(September 16, 2013) Maasai Mara
This day is completely for watching wild life in
Mara reserve. Our target is locating the great migration of wildebeest
and taking our chances of watching a crossing through river Mara by
some of them.
The spots marked at map are:
0- Rhino Tourist Camp
1- Lookout Hill
2- Bridge over river Mara and Mara Triangle's Visitors Center
3- Paradise plain
4 y 5- Popular crossing points
We are at bed until think we’ve got enough rest,
but this already happens around 8 AM. We go to the dining room, which
is the bigger building of the whole place, and enjoy our breakfast.
Customers in safari have already left and we’re alone with the staff of
the camp, although later a couple leaving today appears.
We get a talk with Jackson, a young man we’re introduced as
the manager who explains he already knows about us as got a call from
the man we disturbed so many tames by phone last night and seems to be
the big boss here. We talk about what still need to be paid after the
60€ deposit I send months ago and the activities we can do today. I
have in mind visiting a Maasai village, which Jackson says is 40$ for
the both of us. As the room with full board is 270$ for the three days,
and the deposit is translated to 80$, I pay him 230$ from the 260$ I
brought saved (100 from Lake Bogoria entrance and 160 from Maasai Mara
entrance for today). With all the counting closed, we’re going to meet
here at 9:30 AM for the visit to a Maasai village.
The camp is full of live, with monkeys and birds,
and the green of the garden at daylight.
At 9:30 AM is Jackson itself who take us out of
the camp, after having changed the jeans and T-shirt by maasai dress,
with machete and club. He shows some things in our way, as a small
plant which maasai use for dying in red. It is not looks possible until
he takes one, break it and rub it on our arms, painting it in red. The
soil we’re walking over is quite red too, as the termite mound we use
for taking some pictures.
Then we get the village, which is quite near, where two young
men are waiting to welcome us and join our group. They keep telling
curious things about their lives speaking good English. Jackson has put
one of their typical cloaks over me and another one of them gives me a
hard stick from acacia, although I’m still far from looking as one of
We’re taken to the center of the village. I
already knew maasai villages were circular, with the huts in making the
circle and leaving the interior for the cattle, in order to protect
them. So, the place where we are now is full of cow feces. They also
have here two more smaller circles made with long branches for sheep
and goats, although the one we get in we find a couple of calves in
there. These places are fences high for avoiding the cheetah could get
inside by a jump, as they explain to us.
Back to the big center we’re shown a dry skin
belonging to a lion’s head, and sewed by two of its sides. I cannot see
what it is used for until one of them put it in his head, like a hat.
We all have turns for wearing it while they show us how they do fire. I
already knew they used a stick for it, but I thought it would be just
as touristic show, now they can get lighters, until I’m surprised by
how quick this system is. It is a clever way of getting fire and the
trick is in the wood of the main piece used as base. They do a hole on
it and make an “exit” for the hole, the whole thing gets the shape of a
keyhole. The stick is used in the hole and, as it is harder than the
wood of the piece with the holes, the friction in the hole by the stick
used as a drill, makes the generated shavings coming out from the hole
through the exit created and smoking hot. The process can be very
quick, almost as using a lighter, and even less if there is some wind!
They make me try and I realize the difficulty: keeping the
stick in the hole. As I try harder to move the stick it gets out from
the hole quicker. So I take a lot more time in getting the
fire. Eva tries too.
I’m still impressed when they start to sing and we
move in a soft dance until the moment of the big jumps starts. We’re
turning in our vertical jumps in front of Eva following the rhythm of
the low tones from the voices of my partners, which keep giving to this
activity its appropriate soundtrack.
Then we go where their older women are working making this
tribe’s typical beaded bracelets and necklaces, under the shadow of a
tree, while the young women are with their babies.
We go inside one of the huts where we can check there is only
one hole in the walls as window, but its main purpose is as smoke exit,
as it is located just above the fire place they use as kitchen. We’re
surprised by not noticing any special smell inside and by knowing they
use just a dried skin of cow as mattress. Then they show us some of
their “jewelry” pieces for selling. I know this is part of the visit
and is a big part in their way of live too, so I end purchasing a
necklace with a tooth they state is from a cheetah, by 2000 ksh. I know
it is overpriced, but I feel like helping and I’ve got the deal any
tips for the tour are included there. All of them have accepted this.
There is a souvenir market set outside. I only get
a small wooden zebra here.
Here would end the visit to the Maasai village, but we’re still
taken to the school, at about 200 meters from there. We’ve seen some
children in the village, but the ones with age for the school from that
village, and the ones in the surroundings, are all here. We see over
the door of each classroom the different grades and we can take a look
inside through the glass less windows. What I didn’t expect is a
teacher coming out from his classroom to welcoming us and asking us to
get in and take his place. I’m so embarrassed while Eva is taking a
picture of me in front of all the students and they must notice it
considering their laughs when I simply wave my hand and go out as fast
as I can. I have in mind too how I’m dressed now.
The teacher shows us the visiting book to write something on it
and comments any help is well received for helping the children. I just
give a 500 ksh bill and leave the place to the camp.
In our way we say goodbye to the two men have shown their village
and have made this visit so gentle and one of them gives me the stick
I’ve been wearing all the time as a gift. We can see the big gate of
Rhino tourist Camp which didn’t help last night and we can figure out
what happened then when we see the signs just in front of it. We
stopped the car in a way the lights were pointing to those signs,
keeping our camp actually hidden behind us. This is the explanation too
why there was no sign for the Rhino tourist Camp, as we were actually
at its door.
Well, it’s 11 AM and we have no more plans for the rest of today. It
would be great if it was power and internet, but there is none of them,
so just relax at bed waiting for lunch time.
Somehow, Jackson knocks the door and asks me for a favor: some people
coming for lunch time got a breakdown in their car close to here and my
car is the only available in the camp. I go with Jackson for the rescue
without a second thought, this is a community and this is the chance of
being one of them.
Jackson points me for driving by ways out of the main road. That
is the trick for not going to 10 Km/h! When we arrive some other cars
have come to help. When I’m back in the room with my wife we’re getting
fun remembering last night: who would tell us then would be us going to
We enjoy our lunch and Jackson joins us and eat at our side, confirming
our new relationship. We spend the afternoon in the room running the
tablet out of battery. Maybe it has been a lot of rest for us. About 5
PM I’m going out for a walk around the camp and chasing birds and
monkeys with my camera. As the sunset comes, there is a frenetic bird
activity in the trees.
At 6:30 PM there is still daylight and, although it is the time,
the generator is not running until it is completely dark and we can put
all our batteries to charge. The rest of the guests must do the same as
electricity is coming and going intermittently as it seems there is
overcharged. It is happening even when dining in the only spare seat
we’ve found in the crowded dining room.
We can eat when the light is stable and go to bed soon knowing tomorrow
we will wake up really early for a very special day in Maasai Mara.