Borneo experienced by Vera Pina.

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One of the things that gives me more pleasure besides traveling myself is to see the photographs, listen to the stories and experiences of people I know. I learn a lot from people who perceive traveling as I do, and I end up feeling like I’m traveling with them.

These photos were taken by a traveler I trust and who recently visited Borneo. What I’ve written below is also based on her experiences. She cares about the culture, the local traditions, the interaction with people, the food and the nature, the good and the bad of the countries she visits. Exactly like me.

“This trip to Borneo for me was the best and worst trip I’ve ever been on. I saw the best of the planet and the worst of humanity. What we do to the planet is killing the corals. the orangutans in the shrines, the elephants that on the verge of extinction.”

With over sixty tribes and different races, each with its own unique cultural traditions, those who visit Borneo are warmly welcomed. The country’s intriguing history of white sultans and rajas, the landscapes full of rainforests, giant caves, rivers and wildlife, still inspires adventurous travelers. The rainforests offer a diversity of wildlife species, many of them unique to the area. And, for now, it still isn’t popular among tourists.

Borneo’s Sultanate is in Asia, and is wedged between two eastern Malaysian states, Sarawak and Sabah, with the north coast facing the South China Sea. Bandar Seri Begawan is the name of the country’s capital.

The main island is divided into three parts. Indonesia, Malaysia and the smallest, the Sultanate of Borneo. Vera visited the south, Sarawak.

Bahasa Melayu (Malay) is the national language, and the currency is MYR – Malaysian Ringgit.

Some facts about Borneo,

The oldest forest in the world is in Borneo, located in the big island. Forests in Borneo create their own rainfall and this has serious consequences for climate change worldwide. On top of that, the primary forest, which is thousands of years old, is almost reduced to nothing because of palm oil plantations.

The Kinabatangan River is the second longest river in Malaysia with a length of 560 km (350 mi) from its headwaters in the mountains of southwest Sabah, to its outlet at the Sulu Sea. The area is known for its remarkable wildlife and fascinating habitats.

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The long-nosed monkeys are endemic to the tropical rainforest of Borneo, meaning visitors can only find it there, in its natural habitat while elsewhere they are only found in captivity. Proboscis Monkey (Nasalis larvatus)

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“I talked to locals a lot because a lot of people speak English, which is a big advantage.”

Vera also visited an Orangutan Sanctuary “Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre” in Sepilok.

The gypsies of the sea – people who travel have heard of them before or have seen a documentary about this community and their culture. They are known as the Bajou and traditionally live in small boats or in houses built on top of stakes. They do not know their age, cannot read or write. and are not accepted by the community. But they know the ocean like no one else and live in their own concept of paradise.

The famous Borneo caves are home to about 2,000 million bats. In the early hours of the morning, they all fly out of the caves at the same time and, awaiting them outside, are birds of prey which patiently wait for the bats to leave the cave so they can eat them. The floor of the caves are covered with cockroaches, which in Borneo have a purpose – to eat the bats’ mess.

(Sir David Attenborough and the BBC have some very interesting documentaries about Borneo.)

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“I discovered the life purpose of the cockroaches They eat the bats’ mess. The smell is intolerable, and the unstable floors with millions of cockroaches is even worse. Borneo is not for pussies”

Vera told me, and I believe it  because I’ve had experiences with are not acceptable to most people.

Inside the same caves, we can also find the swallow nests catchers, who risk their lives for a salary. Three nests, a salary and the government sells these nests to China for the famous swallow nests soup. They expect the swallows to nest twice in each nest and to do so they have to sleep inside the cave to make sure no one steals their nest but many die because the stones fall on top of them.

“The cultural diversity of Borneo is enormous. Muslims, Catholics and other religions, people who are very sympathetic and tolerant of one another but half an hour from Borneo it could not be more different at the moment,” Vera said, comparing Borneo with Malaysia and Indonesia.

From what I already know, I conclude that anyone who appreciates natural wonders along with being welcomed by local people will definitely like to visit Borneo.

Vera flew to Borneo from London with Air Brunei, the country’s flag-carrier and said it was really good. Once in Borneo, she flew with Air Asia.

Thank you for sharing, Vera.

And for the rest of you, safe travels!

 

Quietly Strolling through the Tenryu-ji Temple in Japan

Tenryu-ji Temple in Japan!

Travel Feedback

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The Tenryu-ji Temple – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – was built in the 14th century by a shōgun in honor of a Japanese emperor that had passed away.

Takauji,who ordered the construction of the temple, intended to appease the spirit of the former emperor.

It is located in the Arashiyama District.

Tenryu-ji has one of the country’s most incredible zen gardens and is currently the headquarters of the Rinzai School of Zen Japanese Buddhism…

At the temple,silence is a very precious state and everything is set according to the Zen tradition!

And what is a “shōgun”?

A shōgun is a military title (or distinction) given by a Japanese emperor. Many call the shōgun the Major Commander of the Army, the Generalìssimo or even the Military Dictator.

Indeed for hundreds of years, it was the shōgun’s who ruled the country, and even though the Emperor represented Japan, it was the shōgun who had the…

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Wonderful Bamboo Forest in Japan!

Wonderful the centennial Bamboo Forest in Japan!

Travel Feedback

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In the Arashiyama district, we can visit the famous and wonderful centennial Bamboo Forest!

 The Japanese have a long history of myths and legends with bamboo, in which they compare man with the strength of bamboo. But we can also find bamboo canes in other spots, including houses, fences and ice cream cups. 

 But seeing a bamboo forest first hand and being able to walk in the middle of the bamboo trees is magical, and gives visitors a feeling of tranquility!

 You won`t be able to see the sun, but the wind makes the leaves of the bamboo canes dance!

In Arashiyama you can also visit, and do not fail to do so. I speak at Tenryu-ji Temple a 10-minute walk from the Bamboo Forest.

(30 minutes by bus from Kyoto)

Safe Travels!

No distrito de Arashiyama, podemos visitar a famosa e absolutamente maravilhosa e centenária Floresta de Bambu!

Os Japoneses tem uma longa…

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Golden Pavilion in Kyoto. Looks like a postcard. Live is what we feel that we are part of a postcard scenery! Japan.

