In the jungle, the mighty jungle…. The lion sleep tonight…
That was the perfect songs that accompanied my safari journey in Kenya.
It was still early in the morning. But I already woke up, prepared everything for my first safari. Started from 6 o’clock in the morning, I rechecked all requirements. Camera, OK. Canoy and the pocket one were ready in the camera bag, accomplished by one spare battery. Flashlight, OK. This is one of the stuffs that won’t be missed anytime I do travelling. Jacket, OK. It was rainy season. It was better to be ready for the worst possibility. Instant noodle, OK. It was brought due to advice from Ery, my very nice friend who provided her house during my stay in Narobi. Well, actually the food will be served by the tour company. However, still according to Ery, there’s nothing wrong to prepare alternative food since it was not all African food could go easily to stomach of Indonesian people.
At 8 o’clock in the morning, one guy from the tour company picked me up. After hugging and kissing with Ery and Robert (Ery’s husband), I left Nairobi to Masai Mara. I was not the only passenger. Since I did solo travelling, I prefer to join a group than doing the trip alone. Beside me, there were seven other passengers. They were Lu (Danish, originally from China, lives in London and speaks Indian English. The last thing was only joke for Lu), the other Danish (I forgot his name. It was a little bit difficult to be spelled by my Indonesian tongue. I named him Soren), Elizabeth, the Kenyan. I guest she’s Soren’s girl friend. One Indian couple (Thakur and Minu). Thakur works in the same organization with me. What a small world. Two siblings from Germany (Larz and Sieven). And the last one was the most important person in this group. Tom, the guide and driver for us.
The car was full by talking and chatting voices once everybody got in the car. We introduced each other. Thakur and I didn’t need to introduce ourself since we met before. Lu works for WHO (the other UN staff). Soren is computer programmer. He talked about Java program and blah blah blah. Forgive me. I don’t really understand about this. Elizabeth works for Ministry of Health in Nairobi. Larz is scientist and doing one research about birds and other kind of animals. And Sieven, he is a post graduated student and learning about chemistry.
We stopped in Narok City for lunch. It was a small town reached for two hours by car from Nairobi. It’s also the last city before entering the region of Masai. So, in this town, the Masai tribes do selling and buying activities. We didn’t stop very long since Tom felt that it’s better to reach Masai Mara as soon as possible. Moreover, the weather was not very good. The sky was getting dark and rain could come anytime.
Fifteen minutes had passed from Narok, we started to enter ‘the real Africa’. The road was getting worse. Perforated asphalt, bumpy stones and finally it was only soil. There was no asphalt or gravel to cover the soil. I could feel the atmosphere of the real Africa. I could see the small shepherds with a horde of goats. The villages with its clay houses. Some Masai’s hunters came in sight to hunt the animals. Everybody was busy with the camera. At 4 o’clock in the afternoon, we arrived safely in Masai Mara.
The first agenda was afternoon safari. After putting our equipments in the tents (we were living in tents, instead of in the lodge or hotel. Every tents is completed with toilet), Tom brought us directly to Masai Mara National Park. We tried to find some animals. And the view, Oh My God. It was amazing. Finally, I could see these animals run freely. It was like watching National Geographic Program Lively. That afternoon, we did see gazelle, toppy, deer, antelope and lion. That day was closed by having dinner together with the whole group.
Masai Mara National Reserve
In the next morning, safari was started at 07.30. The real safari was getting started. As far as I could see, it was only savanna with golden color. Lu was so satisfied to see those golden savannas. He kept asking all the time why all those savannas are green instead of yellow like he imagined before. Lars and Thakur memorized this beautiful moment by using their Nikon and the spectacular lens. My Canoy was looked like a toy compared with them. But, it’s OK. I still love you Canoy.
