Masai Mara, Kenya's nature reserve
Kenya is an impressive place, both for its landscapes and for the incredible variety of indigenous groups. If you want to know more about this amazing land and its spectacular nature reserve, read on!
WHEN TO GO
Between July and October is the time to go, since it is the dry season and when there is more population of fauna. In July is when the migrations start and you will see groups of hundreds of animals going towards softer places while avoiding possible predators, a natural spectacle in full force.
WHAT TO SEE
Accommodations in this area are somewhat expensive, as safari tourism is very expensive, so almost everything is luxury hotels. These hotel-camps (with luxury tents), have all the facilities you may need, from swimming pools to boutiques.
You can take a tour of the Bomas of Kenya, where you can have a look at the 42 tribes that make up the impressive Kenyan culture. Here you will learn more about the life in the villages and how they are composed, and you can enjoy traditional dances and music. You cannot miss the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, where they help elephants and rhinos that are orphaned, often by poachers. There, they take care of them and rehabilitate them to return them to their natural environment.
Another stop in Nairobi has to be the National Museum, where you will surely understand better Kenya's heritage, and how its culture has been formed throughout history, and its counterpoints to the colonising historians. They also have a gallery with 900 species of birds, which are a fan to the avian fauna of East Africa.
In addition to the nature parks, you'll see the Maasai tribes. In general they are in small villages scattered throughout the savannah, and the closest thing to a city is the Maasai Mara Town, which is located next to the park's gate. The traditional Maasai dress is called shuka, it stands out in the savannah with its bright red color, all the members of the villages wear dilations with wooden circles and other colorful adornments.
Remember that you must be respectful with the native population, so to observe all these special cultural samples you can access to population centers that the Maasai have created to be able to share it with the tourists. You will be able to see their huts placed in a circle, the center of the village is the meeting place, and they will show you how the manyattas (Maasai villages) are organized.
WHAT TO EAT
If you like beers, ask for an Uki Uki, which is made with honey. If you are more of a wine person, ask for a mnazi, which is palm wine, it is incredibly good, and it is sweet, so be careful when you drink it that you may overdo it without realizing it.
The sukuma wiki may look like spinach to you, but it is actually a wild cabbage, and its taste has nothing to do with the vegetables Popeye ate. Another thing you have to try is the Matoke, it's mashed banana accompanied by lemon, and it's not eaten for dessert! It's used as a sauce to accompany main dishes.
You will find a lot of ugali, which is a cornmeal dough, served as an accompaniment to many dishes. It is considered the staple food in the eastern part of the continent, so don't worry that it will be everywhere you go. Another star dish is mukino, which originates from the Kikuyu tribe and is made of corn, peas and mashed potatoes, with stewed meat and sauce.