Excess of Beauty! The Golden Pavilion in Kyoto, Japan.

Travel Feedback

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Excess of Beauty!!!

Is it possible that something is so beautiful that we can not describe !?The expectations were high,  and I was not disappointed!The Gold Pavillion (or Kinkaku.Ji – Rokuon-Ji Temple) in Kyoto. 

The garden and the buildings surrounding the ‘pavilion’ – which are meant to represent Buddha’s pure land all over the world – did not disappoint.

Built at the end of the14th century, it was originally the private house of a shōgun. When he died, the house was converted into a temple for Zazen practice (or religious meditation) – an important method of Buddhist meditation training, that helps one to establish a base within Zen Buddhism.

The brilliant Kinkaku is a landmark of Kyoto. It caught fire many times during wars, and more recently it partially burned in the sequence of a crime. It was restored in 1955, but a significant improvement came around in1987 – when all gold…

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The Almond Tree Blossom in the Algarve region, south of Portugal!

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The Almond Tree Blossom!

In the Algarve region, south of Portugal, every year the Amendoeira (Almond Tree) blossoms this flower, which so delicate and beautiful, and it can be white or very light pink. The legend of the Almond Blossom says that for many centuries the Al-Gharb (today Algarve) belonged to the Arabs and a young King, Ibn-Almundim, fell in love with Gilda, a blond, blue-eyed Nordic princess. They were happy for a while until the princess fell ill with homesickness. To solve the situation, the king gave orders to plant Amendoeiras in his kingdom so that when they bloomed, they would give the princess the illusion that she was seeing snow. The Almond Blossom is an announcement from Mother Nature that spring is about to begin. Unfortunately, there are not many tours for those who do not know the Algarve to see the almond trees in full bloom because they are scattered throughout the region. However, the Recreational and Cultural Association of the Friends of Alta Mira (ARCDAA) is set to organise two tours this year, on the 3rd and 10th of February, leaving at 9 am from Alta Mora, in Castro Marim.

https://www.arcdaa.com

 

As Amendoeiras em Flor!

Na Região Algarvia, a sul de Portugal Continental, todos os anos, mais ao menos esta altura, a Árvores da Amendoeira dá esta flor tão delicada e linda, que pode ser de cor branca ou de um rosa muito clarinho.
Diz a Lenda das Amendoeiras em Flor que há muitos séculos o Al-Gharb (hoje Algarve) pertencia aos árabes e um jovem Rei, Ibn-Almundim, apaixonou-se por Gilda, uma princesa nórdica, loira e de olhos azuis. Foram felizes durante algum tempo até a princesa adoecer com saudades de casa. Para resolver a situação o rei deu ordem para que se plantassem muitos Amendoeiras no seu reino para que quando florissem dessem à princesa a ilusão que estava a ver neve.
As Amendoeiras em Flor é um anúncio da Mãe Natureza que a Primavera está para chegar.
Infelizmente não há muitos programas para quem não conhece o Algarve poder ir em passeio a pé ver as amendoeiras em flor porque estão dispersas por toda a região. No entanto a Associação Recreativa e Cultural e Desportiva dos Amigos da Alta Mira (ARCDAA) organiza este ano 2 passeios, a 3 e 10 de Fevereiro, com saída às 9 da manhã da Alta Mora, concelho de Castro Marim.
https://www.arcdaa.com

Zanzibar Island in Tanzania, Africa! My Experience…

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My Experience in the Island of Zanzibar in Tanzania, Africa!

Zanzibar or Unguja in Swahili – the native language – was where I chose to go after my wonderful safari in Tanzania. I went to the beach for a week in the Island of Zanzibar washed by the Indian Ocean. The area of ​​the island where I chose to stay at was Nungwi, my interest in this area was based on the information I gathered about Zanzibar. Most people consider this part of the island to be the most the most beautiful, and I wanted to understand and see why? The others areas are Pongwe, East Zanzibar, Matemwe North East Zanzibar, Paje & Dongwe, South East Zanzibar, Jambiani, South East & West Zanzibar.

The capital of Zanzibar is Stone Town and Nungwi is about 1 hour and 15 minutes from the capital and Zanzibar International Airport. From the mainland there are direct flights from Kilimanjaro and Arusha Airport, as well from the country’s capital, Dar es Salaam – these are about 50 minutes flights or 2-hour ferry ride from Dar Es Salaam Ferry Terminal. From Dubai, with FlyDubai, there are also direct flights to Zanzibar, a rough 5 hour trip. The tourist visa to enter Tanzania, Zanzibar, is 50 US$ – I had already paid for the visa at Kilimanjaro Airport when I arrived in the country for my Safari. I didn’t have to pay again to get into the island. My hotel and flight reservations were booked directly for me and I flew with Precision Air, but if you wish the safari companies can help you and also make reservations for you. My Safari Company was Gosheni Safaris Africa, based in Arusha and I really enjoyed their work – as well as my guide Sam!

(The currency in Tanzania is the Tanzanian Shilling but we can pay everything in American dollars, but the change we receive in shillings.)

When in Zanzibar Taxis are available at the airport. I opted with requesting a direct transfer when I booked the hotel, it cost 100 USD round trip.

Nungwi, is located in the north end of the island. It is a very poor village with good people, about 5700 inhabitants – all friendly, playful and even understanding when we tell them that we do not want to buy any excursions (here are many people trying to sell us excursions, souvenirs, massages, etc).

Nice beach restaurants for all prices, and I everything I ate was good and of excellent quality. Most restaurants are seafront and built on wooden stakes – necessary because when the tide goes up the beach almost disappears and the sea reaches the restaurants.

 

Nungwi, a beach with a sand as fine and white as snow with a beautiful blue sea,

 

The hotels range from the luxurious to the basic bungalows. The beach is particularly full the tide is high, on the other end it is fabulous when the tide is empty. An incredible plus to this location is the sunrise and sunset – absolutely gorgeous, so much so that there are organized excursions from other parts of Zanzibar just to watch the sunset on this beach.  Right next door, a rough 30 minute walk on the beach, we can find Kendwa Beach where tide does not retreat so much.

 

 

 

The tides can retreat up to 150 meters in Nungwi, which gives us a great place to walk along the beach, but it is difficult to swim.

