I decided to take my daughters and Tiva’s best friend Tanyth (whom I call my adopted daughter, she lives here with her Father, Step Mum and three Brothers) and Seb (a son of a friend who was visiting from the UK) on safari to Ngorongoro Crater ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ngorongoro_Conservation_Area) in Tanzania one summer. We all piled in to our old beige Land Cruiser and set off on the road with water, sodas, bitings, music and plenty of excitement.
We set out that day around noon and drove in to Arusha that early evening. This would normally be about a four hour drive, but we were delayed at the boarder because Seb forgot his passport and we had to send him back to Karen with my driver to get his passport and ID. We had to leave them there with money in their pockets to grab a bus back to Nairobi while we carried on on our own. Seb took a bus the next day to Arusha and we collected him at the hotel where we were staying.
There are many stories to tell while we were on this amazing holiday, but the one I am going to tell for now is about what happened when we were camping at the crater itself.
We hired a driver in Arusha to drive us to the crater, as I had never driven there before. We unloaded our gear and put up our tents. We hit the mother lode when we saw an overlander (these are the big trucks that take 15 plus people all together on safari, I call them cattle trucks) pulling up just below where we had set up, this meant they could cook food for us if they felt like it. As there were always leftovers after feeding their guests.
We made friends right away with the driver, guides and cook from the overlander and negotiated a deal as their smaller vehicle had broken down and all their firewood was in it, which lead to our good fortune, as we said we would collect dry wood for them if they fed us. As they were exhausted from a grueling drive and breakdowns along the way they happily agreed. We happily obliged.
After about an hour of collecting wood we started a fire for them and piled up the remaining wood.
My daughter Savanah had been watching how to fire dance via Zoe – Zoe, my friend Dawn’s (the Goddess) daughter, had been learning and Savanah had been watching her and started teaching herself. I had not allowed Savanah to light them for at least a month until I saw she wasn’t hitting herself and Tanyth had been fire dancing for years and convinced me Savanah was ready to light them up. That night was going to be her first time fire dancing with fire!
A few of the people that had arrived with the overlander where not at all the friendliest of sorts, they were loud, disruptive and judgmental of the fine crew who were looking after them and showed no appreciation of where they were. They were also complaining that they had not seen an elephant and blamed it on the guide.
It was dusk and the beautiful orange and red sky was getting darker by the second, Tanyth decided Savanah was ready to light up and give it a go! We were all so excited for her and sat on the lawn and awaited her debut.
With all the grace Savanah possesses she lit up and started to dance in amazing unison with the fireballs blazing by her head. I was so proud of her and we were all clapping and cheering her on.
The not so nice clients of the overlander were sitting nearby and started making very rude comments of how dangerous it was to let a child do that, loud enough to make sure that I could hear. We all ignored them and kept our attention on Savanah who after about 4 minutes was finished performing and smiling from ear to ear. Just around this time and before it was completely dark, I looked up and pointed towards the bush about 20 yards from us, walking out of the bush was this massive six ton male elephant. If I had not been sitting where I was I would not have heard him as he was in stealth mode. By his movement we could tell that he knew these grounds very well and knew exactly where he was going.
The girls looked at me and said should we tell the mean people? I just smiled and said if they are meant to see him they will. We all just sat there and looked on at this magnificent creature for about 5 minutes, moving so gracefully along the path as he then disappeared back in to the bush.
It was one of those moments where you felt blessed to be alive and in the presence of Mother Nature. The mean people never saw him, as they were to busy complaining to one another.
Savanah has been fire dancing for several years now and has been asked on numerous occasions to perform at events through out Nairobi. I am so proud of her.
God Bless and Best Wishes to everyone!