Thursday was my first (and only) full day in the Masai Mari Safari. I woke up at 5 am to take a shower and get ready for an early 6 am safari with my group.
6 am-We headed out with a goal of seeing elephants and giraffes! Since I had seen lions the day before I wanted to see all the other animals, specifically giraffes, elephants, and hippos. My group wanted to see Rhinos also, but I heard they were mean and hard to find so I didn’t want to get my hopes up. We saw all sorts of animals on this trip, I had weird feeling that I was in Jurassic Park! We saw elephants, gazelle, buffalo, baboons, wart hogs, lions, giraffes, and other animals I don’t know the name for.
We saw a cheetah that had been injured by a lion. Apparently lions are sworn enemies of cheetahs and leopards, when they see each other they fight til one of them dies, and then leave them there for dead. Well, this pack of 3 cheetahs always roamed together, cheetahs usually roam in packs of two, but three brothers went around together. Anyway, one cheetah had already been killed and the other had a rare skin condition that could be life threatening, and the other one had just been attacked by a lion. The cheetah that had been attacked was just lying there alone waiting to die and his brother was not too far away just meowing (what is the cheetah sound for meow?) away so sad. :/ There was a team of scientists that had been following the cheetah pack that was near by waiting for the game warden to come and look at the cheetah to see if it could be helped. The cheetah was lying there for two days already and no doctor would come to help because it was ‘not scheduled’. Anyway, while we were watching, it tried to stand up, and immediately started swaying and fell back down. No energy left to do anything. So sad. Later, right before dinner we found out that it had died and the research team were looking for its brother (the skin disease cheetah) to track his movements.
We also saw two lions that were doing a mating ritual. When two lions mate they go off by themselves for 5 days to sleep and mate the entire time. Talk about a walk of shame back to the pride. ;) haha. Anyway, the male lion had a really dark haired mane like the evil one in the Lion King. All they did was sleep the entire time, we saw no hanky panky going on. Not that I wanted to, but the Nat Geo team that I was with would have loved to capture that on film.
At around 10 am we went back to have breakfast. We had baked beans (so weird!), crepe pancakes, fried bananas (yum!), beef bacon, beef sausage, toast, and chia tea. While we were there I saw the menu for a massage and I thought it would be awesome to get a massage in Kenya! So I did.
My massage was in the middle of the resort in a tent. In the US we have a towel draped over us the entire time, but in Kenya, apparently that is not normal because there wasn’t a towel in sight. Good thing I had on clean underwear (hahahahahahaha, kidding I always wear clean underwear!). She used what seemed like baby oil instead of massage lotion, but overall the massage was very nice. I love massages and she used just the right amount of pressure. She also used a sugar scrub on my upper back and a steam machine on my face for a mini facial (plus scalp massage).
I didn’t eat lunch because of our late breakfast, but I did drink some more chia tea and then proceeded to take a nap! I <3 naps!
About 2 pm we went to an actual African tribe village, the tribe that the safari land was named after, Masai. In order to go in, it was 2,000 Kenyan Shillings, or about $24 for us to get in. This was my first real taste of poverty in the world because the images that are stuck in my head are heartbreaking. The children are filthy, they have flies crawling all over them and they don’t try to swat them away like we would in the US, probably because they are used to them being all over them. One little boy (see picture below-try to enlarge it), had these crustations all over his body and his little foot had one on it too. The kids didn’t wear shoes (or sometimes pants!) so who knows what they were stepping in all day long.
Some things I learned about this Masai Tribe:
-To earn money, women to bead work and men do carvings. I bought some of both.
-When you get married you don’t get a say who you marry, your parents choose them. The women get brought over from different tribes (to prevent inbreeding) and the man has to pay the girls family 10 cows. Yes, that’s right ladies, your life is only worth 10 cows.
-When women get married they cut the ears to signify that they are married, and also wear an anklet
-When you go to school, they knock out the bottom two front teeth to show that you went to school
-The Chief of the tribe has 6 or 7 wives
-Their diet is meat (goats, sheep, cow), milk, and cows blood. They puncture a cow’s artery in its neck to get the blood out, but not kill it. Clean water is scarce.
-Once you have one child, you earn a fertility belt made of cow hide. It is supposed to help you have lots of babies. The minimum number of children a women ‘should’ have is 3, but no more than 6.
-The houses were made of wood and cow dung. They sleep up to 8 people. The calfs sleep inside at night (so animals won’t get them), then are milked in the morning and brought outside. There are now windows in the houses (except for a small two inch by two inch opening by the fire), even though they cook and burn a fire inside their house.
-The kids sleep on one bed together, no pillows or soft mattress, it’s made out of cow leather. T he fire is in the middle and the parents are on the other side of the structure. Now, this isn’t an American home, these people are literally 5 feet from each other.
They sang a song for us, did a few dances, and then we went shopping in their market. I bought some bracelets, a giraffe painted bowl, and some spoon/fork salad set with animals carved in it. The rain came so we had to go.
This village was heartbreaking, but honestly they choose to live this way. I will write about another place we visited a week later that the people had to live that way. The thing that got to me was the children, they looked so sad. I didn’t see smiles or joy. I can live (but try to help) with the fact that just because you are poor, you can still be happy, but these children did not look happy. I wanted to take that baby with the skin disease and run away with him. Take him to a doctor, feed him a real meal, and just give him joy. I couldn’t though and I had to leave them behind.
After we got done with the Masai Tribe we went back on safari to look for some animals we didn’t see.
We saw a group of giraffes and my camera died. :/ Ali and Josh offered to share some pictures with me. We finally saw zebras and they looked like the horses from the Wizard of Oz minus the colors. They looked like horses but they constantly bobbed their heads up and down, even more than horses. We also some a big group of wart hogs that were running across the road.
We went back to the area with the lions that were mating and while we there at least 20 other vans came up to view these lions. It was a mad house! I felt so sorry for these lions because they weren’t in the wild anymore, they were part of a show. Some of the vans were trying provoke the lions so they would get up and move around. It was so frustrating and sad that we left soon after. Poor things, they just want to have some fun!
It started to rain harder at that time so we headed back to the resort, but we did get some pictures of elephants in the rain.
Dinner was about 7:30 which included carrot and ginger soup, steam spinach, rice, roast beef, and fresh fruit.
I went to bed early (around 8:30) because the day was a bit too much to process. Between the children at the masai tribe, the cheetah dying, and the poor lions being swarmed to death, I needed a break.
That night, the storms were huge! It woke me up about 11:30 and I didn’t go back to sleep until about 1 am. The back of the tent structure was made of tin, so the rain was extra loud back there.