Strolling by the beach we find the natives in their daily and main tasks, such as fishing. Men, women and children fish everyday, but each has their own role! Women and children cannot go out on a boat with men, as such they catch fish when the tide is low with their handkerchiefs or nets. They catch a very small fish, that can be fried and eaten whole – SO GOOD!

Part of their daily and main tasks is also to walk the cattle by the beach,

 

… or to repair boats. Another daily task of the natives is to work in the hotels and restaurants of the area, they settle in the region and financially help to build school, provide clean water or even fund basic sanitation for the villages. Much of the population depends on income brought in by tourism.

 

I chose a boutique hotel The  Z Hotel Zanzibar to stay, with a partially private beach right in the beach of Nungwi and also in the liveliest area (sometimes too lively and too busy for me personally). The Z Hotel rooms are divided into small buildings, I chose one of the suites located on a top floor with a breathtaking view. The room terraces are elegantly decorated with the smells and colors of Africa, and make me sigh for more. The entire hotel is inspired by Africa: the attentive and helpful staff, the infinity pool, the fine dining, the possibility of dining on the beach lit by candlelight, and beast of all the breakfast time. I consider the Z Hotel Zanzibar a very good choice.

 

The Z Hotel location, in the Nungwi Beach!!!

 

I left Nungwi once during the week to go to Stone Town and to another small island close by. Called Changuu or Prison Island, The island is roughly 6 KM from Stone Town by boat,

 

The area was in the past a prison for rebellious slaves, but today it has been transformed into a turtle sanctuary. The oldest turtle has 194 years old and we can interact with them.

 

 

You can still visit the old prison, 

 

 

and there’s also a restaurant and a old and closed hotel. The building is beautiful!

 

Stone Town in English or Mji Mkongwe, meaning “Old City” in Swahili, is an excellent example of a suali trading town that has developed further with Arab, Indian and European influences but has retained its indigenous elements. Its elegant buildings reflect the influence of African cultures, as well as Arab and European cultures. Stone Town is part of UNESCO’s World Heritage Center list, while it waits to be classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A place that has great cultural and physical significance – worth a visit for sure! I walked alone through the city but you can arrange a guide to show you the area by foot.

 

 

Lastly, I wondered if you know who was born in Stone Town, Zanzibar (Tanzania)?

The one and only Freddy Mercury, lead singer of band Queen!

Also about Tanzania read my blog post regarding my wonderful Safari in the mainland!

http://travelfeedback.site/2018/11/08/9-days-on-safari-in-tanzania-my-own-experience/

Cheers to you and safe trips!

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9 days on safari in Tanzania. My own experience!

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Jambo! (a greeting, a welcome and the word I heard most in Tanzania)

I’ve had many experiences in life outside my home (Portugal). I’ve traveled a lot and I still need to travel much more. Were some trips more special than others? They certainly were. And this was one of them!

Today I’m going to tell you about my 9 day safari in Tanzania with Gosheni Safaris Africa and my fantastic guide Sam (Samwel John) who did everything to make my safari perfect, and it was. And that’s why it came on my list of the most special trips I’ve taken.

Gosheni Safaris prepares us for the safari saying we will “Discovery the Unexpected!”. This is so true and I couldn’t agree more because that’s exactly what happened!

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I stayed the first and last night in a hotel in Arusha – arriving and departing at Kilimanjaro airport and where most of the safaris in Tanzania start. I flew with the Emirates with a stopover in Dubai and within Tanzania with Precision Air (Tanzania’s main airline). The Emirates are a beautiful aviation company and Precision Air as its name implies is accurate (all flawless).

Entry visa is given upon arrival and costs US $50 per person.

We cannot drink tap water or even to brush our teeth. But we got free bottled water in all lodges and Sam always had water for us in the jeep. Prophylaxis of malaria is imperative because Tanzania is at the highest risk of infection by the malaria mosquito. I advise you to consult a traveler’s doctor a medical specialist 2 months before traveling to Tanzania.

Arusha has 3 million inhabitants. The United Republic of Tanzania has 26 regions and Arusha is only one. 59 Millions of people live in Tanzania, whose official language is Swahili and whose currency is the Tanzanian Shilling. We can pay our personal expenses in dollars, we receive the change in Shilling’s. We can also withdrawal Shilling at some ATMs in Tanzania and Sam knows which ones.

On the night before the start of the safari, Sam went to the hotel with Verah to introduce himself (later on I will introduce you to Verah) – do not forget that it is with the guide that we will spend our next few days with and this guide will be a friend. Which means that if there is no empathy between us these 9 days of travel will not be as good as we would wish to. Lucky for me, I found a friend in Sam, full of wisdom and good will.

On safaris when we are inside the parks all the hours are spent inside the jeep. It is forbidden to leave the jeep and interact with the animals. We are just spectators and animals came and went wherever they wanted. We do not have the same privilege! We can only leave the jeep at places specifically designated for that purpose, where we can have lunch for example and where we can also go to the bathroom – and the lunches are always picnic style, almost always in scenic places.

Once human nature called on me and I had to pee with some zebras and two giraffe looking at my bum. (It was my highlight of the day!)

The national parks in Tanzania

Entry to the national park is not as simple as getting there and walking in. It’s the guide that deals with everything, and there’s a whole process that the guides have to obey for that to happen. In addition to the parks being paid, a registration list of all guests must be made by the park managers – who always know who’s inside the park and when we leave it. The paths are made of clay and we are not allowed to cross-cut other jeeps just because we see an animal in the distance.

The guides have to obey the rules for our safety, if they don’t they run the risk of getting their guiding license confiscated, as well as paying a fine if they are caught committing some illegality by park guards.

Often the animals walk so close to the jeep that if we stretch our arm we can touch them. But nope, it’s forbidden! I will not tell you all the animals I saw in total, but I have seen the big 5:  the Lion, the African-Elephant, the African-Buffalo, the Leopard and the Rhino. (I also cannot resist saying that I saw 2 small baby leopard in Serengeti North!)

The first park I visited was the Tarangire National Park, which is the sixth largest park in Tanzania with an area of ​​2 850 km².

