Hatari Lodge: History of a Small Hotel
Have you ever seen the classic Howard Hawks movie Hatari! (1962)? If so, you’ll be familiar with the ranch at which it was shot, on the edge of the Arusha National Park in Tanzania. The majority of the movie (starring the ‘Duke’, John Wayne) was filmed there, including sweeping vistas of Mounts Kilimanjaro and Mero and nearby swampland.
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 provenance goes 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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
The interiors of the Hatari Lodge are retro-safari, with contemporary African artwork throughout.
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. With wonderful photo opportunities. Book your stay at Hatari Lodge.