View Full Version : Kenya / Tanzania
I've recently discovered that one of my girlfriend's best friends is descended from Maasai, and most of her family still live out in Kenya, in and near the Maasai Mara Reserve.
She said that her family would be more than happy to have a pale Welsh visitor like myself sometime, and could probably arrange for me to hang out with some of her Maasai family for a few days and nights.
Coupled with this, her mother is going back to Africa next Easter to work in an orphanage in Tanzania.
So, this has got me thinking and would provide me with an awesome opportunity to visit these areas sometime in the fairly near future and possibly spend time with the native people
So, my questions is, does anyone have experience of visiting either of these areas and can point me towards good information regarding where to fly, where to stay (in a bushcrafty manner, naturally)
Thanks in advance.
read your post and cant help myself but comment - i grew up in Kenya and my family still live there on and off. i'll be going there for a holiday in about a week and trekking through northern Kenya, (lake Turkana area) and through southern ethiopia and really looking forward to it.
you mention that your g/f's best friend is of masai descent and you're interested in visting the masai mara game reserve area - i think you'd have the time of your life there but a few words of caution.
Masai mara and it's surrounds are probably some of the most tourist oriented spots in the country - they epotimise what "safari" is...the locals are similar inclined so while you might FEEL that you're getting an authentic experience when you visit a masai boma, it only lasts as long as it takes them to get some money from you for some pictures and then disappear round the corner to the nice govt. built bricks and mortar house that they're actually staying in.....
the point is that a lot of "experiences" in that part of the world are no longer authentic and are basically tourism driven - targeted mostly towards ignorant tourists who really dont know any better and just want a photo op with a masai who is decked out in his traditional garb....
Havign said that, it's still worth the visit just to see the Mara and the Migration if you get a chance and go the right time of the year (now actually, July-Aug). Best way to get there is to fly to Nairobi and then get a transfer to the local airport called Wilson Airport and fly to the game reserve itself - i believe there are many tour companies who do this - the Mara has a few different landing strips and a vehicle from the game lodge that you are staying at will be on hand to pick you up once you have landed.
traditional game lodges that are worth visiting are Governor's Camp, Keekorok Lodge, Mara Serena Lodge to name a few. If you're looking for a REAL bushcrafty experience with genuine authenticity then you should look at visiting the Tanzanian side of the Mara which is the Serengeti national park (you cant cross borders THROUGH the national parks - you have to cross from the designated area which is through a town called Namanga on Kenyan side).
Tanzania still hasnt been affected so much by tourism and the masai on that side of the border have still got their traditional nomadic lifestyle so what you see if how they live.
There are also great camping spots in both parks and if you're that way inclined, there's nothing like sitting in your tent at night while there's lion or hyene sniffing around the campsite...all you hear are sounds of various animals in the African night and you only realise WHAT has visited your campsite in teh morning when you see the various paw prints on the ground......
all in all, what can i say - it's some of the most beautiful country that i've laid my eyes on but as with every where else, it's the ppl that really stuff it up - politics is probably the biggest threat to masai mara - the masai ppl have traditionally grazed their herds in the park (hence its status as a game reserve rather than a national park - they would not be able to co-habit with game in a national park but because of their political clout the govt. is unwilling to declare the Mara a park) but with this type of lifestyle they are responsible for introducing things like Canine distemper among the lion population, bovine viruses to the herbivores through their cattle etc and the money that is raised from tourism basically lines the pockets of a prominent few so there is very little difference to the quality of life of the majority of the local population.
anyway...enough rant (can you tell that this sort of thing bugs me a lot?!?!?) - if you want to know more then pm me and i'm more than happy to answer any other queries.
cheers Jeelan, I've been reading about the area and what you said has pretty much come through in all of it.
The Tanzanian side of things is looking the more appealing, would particularly like to see if I could get an opportunity to meet some Hadzabe.