The park is named as such because a river of the same name – Tarangire River – crosses it. And it was here that I realized why the safaris were the most expensive programs in the world.

The famous tree -Imbondeiro. The Zebras one by one go in search of the shade 🙂

The first elephants I saw were here, this was thrilling because I love these animals. This park is known precisely for the large amount of elephants.

I stayed at the Tarangire River Camp and I loved it! Here is the link from my publication about all the lodges where I stayed while I was on safari in Tanzania. 

AMAZING PLACES!!

http://travelfeedback.site/2018/11/08/tanzania-my-choice-of-lodges-camps/

Before entering the Serengeti I was lucky enough to visit a Maasai village. We can find several villages of the Masai people in the outskirts of the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro. I leave here the link of the publication I made about my visit to a Masai village.

http://travelfeedback.site/2018/11/08/the-maasai-people-in-tanzania-a-people-of-shepherds-and-warriors/

The Serengeti National Park. With an area of ​​14,750 km is a UNESCO World Heritage Centre. And I went through it twice in 5 days. Also known for the famous migration of wildebeest and zebras. Throughout this park we can find about 35 species of large mammals.

Do you know what Serengeti means in the Maasai language? It means Great Plains.

First I stayed in the central part of the park, then went north and finally returned back to the  centre.

Central Serengeti

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And in fact what is already a already wonderful place (because of the animals) is made better when we add to it the beauty of the landscape that surrounds it, it is impossible to feel indifferent. Vegetation to lose sight of, lots of animals, natural pools for the hippopotamus, lions lounging in front of us without giving the time of day, and so much more. Giraffes look at us and decides to show off. And sometime it’s almost like we have to ask the Zebras if they could you please move away for the jeep pass. 

Elephants who seem to cross the jeep paths on purpose. It’s all incredible. Animals so healthy, and happy it was noticeable in their skin. A dream really, it was like a movie… only real!

 

And my friend Sam knew the best places to stop and when I wanted him to stop more often I would tap his shoulder and he would notice!

In the Serengeti I stayed in the Acacia Camps. In any camp we have to be escorted to our room at night and not allowed to leave it by ourselves. What is understandable the fields are set up in the middle of animal territory.  In Central Acacia Camp I found myself drinking a beer and watching a hyena go by, it looked at me and followed path. It’s something special for those who like animals.

Serengeti North.

And when we have before us a lioness who approaches to eat what she had hunted and does not bind us at all. THIS IS AFRICA!!!

Having enjoyed everything in Tanzania, a country with a very rich natural beauty and with so much to offer was, I can say that it was North Serengeti that fascinated me the most – Africa in its purest state. Far to reach, difficult access, but all worthwhile because in addition to the animals it is here that happens the largest migration of animals in the world. The Wildebeest Migration. It is estimated that over 3 million of wildebeest pass here.

Throughout all of Serengeti there are wildebeests, but it is here, in addition to all the other animals I have mentioned before that they’re concentrated in greater quantity and where we find them preparing for the crossing of the Mara River.

This crossing is not known very well on what days and at what time of day it happens, it is a matter of luck for anyone who wants to watch it. I, in two days, waited a good few hours inside the hidden jeep to watch the migration. It never happens at night because the wildebeest do not see well. The jeep can only approach the river when they have started crossing, otherwise the animals hesitate. At this moment our levels of adrenaline are so already high, having the possibility to watch this moment live is amazing. Do not miss this opportunity in your life as a traveler and nature lover. 

And what got me to the North of the Serengeti HAPPENED right in front of me! The largest migration of the world of Wildebeests crossing the Mara River!

North Serengeti has a completely different landscapes, more rocky, rugged Serengeti but as rich in wildlife as Central Serengeti.

It was also here that I took my Hot Air Balloon ride. I’ll leave the link to my publication about my experience in the hot air balloon here.

http://travelfeedback.site/2018/11/08/so-coolmy-hot-air-balloon-ride-in-tanzania/

The Acacia Camp in Serengeti North was in hippopotamus territory, and while the hippos that spend the day in the water, at night they go out to eat precisely where the camp was set up. (The feeling of being in bed and hearing the sound of the hippos next to us is very cute.)

Before going to the Ngororongoro Crater I still returned to Central Serengeti, where I once more stayed in the same Acacia to rest. I actually ended up resting at all, there was too much to explore…

Ngorongoro Conservation Area (a Unesco World Heritage Centre)

We descended to the Ngorongoro Crater on a dirt and dangerous road that offers the most beautiful and scenic landscapes I have ever seen, it seems we are entering a Jurassic world, all that was missing was the dinosaurs. In an area of ​​8,292 km, you can find savannah, savannah forests, dense forests, as well as the largest boiler in the world where we can see the Big Five animals.  It was also here that evidence of human evolution and human-environmental dynamics was found, including the earliest hominid footprints dating back 3.6 million years.

This is a very special place and I stayed at the Sopa Lodge – The Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge – which stands on the edge of the crater with a magnificent view attached to it. Here we also have to accompanied to the room by a member of staff… Once after dinner when returning to the room, a buffalo wanted to “talk” with us, my heart raced a little.

It was the first time I shuddered. But the buffalo fled faster than I did after the warning shot… In this lodge only one thing depressed me. In all the other lodges I’ve was in, Sam had dinner and breakfast with us. This was not allowed here. I found it bad and very inelegant and that’s the reason I decided not to go back.

We had not seen a tar road for five days and I bring with me kilos of dirt of all colors to confirm it. Now back on tar road, we made our way to Lake Manyara with an area of 231 square km, a place which Ernest Hemingway describes as the “most beautiful [lake] … of Africa”. Manyara comes from the Maasai word Emanyara, which is a plant called Euphorbia, very associated with Africa and found in great quantity around the lake. Here we can also find an immense variety of animals, but since the vegetation around the lake is quite dense, it’s not so easy to see them. And speaking sincerely, I believe that you should see everything with your own eyes, but this park would not be my first choice to visit.

One of the wishes I had was to stop at a local village where hundreds of safari jeeps pass and none stops at. I wanted to stop and try to understand how the Tanzanian people live. And so it was, described and shown by a local. Verah made this happen (thanks Verah!). Sam stopped the jeep and I had a lady waiting for me who took me for a ride through the village away from the main road. The village name is Mto Wa Mbu.

