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The Radio Vagabond

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Palle Bo is a long time radioproducer who has sold his house, car and all of his furniture so he could travel around the world. He has an ambition to visit every country in the world and you can join his trip in this podcast. Come along as he meet the locals and experience Palle's excitements and concerns regarding the life as digital nomad.

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230 KENYA (4:4): Visiting a Maasai Village in Masai Mara
5/5 2022

230 KENYA (4:4): Visiting a Maasai Village in Masai Mara

Welcome to part 4 of my mini-series about Kenya and The Masai Mara. Click here to go topart 1 [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/227-kenya/],part 2 [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/228-kenya/], andpart 3 [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/229-kenya/]. After our exciting hot air balloon trip, I went to the Maassai village in the Mara. This was my last day in the Mara. I had spent two nights inLenchada Tourist Camp [https://lenchadatouristcamp.com/]in the Masai Mara game reserve in Kenya. And when we were asked if we wanted to go for a visit to a real Maasai village, I was the only one in the group who was interested. So, I got a private tour for a few hours. WELCOMING MAASAI A young boy from the village picks me up, and after a short walk just outside the fence that surrounds their little village, I meet up with Sammy, who would be my guide for the tour. A group of eight tall slim young Maasai men stood in a half-circle in front of me, singing, dancing, and jumping. They all wore their attractive colourful Maasaishuka– an African blanket they traditionally wear as a sarong. It's thick enough to be used as a light blanket for chilly mornings and afternoons. Each Maasai does not wear the exact same colours, but most of them wear red because it symbolizes their culture, and they believe it scares wild animals away. JUMP JUMP JUMP They jump high, straight up in the air. Later I learned that the higher they can jump, the less dowry they pay to the woman's family before marriage. The young Maasai men then invited me to join the dance. First, they draped me in a red shuka – and had a laugh watching this pale middle-aged, slightly overweight Scandinavian dude trying to jump. In the moment, I felt I did pretty good but looking at the pictures, I can see that I barely left the ground. So, it would be expensive for me to get married in this culture. ONE BIG FAMILY In this village, there were 20 families with 200 people from the same grandfather. They do not intermarry in their village. As mentioned, they are a semi-nomadic tribe that stay in the same place for around nine years, and they move to another place when the houses are eaten by termites. They are polygamous – which means that the man can marry as many women as he likes (or can afford). SIX FACTS ABOUT THE MAASAI PEOPLE Here are some hardcore facts about the Maasai people. 1. Most Famous African Tribe The Maasai is an ethnic group living in northern, central and southern Kenya and northern Tanzania. They are among the best-known local populations internationally because they live in or near the many game parks of the African Great Lakes. And then we know them for their distinctive customs, dress, and beautiful jewelry. The men very often also have a distinct tall and slim frame. More on that later 2. Population There are around 2 million Maasai people. 1.2 million are in Kenya and around 800,000 in Tanzania. 3. Language The Maasai speak the Maasai language,Maa [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maasai_language]– but except for some elders living in rural areas, most Maasai people speak the official languages of Kenya and Tanzania, Swahili and English. 4. Body Modification The piercing and stretching of earlobes are common among the Maasai as with other tribes, and both men and women wear metal hoops on their stretched earlobes. 5. Tall People They are considered one of the tallest people in the world. According to some reports, their average height is 6 ft 3 inches (190 cm). 6. When a Maasai Dies They typically don't bury people in the ground when they die – as they feel that it ruins the earth. They instead have a "scavenger burial" where they cover the dead body with oxblood or cattle fat and leave it in a bush for the wild animals to eat. The deceased is considered a good person if they are eaten on the first night. A LOOK IN THE HISTORY BOOK The Maasai tribe has not had an easy life. According to Maasai belief, the tribe originated in northwest Kenya, just north of Lake Turkana. As they are semi-nomadic, the Maasai tribe lives off the land. After a few years in one place, they move to the next area to survive. Before the European settlers arrived, the Maasai people owned almost all of the most fertile lands in Kenya. But their man-made spears were no match for armed British troops, so the Maasai tribe lost the