The snow clad peak of Mount Kilimanjaro soars above you as you enjoy an Included game drive through the savannah and acacia scrub of the Amboseli National Park. Enjoy your Included Scenic Enrich visit to a traditional Maasai village where you will learn first hand about this complex culture. The Maasai culture is a truly independent and proud culture and undoubtedly one of the most famous traditional cultures on earth. FB L D
Amboseli is Kenya’s second most popular park in terms of numbers of visitors. Amboseli benefits from the most beautiful backdrop of all the parks – the grandiose snow-covered table peak of Kilimanjaro. The extinct volcano itself in fact rises across the Tanzanian border, with only its northern foothills within Kenya’s boundaries. The 5,891m high mountain has a base of over 160 km.
The 389 sq km of park are largely arid lands of acacia and tall savannah grasses. In such an exposed landscape the animals are easy to observe. In places, subterranean springs have transformed the pain into marshland. Constantly changing, the springs have a determining influence on life in the park. The emblem of Amboseli is elephant, and they are everywhere, about five animals per sq mile.
How the day turned out
From our lodge at Amboseli National Park we look towards Mt Kilimanjaro. Today, it is ‘in the clouds’ but we keep watch to see if the weather clears and full vision of this imposing mountain comes our way.
Another 6:00am wake-up call today as we venture out on another, but different safari. We see a herd of elephants with many young even still suckling their mothers. There is always the ‘head’ of the herd watching all the moves of the others. He is the boss! They cross the road just in front of us. Two young ones are playing with each other head-on with one being pushed backwards across the road.
Further on, we encounter more zebra and wildebeest, gazelle, various birds and a couple of giraffe, until we come to another resort for a comfort stop.
From here, we go to a typical Maasai village to be educated in the way of the local tribes people. These nomadic people are found only in Kenya and Tanzania and it is very rare that visitors are shown one of these villages. We are able to take photos here. If you are caught photographing them in a public place, you can get a stone thrown at you in return, even if you are seen taking their photo from a moving vehicle. It is believed that when their photo is taken, you are also taking their soul into the camera.
They are an interesting group of people living off the land and animals that they herd. The line of importance within each village is, the chief, the elders, senior warriors, junior warriors and lastly, women. They have a number of traditions that are carried out. At around 15, the boys move from being junior to senior warriors by going through circumcision – ouch! I asked our guide “Do you use any anesthetic?” His reply, “The boys must bare high pain in order to become men.” Ouch, ouch ouch! The girls used to be circumcised too, but many Non Government Agencies have been able to confront the Maasai regarding this, and the number of girls being circumcised has decreased significantly in recent years.
The society enables men to have more than one wife. We ask one man how that works. He says. “He sleeps with one wife for two nights in her house and then with the other for two nights in her house”. He has 10 children – no wonder.
A circle of thorneybush surrounds the village to keep out wild animals. Around the inside perimeter are the houses, which are made of bush material, grass and sticks, and then ‘coated’ with cow dung. Then there is another inner circle of thorneybush, to contain the goats, cows, and other animals in their care. Some smaller circles of thorneybush are within the animals’ arena where the young animals are kept safely at night. The dung is collected and used as ‘lining’ for their houses or is dried and used to assist in starting fires. Fire is started by spinning a piece of acacia onto a piece of cedar wood and when there is an ember, the crushed dry dung is used to nurture the ember into a fire.
There is a very well organized market place where goods are displayed on a table with the prices shown. Proceeds from this market are used in educating the children at a pre-school, which was started by Scenic Tours. The children are taught English from the age of two before they go to the nearby elementary school.
After lunch, massages are provided back at the Lodge or we choose to take a nature walk, or we can just veg out. The afternoon safari becomes a highlight as we encounter a number of lions just near the lodge. We count over 30 4WDs all watching the lions. The lions seem restless and probably about to look for a meal. We see many other wild animals before our evening meal, which includes a birthday cake for myself. Just 2 years until I start receiving the pension now.