From 25 to 28 November, we travel through Maasai land, roughly the area between Arusha and Mwanza (hence the Serengeti is also in, but more on that later).
After the Arusha National Park we sleep near Arusha at the Meserani Snake Park Camping. This campsite, the snake park and the Maasai museum are set up as a community project for the Maasai.
The whole is run by a South African couple for decades. We meet an old acquaintance, Timo, we talked earlier in Uganda. He is now travelling with a group of young Americans celebrating Thanksgiving tonight and they invite us to eat with them, they have much too much food. A nice group of girls and boys by the way.
We break early the next morning and leave for Lake Natron. The first part of the road is nicely paved, this is after all the main road to the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti. On the way we see several herds of cows guarded by Maasai.
We also see a Maasai Boma (some huts around a corral) where all nicely attired Maasai stand.
We go off the road and are warmly welcomed, they do receive more tourists as it turns out later.
We get to see their entire program, a dance, living in huts, jewelry and souvenirs they make, making fire and building huts. Annemarie gets her personal guide in the boma and Sonja and me together, what happens in the hut between Annemarie and the Maasai the story doesn’t tell, but after that time she receives all sorts of messages, haha.
From Mtowambu the road is no longer paved towards Lake Natron, but we get some beautiful landscapes and encounters in return!
As a girder of the roof rack breaks I am helped by a passing-by-Maasai to fix things again.
Later one of the shock absorbers turns out to be loose, when I am on the side to inspect the damage a car stops whose driver Maasai, Lepara, offers immediate to help to remove the shock absorber. He drives a woman, Ingrid from Brussels, they together are owners of the Maasai Giraf Eco Lodge and Campsite. Escorted by their Land Cruiser (which has a cooling problem) we drive to the campsite where we are surprised by a beautiful thunderstorm.
The next morning Lepara drives me to the local fundi who sure can fix the car. Lepara says the fundi, Ali, from Dar es Salaam trains Maasai to be car mechanics, he is literally a master of his craft. We agree in advance on a price for the repair of the shock absorber support, the girders of the roof rack that are broken down and the extra supports for the rear leaf springs. Ali goes right and he is indeed assisted by two Maasai. Securing the logs in the rear leaf springs is not to his satisfaction and he advises me another solution, two pieces of leaf spring are mounted between the rear spring hanger with a steel clamp and rubber band. So Milady is ready to undergo the Serengeti.
We spend another night at Ingrid and Lepara and then leave for Klein’s Gate, the north gate of the Serengeti. Yesterday I met Ruth at the garage, she gave us the address of a secondary school that manages a campsite as a source of income. This school, the Emanyata Secondary School is located in Ololosokwan village near the entrance of the Serengeti. We had to do some searching to find the school but the reception is warmest and we can set up our tent in the yard of the school, the campsite is not in use, it is low season.
The next morning we are still welcomed by the school principal, Oledaniel, a masaai who has studied well and even spent some time in the Netherlands. He was enthusiastic about the development of the school and what it has meant to the community. When we break up the tent, we want to reach the Serengeti early today, he helps us clean the groundsheet.