February 18, 2013

Out of Africa

The country that inspired Karen Blixen to write his famous Out of Africa, has been one of my favorite trips ever. Until then, only knew Tunisia form African continent, and in this trip I could discover tribal cultures and film’ landscapes.

Would you like to travel through the heart of Africa? You won’t be disappointed. Here are seven reasons why you can’t missed this stunning country: 

Photo Safari 

The word safari means "journey" in Swahili and Ernest Hemingway was one of the first person to do so in 1.933, although formerly safaris were not like now. Fortunately, hunting was banned in Kenya in 1.977 and there are severe laws to control furtive hunters.

To get on this pure nature "journey", and have the opportunity to watch the most amazing animals in their natural habitat, one of the best choices is the photographic safari. Personally, I love photography and I Kenya left me some images difficult to forget.
I couldn’t imagine has such a variety of wildlife at Lake Nakuru, from pelicans to rhinos. In this photo, a family of buffalos drinking water.

My advice is to forget the rush and enjoy the pictures. Be very careful, because at any moment may appear in front of you the largest elephant or the hungriest hyena
The impassive gaze of the lion, Kenya's national symbol, clearly dominate the scene we saw from the van. Until you see it up close, I couldn’t imagine how shocking it was.

The Great Migration

You have certainly heard of the great migration of millions of wildebeest and zebra from the Serengeti in Tanzania to Masai Mara National Park in Kenya.


It is a unique spectacle: every year, these animals cross the Mara River between July and October when the rainy season ends to find green grass in Masai Mara. Not all survive this test, many of them fall by the wayside. The lack of food, the lions and hyenas lurking, attached to the crocodiles that lie ahead across the river, it becomes a challenge for these animals.


African culture

The first human footprints that were marked on Kenyan soil were printed in 2.000 BC by nomadic tribes of Ethiopia. 

In the fifteenth century, the Portuguese came in looking for money and spices, who plundered the country and implemented a harsh colonial regulation.  

After long battles, the country had no interest for Germany and Britain, until the mid-nineteenth century. 

In late 1880, the Masai tribes entered a brutal civil war that left famine and disease through the Rift Valley. This weakness among tribes, attracted the British, who seized power and all the fertile land belonging to the Masai, who were housed in small reserves.


As opposition to colonial rule, African National Union emerged, formed mainly by ethnic Kikuyu. In 1.963, Kenya gained independence from the British.

Currently, there are about 70 tribal groups in Kenya and despite Western influence, the “tribe, remains the most important element in the identity of individuals.


Masai traditional dance that I enjoyed during my stay in the Masai Mara Park

This is one of my favorite pictures I took in Kenya. Every time I see motivates me and my memories are activated, Maasai women left their mark on me, and this particular one has stayed in my memory.

Unique ecosystem

A trip to Kenya is not complete without a visit to Lake Nakuru, considered the greatest bird spectacle on Earth, with over 450 species of birds. A fusion of colors pink and white from flamingos and pelicans that are reflected in the water, is a spectacular image.  
 

This National Park was declared a rhino sanctuary in 1.987 and thus were protected from furtive hunters. It's easy to find them quietly grazing on the shores of the Lake.




Ballooning over Masai Mara 

Masai Mara is the most popular National Park in Kenya, it is more of a protected reserve than a park, where 5 of the Earth's most spectacular animals live together: elephants, lions, buffaloes, leopards and rhinos


The reserve is divided into three sections: the Mara Triangle, Sekenani and Musiara.

It's not easy to get an idea of ​​how big this reserve of 1,510 square km is, until you get on a hot air balloon and watch the vast, full of contrasts and colorful arid savannah. From the top, you can figured out the border between Tanzania and Kenya, and you could watch thousands of wildebeest and antelope grazing in the park after the rainy season. If you have good eyes, you can even catch a glimpse of lions hunting in live and direct, hyenas or vultures fighting for a dying zebra.


My first balloon ride at sunrise over the wonderful Masai Mara, the animals looks so tiny, the scenery is amazing, there are no words to describe it...
In another post I will explain in detail my first experience on the balloon and publish the photos that we took that are amazing! 

Crossing the Ecuador 

What a surprise when we stopped in the middle of the road and crossed the Ecuador of the Earth, that divides the Planet's surface into two parts, the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere.
We made a brief stop, where we were taught how water from a bucket turned to the right or left depending on which side of the hemisphere where we found ourselves. Tourist stop but so curious!


Sleeping in nature 

Do you know the difference between staying in a lodge and tented-camp? 
In a tented-camp, you can enjoy a huge canvas tent set on wooden posts and recreate the atmosphere of the old classic safaris. Inside the tents are full of details, bathroom, closet, mosquito nets... More than a tent, look like luxury suites made of cloth.


The lodge is the most popular accommodation in safaris and consist of bungalows and cottages, with common areas like a hotel: reception, restaurant, meeting rooms and some even have swimming pools. 

A different type of lodge, mountain lodge, is typical of the Aberdare National Park. It’s made by wood and built on high so that animals, especially elephants, have no direct access to the accommodations. All rooms have windows and balconies to observe the nocturnal habits of animals, as if you were in a documentary.



Whichever accommodation you decide to choose, sleep in a National Park surrounded by nature is a once in a lifetime experience. There is no better way to disconnect from the world, to try African delights and sit to read a Karen Blixen book with Savannah as background.

In further posts I will tell you in detail the route I did during the ten days I spent in Kenya.


Asante Sana! Thank you and I hope you enjoy the post!

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