And how gratifying it was for me to know these people live, and to be able to speak to the locals. Poverty reigns in a very simple life, but peace also reigns in a country where various religions, various tribes, and various dialects interact with each other in harmony. I visited a space of artisans, true artists where lodges and souvenir shops have artifacts to sell to those who visit Tanzania.

I learned that bananas are part of the daily diet and that they cook a variety of dishes with it. Banana salad with bacon being one of them, who would have thought? And it was delicious!

Boys proudly showed me the little fish they had just picked up in a brook that supplies water to the rice paddies.

I realised why most cement houses are not finished, or take so long to complete – they try doing what they can, but very often the money is not enough to finish the houses, and as such the majority of the people live in houses made of clay on top of wooden reeds and as the clay wears out it is eventually replaced with new clay.

No doubt I came from Tanzania more spiritually rich than I was before.

And it is now that I will speak to you about the dear and professional Verah the face of Gosheni Safaris Africa and with whom I booked my amazing safari… When we choose to do a safari we have to take into account several factors – and this is where Verah, from Gosheni Safaris Africa, the lady who has Tanzania as her garden, a person who knows what a travel dream doing a safari is, come in. The factors are as follows: where we want to do it, what we want to see, how many days we want to be on safari and how much money we want to spend. We also have to say if we want a private or group safari.

Verah will answer all questions and clarify any doubts giving all the explanations and suggestions needed, she will also offer different price points. Standard, medium, medium-high or luxury accommodation, as well as suggestions of the lodges and hotels that vary according to the type of accommodation we want – and it is the accommodation and the time the year that makes a safari more expensive. I suggest you do it in high season – June/July/August, and perhaps September. It is the time of the wildebeest migration and honestly not going to North Serengeti will not be a complete experience. But all year round all other animals are there so it is possible to do a safari any time of the year!

Food in the lodges is almost always included – breakfast, lunch and dinner (after dinner drinks are not included). When we are out of the lodges at lunch time it is always the guide who takes our picnic lunch provided by the place where we stay overnight.

In my case I chose average medium-high and a private safari, which means that during the safari days I had a guide and a safari jeep for myself. For what I intended to do it couldn’t be any other way, because they made an unique itinerary for me. Gosheni also organizes group safaris if you wish to take one. There are dozens of companies that organise safaris in Tanzania and there are those that are overpriced. Often you will enquire about the same package, and one will double the price.

Do not hesitate to ask questions and always be open to suggestions. Do not forget that what for us is a dream and something we have never done, is their home, and knowledgeable and kind Verah is more than able to answer all your questions and doubts.

http://www.goshenisafaris.com/

http://www.goshenisafaris.com/contact-us/

https://www.facebook.com/goshenisafarisafrica/

At the end of the safari I still had the pleasure of going to the offices and being presented to the entire Gosheni team. Thank you for everything, lots of love from Portugal Verah. But my biggest THANK YOU is to Sam. With all my heart thank you Sam, without you I would not have had this such an amazing experience, everything went perfectly.

Yes, you are the man!!! 🙂

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And to finish I leave the question. Why did the zebras turn to different sides when standing?
To know the answer you have to go do a Safari to Tanzania. 😉

Ngorongoro14

 

After the Safari, I went for a few days to the beach in Zanzibar – an island in Tanzania. You can also check my blog post about it, 

http://travelfeedback.site/2019/01/22/zanzibar-island-in-tanzania-africa-my-experience/

Safe trips!

Tanzania. My choice of Lodges & Camps!

Acacia North Camp5

.English After the Portuguese

Uma das coisas que mais encarece um safari na Tanzânia são os lodges, hotéis e campos de tendas fixas e móveis. E tudo varia consoante o que estamos dispostos a pagar que pode ir do básico ao médio, médio-alto até ao luxo.

Como referi na minha publicação acerca do safari num todo, (…) Há dezenas de empresas que organizam safaris na Tanzânia e há quem exagere e muito nos preços. O que pedimos a uma companhia, outra, pode dar para o mesmo, mas com o dobro do preço. (…) e eu pedi vários preços. acabando por escolher a Gosheni Safaris Africa e garantidamente foi a melhor escolha que eu fiz porque tudo correu lindamente.

Vou falar-vos um bocadinho dos locais onde fiquei em acomodação média-alta.

Comum a todos., Durante a noite não podemos andar sozinhos temos que ser escoltados por um membro de staff porque todos eles encontram-se em território de animais. Lavar os dentes sempre com água engarrafada de todos eles fornecem essa água e lavar o cabelo de boca fechada. E prestem atenção se as camas têm redes mosquiteiras (sem buracos). Fazer a profilaxia da malária consultando antes um médico do viajante deve estar no topo da vossa lista 2 meses antes da iniciarem a viagem. A Tanzânia está no nível mais elevado para o risco de sermos picados pelo mosquito da malária.

Tarangire River Camp.

Fica junto do Parque Nacional Tarangire mas fora do mesmo. Muito embora como os animais andam à solta e por todo o lado tínhamos girafas e zebras a passear ao nosso redor, inclusive durante a noite tivemos a visita de um elefante que deixou as suas pegadas e mais qualquer coisa na areia perto de nós. É um campo fixo onde as tendas são montadas em cima de estrados de madeira elevados com todas as comodidades de um quarto de hotel.

Os espaços comuns são muito giros, elevados e virados para o Rio Tarangire, com decks de madeira e com uma piscina de onde podemos desfrutar da vista e do ambiente. Restaurante muito simpático e onde há um espaço de lazer onde durante a noite  é acendido um fogo o que nos proporciona momentos de qualidade. Não existem vidros é tudo aberto para África. Fantástico!

Wifi só nas zonas comuns que funciona quando lhe apetece, e está bem assim. Quem vai para a Tanzânia à procura de wifi mais vale não ir porque vai dar-se mal. 😉

Eu fiquei numa tenda virada para o Rio Tarangire. Limpinho, com a varanda a dar precisamente para o rio. Casa de banho que funciona bem, com água quente – embora para quem tenha muito cabelo quanto eu, tendo em conta todo o pó com que andamos o dia todo, que é imenso, lavar o cabelo é uma aventura e demora muito mais do que é habitual pois a água tem pouca pressão.

