Destination: Nagorogoro Highlands
Date: May 2014
Activity: Game Drive and Masai Village visit
The past few days have found us doing a lot of game drives and moving camp two more times. We drove up to the base of Mount Nagorogoro and had one beautiful night in a tent facility run by a wonderful woman named Veronica. It was so pleasant and our party of seventeen were about the only travelers there. We had the best attention, and service, and the tents were amazing. Each tent had a bed over looking Lake Masek and a bathroom with a full tub, and outdoor shower. It was very cool.
Veronica was not only our hostess but our chef as well and made sure we had every need taken care of. She even brought me two more pillows for my pregnant belly so I could enjoy a comfortable nights sleep.
Since we have Colton, our eighteen year-old along with us on this trip it has been fun to bond with him, however his separate accommodations do have me worried as a mother. But since he is considered an adult these days having him share with us doesn’t seem to be a priority for him and he loves getting his own room or tent at all of our African accommodations.
The past few days we have had so many animal encounters. Our lion sightings have come so often that we don’t always pull out a camera anymore. (spoiled rotten right?!) Our coolest encounter was with a herd of about five elephants yesterday. We were casually driving down one of the many dirt roads when we came upon a herd of elephants right on the road. Most of the time we find the elephants in a distant field or every so often next to the road but to have them directly on our road has not happened.
Our driver Eman stopped our Landrover and we were head to head about fifty yards away from the elephants. We did not want to seem aggressive so we sat there in silence taking our photos as the herd walked directly toward us. We were shocked that they came within two feet of our vehicle before deciding to turn left and cross over in front of our vehicle for a field near by. Not only was that shocking but they had a few adolescent elephants and one baby so that gave me an opportunity to grab some great photos of a baby elephant up close and personal.
Today we loaded up our duffels and broke camp once again. We were sad to say goodbye to Veronica but excited to move onto the great crater at the base of Nagorogoro. We are officially out of the National Park of the Serengeti and on the reservation land that has been set aside for the local African tribes of the Masai to live among the wildlife. So during our drive to our new accommodations we came across many Masai people we hadn’t seen very much of in the Serengeti. Our guides with African Dream Safaris was amazing and pointed out all of the wildlife during our drives to new camps.
The Masai is an interesting tribe here in Africa and is one of 125 tribes just in Tanzania alone. They however, seem to be much more primitive than most tribes and they eat only cow or goat meat and drink only milk and blood from the cows and goats. Gross right?!
Another interesting thing is that the Masai know how peculiar they are to us westerners so they make a living by inviting outsiders into their village at a cost. Our group decided to give them $5 per person for a tour of their very primitive village. They were very accommodating though and did a little performance of dance and singing before we had a personal tour by one of the villagers that spoke English.
Our tour guide Kusco took us to his mothers house and showed us the small living structure they had put together. There was only two beds, a fire pit and a small area for storage in the house made of sticks and cow dung. When we were led out of the home we were guided to where is family sells bracelets, ornaments, and necklaces out of beads. He tried charging us $15 per bracelet and we knew we were not the first westerners that had been taken advantage of in the Masai villages. Trent did some negotiating and soon Kusco was satisfied with our “trade”.
We also were shown the small primary school where the children ages 2-6 are taught the English alphabet and have a few English songs memorized to thrill the English speaking tourists. Again we were asked for a donation but in the end none of us seemed to mind knowing it was going directly to feeding these people of the Masai.
After it was all over we loaded up and headed to our next lodge for the evening. It is a beautiful lodge with more hotel type rooms and not as enchanting as our tents at Veronica’s camp. However, it is clean, provides a hot shower and has a beautiful view of the crater that is located high up in the Nagorogoro highlands and so it is refreshing to be in a very cool climate.
Our guides are promising another long day of game drives tomorrow in the crater with a hope of finding a rhinoceros. So far the rhino has been eluding us but we are very hopeful tomorrow will be our day!
Safe and Happy Travels!!