Sunday, June 4, 2017

KENYA: A PHOTOGRAPHIC JOURNEY

KENYA:  A PHOTOGRAPHIC JOURNEY

WHEN YOU THINK OF AFRICA, ONE OF THE MAIN COUNTRIES OF AFRICA THAT MOST PEOPLE WILL THINK OF IS THE COUNTRY OF KENYA.  LOCATED ON THE EAST COAST OF AFRICA, IT IS A DIVERSE COUNTRY THAT HAS HAD SO MANY CHANGES IN IT'S GOVERNMENT, AND CULTURES, THAT IT IS HARD TO TALK ABOUT THAT AT ALL.  I ADMIRE THAT THE PEOPLE OF KENYA HAVE STAYED THE COURSE BECAUSE THEY LOVE THIS COUNTRY. 

AS WIKIPEDIA GIVES A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF KENYA:

Kenya has a warm and humid tropical climate on its Indian Ocean coastline. The climate is cooler in the savannah grasslands around the capital city, Nairobi, and especially closer to Mount Kenya, which has snow permanently on its peaks. Further inland are highlands in Central and Rift Valley regions where tea and coffee are grown as cash crops which are major foreign revenue earners. In the West are Nyanza and Western regions, there is an equatorial, hot and dry climate which becomes humid around Lake Victoria, the largest tropical fresh-water lake in the world. This gives way to temperate and forested hilly areas in the neighbouring western region. The north-eastern regions along the border with Somalia and Ethiopia are arid and semi-arid areas with near-desert landscapes. Kenya is known for its world class athletes in track and field and rugby. Thanks to its diverse climate and geography, expansive wildlife reserves and national parks such as the East and West Tsavo National Park, Amboseli National Park, Maasai Mara, Lake Nakuru National Park, Aberdares National Park and white sand beaches at the Coastal region, Kenya is home to the modern safari and has several world heritage sites such as Lamu and numerous beaches, including in Diani, Bamburi and Kilifi, where international yachting competitions are held every year.

The African Great Lakes region, which Kenya is a part of, has been inhabited by humans since the Lower Paleolithic period. By the first millennium AD, the Bantu expansion had reached the area from West-Central Africa. The borders of the modern state consequently comprise the crossroads of the Niger-Congo, Nilo-Saharan and Afroasiatic areas of the continent, representing most major ethnolinguistic groups found in Africa. Bantu and Nilotic populations together constitute around 97% of the nation's residents.[8] European and Arab presence in coastal Mombasa dates to the Early Modern period; European exploration of the interior began in the 19th century. The British Empire established the East Africa Protectorate in 1895, which starting in 1920 gave way to the Kenya Colony. Kenya obtained independence in December 1963. Following a referendum in August 2010 and adoption of a new constitution, Kenya is now divided into 47 semi-autonomous counties, governed by elected governors.

The capital, Nairobi, is a regional commercial hub. The economy of Kenya is the largest by GDP in East and Central Africa.[9][10] Agriculture is a major employer; the country traditionally exports tea and coffee and has more recently begun to export fresh flowers to Europe. The service industry is also a major economic driver. Additionally, Kenya is a member of the East African Community trading bloc.

With that information, it is obvious to me that this country is rich in beauty, wildlife and joyous celebration with the people of Kenya. I was able to find a great website about the country of Kenya that tells about what you can find to do, what to see, and places to visit in Kenya.  So, let's just briefly show you some of the great places to see in Kenya:


THE GIRAFFE CENTER:

The AFEW (African Fund for Endangered Wildlife) Giraffe Centre is located in Langata, just outside Nairobi.
The centre has been ostensibly set up as a breeding centre for the endangered Rothschild giraffe, but now operates conservation/education programs for Kenyan school children.
There is good information on giraffes available here, and an elevated feeding platform where visitors meet the resident giraffes face to face.
Hand feeding giraffes is an education in itself. You will see, close at hand, how they use their long, prehensile tongues to remove leaves from prickly acacia branches.
The AFEW centre is also home to Giraffe Manor, a beautifully maintained colonial home, now an exclusive guesthouse.
The centre’s giraffe population wander freely through the lush gardens, and pay an occasional visit to the house itself, often pushing their heads through the French Windows to inspect the breakfast table.



