The Masai warriors prepare to dance

Elephants in camp
Thu. 7 Oct. 2004 - Loita hills to Masai Mara, Kenya

This morning, we joined the Masai men in their warrior dance, held in the cow pen in the center of their village. (Cost: 500 Shillings each, about US$7.) As they sang, the men jumped as if pulled up by invisible strings. Just before we left the village, the women unrolled their blankets and set up an outdoor gift shop selling spears, arrows, clubs, tartans, beaded jewelry, and carvings. Some of this stuff is authentic Masai wares, but not all. For example, the Masai women were selling masks, though the Masai don't wear masks themselves.

The Masai warrior dance

We had a beautiful game drive in the Masai Mara National Reserve in the afternoon. The reserve was filled with dozens of safari vehicles, which cruise around on the dirt roads in search of animals. There is a lot to see. Today's show-stopper was a cheetah sighting, two of them, sleeping lazily in the shade of a bush. We also saw a lioness, sitting in the grass alongside the road.

At night, our camp at the Mara Springs Safari Campground is comfortable place. There's a big spider in the bathroom, a frog in one of the showers, tsetse flies, wasps, a couple of baboons that keep walking around the place, and other assorted creatures. However, there is also electricity (powered by a generator that runs until 10 p.m.) and a friendly cat that curled up on my lap during dinner.

Our first big cat sighting, in camp near the Masai Mara

Tonight, as we were cleaning up the camp for the night, we heard a loud sound like a sheet of cardboard being ripped in half, followed by the unmistakable trumpet of an elephant. This animal was very close. David, one of our guides, said it was common for elephants to walk though this campsite. From the picnic shelter, we peered out into the blackness and listened to the sound of crunching leaves. The elephants were eating.

Elephants in the Masai Mara

In camp at night

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