Friday, 28 November 2014

Destination Great Rift Valley

The one Sunday we had during the visit did not allow us to visit Masai Mara but the trip to Lake Nakuru more than made up for it. I have always associated Africa with a lone tree standing majestically in never ending expanse of openness. My excitement on the possibility of seeing such a tree was limitless.We started the drive from Nairobi early morning and slowly started leaving the buildings behind. The buildings were slowly and steadily replaced with species of trees I was seeing for the first time. Maybe it was that lonesome tree in my dreams, but the changing landscape was something I had never experience before. Yes! I was in Africa!


We were told by our driver cum guide that we had to drive through the Great Rift Valley to reach Lake Nakuru National park. I was clueless what it was till the plains showed itself through Acacia trees. The breath taking expanse of nothingness is broken only by the escarpments. We were told it contains multitude lakes, active and dormant  volcanoes. It runs all the way from Israel to Mozambique and is about 9600 kms.The first stop over was at the Great rift valley view point past Limuru town along Nairobi-Naivasha highway and on top of escarpment of the valley.


As one steps out of the comfort of the vehicle, the never ending plains sweeps in front of you. The kedong valley bed was the first glimpse of the archetypical landscape associated with Africa. The chill one experiences at  2140 m/7000 ft altitude gives way to disbelief at the vastness of the valley. A sweeping view with the horizon silver lining it is just breath taking.






After the stop over, we continued our journey and started descending to the bed of the gorge. What laid before us was a linear highway with 360 degree view lined with horizon. I would rate it as one of the most scenic drives. We were greeted by lakes at a distance like Lake Naivasha, Lake Elementaita, the most incredible looking candelabra trees, the yellow fever trees Acacia, extinct volcanoes like Mount Longonot.








The dramatic landscape was made even grander when  black and white strips at a distance caught my eyes. Was is it zebras? Nah....or so I thought. And then like a open Pandora box, we started coming across herds and herds of zebras along the highway. I was dying to observe them closely but our driver mentioned that more will be waiting for us at Lake Nakuru National park.I now can empathizes with the reaction of a visitor who comes across our livestock as well as the disinterest from the Kenyan driver. Lake Nakuru , here we come!

Date : November 2014
Place : Nairobi, Kenya

Tip : Pack munchies as highway is not on a plate.
First : Zebras along Highway
The travel connection : There is no limit to how much you'll know depending how far beyond ZEBRA you go- Dr. Seuss

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Destination Lake Nakuru National Park

Dream come true! Nothing more Nothing less! 

A perfect safari of 4 hours through the park with supposedly lucky sighting of almost all the prominent inhabitants. Only disappointment was that most of the flamingos had moved to another lake. So we didnt get to see the pink carpet covering the expansive lake. But nevertheless , one of the best 4 hours of my life. I hope to have many more such hours!


 
Speke's weaver

Water buck and Zebra 


 Black Backed jackal, Gazelle, Impala

The Big 5 - Lion

Ostrich

Grey crowned crane, Spur winged plover,Black smith plover/lapwing,Pied Avocet

 Flamingo, white pelican

Rhinoceros, Buffalo

Helmeted Guinea Fowl,Augur Buzzard,Lilac Breasted Roller,Common Buzzard,Martial Eagle juvi?,secretary bird

Giraffe, Baboon,Vervet Monkey

Date : November 2014
Place : Lake Nakuru National Park, kenya

Tip : Let go and enjoy!
First : Africa, Lion, Rhino, African Giraffe and so many more
The travel connection :Photography is pretty simple stuff. You just react to what you see, and take many, many pictures. Elliott Erwitt

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Destination Kenya

Some opportunities open up when you least expect them. My trip to Kenya can be considered as one of those opportunities. With the Ebola virus being in the news, not everyone was thrilled about my official trip.But with a shot of yellow fever vaccination and polio drops, I was all set to land at Nairobi. The unimpressive air Arabia had a stop over at Sharjah before we continued onwards to Nairobi. An interesting flight nevertheless!

Wake up call early morning

Over Dubai

The desert

Gulf of Aden/ Red sea

The first sight of the continent of Africa


Ethopia?

Nairobi is a city of contrasts. And we got to explore both the affluent  and underprivileged side. We were constantly warned by our cab driver to keep our windows up , to hold onto our cell phones, cameras and bags. The homeless were in and around all the time. The shanties unkept and needed cleaning. It was a contrast to the tall towers with immaculately dressed men and women in their expensive second hand cars from Japan going about their day in the CBD. An Indian would feel at home here. The only striking difference would be the traffic manners of the Kenyan. The grid locked city during peak hours behaves like a gentleman without honking or breaking any rules. Such a refreshing change.

We called the Sarova Panafric as our home at Nairobi. This hotel seem like one of the hotels /motels straight out of the 60's movies. A comfortable centrally located hotel with very few options for the vegetarians. But they more than made it up with their elaborate breakfast. Their buffet included Indian breakfast like uttappam, vada, sambar, poha, puri and believe it or not amazing breakfast.Of course I did try their local vegetarian cuisine which mostly comprised of steamed roots,plantain, greens, beans and vegetables.

Indians drive the business out there and one can come across quite a few of them. They also have exclusive Indian malls like any other place where one can purchase everything Indian.  The locals are friendly and nice.
 If I ever return to this country , it would be to experience Masai Mara.

Date : November 2014
Place : Nairobi, Kenya

Tip : Visit Kenya
First : African continent
The travel connection : There are no foreign lands. Its the traveler only who is foreign - Robert Louis Stevenson
“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” – Robert Louis Stevenson - See more at: http://africageographic.com/blog/21-top-travel-quotes/#sthash.eFbH9zbF.dpuf
“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” – Robert Louis Stevenson - See more at: http://africageographic.com/blog/21-top-travel-quotes/#sthash.eFbH9zbF.dpuf
“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” – Robert Louis Stevenson - See more at: http://africageographic.com/blog/21-top-travel-quotes/#sthash.eFbH9zbF.dpuf

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