battle for their best land in 1904 and signed their first agreement with the Europeans. While their land was some of the best in Kenya, the Europeans were not content and further fought to get more. So, in 1911 a small group of Maasai signed another agreement giving up even more land. Despite not being fully understood, these Maasai were tricked into signing away valuable land. A total of around two-thirds of their land was lost, resulting in devastating consequences for the Maasai people. POLYGAMY AND LION KILLING Back in the Maasai village, Sammy told me more about Polygamy in the tribe. Sammy has four children and only one wife, but his father has eight wives. And eight mothers-in-law. This is when I meet up with a group of other young men from the village, and they did a dance for me. They mostly dance during celebrations like initiations when a group of young buys hit puberty. They normally do the dance when they celebrate that the boys are old enough for circumcision and then go into the forest for a couple of years – and, according to Sammy, finish up with killing a lion. According to Wikipedia and many other sources, it's a common misconception that each young Maasai man is supposed to kill a lion before he can enter adulthood. They say that lion hunting was an activity of the past, but it's been banned in East Africa and that lions are only hunted when they threaten the Maasai livestock. But according to Sammy, it still happens. So, in other words, when the boys are around 15, they are circumcised and then go with a group of 30-50 boys and two elders from the village out into the forest and stay there for a couple of years. This practice is done every few years with boys from the same age set. Here, they learn how to be a Maasai warrior, how to hunt, jump, sing, make fire, and about herbal medicine, and according to Sammy, end up killing a lion. Another young man, the 24-year-old Augustus, highlights that they don't do it just for fun; it's a tradition. Sammy mentions that he indeed has killed a lion, and sometimes, the experience can go both ways. The lion can kill you, or you can kill it. After you kill a lion, there is a celebration back in the village. Genital Modification Sammy and Augustus mentioned circumcision. This happens to both girls and boys to initiate them into adulthood. This ritual is typically performed by the elders, who use a sharpened knife and makeshift cattle hide bandages for the procedure. The boy is expected to endure the operation in silence in the male ceremony. Even expressions of pain will"bring dishonour upon him". Any unexpected movements of the boy can cause the old Maasai with the sharp knife to make a mistake in the delicate process. This can result in severe lifelong scarring, dysfunction, and intense pain. So, don't make a sound, don't move, and don't even make a funny face when an old guy from your tribe chops off the tip of your penis without any kind of sedation. Ouch! If that doesn't prove you're a man, nothing will. But for the Maasai, circumcision is a crucial public celebration of manhood. THEY LOST 400 COWS The singing and the jumping were taking place just outside the fence that is built to protect their cattle at night from wild animals. As we enter the village, Sammy tells me something that breaks my heart. Until recently, they had 500 cows in the village but lost 400 cows due to the drought. Let me just pause it first to put into context just how big a deal this is. The Maasai people believe that cattle are the gods' gift to them. They are semi-nomadic and move with their animals across the plains of Kenya and northern Tanzania, setting up home where they find the best grazing sites. Their cattle are the wealth of the village, units of currency, givers of milk to live, and on special occasions, meat and blood. Their lifestyle concentrates on their cattle which make up the primary food source. Amongst the Maasai the measure of a man's wealth is in terms of children and cattle. So, the more, the better. During the drought, there was not enough grass for the cows, and with that, no food for the Maasai, as they don't grow any plants. As we continued walking, Sammy pointed to the field where I could see a dead cow carcass lying. It was indeed a sad sight. The Maasai graze the cattle in the park at night which is a risky affair. We would see herds of cows heading to the national park for grazing during our nightly game drives. The warriors would lead the cows to greener pastures. However, there were light rains on our days there, which may be a good sign that there may be grass soon. MAKING FIRE The Maasai then teaches me how to make fire the old traditional way. They have a piece of flat wood (which he called the sandpaper tree) and a wooden stick. They place the wood on a machete on the ground and start spinning the stick with their hands and the tip of the stick in one of the holes. Three guys are sitting on their knees and take turns in spinning the stick. Surprisingly fast, smoke starts building from the friction point between