Journey to Samburuland

January 10, 2019

Samburuland in Kenya is raw and spontaneous, an antidote to the choreographed predictability of most safari destinations. Lions and elephants roam unfenced land, and local Samburu people are still fiercely traditional and impervious to outside influences. The best place from which to explore this semi-arid wilderness is Sasaab Lodge, with Mikey and Tanya Carr-Hartley as your guides. I was fortunate to do exactly that.
Two "morans" (warriors) in Samburuland in Kenya, close to Sasaab Lodge.

Two "morans" (warriors) in Samburuland in Kenya, close to Sasaab Lodge.

To me, wilderness should be its own reward. Mostly I prefer to camp out under the stars and cook on a wood fire (with cold beer at hand).

But a grizzled old guide in the Kalahari once told me that any fool can be uncomfortable, and he’s absolutely right. So after a few weeks of roughing it, I’m always grateful to stay at a lodge where I can have a hot shower and fresh meal.

The luxury safari industry in Africa has contributed enormously to conservation on the continent, and puts hard cash into hands of local people who otherwise would have too few opportunities for “improving their lives” (although that statement in itself is loaded with nuanced complexities that we won’t get into now). But regardless, without the high-end safari industry, many of Africa’s wild places would have been transformed into cattle grazing or farmland by now.

However, while I admire most luxury safari companies for making a meaningful contribution, I’m adamant that the lodge should never be the main reason to visit a wilderness area. No matter how much a lodge has contributed to conservation and community, no matter how big and fancy the rooms, no matter how many decor magazines it’s featured in, it should never supplant the actual wilderness experience itself. The lodge should always remain a supporting actor to the lead role, which is African wilderness itself. (But that’s just me of course).

The best trips usually allow for Africa's endless supply of serendipity to work its magic. Mikey and Tanya Carr-Hartley are among the best curators of such a safari, and Sasaab Lodge in Samburuland is a good place to start...

I’ve found that my most memorable trips allow for Africa’s endless supply of serendipity to work its magic. If you let it, wild Africa can ease you (or sometimes rip you!) out of your comfort zone, expand your consciousness and leave you wonderfully self-forgetful.

So, for me, the best trips are not coreographed to the Nth degree. Instead, great safaris leave enough space, time and variety for those random, unscheduled moments that will expand your mind, without leaving you stranded on your own, surrounded by a pride of hungry lions or obstreperous warriors.

I’ve been fortunate to do some photography for Safari Collection over the past few years, and owners Mikey and Tanya Carr-Hartley are among the best curators of such a safari. And their Sasaab Lodge in Samburuland is a very good place to start such a journey…

While Sasaab is uber-stylish, it’s also very laid-back and appropriate to it’s surroundings. This Moroccan-style eyrie on top of a ridge above the Ewaso Ng’iro River adds so much to the rich experience of Samburuland.

More about Mikey and Tanya later, but for now I’m sitting on a comfy couch in Sasaab’s open-air lounge, sipping a gin and tonic and I’m watching the sun set behind the desert mountains. A herd of elephants are drinking from the Ewaso river below. I can hear the chants of Samburu warriors, dancing for their women on the river bank.

Sasaab lulls one into a deceptive sense of comfort. Don't forget you're still in Samburuland. Up until the 1970s, the Northern Frontier District (as this region was called) was considered too dangerous to visit.

The impressive Sasaab lulls one into a deceptive sense of comfort…don’t forget that you’re still in Samburuland. Up until the 1970s, the Northern Frontier District (as this region was called) was considered too dangerous to visit.  Back then you’d have to apply for a special permit from the British colonial government.

Unlike Laikipia, where land was leased to British soldiers returning from World War I, Samburuland remained off-limits to outsiders. It was beyond the law of the colony and if things went awry, well, you’d be left to sort things out for yourself, old chap. No-one was coming to rescue you.

Things eased up a little when Kenya became independent in 1963, but even after that, this land remained aloof and secretive. Today Samburuland still feels like it should be in north Africa, not in the middle of Kenya…

It’s no fairytale, because there’s always a tension between humans and the wild animals. Elephants raid crops and trample people, lions eat old people and children, and humans kill the animals in retaliation.

But that’s one reason why Samburuland is so interesting and refreshing as a safari destination. It couldn’t be more different to some of the highly regulated national parks of Africa where people have been removed from the land, and live separately from wild animals.

