I was recently asked to write a personal travel-log on a trip I took to Africa. I thought I would post it, as some of you might be interested in visiting there.
|After leaving Nairobi, we headed for Amboseli National Park|
As we pulled away from the hotel in Nairobi, the excitement of a whole summer in Africa welled up inside of me. There were six of us from the states and we were off on a two and a half month journey through some of the most interesting parts of the country. I had signed up to travel as a single, something I frequently did. I would be rooming with another single who was maybe 20 years younger than I. There were also two couples
For the past three months I’d studied Swahili and prepared for the trip. I decided to go with a well-established travel company and had selected a package that would include shopping in Nairobi, a two week safari in Tanzania, and a gorilla trek in Burundi, a small country in between Zaire and Rwanda.
Our SUV veered out onto the highway and headed for Tanzania. Salim, a big burly black man with a gorgeous smile, was our driver. Each morning he greeted us with “hujambo,” which meant good day. During the trip he let me practice my Swahili on him.
|We stayed here at the foot of Mt Kilimanjaro|
With the help of Salim and several other drivers who had pulled up around the same time, we found our rooms and stored our luggage. We were treated to a wonderful dance by Masai warriors at sunset and wandered over to the dining room across a little bridge covering a stream of melted snow that had trickled down from Kilimanjaro.
Dinner was amazing. I didn’t know what to expect. But I will never forget walking up to that beautiful buffet table on our first night. There were fruits and vegetables of all kinds. Beautiful braided breads, and a variety of meats from roast beef, pork, and lamb to whole grilled chickens on a spit. And the desserts? Chocolate, lemon, vanilla, banana and coconut confections…tempting and irresistible.
|The Maasi people are very friendly and welcoming|
We piled into our RV and took off for parts unknown, ready for anything. We arrived at the Masai Mara village enclosed in a circular fence built by the men and thorned by Acacia trees. At night, all cows, goats sheep are placed in an enclosure in the centre, safe from wild animals. Maasai houses, designed for nomadic people on the move are impermanent in nature and constructed by the women. The framework is formed of timber poles fixed directly into the ground and interwoven with a lattice of smaller branches, which is then plastered with a mix of mud, sticks, grass, cow dung, human urine and ash.
We were welcomed with a performance by the women and invited to come into their homes and to purchase their fabrics and jewelry. They were very friendly and allowed us to take all the photos we wanted.
|This tent is almost identical to the one I stayed in.|
|Hippos love muddy water|
|We spent a couple of nights in beautiful Mt Kenya Safari Lodge|
In the mid 1950’s William Holden went to Africa on a hunting safari with two friends. There was one inn that was the favorite “repairing” spot for Bill and his pals and by some quirk of fate it was for sale! After many drinks and lots of dreams the three bought the inn and turned it into the Mt. Kenya Safari Club.
|An evening boat-ride on Lake Kivu|
|Gorilla trekking up in the mountains of central Africa|
Rwanda is now as safe as (if not safer than) most other countries. However some common sense precautions should be taken. Do not flaunt your wealth by wearing expensive jewelry or carrying large wads of money openly. Avoid changing money in the streets. Likewise avoid overcrowded streets.
There are many travel companies listed on line that incorporate some of the same trips I took during the time I was in Africa. I would definitely recommend this kind of trip if you are interested in other cultures and curious about how other people in the world live. It was one of the best trips I every took.
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