August 20, 2016
I am already struggling with how to share our days with you. Since we are part of an organized tour, our days feel somewhat sequential. We wake up, eat breakfast and then hop into our safari van. Walter then takes us from place to place while sharing facts and insights on our drives. We see incredibly interesting things and then go to the next lodging option.
It makes for extremely intriguing travel, but seems to lend itself to formulaic reporting. I suspect you do not want to know when we rose, how long we drove or what parks we visited.
I want to save you from the painful monotony of our day. I will avoid sharing timelines. Instead of a blow-by-blow, I will offer you highlights.
We learned a great deal about the Maasai. We will be visiting a Maasai tribe soon, but our driver knew a great about these indigenous people and we had a long drive during which we he shared a lot.
The Maasai have a very hierarchical society with several distinct progressions based on age. The most important is the coming of age, which involves a very expensive and elaborate circumcision ceremony. Until this ceremony, a young male is never a man and cannot marry. Here is the tricky part – the Maasai have an odd schedule where circumcisions can only happen during a seven year period followed by a seven year period when none can happen. I know not why that is true. [Note: I am not even completely convinced that this is accurate. While our tour guide was insistent about these details, we ran into another family that seemed to have a different story. All I can say with complete certainty is that circumcision happens after a male is an adult and tour guides seem delighted to talk about it.]
Before they go through this ceremony, the young males dress in black and paint their faces in white.
We saw islands surrounded with enough flamingos that made islands look like Christo installations.
Elephants are really lovely animals. They are wonderfully protective of their children. They were like Camp Champions parents – patient, supportive and adoring.
Speaking of parents, we became very found of a mother monkey that was begging with her baby in her arms.
We sorta saw a group of lions. They were lying very low and waiting for prey. This was the best picture I could get with a 88x zoom lens over 25 minutes.
Three zebras came within 10-15 feet of the lions before they became incredibly alert and skirted the location. That was good news for the zebras, but a slight disappointment for us. Note the zebras’ manes - they are standing straight up as the sense danger.
The birds here are beautiful. I am not a birder. In fact, it has never occurred to me to become a serious bird-watcher, but we saw some birds worthy of note – some beautiful and tiny and others large and flightless.
In short, we had a good day.
The Internet tonight is spotty, but I hope to get this out. The next 3-4 days we will be without connectivity, so expect to see several posts in about 3 days.