Saturday, July 31, 2010

July 29, 2010. Maasai Mara

We left the hotel at 9AM and drove until 2:15. What a difficult ride! The road was terrible - fill of potholes. Yosef had to keep zigzagging the van around them. Finally he turned off road and we took a dirt road most of the way. But the dirt road was just as bad and sometimes worse than the highway. It felt like we were lost in the bush. We did see elephants and a dik dik. By the time we got to the lodge we were pretty exhausted and shaken up. Siana Springs Intrepid is a tent camping facility. The "tents" are quite nice with two beds and a shower and toilet area. There is no door and the only way to prevent the monkeys from coming in is to tie a knot at the bottom of the tent zipper.
We had lunch and then listened to a talk by a member of the Masai tribe. He told us about their history - creation and god. He told us about the three stages of being a Masai male - boyhood, warrior and elder. Boys must be publically circumcised at the age of 15. At age 25 they must kill a lion. Then they marry someone who has been chosen by their parents. Girls undergo female circumcision at age 13 - it is horrible. Then after six months they marry. Men can have as many wives as they can afford.
Traveling through Masai country it is hard not to admire this culture. They live as they have lived for thousands of years. They are healthy and live long lives. They are bright flashes of color on a bland landscape - the men mostly in red wraps and the women in many colors and lots of jewelry. But after hearing about their rituals, it is hard to maintain that admiration.
At 3:30 we left for an evening game ride in the Masai Mara Game Reserve. This area is teaming with animals. We saw giraffe and elephants and most wonderfully the long lines of migrating zebra and wildebeats. They mingle together along with topi and other hooved animals. This was a moving sight - the long lines of animals extending into the distance. During the drive we also saw a magnificent black rhino. But the best thing we saw was a leopard up a tree eating a Thompson's gazelle. The leopard stayed in the tree the whole time - posing for pictures.
After taking the bumpy ride home we went to dinner. Lights go out here at 11 PM - because of the generator. So we tucked into our little tent for the night.
Tomorrow - more Masai Mara and a trip to see the river crossing.

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