(Aqui, mal sabia eu que só passado 7 dias é que ia conseguir lavar o cabelo como deve ser.) Mas tudo tranquilo e uma cama excelente, confortável e apetecível.  Staff muito cordial e bem disposto e a comida excelente. Quando vamos jantar, um membro do staff vai abrir a cama e preparar o quarto para a noite. E se durante a noite precisarmos de alguma coisa. Há um apito ao lado da cama !

Se ficarei neste novamente? Com certeza que sim.

 

Acacia Camps  (são 2)

Acacia North Camp4

Serengeti Central

O Acacia do Serengeti Central foi o meu Campo preferido de todos onde eu fiquei. É fixo. E é maravilhoso, escondido e onde fiquei por duas vezes.

Tem dois tipos de tendas. Umas montadas elevadas em cima de decks de madeira e as outras não. Das duas vezes fiquei em suite montada em cima de decks de madeira.

Posso dizer vos que desde o staff impecável e conversador, a comida, o espaço de refeições e os espaços de lazer é um local onde eu ficava por uns dias sem estar em modo safari. Embora esteja também montado em território de animais e eles fazem visitas diárias ao campo.

Os quartos são giríssimos e nem sequer parece que estamos dentro de uma tenda. Mas estamos! Tem todo o conforto e comodidade e o cheiro a terra, o cheiro a mato, a África que nos entra pelo nariz e nos inebria os sentidos.

Neste campo todas as tendas têm um walk talk se for o caso de precisarmos de algo durante a noite pois as tendas estão montadas afastadas umas das outras o que nos dá muita privacidade. Todas elas tem um nome local em Masai ou em Suaíli que o membro do staff que nos acompanha ao quarto tem o todo o gosto em nos explicar.

 

Também aqui o staff vai preparar o quarto durante a nossa hora do jantar e que camas maravilhosas e confortáveis. wifi só nas zonas comuns e funciona bem mas também quando lhe apetece. E a Maria, quem nos recebe com um caloroso Jambo é uma querida. Olá Maria!

Se voltarei? Não tenham dúvida. Adorei este campo!

Acacia Camps no Serengeti Norte

O campo móvel mais cool de todos eles e montado em território de hipopótamos que durante a noite gostavam de fazer visitas ao campo, onde iam comer.

As tendas, todas elas com casa de banho privada, montadas afastadas umas das outras e onde se precisávamos de alguma coisa durante a noite, bastava gritar que um membro do staff aparecia e mais todos os outros hóspedes.. 😉

Bem dispostos e brincalhões também aqui a comida é  deliciosa, farta e servida em buffet.

Wifi aqui? Não! Mas quem é que poderia precisar de wifi aqui com tanto para ver e fazer

(mas não vou ser mázinha no aeródromo que fica a 10 minutos de jipe conseguem aceder a wifi gratuito, quando funciona)

E e essa não é para todas, mas o meu guia o Sam da Gosheni Safari África tem wifi gratuito no jipe para quem precisa mesmo.

Também aqui os quartos são preparados durante a noite quando estamos a jantar.

Se voltarei e este novamente? Sim, não tem nada a haver com os outros, e é móvel o que não oferece tanto conforto, mas sim, voltaria com certeza!

Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge

Um lodge onde os quartos encontram-se em pequenos edifícios forrados a pedra no cume da Cratera de Ngorongoro com vista para a mesma

Quartos amplos com uma vista fantástica para a cratera e onde consegui lavar o cabelo como deve ser (FANTÁSTICO!)  que a água corria bem. Os quartos já precisam de uma reforma mas tem apontamentos muito simpáticos. Sendo um local onde durante a noite faz frio também aqui nos vão preparar o quarto para a noite e deixam-nos uma simpática botija de água quente a aquecer-nos a cama – e eu adoro botijas de água quente.

Sopa Lodge Ngorongoro

A piscina é fabulosa tanto como as zonas comuns mas tudo com o toque de África e com vidros. A comida é deliciosa e muito variada. Wifi só nas áreas comuns e funciona bem.

Neste Lodge houve algo que me desagradou. Em todos os outros locais em que estive, o Sam, o meu guia e que me acompanhava para todo o lado, jantava e tomava o pequeno almoço comigo. Aqui isso não era permitido. Achei mal e muito deselegante.

E isso para mim é motivo para não voltar a este lodge.

 

Arusha – Mount Meru Hotel

Em Arusha fiquei duas vezes no Mount Meru hotel, quando parti e cheguei do safari.

É um hotel prático para quem chega e sai de um safari, e por isso mesmo um hotel- aeroporto muito impessoal e pouco caloroso.

Os espaços comuns são bons, a comida é saborosa, a piscina gira, o wifi funciona mais ao menos nos quartos e bem nas zonas comuns.Os quartos são fracos. E o staff, se uns são simpáticos e prestáveis outros nem tanto.

Este hotel não me vai deixar saudades!

E estes foram os locais que eu escolhi para ficar no entanto a Gosheni oferece mais alternativas com vários preços!


 

One of the most expensive things  in a safari are the lodges, hotels, fixed and mobile tent camps.The price of these things varies depending on what we are willing to pay. It can go from basic, medium, medium/high, to luxury.

As I mentioned in my publication about my safari “there are dozens of companies organising safaris in Tanzania and there are those who exaggerate in the prices. One company, can give you the same as another for double the price.” I asked several companies and eventually chose Gosheni Safaris Africa and it was guaranteed to be the best choice I made because everything went smoothly.

I’ll tell you a little about the places where I stayed at in medium/high accommodation.

Something common to all accommodation is that during the night we are not allowed to walk alone. We have to be escorted by a staff at the end of the day because we are in animal territory. Here’s some advice. Always brush your teeth with a water from the bottles they provide, make sure you close your mouth while washing your hair with and pay attention if your beds have a mosquito net without holes and do the prophylaxis of malaria. Before the safari consulting a traveler’s doctor should be at the top of your list 2 months before starting the safari. Tanzania is at the highest level for the risk of malaria mosquito bite.

