Day 24 SAMBURU VILLAGE VISIT and BUFFALO SPRINGS

We have a full day scheduled!  We are going to visit a native Samburu manyatta..  We have been waiting to do this since we arrived.  The Samburu are distant relatives of the Maasai.   They live similar lives but are not the same cultures.

On the way to the village we pass Samburu herding their camels.

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Oh the faces when we get to the village! 

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We are welcomed by men and women in ceremonial dress, singing traditional songs.

The young men immediately leave to graze the goats.

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The women continue to sing.  They have many layers of bead collars, a sign of prosperity.  They tell us they must buy the beads from Europe, so they are an expensive investment.

The young children also welcome us with songs.



And they love to see the photos we take.

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Some of the village elders also pose for us.

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This is the oldest woman in the village.  She is the revered village midwife (age unknown).

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The huts form a circle with acacia thorn bush around the outside perimeter for protection from wild animals.  In the center of the village is another circle of thorn bush.  This is where they keep their animals protected at night. 

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They show us how they build their huts,

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And allow us to go inside.  They live a Spartan existence.

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They demonstrate how they start a fire.

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Plus we have an opportunity to buy some of their crafts.

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We say goodbye to the Samburu women,

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And our guide, before leaving for Buffalo Springs.

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The Buffalo Springs National Reserve is just on the other side of the river. 

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And right after we arrive we see our big prize—the endangered Grévy’s zebras.  These look different from their more common cousins, the plains, or Burchell’s zebra. The Grévy’s are bigger, with a longer face and, most obviously, their stripes do not extend under their abdomen.  Scientists now believe zebras are white animals with black stripes—and the stripe exists on its skin as well as its hair. 

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Two adolescent stallions show us zebra boys will be boys.

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This is the only area where we will see the Beisa Oryx.  As a special treat, they have two beautiful calves with them.

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The Black-capped Social Weavers also are only found in Kenya’s Northern Territory.  The trees in this area are loaded with them.  We catch one in ‘Builder Bob” mode.

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For protection, they build their nests with two entrances.  Some pairs watch us from both their first and second story vantage points.

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The red hornbills dot this baked riverine woodland. 

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The Uaso Nyiro River is the true source of the diversity in the area.  It is dry, but not a desert.  We head back to Samburu.

On the other side of the river we see our first Somali Ostrich.  The male, when courting, displays a bright blue head and neck.

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We even get to see a male and female fluff their feathers as their do their mating dance.

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Heading back to lunch—more to come—we see a brilliant yellow hornbill.

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Lunch is a special treat at Larsen’s Camp.  The tables are under trees beside the river.  (The Samburu warrior is there to fend of the cheeky monkeys.)

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We have a visit from a flock of Vulturine Guinea-fowl.  These guys are FAB-u-lous, Simply FAB-u-lous!

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And a vervet monkey stops close by, in case any food drops.  The locals call them the blue ball monkeys.  Duh!

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Our afternoon drive starts in the woodland savanna where we find small cubs beside the road.  We’ve noticed, African babies tend to stay put when mom gives an order.  Natural selection.  Those that don’t usually don’t make it.

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Along the road, we see the matriarch pride on a hunt.  The lead female, two adolescents and another adult female.  Suddenly the older female takes off into the brush.  The other adult female remains behind and appears to be training the adolescents.  They are waiting for orders.

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The three continue to wander down the road, watching in the direction the lead disappeared.

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Suddenly they stop.  The lead lion breaks through some brush to rejoin them.  All this without a sound we could hear.  The prey must have moved off.  They appear to have been in contant communication during the whole hunt.

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Moving out to the higher woodlands, we see two klipspringers.  They are small and wiry, almost like mountain goats.

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And our big find—an elusive Greater Kudu.  Their horns are magnificent, curly and huge.  We get a quick look as he hides behind a commiphora tree.

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When he moves into the brush, we can see a little bit more of the animal.  With bands of color, he reminds me of a re-paint, where someone smears a paintbrush trying out new shades.

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Tomorrow we’ll leave Samburu and head to the Mount Kenya area–our last safari stop!

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