The next step on the tour was a stop off at a Maasai village in the highlands of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
Having passed the viewpoint on the edge of the Ngorongoro Crater we were in the Highlands area on our way to the Serengeti. Clouds tumbled down from the ridge of the mountains, a lake with a dusting of flamingos could be seen lower down and all around were dotted the huts of the Maasai.
The Maasai are semi-nomadic herders and can be seen along the highways with their herds of goats and cows. A warrior race, they have a reputation for bravery and strength, a prerequisite when living alongside lions.
Times though are changing, traditions remain but their lives are not led in isolation and are understandably impacted by modern developments – mobile phones are held to ears, modern watches jostle with traditional bracelets and vehicles can be seen by the villages.
I was glad to see that we headed on past the village which had a positive throng of jeeps outside the corral and pulled in much further on. Here we were the only vehicle and the villagers duly came out and welcomed us with a traditional Maasai greeting. We were shown around by the son of the Chief and had plenty of opportunity to take photographs. Yes it is be a bit staged and at the end of the tour each of the families had traditional craft gifts on sale, but then what else do you expect them to do?
As we left the next jeep pulled in and so the welcome commenced all over again whilst our jeep marked its leaving with a flurry of dust.
Later at the picnic site on the edge of the Serengeti National Park, we were approached by a man bearing an ornament and a bracelet of the Maasai – gifts that we had purchased but in a bit of confusion had left behind at the village. It would have been so easy for the villagers to have simply placed them back on the stalls and sold them to the next visitor.
Thank you and thank you for the experience of seeing a life that will be challenged by many more changes.
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