Views from Abroad: Tanzania

Maasai Village, Ngorongoro Conservation Area Highlands, Tanzania

Ngorongoro Conservation Area Highlands


Sunset on Lake Manyara, Tanzania

Lake Manyara


Olduvai Gorge or Oldupai Gorge, Tanzania

Olduvai Gorge or Oldupai GorgE


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People, People Who Need People

Maasai Villagers

I went to Kenya and Tanzania on a National Geographic Journey with G Adventures tour. G Adventures, a Canadian travel company, supports community development projects in areas in which they do tours. In Tanzania, we visited a village where brick stoves and chimneys were being installed in homes by the Maasai Stoves and Solar Project. Before the installation of the cleans stoves, houses had no ventilation, and all the smoke from the cooking fires stayed inside, causing a variety of health problems. On most of our 14-day journey we were asked not to take pictures of the local people, who do not appreciate the constant cameras of tourists (except at tourist venues such as Maasai culture shows). In the village, however, we were invited to take photographs.

Meriku, the homeowner who was having a stove installed.

Meriku, the lovely woman who was having a stove installed, did not speak English but we connected with my few words of Swahili and her gracious hospitality. She was amazed at the camera on my cell phone. Our tour leader said that most villagers have never seen themselves because they generally don’t have mirrors. That will probably change with the spread of cell phones. We did see herders with phones but don’t know if they were smart phones or basic cell phones.

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Cute in Any Language

Mrembo Means Cute in Swahili

Three kids sitting in a tree in a village in Tanzania.

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Closed For Business

Abandoned storefront, Mto wa Mbu, Tanzania

Mto wa Mbu is a village of about 18,000 residents in Tanzania. It is a diverse town, with people from 120 different tribes living and working there. This building was on a backstreet we walked on during our tour of part of the village. The design is typical of  many storefronts we saw while driving through both urban and rural areas of Kenya and Tanzania.

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Foreign (Random Word Challenge)

Himba Village, Northern Namibia

The Himba people live in northern Namibia and southern Angola, and are considered the last semi-nomadic people of Namibia.  This village is in the Kunene Region. According to our guide, the Himba are the last Namibian tribes to still wear traditional ethnic clothing and animal skins. Women cover their skin with a red pigment made from a mixture of ochre and butterfat. Villages are supported by farming and herding. Some villages allow tourists to visit as a way to earn extra income.


Linked to Julie’s Random Word Photo Challenge

Sunday Stills: Green River

A River Runs Through It: The Maduganga Wetlands in Sri Lanka

Mangrove Forest, Madu Ganga Wetland, south-west Sri Lanka

Mangrove Forest, Madu Ganga Wetland, south-west Sri Lanka

While in south-west Sri Lanka, we took a cruise of the Madu Ganga River, a shallow body of water north of Galle that flows into the Indian Ocean. With a smaller lake, the Madu Ganga River forms the Maduganga Wetland.  The many mangrove islets along the river may be one of the last remaining tracts of pristine mangrove forests in Sri Lanka. The wetland has great ecological, biological and aesthetic significance, being home to 303 species of plants belonging to 95 families and to 248 species of vertebrate animals. The Maduganga Wetland was declared in 2003, in terms of the Ramsar Convention.

During the river cruise, we stopped at two islands.  One island, connected to the shore by a long walking bridge, is the home to 250 families. We walked into the village and the kids were all outside. The fence looks odd but it was just marking the edge of the school grounds, not keeping them locked up. Everyone stopped to watch us.

Young school children on island in Madu Ganga River, Sri Lanka


Kothduwa Island is the home of a lovely Buddhist temple, Koth Duwa Raja Maha Viharaya.



Sunday Stills, the next challenge: Green River

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