African Safari Family Legacy
Where Many Bond Into One For Generations

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Cliff McKenzie

The African Legacy is ultimately about vigilance. Unless others stand up for the great legacy of Africa, what we know as pristine and beautiful will be plowed under by the ravages of time and human expansion.

But there are some sentinels of the African Legacy who seek to preserve the magic and mystery of Africa, and one group who dedicates its singular purpose to that end is the owners/partners of Kisima Ngeda Lodge in Tanzania. They are a legacy preserving a legacy.

In a delicate balance between nature and humans, they have built a lodge in the heart of a private 200-acre farm that looks upon the beautiful Lake Eyasi and is framed by the Alipi two-thousand foot escarpment that borders the Endulen area of the Ngorongoro Crater. Along the shores of the lake exist some of the most beautiful birds in the world, an occasional pair of hippos, jaguars, monkeys and two tribes of people who represent some of Africa's greatest human legacies.

In the following interview conducted by internet email, you will enjoy hearing how four and a half years ago, the partners of the lodge decided to preserve and protect a small but vital corner of African history by building seven tented lodges so that the African Legacy adventurer could enjoy the beauty of this area, and be reminded of the importance of preserving and protecting it for future generations.

Even with ensuite bathrooms and electricity, the rustic, natural beauty of the lodges overpowers modernization. Each is made primarily of palm, with thatched roofs. All the palm materials come from fallen trees and dead leaves. The owners didn't sacrifice the land at the expense of their structures, but instead respectfully blended and recycled the materials.

Surrounded by a natural palm and acacia forest, the thatched roof and palm poles of the lodges chorus the integration between humans and the environment at the mutual benefit, not exclusion, of the other. In harmony with the tented suites that overlook the seasonal soda lake and its bounty of flamingos, Egyptian geese, and a host of other bird life, is a natural spring that produces over four million litres of water daily and ultimately feeds into the lake. The spring provides a refreshing swimming retreat for visitors and a romantic, relaxing backdrop for candlelight dinners..

But the real treat for the Legacy Traveler isn't the magnificent sunsets, or the serenading orchestra of wildlife lulling one to sleep, or the scrumptious food that comes from the farm and lake. The ultimate Legacy Experience is to meet and experience members of the Hadzabe tribe that represent one of Africa's most ancient and fragile living maps to its rich and wonderful history of humanity. The Hadzabe represent one of the last click speaking hunter gather tribes. They share the area with another tribe of ancient roots, the Datoga. These two tribes represent a Living Legacy that is a great part of the lure and appeal of Kisima Ngeda Lodge.

Kisima Ngeda dedicates its conservation role not simply to the land and protecting its beauty, but to the Hadzabe and Datoga people.

If you are a Legacy Traveler such as myself, interested more in heart and soul of the places you visit than simply on their surfaces, then you will be drawn to Kisima Ngeda not simply because of the camp's beauty and its wonderment, but in addition to its commitment to preserving the African Family Legacy.

A visit to Kisima Ngeda places you in the midst of a few people who have made a difference in Africa. The owners and staff symbolize what any person can do, and better yet, what a group of dedicated people can accomplish to preserve and protect the past for future generations.

In the following interview with one of the owner/partners of Kisima Ngeda, you can feel the love and respect for the land and its people coming from the words. More importantly, if you are planning a trip to Africa, then a centerpiece of your decision should include a stay at Kisima Ngeda where you will become a true African Legacy Traveler.





(The following email correspondence was conducted through our safari company, Auram Safaris, to and with the owners/partners of Kisima Ngeda Lodge. I received this response prior to my departure. What makes such information so valuable is that I now understand the personal commitment and love for the land and people that exists at Kisima Ngeda Lodge. When I travel there with my wife, I will see much more and feel much richer because I understand the people who own and operate Kisima Ngeda are Legacy Hosts. That is, they are seeking not just to make the traveler enjoy his or her visit, but to infuse also a sense of love and care for the future of Africa. I hope you will feel the importance of making Kisima Ngeda a top priority on your African Legacy Safari journey. ---Cliff McKenzie

Prepared by: Cliff McKenzie Especially For Kisima Ngeda Lodge

(Note: These questions are designed to help jog your thinking toward the area of how your lodge/facility/staff helps create a “legacy” in the minds of those who visit you. While we often use the term “hospitality,” the role you play is much deeper and richer. You are sentinels of the richest history in all human existence. If Africa is the “cradle of all humanity,” then you are the guardians of the legacy. You insure that all those who enjoy your respite, carry with them the great African Legacy to share with countless others and future generations. It is this arena that I am most interested in. Therefore, when you read through the questions, think of how you might share these answers with me so I can capture them best in words and photos. Thanks. Cliff McKenzie If you have any questions prior to my departure to Africa on March 22, please email me at:

1. What legacy would you say your lodge/facility/staff provides the traveler that he/she/they can and should carry back with them?