the hard and the soft piece of wood. Sammy is standing ready with a handful of dried grass and cow dung – and at some point, they tip the glowing part first on the metal of the machete and then into the dried grass and dung. Sammy blows into it and the smoke is building. When we see fire, he puts it on the ground and says, "so, now we make barbecue". They only make fire once every few years and keep it burning around the village. They also "borrow" fire from one house to another. And then (of course), they ask me to try too… Did I make a fire? Well, naturally, I had a lighter in my pocket. THE LITTLE HOUSE ON THE SAVANNAH I get invited into Sammy's family's small hut made of wood and cow dung. The Maasai have to use readily available materials and indigenous technology to construct their unusual and interesting houses(Manyatta). They are built by women and take two months. We enter the small house and take a seat in the main room, which is only 3 by 4 meters (10 by 12 feet). It serves as a bedroom, living room, and fireplace for the entire family. In the middle of the room is a fireplace, what functions as the kitchen where they cook. DO THEY LIVE LONG LIVES? As I'm sitting on the dirt floor of this small hut, smelling the smoke of the fireplace in front of me, it seems very primitive. And I can't help thinking about how childbirth was given that they are so far away from hospitals and doctors. It's like Sammy is reading my mind and tells me that they have a medicine man and a midwife in the village. Sammy also tells me about natural medicine and even says that there are very few maternal deaths. And then he tells me that his grandfather lived till the age of 122 years and his grandmother till she was 118 years old. According to Sammy, many Maasai people live for more than a century. I was a bit perplexed. Sammy was even more surprised when I told him that life expectancy in Denmark is 83 for women and 80 for men. After my visit, I did a bit of research on life expectancy among the Maasai people. Was it true that they live as long as Sammy's grandparents did? And no. According to a few different websites I've looked at, the average life expectancy for the Maasai people is the lowest in the whole world. The average male lives to the age of 42, and the women until the age of just 44. Sammy was off when he said most people live up to 100 years. Or maybe his family just was lucky with his grandparents getting very old. CHEERS IN THE LOCAL BREW They offer me to try their local brew, which contains some of their herbal medicine and honey. I take a sip. It tasted good, and then Sammy and his brother (sitting next to me) told me to finish the cup. A little part of me is thinking:"What is this?"and"how is it made?"But I want to be polite, and what is the worst that could happen? So, bottoms up, Palle! I gulp down every drop, and they seem surprised and impressed. They also have a little guest room in the hut, and Sammy promised to host me. So, now I have a free place to stay when I'm back at the village. I better go back there before they move so I can find them. FULL OF CONTRASTS As we walk around the village, it's like going back in time. They are people who stick to the old traditions and refuse to bow down to western modernization. But at the same time, a lot of them are walking around with smartphones. It's a funny contrast to see. They make fire the hard way with sticks, sit on the dirt floor around a fireplace inside a little hut made out of wood and cow dung – but also have smartphones where they take selfies and engage on social media. The young man called Augustus ask me for my WhatsApp number. THE RADIO VAGABOND LANGUAGE SCHOOL: MAA It's time to learn to speak a few words in their local Maasai language, Maa. * Hello (supa)Thank you (ashe-oleng) * Goodbye(olesere) * How high can you jump? (E ging mabaa) * Are you on WhatsApp? (Iitiyi WhatsApp?) You can hear the pronunciation on the podcast – sent to me via WhatsApp from Augustus in the village. FRIENDLY WARRIORS The Maasai tribe is often described as one of the world's largest (and last) great warrior cultures, but Sammy tells me they don't have any fights or conflicts with the other Maasai villages. In fact, they help each other a great deal. I paid a small fee to visit them, and at the end, Sammy asks me if I feel like giving a small donation to the village. The only cash I had left in my wallet was meant to be my tip to Dennis, our driver. But after spending time with the wonderful people and hearing about the hardship they are in right now with losing 400 cows, I give Sammy all I had, and as we're heading back home to Nairobi later in the day, I tell Dennis that he has to stop by an ATM so that I can get cash for his tip. SAY YES TO A MAASAI VISIT If you ever go to The Masai Mara and are asked if you would like to visit a Maasai village, say yes! It was interesting, and they are such friendly, open, warm people. While many African tribes have lost their traditions over time, the Maasai tribe is well known for its strong