Into the Wilds of Africa
Narok Travel Blog› entry 34 of 81 › view all entries
Bearing heavy backpacks, Scott and I bid Stoley adios and hiked to the Youth Hostel. Ed was going over some of the final details with our fellow adventurers: Richard, an automotive design engineer who had traveled through India and the Middle East; Dave, another experienced and well-disciplined low-budget traveler, carpenter by trade; and Virginia, a vibrant twenty-year-old nurse making her first trip away from home. All three were from Adelaide, South Australia, and we knew immediately that we would get along well.
Our packs were heaved on top of the Landrover, covered with a sheet of plastic, and lashed down with straps and ropes. The roof also secured two five-gallon jugs of water, four of diesel, and a clutter of firewood. The land quickly took on a rural appearance as we headed southwest out of Nairobi.
After zigzagging to the valley floor we immediately encountered wildlife - still more than a hundred miles from the nearest game reserve. Wildebeest, zebra, and gazelles wandered dry savannah which was dotted with umbrella- shaped acacia trees. A pair of giraffes stood tall - not far off the road - prepared to defend their nearby young.
The tarmac ended at the town of Narok, the last hint of civilization between Nairobi and the Masai Mara Game Reserve. We stopped at a small shop there to buy supplies. While their cattle lapped from the muddy river, Masai herders and escorting warriors drank White Cap beers. Their bristly hair was dyed red. Their earlobes were grossly stretched - some colorfully decorated with beads; others, dangling and flopping barbarically as they drank or spoke. They wore poncho-like red-dyed cotton cloths which comprised an opening for their head and was held in place by a cloth belt or rope tied around the waist, sides open. Warriors carried bow and arrows, spears, and unique wooden sticks with a ball carved on one end, knob-kerries. After buying bread and groceries we continued deeper into the bush.