Though a straight line appears to be the shortest distance between 2 points, life has a way of confounding geography. Often it is the dalliances and the detours that define us. There are no maps to guide our most important searches; we must rely on hope, chance, intuition and a willingness to be surprised.

Monday, July 09, 2007

It Began in Afrika

(Shot of the trip???? On the morning of the second day, we did some game-spotting in the Serengeti. One ranger spotted a dead gazelle in a tree and when our landrovers arrived we spotted this leopard lying at the bottom of the tree. After a few minutes, he leapt into the tree and started devouring the gazelle. Just amazing to see these things happen. I nearly died when I saw this pic come out!)

Hey! I'm in Africa.

After a week I have so much to write about it it's just not funny. The next few updates are definitely going to be of the string of consciousness variety rather than the considered thoughtful commentary I usually like to (try to) come up with.

The internet is far too slow here and there's so much to do that any time I spend in the internet cafe is time lost when I could be seeing/doing something great.

So I arrived in Nairobi after a hellish trip from India. I was supposed to have a day to myself in Nairobi but I went straight to bed and joined the group I'm trucking round Africa with first thing in the morning.

The trip we are doing is a 54 day journey from Nairobi, Kenya to Capetown, S Africa. Some of the group have already spent 3 weeks in Kenya and Nairobi. This was the trip I was originally booked on to, and it's a bit of a shame that I missed out on trekking with the Gorillas which sounds like it must have been quite an experience.

(Meerkats in a classic pose.)

So we didn't hang about in Kenya - the first day's travel took us across the border into Tanzania where we spent two nights camping and visiting a local Masai Mara village. This was a great experience. The kids were absolutely adorable and it was great to see some genuine African village life, even though they were somewhat used to visitors.

(We got incredibly close to a lion and lionness just 20 minutes into the Ngorongoro crater. What an incredible place.)

After the second night, we had an early morning start on a two-day game-park trip to the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti.

I would have expected this to be one of the highlights of the African trip and wondered how it would feel to do this so early in the journey. Even on the first day in Africa - which was mostly spent on the truck the - the atmosphere felt special and Africa felt like somewhere exotic. How would a sight as famous and anticipated as the Serengeti bear-up?
(He's making tusks at me! While we were sitting at the side of a small lake having lunch an elephant appeared in the distance and slowly made its way right past us, through the edge of the lake and then walked off again. Unbelievable. At the point I took this picture, the park rangers started shouting to us to "back away from the elephant"!)

In short - it was mind-blowing! I saw... everything! Lions, lionnesses, leopard, cheetah, elephant, rhino, hippo, flamingo, zebra, giraffe, wildebeest, warthog, gazelle, ostrich, meerkats, water buffalo and quite possibly a lot of other things that I can't even remember. And most of these things we saw up close, the lions were almost close enough to reach out and touch. It was one of the best days of the year and not something that I'll ever forget.
(Lets get it o-on! This is the least explicit of a series of photos of mating lions. It's incredible how the animals just get on with things and completely ignore the landrovers. Apparently they dont perceive people in vehicles as people. But step outside of the car...)

I got some of the best pictures of the trip and have already looked over them so many times I'm worried about wearing out the buttons on my camera. I'm going to set up a flickr site and put more photos on there. I have at least twenty photos that I want to print out.

There should be more days like these over the next couple of months. We will be walking with lions at one point and swimming with elephants at another. I can't wait.

(Hangin time at the end of the day.)

1 comment:

Henry said...

you cant wait, I cant wait to see the photographs, get busy