After three fabulous nights at Wilderness Trails, we are flying to our last stop in the African bush - Rekero Farms. Waiting at the airport brings back the reality of the U.S. Reality will be all too soon and we are not feeling extraordinarily kind or receptive. Our trip has been shared with very few people, but this dirt and dust airstrip is full of Americans including a group of attractive girls around thirteen years old, full of energy, jumping around. I wonder where these children have been or why they are taking a summer vacation trip to Africa. I wonder if they had savoured Africa. I wonder if they spoke to any African children. I hope they took off their earphones during at least part of the trip.
Our last stop in the bush, Rekero Farms, was rougher than luxurious Lewa Downs or the comfortable camps at Tarangire or Aerobebe. We changed our reservations to cut this stop down to three nights from four and lengthened our final stop to spend an extra day on the Indian Ocean. We were getting tired of the bush. The animals were beginning to lose their wonder for us and we thought the Indian Ocean would be a terrific change. The stay at the Indian Ocean was wonderful, but we should not have judged our time at Rekero so quickly.
Although the accomodations were a bit crude and the meals not the best, we settled into the routine and needed more time to enjoy the expertise of the guides, primarily the owner, Ron Beaton and his son, Gerard. Like our hosts at Lewa Downs, the Beatons are native Kenyans who share a deep belief in preserving the land and the animals. However, whereas the Craigs owned a conservancy of about 65,000 acres, the Beatons rented their land from the Masai. There was no question this was tribal land.
At Rekero, one of the Masai guides accompanied us to his village. If guests want to visit the Masai, one of the guides will invite the guests to their village. The compound is not commercialized and our hosts request that candy and gifts not be distributed to the villagers. They repay the tribe's kindness with transportation to the hospital, treatment and goods. It is a courteous bartering agreement that respects all people.
We had to be on the road before breakfast to enter the Masai village before the animals were driven out of the compound. After the cows and goats are put to graze, daily life begins and the villagers scatter to their chores. A pre-breakfast excursion is well advised if you don't have a strong constitution. Staunch Fred was shades of yellow and green.
The round enclosures we had seen fromthe air were Masai villages surrounded by fencing impervious to lion and cheetah. The Masai appear to live and think in a gentle world of curves rather different from our sharp angular habitats.
We climbed gingerly through an opening in the thorny brambles and emerged at the edge of a village compund. Cheerful, curious children were waiting for us with great anticipation. Within seconds we were surrounded by little, black bodies with huge, staring eyes and, on a few brave faces, wide smiles. They in turn were being shoved aside by cows, and goats who seemed equally curious.