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Hatari: A History

hatari-177 If you’re lucky enough to see have seen the classic Howard Hawks movie Hatari! (1962), you’ll be familiar with the ranch at which it was shot, on the edge of the Arusha National Park in Tanzania. Most of the movie (starring the ‘Duke’, John Wayne) was filmed there, including sweeping vistas of Mounts Kilimanjaro and Mero and nearby swampland. hatari-77 Today, the location is known as the Hatari Lodge, a luxuriously appointed bush hotel named after the movie which made it famous (the word ‘hatari’ is Swahili for ‘danger’). However, its story dates back much farther – to one Margarete Trappe, a pioneer who built a farm called Ngongongare or Yejo’s (her Maasai name) at this location after World War I. hatari-166 At the time she was bankrupt, but her fortunes were soon reversed when her trophy hunting business took off and she became the first professional female hunter in East Africa. When she passed away in 1957, it is said that her beloved elephant herd gathered around her house to give her a fitting send-off. hatari-111 In the late Fifties, Hollywood came calling, and Margarete’s son Rolf leased the property to Paramount Pictures. It became the setting for Hatari!, and one of John Wayne’s costars, actor Hardy Krüger fell in love with the farm, buying it in 1960. hatari-188 He ran Momella Farm with the help of manager Jim Mallory, and they operated a small bungalow hotel from the site. He forbade hunting on the property, but cultivated a cattle farm and sold meat to local businesses. hatari-199 He described his home as ‘a sort of African Walden where I can get away from the world from time to time.’ However, after 13 years he left, frustrated with the government's socialist reforms and nationalisation of private companies and farms, and returned heartbroken to his native Germany. hatari-66 The farm was nationalised and fell into ruin. In later years, it was converted into a small hotel, the Ol Donyo Orok Lodge, owned and occupied by Charles and Stephanie Challis, with their three children Daniel, Julian and Chantal-Acacia. hatari-11 The site closed in 2002, but reopened in September 2004 as the Hatari Lodge, a luxury boutique hotel, owned and occupied by Joerg and Marlies Gabriel. Jim Mallory’s former house is now the main building, which has been fully redesigned with an intriguing mix of what the owners call 'modern retro' and local African art. hatari-55 A great base for exploring Arusha National Park, the Lodge offers a variety of safari walks, game drives and other excursions. The perfect way to discover the world that Margarete Trappe, Howard Hawks, Hardy Kruger and many others have fallen in love with. hatari-33 And wonderful photo opportunities, as these images demonstrate. RM hatari-22 hatari-44

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  • Hello

    July 28, 2015

    Hello Keith,

    While we are not certain which animals do roam wild on this vista, this property is currently available and we encourage you to ask the owner of the Hatari Lodge about it. You can contact them here:

    Feel free to email with any travel requests or questions!


  • Keith Brunson

    January 4, 2015

    I am a documentarian and a film producer and would like to be notified when this property is available for filming and visiting. No hunting. No capture. I’m an animal lover

    But can you write back and tell me, what animals DO roam wild on this vista.

    Warmest Loving Regards,
    Keith Brunson
    Austin, Tx

  • Heinz Legler

    September 21, 2010

    The Hatari Lodge will be soon part of our Boutique-Homes Collection. Sign up here:

    so you know when it’s available.


Any comments?