Masai Village

Many of the Masai people still live traditional lifestyles, eating, wearing and being accommodated n the traditional way. We arrived at the village, which was set our in a circular pattern of mud houses and were greeted at the entrance by some warriors dressed in their colourful red Masai blankets. We were welcomed to the village by these warriors who blew on a horn as we arrived.

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 After we entered, the warriors approached us and began a dance, where they took it in turns to jump in the air while the others all sang and moved rhythmically to the song.

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After some time, Bret and Mark were invited to join the dancing where they were given weapons and a headers made from a lion’s mane.

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When the singing and dancing ended, we were given a guided tour of one of the huts. It is very basic, with just one room that is divided off for the bedroom by a curtain. There is a fire pit in the middle of the floor, a mattress off to the side for the parents and a smaller one on the opposite side for the children. At the entrance to the hut there was a small door. When we peeked onside we found several tiny calves who were people sheltered from the cold nights by huddling together.

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Next up was the women’s turn to put on a show. They sang some beautiful songs and danced for us. Lisa and I were invited to koi in as well, and we were given some beaded jewellery to adorn ourselves with. They were so colourful and beautiful!

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Masai village

After the dancing, we were given a brief demonstration on how to make fire, the traditional way. This involved rubbing two sticks together, one hard and one soft, while dried grass  was added to the pile of elephant dung that was underneath. It was so interesting, and they did it so quickly!

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We said farewell to our new friends and all felt much more enlightened about the Masai people. It was such an interesting experience. It was obviously opened up for tourists, but there is a defiant sense that this is how the people still live. We literally had to ask a family to leave their hut so we could look inside. It is amazing that the culture is still in tact and so strong! Before leaving, we brought some souvenirs and made a donation to the village to go towards the local hospital. What a wonderful, eye-opening experience!

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Masai Mara Safari – Day 2 morning drive

On the second day of our safari, we had the choose of one long day drive or of doing early morning and evening drives. We elected to go with the second option as we thought there would be more animals out at sunrise and sunset, and we also wanted to go and visit a Masai village during the day, so it worked out well as got to fit everything in.

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The landscaped were beautiful, and again we were spoilt with the amount of different animals we saw. Elephants, giraffe, zebras, so many types of gazelle, warthog, ostriches, lions, cheetahs, leopards, wild dogs, a fox,  buffalo, hyenas, baboons, hippos, as well as many different species of birds were all on display.

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The stand out attraction for the day was by far the lions. We did see a leopard through some tress and got really close to a cheetah, but there was so many lions it was ridiculous. We even drove past some towards then end of the day as we had seen so many and we became a bit too casual. Crazy! We were able to get so close to them, and they didn’t mind at all. It was incredible.

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After a couple of hours driving around, we headed back to the camp for a late breakfast before going off to find the Masai Village.

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Masai Mara Safari – Day 1

We awoke at 5am to the “Circle of Life” playing through the sound system of our apartment, and got ourselves organised for our Masai Mara adventure. The tour company picked us up bright and early, and we headed out of Nairobi and down the escarpment. It seemed like everyone else was leaving at the same time, and we joined an entourage of safari vans who stopped at the Masai markets along the way. Despite the chaos of tourists, it is always nice to get out of town, and there is something special about seeing the enormous expanse of the Rift Valley.

Mount Longonot, Rift Valley

After driving for what felt like forever (around 6 hours) on a very rough and bumpy road, we finally arrived at our camp, just in time for lunch. We settled in, delighted by the spacious hotel room-like tents, had a delicious lunch and then set off for our first game drive!

    

We we re mobbed by Masai women selling jewellery at the gates to th spark, but once we got past that we were free to explore. Not long into the drive our guide/driver had a message on the radio to head towards some bushed. He wouldn’t tell us what was there as he didn’t want to ruin the surprise but we were very happy to discover two lionesses, including a mother lion with a bunch of little cubs. Not far from there we saw a cheetah sun baking casually, not at all perturbed by the swarming safari vans.

After the hustle of trying to see our first big cats, we left the groups of vans and headed off on our own path. The landscapes were stunning wide open spaces, and very iconic savannahs with single acacia trees dotted along the skyline. There were animals everywhere. It wasn’t the right time of year for the wildebeest migration and we only saw a few of them, but there were so many others there it was amazing! The first game drive was just a few hours but we left feeling very excited for what the next day would bring!

  

As the sun set, we headed back to the camp for drinks and dinner by the fire. We were even treated to a show from some local Masai dancers!

Bret and Lisa at dinner at the camp.

Weekend on the Coast

We recently had some friends come to visit us in Kenya, so we decided to get out of Nairobi and spend a few days on the Coast just south of Mombasa. We stayed at some cute little villas on Tiwi Beach that we found on Air BnB, which worked out really well as we were pretty much the only people there!

Cliff Villas, Tiwi Beach
The view from our Villa
The view from our Villa

The beach was exactly what we had hoped for: white sand, palm trees,  warm water surrounded by reef. There were a few hawkers trying to sell us wood carvings, sarongs and random Kenyan souvenirs, which we largely ignored. However, we couldn’t resist the opportunity to ride a camel along the beach.

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While we were there, we spent some time at Diani Beach, exploring the more touristy areas, shops and restaurants. One local bar that was really wince was called Forty Thieves, which was right on the sand and the perfect place for a sunset beer.

Just around the corner from Forty Thieves is Ali Barbour’s Cave Restaurant. This place is awesome!! The restaurant is set underground inside a natural coral cave formation that is between 120,000-180,000 years old! The cave was lit up by lots of candles, and we could actually see the sky and the stars while we were eating. The decor was designed in a beautiful swahili style, which added to the already amazing atmosphere. I definitely recommend eating here if you can. The prices are also very reasonable for what you get, especially given the location!

                   

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While we were on the coast, we also couldn’t pass up an opportunity to spend the day on a boat snorkelling, watching dolphins and eating seafood! There are so many tour operators vying for business, and even though we payed one company to pick us up and arrange everything, we were put onto a different company’s boat. It seemed that everyone payed a different price for the same day trip, but it was a great experience.

Kisite Marine Park near Wasini Island, South Coast

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The snorkelling was amazing! We saw turtles, octopus, sting ray, moray eels, starfish,  and so many beautiful fish!

We had a delicious seafood lunch on Wasini island before sailing back to the mainland with the canvas sails unfolded and dolphins playing behind the boat. All in all, it was a great day out on the water and a fantastic long weekend on the coast!

Update

I think this picture is fairly apt. I haven’t been able to post anything for awhile, as I have been ridiculously busy with work! The last photo pretty much sums up my life lately! I will get back into it soon.  :)

A snapshot of life as an expat in Kenya

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