Sunday 26 November 2017. Photos.
Highlights: Masai Mara Village Visit
Today was the first full day of the Great African Expedition tour with On the Go Tours run in conjunction with the Africa Travel Company. In reality this is several trips tied together so my travel companions will change regularly. There are only two people I know for sure who are going to Cape Town, Rosa and Anthony from England.
There are fourteen tour members: James, Ang, Stephanie, Helen, Judith, Belinda, Margaret, Rosa, Arron, Logan, Emilie, Owen, Nick and me. We come from Australia, UK, New Zealand, Canada, Germany and Mexico. Our tour leader is Kapalua, our cook is Duncan and driver is Alois.
It turns out half the tour group had come up from either Cape Town or later joining point of Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe). This means I have a wealth of local knowledge on what is ahead after we return to Nairobi on Saturday 9 December and commence the journey back down to South Africa.
The trip to Masai Mara was long and very bumpy once we got out of Nairobi. We at planned to leave at 8 am but not everyone was ready so it was more like 8.30 am. First up was a shopping stop for supplies, as we are going to very remote on these trips supply runs are critical. Our tour leader recommended we buy 10 litres of water, I went with 7 litres (2 x 1 litre and 1 x 5 litres) and a number of snacks.
On this trip all tour members are expected to contribute. For me today I was rostered for food preparation so at lunch I was the kitchen help cutting up lettuce, preparing tomatoes and whatever our tour chef for this leg required. This was my first taste of the food that will be served up. Along the way we stop and looked out of the Great Rift Valley which goes from the Red Sea to Mozambique. The Valley was cause by tectonic plates pushing against each other, in the past this created volcanoes but not recently.
After our 8.5 hour bumpy drive to Masai Mara we stopped just short of our campsite and visited a local village who showed us how they live. This started with a welcome dance and singing for the local women. This particular village is one family of 52, the males mostly guard the goats and cows when out gazing from the many local predators. The men use a machete and spears against the lions, hyenas, leopards, and cheetahs. The women look after the village and build the huts. They construct huts using cow dung and the huts usually last for around 6 years. All children in the village attend a local school. We learned that the villagers mostly eat meat (goats and cows) but also drink fresh cows blood (drained without killing the cow). The visit finished with a demonstration of starting a fire using a machete and wood.
The various Masai Mara tribes live in the National Reserve. Being a reserve means the local government mostly runs this area and they allow the original resident to live and farm in traditional ways.
At our campsite (the Mara Explorers Campsite) we learnt how to put up our tents. I was paired with Nick for the next 14 days. It took a little longer than I would have liked to put up the tent but I’m sure we will get better with practise. Dinner was under the stars by a fire, nice.
Tomorrow Emily, Logan and myself have opted for a Ballon Safari so we will need to leave the campsite by 4.45 am and after the ballon safari we will meet up with the rest of the group for an all day ground safari. Early mornings look like being the norm from now on in.