Entertainment – Tanzanian Style

Dancer in front of the band

Ornate costume

While I was in Tanzania, I had the opportunity to see a few traditional dance shows.  The first was at the Serena Serengeti Safari Lodge.  The dance troupe there quite large, and there was also a band with bongos and other traditional instruments I don’t know the names of.  The dancers had so much energy and joy as they came out before the crowd.  They were wearing traditional fabrics and accessories, and demonstrated this very physically taxing style of dance, that was so much fun to watch.  They clearly had a love for dance that showed itself in their movements.

One dancer in particular drew my attention.  It was a male dancer, and I found myself smiling as I watched him move.  Not because I necessarily found him attractive or anything like that – just because he brought so much energy and humor to his style of dance.  The guy was, simply put, a total ham and made me laugh out loud – which is a reaction that isn’t normally elicited from me very often from a dance performance.  This clip of the dancer/comedian’s performance will show you what I mean:

I thoroughly enjoyed my first introduction to Tanzanian dance, and would soon have another, at the next hotel I would stay at in Tanzania.

Our shared porch - perfect for relaxing!

After my game drive from the Serengeti, I met my friends, D&E, at the Ngorongoro Farm House, where we had booked two rooms for two nights…. or at least so we thought.  When we arrived, they had no record of our booking, though we had already paid for our rooms through an Arusha-based tour organizer.  Luckily, the hotel was not fully booked, and they were able to give me a room right away until we could sort everything out once D&E arrived with the driver.  Instead of taking their car (which has some occasional issues with not wanting to start up) and then hiring someone near the NCA to take us on a game drive, it made more sense for them to hire someone to drive them from Arusha to the park, and then that person would serve as our safari guide as well and drive us back to Arusha the day after our visit to the Crater.  Not only did that mean that we had a more secure vehicle to make the whole trip, but it also made sense financially to do it this way.  So D&E arrived with our

My room was so spacious (and since it had 2 beds) I thought maybe they had put all 3 of us in one room! But no, for $65/night, this was all mine!!

driver and met me at the Ngorongoro Farm House for the night.  Of course, in their absence I managed to have a few little mishaps like dropping my camera and damaging it so that it would no longer focus (thankfully, I still had my underwater, shock proof, freeze proof Canon D10 which I could use for the remainder of my trip) and then I dropped my cell phone into some water and totally killed it.  Thankfully, the hotel staff was very nice and helpful, and they called D&E for me to let them know that they’d have to wait until they arrived to talk to me, as the phone in my room wasn’t working either.  Totally cut off from the outside world (there was also no internet in the rooms), I went to have some lunch, and then took a lovely nap until D&E arrived.  They were given the room right next to mine, and we had a shared porch, so when they arrived we just relaxed on the porch for a while.  Then, not much later and just before dinner, the hotel offered a cocktail hour with entertainment, so we sat outside, had a couple of drinks and settled in for the show.

Dancers/singers/musicians behind fire pit

The show was on a lovely porch, and we got to see a lovely sunset as they prepared it.  They lit a fire in the fire pit, and the much smaller dance crew came out.  Their costumes & style were a bit more conservative and, perhaps, more traditional as well than the group in the Serengeti.  They performed a song and dance for the group, much to the amusement of all of the guests.

As a side note (in the “ain’t it a small world” vein), the group that sat down at the table next to ours was familiar to me.  They were the older trio of tourists who were all alumni of my university back in Canada who I had met over lunch at the Serena Serengeti Safari Lodge one day.  This laid back and well-traveled trio of travelers didn’t even see me when they sat down next to us, though we quickly said our hellos and exchanged pleasantries and tales of travels since we had last seen one another.

Anyway, as the performers got ready to do the second song, it was audience participation time.  E and I were pulled up to our feet, and one of my Canadian friends from the next table was brought up as well.  A younger (possibly American) teenager was brought up as well – very unwillingly.  I will say, none of us were too eager to be brought up there, but she was definitely the least excited about it.  In fact, she folded her arms and stood there with her hip thrust out to the side a bit in a defiant stance, refusing to participate while the rest of us were better sports and made fools of ourselves.  I felt really silly, but am really glad that D only thought to take pictures and not video.  So, sorry, no video of that, but here’s a video of the professionals during the first song!

The next morning, we set out from our hotel first to go to the Ngorongoro Crater for a day of animal-watching.  More on that in the next post.

One response to “Entertainment – Tanzanian Style

  1. Pingback: Animals of the Ngorongoro Crater, part 2 « Chitalian Travels·

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