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Amboseli Park and the Masai


More Adventure travel tales in Kenya:
Chalbi Desert
Nakuru Park
Masai Tribe
Other African Tales:
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Lalibela, Ethiopia
African Tribes in Ethiopia
Serengeti, Tanzania
Ngorongoro Area
Blue Nile Gorge, Ethiopia
Bahir Dar, Lake Tana


Buffaloes in front of the Kilimanjaro
In the south of Kenya, Amboseli Park is famous for the large amounts of elephants, and for its scenery, with the backdrop of mount Kilimanjaro. It is also the territory of the Masai, to whom we will make a visit.

From Mto wa mbu, the road to is a paved one, so we arrive quickly in Arusha despite a flat tire. This is a big city, but it has a different feel to it than the big cities in Kenya. Like the rest of Tanzania, it seems more friendly. We have a relaxed time on the campsite in Arusha, and spend some time in the city shopping.

From Arusha we move back to Kenya, and in a few hours we arrive at the Upper Hill campsite in Nairobi. This is a place with a lot of other overland trucks with whom our crew exchanges experiences. Here is where the overland tour for our group ends, and a new group arrives. Some stay for the next part of the trip, so it’s a strange day with many hello’s and goodbyes. We will stay for a small part of the next trip, to see Amboseli Park, and to meet the Masai.

We leave Nairobi to head for the border with Tanzania again. The new group is excited to see the first gazelles in the distance. We tell them there will be a lot more soon, but they insist to take a lot of pictures, just as we did at first. At the border town Namanga we take a dirt road towards Amboseli Park. We pass many Masai villages and the Kilimanjaro becomes in sight. Jest before we arrive at the park we enter the bush in order to make camp. And while we set up our tents the clouds disappear to reveal the mighty mountain. With a beer in our hands we enjoy this majestic view.

After a good night rest we leave our tents to see that there are no clouds and the Kilimanjaro can still be clearly seen. It promises to be a wonderful day, so we quickly have breakfast and break up the camp to move to the Amboseli Park. Before we enter it, we are attacked by a herd of Masai offering souvenirs. After fierce negotiations many of us have traded their old shoes, T-shirts, and some shillings for a spear or knife. And then, we’re ready to enter the park

Amboseli Park

Once in the park, we spot some wildlife here and there while we move closer to the Kilimanjaro. We see a large herd of ostriches, gazelles, storks, zebra’s, and cape buffaloes, all posing in front of the mountain. But the elephants for which the park is known can only be seen from a distance. With our binoculars we see how they have a mud bath and dust shower. Then one of them heads in our direction. That’s the sign apparently and from then we see small and large herds of elephants everywhere. Far away and close by, little ones and big ones, all very nice.

We have lunch at a lake in the park from where we can see some elephants swim. Then it’s back to the exit of the park, but not before we see hippo’s, hyena’s, monkeys, and a rare species of ground hornbill. We leave Amboseli Park satisfied, and head for the Masai.

Masai

Masai dance demonstrationInstead of entering the bush, we make camp at a campsite, where the Masai will pay us a visit. Although it is nice to be able to have a shower, it lack a bit of the charm of meeting ancient African tribes. The Masai will visit us the next morning, instead of in the evening, which is better for making pictures, but we regret it after what we have seen 4 years ago.

After the dance and fighting show, we walk to a Masai coral. But again, compared with what we saw 4 years ago, this one is a bit disappointing. It is a coral near the road meant for Masai women whose children go to school. Then we move on to an inauguration spot fo young Masai warriors. But after a fierce climb, we cannot reach this place since a herd of buffaloes is grazing there. We have to settle for a view from the high cliffs. In conclusion, this trip to the Masai is a bit disappointing for us, but maybe we are a bit spoiled by our previous visits to other African tribes.

Masai fight demonstrationThis was the last part of our overland trip through Africa. We say goodbye to the rest of the group and take a taxi back to Nairobi. There, we have one more day to visit the city. And for the first time, we see the nice part of the city, with the town hall and houses of parliament, both located on nice road with a lot of trees. But after some shopping, we pack our bags and head for the airport, to return to Europe.

When you’re looking for a safari close to Nairobi, Amboseli Park is an excellent choice. A lot of wildlife with the Kilimanjaro in the background. In this area you can pay a visit to the Masai as well, but you should move a bit further into the bush to see the real thing.

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