I came back from Tanzania and it was not until yesterday I finally finished my last malaria tablets, which were destroying my stomach. It is a small sacrifice you need to endure if you want to experience the pleasure of Tanzania.
The Serengeti and Ngorongoro parks are marvellous! Serengeti means in Masai language “infinite plains” and they continue as far as the eye can see. It reminded me of Patagonia, in retrospect of vast swaths of land both sustaining life but in different ways. The Ngorongoro Park is like Eden where the Masai live with their cows and goats alongside zebras, gnus, elephants, cheetahs, leopards and lions. Surprisingly the Masai do not fear wild animals, but the animals keep their distance from the humans.
I had the opportunity to visit a village where a marriage was taking place. I was taught a ritual dancing and the locals showed me their homes, a very basic way of living compared to Western standards. I came across some young men jumping as high as they could in order to show they are fit to get married. The guy who jumps the highest can choose the girl he wants to get married to. They had to keep their feet together and the arms stuck to the body. It was amazing how high they could jump (how this makes them attractive or virile or proves their worth as husbands I cannot quite understand).
I saw Masai children in the nursery. They were all sat looking very smart for tourists. I would have preferred to see them playing and enjoying themselves. Anyway it was a very interesting and unforgettable experience visiting the village!
The highlight would come later. The balloon trip over the Serengeti was a dream come true. This fantastic ride starts very early in the morning and finishes with a breakfast under an acacia tree. I do not have words to describe the infinite plains. From the air passing over the water holes you witness the animals coming together before the sun rises and the heat of the day makes it intolerable for them to do much.
This is quite breathtaking to see giraffes, antelopes and monkeys all congregate at this time. When we got off the balloon they brought us fresh water to wash our hands before breakfast. I felt like Meryl Streep in Out of Africa! The way of life was simple, to see the animals in their natural habitat amazing and to realise how fragile the ecosystem is between man and wild animals.