Maasai Village at Amboseli continued. July 21, 2017

I ran out of room on my last post, so we continue on here.  We crouch down low and enter the hut.  The hut is basically three rooms, a kitchen, a sleeping area, and another area with the pails.  I wasn’t sure what was in the pails, water maybe?  The sleeping area was behind the sticks in the photo with the fire.  The bed was a piece of cow hide, it looked really small as the Maasai men were pretty tall.  Not as tall as Steve, but Steve is six foot two.  The Maasai practice polygamy, I’m not sure if both wives would be in one hut or not.  If they did, I can imagine difficulties in such small huts!  After our tour of the hut Sally spied some baby goats.  They were adorable, only a few days old.  Some if them had their umbilical cords still attached!  Everyone held them but me.  All I could think about was immigration authorities asking me if I had any contact with wildlife.  I can’t lie, and I didn’t want to be put in an awkward situation.  ​After we played with the goats it was time to get the hard sell of Maasai trinkets.  I didn’t realize we were supposed to bargain, and overpaid.  I didn’t want to make any if the wives selling jewelry feel bad, and only bought some if what I was wearing from the greeting ceremony.  I should have been more picky as one if my necklaces was pretty beat up and missing parts.  I was planning on giving them to Sally, this way she was going to easily warn her students to be careful as one if her prior groups of students broke the necklace.  I never said I couldn’t let others lie, I just wouldn’t lie!  

We entered the school house after the hard sell of trinkets.  The kids were adorable, here is the tail end of th​eir version of the ABC song.  Sorry, I didn’t get the whole thing, I didn’t act quick enough.  Afterward we were asked to sign up to get on the email list and to donate funds for the school. As we overpaid for the jewelry and other souvenirs, I declined. The money all goes into one pot anyway.  There was a backpack smashed on the floor, I’m not sure how much education these kids got beyond the song.  By now we were happy to leave, between the hard sell, the knowledge of polygamy, male circumcision at thirteen and the female genital mutilation, it was an interesting but uncomfortable morning.  

July 20, 2017 Tortilis Camp, Amboseli 

It was time to head back to camp for dinner, and we got a view of Mt. Kilimanjaro on the drive back. You can see a little snow on the summit.Then we got a nice sunset also. Sunset is early at the equator, which makes for great early stargazing after dinner.  Much better than waiting until after ten back home to look for stars.  After a quick shower back in our tentswe climbed the short hill to the dining pavilion.  It was way dark by then, and the dining room was aglow with candles. However candle glow and flash photography made diner pictures a frightful sight!  It really tasted better than it looked, except for the ice cream which had a really strange texture!  We had asked Francis to join us for dinner our first night at Tortilis.com but he had made plans to reconnoiter with the other guides to see what animal sightings there had been for the day.  We had seen the injured male  lion, but we were hoping to see more lions and possibly a cheetah.  

Tortilis in Amboseli . July 20, 2017

We arrived at Tortilis shortly after noon. Tortilis.com This is the entrance to the reception and dining areas. Reception area to the left, gift shop on the right. In the background was a small water garden before you got to the dining pavilion. The gift shop had a beautiful fleece jacket that I coveted. It had a gorgeous cheetah pattern. It would have looked great, but it really didn’t go with much so I didn’t buy it.  Plus, we were worried about weight limits. There was only do much I could wear on the plane!  Stucco walls, thatched roofs, welcoming places to sit while you waited for the rest of your group to gather. This was the bar area.  People would gather here before lunch, dinner or sit and relax before a game drive. I was taking a lot of medication so I didn’t get a chance to try a fruity martini. All alcoholic beverages were included, except for French champagne!This was the view from the bar.  There was a small watering hole below and you could watch the animals come to drink. We saw primarily Masai Giraffes, baboons,  vervet monkeys, and some small antelope.  You know that I perched on every chair trying to maximize view with comfort!  There were picture books also, if you got tired of the view.We enjoyed a lovely buffet lunch. Here are Collin, Sally and Steve checking out what the chef had to offer. After a delightful lunch we proceeded to check out where we would be spending the next two nights. Down the hill just pass the terrace, where you might want to sit for a bit before you headed further down or back up the hill.  This was our tent.  There were about 12 tents, the lodge was not fully booked when we were there. The sides all zippered in, we weren’t bothered by any bugs.  We were told to keep the tent zipped when we weren’t in, the baboons and monkeys loved to steal stuff!  Steve took a snooze on the day bed one afternoon.Come on inside!  Our room had a king size bed, table with chair, a headboard with shelves on the rear to store clothes.  We had a bathroom with double sinks, toilet and a lovely shower behind Steve. There was plenty of room to store our 33 pounds of gear! Each tent had its own solar hot water heater.  As long as you took your shower in the late afternoon and not early morning you had a great shower!  We were told to lower the flaps at night as it would get cold.  As we like it cooler we kept the flaps up at night after the first night. There was a lovely pool area.  The water was too cool for me, but Steve was brave  enough to go deeper than his ankles.  The water was clean, the dark just designated the really shallow area.  After a short rest we ascended the hill to meet Collin, Sally and Francis our driver to go on a game drive. Next trip report-animals! 

On the way to Amboseli . July 20, 2017

Rise and shine everyone!  Now is the time for breakfast and to see the countryside of Kenya.  This is where we had breakfast. Outside in the gardens we could see Vervet monkeys scampering around. The babies would be clinging to the Mommy as she went from tree to tree.After a lovely breakfast of eggs, fruit and croissants we were off. One last photo and we got into the Toyota Land Cruiser and hit the road. We saw lots of people hanging around. It turns out that these guys on scooters were taxis and took people on short trips.  This hotel is the former US embassy which was bombed years ago. We felt quite safe in Kenya although we never wandered off by ourselves. The motorcyclists seemed to be required to have helmets, although the drivers didn’t always wear them! Cows were all over the road once we got out of the city of Nairobi!  Kenya used to be a colony of the United Kingdom, as such driving was on the left side of the road.  Here we are passing by a Tuk-Tuk.  There were three people in the front and only seat of the vehicle!  We did go by a grocery store, but as we were on a mission to see as many animals as possible I didn’t request a stop.  I must admit that the neighborhood looked a little sketchy.  We saw lots of Acacia trees with these nests in them. They were from weaver birds. ​We saw more of the nests than the birds 

Do you want to see what driving was like?  Hop in, there is plenty of room, just hold on! Just watch out for cows.  After about three hours on paved roads and an hour on dirt roads we made it to the gates of Amboselli Park.  Our guide Francis paid the fee and we stayed in the car.  We were then surrounded by Masai, who tried to get us to buy their jewelry and other trinkets. We kept our heads down and tried not to look at them, as they were quite aggressive. We were quite excited to see our first Giraffes in the wild.  Our driver Francis, was a bronze guide.  He was extremely knowledgeable and quiet personable.  However, I think he wanted us to stop taking pictures and get to our Lodge!  It would be another hour from the main gate to our first tented camp, Tortilis.It was hard to keep going when everywhere you looked you saw more animals!  Here are the elephants!  Next post will be our hotel.