Explore. Experience. Engage.

Africa they never showed you!

Author: Gel2
Date of Trip: December 2009



SOOOO...... the safari was AWESOME!!!! Yep, I think I want to live in the bush :) We left late on Friday afternoon - African time, after all :) After climbing the edge of the Rift Valley (what a view!), bouncing over potholes, listening to whistling thorn bushes, eating peanuts and chapati, teaching the young city girls how to pee in the bush, and waving at all the people along the way, we made it to camp (Maji Moto) around 11pm. The kids were starving! Oh yah, I should explain - the trip was a father-child bonding/educational theme - which turned out to be so much fun! My students travel program with young girls and boys from my school aged 11-17 years old (I was the only woman there, naturally - well, except for the cheetah conservationist lady), take photos for the next trip to Africa representation, website, and help out wherever else...

The chef and tent riggers had been preparing for our arrival all day - so we dove into the food, built a campfire, and assigned everyone to tents. This was to mean a luxury adventure (in comparison to what we did with another travel agency before we tried a new adventure way with Foot2Afrika) .... we were certainly well looked after... highly recommended! Went for a bit of a walk under the Tanzanian moon with Johnson, the host, and then tried to settle down on the ground for the night.. no such luck, I was too excited to sleep (luckily no annoying tree branches digging into your back here though!) So in the morning when the group went to the hot springs (maji moto = hot water in Swahili) I took my time getting up instead ;)

After breakfast, we went to the primary school close to the camp - the Maasai kids are so cute! One tiny boy kept running up to me, giggling for all he was worth, closer each time, till he finally got the courage to touch my leg - he'd touch me and then run away shrieking laughter, over and over. They also loved my camera - seeing the picture right away floored them - you'll see them gathered around me, freaking over my watch in the photos. I was way popular :) Since the camp is in the middle of Maasailand, we were visited by quite a few cows, along with the males who tend them, the women bead-sellers, and their babies. Of course I bought many beads - in fact one bracelet is so authentic it was removed from the oldest women's wrist! The men all wear red blankets, in whatever manner is most comfortable for the weather at the time (not sure if they go "scottish" or not ;), and the women have white sheets with red patterns, and both wear lots of jewellery made of beads, bones, and metal. Everyone has a shaved head, and the little ones greet you by presenting their head for you to touch. Throughout the whole trip, I was fascinated with these people - they are the only tribe around here that live traditionally - grazing their cows during the day, sleeping with them at night - and I was so thrilled to see it first hand. Luckily I was just as fascinating to them - everyone stared at me wherever we went - one asked Johnson if he could touch my hair - and then said it felt like a lion!! hehehe :) Obviously they're also very friendly :) Our group students were to learn the Maasai living and unique traditional life and was to practice some Maasai culture as boys went with mans for different activities such as cattle keeping…hunting and try to work warriors task while the girls went with women learning on how women cook, milk cows, building mud houses mixed with cows dung and so and so. The group tried for some nights to sleep in Maasai house(Emanyatta)with baby cows surrounding them…a smoke in the house so that to keep mosquitoes away.

After a week with Maasai stay we packed up again for the ride to the next camp, in Longido, near the gate of the Ngorongoro Conservation, spotting the wildlife along the way. Mostly outside of the reserve are lots of antelopes/gazelles, maybe a giraffe or two, buffalo (which you don't want to meet), and hyena, the ones with the weird whooping laugh-type sound. This next camp was even better - a few permanenet tents, running water, hot showers - and the first thing I did was bathe in the river (ok, little dirty stream, but it was refreshing!! :) We took a walk through the bush, stopping to find out how Maasai brush their teeth (a certain type of branch) and see what elephant poop looks like (BIG). We ended up at the village, and I acquired a Maasai friend - Imaya, a 17-year-old guy who speaks perfect English, wears a blanket, and thinks a 36-year-old blonde would be just great to marry :) He offered to let me stay in the manyatta (this is a Maasai homestead - a fenced ring which encloses the cows and people huts) but instead I brought him on our night game drive and then back to the campfire. He's a sweet, soft-spoken guy, very earnest... poor thing, thinking he's getting over the hill since he hasn't found a wife yet..! (will send photo of him as well).

On the next day we went into the Serengeti and saw all kinds of game - everyone keeps asking me about the animals, and yah, they were cool, but honestly I was more interested in the people!! As well, the landscape is simply incredible... but, admittedly, it was pretty damn cool to see lions trailing the world greatest migration. Also saw a bunch of vultures ripping a freshly killed gazelle to bits! (no photos, don't worry :). Went to the Serengeti conservation society, learned about reserve management and cheetahs, and bounced our way back to camp. We got our lecture organized with chef warden of the park and all questions students has about wildlife and conservation was answered. Serengeti was our last destination of students finishing their lesson. As our motto states "Travel with apurpose" we all started giving what our students brought from home for community especial in School that Foot2Afrika with their clients support. We saw many projects as well that our school wish to support on of them continuously. The Students were all great, really, considering they're the family of a group from the "Mission in Action" - which essentially means a travel while making a difference. I was very relieved to find that the parents and friends were all following our trail too... but I think that might have had something to do with the tattoo exhibition ;) Seriously, everyone was fantastic, and I made a few good contacts with some school and collage!! My final job was to give a talk for an hour to a group of 27 girls and boys , answering questions, demonstrating moves.. what a trip! The next trip to Africa Tanzania will be in June 2010.

So, I must send a big thanks to Johnson and Emmerson of Foot2Afrika and recommend any school or Universities looking to organize educational trip to try this guys confidently for setting all of this up....life is good, then it gets better :)

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