DAVID SHELDRICK ELEPHANT ORPHANAGE

The Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage is located near Nairobi National Park. This orphanage for Elephant Calves and Rhinos from all over Kenya was founded and still managed by Daphne Sheldrick, the widow of one of Kenya’s best known Game Wardens David Sheldrick.
David Sheldrick was at the centre of the 1970’s Ivory poaching wars in Tsavo National Park.
Today, the Sheldrick orphanage is a focal point for Elephant Conservation.
Elephant calves orphanned by poaching are brought here from all over the country. They receive extremely specialized treatment here, and literally receive personal care 24 hours a day from highly dedicated staff who become surrogate mothers to the calves.
Eventually the calves are moved to Tsavo, where they are carefully reintroduced into wild herds.
The centre is open to the public each morning (11am-12pm)
At this time the calves are being exercised and bathed and visitors are free to watch. This is a good centre for general information on Elephants and their Conservation.



OL PEJETA CHIMPANZEE SANCTUARY

Ol Pejeta Ranch has created a sanctuary for Chimpanzees, working in close conjunction with the Jane Goodall Institute. While Chimpanzees are not native to Kenya, small endangered populations are found in the rainforests of neighbouring Tanzania and Uganda, and throughout Central and West Africa.
The refuge at Ol Pejeta has been designed as a safe haven for Chimps from Central Africa, rescued from the bush meat and pet trade.
All of the Chimps at Ol Pejeta were rescued from these kinds of conditions. They now roam free on a large island at the centre of the ranch where they have formed a large social group, and interact and breed freely.


KENYA'S LAKE SYSTEM:

The World Heritage Committee inscribed Kenya’s Lake Systems of Lake Bogoria, Lake Nakuru and Lake Elementaita on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2001
It comprises three inter-linked relatively shallow lakes in the Rift Valley Province of Kenya and covers a total area of 32,034 hectares.
The Lake System is home to 13 globally threatened bird species and some of the highest bird diversities in the world.
It is the single most important foraging site for the lesser flamingo anywhere, and a major nesting and breeding ground for great white pelicans.
Visitors to this great lakes in Kenya can also fine sizeable mammal populations, including black and white rhino, Rothschild’s giraffe, greater kudu, lion, cheetah and wild dogs and is valuable for the study of ecological processes of major importance.



MOUNT KENYA NATIONAL PARK:


The World Heritage Committee inscribed Mount Kenya National Park on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997

Mt Kenya, Africa’s second highest peak is regarded as the realm of Ngai, god of the local Kikuyu people. The mountain itself is an awe-inspiring sight with its ragged peaks, and equatorial snow.
Mount Kenya is surrounded by a belt of verdant forest that is an equally fascinating destination.
While the 5199 metre summit is a difficult technical climb, the lesser peak of Point Lenana (4985m) can be easily reached by any fit trekker. This trek takes between 3 and 5 days, through a fascinating world of forests, wildlife, unique montane vegetation including podocarpus and grounsel, and finally one of the world’s rarest sights, equatorial snow.


MIJIKENDA KAYA FORESTS:

The Mijikenda Kaya Forests consist of 11 separate forest sites spread over some 200 km along the coast containing the remains of numerous fortified villages, known as kayas, of the Mijikenda people.
The kayas, created as of the 16th century but abandoned by the 1940s, are now regarded as the abodes of ancestors and are revered as sacred sites and, as such, are maintained as by councils of elders.
The site is inscribed as bearing unique testimony to a cultural tradition and for its direct link to a living tradition.
The World Heritage Committee inscribed Mount Kenya National Park on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997


SAMBURU NATIONAL RESERVE:

Samburu National Reserve is one of the lesser-known national parks, but is nevertheless teeming with life.
Situated alongside the Ewaso Nyiro River, there is plenty to attract wildlife from the surrounding savannah plains.
The reserve is rich in wildlife with an abundance of rare northern specialist species such as the Grevy’s zebra, Somali ostrich, reticulated giraffe, gerenuk and the beisa oryx (also referred to as Samburu Special Five).
The reserve is also home to elephants and large predators such as the lion, leopard and cheetah. Kamunyak the miracle lioness that adopted the baby oryx was as a resident in the reserve.
Wild dog sightings are also a common attraction to this unique protected area. Birdlife is abundant with over 450 species recorded.




