Naabi Hill

Name ID 1406

See also

Bechky, Allen Adventuring in East Africa
Extract Date: 1990

Ol Kerien

One such riverbed comes from the mouth of the Ol Kerien[sic] Gorge. It makes a wonderful campsite: Maasai and wildlife are both in the vicinity and, with an eastern prospect of Lengai, its sunsets and sunrises are among the finest in Africa. There is no water except that which can be dug from the bed of the sand river, so campers cannot expect a good wash.

The main attraction of the gorge itself is the colony of Ruppell's Griffon vultures. Griffons are one of the commonest Serengeti vultures, their nesting sites are limited to a few suitable cliffs. Hundreds of birds roost and nest at Ol Kerien. In the mornings, they can be seen slowly circling above the gorge, waiting to catch the thermal air currents that will carry them effortlessly to the great Serengeti herds. The gorge is also used by the Maasai, who drive their cattle in to drink at wells that are laboriously dug in the stream bed. It is quite remarkable to be hiking in the narrow defile during such a cattle drive, when the lowing of the stock mingles eerily with the whistling of the herders. The Maasai around Ol Kerien see very few visitors, so contacts with them are completely authentic rather than canned tourist experiences.

From Ol Kerien, the track continues down the valley to Olduvai, but it is more interesting to cut cross country through Angata Kiti ('the little plain'), a pass in the Gol Mountains. Grassy prairies and hills of gleaming quartz-rich rock make the scenery reminiscent of Montana's butte country. Lines of migrating animals use the pass to move between the Salei Plain and the Serengeti. ... At the western mouth of the pass, you emerge onto the Serengeti Plain. A line of kopjes is a good place to rest and savour the moment. From here you drive cross country toward the Gol Kopjes, Naabi Hill, or Ndutu.

Extract ID: 3706

See also

Norton, Boyd The African Elephant: Last Days of Eden
Extract Date: 1991

Night pees

We camped that night at Naabi Hill in the eastern part of the 6000 square-mile Serengeti National Park. From the tent I heard hyenas giggling nearby and the scream of tree hyraxes. As usual I drank too much beer at supper and had to relieve a full bladder at 3:00 a.m. Unzipping the tent quietly, so as not to disturb others, I stumbled out into the darkness and walked thirty or forty feet away, whereupon I peed long and hard, shivering in the cold while looking up sleepily into a star-filled sky. Then back to the tent, almost missing it in the blackness of the moonless night. The next morning my guide informed me that he heard a tent unzip at 3:00 a.m. and he opened his own tent flap to peer outside. Shining his flashlight into the darkness, he spotted two large lions walking by. I did not drink any more beer at supper for the duration of our stay in the Serengeti. It's easy to forget that there are still things here that will make a meal out of frail humans. On the other hand it's nice to know that, in some respects, this wilderness has remained the same since the Pleistocene began.

Or, as Edward Abbey once said, "it ain't really wilderness unless there's something out there that can eat you."

In a total of three trips to the Serengeti I feel as though I've barely scratched the surface of this vast land. Most of my wanderings have been confined to the eastern and central portions of the park, from Naabi Hill and Ndutu to the Simba Kopjes and the lovely Seronera Region, and to the Moru Kopjes with their colourful and mysterious Maasai cave paintings.

Extract ID: 3692