Monday, 9 November 2009

Mikadi beach camp


At the entrance of the camp are Masai guards ­– employed to protect guests because the locals don’t mess with them. Inside, there are warning signs: ‘inside camp = safe; outside camp = not safe’.

The camp itself is located on the sea edge with white sands and warm sea but we are restricted to the camp beach; step beyond the masai guards at either end of the beach and there’s a high chance that you will be mugged. ‘Beach boys’ as they are known are basically thugs that prowl beaches looking for vulnerable tourists to mug. The result is a weird kind of apartheid with whites segregated to one section of the beach and locals to another section.

Next to Mikadi a massive party was underway (it was a Saturday, it was Hallowe’en and it was almost a full moon) with a local DJ banging out some tunes and trying his hand (nearly always unsuccessfully) at mixing. The beach was flooded with locals and it looked like they were having an amazing time. It would have been great to have joined them but we were told we weren’t to leave camp unless we were escorted by a masai.

On the beach a few kids were allowed into the area in front of camp and the boys started throwing a small rugby ball around with them and we got chatting to a couple of little girls who were swimming but unfortunately this was the sum total of the contact we had with people outside of camp. It was a very strange and very sad situation brought about by a few unsavoury thugs trying to make a quick buck.

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