Arusha National Park Ride

Ride Summary

In the footstep of the Iron Lady, Margarete Trappe

1 night at permanent lodge (the night upon arrival)

2 nights in our mobile camp

4 - 6 hours in the saddle a day

Caters for fit experienced riders only.

Each horse riding safari is led by qualified and professionally trained guides, always pushing for a new and exhilarating adventure.


Safari Day 1,

Arrive to the lodge for lunch, settle into the new surroundings and meet the other participants on the safari (unless private safari).

Over lunch a briefing will take place and shortly thereafter an afternoon introduction ride takes place. This is a good opportunity for everyone to get to know their mount before heading into the National Park the following day. The afternoon ride takes place on a wildlife estate (fenced), home to plenty of plains game like zebras, wildebeests, elands and if lucky there is a good chance of seeing one of the shyest and rarest antelopes in Africa, the Gerenuk (also know as giraffe antelope). Back to the lodge in time for showers and sundowners before dinner is served.

Safari Day 2,

Wake up calls with tea and coffee, breakfast is served anytime from early hours. After breakfast the drive is about thirty minutes to Arusha National Park gate. Here the horses will be waiting, ready to be mounted and shortly after you ride into one of the most beautiful parks in East Africa. Here the vegetation will change dramatically, from open grassland to rainforest. With good chances of seeing, buffaloes, giraffes, all your plains game, elephants and leopards are present however harder to spot along with rare species such as Suni, Red Duiker, the magnificent Hartlaub's turaco, colobus monkey and the endless bird life.

The feeling is magical as you enter into the big canopy forests. Lunch will be set on route, with time for a small siesta. After lunch the ride continues through leopard country and as we head towards our night stop, we will pass by Margarete Trappe’s old house. The legendary lady known and remembered as the Iron lady from the first world war. “If, as children, we were thrilled by Buffalo Bill we should have been still more spellbound by Mrs. Trappe’s adventures, the adventures of the fearless woman with her two legendary horses, Comet and Diamond, and her two inseparable Alsatians. Like a phantom she would suddenly appear, like a phantom she would vanish; as intimate with wild beasts as though they were tame.”

These are some of the tales about Margarete who’s old riding paths this horse safari follows through the holy forests of the park. Arrive to camp, based on the foot of Mt Meru in time for showers and sundowners then dinner under the stars.

Safari Day 3,

This morning you will hopefully wake up to the very talkative Colobus monkeys. Breakfast is served and shortly thereafter we mount and directions are taken towards the area where the film Hatari was filmed, starring John Wayne. Thereafter halfway into the morning ride we start the climb (on horseback), some will be done on the horse and some on foot, aiming to reach a viewpoint, that if clear has one of the best views of Mt Kilimanjaro, here we will dismount our horses and instead mount a car and drive the last, steepest part in the vehicle. You drive passed the “Fig Tree Arch”, a massive fig tree arch, big enough to fit five horses underneath it. The drive continues until we reach lunch, beautifully located next to a waterfall. We are now on about 2000 meters above sea level. 

After lunch we start heading back towards the horses, we then ride back down to camp and after returning to camp, there will be an option to jump into the vehicles (or relax in camp) and go visit the Momella lakes, hoping to see some hippos and beautiful water birds. Sundowners at the lakes before heading back to camp for showers and dinner.

Safari Day 4,

Wake up to Colobus monkeys chatting in the early hours of the morning. Breakfast is served and everyone mounts and start heading back towards civilization. Enjoy the last morning with your mount in this magical place on earth, full of wildlife, stories and tales. 

Late morning, we will get back to the Arusha National park gate where we dismount and say farewell to our four legged friends. From here there are a few options, some will continue onto other safaris or stay another night or two at the lodge and practice and play polo for a few days.

About Arusha national park

The entrance gate leads into shadowy montane forest inhabited by inquisitive blue monkeys and colourful turacos and trogons – the only place on the northern safari circuit where the acrobatic black-and-white colobus monkey is easily seen. In the midst of the forest stands the spectacular Ngurdoto Crater, whose steep, rocky cliffs enclose a wide marshy floor dotted with herds of buffalo and warthog.

Further north, rolling grassy hills enclose the tranquil beauty of the Momela Lakes, each one a different hue of green or blue. Their shallows sometimes tinged pink with thousands of flamingos, the lakes support a rich selection of resident and migrant waterfowl, and shaggy waterbucks display their large lyre-shaped horns on the watery fringes. Giraffes glide across the grassy hills, between grazing zebra herds, while pairs of wideeyed dik-dik dart into scrubby bush like overgrown hares on spindly legs. Although elephants are shy in Arusha National Park, and lions absent altogether, leopards and spotted hyenas may be seen slinking around in the early morning and late afternoon. It is also at dusk and dawn that the veil of cloud on the eastern horizon is most likely to clear, revealing the majestic snow-capped peaks of Kilimanjaro, only 50km (30 miles) distant.