HELLS GATE NATIONAL PARK:

Hell’s Gate National Park covers an area of 68.25 square km and is situated in the environs of Lake Naivasha about 90 km from Nairobi. The park is 14 km after the turnoff from the old Nairobi-Naivasha highway.
It is characterized by diverse topography and geological scenery. It is an important home of the lammergeyer (The Bearded Vulture).
Hell’s Gate has two gates that are used by visitors – the main Elsa Gate and the Olkaria Gate. The latter also serves the Olkaria Geothermal Station that is located inside the National Park.


AMBOSELI NATIONAL PARK:

Amboseli lies immediately north-west of Mount Kilimanjaro, on the border with Tanzania. The Park covers 392 square km, and forms part of the much larger 3,000 square km Amboseli ecosystem.
Large concentrations of wildlife occur here in the dry season, making Amboseli a popular tourist destination. It is surrounded by six communally owned group ranches.
The National Park embodies five main wildlife habitats (open plains, acacia woodland, rocky thorn bush country, swamps and marshland) and covers part of a Pleistocene lake basin, now dry.
Amboseli is famous for its big game and its great scenic beauty – and the landscape is dominated by the towering Mount Kilimanjaro.


LAKE NAKURU NATIONAL PARK:

Lake Nakuru was first gazetted as a bird sanctuary in 1960 and upgraded to National Park status in 1968.
The Park has Kenya’s largest population of rhinos. The surface of the Lake Nakuru occupies about a third of the park. It supports a dense bloom of the blue-green Cyanophyte Spirulina platensis from which it derives its colour and is a food source for flamingos.
During peak season over millions of flamingos and Pelicans congregate on the lake.



BUFFALO SPRINGS AND SHABA NATIONAL PARK

The Isiolo District lies at the northern foot of Mt Kenya rising above the expansive range lands of northern Kenya.
The arid and semi-arid zones district sits as a divide between the populous agricultural highlands of the Mt. Kenya region and acts as a gateway into the vast lowlands of North Kenya inhabited by various nomadic pastoralist communities where wildlife and livestock freely co-exist.
Together with the adjacent Samburu, and divided by the river Ewaso Nyiro, the three reserves form a very popular tourist destination because of the diverse wildlife populations they support.
Unlike other wildlife areas in Kenya’s northern tourist circuit, the reserves, which are popularly known as the Samburu Ecosystem, sustain free ranging wildlife species both within the three reserves as well as far into community lands.
Climatic Conditions – Temperatures range from 30ºC during hottest months to 20ºC between July and September. Annual rainfalls range between 100mm to 300mm on average usually divided into two seasons, short rains in October/ November and long rains between February and May.
Wildlife – Besides normal species found elsewhere in Kenya, the area is a natural home to the five rare species known as the five northern species which are endemic to this area. They are Grevy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe, Beisa Oryx, Somali ostrich and the gerenuk. Shaba is also the home for the highly endangered Williamson’s lark. All these rare species can only be found inside this game reserve.

MOUNT KENYA:

Mt. Kenya, Africa’s second highest peak is regarded as the realm of Ngai, god of the local Kikuyu people. Traditionally, all Kikuyu home were built to face this sacred peak. They call it Kirinyaga, or place of light.
The mountain is an awe-inspiring sight. Its ragged series of peaks are crowned with snow, and its slopes are thick with forest. The mountain is best seen at dawn, when the days early light silhouettes its impressive summit high over the surrounding plains.
While the 5199 meter summit is a difficult technical climb, the lesser peak of Point Lenana (4985m) can be easily reached by any fit trekker. This trek takes between 3 and 5 days, through a fascinating world of forests, wildlife, and unique montane vegetation including pod carpus and groundsel, and finally one of the world’s rarest sights, equatorial snow.
For those who don’t want to climb the Mountain, now is a good time to learn about exercises for climbers for this expedition. The cool highlands that surround its base are well worth a visit. The forests are ideal for game viewing, and there are crystal clear mountain streams that abound with Trout….


