We left our camp in the Mara fairly early Wednesday morning, heading southeast through the Masai Mara area, stopping at one point to see two young female lions on a fresh wildebeest kill, which was really incredible to see. I knew the females were not yet fully grown, given their size and the presence of some light spots still on their legs and bodies, so I would estimate that they were around two years of age. I’m not sure where the rest of the pride was, but these two girls were enjoying the feast. Once we left them to their meal, we headed up into the hills and stopped by a Masai village for a tour, complete with the typical tourist touches, such as a dance performance and a big display of their artwork and jewelry for sale by all the ladies of the village. The beadwork done by the Masai is beautifully intricate, and I’ve got a collection of bracelets going, since they are inexpensive and don’t take up any room in my luggage, which is very key at this point of my journey. Once it was time to go, and we said kwaheri and asante to the lovely people, it was time to head out of the park and make our way to the border.
[Trying to include videos of Masai dancing, first the men, then the women. Stay tuned.]
Border crossings in Africa are always an event. If you’re lucky, they go smoothly, but it seems that is usually not my case, so it’s typically a bit of a hassle, but works out in the end. Usually involving money — funny how that works. This time the issue was my lack of a yellow fever card. I didn’t get a yellow fever vaccination before I left the U.S., as I wasn’t planning on traveling anywhere that it was required, but once I added this safari to my plans, I needed to have one, so I got one while I was in Zambia. I have the box that the injection came in, the syringe and empty vial, the prescription from the pharmacy, stamped by the doctor that gave me the shot, but alas… not the required “yellow card” form. So for the bargain price of $50, on top of the $100 visa fee for Americans (my fellow safari members from Argentina only had to pay $50), I now have a yellow card.
The drive from the border to Lake Victoria was nice, as it’s always interesting to see how the landscape changes from place to place. When we pulled into the lakeside lodge and I got my first view of the massive Lake Victoria, my heart smiled. I didn’t realize how much I missed it — the sun dancing on the water and the sound of the waves along the shore. Being on the water calms and restores me like nothing else. The lodge is a series of round buildings, fashioned after the traditional rondavel houses of this area, with thatched roofs, which are very practical throughout Africa, as they help the buildings stay cool in the heat. Their web site does not do this place justice — it’s far more beautiful than the photos would suggest, and very comfortable. I wrote this post on a lovely bar-side deck, the sound of the breeze rustling in the trees all around me, the waves hitting the shore, and a stunning view of the lake, shimmering in the afternoon sun, the hills along the other shore barely visible in the distance.
In the morning we had a light breakfast and then took a canoe ride from the beach to a local fishing village for a tour, which was very interesting. I always enjoy learning how people live, their local customs and traditions. This village was quite large, with a fish market on the water, where the women sell the previous night’s catch from the men. There are also vegetables and other goods in the market, with chickens and dogs running around, as well. The children are especially charming, all coming to hold your hands as you walk through the village, and delighting in having their photo taken and then seeing it on the screen. As much as I detest the whole “selfie” thing, I decided to show the kids how to take them, which was hilarious, since they love seeing themselves on the screen in the moment. They walked through the whole village with us, hand-in-hand all the way back to the boats, saying “bye bye” and waving, as cute as could be. Even though I chose not to have kids of my own, I still delight in them, especially in travel, as they teach us what it is to be pure of heart.
The afternoon was free to relax, allowing me to catch up on my blog writing, but with slow-to-no internet connection here, photo uploads have to wait. It’s just nice to have down time in such a beautiful place. Tomorrow we head into the Serengeti, and I have to pinch myself to even type that thought — that tomorrow I’ll be there. All of these long-time dreams coming true, it’s a reminder to never give up on what you desire. Travel, art, learning something new, an animal, your talents, a true love — whatever it is for you. I don’t believe in “too late” anymore, not that I ever did. I appreciate travel now in a way that I don’t think I would have in my 20’s. Having some life experience, and having made some very key sacrifices to do this makes it all the more treasured.