We spent two days and nights at Kisima Ngeda Tented Camp at the end of August 2010. This is a small (7 tents, I believe) lovely tented camp on the shores of Lake Eyasi, near Ngorongoro in northern Tanzania. Although we were there during the dry season, the camp's location makes you feel as if you're in an oasis. A spring runs nearby and the water is drawn into the camp and "feeds" the swimming pool and fish ponds. The camp is nestled in and surrounded by lovely sub-tropical vegetation. The vegetation and birdsong actually reminded us of a place we'd visited in Hawaii called Kona Village Resort. Nani and Chris Schmeling, two of the owners of Kisima Ngeda, are very mindful of the environment and are actively involved in conservation efforts. They are raising their two boys here. Nani is from Argentina; Chris is from Germany. Chris spent a lot of time growing up in Tanzania, as his father lived and worked there. Chris and Nani couldn't have been more accommodating or more friendly, greeting us every morning at breakfast and every evening at dinner to discuss the day's activities, and talk about the people and the land, which they obviously love. Probably the highlight of our 10-day safari in Africa was the visit to a nearby tribe of Hadzabes, who are nomadic hunter-gatherers. They do not read or write. They speak in a dialect that contains the "click" sound. A small group of them live near Kisima Ngeda, in a clearing in the bush. We visited the Hadzabes early in the morning, before the daily hunt. The Hadzabes are an ancient group of bushmen who live much like they have for thousands of years, in the African bush. At their temporary clearing in the bush, a group of Hadzabe men and boys, perhaps 6 total, sat around one fire, eating dik-dik, a small antelope-like animal they had killed the night before. A group of women and infants sat 30 feet away around another fire, the women making beaded jewelry, the infants and toddlers nearby. After a half-hour of eating the dik-dik, the men and boys smoked some marijuana (which we were told later had been purchased at a market and was supposed to give them "hope" for the morning hunt). Our guide, my wife, and I then followed three of the Hadzabe boys (aged 9 and 10) into the bush for the hunt. Keep in mind, the boys were dressed only in shorts and sandals, They were carrying only a bow and arrow and a knife or two. The land is semi-arid, quite rocky, full of thorny bushes. Not the kind of land you would suspect someone could survive in. Remarkably, the Hadzabe survive and have done so for thousands of years. After a few minutes, the boys came upon a hare they had killed the day before. The arrow was still embedded in the hare. One of the boys took the arrow out, another boy went to find dung to make a fire, and the third boy started the fire by rubbing sticks together. Within minutes there was a fire. They skinned the hare, put the hare onto the fire and had a barbecue. They offered us the liver. We politely declined. The meal lasted about 20 minutes. When they were finished eating, the boys put dirt on the fire and then went foraging for roots, from which they get water to drink. Following this, we returned to the clearing, purchased some jewelry, and said our goodbyes. Nani told us later that this very group of Hadzabe were the subject of a story in the December 2009 issue of National Geographic. So, if you have that issue, you will see the same people we met. Back to Kisima Ngeda: we were driven on our last evening to an area of the bush from which we could view a beautiful African sunset. The accommodations at the camp are very comfortable, though not as luxurious as some of the other camps we have seen in Africa. But that's not a drawback, at all. The experience with the Hadzabe -- which is something we will never forget -- and the warmth and knowledge that Chris and Nani displayed, made this a truly unforgettable experience. We highly recommend this place. You won't be disappointed!
- Also Known As:
- Kisima Ngeda Tented Camp Hotel Ngorongoro Conservation Area