As part of our African safari we had arranged to visit a Maasai boma. The Maasai are an ethnic group that inhabit Kenya and northern Tanzania. There are some 120 ethnic groups in Tanzania, The word boma refers the the enclosures in which the Maasai live.
When we arrived at the boma, our driver, David, introduced us to the village chief. The first order of business was to negotiate a fee. We agreed on a fee of $50US, which we paid in small US bills. It seems that the tourist economy in Tanzania runs on American dollars whether it’s tipping a porter or paying a hotel bill. Small bills are preferred since there is really no way for the locals to break larger bills.
Having completed our transaction, the villagers invited us to join them in their traditional greeting. Jumping, chanting and prancing. Once we had been suitably greeted we were entertained with a lion dance. What struck me about the people was their genuine openness, and the passion they put into their activities. Even though we were just tourists the villagers were quite friendly and clearly have a passion for their culture.
Following the dancing we were given a tour of the compound including an a visit inside one of the mud huts, and a tour of the school where the younger children learn English. The older children have the job of tending the sheep, goats and cattle. At night the livestock is brought into corrals in the boma. A fence of very thorny acacia branches surrounds the boma which serves as a defense against predators.
Once our tour was complete we were offered the opportunity to buy trinkets that the villagers sell with the hopes of generating some additional income. We were warned ahead of time that the villagers might prevail on us to buy trinkets, so we were happy when they politely respected decision not to buy.
Joann and Sophie on the trail to
On the way to Materuni waterfall
Sophie and Treve at the Materuni Waterfalls
We spent our last two days in Tanzania in Moshi, a town on the lower slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. Our primary motivation was to visit Sophie Augustino. Sophie recently graduated from the College of African Wildlife Management and has started a tour company, Matriarch Hill Safari. We became acquainted with Sophie a couple of years ago when my sister Laurie connected with her while doing some non-profit work in Tanzania.
Sophie did an excellent job of showing us around Moshi. Our tour included a walk to the Materuni Waterfalls, a tour of a family run coffee farm, and a walking tour of downtown Moshi. The walk to the waterfalls took us through the lush, green picturesque farmland of the Materuni Village. The waterfall is a spectacular fall with water cascading 300 feet into a pool below. A worthwhile visit if you have a reason to be in Moshi.
We’re enjoying some quiet time; taking the afternoon off at Sanctuary Kusini, a very pretty little wilderness camp. My afternoon nap was punctuated by thunder. We have dark clouds and rain, where this morning there a puffy white clouds and blue sky. Today marks the sixth day of our safari. Our adventures really started when David, our guide invited us to climb aboard our Landcruiser. By mid-afternoon we had seen impala, giraffe, lion, hippos, zebra and wildebeest Later that afternoon as we approached camp, David became concerned about the road conditions; wet, muddy and slippery; speculating that we may not make it to camp. We persevered though slipping and sliding mud flying, the truck fishtailing left and right, and eventually we made it to camp. The next day, we stopped in the road and ate our lunches in the car while a heard of wildebeest and zebra marched by on migration. Stay tuned for the next episode.
The African Tulip Hotel
Market in Arusha
Glass blowing at Shanga.
Glass blowing at Shanga.
Glass blowing at Shanga.
We arrived at the African Tulip Hotel late last night after an eight-hour flight from Amsterdam. Our tour company sent a representative to meet us at the airport, escort us through immigration and drive us to the hotel. This morning he gave us a quick tour of Arusha, with a drive through the market district, which seemed to go on for miles… stall after stall of everything from used shoes, to watches to potatoes. Then we made an interesting stop at Shanga, an enterprise that employs people with disabilities to create unique crafts and art work using recycled materials. We spent some time watching the glass blowers and the weavers.
In the morning we board a small plane to take us to our safari camp in the bush. I doubt if we’ll have internet access in the bush, so it may be awhile before we get a chance to connect again. Stay tuned.
On February 26, 2018, we’ll be leaving on a jet plane bound for Tanzania, with a two-day stopover in Amsterdam. In Tanzania, we’ll be going on a 10-day photo safari with Africa Dream Safaris. While most of our local adventures have much to do about what we find along the way, this trip is all about the destination. Rather than risk missing an opportunity to see big animals, we’re hiring an experienced guide. No doubt there will be plenty to see as we bounce around the Serengeti in a Land Rover. We’re hoping to share some of our experiences while on safari, but it remains to be seen where and when we’ll have internet communications. Stay tuned…