September 2 – Our first day of Safari

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This dispatch is coming to you from the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater.  I’m looking out at the vast, beautiful, cool expanse of Ngorongoro right now as the sun sets.  Today was our first day of Safari.  Paul picked us up at 8:30 this morning at the hotel and we were off to Lake Manyara .  At Lake Manyara we saw a blue monkey and a baboon right away.  Later we watched giraffes, zebra, elephants and we found 3 lions resting underneath a tree in the shade.  A lot of birds, hornbills, marabou storks and of course thousands of flamingos across Lake Manyara .  It was a beautiful morning.

We took lunch at our favorite spot on the rim of the Gregory Rift of the Great Rift Valley.  And then we proceeded on to our favorite Masai boma, or Masai village.  The chief’s son welcomed us and I sat for a long time inside one of those tight, smoky, little Masai homes with Jim, Alex and Julie.  We had a very relaxed conversation with the chief’s son about Masai life. 

Outside Paul the driver, our guide, was in another conversation with some of the Masai about the issue of whether the government will allow the Masai to continue to stay in the Ngorongoro conservation area.  And of course their stance, their position, and I agree with, is that the Masai who themselves do not kill wild animals but are essential to help the government keep an eye on poachers.  They know everything that goes on in these hills around Ngorongoro and there are no secrets to the Masai. They know the animals and the land and they report quite frequently to the park warden when there is activity that involves poachers.  It would be a shame if the government were to take them out.

We enjoyed learning about their culture and of course they are such colorful people, we enjoyed photographing watching them dance, especially the very athletic jumps that some of the young men did. 

Member of the Masai TribeNow as I said the sun is setting across Ngorongoro, we’re going to get some showers and relax for the evening.  Early tomorrow morning at 6:15am Paul is going to pick us up.  We’ve arranged with the wardens to pass through the gate and go down very early morning hours into the floor of the Ngorongoro and I’m sure we’ll have plenty of adventures from down there.  We’ll call you some time tomorrow to give you a report on how that’s going.