Think of the Serengeti, Maasai Mara, Kruger, Etosha, Mana Pools, Hwange, Chobe or many other famous protected areas in Africa. Don’t get me wrong. All these places are remarkable and very necessary in the modern world, but they are still largely artificial because the original humans have been removed from their landscapes. Homo sapiens didn’t evolve separately from Africa’s wilderness, we evolved in deep relationship with it.

We are human because of this continent's wilderness. Our DNA was forged in Africa. In fact, this region of Kenya was quite likely the birthplace of humankind.

We are human because of this continent’s wilderness. Our DNA was forged in Africa, in places like Samburuland. In fact this region could be the birthplace of humankind. Just two hundred kilometres northwest at Lake Turkana, several early-human skeletons have been found, some dating back to more than 4 million years, the oldest ever discovered. This is ancient human territory.

For me, the local Samburu people are the biggest factor why this region feels different to the rest of Kenya. The tall, gracile tribe still live largely like they did five centuries ago, when their ancestors moved down from the White Nile, and settled into what is Kenya today.

Their cultural cousins the Maasai continued south and west into the savannas, but the Samburu stayed behind, and made the semi-deserts plains and mountain ranges their home. Like the Maasai, they speak Maa but the Samburu dialect is apparently more rapid.

Politically this region has been forgotten by the Nairobi government but the Samburu seem quite happy to be left alone. Or perhaps the government is a little wary of them. The semi-nomadic pastoralists are stubbornly independent, and a few of them have a penchant for carrying AK-47s like we carry our iPhones.

Like the Maasai, the Samburu are devoted pastoralists and their livestock means everything to them. Their cattle and goats are their food, their wealth, their pride. They will defend their grazing lands – and fellow Samburu – to the death from other tribes who encroach into the region (especially during droughts when pasture is scarce).

Armed skirmishes between the Samburu and adjacent “enemy” tribes (like the Pokot or Turkana) are not uncommon. (As one local told me, there’s no state law enforcement in northern Kenya. “Up here, people sort their own problems out”.)

On my first day at Sasaab, my Samburu warrior guide Jacob Lengolos told me, in perfunctory tone, that a few of his friends had been involved recently in a fire-fight with some “other people” who had entered the territory, and yes, there’d been a few deaths. Jacob spoke about the alteracation as if he’d been talking about the weather…

The Samburu seem wonderfully indifferent to outsiders and are almost bemused by your presence. For sure, they are welcoming and friendly (if you respect them), but you definitely feel like a visitor.

The Samburu seem wonderfully indifferent to outsiders and are almost bemused by your presence. For sure, they are welcoming and friendly (if you respect them), but you definitely feel like a visitor. You are entering their world, and they ain’t gonna change it for you. (Great!)

And it’s a very different world to ours. Societal customs are hard for most outsiders to understand; the details may shock you. Google “Samburu beading” and “female circumcision”. I’ll leave you to do your own research on those topics.

Males are also circumcised, between the ages of 14 and 25. They then become part of the warrior – or moran – class. Thereafter these warriors are entitled to choose multiple lovers from the young girls (some very young by western standards).

Then once both the men and women reach a certain age, polygamous marriages are arranged by the elders. Almost always, marriages are for strategic reasons. Love has nothing to do with it. (And that’s just the way it is, ok?)

Both men and women dress extravagantly, with bright colours and plenty of beaded necklaces, bracelets and anklets. The warriors, in particular, are an intriguing mystery for most foreigners who are more used to stereotypical, westernised ideals of manhood.

At first glance the young Samburu men appear androgynous, wearing brightly-coloured skirts, elaborate headgear and plenty of shiny jewelry. They seem to move lightly across the rocky ground, like prancing gazelles.

Yet the warriors are probably some of the toughest Homo sapiens and seem completely at home in the searing heat and challenging topography.

With their AK-47s and sharp spears, there’s an edge about the Samburu moran, a care-free recklessness and fearlessness of life (and death it seems). They seem to live without any worry or anxiety whatsoever. No need for psychologists in this part of the world!

With their AK-47s and sharp spears, there’s an edge about the Samburu moran, a care-free recklessness and fearlessness of life (and death it seems). They seem to live without any worry or anxiety whatsoever. No need for psychologists in this part of the world!

(And I’m aware that just by writing this post and publishing my photographs, I am contributing to that change. Nothing stays the same…)

As fourth generation Kenyans with well-established reputations in the safari industry, Mikey and Tanya Carr-Hartley understand what’s at stake. They know how complicated and capricious Africa can be, yet they’ve succeeded in building a thriving safari business in Kenya from scratch. Their company operates four lodges, including Sasaab.

