Circa 2019 – Setting Up Camp At Ndutu

The Royal Migration Camp (RMC) had evolved from the many safari experiences that our camp team shared over the years. We decided that we would start this camp with great aplomb.

Those of you who know Tanzania would probably know that it rained nonstop from September 2019 in the Endulin rain ward side of Ngorongoro Highlands. Our RMC camp was situated between Matiti hill and Ndutu Lake. It was the most perfect location. Completely exclusive with not a camp around for miles. It’s like having a large part of the Serengeti carved out solely for us. We established camp overlooking a gorge formed by the Ol Dupai River around eight kilometers from Ndutu Lake. The valley was brimming with migrant animals. We drove around and discovered we had our own lion pride and cheetah too. We would often drive along the gorge looking for leopards, lions in trees and elephants. We would often find them as we neared Lake Masek.The rain refused to cease and we worked like never before. The biggest challenge was bringing the water in. All the tracks leading to us were flooded. The camp was special in many ways. Apart from the stunning location we had chosen our staff with care and spread the tents to ensure complete privacy.

My tent was erected as always on one one end of the camp, whilst Ally’s was on the other. The guest tents, the mess tent and lounge were between us. The staff were behind with the guides and security having a clear view of the entire camp. We had our vehicles parked close to us in case of emergency. Our Maasai staff would sit out in the middle around a fire protecting us from the wilderness. They too had a vehicle next to them at all times.

The lions started to roar late in the evening and we could hear the hyenas coming closer and closer. The rain had just about abated. Torrential streams had suddenly sprung up. One was gushing below the lounge, one had destroyed the kitchen. In all this we had to change the 500 liter water tank from the make shift platform that we had welded together. We removed the smaller tank and loaded the larger 2000 liter syntex. We were filling it with water, when unknown to us, one of our staff went up on the platform to check it. Suddenly the entire apparatus came down with an ugly thud. It missed me by a meter and I was drenched from top to toe in the pure and sweet Ngorongoro water that we had so painstakingly got from Endulin. Even as we recovered form the disaster, out popped our boy from behind the broken tank. He got up, dusted himself, and walked away completely unhurt and unperturbed. It was a miracle that he had survived. That he was not even injured was a huge blessing from the hidden powers. The local medicine man was called in by the staff the next day. He threw his shells, sacrificed a goat and declared that the bad days had passed. We would only see prosperity in the coming years.

A few months later COVID19 landed at our doorstep.