Tarangire River Camp.

This camp is next to Tarangire National Park. Animals are everywhere, on the loose, and we had giraffes and zebras wandering around us. During the night I had a visit from an elephant that left its footprints behind.

It is a fixed campsite, where tents are set up on top of high wooden decks with all the facilities of a normal hotel room.

The common spaces are very cute, high and facing the Tarangire River, with wooden decks and with a pool from where we can enjoy the view and the environment. The restaurant is very friendly and there is a leisure space where, when the sun sets, a fire is lit, which allowed us some great moments. There are no walls, it’s all all open  – fantastic!

There is Wifi in the common area (but it only works when it feels like it), and that’s fine. Anyone going to Tanzania looking for Wifi should not go because you won’t like it.

I stayed in a tent facing the Tarangire River. Clean, with the balcony facing the river. Bathroom works well, with hot water – although for those who have as much hair as I do, considering all the dust, which is a lot, washing the hair is an adventure and takes much longer than it should since the showers have little pressure.

(At this point I didn’t know I would be able to properly wash my hair after 7 days) I

Everything is quiet and the bed is excellent, comfortable and inviting. Staff members are very friendly and well mannered and the food was incredible. When we go for dinner, a staff member will open the bed and prepare the room for the night. And if we need anything during the night there’s a whistle by the bed!

Would I stay in this camp again? Of course!

 

 

Acacia Camps (there are 2 camps)

Acacia North Camp4

Acacia in Central Serengeti were my favourite from all the places I stayed at. It is also a fixed campsite. It’s wonderful and hidden – I even stayed there twice.

There are two types of tents. Some set up on top of wooden decks and others set up somewhere else. During both of my stays I slept on the decks. From the talkative staff, to the food, to the dining space and the leisure spaces, this is the one place where I stayed for a few days without feeling I was in “safari mode”. Although it is also set up on animal territory and they also make their daily visits.

The rooms are sparkling and it doesn’t even look like we are inside a tent –  but we are!

It has all the comfort and convenience, as well as the smell of earth and weeds, the smell of Africa that awakens your senses.

At this camp, all tents have a walkie talkie in case we need something during the night because the tents are set up away from each other, which gives us a lot of privacy. All tents are named some in Maasai or Swahili that the staff member that first walks us to the room is happy to explain.

 

Here, the staff also prepares the room during dinner time – and what a wonderful and comfortable bed it is. Again there is Wifi in the common areas, and although it works it can be temperamental And Maria, who welcomed us with a warm Jambo, is lovely. Hello Maria!

Will I go back? Without a doubt. I loved this place!

 

Acacia Camps of the Serengeti North

This coolest camp of all of them and it is set up on hippopotamus territory. During the night they liked to visit the field around the camp, where they eat.

The tents, all setup with private bathrooms, are separate from each other. Here when we need something at night, we would just scream and a staff member would show up, along with the other guests…. 😉 Well arranged and playful, the food here was also delicious, plentiful and served buffet style.

 

Wifi here? No! But who would need Wifi here with so much to see and do? However, in the aerodrome,10 minute drive,  you can access free Wifi, again… when it works.

And this is not for everyone but my guide, Sam from Gosheni Safari Africa, had free wifi in the jeep for anyone who needs it. Once more, here the rooms are prepared at night while the guests having dinner.

Will I be returning again? Yes, it has nothing to do with the others and it is a mobile camp, which means it does not offer as much comfort but yes, I would go back for sure!

 

Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge

A lodge where the rooms are located in small stone-lined buildings overlooking the Ngorongoro Crater. Large rooms with a fantastic view of the crater and where I could wash my hair as it should be washed (THIS WAS AMAZING!!). The rooms are in need of a refurbishment, but they have very nice details. Being in a place where the nights are cold, the staff leave us a nice hot water bottle when preparing the room at night – being that  I love hot water bottles in the cold weather, this was an incredible detail.

Sopa Lodge Ngorongoro

The pool and the common areas are fabulous and everything with is decorated with a touch of Africa. The food is delicious and varied. Wifi only in common areas and works well.

In this lodge, the only thing I didn’t like was that  compared to other places, Sam (the guide) was not allowed to have dinner or breakfast with me. I found it annoying and that’s the reason why I wouldn’t stay there again.

 

Arusha – Mount Meru Hotel

I stayed in this hotel twice. It is a practical hotel for those arriving and departing from a safari, and for this reason, a very impersonal hotel. The public spaces are good, the food is tasty, the pool is nice, the Wifi works better than other places, but the rooms are weak. And not all staff members are friendly and helpful, in all honesty I’ll not miss this hotel!

And these were the places where I stayed at during my time in Tanzania. But Gosheni offers even more alternatives!

 

 

The Maasai People in Tanzania! A people of shepherds and warriors.

Maasai 14

English After the Portuguese

O Povo Masai na Tanzânia!

Um Povo de pastores e guerreiros.

Uma experiência única porque é dos grupos tribais étnicos africanos que mais preserva as suas tradições culturais.

Qualquer pessoa que tenha interesse e visite a Tanzânia pode ser organizado uma visita a uma aldeia onde será bem recebido e todas as perguntas e curiosidades respondidas por um dos membros da tribo.

E sendo uma sociedade por natureza patriarcal eu fui apresentada à tribo pelo líder.

Toda a sua  joalharia é rica em cores vivas e vibrantes e adornam-se bastante. Muito bonitas!

Tem o vermelho como cor principal e oficial da sua indumentária com as outras restantes cores vibrantes que compõem os mantos com que se vestem são as Shúkàs. E as suas sandálias feitas com pneus duram uma vida! (foi só em 1960 que os Masai começaram a substituir as peles de animais com que se vestiam pelo algodão das Shúkàs).

Durante anos e anos foram um povo temido pelos outras tribos e por os de fora.

A classe social dos Masai é determinada pelo número de vacas que têm e as suas casas – Boma é o seu nome – são feitas com esterco das vacas e barro. As aldeias são construídas em círculos, mas são as vacas (o seu principal alimento)  que ficam no centro da aldeia para ficarem assim mais protegidas dos animais selvagens.

Os homens Masai podem ter mais que uma mulher ao mesmo tempo, se tiverem vacas suficientes para o dote, já as mulheres, pois, só um homem.

