Oloololo Escarpment: Maasai Dreaming


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Night on the Mara River – darkness wraps round, close as a Maasai’s blanket.  It is cold, too, on the river’s bend. We press closer the campfire, our white faces soon roasting red. No one speaks. There’s too much to listen for. A hyena whoops across the water?  It sounds close. It sounds unearthly, sending shock waves through vulnerable bones – mine, conjuring packs of predators, out there, circling our ring of light. And even as I think it the Maasai are on us.  Six warriors, spears in hand and naked to the waist.  Their leader tosses his ostrich-feather head-dress that looks like a lion’s mane.  He is fearless.  He is lion.

Then the singing starts, a nasal falsetto that resonates through time and space – the winds’ whine through Mara grasses.  The Maasai girls trip lightly into the firelight, their wraps like flames – yellow, red; close-cropped heads hung with beads; chins jutting forward as the crescent necklets – tiny beads so patiently strung – rise and fall on skinny chests.  The moran start to leap – higher, faster.

excerpt from Dances With Warriors © 2014 Tish Farrell

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51 thoughts on “Oloololo Escarpment: Maasai Dreaming

  1. This is stunning, Tish, both photo and prose. I visited some of the associated posts and your photos of the wildlife are extraordinary. It’s as if you were walking among them. And wasn’t that Maasai warrior magnificent?
    You’ve such a wealth stored away in your archives. I really must find the time to take a stroll through them occasionally. I can think of no better way to spend a few hours. 🙂

  2. I remember a time when I spent the night in Masai Mara. I slept inside the tent with a friend. After 10 pm, the switched off everything. It was really silent and I could hear everything, even the sound of animals from the far. I felt so peace that I couldn’t describe by words. It was incredible experence.

  3. Love this, Tish. You wove us a time capsule. I’m not sure if you meant “closer to”

    We press closer the campfire, our white faces soon roasting red.

    (Feel free to delete this part of comment.)

    Beautiful and evocative.


    1. Thanks for your lovely comment, Diana, and also for your sharp eye. There probably should be a ‘to’ in there. I’m not sure now whether I meant there to be one or not. I think in English English, without is also acceptable. Anyway, you’ve got me thinking, which is always handy 🙂

  4. What a great experience that must have been Tish and what a view! Stunning capture! It made me feel as if I was there with you. 😀 ♥

  5. Very well captured and fascinating, just perfect for letting the thoughts fly
    and dreams to arrive in the space those thoughts left in the head… 🙂

    – add very interesting words too, really enjoyed it… 🙂

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