We have now back again staying at the Ol Mesera Luxury Tented Camp.It is situated in the Rift Valley between Lake Manyara and Lake Natron just under the Ngorongoro ridge.Barbara Lavrich is the extraordinary woman who is running this wonderful resort.This is her story
I was a young woman living in Slovenia when i met a young African student who was studying medicine in 1958. We married 1962. 1968 we moved to Tanzania where my husband worked for the government in different places.Moshi, Same, Dar es Salaam.
1973 my husband started a private hospital in Tarime, north Tanzania. We got three children, 1965, 1973, 1975.The oldest son stayed in Tanzania while the two daughters are living abroad, in Australia and the US.
When I entered work live after staying home with the children I was first working in the hospital and then joined a NGO run by an Anglican dioceses as an accountant administrator.During this time I also divorced.When it was time to go to pension I decided not to sit at home and not do something.So I found this place in 2004 and 2005 I started to build, and I could open it in 2007.
To operate a place in such a remote place is special. To get water, for example.Closest water source was 10 km away in the Ngorongoro ridge.So I had to get it here by installing a water pipe all the way and I also funded a pipe to the closest village here.First year we had problems with elephants that dug the pipes out, but then we put the pipes deeper into the ground.Now we have occasional problems with poachers who crack the pipes to attract animals with water so they can shoot them more easily.
I dreamed about creating a place for somebody who would come and see the beauty of Tanzania, the interesting culture of the people.To have a quiet holiday.
Ol Mesera has four luxury tents.One tent with double bed.Two tents with two double beds and one tent with one double and two single bed.In total, 9 people can sleep here.Each tent is equipped with toilet and shower.Electricity is by a generator which is on every night between sunset and around 22:30
I enjoy the work, but I would like to have more clients. Today I get my clients mostly by the website, and by lonely planet.People who come here recommend this place to others, so I am getting more customers by word of mouth
My staff is all Maasai from the local community.I train them for all jobs except cooking where I have found a great cook from Mto Wa Mbo.There are six persons in my staff plus the cook.
This has been working very well.If I was young it would not have been easy to be a manager but as I am older they treat me with respect, as a mother.
I was hoping to employ women but that was not possible.Younger women would not be allowed by their fathers, and the older women would not be allowed by their husbands. But employing warriors works well, and I even managed to get them to do household chores.
What I appreciate most in the Maasai culture is the stubbornness in the way they keep in the traditional way.I find this good.They are not interfered by the church or the government. They accept what they want to accept.They are very aware of modern society, so it is not out of ignorance they choose the traditional way.It is out of choice.
Out of our conversations and meetings, you, Rafael, Marias I believe we could work together promoting modern technology in this valley, working together with the people here to improve animal breeding.Maybe we could work together to find more productive animals.Together with Marias we could promote a special tourism in this area.The nature in Engaruka and the Rift Valley is very unique and unspoiled.The animals that normally can be seen in the parks are still around here.Buffalo, giraffes, zebras, elephants, ostrich, leopards and even on occasion lions can be spotted here.
The only live volcano in Tanzania can be found here, Oldoinyo Lengai.This is a beautiful climb, and is also the holy mountain of the Maasai.
Other interesting place here is Engaruka ruin, where you find stone paintings and ruins of an irrigation system of unknown origin that is more than 500 years old.
Further north is Lake Natron, a soda lake which is the only place where the Lesser flamingo are breeding.
In Engaresero village fossilized human footprints were recently found in stone.These are very ancient but have not been fully investigated yet.
Welcome to Tanzania.Welcome to this place of wonders.