After our visit to Tarangire, the following day we drove from our hotel in Karatu through Ngorongoro Conservation Area, stopped in a Masai village and then made it to Serengeti National Park in the early afternoon.
Hasami behind the wheel and Christian and I hanging out in the backseat, watching for wildlife and looking at the scenery.
A view from the top of the Ngorongoro Crater. A few days after seeing the view from the top, we would spend a day exploring the crater.
Any time we came across animals on our drive, Hasami would stop the car and let us watch for awhile.
Part of our safari experience included a visit to a Masai village. Masai are semi-nomadic people, who raise cattle, which is their main source of food. Christian and I weren’t too comfortable with the idea of visiting, as we didn’t want to seem like gawking tourists. Although, our tour guide said we paid for it so we visited and were treated to a welcome song and dance. Christian was asked to join the men & practice his jumping skills. I joined the women and donned a beaded hat and necklace. We walked around their village, sat in one of their huts and visited the school where children were learning to count and recite their ABC’s. We were then asked to look at their wares (necklaces, bracelets, hats) to see if we wanted to buy something.
Christian later asked our guide about the visit & our feeling that it felt disrespectable for both parties, being both viewed as amusement. What we learned put things in better perspective. A couple years ago, the relationship between the Masai and the tour operators and tourists was becoming tense. The Masai were throwing rocks at the tour vehicles as they drove past villages taking pictures of them from the cars. The government realized something needed to be done to improve the relations. The Masai set-up villages close to the tour routes and the tour groups paid to visit the villages. The Masai people were required to live in the tourist village for six months at a time, show the people visiting how they lived, allow pictures to be taken and earn some money for their tribe in the process. Apparently, this arrangement worked for both parties & we saw many tour groups stopped in the villages along side the roads.