traditions, unique culture, and red tribal dress. The Maasai tribe truly is an inspiration as they stand firm in their traditional lifestyle – but still, they don't go overboard and have smartphones. AND THAT ALL, FOLKS That's almost the end of this four-part mini-series about what to see in Kenya and especially the Masai Mara. Again, thank you to Scenery Adventures for making the trip possible and to all the people I met here. My name is Palle Bo, and I gotta keep moving. See you. EMAIL FROM A LISTENER I received an email from a listener. David from the UK. Hi Palle, I've travelled with work and vacation to perhaps 40 countries in 40 years, but with family illness, BREXIT, a career change, and then Covid, like many, we became rather stuck in a rut over the past few years. I am married to a Dane, and we will be relocating to Denmark later this year. As part of our plans to shake up our lives, we are looking to get back on the road soon. Yes, I enjoy your series vicariously, but it triggers thoughts and ideas of what to do next and provides the motivation to use our 4000 weeks on this planet wisely. As an example of how you have affected change, our week-long trip to Croatia at Easter will now include a detour to Montenegro... because why not! The podcasts are a perfect length, and the production is first-rate. I also find your honesty refreshing. Keep up the good work! Best wishes David My reply: Thanks, David. Great to know that I have inspired you to take a detour to Montenegro. I promise you that you will not be disappointed. The Montenegro episode [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/175-brad-pitt-and-i-love-montenegro/]was number 175, and if you haven't heard it, you should listen to that one too – after the rest of this one. Maybe you will be inspired too, like David and his wife.

41m
229 KENYA (3:4): Hot Air Ballooning Over the Masai Mara
2/5 2022

229 KENYA (3:4): Hot Air Ballooning Over the Masai Mara

Welcome to part 3 of my mini-series about Kenya and The Masai Mara. Click here to go to part 1 [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/227-kenya/] and part 2 [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/228-kenya/]. I decided to splurge and go on an early morning hot air balloon safari – very early the morning after New Year’s Eve. I wanted to see the beautiful sunrise on the horizon of the savanna with exotic animals below me. So, after our game drive, I spoke to Francis who would arrange pickup for me just four hours after we entered 2022. Francis mentiones that the balloon will launch at 06 in the morning and take one hour. On landing we will be welcomed with a champagne bush breakfast. There will be plenty of room for take-off and landing, and he assured me that we would not disrupt any animals during the flight. He also told us to keep warm because it would get chilly. There would be no guarantee that we would see any animals as this was not during the migration season. It’s something that is not included in the package. It’s available as an extra option at 450 USD /408 Euros per person. So, it’s not cheap. This is how I justified the extra expense: In ten years, I would be able to remember the experience but not the price tag. After the briefing, Francis mentioned that he would pick me up at 4.20 am. This would not be an easy feat. For the first time since I was three years old, I had to go to bed before midnight on New Year’s Eve. THE RADIO VAGABOND LANGUAGE SCHOOL: SWAHILI Meanwhile, let’s learn to say a few words that will impress the locals when you get here. As you heard in the previous episodes [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/228-kenya/] in this mini-series, Kenyans have English as one of the two official languages. And since you probably understand what I’m saying now, let’s have a quick lesson in the other one: Swahili. You can hear the pronunciation on the podcast. Hello: Jambo Thank you: Asante sana You’re welcome: Karibu Okay: Sawa Don’t worry: Hakuna matata Note that no one says that in Kenya unless you are a tourist. The more common term is “Usijali” Friend: Rafiki Goodbye: Kwaheri OTHER INTERESTING FACTS: DANGEROUS ANIMALS Shane, who you had met the two previous episodes, also took us through the most dangerous animals. It’s not lions but much more elephants and hippos. A lone male elephant is very dangerous. Hippos are also animals to keep away from. We added a third one in our previous episode [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/228-kenya/] when we were chased by an angry rhino. It is always to have an experienced driver with you as they know the signs of danger. Therefore, Shane says, do not try to self-drive so that you do not put your safety at risk. THE ULTIMATE EXPERIENCE I was picked up at 4.20 as Francis promised on the first day of the year. We drove for about an hour on the bumpy roads (what he called a Kenyan massage) and we went on the savannah in the middle of Masai Mara. We signed a few papers as the team got three hot air balloons ready. The birds were chirping