Ngorongoro Tanzania - foto Servan Ott

As the day unfolds….

I’m already for two weeks in Tanzania now, this time without travellers, but for business. What a beautiful experience! When I’m leaving the house in the morning, I don’t know where I will end up at night. Sometimes it makes me literally dizzy of everything that is happening. Yesterday night we arrived unscheduled and in total darkness at Wag Hill Lodge, outside Mwanza. The winding road took us to a remote area. The headlights of the car were shining their light on the bush. Always exciting, this kind of venture. After half an hour, we are arrive at a wooden gate. Rama hits the claxon and a young security man in striking outfit opens the door. A red baret? A dark blue army sweater? Perfect English? This is not an ordinary guard. A second man with red baret and striking red coat, joins him, his face has a tight expression, like the marechausee. His tone to Rama sounds like an interrrogation. I start to feel uncomfortable.

A motor stops at my side of the car. Three well dressed girls are leaving the gate, their faces notable made up. Wag Hill Lodge MwanzaI think, “aren’t they too young to go out?”, while I’m talking to them. In the meanwhile, Rama gets the message we are not allowed to come in. The guests are asleep, and they don’t want us to disturb them. Already asleep? At 8.30pm? I explain I don’t have time to come back, that I’m going back to the Netherlands, and that I just want to have an impression of the lodge, and that I never bring clients to a lodge that I haven’t seen with my own eyes. The guard leaves to talk to the manager. I hear Rama say: “I don’t like this Alina, something is wrong here”. The manager refuses to let us in, we can come back tomorrow morning. To my surprise Rama insists we want to get in tonight, but it doesn’t help. Through the phone, the manager shouts that no means no.

Without saying anything Rama turns the car. “Those were school children Alina”, he says. There are many boarding schools in this area. I get pale as I understand why he is upset. “Inside that lodge, some hotshot or government figure is throwing a party”, Rama says angrily. No lodge will ever refuse a tour operator that comes to inspect the place for his guests. Silent we drive the way back. Today a visit to the police.

Here, the days unfold by itself.

Of course they always do, but in Tanzania I experience this to the extreme. Surrendering to that brings the adventure alive.

So we ended up with a very old Sukuma Chief, Charles Kaphipa. Charles is a living history book, and during one and a half hour I was captivated by his stories. During the time of the English domination, before his night of initiation as Chief of the Bukumbi region, he was beaten up. His attackers had digged a grave and buried him. For a short time he was in there, almost suffocating, and then released. This ritual served as a symbol of letting go of his old identity and being newly born as a leader.

Charled turned out to be a Chief with vision with his heart in the right place. He was pleading for the position and the safety of older women in his tribe. The Sukuma tribe still has the primitive and superstitious habit to murder women with red eyes, because they think they are witches. Those red eyes are not strange when you realize those women are cooking on wooden fires in unvented huts. I have a clear memory of my own eyes and coughing attacks when I tried to protect my face behind a shuka during meals in a Masaï hut.

The old women found protection with chief Kaphipa. In the end the Sukuma took revenge by murdering his sister. The grandson of Charles is telling about this emotionally in this video.

Later he tells me the threatened women were sitting in a circle in front of the house, often couldn’t walk anymore, and defecating in that place. He cleaned their faeces and his grandfather learned him to show respect for old people.

While I’m listening to the stories, I feel connected and happy. So many people in this country know to touch me. How is that possible? And the answer that comes to me is authenticity. The people here live their lives as it presents itself to them. They are who they are. I don’t see a lot of ideal self. Everything is also unfolding in them. They are not working on eachother, they don’t try to improve eachother, no psychological analyses. They act in the moment to their best, and all consequences are accepted. The experiences are therefore pure and innocence is coulouring the heart. The faces of old people often are very powerfull, full of character and soft.

A bit later, I don’t believe it myself, I am in flamingo pose on the roof of the teachers house in Mwanza. I’m doing a tough yoga class with Nina and sweat is streaming over my face, while I am enjoying the beautiful view over a dusky Mwanza Rock and Lake Victoria. In the air I see the shapes of a dozen of black birds against the evening sky.

What a thrill to experience all of this.

