© 2012 admin Bones

Amboseli

After 2 long flights and a night in London, we got home Sunday. I am almost over the jet lag and I have gotten through all the emails at work, so I am trying to find time to catch up on details I missed during the trip. We had a great time and saw a lot of amazing things.

The camp in Amboseli was in view of Mt. Kilimanjaro. It was a true mobile camp that was trucked in and set up just for us and broken down and removed the morning we left. It is as close to the safaris of old as you can get. (Of the two other camps we stayed in that used tents, one was permanent and one was up 10 months per year.) It also had the best food and service of all the camps we stayed in. This is probably due in part to the fact that it was owned and controlled by Ker & Downey and Elizabeth Dames, Derek’s wife, was in camp overseeing the menus. There were 8 of us on safari with 2 guides, Derek and his son Tom. Elizabeth was with us until we left Amboseli and their other son Nick was with us for Christmas. There were 16 regular members of the camp crew handling the cooking and camp chores, 2 spotters and about 6 extra Maasai who had shown up looking for work after the camp was set up. Even with all those people around, we still had 6 lions walk through the camp in the middle of the night and had Black Faced Vervet Monkeys in the wash water early one morning. We never saw lions in Amboseli, but did see the tracks through the camp. We also saw the bones of lion kills in the open areas adjacent to tall grasses.

The camp was in a private concession area owned by the Maasai and adjacent to Amboseli National Park. We spent most of the time in the concession area but did go into the park one day. The National parks in Kenya and Tanzania have a rather high entry fee, $75 per person per day for Amboseli, and restrict traffic to the roads only, so the concessions areas gave us more chances to get close to the animals. We drove in Toyota Land Cruisers that had custom built bodies to allow passengers to climb up through the roof hatches to take pictures and see better. Each vehicle was driven by one of the guides and had a spotter sitting on the roof.

The Maasai are a nomadic people who live in mud huts and raise sheep, goats and cows. We went to watch traditional dances one evening. It consisted mainly of the men jumping as high as they could from a standing position. This was supposed to impress the girls (?) When I started taking pictures, I was quickly surrounded by Maasai wanting to look at the pictures of themselves. When is was over, my shirt and my lens was covered in the red paint they use on there faces.

Even though the camp was in the middle of nowhere, it still did not stop Nancy from shopping. On the morning we left, she mentioned that she would like to buy some beads to one of our Maasai spotters. The next thing we knew, we were surrounded by Maasai offering different beaded bracelets and necklaces and other stuff for sale. By the time breakfast was over, every women in the camp had gone shopping, but Nancy got the best bargains.

 

 

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