in the morning and the air was crisp and fresh. The experience began at the launch site in the heart of the Masai Mara National Game Reserve. It was still dark, but you could hear animals grazing close by and the occasional lion roaring in the distance at his early morning kill. There was a lot of activity as the Balloon Safari crew team were bustling around the balloon basket and “the envelope” (as they called the balloon itself) laid out flat on the ground ready for inflation. As we checked in at their security desk (the hood of a Jeep), we could hear the fans start and in the pre-dawn light I started to see the billowing of the envelope as it inflated and flames from the hot air balloon burner-test lit up the darkness. With the first glow of sunlight flickeing across the skies, the hot air balloon filled and gently rose. Our Russian pilot, Sergei Nosov gave us a pre-flight safety briefing. He took us through all the safety aspects and landing procedures. The basket was big and could fit twelve people in four compartments and the pilot in the middle. With the basket still lying flat on the ground, we’re asked to climb in and lay down – on what looked like shelfs that would become walls to our hips when we stand up as we went airborne. Next to me were two Norwegians, Regine and Christian. Regine was a frequent traveller too – with more countries under her belt than me. The pilot then blew more hot air in the balloon and slowly the basket with us in it stood up. When it was standing upright, he told us to stand-up, and the adventure began. We slowly took off and gently glided with the wind over the plains of the Masai Mara, the silence, beauty and magnitude were breath-taking! Flying high up above the Masai Mara is the ultimate safari experience. Against a backdrop of a stunning sunrise, there’s really nothing quite like it. The view from a hot-air balloon flight in the Masai Mara was unparalleled and the experience unforgettable. Sure, the idea of waking up at the crack of dawn the morning after New Year’s Eve sounded less than pleasant the previous day but the rewards of embarking on this high-flying adventure outweighed the inconvenience of setting the alarm clock for 3.45. It was magnificent. LET’S GET HIGH At some point one of the other passengers asked Sergei how high we can go, and he just said “Well, let’s find out”. He started the burners, and we went up and up and up. Got into the clouds and kept going up. Then above the clouds into the sunlight. He told us that we were 1,500 meters – almost 5,000 feet above ground. At this point Regine felt it was too much for her so she sat down in the basket so she couldn’t see. I must admit I also felt we were too high above ground – as if it would mean any different falling 200 meters or 1500. Then Sergei slowly took us down again and in the last part of the flight we saw a group of lions having breakfast. Well Regine and Christian did but I couldn’t spot them, so after the landing we drove over there and saw them up close. On the way back we saw another male lion just walking around allowing us to take picture of him. He also just had his breakfast and there was a big chunk of meat just waiting for the hyenas to come and get. Then it was our turn to have breakfast, and wow – when Francis told me about that he wasn’t overselling it. There was everything you could wish for: champagne, fruit, fresh bread, coffee and even a cook making your omelette just the way you like it. A DREAM JOB With my senses and belly full I went over to Sergei Nosov, our Russian pilot from Balloon Safaris Ltd [https://balloonsafariskenya.com/] for a chat. He started working here fire years ago and describes Kenya as the “Ballooning paradise” because of the open plains and beautiful places. Sometimes it’s windy but they always have the skills and expertise to steer the balloon. They fly above the clouds from time to time and not too frequently but also, the level of clouds also changes. It is magical during the migration, and you can see thousands of animals coming from The Mara to Serengeti in Tanzania. The price of hot air ballooning is high, but it is worth every penny. I also chatted with Regine and Christian who said that it was “better than they expected”. They loved seeing the lions from above. It was such a unique experience although Regine felt that we went too high. Overall, it was an exciting thing to do. They have been on a longer trip throughout Kenye and after this, they will be visiting the Giraffe Manor as they have been in the waitlist for long. We explained about things to do in Nairobi in our previous episode [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/228-kenya/]. DISCLAIMER The trip to Masai Mara was made possible by Monica Musungu from Scenery Adventures [https://sceneryadventures.com/] but everything I’ve said in this episode is completely my own opinion. In the next post I’m visiting a Maasai village and get a glimpse of what it’s like living in a semi-nomadic tribe. My name is Palle Bo, and I gotta keep moving. See you.

