To The Mountains of the Moon

Part 08. Camp Narwa.

The expedition stayed a long time in Camp Narwa, near Loliondo. It was not so far from Nairobi, Kenya, and the Serengeti was full of animals.

Camp Narwa.

After a stay of a few days in Loliondo, they set up a new maincamp, 5 miles away from Loliondo. The campsaite was in the middle of Masai territory. In the past, the Masai were formidable warriors, but in 1948 their cattle were much more important. They were very curious, and they came in large groups to camp Narwa. In their original clothes, they looked very impressive. The men wear a blanket and carry a long spear, with metal on both ends, and also had a long knife. They had mud in their hair, and some ornaments in their ears. Bob got the idea, that after departure of the expedition, the Masai would decorate their ears with radio tubes and flash bulbs.   The campsite was more or less permanent, the natives put up some extra buildings, making them from logs, and thatched roofs. The huts were used as a mess building, a photo- laboratory building and a storage building. The rhombic was set up at once, but the conditions were lousy. The QSO counter passed 2,000 on April 18, 1948, and they had worked 86 countries and 43 states. Camp Narwa was not far from the Kenyan border and not far from Nairobi, Kenya. A truck did get mail once a week from Kijabe, the QSL and SWL cards came in by the hundreds. The daily schedule as VQ3HGE was between 15.30 and 18.45, and from 20.15 until 01.00 local time, the frequency was 14 Mc, mostly CW. Bob was also very busy in building up a mobile station in one of the smaller trucks. The trek to Uganda, to "The Mountains of the Moon" seemed definately under motion. Bob and Jim Powers would be the only two expeditioners, the trip to Ugana would take 4 days. It would be another exitement for Bob, being QRV from a third country with a VQ5 call.   To use the 110 Volt rig from the little truck ( the Shack in Truck), Bob needed a 200 Volt transformer, to connect the mobile rig with the power circuit of the hotel in Uganda. Wakeford was ordered to find such transformer in Nairobi, as there would be no big need for fuel for the tiny generator they needed for the Uganda adventure. But the order to leave for the "Mountains of the Moon" was delayed. (Later, plans were changed, and they took a PE95 trailer to Uganda.)   The country total was rising and rising steadily. On may 23, 1948 they had worked 116 countries, and Nevada was worked for a new state. Bob did put up a special antenna for the Middle East and Asia. The results were pretty good, as Siberia, India, Palestine, Oman, Iran, Iraq were no problem anymore. But Bob couldn't work his father from HZ1AB. Tibet was still needed for the last zone for WAZ, and the last needed state for WAS was Montana.   Questions on the band, when they would be QRV from Uganda as VQ5GHE increased. Signal reports from Europe where very good 599. Often they heard the message that VQ3HGE was the only DX on the band. Now almost every european ham knew about the Gatti-Hallicrafters Expedition, and every day there was tremendous QRM on the band !!! Questions on the band, when they would be QRV from Uganda as VQ5GHE increased. Signal reports from Europe where very good 599. Often they heard the message that VQ3HGE was the only DX on the band. Now almost every european ham knew about the Gatti-Hallicrafters Expedition, and every day there was tremendous QRM on the band !!!   Bob moved from the Higgins trailer to a tent, as the trailer was taken to Nairobi and sold to the upcoming University of California Expedition. Of course the tent was smaller, but it was cozy, and Bob liked it very much. He had a nice cot on one side, and had some lockers on both sides of the bed, making a nice table for typing. Every night Errol and Bob were sitting by the campfire drinking coffee and talking, and seeing the fire light reflection from the eyes of the animals out in the brush in the distance. And the jungle made noises, such as the howling of the hyenas, and the horrible schreeches of the bush babies. Bob remembers Loliondo quite well.  From camp Narwa the expeditioners had a fine view on a snow capped volcanic peak off in the distance, erupted back in 1940. The volcanic ash made transportation in that area almost impossible. And some 200 miles in the far distance, they could see the cone of the Ngorongoro crater. Indeed the air was very clean. The area where the Narwa camp was built, belonged to the Great Rift Valley, and the slopes the expedition crawled up from Arusha to Ngorongoro are known as the Great Rift Wall. A lot of geology to study. The Masai were the native tribe who lived in the area, taking care of their cattle. The one group among them that are interesting were the Moran, a group of young warriors. The Moran have been brought up with lots of customs and traditions. To become a man, they had their famous lion hunt. Bob writes is a letter to his mother; "They would probably be arrested for indecent exposure anywhere else, as the blankets they wear don't seem to afford much protection, and the smell they put out shows that they don't even take a bath on Saturday nights".  ©W7LR and PA0ABM  
Ear decorations from the Masai The ogranised camp-life Serengeti plains