I just got back from my Safari last night. It was the most amazing expereince I have ever had, seeing pictures does not do a safari justice. We started on Friday afternoon with a long drive to bring us closer to the parks. We drove through Arusha which is another large city near me. A lot of people selling things on the side of the road, a lot of poverty, but very interesting to be a part of. We then arrived at out campsite from the night, and by campsite I mean beautiful resort with a backyard where we set up tents. Saved a lot by using the tent instead fo sleeping the hotel. I tried up loading soem photos from this expereince, but the computer I am using is simply too slow...so you will have to wait to see the pics. we then headed over visit a massai village. It was one of the most exciting and eye opening experiences that I have ever had. The way that these people live blows my mind. They live out in the middle of now where in huts made out of cow dung. Their lives revlove around their cattle, so if there is no food for the cattle they move were there is. All around this area you will see massai children herding up to 50 cows about, to find them food. It is incredible to see how much contol one child has over such are large number of large animals.
As we entered the village we were welcomed by some of the elders, to whom we must say Shikamoo to (means "under your feet", just a way to show your respect). Also many children circled around to greet us. They began singing, dancing and jumping for us, which are all traditional rituals that they perform to ask for something from their gods, I beleive. They really jump high...its is pretty amazing. Then we are invited in to their huts, so we can witness their living arrangements firts hand. I couldnt get over how small and stuffy it was. The crazy things is that they also keep their goats and chickens in the house with them, and even more amazingly they cook in there, and there is nowhere for the smoke to go. When I mother gives birth she is required , by the elders, to stay inside the hut for three months after, only leaving to use the bathroom and eat!!!! After this they sold us some things like jewlery and spears, that they make. But I think I got the most interesting item, an authentic massai warrior sword, that I litereally bought off one of the warriors hip. I noticed it on his hip on a belt, and he took off and offered it for $15, soo cool. After this we headed back to the campsite to eat dinner and rest up for the next days adventure into the Ngorongoro crater.
The drive to the crater was amazing, we saw and learned so much. Pulling up to the lip of the crater, and glaning down into its vastness completely blew me away. It was hard to fathom how big it was. We could see little specks, that were moving about, and were informed that they were likely wildabeasts!!!!We then ventured down into the crater, seeing monkeys, elephants and water buffalo on the way. Getting into the crater was such a surreal experience, it wazs a very bumpy, long ride, but the views and being able to stand in hte safari vehicle made it all worth it. We started off seeing a lot of Zebra, and each time we saw something everyone in the land rover would want the driver to stop so we could take pictures, but after a while, our tour guide Abbus assured us that we would see much more, later in the day in certain areas of the crater. I thought to myself that it couldnt get much better than this but, like Abbus said it did. On this day we saw everything except a cheetah. We even saw a rhino which is a rare occurance, granted it was about 500 yards away. As the day went on the sights got better and better, but the heat from the sun was almost unbearable....but thats Afica. At the end of the day we had a long ride back out out of the crater, and it was just as scenic as the ride down. The only difference being that the path that we were driving on was more steep and narrow, with much more frightening overhang views, some people had to sit becasue their fear of heights got to them.
That night back at the campsite was a lot of fun, we all sat around, playing some drinking games, and we really got to know eachother. At the end of the night we had a long discussion with our tour guide, Abbus. He is such an amazing person, so concerned with how we were enjoying our time, and making sure that we had everything that we needed, he was doing business the right way, and it was a nice change of pace for me. That nights sleep was pretty interesting. I woke up in the middle of the night and looked over at the person that was in the tent with me, and swore it wasnt the right person. The person that was supposed to be there was a tall skinny white kid named Will from Canada, but what I saw was a huge black guys whose name would probably be Buba. Somehow I justified him being in my tent, rolled over and went back to bed. When I woke up the next morning Will was there, and I immediately started asking him where he had gone last night, and who was in my tent, he responded with "what the hell are you talking about?!!" I persisted with the questioning and he continued denying. He thought that I was screwiong with him and I though the same. It turns out that my malaria meds cause me to see things essentially. I guess it is one of the side effects, especailly during sleep. Crazy and confusing, but funny now.
The second day was spent at the Terengirie National park. I actually enjoyed this place better, in terms of actual animal viewing. We actually saw far more here, but the scenery was not as impressive. The highlight of the dasy was sighting a pride of 12 lions, catching some shade under a tree. Abbus broke the rules and drove the land rover right up to them, and we were with in feet. I got some amazing photos, cant wait to see them and share them. After that we packed up and headed home. On the way we stopped at this huge gift shop, that Abbus was required to bring us to, but I didnt buy anything becasue it was designed from Mzungus (white people) there for was over priced. As I was gettting back into the land rover Abbus called out "Ok time for dee camel rides"....So we then rode a giant camel; they are way bigger then you'd think.
Finally I gt back to home base, exhausted from the heat and excitement.
What great Experience!!!
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