Big Game, Crater, Lakes & Savannah... following the tracks of Margarete Trappe
“Momella – a farm in Africa“. This German film documents the life of Margarete Trappe, a famous German “White Huntress”, also known as “Mother of the Masai”. She arrived in Tanzania at the beginning of the 20th century and founded the farm called “Momella”, located in what is now Arusha National Park. As a result of her extraordinary life as a pioneering white woman in Africa and her cat-and-mouse games as a scout for Von Lettow Vorbeck in the First World War she became famous and later instigated conservation in this area.
The Arusha National Park has a dense vegetation and hosts great numbers of buffalo, giraffe, zebra, wart hog, different types of antelope, hippo, several primate species including the black & white colobus monkey, flamingo and numerous birds. Elephant are also found here and we will use their paths during our riding safari. Arusha National Park encompasses Mt. Meru which is the 2nd highest mountain in Tanzania and the 3rd highest free-standing mountain in Africa. There are dramatic variations in scenery: open savannah, dense forest and thick bush, impressive craters and many lakes. Furthermore there are 5 distinct vegetation zones which host a wealth of flora and fauna. For the first time in the history of Tanzania´s National Parks TANAPA has given Makoa-Farm exclusive access to take riding safaris within the park boundaries. Dive into the world of Margarete Trappe and follow her footsteps tracking game – but with the camera rather than a gun!
Sample itinerary Day 1: Arrival and Transfer to the Kilimanjaro Farm. Depending on your arrival there may be time for a preliminary ride.Day 2: Transfer of riders and horses to Usa River. This is where we begin our ride in the direction of the Arusha Park boundary, a varied route through small villages on the slope of Mt. Meru. Owing to the abundance of water and fertile soils agriculture is the main occupation of the Wameru tribe. As we pass there is lots of amusement because they don’t see horses very often. We will spend the night in a lodge at the park boundary. Day 3: Throughout the following days we will ride within Arusha National Park. Its size being only 137 sq km it is one of the smallest national parks in Tanzania. Due to the wide range in altitude there are 5 different vegetation zones, starting at 1.500 m with savannah through dry forest, rain forest and montane forest up to the alpine zone at 4.566 m of Mt. Meru. The dominating Mt. Meru, 3rd highest mountain of Africa, and “Little Meru” will bewitch you with their beauty.
There are different areas with craters, rivers and lakes that offer an ideal habitat for many animals such as the black & white colobus monkey and a fantastic bird life – around 500 bird species. As with the other parks in Tanzania, there are no boundary fences so animals can come and go as they please, often travelling great distances. Soon we reach the area known as “Little Serengeti” which is open pasture, home to plains game.
We stop for lunch at the Park-Resthouse, the original home of the famous „White Huntress“ Margarete Trappe, and enjoy our meal within this historic environment. Afterwards we continue towards Meru and just before sunset should arrive at our mobile camp in the middle of the fantastic setting of this impressive mountain. Day 4: We will wake you with a cup of steaming tea and after a delicious breakfast get back onto the horse. We ride along the slopes of Meru and cross the buffalo glade. These massive animals can be watched excitingly close whilst they are grazing or resting. Then we dive into the rain forest! We ride through a “fairytale” forest with tree ferns and moss. There are many paths with tracks and spoor, giving away the presence of hidden eyes watching you. Look out for the colourful Hartlaub´s Turaco with deep red wings – their calls echoing far through the forest.
After brunch in a glade we ride further up the mountain. We will reach a well-known landmark of Arusha National Park: The “Fig Tree Arch”, a natural feature created by assorted animals and birds. Day 5: A long ride in the morning leads us through dry forest and savannah where we look forward to seeing giraffe, buffalo, antelope and other small game. At lunchtime we arrive at a view point with a 360 degree view where we can dismount and relax. On clear days you can admire Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Meru with the ecosystem of the Momella lakes in between. However hard it is to leave this place, we must press on as there is still some distance to cover before reaching the next camp, located close to a spring. The evidence in and around the camp indicates that we can expect nocturnal visitors… Day 6: Waking to the call of colobus monkey we start early to explore the surroundings on horseback while following paths and tracks. This area is frequently used by elephants – let us try and track them. We will return to camp for lunch. After only a short break we travel by jeep to areas further away. Our destination is the Momella lakes – a paradise for birdwatchers. We embark on a canoe tour on the small Momella lake. If we are lucky we will be able to get quite close to hippo or buffalo who often hang around the edge. Day 7: Today we turn east, riding partly uphill through thick forest. We will use the paths of the “big ears”, as elephants know best how and where to climb the steep hills. Our first stop is the rim of the Ngurdoto Crater. The diameter of this crater is approximately 3 km and is the ideal terrain for buffalo as it consists of year round pastures and lush swamp that offers perfect buffalo wallows and continuous water.
We circumvent a part of the crater offering many views. At one of the viewpoints our crew will meet us with well-earned Brunch. Over the next two hours we ride downhill towards Masailand, passing through the deepest part of this park. You can be sure that many colobus monkeys will be watching us. We only need to step over the park boundary to find ourselves in farmland – giving entertainment to lots of cheerful people. A few kilometers further our lorry will be waiting to load the horses. We will reach the farm just in time for sundowners and can celebrate our great adventure with a fantastic meal and a view of Kilimanjaro. Day 8: To wrap up your holiday we can take you to Moshi, the old coffee capital of Tanzania where you may visit the vibrant fruit and vegetable market, we can show you leather workshops staffed by the disabled, take advantage of the many curio shops or you can enjoy a coffee at one of the coffee shops. Alternatively you may decide to take a ride around the farm or relax with your feet up watching the many colours of Kilimanjaro. Your itinerary ends with your transfer to the airport.
(Subject to change)
Program: Horse Safari
Lodgings: Farm, Lodges and camp
Catering: Full Board
Rooms: Double room, single room, tent
Languages: English, German
Bring own Horse: No
Capacity min/max: 2/6
Your Expert: Angelika Kaiser
A variety of reliable, for safari-purpose trained horses like Partbred- and Anglo-Arabian, Thoroughbred, Trakehner, Bavarian Warmblood, Australian Brumby etc., ranging from 14 to 16.2 hands (140 - 165 cm) high - there is a horse to suit everyone.
Saddle & tack: Tack is usually bitless (Hackamore and Sidepull). There are good quality treeless saddles (Barefoot and Torsion), Endurance and Trail Saddles available.
Riding level & experience: Safari rides require prior experience in riding over rough terrain as during the rides we may cross steep valleys, river with seasonally strong current and dry river beds. You need to be able to react to the movement of wildlife which may startle the horse. You may also be required to gallop out of trouble so the minimum ability for these rides are 'Strong Intermediate'. We spend 4 to 6 hours per day in the saddle. Riding groups will normally be no more than 6, maximum 8 guests.
Riding terrain: The terrain can be uneven with areas of rocks, clumps of grass, thorns and holes. These obstacles can sometimes not be seen from far and therefore require a quick reaction of the horses - they will confidently jump or move around rocks, stones, thorns or holes. The horses are sure footed. They will bring the riders safe to where we want to go, however the rider is expected to be balanced enough to follow the movement of the horse.
There is a strict riders weight limit: Usually 14 stone / 200 lbs or 90 kg (in exemptions 15 stone, 210 lbs or 95 kg but only if you are an advanced rider). The horses will not carry heavier weight than this.