Nature's Gift Safaris
and Mrefu Lodge
Arusha & Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
The Elizabeth Hudgin story:
The motto of NATURE'S GIFT SAFARIS is "Travel with Purpose".
This concept of travel with purpose emanates from NGS co-founder Elizabeth Hudgin's way of thinking. Elizabeth, an American born in California, obtained a Master’s degree in English education from Portland State University in Oregon.
She served notably as an English teacher in California’s San Quentin Prison English Language educational programs.
After retiring from teaching, Elizabeth came to Tanzania as a volunteer, collecting small donations from her friends to sponsor Tanzanian students.
She joined Nature's Gift Safaris in 2004 as its Volunteer Project/Safari Coordinator, taking friends and others along to safari. Elizabeth always believed and supported the idea that many of our clients who come for safari also wanted to have the opportunity to visit and share time at important community places.
These include the Majengo Orphanage Centre in Usa River Village where you’d be welcome to play with and help socialise the children. You could visit the Shanga Centre where local disabled people make unique works. Or visit The Plaster House, an American and Arusha Lutheran joint project to help local kids with physical disability. Additionally, there are the Safi Educational Project in Arusha, which Elizabeth co-founded to acquire donations for Tanzanian schools and the Selian Lutheran Hospital, all of which she personally supported.
Finally, art lovers enjoy the "Cultural Heritage" tour of famous Afrikan Arts Gallery, probably the largest in Afrika, and artists’ studios that she established.
Elizabeth worked closely with the Safi SYEW (Sponsoring Youth Empowering Women) project, a charitable organization based in Arusha. On learning of her death, they wrote:
In memory of our dear friend in Tanzania, Elizabeth Hudgin, who died from COVID on Sunday, July 18th, 2021, Safi will be contributing to the support of many projects in which Elizabeth was involved.
Elizabeth was a charitable, charismatic, knowledgeable human being who thought of others before herself. Her advocacy and support will be missed by so many projects and people in Tanzania. Elizabeth was a longtime supporter of Safi and Safi’s Purposeful Travel contact in Tanzania. She helped introduce many travelers to Tanzanian cultural projects, places, and friends. There were so many projects and lives that Elizabeth was involved with, advocating for, and supporting. The list goes on and on. She did say how much her friends meant to her, and that she “loved you all.” Elizabeth was a wonderful person, a delightful friend, and a loss to us all.
For all these reasons and more, NGS owner David Mtui is happy to announce the creation of the Elizabeth Hudgin Centre for Sustainability to be hosted at the Mrefu Eco-Lodge in Marangu.
There are several routes one can hike on Kilimanjaro - Marangu route, Machame route, Rongai route, Umbwe route, Londorosi route and Lemosho route.