Masai Mara, Kenya.

Friends of us broke off their tents in Switzerland and went on a trip around the world. We promised to visit them where they were by the time of our next holiday, and that happened to be Kenya. The two of them led the Interpids-Lodge in the Masai Mara and so it came that we travelled to them for three weeks and got to know the Safariland Kenya. After this first visit we could not enter a zoo for a long time, the impressions we took with us from the life in this nature reserve were too intense. Something else we took with us from this visit: Years later we named our daughter 'Mara'.



Our honeymoon took us back to Africa. For six weeks we travelled the south of the continent. Johannesburg - the Garden Route in South Africa - the Homelands - Cape Town - the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe - a short detour to Zambia - foot and boat safari in the Okawangodelta in Botswana - and the dune landscapes in Namibia were our outstanding experiences.



After our return to Switzerland, the time of the family began. Our family planning, with the birth of three children within three years, did not allow us to travel much. Only in 2013 did five of us travel the Black Continent again. In Zanzibar - in the Paradisebeach Resort - we got to know Nike and that was also the beginning of our Africa project... Nike was just 22 years old and worked as a trainee at the bar of this resort. Quickly we all made friends with him, quickly we also exchanged our addresses, but after our return to Switzerland it took about a year until we got in touch again. We wanted to learn more about this person, get to know him better - his fate had not meant him well at all. Shortly before our arrival in Zanzibar he had lost both parents within three weeks and as the eldest son he was now also responsible for his younger sisters who lived in Ipinda, in western Tanzania with his 75-year-old aunt. His father had been a teacher and had given him an education in hotel management. We learned a lot about his work, his working conditions and his earnings and at this job we began to support him and his family with a modest monthly amount by our standards.


Dar es Salaam

In spring 2015 we met again in Dar Es Salaam. We travelled together to Ipinda and Nike showed us 'his Africa'. We got to know his family, who lives in the middle of the tropical forest and plants rice. Most of the villagers had probably never had anything to do with white people, so we were THE sensation. Where we went, we were welcomed with a cordiality that touched us deeply. We got to know his sisters Mwikeli and Tuma, his aunt and many other aunts, uncles, cousins and cousins. After five days we returned by bus to Dar Es Salaam. We had reserved the second week to get Nike a passport, because our plan was to show him our country. On the day of our departure we had reached this destination, but it was a time-consuming and nerve-wracking story. At the same time Nike was released by the Dutch owner of the lodge. Not because he was no longer satisfied with his work, but simply because he laid off most of his staff, as 'Low Season' was on the doorstep and he could only use a fraction of his employees. Now Nike was also unemployed and the idea of bringing him to Switzerland during this time was obvious, but the visa application was rejected within a short time. Even a reconsideration request was unsuccessful. We had to change our plan...

2016 Februar


In February 2016 we flew again to Tanzania. From Dar we travelled with Nike to Arusha in the north of the country, in the area of Kilimanjaro. Nike, who was now working in a resort again, took two weeks of unpaid holidays and justified his absence from work with family affairs. We settled in a small lodge and visited the zoos in the area. Here we also had the idea to build a lodge together with Nike to give him and his family a livelihood and to give us permanent access to Africa. We designed a business plan and looked at land around Arusha that was for sale. The black owner of the little 'Waterfallslodge' made the connections and her son drove us to the meetings. But it quickly turned out that Arusha was not ideally located for our project. We rather wanted to find something in the region of Dar Es Salaam, so that future guests would not have to board the plane again to get to us. Upon our return to Switzerland, Nike quit his job at our request and moved to Dar Es Salaam and we began to study Swahili, the language in Tanzania. According to our business plan, Nike was now officially working for us, our financial support had turned into a salary. From Dar, Nike started looking for affordable land, his cousin Nasibu, himself a businessman from Morogoro, supported him and let his connections play...

2016 April


At Easter 2016 the time had come: Denise flew to Tanzania for 48 hours and took a look at the Kibaha piece of land, which Nike had chosen as ideal for our project. It fitted. Nike learned to drive, bought the land and a car for us and picked us up in summer with 'our' car from the airport. Three weeks we now had time to forge plans with an architect to visit our land, which had been cleared in the meantime, and to make excursions into the closer and further environment of our location. We visited the nearby nature parks, Bagamoyo on the Indian Ocean, Southbeach in Dar Es Salaam and had plenty of time to discuss our project. With the finished plans in our luggage we flew home again and in August we had the building permit in our pocket... Now we were ready to go...

2016 September


At the beginning of September the construction phase began. We started with the wall and then with the manager house so that Nike could live in Mapeni as quickly as possible and supervise the construction work on site. 11 intensive construction months followed, during which all buildings and the swimming pool were built. In July 2017 the work was finished and during our summer holidays we were able to plan and realise the furnishing of the cottages, the kitchen, the restaurant and the laundry room.



Finally the time had come! On our sandy beach the buffet for the opening dinner was set up, which we had prepared for the invited guests. It was an unforgettable evening. Above all the speech of the mayor remains in memory. He thanked us for the construction of the beautiful facility from which the whole region will benefit and the creation of jobs in our lodge.