If you are looking for a once in a lifetime safari experience or a great climb, consider Tanzania for your trip. This peaceful, stable country in east Africa is well known for huge national parks such as the Serengeti, friendly people and of course the highest peak on the continent – Kilimanjaro. When you arrive in Tanzania you will most likely land in Kilimanjaro airport, the ideal way to start a trek or a safari in Tanzania. Two main airports – Kilimanjaro and Arusha are located in close proximity to the big city of Arusha. Here you will find many luxury hotels, but the oldest, most unique high-end Arusha hotel is the Mount Meru Game Lodge. Originally established in 1959 by doctor Nagy – the famous African conservationist, the lodge is still owned by the same family.
In 1959, a young doctor – lawyer by training but a zoologist by passion – was assigned a mission. To collect live zoological specimens in a far away land – Tanzania. His work required him to leave his family, and at the behest of various German museums and zoos travel to the large African country. At the time, the idea of conservationism – preserving the world around us, was at its nascent and few people paid any attention to the resources, assuming there will always be an endless supply.
Not so with Dr. Nagy. He fell in love with Tanzania, its nature and people and realized fairly quickly that this place was special – and work was required to preserve it. He began to work towards various conservationist causes with a few other important conservationists of his time. Later he’d be joined by the likes of Bernard Chimmack, Jane Goodall and Lenny Riftenshteil – all of whom would stay at his Arusha hotel – Mount Meru Game Lodge. But that would be later… Right now, Dr. Nagy had a choice to make. To go back to his life in Germany, his friends and old familiar patterns? Or to change his life entirely and stay in a country which has become his home. You can probably guess which choice he made. He purchased a plot of land and began to put down a small building. From the beginning most of the land was intended to be wild, as it remains to this day. Dr. Nagy’s wife and two daughters joined him in a few years and the family put roots down in Tanzania – and in Africa.
As Dr. Nagy continued his work he also expanded Mount Meru Game Lodge to host his friends and visitors. There were so many over the years that eventually he started to take in paying guests. Mount Meru was considered the best Arusha Hotel and it hosted the likes of Prince Charles, Swedish King and Queen – and more scientists and conservationists than one can count. Today the hotel is still owned by the same family, and Dr. Nagy’s grandson continues the legacy of hospitality and conservationism. The family is involved in various work that helps maintain Tanzania’s beautiful heritage, and work hard to help people of Tanzania.
The small, private hotel, only plays host to no more than 34 people at a time. But in this little paradise of big Arusha, its just the right amount of guests. The grounds are a beautiful green, the water pool in the middle of the property is a respite for several safari animals – a zebra, three water buffalo, an Ostridge, several donkeys and lots of wild birds (including large storks). The trees above the lodges are home to at least three species of wild monkeys and you’ll have plenty of chances to hang out with them (pun intended) as they collect small mango fruit that grows here.
Every evening, the staff lights a fire pit on the terrace and as tradition goes, owners and guests gather round. Tea and drinks are passed out by the waitstaff and the visitors engage in fascinating conversation about current events, politics, science or the future of Tanzania. The well heeled and educated guests here share a wide variety of view points, and of course one thing in common. A choice to stay in a small, family owned Arusha hotel with a fascinating history.