Arusha, with a population of 1.28 million is a multicultural city which is surrounded by some of Africa’s most famous national parks and landscapes. Arusha lies below Mount Meru on the eastern edge of the eastern branch of the Great Rift Valley. The drive from Tarangire to Arusha is breathtaking. Passing by the many Maasai villages I am amazed at their simplicity of living off of the land. You will see the Maasai men of all ages walking for miles with their cattle and goats or sitting under as tree for shade as they watch their herds grazing. A Maasai mans wealth is determined by the number of cattle and children. Dressed in a shuka (colorful piece of cloth), cow hide sandals and carrying an o-rinka (wooden club) they are quite at ease with themselves and the world.
We boarded our Air Kenya flight, a small aircraft seated for nine. I enjoyed the bumpy ride as we flew over the Great Rift Valley and the many Maasai Villages scattered throughout the mountains. We were greeted at the Wilson airport in Nairobi on the tarmac by customs and assisted with our visas and our quick transfer to board for our second flight. I am wondering what does Nairobi look like from street view? I remind myself I will learn this on the way home when we spend Valentines evening in downtown Nairobi.
The flight time in to the Maasai Mara from Wilson varies depending on how many stops are being made. During busy time up to three or four stops can be made per direction. We were the forth stop which did not bother me. I enjoy the landing and taking off part of the most,I was happy, the others who were picked up at the first stop, not so much! Our second take off was delayed as we waited for the Topi to move off the strip. As we landed at our stop I gazed out and admired the new landscape and new animals that I had yet to see. For the first time up close I was seeing the beautiful Punda Milia (striped donkey), also known in English as Zebra. We head out from Olkiombo landing strip to Fig Tree Camp, our future home for April and May. We dropped our bags at our cabin and headed to Sundowner hill for a welcome party.
Morning came early as we woke for the 6:00am sunrise flight with the large group, the reason we flew down to help out and fly the forth balloon. I sensed some of the guests were quite nervous as I lay inside the bottom of the basket during setup and they waited outside wondering “what am I about to do!” My intentions to help them with their fears were a success as they watched the balloon inflate and walked closer and climbed in as I re-assured them that their experience would be as though floating on a cloud. Forty minutes later the woman who was the most afraid was telling me about her “next balloon flight!" It put a smile on my face to see how quickly one can conquer their fears if they just let go and be in the moment! This is something I enjoy helping others learn to do through my skills as a Way of the Heart Practioner.We gently touch down an hour and ten minutes after takeoff, directly next to the road where safari trucks are waiting to take us to our breakfast in the bush. Sitting enjoying champagne and a beautiful buffet breakfast I am grateful for my opportunities of enjoying the beauty of nature at its finest. I look forward to the time I will spend here when I return March 21st.