Maasai 9

Fui convidada para ir à escola da aldeia assistir a uma aula onde as crianças cantaram para mim. As crianças são obrigadas a irem à escola e foi-me explicado pelo líder o cuidado que tem tido para as mesmas aprenderem o inglês para além do seu dialecto oficial que é o Maa.

Maasai 5Maasai 4

O Enkai é o seu deus, o criador supremo dos masai e o que lhes deu o gado, a chuva, a fertilidade, o sol e o amor.  E Olapa a deusa da lua casada com Enkai.

Os jovens vestidos de preto e com as pinturas faciais brancas são os jovens Masai que estão a ser iniciados na maioridade através de várias cerimônias de iniciação. A principal é a circuncisão – Emorata – onde centenas de meninos pertencentes a uma determinada faixa etária são circuncidados na mesma altura do ano.

Durante 4 a 8 meses os meninos tem que se vestir assim.

Embora seja ilegal na Tanzânia e no Quênia as meninas também são circuncidadas – Emuratare – esta prática permanece profundamente enraizada e valorizada pela cultura Masai e também para as meninas é a cerimônia que as inicia na idade adulta através da circuncisão ritual e depois a um casamento organizado precocemente. Os Masai acreditam que a circuncisão feminina é necessária porque os homens podem rejeitar qualquer mulher que não tenha passado por ela como não sendo digna para casar pois não dará filhos saudáveis ao marido e o seu dote de noiva será reduzido.

Da mesma forma que os rapazes, também as jovens meninas usam roupas escuras, pintam seus rostos com marcas brancas, a diferença é que após a cerimônia cobrem os seus rostos.

Existe um mito no mundo que um jovem rapaz deve matar um leão antes de ser circuncidado. Não é verdade. Entretanto, matar um leão proporciona grande valor e fama na comunidade. E é  por isso que é precisamente o leão o totem dos Masai – que no entanto pode ser morto.

Estima-se que na Tanzânia existam cerca de 430.000 Masai e sendo a sua natureza semi-nómada é complicado precisar ao certo quantos são tendo em conta que é o único grupo étnico a poder caminhar livremente entre a Tanzânia e o Quênia, totalizando cerca de 841.622.

Podemos encontrar Masai’s por toda a Tanzânia e Quênia e a viver nas cidades. Há importantes pessoas de etnia Masai reconhecidas. Por exemplo o primeiro ministro da Tanzânia entre 2005 a 2008  Edward Lowassa era Masai ou a activista Agnes Pareyio que luta pelos direitos das meninas sujeitas ao Emuratare também é Masai do Quénia.

Na Tanzânia é nas imediações do Serengeti e na Área de Conservação Ngorongoro que encontramos mais aldeias do povo Masai.

 

 

The Maasai People in Tanzania! A people of shepherds and warriors.

A unique experience and it was something that I asked to happen because it is one of the ethnic African tribal groups that most preserve their cultural traditions.

Anyone who has interest and visit Tanzania can be arranged a visit to a village where they will be welcomed and all our questions and curiosities answered by one of the tribe members.

And being a patriarchal community by nature I was introduced to the tribe by the leader.

Considered one of the tallest people in the world. The way men perform in their dances is in jumps, and some leap high, and women dance with smaller bumps in order to just wag their beautiful, wide necklaces made with beads that adorn their necks.

 

All of their jewelry is rich in vivid and vibrant colors and they adorn themselves well and so beautiful.

 

It has the red as the main color and official of its dress with the other remaining vibrant colors that make up the robes that dress are the Shúkàs. And the sandals made with tires last a lifetime! (it was only in 1960 that the Maasai began to replace the skins of animals with which they dressed by Shúkàs cotton).The Massai for years and years were a people feared by other tribes and from the outsiders.

 

The social class of the Maasai is determined by the number of cows they have and their houses – Boma is their name – are made with cow dung and mud. The village is built in circles, but it is the cows (their main food) that are in the center of the village to be more protected from the wild animals.

Maasai men may have more than one woman at a time, if they have enough cows for the dowry, and women, then, only one man.

Maasai 9

I was invited to go to the village school to attend a class where the children sang to me. The children are forced to go to school and I was told by the leader how careful they have been to learn English beyond their Maa dialect – the official Maasai dialect.

Maasai 5Maasai 4

 

The Enkai is their god, the supreme creator of the Maasai and the one who gave them cattle, rain, fertility, sun and love. And Olapa the moon goddess married to Enkai.

The young people dressed in black and with the white face paintings are the young Maasai who are being initiated into adulthood through various initiation ceremonies. The main one is circumcision – Emorata – where hundreds of boys belonging to a certain age group are circumcised at the same time of year.

For 4 to 8 months the boys have to dress like that.

Although it is illegal in Tanzania and Kenya girls are also circumcised – Emuratare – this practice remains deeply rooted and valued by the Maasai culture and also for girls is the ceremony that begins them through adult circumcision ritual and then to a marriage organized early.

The Maasai believe that female circumcision is necessary because men can reject any woman who has not passed through her as not being worthy to marry, and therefore their dowry to become engaged is reduced and she not give to her husband healthy children.

In the same way as the boys, also the young girls wear dark clothes, paint their faces with white marks the difference is that after the ceremony cover their faces.

 

There is a myth in the world that a young boy must kill a lion before being circumcised. Is not true. However, killing a lion provides great value and fame in the community. And that is why it is precisely the lion that is the Maasai totem – which can however be killed.

 

It is estimated that there are about 430,000 Maasai in Tanzania, and since it is semi nomadic people in nature it is difficult to pinpoint how many are taking into account that it is the only ethnic group to be able to walk freely between Tanzania and Kenya, totaling about 841,622.

 

We can find Massai’s throughout Tanzania and Kenya and live in the cities and there are even important Maasai ethnic people recognized. For example the Tanzanian prime minister from 2005 to 2008 Edward Lowassa was Maasai or activist Agnes Pareyio who fights for the rights of girls subject to Emuratare (FGM) also she is a Maasai from Kenya.

 

In Tanzania it is in the vicinity of the Serengeti and in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area that we find more villages of the Maasai People.