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Published: June 13th 2017
Geo: 0.598744, 37.4991DAY TEN (Sunday, September 13, 2009)
The drums of Africa beat in my heart.
Our alarm went off in the dark so we could take a dawn safari drive. It was a glorious morning – breezy and in the low 70s and there were lots of animals out. Unfortunately, no predators. We were with Stephanie and Carol; Benjamin was our driver.
First off was a gerenuk, standing on its hind-legs eating breakfast. Closely behind was a herd of zebra and enough giraffes to satisfy even me. We saw a crocodile, an elephant and a lot of birds that excited Barcy. We passed two tent camps … where some people stay to get the authentic African safari experience. Bah humbug. Some are elegant camps and some look just like the 4-pole kind we have used on the Current River. Not for me.
We returned in time to dust off, have breakfast and meet a camel who was available to ride (although none in our group took him up on it). We then headed out to visit a local Samburu and Terkana village. Wow.
We were greeted by young men who performed a traditional welcome dance that featured vertical leaps of 4' or so. The women
then performed and led us into their village where we learned about the culture, visited their homes, met the children. We saw how they made tools, started fire with sandpaper wood, etc. All of us who brought gifts from the USA (e.g., we brought pens, notepads and pop-up books) presented them to the head of the school where the gifts will be used to reward children, rather than handed out in response to children who beg. One small child tapped my water bottle and asked for it. I was surprised, briefly considered saying "no" because we were told not to reinforce begging children, but who can say “no” to a child who wants water? It's not like I was handing out candy, for god's sake.
The homes were made of sticks and dung. Good insulation from the elements. We went inside to see the way they live. They were proud to show off their homes. They have stoves inside and cook there or outside, depending on the weather.
We visited the school where the children sang songs for us and recited the alphabet. They were darling. And beautiful.
Lastly, we visited their market, where they sold traditional Samburu/Maasai items which are made right
in their village, so the money stays in the village. Looking back, I wish I had spent more money here – great souvenirs and the money stays with the makers. What a great cause.
It was a fascinating and educational visit. And the photo opps were awesome.
Back at the hotel, we had lunch and some down town. Many went to the pool. I got a manicure and worked on my blog and photos.
A word about batteries: I thought I had brought plenty. I brought 12 rechargeable lithium AA batteries (my camera uses 4), along with one set of regular. My batteries exhausted themselves this evening – they aren't holding a charge. Of course I have shot 3000+ photos so I guess I underestimated how few times they can be recharged. I also underestimated what an electronic converter can do to them – the batteries are always hot when they are removed from the charger. BRING MORE BATTERIES THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE!
At 4 pm we went for a dusk game drive. Mostly more of the same, but we gave Benjamin an assignment: please find us cats. And he came through.
We found a cheetah napping under a bush. But so did everyone
else. I counted 19 vehicles trying to see the one cat. Very popular lady.
More giraffes, gerenuks, zebras, Oryx and other gazelles, baboons, lots of birds. New to us was the kudu, which has fascinating curly long horns.
Food at Samburu is good. They have a grill and there is always a variety of protein and produce available fresh off the grill. Yummy.
Following dinner I went to the lobby to work on the blog and the photos. The room was intolerably hot (no breeze) while the lobby was a comfortable low 70s. You can open the windows (there are screens) but not the curtains because there is so much outdoor lighting to discourage the animals from visiting. Ceiling fan throws the hot air around but the mosquito netting is thick and prevents any air that is circulating from circulating near you.
And despite all the landscape lighting, the animals appear. Baboons everywhere. And while I was working in the lobby, the reception clerk asked me NOT to walk to my room by myself as there was a Cape buffalo nearby. Just another lovely day in the neighborhood.
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