"Elephants, Kilimanjaro and Maasai" Kimana by Krumel

Kimana Travel Guide: 30 reviews and 178 photos

As I did not find Oloitokitok in the database here I will build this page under "Kimana", which is the next village to Oloitokitok (pronounced "Loi-tok-tok").

Between February and April 2004 I spent 6 weeks in Oloitokitok at the foot of Kilimanjaro to volunteer on an elephant research project. The aim of this project is to set up wildlife sanctuaries around Amboseli National Park, so we needed to do a wildlife survey to find out what wildlife actually spends time outside the park, with a particular focus on elephants and their behaviour.

We went to the bush 3-4 times a week to look for elephants, and we were recording whatever creatures we found along the way. And we saw lots of them! There were huge herds of zebra and gazelles, and while they were a great sight to behold it got a bit tricky when we had to count them... Our guide was brilliant at that, though. He would take just one sideways glance at a herd of animals and tell you that there are 19 of them, and you will grudgingly have to confirm that he is right after laboriously counting and re-counting them for 5 minutes. The most spectacular sightings, apart from the elephants, included a lioness in a tree, a hyena, a herd of about 30 elands and a zebra carcass surrounded by squabbling vultures, with eagles in the trees awaiting their turn (see pictures in the travelogues).

But the highlights were of course the elephants. The area that where we did our survey is mainly frequented by bulls, and let me tell you: they are impressive. I'll never forget the first time we drove up to a bunch of 5-6 bulls and parked just a few metres away from them. When one of them walked a bit closer to have a better look at us our project leader assured us that the elephant was just curious, but not aggressive, and I really hoped that he was right. Which he was, of course. We watched them for half an hour until they decided they had enough of these weird people stalking them and they slowly wandered off.

On the days that we did not go to the bush we did some community work, which in my case consisted of teaching German at one school, and computer skills/typing in another. We also went for a lot of walks in a nearby forest and along a river to do a survey of the colobus and vervet monkeys in this area.

This is our Maasai-guide, who goes by the name of "Threehundred". The Maasai often name people after events, and he got his name because he used to sell Maasai jewellery, but did not really know the value of money, and so he sold everything for 300 shillings, no matter how much it was actually worth.

So my time in Oloitokitok was an unforgettable experience: getting up close and personal with the elephants in the shadow of Kilimanjaro accompanied by Maasai is just not something you get to do every day!

  • Last visit to Kimana: Sep 2004
  • Intro Updated Oct 7, 2004
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Reviews (9)

Comments (2)

  • Radiomom's Profile Photo
    May 24, 2005 at 12:13 PM

    Magnificent trip! I want to do that! (Maybe I can in a year or so...)

  • safardreams's Profile Photo
    May 20, 2004 at 5:40 PM

    Hi Birgit, these is wonderful! Thanks. I can't wait to get back over there. Hope you get back there soon also. David

Krumel

“Just can't get rid of this Africa-bug!”

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