Another early morning game drive – the animals are in short supply but the scenery is stunning as we drive to the volcanic lava formations. We do however get another sighting of a male lion, keeping cool in the morning sun under a rock. He is a magnificent creature, but lions – and all cats – are inherently lazy and not wont to entertain us. We return for breakfast at Kilaguni before checking out and taking our final game drive. Despite driving through an area known as ‘Rhino Sanctuary’ there’s still no sign of rhinos…
When Abu mentions visiting a Masaai village on the way back to Mombasa, we are torn. We’re exhausted by the early morning starts, and just want to get back to our hotel where everything isn’t dirty and dusty. But this is a fantastic opportunity to see the Masaai tribe in their own environment, and particularly the facilities such as clinics and schools which are being supported by tourist donations.
So we decide to make the stop. And it’s definitely worth the effort and the money. We are shown around the village by a Masaai tribesman who only speaks about ten words of English. I am ushered into a cow-dung hut and encouraged to share a bed with him – Mr Fletche now has photos of me in bed with a Masaai warrior 🙂 We watch the children in the schoolhouse singing and learning from the Bible and we see where a second classroom is in the process of being constructed.
Mr Fletche makes fire using nothing but two pieces of wood…and promptly forks out 500Ksh to bring this symbol of manhood home with us (handy if we can’t find a lighter or matches). Mr Fletche is mobbed by small children when we produce a pack of pens and a pack of little elastic hairbands. (A confession here; I had images of pretty little African girls with braids in their hair – except in the Masaai village all of the children have very closely cropped hair and it is often impossible to distinguish whether they are boy or girl… still, the hairbands are a great hit worn as bracelets…)
I mingle with the ladies of the village, who are quite happy to have their photos taken with us. Mr Fletche – who is VERY protective about his camera – lets the Village Chief loose to take photos willy-nilly. We – of course – are encouraged to purchase souvenirs (what? We’ve just bought a fire stick!) and when we plead poverty (‘tis true, we’re on the last of our safari budget…) I am offered a necklace for 100 Ksh as a gift (about 80p, all we have left after the fire stick purchase). How can I resist?
We wave our goodbyes to our newfound Masaai friends, and both agree that it was a fantastic experience. Hot and tired, we head on to the final stint back to Mombasa. We are glad to arrive back at Diani Sea Lodge, but sad to say goodbye to Abu, who has looked after us well for the last three days (apart from releasing us to the tourist-eating lions at the curio shop….)
We get back to our room and it’s a toss-up between what’s most important – a nice refreshing shower? Or a nice refreshing beer? Both seem equally appealing, and it’s not long before we’re taking up our usual position at the pool bar to chew the fat with Bernard. In our absence, the Gatwick flight has arrived and there’s a whole host of unfamiliar faces; however the unfamiliar soon become familiar, including honeymooners Gary & Claire who fast became our new favourite drinking companions…