Mikey and Tanya have worked with the local community to create a lodge that not only benefits the locals, but relies on them for its success. When you visit Sasaab, you’re really getting an inside view of the Samburu people. Most of the staff are locals and every guest has their own personal moran who takes them out every day. The lodge helps fund and build community facilities like schools, boreholes and clinics. An annual lease fee is paid over every year to the elders. (Much needed in a region where government spending is pitiful.)

From an accommodation perspective, the best thing for me about Sasaab is that you feel connected to your environment – especially when you’re in your room. It would have been easy to design a lodge that is air-conditioned and hermetically sealed (day time temperatures regularly climb above 40 degrees Celsius).

Instead Mikey and Tanya embraced the landscapes and climate, and positioned and designed the lodge to make full use of the prevailing breezes. The rooms are built in a Moroccan style without windows or doors. High thatched ceilings provide deep shade, but views are panoramic. Air flow is maximised, and aircon would be superfluous. Each room also has its own plunge pool, which is always cooler than you expect because of the high evaporation rates.

At night in this desert region, temperatures fall sufficiently, making sleep easy. For a claustrophobic person like myself, the rooms are the best I’ve experienced in any lodge, anywhere in Africa.

Even though it’s luxurious, Sasaab is still laid-back and discrete and doesn’t try to be the centre of attention. And the staff seem genuinely happy to have you stay. The service is professional but effortless, and there’s a family atmosphere (a common theme at all four Safari Collection lodges).

Sasaab lies just an hour’s drive away from both Samburu National Reserve and Buffalo Springs National Reserve, which are the designated protected areas. But they’re really just names on a map. The wild animals go where they want. So elephants drink from the river below the lodge, and lions, leopards and hyenas patrol between the rooms at night.

I woke up while the stars were still bright. I lay there listening, as if my subconscious was trying to tell me something…then I heard it. A male leopard calling, it’s rasping cough probably just a few metres from my room.

Early one morning, I woke up while the stars were still bright. I lay there listening, as if my subconscious was trying to tell me something…then I heard it. A male leopard calling, it’s rasping cough probably just a few metres from my room.

For me, that’s the be all and end all of any lodge experience. Can you hear a leopard near your room? Can it wander past your doorway? Yes? Then I’ll always come back.

Sasaab is just 20 kilometres from Samburu National Reserve. Mikey drove us there in his open Land Cruiser and soon we were surrounded by a breeding herd of elephant on their way to drink from the river. We got out and watched them for a while, then turned and saw a big bull come marching through the shallows towards us.

He marched directly up to us, as if to say, “Welcome, humans!” Then coming closer, he kicked up some dust in the air and shook his gigantic head, a clear sign of dominance that seemed to say “Just remember, this is my land, humans!” We weren’t about to argue with him, of course.

Besides impressive elephant numbers, the national reserves in Samburuland are also home to unique species like Grevy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe, Beisa oryx and the bizarre-looking gerenuk, an antelope which thinks it’s a giraffe.

Whereas a place like the Mara is crammed with animals during migration season, Samburuland’s wildlife is sparser and tends to concentrate around the river. When you see something you’re very aware of it, and somehow you appreciate it a little bit more.  The overall atmosphere, too, is wilder than the Mara, somehow. It’s rough and ready, rather than manicured and packaged.

Samburuland’s wilderness is famous for being one of two locations of Joy and George Adamson’s camp when they were raising Elsa the Lioness, the subject of their book and film Born Free. The Samburu National Reserve is also famous for the remarkable Kamunyak, a lioness that adopted several Beisa oryx calves and defended them against other lion prides.

Exceptional stories like these add to the enigma of Samburuland. It does things differently and the people epitomise this quality. They still seem to be the masters of their own destinies…for now.

Exceptional stories like these add to the enigma of Samburuland. It does things differently and the people epitomise this quality. They still seem to be the masters of their own destinies…for now.

I wasn’t surprised to hear that one of my boyhood heroes – Wilfred Thesiger – lived among the Samburu for 20 years towards the end of his remarkable life. The British explorer was the last great adventurer of the modern era and he chose to spend the end of his life living in the town of Malalal (but because of health reasons he had to return to the UK).

