One of our safari-goers set out to experience Tanzania’s Great Migration and came back with beautiful sketches of the Maasai people and a herd of elephants. Enjoy!
Earlier this year my wife and I encouraged two other couples to join us on Tanzania: The Great Migration Safari with Wilderness Travel. The Wilderness team certainly delivered what we were looking for in every respect.
My wife and I have been privileged to travel extensively, and on previous trips, I have occasionally kept a sketch diary in which I have attempted to capture some of the highlights of our trips in pen, ink, and/or watercolor. I should point out that I am very much an amateur, and sketch and paint for my own enjoyment. Recently, I was introduced to the iPad Pro and a clever App called Adobe Sketch. The accompanying sketches and paintings were rendered on the iPad Pro. The process is much the same as using any of the typical mediums, including charcoal, pen, watercolor, pastel, and oils. However, for me, it came with a steep learning curve. These are my first attempts. I concentrated on the vibrant clothing and ornamentation of the wonderful Maasai people, especially of our Maasai guide, Lekoko. The final painting in this series is a scene of an elephant family at a waterhole—I now appreciate the challenge all artists face in capturing the realism and spirit of these wonderful creatures.
A Maasai mother with a child. Although this sketch is in black and white, I tried to capture the textures of the colorful clothing… each layer a different pattern and hue. I was also surprised to see that almost all of Maasai cloths have a plaid weave.
This black and white sketch of Lekoko, our Maasai guide, again shows off the wonderful textures of the Maasai clothing and the exquisitely designed armbands and necklaces.
This watercolor painting of Lekoko really shows the vibrancy of the colors of the Maasai clothing. Maasai men predominately appear to wear shades of red.
This watercolor is of an old lady I photographed in one of the towns we drove through. I wasn’t certain if she was a Maasai or not. Again I was struck by the vivid color in her plaid shawl and the intricate pattern in her head scarf.
In one of the Maasai villages we visited, these two ladies caught my eye because of their neck rings, intricate earrings and, in one of the paintings, the extended ear lobes.
This watercolor is of an elephant family at a waterhole. When I took the photograph I was taken by how serene the scene was with the mother elephant, baby, and juvenile in the foreground and the other elephants in the background.
Like so many of us in this digital age who have been fortunate enough to adventure travel, we find ourselves culling through many hundreds, or even thousands, of wonderful photos trying to pair them down to a realistic number for a portfolio or slide show. This is extremely difficult to do as each one of our images takes us back to that special moment.
This has been a rewarding journey for me in my recent retirement, to reconnect with an artistic passion that I have always had, but never had the opportunity to fully develop. The stimulation of the whole African experience makes it that much easier. Thank you to Wilderness Travel for delivering an unforgettable experience.
—Text and artwork by 3-time WT adventurer W. Larry Roberts, Tanzania: The Great Migration Safari.