We found a lot of animals on that day. They were gazelle that according to Tom has some variety such as Thomson gazelle, and blah blah blah. I could not remember everything. Variety of birds, zebra, cheetah, giraffe, hippo, crocodile, monkey (I was not really interested with these monkeys. In addition to find them a lot in my country, one of them stole my lunch sandwich), elephant, buffalo, toppy, the male lions (they were still sleeping idly), gazelle again, eagle, baboon and many more. The safari was finished at 4 o’lock in the afternoon and continued by visiting the Masai village.
On this time, Tom was not being our guide. But a man from Masai named Ken. Ken introduced us directly to head of village and one of witch doctor in the village. When the witch doctor saw me, he asked, “Are you coming from Congo”? I was so amazed and continued by whisper from Lu, “How did he know it?”. I said, “That’s why he’s called the witch doctor.”
The head of village
The witch doctor
The Masai people greeted us friendly. The head of village explained the way of nomadic life of Masai. For one village, they may live the lands for nine years. After those periods, they have to move to the other land. It was based on agreement between the Masai itself. There was no electricity. For water, they use it from water natural resource. There was no toilet and they use the bushes as the toilet and clean themselves using the leaves from the special tree.
To enter the village, we were expected to pay 15 USD for each person. This money will be used to pay the school fee of children. Some men were started to gather for serving Masai traditional dancing for the visitors. I was so interested to join. In the middle of dancing, one Masai man put the traditional clothe of Masai on me. Wow, I felt like I’m the part of Masai. It was not only me. Sieven and Minu joined us as well.
The men finished with their dancing, and the women would like to participate as well. Not satisfied yet only dancing with the men, I followed this dance again with the women. I was so excited, and the dance was over. Some children came around me. I didn’t waste the time to take some pictures of them. OMG, they were so funny and innocent. I felt like I want to spend more time with them but, due to limited time, I could not do that.
One Masai young man called me and asked me and Lu to see their traditional house. This young man named Sam (it was taken from Samson). Inside the house was very dark since there was no window at all. The house itself was made by mix of clay and cow dung. It was not like at the other place, instead of built by men, house of Masai was built by women. While the women kept busy to build a house, the men guarded their village from enemy and went to the jungle for hunting the food. The house only has one room where all activities done there, from sleeping, cooking, eating, drinking until cleaning all the cook equipments.
Even though this tribe is still primitive yet, some of them were educated well. Sam, as example. He just finished his high school and still waiting for the result of his exam to enter the Medical School in Nairobi. He wants to be a doctor to help his people in the village. As guest, we were served very well. They also served special beer for us which was made by sausage tree. And they understood very well when I explained that I don’t drink alcohol. But Lu didn’t refuse to taste a glass of beer.
Sausage Tree from where the beer was made
After visiting Sam’s house, the head of village showed us how to make fire. Wow. They have very very ordinary and simply life. I was so amazed to see all of this. It was like a dream come true. Finally, I could see ‘the real Africa’ with my own eyes. The Masai also made the crafts. Such as necklaces, bracelet, rings and many more. They sell it in the traditional market created by themselves. Immediately before the end of the day, we left village and went back to the tents to have dinner.
In the next morning, I wake up very early, around 05.30 am. It was because we would start the morning safari. Everybody was in the restaurants, a place where we’re agreed to meet. Sieven only laughed when he saw me. I guessed they hesitated that I could woke up earlier since the night before, I was too enthusiast by saying, “Tom. Should we go so early?” Lu didn’t join us since he had the other schedule to follow the balloon safari that enquired him to wake up very very very early.
Sunrise in Masai Mara
I was not regret to lose some minutes of my sleeping times. The view was so spectacular. Even, we could see sunrise in the middle of savanna. It was fantastic. The other things, we still found some animals even as not as much yesterday, including the male lions that were still sleeping all the time. We were back to the tents after spending 4 hours for morning safari. Lu also finished with his balloon. At 11 o’clock in the morning, we left Masai Mara to Nairobi. It was a real invaluable experience.