A farewell song from Amboseli and onto Tanzania
One of the attractions of visiting Amboseli is meeting the local people who live on its outskirts, so to experience some culture was the plan for our last day. However the way the wildlife was performing our schedule was always going to be changed. On the way to a Maasai village we came across more big herds of elephant. At times it is amazing how quietly these huge animals wander through the bush but this was not one of those times. We thought at first it was just the big males again creating bedlum so were surprised to suddenly see 2 lion heads pop up in the centre of the herd. The ensuing frenzy of screeching and growling was deafening as they all tried to frantically get away from each other. The lion had obviously been sleeping after a long night of patrolling but were rudely awaken by the elephant who had accidentally stumbled across them. Fortunately, there were no injuries to either side as both swiftly dispersed and moved on in separate directions tails between their legs.
We finally met up with my long standing friend David, a Kisongo Maasai elder from Eseteti village. He showed us around the school and his village. This Maasai clan are regarded as the most traditionally conservative of all the Maasai and it is a highlight on any safari to be able to come into contact with these fascinating and colourful people. Time amongst this friendly tribe is very special as you get an insight into their way of life, a life that has not changed for hundreds of years. It is amazing how they are able to maintain their customs in the face of daily western influence. A little retail therapy for Mica and Jackie at the local market followed by a traditional warrior dance was lots of fun and a great way to interact with these beautiful people. As we watched the sun set behind a lone Tortilis tree we could hear the melodic sound of the Maasai singing in the background as we parted company.
The next day we drove to Tanzania. On dusty roads, through baobab strewn escarpments and the expansive vistas across the Great Rift Valley we arrived at the Ngorongoro Crater – the largest unbroken caldera in the world and one of the seven natural wonders. The view from the rim is incredible and the Crater Lodge is situated perfectly to enjoy to the full one of the most beautiful wildlife havens left on earth. From the heat of Amboseli, the cool air of the highlands was a welcome change, well for me anyway. Jackie and Mica have still to put a jacket on! It is down into the Crater tomorrow in the search of more wildlife spectacles.