Wake up to paradise at 5:30am:



And yet paradise is just a figure of expression, a figure of experience.



This is no different.



Spending a night and morning with them has been one of the most rewarding experiences in Africa so far, and there certainly would be a lot of competition in laying such a claim.



Not that it’s ever a competition, y’know.



And speaking of competition, there’s no bigger here than the number of Ankole Watusi cattle a herdsman may own when part of the Mundari tribe, one of the last groups of herdsmen living on the banks of the Nile and north of the capital Juba.



They are known for revolving their entire lives around rearing and caring for the “cattle of kings.”



Subsisting on a diet of only yogurt and milk, the Mundari’s Ankole Watusi cows can grow up to 8 feet tall, and are worth as much as $500-$1000 each now (double the cost of how much they were 7 years ago…I guess inflation counts here too).


And when I say 8 feet tall, I’m not sure anymore if I’m talking about the cow itself or their horns:



These cows are the Mundari’s most valuable assets, so much so that they give them massages twice a day and guard them with with AK-47s.



You also may see the Mundari showering under and drinking the cow’s urine, both to use as an antiseptic and to color their hair a desirable orange.



What completes this truly surreal experience is the smokey ash that comes from burning their excrement, which is collected around the clock and piled high into heaps before they’re lit aflame; the ash produced is also used as an antiseptic, sunscreen, and mosquito repellant.



And ever after seeing, witnessing, feeling, smelling, camping out under all this and transfixed by the whole atmosphere, we still summoned an appetite to feast multiple times by their camp and enjoy their company.



If we felt comfortable enough to sleep alongside them, then so did the cattle with making love alongside us:



After a gorgeous sunrise that we started this post with . . . 

Photo credit: Justin Martell

. . . and the tribe’s morning routines (where I even took care of one of the tribesman’s finger laceration), the camp packed up and headed out to their next spot and main village.



At 8am we waved farewell and drove back to Juba.



- At time of posting in North of Juba, South Sudan, it was 36 °C - Humidity: 29% | Wind Speed: 10km/hr | Cloud Cover: partly cloudy


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March 2023