ARRIVING AT THE BEAUTIFUL SERENGETI
17.04.2014 28 °C
I did not intend to write or post today since we have no planned activities other than to leave our last location in Kenya and make the 9 hour journey to our first in Tanzania on the Serengeti. But, as I am driving along these very bumpy African roads soaking up all that is around me, my mind is racing with thoughts of what I have experienced. I do write primarily for myself and Isaac as a diary of our adventures so I felt compelled to pull out my laptop and try and get something down despite the almost impossibility of typing while being tossed side to side.
One thing I did not expect was to have my trip to Africa bring back so many memories of time with my father. I guess no matter where you live spending time hunting or searching, fishing, and understanding the wildlife and their habits requires the same skills and creates the same sense of community and respect. Spending the last 4 days with my guide on games drives reminded me of fishing and hunting with dad. The guides, just as dad does in his land, knows the habits and behaviours of each animal, they know that these change dependant of weather, water levels and threats and they are able to seek out the animals based on this knowledge. I also chuckled each time we passed another guide and they shared a friendly handshake, their successes, and pointed each other to the sought after target, similar to the nod and sign language on Gander river.
My time in the Mara also gave meaning to the need for fresh water in this region. No matter the time of day we saw small, very small children walking lonely roads holding containers in search of water. Women would be walking with buckets or barrels balanced on their heads far from the nearby village. Each time we pass a river someone is doing laundry, washing vegetables, or bathing and the water is commonly brown. Clean water is a luxury.
Kenya depends on tourists and boy do they milk it. Prices for souvenirs were outrageous. Isaac wanted to buy these 2 used pieces of wood that the Maasai use to make fire and they wanted $20.We eventually paid five after bringing the chief in on the deal but even that was too much. I am interested to see how Tanzania compares.
The service was outstanding. We were waited on hand and foot everywhere we have been. They sure get the importance of good service.
Women and children do most of the work and the men admit that.
Driving out of Kenya was really interesting as we had the chance to pass through many local villages. This was the Africa we imagined. Poor, simple and with many children yelling “mzungus” meaning white people. They know the tourists and hope to get candy.
The border crossing was pretty simple if you can call organized chaos simple. In Kenya we just needed a departure stamp but the line up was quite long and the town extremely chaotic. Never the less we were done in 15 minutes and crossed into Tanzania where we had to buy visas and clear immigration. We filled out a form, paid $50 each and somehow with no real idea what was happening we were granted entry for 3 months. I was the only one who had my picture and finger prints taken so I best behave.
At this point we switched vehicles and guides and said good bye to Albert and hello to Elle. We went for a toilet break. Although Kajal was not fussy about the Africa toilets, well none of us were really, she came along. Africa toilets are simply a hole in the middle of the concrete floor and I must admit my aim is not that good. I went first and excitedly said to Kajal, “oh no worries, it is a good one!” Funny how your perspective changes because my definition of a good one was a dirty Asian style toilet, the ones with the bowl in the floor.
We had about 30 minutes of pavement before hitting some of the worst dirt roads ever. They call it the African massage. Even I don’t need a 6 hour massage. We had lunch on the side of the road while being watched intently by the village kids who were delighted to take our leftovers.
Many hours later after passing a few new friends on the sides of the road and a short stop at a hippo pool we arrived at our new location, the Serengeti Serena Lodge, overlooking the Serengeti. Unbelievable how spectacular our accommodations have been. It really feels like this is a dream.
Here are our new accommodations and the view from our veranda