The Beautiful Samburu

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I stayed somewhere between Nairobi & Tanzania border, we drop to the forest past Dol Dol :)
I stayed in the Maasailand southwest of Nairobi; we drove north to Samburu, a little past Dol Dol

I hope that after a sad post, this one will be a breath of fresh air. “I’m hearing only bad news from radio Africa” comes to mind… Well, there were some negative things here and there, but I definitely have more positive memories about Kenya.

This was supposed to be a post about my somewhat unbelievable Samburu “adventure”. But then I got carried away describing how I ended up in Samburu and what I was doing there. I didn’t want to cut that short, because I think that’s interesting, too. So here’s the story about Samburu. I’ll write about my crazy adventure next.

We took a four-day trip north to the Samburuland, where some of my host mom’s family lives. In short, on our way we saw camels, elephants, zebras, baboons and giraffes, a different kind than “the usual ones” in the Maasailand. They call them “reticulated” in the Samburu region. They are shorter than the Maasai giraffes, but in my biased opinion have a prettier pattern.

The six-hour drive was actually fun, considering that we had a large enough group to rent a matatu (sort of a minibus), and a fun group, too. Our driver, Ken, was a treasure. We were laughing nonstop. We stood on the equator and saw the water spin in opposite directions a step north and a step south, flowing straight down on the equator line itself. We were greeted by Samburu women singing for us. We took a long walk through the lush hills, to a small town called Dol Dol. We had a guard, assigned to us by the chief to protect us from the elephants. He gave us some signal fires and showed how to use them “just in case”. We watched Samburu warriors jump around the fire, sing and dance graciously. They got us dancing, too. We touched other people’s heads to bless each other. We slept in manyattas of wood and mud, on beds of wood, in the middle of the woods, where the nearest civilization was that one-street town an hour away, that had no electricity nor mobile coverage, but did have a single phone booth that looked somewhat out of place. We saw fear in local people’s eyes at any mention of elephants. We hoped not to hear one at night. We took bush showers, getting some water from the river into a small bucket and trying to walk far enough into the woods to hide from people, but close enough not to run into wildlife. I can’t explain how refreshing it is though, to dip into that cold water, amidst the heat that is already high in the morning, and step with your (finally, but not for long) crispy clean feet onto the softness of leaves, onto the spots of sun that made their way through the branches. I loved Samburu. I will go back there as soon as I have a chance, despite of what happened. Read the next post for the details of what happened. It is quite a story, I promise ;).

Samburu women greeting us with a song at the gate
Samburu women greeting us with a song at the gate
Chidren playing on the Main (and only) street in Dol Dol
Chidren playing on the Main (and only) street in Dol Dol
Samburu women sang beautifully
Samburu women singing beautifully
A sanburu woman is standing in front of a manyatta. The container hanging from the tree a a calabash, a "milk bottle". Milk is preserved using charcoal risidue, so it has a smoky taste to it.
A Samburu woman is standing in front of a manyatta. The container on the branch to the right is a calabash, a Samburu/Maasai “milk bottle”. Charcoal residue is used to clean it and preserve milk, so it has a smoky taste to it.
These two beautiful princesses are my Kenyan cousins
These two beautiful princesses are my Maasai cousins

4 thoughts on “The Beautiful Samburu

    maaark said:
    March 9, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    nice, will check in again.

    Deepak Acharya said:
    March 30, 2009 at 12:27 am

    A great post. Must be a great and friendly community.

    Hannah Brown said:
    June 2, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    Gorgeous pictures! fantastic 🙂 How lucky of you. Samburu looks and sounds amazing…

    Jules responded:
    June 7, 2009 at 4:45 am

    Thanks to everyone for your kind words, and for reading

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