If you read Thesiger’s autobiography “The Life of my Choice”, you’ll understand why he admired the Samburu so much. Like him, they resisted globalism and capitalism, the powerful forces which were then – as they are now – engulfing Africa. Thesiger lived life on his terms and the Samburu do the same.

I found this Thesiger quote, which he penned about the Arabian deserts, but for me it also sums up Samburuland: “No man can live this life and emerge unchanged. He will carry the imprint of the desert, the brand which marks the nomad; and he will have within him the yearning to return. For this cruel land can cast a spell which no temperate clime can match.”

On our way into Samburuland near the Matthews mountain range, we came across this group of Samburu men, dressed up in ceremonial wedding attire. Mikey asked them if I could take a photo...and they seemed happy to let me do so.

On our way into Samburuland near the Matthews mountain range, we came across this group of Samburu men, dressed up in ceremonial wedding attire. Mikey asked them if I could take a photo...and they seemed happy to let me do so.

Samburu moran are renowned for taking pride in their looks, just like any high-rolling banker in New York or London wearing an expensive suit and tie. Like birds of paradise who attract females to their nests, the elaborate body painting and bright beads of the moran is intended to draw female attention.

Samburu moran are renowned for taking pride in their looks, just like any high-rolling banker in New York or London wearing an expensive suit and tie. Like birds of paradise who attract females to their nests, the elaborate body painting and bright beads of the moran is intended to draw female attention.

Sasaab Lodge is on a ridge above the Ewaso Ng’iro River, one of the more memorable lodge views I've seen.

Sasaab Lodge is on a ridge above the Ewaso Ng’iro River, one of the more memorable lodge views I've seen.

Drone view of Sasaab, looking west. Some places in Africa just feel older than others (you may have to visit to understand what I'm talking about)...Samburuland is one of these.

Drone view of Sasaab, looking west. Some places in Africa just feel older than others (you may have to visit to understand what I'm talking about)...Samburuland is one of these.

I'm not really into photgraphing lodges but Sasaab's rooms are probably the best I've stayed in...I love that there are no windows or doors, and everything is open to the environment.

I'm not really into photgraphing lodges but Sasaab's rooms are probably the best I've stayed in...I love that there are no windows or doors, and everything is open to the environment.

Every room at Sasaab has it's own little plunge pool...most grateful for it during the hot days!

Every room at Sasaab has it's own little plunge pool...most grateful for it during the hot days!

These are bush hyraxes…these particular fellas (or ladies) were checking me out near my room at Sasaab. This species (Heterohyrax brucei) seems cuter than the rock hyrax species (Procavia) which are also found in Kenya and Southern Africa.

These are bush hyraxes…these particular fellas (or ladies) were checking me out near my room at Sasaab. This species (Heterohyrax brucei) seems cuter than the rock hyrax species (Procavia) which are also found in Kenya and Southern Africa.

Camels…another reason why Samburuland feels like it’s more part of North Africa than Kenya. But it was only relatively recently in the 1960s that the Samburu started using camels extensively. A series of droughts and increasing raids by Somalians caused cattle numbers to plummet. Samburu rely mostly on milk, blood and meat for their diet, so they began trading cattle for camels from the Rendille people from the south-east of Lake Turkana. Camel milk became a critical food source for a growing human population that had fewer cattle.

Camels…another reason why Samburuland feels like it’s more part of North Africa than Kenya. But it was only relatively recently in the 1960s that the Samburu started using camels extensively. A series of droughts and increasing raids by Somalians caused cattle numbers to plummet. Samburu rely mostly on milk, blood and meat for their diet, so they began trading cattle for camels from the Rendille people from the south-east of Lake Turkana. Camel milk became a critical food source for a growing human population that had fewer cattle.

One of the activities at Sasaab is a camel ride along the banks of the Ewaso Ng'iro...honestly, I was quite happy to take the photos. I've got an affinity for most animals, but an inexplicable aversion to these eccentric creatures!

One of the activities at Sasaab is a camel ride along the banks of the Ewaso Ng'iro...honestly, I was quite happy to take the photos. I've got an affinity for most animals, but an inexplicable aversion to these eccentric creatures!

These are photographic moments that I live for...and almost always they seem to appear when I least expect them. We were getting ready to leave Sasaab one afternoon, and these Samburu started wading across the shallow Ewaso Ng'iro River...they were probably five kilometres away from our viewpoint at the lodge, so I used my 100-400mm lens to zoom in. The texture on the river is sunlight reflecting off the water...it was mid-afternoon, and very bright. For me, this image is symbolic of Samburuland...it's a dreamy, enigmatic region of stark constrasts.

