Name ID 1618
Bechky, Allen Adventuring in East Africa
Extract Date: 1990
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.