Today we reluctantly left the Sweetwater camp and headed for the Samburu Buffalo Springs Game Reserve. Sometimes the journey is as exciting as the destination.
We came up to a police barricade on the road. A police barricade in Kenya is a pile of rocks in the middle of the road with a hand painted sign that says POLICE – STOP. A long board with nails sticking out is placed across the road to stop cars from running through the barricade. While our tour driver was outside telling the police where we were going, our van was visited by many hard-selling street vendors selling very pretty hand-made jewellery. Some of us said no. One of us (Dee) bought a few pieces. As soon as that transaction was complete, a plethora of additional vendors approached her. We were anticipating a swarming! Instead they all wanted to shake her hand and thank her for supporting their community. How nice was that!
Once the police gave us the go ahead, we were on our way (we drove around the nailed boards). On the way we saw many fruit stands, little towns, and many tire repair centres.
Here is a taxi stand.
Yes, they are motorcycles. We are told that we would be taking our life in our own hands if we were to hire one.
Along the way we stopped and visited the Nanyuki Spinners and Weavers
. This organization was started by three single entrepreneurial women who needed to support their children during the 1970s. It has now grown to over 250 women. We toured their workshop where they demonstrated how all the products are made from carding, spinning and colouring the wool to make stunning carpets, wall hangings and other things. The red colour is made from a bug that attaches itself to a cactus. Once dead and you crush the bug (yes it is true), you can use it as red dye. We didn’t buy any red goods.
Of course, we spent a lot of time deciding which of these treasures to purchase and to take home without overtaxing our luggage allotment!
We then headed north to the Samburu Game reserve where we had lunch, then headed out for another game viewing drive. The land is rugged and semi-arid with spectacular scenic landscape. The Ewaso Nyiro River flows through this reserve and is an oasis for elephants and other wild game.
This mom had to pull her baby out of the water hole by her trunk because the baby kept sliding in and couldn’t get out!
Our second day was spent on an early morning game viewing (6:30 am… we are no slouches!) then a trip to a Samburu village to see how the tribe lives in this harsh surrounding. They danced for us and we danced for them. We saw their houses, blacksmith shop and parliament. Parliament is a group of logs surrounding a fire pit. Decisions are made here like who will marry whom (men are allowed to have more than one wife). Our guide only has one. His father had seven wives and he knows that it’s too much trouble to have any more.
Another game viewing drive in the afternoon where we saw cheetahs and a green mamba snake. Fortunately we were in the van and he wasn’t. We also saw a group of crocs who were rolling around in the water with what we thought was a rug. It turned out to be a giraffe hide. Balance of nature strikes again!
It’s really hot and humid in Samburu and we are surrounded by high hills (hence the delay in getting on the blog). We are looking for a more cooler climate in Masai Mara when we head there tomorrow. Kwaheri Sasa. That’s Swahili for good bye until tomorrow.