Serengeti’s National Park is a World Heritage Site because of the biodiversity and the park’s ecological significance.
Hundreds of years ago, the Maasai people oversaw their livestock and grazed here and called the area “endless plains.” Traditionally, they are known for their red dress – thought to scare off the lions.
Today there are about half a million Maasai who live in Tanzania in the parks and hunt their game. Ironically, the clothing worn by many Maasai men is made in China. They wear a dress called a Shuka.
Tourists that visit Africa come to Tanzania to take in the culture of the people and also to see the five big “game” – the lions, the bush elephants, the black rhinoceros, leopards, and buffalos.
While I hope to see some of these, particularly the golden lions, I’m just as excited to see the sun shimmer across the tall grasses against the horizon. Hopefully, I’ll get to feel the warm glow from an African sunset and hear the sounds of the park at night.
We tend to forget the importance of these senses and their ability to affect happiness.
We depend on sight by habit and a world focused on visual consumption. So I’m deliberately closing my eyes today to take in the scenery and to really smell and listen to what Africa shares with me.
There is a vastness to this place. It is without the skyscrapers we are used to seeing and the honking of cars and smells from exhausts. In traveling to the Arctic last year, it took days to adjust to the silence. Of course, our team chatted with one another but there was this overarching time for communing with nature in a way that only happens with immersion.
Today is a day to soak up the sun and feel the power of the earth. In some small way, I hope this note reminds you to find your place in nature when you can and to take time to listen to, well, nothing. Nothing at all can be the greatest gift.
I am sure I will be back to visit further west to see the great falls in Lake Victoria or to travel north into Kenya. Perhaps it will be with my friend Arica or Rita or any number of women I know who look for the healing solace of quiet.
Have a great day,