30m
228 KENYA (2:4): Attacked by an Angry Rhino in Masai Mara
29/4 2022

228 KENYA (2:4): Attacked by an Angry Rhino in Masai Mara

THINGS TO DO IN NAIROBI In the last post, I was talking about Shane and Monica who I met in Nairobi. They both gave us tips on all the amazing stuff there’s to see around the country, but there’s also a lot to do in the capital. VISIT THE KAREN BLIXEN MUSEUM The museum is located in the town Karen at the Ngong Hills slopes just outside Nairobi. It was owned by Danish author Karen and her Swedish husband Baron. It became more famous after the renowned “Out of Africa” film. It’s open to the public and you can enjoy guided tours and lots of materials to buy. You can learn more here. [https://www.museums.or.ke/karen-blixen/] DAVID SHELDRICK WILDLIFE TRUST David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust [https://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/] is one of the largest and most successful orphan elephant rescue centres in the world. They have successfully cared for 282 elephants and here, you can also get to adopt a calf (baby elephant). NAIROBI NATIONAL PARK Nairobi National Park [http://www.kws.go.ke/parks/nairobi-national-park] is a few minutes away from the city centre. You can see rhinos, zebras, giraffes, baboons, wildebeest, and many other animals against a backdrop of the city skyline. Learn more from their website. [http://www.kws.go.ke/parks/nairobi-national-park] BOMAS OF KENYA This is a cultural village representing the 42 tribes of Kenya. If you want to learn about the ethnic tribes and history of the country, this a tour that you should not miss. You also get to learn about the clothing, dances, and economic activities of each tribe. You can also try diverse Kenyan cuisine at the Utamaduni Restaurant. Learn more here [https://www.bomasofkenya.co.ke/]. THE GIRAFFE CENTRE The Giraffe Centre [https://www.giraffecentre.org/] is run by the Kenya non-profit organisation, the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife, whose main purpose is to educate Kenyan children about their environment and wild animals. They also give visitors and opportunity to come into close contact with the world’s tallest animal. I went there and spoke to Daniel Mutua the educator who shared lots of information about this majestic animal. When visiting the centre, you will get some pellets, walk on the platform, and get ready to feed the giraffes. David mentioned that the pellets are made from dry grasses, molasses, and corn. These act like snacks for the animal whose main food is grass, leaves and water. Kenya has three subspecies of giraffes: Maasai, Rothchild and the Reticulated, and in the late 1970s there were only about 130 Rothchild giraffes left on the grasslands of East Africa. The African Fund for Endangered Wildlife was founded in 1979 by the late Jock Leslie-Melville, a Kenyan citizen of British descent, and his American-born wife, Betty Leslie-Melville. They began the giraffe centre after discovering the sad situation on the deteriorating animal population. However, from the centre’s efforts, today there are over 300 Rothschild giraffes which are safe and breeding well in Kenyan parks. Twelve of them are in the giraffe centre. The difference in the three species is notable on body spots and the animal habitats. Each giraffe has a different personality just like humans ranging from gentle, kind, playful and so much more. At the centre, they know them by name and by their characters. Inside the Giraffe centre there is the Giraffe Manor Hotel [https://www.thesafaricollection.com/properties/giraffe-manor/]. Its resident herd of giraffe will poke their long necks into the window before retreating in the wild. You get to dine with the lovely animals. VISIT KICC On a clear day you can see Mount Kenya and Kilimanjaro from the rooftop of the tallest building in the city. The KICC (Kenyatta International Convention