The history of Mt Meru is ancient. Momella has been part of it for the last 100 years. In 1906, Margarete Trappe arrived on an ox wagon from the coast. Her courage and pioneering spirit set the tone when she travelled the picturesque Meru-Pass, at which her new home - Momella - was situated. A big farm was created and built by the Trappe family where they kept cattle, horses and goats and enjoyed the surroundings and the abundant wildlife. The start of the First World War brought a cat-and-mouse game between Margarete Trappe and the English soldiers and earned her the nickname Iron Lady for her stubbornness, strength and courage as she scouted for Von Lettow Vorbeck in his “Ice Cream War” with Frederick Courtney Selous.

However, fate was not kind to Margarete. Disowned and bankrupt, she returned to Meru and started rebuilding a new farm called Ngongongare or Yejo’s - her Maasai name. Financial survival was finally secured by the highly profitable trophy hunting when she became the first female professional hunter in East Africa. Fittingly, her beloved elephant herd paid her a last tribute as they gathered around her house in 1957 when she passed away.

Margarete’s son Rolf leased the property to Paramount Pictures as the setting for the classic movie “Hatari”, starring John Wayne and Hardy Krüger. Hardy Krüger then bought the property in 1960. He wanted a farm in Africa – a dream came true, for 13 years!

Hardy Krüger’s former home was transformed much later into the small and privately managed Ol Donyo Orok Lodge, which closed in 2002. Today this house is part of Hatari Lodge, and is inhabited by the Gabriel family. Jim Mallory’s former house is now the main building of Hatari Lodge. The name was chosen in memory of the classic Hollywood movie “Hatari”, parts of which were filmed in the immediate surrounding areas.

HATARI: A History

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