At last yesterday, Friday November 10, at ten in the morning, Dismus and I trundled away from the seething mass of bureaucratic compromises that daily permeates existence here in the city of Arusha. In less than an hour, fossil oils fueling the old blue Land Rover, we had put a million years between ourselves and the dark-day rain puddles of the twenty first century African street. Yes! We were back in the sparkling silence of a little desert, the one that is called Angyata Osugat.
Angyata in the Maasai language means a treeless expanse - a type of steppe to the ecologically-minded; and Osugat their name for the seasonal watercourse (a korongo or wadi) that drains the area northeastwards toward Lake Amboseli, just inside Kenya territory. The Angyata of the Osugat is indeed a unique fragment of the earth's surface, lying as it does between three towering volcanic giants: Kilimanjaro to the east, Longido to the north and Meru to the south - one that I have come to call in these gladiatorial days "The Arena of the Larks".