Centre) Tower [https://kicc.co.ke/] is an icon and a landmark for Kenya. It is a leading facility in the meeting industry in East Africa. I went up there and I got amazing views of the stunning city. It was a bit cloudy so I couldn’t see the two biggest mountains in Africa, but I still saw a lot. I spoke to two of the four people that I met on the tower, and we had a great chat about the best and the worst about living here. SOME TIPS ON SAFARIS Choose a good car: The type of vehicle you use is very important. If you are in the 4-wheel drive normal vehicles, your viewing experience will be normal. For a spectacular experience, go for a higher wheelbase and a lot of window space. With this, you will have a 360-degree views. You will be driving for long hours a day and you need a comfortable vehicle. Choose a good package: Check a trip and package where you can enjoy a lot of time in the wild as much possible. Choose carefully and look at the itinerary and their professionalism. Your guide and the company you choose has a great influence on your overall experience. When it comes to the great migration, splurge a little bit more if possible and it will be an unforgettable experience. GAME DRIVE IN MASAI MARA Then we’re off on the first game drive in the Masai Mara. It’s one of the places with the highest photographic potential in Africa and the world. We saw lions throughout the park, and elephants, giraffes, a variety of gazelle species and zebras. Two cats that can be a bit tricky to tell apart are cheetahs and leopards. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see the leopards (one of The Big Five) but many cheetahs. The rhino is another animal that is part of the Big Five which is not easy to spot. The Masai Mara shares its border to the south with the Serengeti in Tanzania. It’s a huge area – 1,510 square kilometres (583 square miles), so it’s good to have an experienced driver, like Dennis. He’s in constant radio contact with the other drivers giving each other tips on where the animals are. OUR MEETING WITH A LONE RHINO I’ve been on safaris before and never seen rhinos. But suddenly, Dennis spotted one. Standing alone grassing on the savannah close to a waterhole with no one around him. We were also the only van there, and to be honest I think that this was so rare that our driver didn’t go straight on the radio to alert the other drivers. Instead, we drove slowly on a circle around him. Not too close, I think around 30-40 metres away from him, and we all stood up in the van to start taking pictures. I decided to shoot a video – and I’m glad I did because what happened next was unbelievable and I’m happy I caught it on film. The rhino saw us and wasn’t happy with having his quiet time interrupted, so he came charging at us. Full speed ahead right towards us. Here’s the video [https://youtu.be/bo-YU-M0_xI]. Thank God, Dennis saw it because he drove off before it was able to slam into the side of the van. And according to Dennis he would have. It would also have made a big hole in the side of the car and would have been life threatening for the people sitting on that side of the bus. Dennis also told me that he’d never experienced anything like this in his many years of doing game drives here in The Mara. DISCLAIMER The trip to Masai Mara is made possible with support from Scenery Adventures. You can find all their different packages and prices on their website sceneryadventures.com [http://sceneryadventures.com/]. If you want to have a scenic adventure with Monica and her team, you can book and pay online, and they take care of you from the airport and back. They can even help you fix your visa to Kenya. In the next one we’re going hot air ballooning high above the savannah as the sun is rising. My name is Palle Bo, and I gotta keep moving. See you. See pictures and video on TheRadioVagabond.com/228-kenya/ [http://www.theradiovagabond.com/228-kenya/]

31m