These are photographic moments that I live for...and almost always they seem to appear when I least expect them. We were getting ready to leave Sasaab one afternoon, and these Samburu started wading across the shallow Ewaso Ng'iro River...they were probably five kilometres away from our viewpoint at the lodge, so I used my 100-400mm lens to zoom in. The texture on the river is sunlight reflecting off the water...it was mid-afternoon, and very bright. For me, this image is symbolic of Samburuland...it's a dreamy, enigmatic region of stark constrasts.

One of the impressive opportunities for guests at Sasaab is to witness a Samburu moran dance, where the warriors dance and chant for the young women. Sometimes these sorts of "cultural interactions" between local people and tourists can seem cheesy and contrived, but the Samburu are mostly oblivious to anyone watching them, and the whole occasion feels authentic.

One of the impressive opportunities for guests at Sasaab is to witness a Samburu moran dance, where the warriors dance and chant for the young women. Sometimes these sorts of "cultural interactions" between local people and tourists can seem cheesy and contrived, but the Samburu are mostly oblivious to anyone watching them, and the whole occasion feels authentic.

Warrior dance, on the banks of the Ewaso Ngiro River, near Sasaab Lodge

Warrior dance, on the banks of the Ewaso Ngiro River, near Sasaab Lodge

These are my favourite sorts of photographs. A moment of recognition, of individual acknowledgement in a scene of conformity and convention. The image can be of people, animals, trees...anything actually. And how do you show that?

These are my favourite sorts of photographs. A moment of recognition, of individual acknowledgement in a scene of conformity and convention. The image can be of people, animals, trees...anything actually. And how do you show that?

Sun setting and warriors jumping. Shooting into the light and using a low shutter speed is always a bit of a hit and miss, but it can result in a more interesting image.

Sun setting and warriors jumping. Shooting into the light and using a low shutter speed is always a bit of a hit and miss, but it can result in a more interesting image.

Another moment of individualism in a group.

Another moment of individualism in a group.

I used a slowish shutter speed, and moved my camera when pressing the shutter button. I think this image works symbolically...the essential reliance of humankind in Africa on fire for suvival...and the way that fire has weaved it's magic into human societies. It's been our most valuable companion, and is writ large across all of us.

I used a slowish shutter speed, and moved my camera when pressing the shutter button. I think this image works symbolically...the essential reliance of humankind in Africa on fire for suvival...and the way that fire has weaved it's magic into human societies. It's been our most valuable companion, and is writ large across all of us.

Young Samburu women admiring the moran dance...their tall, elegant frames are impossible to ignore.

Young Samburu women admiring the moran dance...their tall, elegant frames are impossible to ignore.

Samburu women, like the men, adorn themselves elaborately...

Samburu women, like the men, adorn themselves elaborately...

Another image where I used a slowish shutter speed and moved the camera while taking the photo. Again, I like this image, because it's different and unexpected. Does it matter that you can't see that it's Samburu people dancing in Kenya? I don't think so...it leaves one wondering what it could be, right?

Another image where I used a slowish shutter speed and moved the camera while taking the photo. Again, I like this image, because it's different and unexpected. Does it matter that you can't see that it's Samburu people dancing in Kenya? I don't think so...it leaves one wondering what it could be, right?

More movement, more abstraction...I heard a lecture recently by a biochemist who explained that life on earth was created 4 billion years ago, when inorganic gases (like methane, hyrogen and ammonia) were struck by lightning, forming the first amino acids and sugars that eventually gave birth to single-cell life...which ultimately led to Earth's huge biodiversity. So, we owe fire a huge debt, I'd say...

More movement, more abstraction...I heard a lecture recently by a biochemist who explained that life on earth was created 4 billion years ago, when inorganic gases (like methane, hyrogen and ammonia) were struck by lightning, forming the first amino acids and sugars that eventually gave birth to single-cell life...which ultimately led to Earth's huge biodiversity. So, we owe fire a huge debt, I'd say...

It was almost dark when I took this image, so had to use a slowish shutter speed...the light on the women's bodies is coming from the fire.

It was almost dark when I took this image, so had to use a slowish shutter speed...the light on the women's bodies is coming from the fire.

Sparks from the fire, with warriors behind...my favourite image from the dance.

Sparks from the fire, with warriors behind...my favourite image from the dance.

