Overland: Nairobi to Arusha
neil posted in Photos, Travel, Neil, Tanzania on April 1st, 2007
Armed with toilet roll and heavily iodinated water we charged south to leave Kenya for Tanzania. We were sat in the “fishbowl” at the front of the truck. Eight seats, four-a-side that face a long table. We are joined by the trucks tame white hunter: Frank. He was armed with at least three cameras (and has two more in the hold) and shot compulsively through the window all the time we were on the road.
Not to be outdone I screwed on my long lens to snap a 1/2000th second glimpse of rural Kenya. For a Nairobi to Cape Town overlander, it may be one of few glimpses into the lives of millions of East Africans. Travelling constantly, stopping only for set activities, is reliable but does’nt leave time to get out of the tourist area and get past the Mzungu barrier.
We sit in our greenhouse and stare out at our strange surroundings. African eyes stare in.
The border to Tanzania is in Namanga, Maasai land. We dismount to change money and perform the obligitory passport faffing. We are met at the door by Maasai women with distended ears, close cropped hair and strings of bracelets, necklaces, beads, ankle rings and some horrid looking copper bracelets. They follow us like flies and our group remains entirely surrounded until we leave. They literally press their goods on us, and are persistent beyond any reason. Sarah has a shot at making conversation but does’nt get much beyond telling the woman she has’nt any money and does’nt want a green forearm. Its a depressing way to enter a country, feeling like a stack of dollar bills to be grabbed at.
Fortunately there are places where you can get beyond the yawning gap in wealth and meet friendly, warm and happy Tanzanians. The Maasai lands, what we saw of them, do not seem such a place. There are reasons for this, but during my time in East Africa I found little to like about this emblematic people.
No matter. On the next day we had a land cruiser of none but the finest folk for three days of safari in Serengeti national park and Ngorogoro crater.
Georges pictures of our entire trip are up here. I’ll be updating mine as I write the blog enteries for our two week trip.