Before lunch on Day 8 we passed through a couple of Maasai villages and turned left at the school (built for the community by Thomson) before entering the Enashiva wildlife conservation area. Formerly owned by one of Tanzania’s largest beer manufacturers, this land had failed as a farm. Fields of hops and barley were trampled and grazed by migrating wildebeest, zebra, giraffe, and all manner of wildlife. It was a losing battle, and the company auctioned the land with the understanding that the buyer would put the land into conservation. Thomson Safaris bought the land, hired local Maasai as rangers to patrol the land, and established a nyumba for use by its safari guests. More recently, Thomson’s non-profit affiliate built a school and a health clinic nearby, on land provided by the town, in support of the local community. We now had the opportunity to experience the wildlife in this reserve, and to meet the local community.
After lunch at the nyumba we took a walk through the scrub forest surrounding the nyumba, with Freddy and a Maasai ranger pointing out the details of various plants and animal signs. As the sun began to sink, we paused alongside a hillcrest with an excellent view of the zebra and wildebeest grazing in the meadows along the valley floor. The nyumba staff materialized, serving drinks and snacks. Refreshed, we strolled down the hill, noticing a herd of perhaps two dozen giraffes browsing among the acacia trees at the edge of the meadow. We creeped closer, and closer, perhaps only 40m from the giraffes. In the peaceful light of the setting sun, the calm giraffes acceptance of our presence was magical.
We returned to the nyumba for dinner and sunset, then hopped back in the rovers for a special outing. As this was private land, Thomson was able to take us off-road to explore after dark. We bumped across the meadows, one guide driving while another shone a red spotlight on wildlife of interest. We thus had the opportunity to see nocturnal animals, notably the aardvark, mongoose, and foxes. Photography was difficult, to say the least, and I have no decent pictures to share.
More in the next post! and don’t miss the full photo collection.