Africa

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A cited experience of Africa
      Traveling through the eastern Africa, Kilimanjaro, Mount Meru, great rift valley, hills, dust, grasslands and unpaved roads has been wonderful and a memorable experience. Land might have been barren and dry but full of life and surprises. Visit to Masai village was an eye opening experience. Along with wild animals, they are also facing the wrath of climate change and drought. They rely heavily on their cattle as an asset, wealth and source of living. For ages they have developed their society, culture and tradition by being a wanderer rather than being an agrarian. They live on cattle milk, blood and meat and never hunt wild animals for meat or skin. Now years of drought have shrunk the grasslands and their cattle either need to travel long distances to find the grasslands or compete with other wild animals for the nearest water bodies and other resource. Even though people might not have enough food and clothing for their basic needs but they are still humble and polite. This was Africa a memorable experience

- Anonymous

The following is an experience from Ajay K. Yadav. He was polite enough to recount his adventure.

DAY 1 We landed in Nairobi, capital of Kenya. Whole day was spend exploring Nairobi and its local attractions. We visited Elephant Orphanage and Girrafe Orphanage. Both the centers are run by volunteer organizations supported and funded by several government and private organizations. They adopt young elephant and giraffe calves who have fallen victim to poaching and human encroachment. Last stop of the day was Karen Dixter’s house which is converted into a museum and common stop for foreign travelers.
DAY 2 We started driving early morning to our next destination Amboseli national park. Amboseli is geographically placed on the southern western region of Kenya. Under the shadow of Kilimanjaro Amboseli national park if full of African wild life. Even though last couple of year’s draught have reduced the spread of water bodies and foliage but park still has plenty of wild lives to sustain. Around the lakes, it is easy to spot wild elephants, wilder beasts, hippos, wild buffalos, zebras, gazelles, water bucks, impalas and crown cranes.
DAY 3 We stayed overnight in Amboseli national park and left early morning for game drive and hunting animals in their natural habitat for camera shooting. If early morning game drives had magnificent Kilimanjaro in its backdrop with its glittering snow peak than afternoon drive had sand devils (as locals refer to whirlwinds) and carcasses stench to add the dramatic effect to the glorious landscape.
DAY 4 After another night stay in Amboseli, we started next day drive to Tanzania. We crossed the border and made our way to Arusha in the northern Tanzania. It took us almost eight hours to reach Arusha. After long hours of drive including several unpaved and pit holed stretches I was tired and had several head bumps. Arusha is considered as Geneva of African continent. After enjoying our late lunch and short rest, we spent our evening in Lake Manyara national park. Lake Manyara is on the plains of Great Rift Valley and because of the climate change only one third of the original 300km square lake is left. It used to be one of the many hot spots for flamingo lovers. But as the lake shrunk, flamingoes have moved many miles inwards and visible as pink spots for the visitors like us who travel in the dry season. Park around the lake is full of Baboons, elephants, hippos, giraffe, gazelle, impalas, blue monkey and many more birds native to this region.
DAY 5 On 5th day of our trip we arrived to Ngorongoro in the late morning hours. Ngorongoro is two and a half million old caldera considered as the eden of Africa. It’s one of the few places in Africa where all the Big 5 (Buffalo, Elephant, Leopard, Lion, Rhino) can be seen without traveling distances. Ngorongoro is different than what I imagined it to be. Most of the caldera has dried up and there is not enough water and grass for animals. Once it had a big pool of fresh water but today water pool looks like a smudge on one corner of the arid landscape. That night we camped at the edge of the crater.
DAY 6 We spend next couple of game drives spotting lion pride, gazelle, zebras, wilder beast, Buffalo, Elephants, warthog, Hippo and single black Rhino. That day we decided to enjoy our lunch on the edge of a lake while witnessing wild elephants and other wild animals on the other side of the lake. Moments later we found ourselves sitting inside the van, not because it was hot but eagles flying above us started swooping and attacking on our lunch boxes like a prey.
DAY 7 Next day we left the Ngorongoro camp early in the morning with our luggages and started travelling west towards the Olduvai Gorge. Olduvai Gorge is famous for Leaky couple and their findings in 19th Century. They were the first ones to find the foot steps marking of early Hominids. Historians and Paleontologist believe that Hominids along with several other prehistoric animals fled north to avoid the geographical calamities of the region– “One small step of a Hominid, one giant leap for Homoerectus”. We entered Serengeti national park late in the afternoon. There are no signs of human habitat on either sides of the unpaved and unmarked road. Whole landscape is flat, torrid, dusty and as it name says “Endless”. After travelling for kilometers, we stop at the first and only cluster of Acacia trees in the middle of endless plains. We refresh and reenergize ourselves with our packed lunch boxes. As we drove west of Serengeti, occasionally we spotted cheetahs, Eland (biggest antelope of the continent) and leopard. As we were approaching closer to our campsite, landscape transformed from arid and austere to ambrosial and lush. Our tour guide mentioned that last few weeks of rain has turned this region into heaven for wilder beast and zebras.
DAY 8 Next morning I got up early with the sound of some animals rubbing next to my tent. I had to wait for the first morning light to recognize the animal. As I came out of my tent, I can see a herd of wild buffalo grazing next to my tent. At some distance giraffes have stopped masticating and inquisitively gazing at me. In our early morning drive, we encounter thousands of migrating wilder beasts, dashing towards the savanna. It is a spectacular show of the nature which leaves one agape and spell bounded. Millions of wilder beast following few zebras, as zebras can smell rain for miles. Each drive was new adventure and every action was new choreography of the nature.
DAY 9 We exit the Serengeti from the west end in the late morning hours and doive towards the north western hills of Tanzania to enter back into Kenya. We touched the banks of Lake Victoria, the largest lake in Africa and third largest water body of fresh water on Earth. It was a long drive and before we reached our camp in Masai Mara, sun moved to other side of the horizon. Masai Mara is an extended part of the Serengeti and named differently as it falls in Kenya. Plains in the Masai Mara looked exsiccate and in contrast to the central Serengeti.
DAY 10 Next day we visited local Masai village to meet the warriors and get acquainted and understand their living style. We drove around in different parts of Mara looking for lions, elephants, cheetahs, surveal cats, Hyenas and many other herbivores. On the last drive we spotted two lionesses with their 5 cubs. Cubs were mischievous, cunning, ferocious and full of joy and energy. When one of the lionesses started feeding and nursing to the cubs, I was hypnotized to the moment in amazement. In the light of evening sun, each and every part of their body and move shined, reflected and added to the musing, romantic and enchanting time. Sunset is really spectacular in Mara. As evening approaches, clouds starts rolling in along the horizon and filtering the golden rays falling on the never ending plains. Rest of the sky would be dusky and upper clouds will have thin shimmering line to highlight their contours. Slowly night covers the whole sky and all the shining stars will start twinkling out of their hiding masks. Milky Way looks gigantic and gorgeous, completely unscathed and untouched by urban noise
DAY 11 We left the Masai mara early in the morning and started heading back to Nairobi. This was the last day of our trip and great experience in the wilderness of the Africa. We spent evening in Nairobi shopping souvenirs for friends and families back at home. In the night we left Nairobi and Africa with a memorable journey and flew back to our respective destinations.

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These photos used in this website are courtesy of Ajay Kumar Yadav. He is the legal owner and hold all rights to all the pictures.
Any usage of the pictures outside of this website is prohibited without proper permission from him. To see more works of Mr. Yadav's work please visit http://ajayky.blogspot.com/.