph met with Prof Hans Reck in 1933 and one of the comments sent in by a reader of your site suggests that Adolph died in Alabama USA.

There seem to be a discrepancy with the key dates as the 1900 Census lists more than 100 Siedentopfs living in the USA in the 1930's, including an Adolf Siedentopf with an address in 1930 in Talladega, Alabama.

Another source, the Kolonial Handels Adressbuch of 1936, lists two Siedentopfs in Africa in the 1930's, none of which is named Adolf (Adolph) --- there is a HansGerhard and a Werner Alwin Wilhelm.

With so many people named Siedentopf, including in Namibia, would you happen to have other corroborating sources that suggest that the Adolph Siedentopf of Ngorongoro actually moved to Alabama?

The dates do not seem to support this but perhaps I missed some key information in your website.

Many thanks for the very informative site.

Extract ID: 5463

See also

nTZ Feedback
Extract Author: Edward Joffe
Page Number: 2003 05 23
Extract Date: 23 May 2003

Edward Joffe - Siedentopfs

Subject: Ngorongoro Crater / Siedentopf Borthers

Having just enjoyed surfing your website, I am wondering if you could possibly advise where I might find more comprehensive details on the web in regard to the Siedentopf Brothers who I believe lived in the Crater around

1912 and during part of World War 1.

Thanks in anticipation

Edward Joffe

Edward

I suspect that I've got the most information that's available in the searchable web, but I'm sure there must be more in the hidden web which the search engines don't get near. If I come across anything, I tend to capture it immediately into my database, so probably, what you see is what there is.

I don't know of any book which is specifically devoted to the Siedentopfs - at least published in English. There may be something in German. I'm sure there are many more passing references in the various books I list/possess, so more research would bring out more anecdotes.

Is there anything specifically you are looking for, that I may be able to find fairly easily? For what it's worth I think one of the brothers is buried in Mbulu - somewhere I think I have a photograph of his grave which I say in 1997.

Best wishes

David

Extract ID: 4473

See also

nTZ Feedback
Extract Author: Edward Joffe
Page Number: 2008 12 03
Extract Date: 03-Dec-2008

Siedentopf Brothers

I've only today checked for any response to my query about the brothers and I'd like to thank you somehat belatedly I guess, for your note.

When I visited the crater over 50 years ago I was told that the brothers had built some sort of castle in the crater and sat on the stoep shooting wildebeest and canning the tongues for German gourmets…

When WW1 began one brother reputedly returned to Germany to join the flying corps after which he returned to Africa as a pilot for the German army. Then he tried to land in the crater killing himself in the process. Do you know if any of this is true?

BW

Edward

Extract ID: 5915
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