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Review: “A place without people”

Published 08th June 2010 - 6 comments - 5815 views -

The previous post of Johan Knols, "Human Migration VS Animal Migration" motivated me to start to present my reviews about documentries that can move people to changes. I belive that films can develope this world.

The note about the film "A place without people" says:

"The Serengeti National Park in Tanzania is regarded as a model example of how mankind should look after the wilderness. However, what is less well known is the fact that its original inhabitants, the Maasai, are barred from setting foot inside the park, which is the size of Belgium. Over half a century ago, the British colonial masters systematically expelled the Maasai from their homes, and that policy has continued under the government of independent Tanzania".

Looking back to "Human Migration VS Animal Migration" the note above is not valid any more. The Serengeti National Park in Tanzania will in 2012 receive a new highway that will link the north-western side of the country with the tourism hub of Arusha and beyond, thus making human migration a lot easier.  The highway will get under construction despite the overwhelming evidence that the migration routes will get disturbed and that many wildebeest and other animals will die on the road.


The film "A place withou people" points out another issue concerning this area. It goes back to the establishment of Serengeti National Par, which wasn't done with respect to it's original people - Maasai's.


Find out and watch the documentary A Place Without People/ Andreas Apostolides / Greece  ANEMON production/ 2009 / 52 min.



Serengeti is for sure one of the most famous national park in the world, surly in East Africa. It was established by Bernhard Grzimek, the German zoologist, who was fascinated in the unique in the world scare of wild animal migration. To protect the ecosystem in Tanganyika, so now we can watch the migration as well, fifty years ago British colonists started the process of resettlement of Maasai. It has been continued by the independent government of Tanzania till now and created so many paradoxes. Maasai are prohibited from hunting the animals there although tourists can pay large sums to bag a lion or leopard. For killing lion the hunter must just pay 70 000 dollars. Tourists are using the water resources there but Maasai have to move for national park boarders to look for it. The are not allowed to enter the park. The only exception is showing tourists their culture.

In the film you can find the old videos from Bernhard Grzimek research. Also there are the interviews with President Kikwete, Tim Clarke – the director of European Union delegation in Tanzania and Maasai themselves. The Greek director compare Serengeti to Indian resettlements in USA. The film is worth to see, because it shows the side effects of establishing Serengeti National Park by Europeans as well as Tanzanian unsustainable aspiration how to use tourism to develop their country.


Download A Place Without People (2009) here


  • Giedre Steikunaite on 08th June 2010:

    Good new series, Iwona.

    I had this thought for quite a while now, about the accessibility of important documentaries. I mean, you can watch rom-coms, H’wood comedies and all that pretty easily, but documentaries tend to be hard to find if you don’t have extra cash to spare.

    And also, have you downloaded this one from that website already? My browser warned me it’s harmful and so I’m afraid of more troyans on my PC now. wink

  • Johan Knols on 08th June 2010:

    Hello Iwona,

    Thank you for linking to my articles, it is appreciated.
    I do feel however that I have to clarify a few things from your article.

    It should be clear that nobody can hunt inside the Serengeti National Park. Hunting does take place, but on the private concessions bordering the Park.
    What is true is that the Maasai can not hunt in those concessions as the companies that own them pay lots of concession fees. In order to make a return on their investment they won’t allow Maasai to kill their wildlife stock.

  • Iwona Frydryszak on 08th June 2010:

    I saw it in the cinema on the One World Festival in Prague… so I didn’t try but I would like to see it one more time. It’s strange but I have never felt so much in love in Tanzania and felt solidarity with Maasai before althought I spent in Tanzania 5 month. This is the power of films…
    So I’m waiting for your reviews smile

  • Iwona Frydryszak on 08th June 2010:

    @Johan, thanks for post. The hunting was mention just to emphasize the attitude of Tanzania government to local people… the images in the film comes from the game reserved, maybe Selous. It was shocking to see how happy people are to kill lion… I really recommend the film all who want to visit national parks in Africa

  • Susanna on 08th June 2010:

    Hi Iwona,
    I’d really like to see this film. It’s about an issue that I’ve had a closer look at and written about here:

  • Iwona Frydryszak on 20th June 2010:

    thank you for link Susanna. I will follow your blog.

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