Kisima Ngeda is about the beauty of Africa and about culture. When we say culture we mean the most ancient, the origin of mankind’s culture: the Hadzabe of today try to live the life of their ancestors and maintain this way of life. Although this is becoming increasingly difficult with the influx of more and more people and the slow destruction of their land they still manage to hold on to what some people would see as a life of the past. To share some time with them and experience how our ancestors most likely lived can be a very educational experience. One can learn how life is worth living for the sake of surviving, and finding simple joy in that. One can also learn how life can be rewarding without all the amenities of life and “things” in life that our western culture has come to cherish so much. Apart from the Hadzabe one can also experience another, very different culture: the culture of the Datoga pastorals. They are of nilotic origin and live a life very similar to that of the Masai. Kisima Ngeda provides a comfortable base from which to explore these cultures.

2. What is the most important goal you have for every traveler who visits your facility?

We believe that Kisima Ngeda is located in a uniquely beautiful spot. We love our life together with the local people here and we hope to be able to convey this love and appreciation for the people and the area to our guests.

3. If there is one message you’d like all your visitors to take with them regarding Africa, what is it? Why do you feel this is the most important message?

Africa is the place that we most likely all originate from and that is the reason why most people feel comfortable here, why they experience a sense of belonging without knowing why. We should appreciate this and all contribute to preserving as much as possible of Africa’s unique beauty as possible. We do this here with the tiny piece of land that we have and we believe that everybody visiting Africa can contribute in his/her own way through behaving responsibly. We believe this to be so important since we should want our children and future generations to be able to understand what Africa means and feels like.

4. From a child’s point of view, what do you feel is the most important image a child should take from Africa?

A child should remember Africa as pure adventure, as something that it has never experienced before and will long to come back for.

5. What do you do to encourage the traveler to return to your facility, or to encourage other friends or relatives, to visit you at some point in the future?

We try to make the traveler feel at home, to provide a home away from home for him/her. The people working in Camp are very independent and confident and know what they do. They will do everything to make a guest feel comfortable.

6. What do you see in the future for Africa, over the next ten, twenty, fifty, hundred years? What are you doing today to help make that a reality?

For the future of Africa we have a dream. In this dream all people have received sufficient education to understand how important it is to preserve as much as possible of Africa’s beauty: the inner beauty of its people and their cultures and the beauty of the wilderness. In our dream Africa understands that development is not everything, that sometimes maintaining the status quo can be more valuable.
We support education wherever we can. One of us was recently elected into a committee that oversees the building of a local secondary school. We found a sponsor who contributes to building this school. We have managed to find sponsors for the secondary education for 15 children who cannot afford it. We substantially contributed to the building of a kinder garden in our vicinity. We have preserved the natural forest on our land and have supposedly become an example for the surrounding communities. Some local people have started using our forest for recreational visits.

7. How can, or what can someone do who is coming to your facility, maximize the great history and impact of his/her/their visit?

Besides enjoying themselves and having an enlightening experience at our place, guest could - and have - in many occasions contributed by sponsoring children through secondary school or providing much needed mosquito nets for the hospital or even school books for the many primary schools where children normally share one text book. There are many ways to help and anyone can help within their means. Just showing appreciation and respect for the culture and the way of life of the people they are visiting is enough.
Staying with us automatically contributes to the income of our village since we pay a voluntary bed-night fee for every night any guest stays with us to the village. Since 2004 we have been the highest source of income for our village.

8. What are some of the legacies of your staff? How do you select them? What is your philosophy of service not to just to the traveler’s comfort, but to the enrichment of the African experience?

Our staff has been chosen among people who lived in the vicinity or already worked on our farm (we have a dairy farm on the premises as well as pigs, sheep and a fish farm). We looked for people who were honest and willing to improve themselves even if that meant having a very demanding job. They are all very outgoing people with a huge love for their country and a big respect for their way of life. We have chosen them because they are proud of who they are and are not ashamed to let it show. They are far better than us at showing our guests what Africa is all about.

9. What made you want to do this? What fulfillment do you personally receive from hosting travelers to your wonderful country?

This is maybe the right moment to talk about how our little venture came about. We are four partners, George Mavroudis (one of Tanzania’s top guides) and his wife Deborah and Christian Schmeling and his wife Nani. Chris and I had been living down here in Kisima- his family home- for a good number of years, mostly farming (as in livestock and not agriculture) and just enjoying the people and the nature of this marvelous country when George Mavroudis came around looking for a good spot to place his luxury mobile camp. He, being in the tourism business for years, saw the potential in Kisima Ngeda immediately and suggested doing something permanent. We slowly warmed up to the idea and together built Kisima Ngeda Tented Camp four and a half years ago.
The business has been growing steadily since then and we are increasingly happy with the outcome. It enables us to share our love for this country and its people with a wide variety of guests from all over the world who have come to Tanzania looking for more than just wildlife. The best thing about our place is that we can provide guests with a genuine experience of how some people live today and we do believe that it is a life changing experience.

