Masai Mara

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The ‘herds’
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The road

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Trying to get Far from the Madding Croed 😢
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That madding crowd
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The cattle 😳
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Finding a little water

National geographic and David Attenborough have done a great sell on the Masai Mara and the proud Masai. After a day in the park I I have mixed feelings about the It.

Livingstone, my guide went to the gate to pay leaving me to ‘cover’ the vehicle and be accosted ( no other word will adequately describe it) by not one or two but ten or twelve Masai women desperate to sell me blankets, trinkets, statues and no seemed not to be part of their vocabulary. I feel for them but at the same time there was a surliness and slightly unpleasant feel to it all.

After 30 minutes – yes 30 I couldn’t stand it any longer and left the vehicle to walk (storm may be more accurate) to the office :
“What’s taking so long”
“The machine, his slow”
39 minute slow? Not my problem. Give me our money back and we’ll go or let us through now or I will be complaining to the parks board
Guess what – our tickets appeared!!!!!

Something is amiss – this is the only bridge across the river of one of the most famous reserves in the world. There is no shortage of tourists paying big entrance fees. It has been like this for 5 years and when guides protested three years ago and put out photos on social media they were arrested and fined Kenyan shillings 300 000 each. The guides collectively paid the fines for them – still the bridge remains.

That aside, we saw good game today including lion, hippo and elephant. We also saw Nissans, Toyotas, land rovers in droves and they tell me this is the quiet season !!!!! It was like Burke Str (Eloff St for others😜).

I am in a ‘luxury resort’ with no reference books of any sort; where you pay for water (cannot drink the tap water,) and everything seems just a little ‘tired’ and not well loved. Still the adventure continues happily – life never being dull if you me – an 8 hour game drive tomorrow so I shall ‘report back’ then.

Cold here – have not taken my down jacket off all day

Kidepo National Park

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A 13 hour road trip took us from Entebbe in the south west to Kidepo National Park in the north west.

To an Out of Africa resort – game walks, game drives, swims in a pool made as if for The Garden of Eden and these are self explanatory

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Grand Katurum Lodge – built under orders of Idi Amin and never completed.  One of the best vantage points in Kidepo it stands like silent, somewhat ominous ghost
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Uganda’s National Bird

Uganda

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Ankole cattle
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Crossing the Nile
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Roadside food – Rolex – delicious

24/09/2016

Uganda- 40 mill landlocked people with Kenya, Sudan, Ethiopia, DRC, Rwanda and Tanzania as neighbours.

Entebbe, on the shore of lake Victoria – the largest freshwater lake in the world and the source of the Nile river – is a bustling thriving city with a pulsing energy that you can’t ignore – colour, noise, apparent chaos – and yet not

Burra burras, cars and pedestrians all use the road as if it’s theirs – but there is, if one observes carefully, a respect of each other and a gracious courtesy that is quite different from the gritted teeth courtesy I’ve seen in other places.

Travelling as I am with two serious photographers my trusty iPhone has stayed well tucked away – I shall hopefully tag us in to great photos shortly

Back to Uganda – depends what eyes you use: ‘western eyes ‘ may see chaos, danger, poverty, deprivation, hard labour, hopeless…
The Ugandan sees opportunity, community, dignity, pride.

Schooling accessible to everyone and they are all taught their recent unhappy history
Medical services are available throughout the country
I’m told extreme poverty is almost non existent ,
AIDS treatment Gov sponsored so numbers decreasing rapidly :
Serious crime very low – rape minimum. sentence is life; death sentence is common
Illegal Possession of a gun is also a life sentence – so no one will touch them even if they find one in the street 😀

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Subsistence farming

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“We have peace in our hearts” is how one Ugandan “friend” described it to me

So if I haven’t bored you yet I’ll post about our 13 hour road trip

A stunning country – come and visit 😜

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[photographs by Neville Jones, me (video on my iphone!) & Karen Weskob]