Posted by Patty Hall on June 17, 2013
Today we left Navaisha early to head to the Masai Mara. It was a long drive with the last 30 miles over very bumpy and dusty roads. On the way to the Mara we stopped in Narok. Chris needed to secure park tickets and what should have been a simple procedure took about a half hour. Narok is the heart of the Masai people, although I noticed that the numbers of people that wear traditional dress has diminished in the past few years, and in fact, Chris said that many Masai businesses have moved out of the town as other tribal groups have taken over and built businesses. The Masai continue to live nearby, and from Narok to the Mara, there are many manyattas (the traditional family units of the Masai) and towns filled with colorful dress and traditional Masai people.
We stopped at a Masai village for a tour. A fee is charged that is used to sustain the community. We were treated to the Morans (warriors) dancing, went into a mud and dung house that was very hot and smoky due to the inside fire where rice was cooking. There were 2 beds in the hut that consisted of stretched cowhides to sleep on. A fire in the middle with a small smoke hole at the top of the hut. It was very dark, hot and smoky. I cannot imagine spending days and nights inside. Our Masai guide asked if H2O for Life could help bring water to their school. Maybe!
We also had an opportunity to purchase Masai crafts and jewelry- hard sell, and a lot of negotiation. I think they won!
As we approached the gate into the Mara, our vehicle was swarmed by Masai women selling their jewelry and goods. They pushed necklaces and bracelets into the windows, and it was quite overwhelming. We did leave with many bracelets and necklaces and a sigh of relief when our car went through the gate.
The ride to Ashnil Camp was rough, and not a lot to see. As the migration hasn’t started, the animals are nearer to the Tanzanian side of the park. We’ll head there tomorrow.
We did a game drive- saw many animals, but not any cats- which was what we were hoping to see. Maybe tomorrow.
It is a beautiful night, and the tent is wonderful. It will be a night of wonderful sounds, great smells and beautiful stars.
We have one more night in the Mara, and then will visit 2 more schools on our way back to Nairobi and a late evening flight home. I’ll be stopping in Lisbon, Portugal to speak at the International Rotary WASRAG conference.
Posting a few photos of the past few days!