We noticed this African proverb chiseled into the wall in the Johannesburg airport as we passed through there, and it perfectly describes our trip, which was perhaps the most personal travel experience we've ever had. We expected the expansive scenery and wildlife to be amazing, and anticipated that lodges/camps would be fabulous, but what also left a lasting impression was the people we met.
We are most grateful for the gift of time and sincere hospitality from everyone at Merrueshi who led us into schoolrooms, dorms, clinic exam rooms and the lab...who talked story about social traditions under an acacia tree, or world politics over tea in the lobby pavilion, or community development around the dinner table...or graciously allowed us to visit their family homestead and even sit inside a traditional home built by their mother's own hands.
Alyssa and Ray at Ol Donyo entertained Elaine and I like longtime friends the night we dined with them and we laughed about how American-born Alyssa was mourning the loss of her last precious box of Kraft mac and cheese to a band of raiding monkeys. At Sabuk and Mara Plains, the usual managers were away; the relief managers clearly enjoyed their roles and shared our daily experiences with fresh enthusiasm.
If this had been solely a safari-style journey it would have been a trip of a lifetime, but to have spent time in a Maasai village at the outset put the rest of the itinerary in profound perspective. It was inspiring to see what the community elders and leaders have accomplished with few resources and a lot of vision. They "walk in two worlds"...and for us also to do that, however briefly, is what travel is about.
We are blessed to have met travelers who are now friends. This was our second trip as a foursome with a Wildland Adventures itinerary. It's the way to go. You provide the right balance of the adventure of private travel with the safety net of a planned tour.
Mary Williamson, HI
Mary traveled with us on our Maasailand Safari: Living Among the Maasai