Breeding herd of elephants drinking from Ewaso Ng'iro River, in Samburu National Reserve, to the east of Sasaab Lodge. Note the beautiful doum palm trees in the background, a distinctive feature of this part of Kenya. Interestingly, it's commonly found on the Arabian peninsula too...this part of Kenya really does have an Arabic/North African feel to it.

Breeding herd of elephants drinking from Ewaso Ng'iro River, in Samburu National Reserve, to the east of Sasaab Lodge. Note the beautiful doum palm trees in the background, a distinctive feature of this part of Kenya. Interestingly, it's commonly found on the Arabian peninsula too...this part of Kenya really does have an Arabic/North African feel to it.

This big bull came wading across the river towards us, then gave us a shake of his head to scare us a little...just to make sure we knew our place in the heirarchy of this wild land.

This big bull came wading across the river towards us, then gave us a shake of his head to scare us a little...just to make sure we knew our place in the heirarchy of this wild land.

Mikey and Tanya and kids admiring the ellies...

Mikey and Tanya and kids admiring the ellies...

Samburu superhero Sessen, friend and ally of the Carr-Hartleys, saying hi to the ellies...despite poaching in the region, the elephants in this part of Samburuland are mostly relaxed around vehicles.

Samburu superhero Sessen, friend and ally of the Carr-Hartleys, saying hi to the ellies...despite poaching in the region, the elephants in this part of Samburuland are mostly relaxed around vehicles.

Sessen, putting me out of a job. He's certainly a more accomplished photographer than I am a Samburu warrior!

Sessen, putting me out of a job. He's certainly a more accomplished photographer than I am a Samburu warrior!

I think Reticulated Giraffe are the most photogenic of all seven species in Africa. Their patterns are sharply delineated, and reminds me of caked mud patterns on a drying lake.

I think Reticulated Giraffe are the most photogenic of all seven species in Africa. Their patterns are sharply delineated, and reminds me of caked mud patterns on a drying lake.

This wonderful creature, my friends, is a gerenuk. Found only in the Horn of Africa region, to me it looks like a cross between a giraffe and an impala.

This wonderful creature, my friends, is a gerenuk. Found only in the Horn of Africa region, to me it looks like a cross between a giraffe and an impala.

Breeding herd of elephants drinking from the Ewaso Ngiro River in Samburu National Reserve.

Breeding herd of elephants drinking from the Ewaso Ngiro River in Samburu National Reserve.

"This is my land, humans!" A bull elephant in the wild is always magnificent to see, and there are many in Samburuland.

"This is my land, humans!" A bull elephant in the wild is always magnificent to see, and there are many in Samburuland.

Samburuland is home to the rare and endangered Grevy's Zebra. Their dense, narrow striping makes them noticeably different from the common and mountain zebra species. This species has declined precipitously because of livestock grazing pressure and poaching pressure. In 1977, there were 14 000. Today there are fewer than 2 700.

Samburuland is home to the rare and endangered Grevy's Zebra. Their dense, narrow striping makes them noticeably different from the common and mountain zebra species. This species has declined precipitously because of livestock grazing pressure and poaching pressure. In 1977, there were 14 000. Today there are fewer than 2 700.

Looking north towards the Matthews Mountain range in Samburuland.

Looking north towards the Matthews Mountain range in Samburuland.

The welcome sign at Samburu National Reserve, with a painting of Kamunyak, a lioness who adopted several oryx calves, and protected them for a while.

The welcome sign at Samburu National Reserve, with a painting of Kamunyak, a lioness who adopted several oryx calves, and protected them for a while.

Dignified always...this elderly woman was the quintessence of a hard life lived with equanimity.

Dignified always...this elderly woman was the quintessence of a hard life lived with equanimity.

Even though she was an elderly woman, the spirit of a young woman still seemed to be present.

Even though she was an elderly woman, the spirit of a young woman still seemed to be present.

Making connection, without words.

Making connection, without words.

Hello!

Hello!

The future of Africa in her hands...

The future of Africa in her hands...

Old traditions predominate, but the Samburu adopt the technology they want...and leave the rest.

Old traditions predominate, but the Samburu adopt the technology they want...and leave the rest.

A moment from daily life in Samburuland..

A moment from daily life in Samburuland..

Samburu moran

Samburu moran

Note the AK47, and the look.

Note the AK47, and the look.

Samburu warriors on the banks of the Ewaso Ngiro River.

Samburu warriors on the banks of the Ewaso Ngiro River.

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