Into Dry Country
Samburu Travel Blog› entry 43 of 81 › view all entries
As our safari progressed east into drier and more rugged thorn-scrub, we encountered several women of the nomadic Samburu tribe. They were hauling gourds and plastic containers of water strapped to their backs. Their skin was noticeably darker than their Masai cousins in the south. Raggedy clumped hair was shaved high on the sides, accentuating a half-dozen or more, three-inch-diameter brass rings hanging from each ear. Strings of beads saddled their heads to help support the cumbersome ornaments. Layers of colorful beaded mats tapered from the shoulders of one to her chin and they all wore dresses made from animal hides. Unfortunately the small group spoke no English - their unheard stories of daily survival would be quite fascinating to say the least.
We also found wildlife which varied noticeably from southern species: the grevvy's zebra with its thinner stripes and rounded ears; the reticulated giraffe which had a well-defined network of white lines between its patch markings; the gerenuk, a long-necked antelope able to browse higher in tall brush; and the oryx, an antelope with distinct black and white facial markings and long straight horns which provided lethal defense against any predator.
Three waterbucks posed nicely side by side beside the rocky dusty track. Those rapid runners and powerful swimmers signaled a river or stream nearby. A few miles further we made camp on the northern bank of the Uaso Nyiro River. The grassy bank dropped sharply to the water, suggesting we might not have to deal with crocodiles. Fresh elephant dung was present and we heard a trumpet downstream. The bellowing roar of a lion - not far away on our side of the river - made the hair on the back of our necks stand up. As we prepared dinner and pitched our tents we heard nearby growling snarls. Fearing lion cubs, we were relieved to find baboons. We were in the midst of our largest concentration of close-by African wildlife and it was a full moon.