But it is Kilimanjaro’s unassuming cousin, Mount Meru - the fifth highest in Africa at 4,566 meters (14,990 feet) – that dominates the park’s horizon. Its peaks and eastern foot slopes protected within the national park, Meru offers unparalleled views of its famous neighbour, while also forming a rewarding hiking destination.

Passing first through wooded savannah where buffalos and giraffes are frequently encountered, the ascent of Meru leads into forests aflame with red-hot pokers and dripping with Spanish moss, before reaching high open heath spiked with giant lobelias. Everlasting flowers cling to the alpine desert, as delicately hoofed klipspringers mark the hike’s progress. Astride the craggy summit, Kilimanjaro stands unveiled, blushing in the sunrise.

Margarete Trappe

Africa’s greatest huntress - “Jeyo”... Mother of the Masai

“If, as children, we were thrilled by Buffalo Bill we should have been still more spellbound by Mrs. Trappe’s adventures, the adventures of the fearless woman with her two legendary horses, Comet and Diamond, and her two inseparable Alsatians. Like a phantom she would suddenly appear, like a phantom she would vanish; as intimate with wild beasts as though they were tame, she was venerated and feared by the locals like a supernatural being. The dark spirit of Africa with its spells and witchcraft, its magic, symbolism and ritual furnish a background against which such a figure almost assumes a mystic significance. On this ride with Kaskazi Horse Safaris your ride in Arusha National Park, which is where Margerete lived until she passed away in 1957. On the ride we follow her old hidden pathways through the bush where this legendary lady rode on her two loyal thoroughbred mounts, always accompanied by her two Alsatians.

Margarete Trappe arrived on an ox wagon 1906 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 however finally secured by highly profitable trophy hunting after she became the first female professional hunter in East Africa. Fittingly, her last tribute was paid by her beloved elephant herd 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.

Mrs. Trappe’s tales would fill an entire volume and this is not the place in which to tell them. All the same I cannot resist mentioning one episode, the one which marks the end of her wartime activities; it is such a charming story. At that time the German defense forces had been compelled to withdraw into the interior. Under cover of darkness and forest, Mrs. Trappe had slipped through the British lines and delivered two large transports of cattle and provisions to General von Lettow. But a large convoy of horses led by tired German farmers had been surrounded by the British; there was scarcely a hope of getting it through. Then Mrs. Trappe with her crew had taken over the whole operation. With the help of an alleged deserter she had misled the British as to the direction she had taken, had driven the horses through forests and over mountains where no one had dreamed it possible to find a way, and, without losing a single one, had brought them through the British lines.

Now she could do no more and was anxious to return to her farm where her three small children awaited her impatiently. She rode straight into the middle of the nearest British headquarters and gave herself up. A British Captain questioned her. A British General busy with his papers at a nearby table glanced across her now and again. The hearing dragged on. There was not much she would say. “You know, Mrs. Trappe, that you will have to be interned,” said the Captain finally. “Mrs. Trappe will remain at liberty,” the General stated, looking up from his papers. The hearing continued. “You will have to leave your horses here,” said the Captain. Mrs. Trappe declared that she had promised General von Lettow to shoot the horses sooner than to surrender them to the British. “Mrs. Trappe will keep her horses,” said the General. Then they came to the arms. Here, certainly, there was nothing to be done. Mrs. Trappe was obliged to leave them and to undertake to bring along any ammunition in her possession. 

She brought the ammunition on the following day. When the British officer opened the chest in which the cartridges were packed, he also found a little box of silver rupees which Mrs. Trappe had forgotten to take out. The British officer picked up the coins; all of them had a hole through the center. “What is the meaning of this?” he enquired curiously. “I shot those in a pistol-shooting contest,” Mrs. Trappe replied. “You must show us how you could do that,” said the General once again joining in. Three coins were placed upright on a board. They were hardly visible. Mrs. Trappe raised her pistol, took a swift aim and fired quickly once, twice, thrice. All three coins had been hit dead center. The General plunged his hand into the box of rupees. “Send these coins home to your wives,” he said to the group of officers who were watching, “and tell them your experiences here with a German woman.” Then, turning to Mrs. Trappe: “You are a good sport and a brave woman.” He shook hands. “You may keep your weapons.” He smiled and took his leave. Mrs. Trappe kept her weapons and her horses. She rode home and settled down to look after her children and her huge farm. “

From “MLA an African game paradise” by Maximilian von Rogister

The adventure has come to its end and reality is waiting around the corner. Safari ends for this time...