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Two Maasai Warriors Came To My Rescue At An African Safari Camp


africa tribal masai

With nightly rates upwards of $1,500 and out-of-this-world accommodations, luxury safaris are some of the best vacations out there.

But that doesn't mean that everything about them is luxurious.

During a recent press trip to Tanzania where I spent six nights in four different safari lodges all of them lovely, unique, and with first-rate service I quickly learned that safaris are not for everyone. Especially for people who like the convenience of a hotel.

In a hotel, reaching the front desk is as simple as picking up the telephone. In the bush, it's a little more elaborate.

The following story is slightly embarrassing, but it illustrates what I mean.

After returning from an evening game drive, I returned to my room  really a private lodge a dozen yards from my next-door neighbor and realized that the bag containing my passport, wallet, and cellphone was missing. Since we were at a tiny camp more than a hundred miles from any other people, I hadn't bothered to lock it in the safe (lesson learned!)

There was no phone to call the front desk or a front desk at all, for that matter. It was after dark, and like all of the safari camps I'd stayed at, I couldn't leave my room without a security escort.

It was an hour and a half before I would be picked up for dinner. I was completely alone, and I totally panicked.

beho beho hotel selous tanzania

Not knowing what else to do, I picked up the air horn I was told to use in case of an emergency presumably, some sort of animal encounter and blew it.

Within a minute, two Maasai warriors with spears tucked into their traditional red robes were sprinting to my door. I later learned that many safari camps and even businesses in cities like Dar es Salaam hire them as security guards.

Since there were no phones, one of the guards left to find a manager, while the other stood silently and watched as I paced the room and fought back tears. Thankfully, he didn't laugh too hard when a bat flew into the room and I shrieked.

Eventually, the first guard returned with the manager, who promised to sort the matter out and left to talk to the head housekeeper. In the meantime, I found my passport bag in a cabinet the housekeeper must have put it there for safekeeping, and it was the one place I hadn't bothered to check.

But since I couldn't get in touch with the manager after he left, I had to wait 15 minutes for him to return to my room so I could let him know I'd worried him for nothing. He had a good sense of humor about it, but I was pretty mortified.

For what it's worth, it was the low point of an incredible adventure, and something I was able to laugh about by the time I got to dinner.

It was also a good reminder that many of the best safari camps are truly remote and off the grid. And that's what travelers love about them.

But if you like being able to reach the hotel switchboard on speed dial at any hour, you may want to stick with a Caribbean cruise.

Disclosure: Our trip to Tanzania, including travel and lodging expenses, was sponsored by the Tanzania Tourist Board, Africa Adventure Company, Singita Grumeti Group, Coastal Aviation, Qatar Airways, Tanzania National Parks, Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority and Wildlife Division.

SEE ALSO: What It's Like To Stay At The Best Hotel In The World

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