Thursday, April 1, 2010

Day 9 – Safari!

Response to comments...

MomS, no. We didn't eat at McMoody's. We're kind of cautious with ground meats or meat products here.

Dad, McMoody's is a fast food burger joint that is like McDonald's, but not the same. Philbrick's know Max Church and his dad. We answered your questions from Day 2 in the comment section, but since you didn't see it...lspinella (aka Dad Spinella) - Yes Ashton's drink was an Orange Fanta. We can't wait to see Doug get the Groupies either - we'll be sure to take pictures. Yes, the property is in Tanzania although we are fairly close to Kenya as well. And yes, Don can have the sale - does he have his license here?

Zach, Doug appreciated your comment or at least the rest of us did.


We went to the Ngorongoro crater which is basically a massive mountain that imploded on itself a number of years ago. There is a large high rim enclosing the plains. Almost every animal is found here although the lack of trees makes the crater undesirable for giraffes. I’m not sure that words can accurately describe what we saw today so this entry is going to be mostly about the pictures.

This is a Maasai village that we went to for a visit on our way into the crater. They are a bonifide real Maasai tribe that actually lives as the ancients once did. There aren’t too many authentic tribes that are left.

Maasai are a nomadic people who depend on livestock for their survival. They live on three staples for their diet: cow’s blood, milk, and meat. During the dry season, they drink blood when no water is available.

They sang us a welcome song as we came into their village.

Maasai walk everywhere (no vehicles) and put a lot of miles on their feet. They have a hard time making sandals that hold up to the task. While a lot of them just go barefoot, one modern convenience they’ve adopted is using old tires. You’re looking at motorcycle tires that were cutup to make sandals; we wonder how many miles they can actually get out of them.

This Maasai women’s shaved head and jewelry indicate that she is married and has children. Circumcision of men and women takes place at the age of 15. The man is not allowed to flinch or cry and if he is “man enough” they throw a party. If not, then there is no party and he is given a headdress with shortened ostrich feathers so everyone will know that he was a wimp. The women are allowed to cry during their circumcision and while it is publicly forbidden today, it is still practiced in secret.

Piercings, branding, and decoration are considered beautiful as well as knocking out some of the lower teeth. As you can see Maasai like bright colors. This woman’s large round necklace indicates that she is single.

This is a Maasai house which is constructed by the women. As it was explained, the men supervise and protect the women as they gather the branches, grass, and cow dung necessary for construction. The dung is mixed with ash, dirt, and water and is apparently water proof after it dries. It houses about 6 people, plus the owner’s newborn calves. The kid's nicknamed the house a Dungalow.

This is the inside of the Maasai house. There is a fire in the middle that they keep burning all day and night. The pot on the fire was preparing breakfast. They eat two meals a day with the first one at about 10A. It was extremely smoky with only a small hole for light and ventilation and we were immediate overcome by the smoke; squatting down made it bearable.

These baboons are everywhere near the entrance to the conservation area and come out to the road to see if the tourists will throw bananas to them.

These two cheetahs were hanging out and while we were there they crossed the trail in front of us as they began contemplating a chase. Several wildebeest and zebra were in the distance keeping an eye on the pair. It’s so strange how they seem to coexist in fairly close proximity until someone feels like a snack.

This Cape Buffalo has a face only a mother could love.

This Hyena was rolling around in the mud and found some old meat. It evidently didn’t taste too good as it departed soon after finding it.

Okay…coolest thing ever! This was a mating pair of Lions and we got to see the before, during, and after (this is the after picture). Lions mate for 7 days straight approximately 300 times during that period starting at 5 minute intervals and then gradually go every half hour. These two were evidently near the end of the week long frolicking as we waited 20 minutes for the action to start. You can also notice how skinny the male lion is as neither party eats during the mating season; you’ll notice the animals in the background. Shortly after this photo was taken, the male lion plopped down for a twenty minute nap.

This guy was absolutely massive and didn’t mind at all that we rolled up within 30 feet of him. Ashton captured him as he was lumbering along to meet another male. Upon meeting each other, they exchanged sniffs, intertwined trunks, and then one lead the other with the big guy in the rear grabbing the lead elephant’s tail as if one of them wanted to show the other something.

Corrinne shot these two. Zebras often rest on each other like this so as to watch each other’s backs…no lie!

This lioness was within touching distance of us and didn’t seem to mind us a bit. Maybe she was just at the end of her frolicking week and was too tired to care!

There is a switchback road that leads out of the crater. We caught this view on the way up.

This is just a taste of the photos we captured, and since kilobytes are precious – taking a long time to upload – we’d love to share the rest with you on our return for those that are interested.


  1. OK I just can't take it anymore. I sooooo want to be there. I can't believe I let this once in a lifetime happening pass me by, I am kicking myself over and over. How truly blessed you are and how wonderful God is to have given us such an amazing world. How exciting it all is. I am overwhelmed at the beauty of it all. I am really looking forward to seeing all the picture even though I am in pain watching them(cause I'm not there). What a wonderful way to spend Sabbath. Love you

  2. Amazing Pictures and I am missing it all! I am with Moms wishing I was there as well. Incredible experience...God's wonderful world. Happy Sabbath and love you. Be safe and I cannot wait to see all of you and hug you.

  3. Lions, cheetahs, and zebras, oh my! I am glad to see that this safari bares no resemblance to the "safari" you saw in the DRC! Tanzania appears to be so beautiful. I cannot wait to see all your pictures when you return. Seems like a great sabbath afternoon activity at church retreat! Just a thought...

    My favorite picture of the day: The beam of light in the Massai house.

    Awaiting your safe return. Good luck on your last few days of this fact finding mission.

    ~Shae Fantastica

  4. My favorite was definately the Lion !!! I have decided that the next trip you take, better be scheduled around our school/work schedule so we can go! Very selfish!!! We just got back and are looking forward to seeing all your pictures! Love you all!

  5. oh and don't worry about being fat. I hear man boobs are attractive in some African cultures, or at least I think yours are... Zach