Victoriameer Tanzania

Seven special places in Tanzania

Ukerewe Island in Lake Victoria

For hours I sat here, just with a beer while Msafiri was staying in the hotel with malaria. I am drawn into this peaceful state inside, which sometimes happens to you on an empty summer day. The water made small wave sounds while a few young lads are sitting on a few stones in the Lake, while I’m opening up for the silence that hangs over the water. A little paradise on Earth. Read more

Survival friends in Africa

Seven years ago I travelled for the first time to Africa. I was attracted by the wild nature, the silence, the emptiness, camping in the wild, meeting animals and African music. One of the places we visited was Chobe National Park in Botswana. It was a water paradise and while we were sitting in a boat, we suddenly saw White Egret standing straight up but miraculously floating through the reeds. An unusual survival technique we thought. It had the same effect as Julie Christie standing straight at a Venice gondola in Don’t look now as the widow of Donald Sutherland. It made us laugh but then we saw the cause of this image. Egrets floating had nothing to do with a sort of supernatural event. The big, ponderous body of Hippo came to the surface and carried our lackey majestically,

Years later in Tanzania more of these symbiotic friendships between different species  catched our eyesight. There is a sweet alliance between Zebra and Wildebeast. The Wildebeast don’t smell very well, while Zebra has a great smell. Zebra though, doesn’t have much eyesight, but Wildebeast has. So Zebra can smell danger while Wildebeast can see it. Together, they can help one another flee from predators.

By Brina Bunt

By Brina Bunt

I will never forget our ride at Tarangire National Park. We were close to a river with high sides. Suddenly Wildebeast appeared. It stood firmly between two trees overlooking the area. Another one showed up, watched carefully, entered the water and took its position on the other side of the river. He was looking so strong, standing there firmly. Then all of a sudden many Zebras emerged, galloping, moving down, jumping in the water, playing, frolic and cheerful. They gave quite a show. And all the time Wildebeasts were standing motionless like temple guards, doing their job in this Survival game.

Buffalo_Oxpecker_Maasai Mara_Adri de VisserAnother beautiful couple is Buffalo and Oxpecker. Oxpecker feeds with lice and ticks from Buffalo skin. But what makes them more then welcome is the fact that they scream when predators are closeby. In exchange they get food, protection and of course free transportation, most welcome for their survival. Sceneries like these are just one of many unexpected, enjoyable surprises Tanzania brings you during a Safari. You never know what will come to you. Together we are part of a tracing adventure, our attention with our senses, completely relaxing and thrilling.

Indigenous people experience climate change every day

Last Monday the Climate Change Conference in Paris has started. One of the biggest causes of climate Change is deforestation. The official numbers of CO2 emission varies between 12% en 20%. Wat is deforestation and what are the consequences? Watch this short dutch video.

In South West Kenya you can find Mau Mountains, which contains 25% of Kenyas forest areas. It is one of the biggest compact forest areas in East Africa and millions of Kenyans depend on it for their watersupply. However years of illegal colonisation have destroyed big parts of the woods.

NRC journal of Friday 27 November quotes farmer Alfred Soi: “We have always been warned by the tribal elders not to destroy the wood because it would lead to destruction of life. Why do politicians nowadays forget that? I would like to strike them with a curse”. Years of misrule, mondial as well as local have contributed to icecap melting of Mount Kenya and destruction of the woods  which once were beautiful. mtkenyaforestimg1
The mountain can’t hold the water any longer because of logging. It spits out a wild, brown flood engulfing the agriculture and economic important Tea Plantations. The Tea Research Institute in Kericho measures a rise in temperature of 0.2 degrees every year. Therefore the climate has become unpredictable. They are confronted with dryness and frost, which they never experienced before. In general you can say the indegenous people in all the world are experiencing the consequences of Climate Change the most, allthough they have nothing to do with the causes. Unnoticed they are struggling to survive in their homelands. But several tribes allready started to investigate where and how to migrate the entire tribe. You can read more about this issue here

The problem in the West is that we only know about Climate Change through information. We do not feel it. We do not experience it. As a result only 7000 people marched last Sunday in the Climate March Amsterdam.

Reading the article above suddenly the consequences come closer. These people are living close to nature and they see, hear and feel it every day.