10. What would you say is the most important reason why every family, every person, should make a visit to Africa and, of course, stay at your facility?

A visit to Africa (or should we just say Tanzania) is just a must in anyone’s lifetime because it puts you in contact with the origins of mankind, which of course, is relevant to all our lives no matter where our personal ambitions or upbringing have led us. A visit to Kisima Ngeda on the other hand, allows guests to experience an actual connection with people who live the way our ancestors did millions of years ago. These people are open and friendly and very willing to share their life with strangers worldwide who are looking for something different. They might not understand why all these westerners come to them, but being hunter-gatherers they understand all about sharing and that is enough for them. And we hope it is enough for our guests. A trans-cultural experience is not about understanding (we guess you have to live a life to understand it) but about respect. The Hadzabe as well as the Datoga who our guests visit, respect foreign visitors and are willing to share their knowledge with them. We are under the impression that most of our guests appreciate this and leave with a huge measure of respect for these people who, while living abysmally different/simple lives, manage to convey a sense of self and a sense of contentment with life that is difficult to find nowadays in the so called “civilized” world.



Kisima Ngeda, Bush/Safari Lodges - Ngorongoro Crater Highlands, TANZANIA

This new permanent tented camp is located on the Schmeling family two hundred acre plantation on the shores of Lake Eyasi.
Kisima Ngeda:

Detailed Rates: Kisima Ngeda contact legacy safari info re cliff

Kisima Ngeda Location
Jointly owned and operated by Christian and Nani Schmeling and George and Deborah Mavroudis , the camp is situated in a beautiful natural palm and acacia lakeshore forest with a colossal rock as a backdrop and a natural spring nearby. The spring which is similar to the groundwater springs of Lake Manyara produces over four million litres of water a day which eventually feeds into the lake. Across the lake which stretches away in front of the camp the Alipi escarpment wall rises two thousand feet up into the Endulen area of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

Kisima Ngeda Activities
Wildlife, Walking, Photography, Birding, Child Friendly
Above is an indication of what is available at or nearby this establishment. Price Range is an indication of accommodation cost per person per day.

Kisima Ngeda Attractions
Natural beauty comes in many forms and here in Lake Eyasi it is noticeable in its bird life . This area certainly has an abundance . African Fish eagles and Crowned cranes and resident Verreaux's eagle owls as well as quite a few Hammerkops and their huge nests. Guinea fowl and francolin aplenty, kingfishers, herons, egrets, cormorants, plovers, Egyptian geese, to name a few. Recently in an effort to attract even more bird life we have dammed the spring forming a largish pond. Last year at one point we had over three thousand pelicans and a lot of other assorted water and shorebirds on this pond. As the plantation only caters to livestock and no agriculture some of the last remaining game in the area seeks sanctuary here with the opportunity to see dik-dik , bush buck, reedbuck, vervet monkey and even hippos on occasion.

Kisima Ngeda Facilities
The camp itself consists of five guest sleeping tents built on permanent platforms and a large dining tent. All these are thatched with traditional palm fronds and the ensuite bathroom section is built with natural palm stems, giving it a rustic appearance. There is hot and cold running water supplied by our spring and heated through environmentally friendly "kuni boilers” that burn dry palm fronds that have fallen from the trees. Toilets are flush type and we have a proper septic system in place . Furniture and bedding is comfortable and in keeping with traditional safari style. Lighting is supplied by inverter and generator and is of the energy saving type. From all tents there is a beautiful view of the lake.

Kisima Ngeda Additional Information
Walking paths have been carved through the lakeshore forest and afford one the opportunity to experience this beautiful and unique environment on foot. Nature and its beauty is only one of the reasons to visit this remote area. There is a little known cultural aspect that has drawn discerning travelers for many years ; the little known Hadzabe are the last remnants of a tribe of hunter gatherers that were pushed out of the Ngorongoro Conservation area hundreds of years ago by incoming pastoralist groups. Moving slowly down the foothills of Oldeani and along the lakeshore , this group of people is one of the last of its kind in East Africa . Small in stature and speaking with the ancient click dialect they survive by their ability to blend into and subsist through their surroundings. Found within a short distance of the camp a visit with them is easily arranged and a morning or full day spent walking, hunting and gathering is a haunting and memorable experience.

Kisima Ngeda Children Policy
Toddlers (0 - 3 years) welcome
Children (4 - 12 years) welcome
Children over 12 welcome
Child friendly lodge, children of all ages welcome.

Nearest City: Karatu
Check In Time: 14:00:00
Check Out Time: 11:00:00