NOW, HERE IS WHAT IS REALLY INTERESTING IN KENYA.  EVEN THOUGH I FOUND THIS WONDERFUL WEBSITE ABOUT KENYA, THERE ARE NO ACTUAL TOURISM GUIDES IN KENYA.  YOU MUST LOCATE INDEPENDENT GUIDES TO TAKE YOU AROUND THROUGH KENYA.  THERE IS NOT A GOVERNMENT RUN TOURISM GUIDE CENTER.  SO WHEN YOU GO TO KENYA, YOU MUST FIND A PERSONAL GUIDE TO TAKE YOU WHERE YOU WANT TO GO.  YOU CAN FIND THOSE GUIDES EITHER ON FACEBOOK BEFORE YOU GO, OR ADVERTISING.

I FEEL VERY FORTUNATE THAT ONE OF MY FRIENDS I HAVE FOLLOWING ME ON THIS BLOG SITE IS A PERSONAL GUIDE IN KENYA.  I WOULD LIKE TO INTRODUCE YOU TO MY FRIEND:

THIS IS MY FRIEND:  KIAMBI MAWIRA.

I have been working with him for some time to give me some more insight into Kenya.  Some pictures that he has provided for me of some of the sites he sees while on tour, as well as some of the things he knows about Kenya.

Here is a message about what Kiambi does in Kenya for a living:
Lordwell Mawira is a private tour guide in Kenya. Kenya is a country located in E.Africa. Kenya has lot of beautiful and most scenic parks like the famous Mt Kenya National Park, Meru National Park, Tsavo, Samburu, Amboseli, Masai Mara among others. Mt Kenya is the
second highest mountain in Africa and its among the most said to be beautiful in the world. In Mt kenya we do hiking, trekking, and even even the technical rock climbing. My Kenya is the only mountain in Africa in the line of equator which has Glaciers and big lakes on the top. In parks like the Meru national park we have Lot of animals. Among them the Big 5.  This consist of animals like elephants, lions, Buffalos, rhinos and cheatah. These are among the most beautiful views we have in our tours.

Kiambi Mawira would be one of the best private tour guides in the whole country of Kenya, don't you think?

With Kiambi as your tour guide, you would be walking along in the forest and come upon this:
This is just what he calls a "young bush baby".  Imagine being this close to the wildlife of Africa, and animals you may have never seen before.

A young Chetah, on the tour.


Welcome and enjoy with us, the beautiful Kenya !


This is an amazing photo.  If you have read above, Mt.Kenya, even though it is on the equator of the earth, is the second highest mountain in Africa, and still has snow on it most of the year.  Here is my friend, Kiambi Mawira, as he was on one of his tours, sitting up on Mt. Kenya, among the snow. 


If  you thought that Kenya might be a desolate and barren country, you may be wrong.  This is my friend on one of his tours, in one of the beautiful settings of his tours.


The forest has some very interesting trees.... huge, new trees that are rare to Kenya.  Thanks Kiambi for posing in that tree for us, to give us a perspective of the size of that tree.


The beautiful scenery of Kenya, makes it worth the trip.



This tour guide knows how to enjoy the beauty.


You know, if you find beautiful scenery, you will find beautiful flowers too.


A well fed chameleon.



A Special thanks to Magical Kenya.com for the use of their articles and photos.  Here is a link to their website that you might explore even more:

And then a special thanks to Kiambi Mawira, a self employed tour guide in Kenya who provided some very interesting photos of things you would probably see more by being on the tour yourself.  I love the insight of the "real Kenya" by looking at his photos.  He does live in Nairobi, and if you go to Nairobi, please look him up.
He has an email to reach him:  Lordwellmawira@gmail.com
One more email:  lordwellmawira56@gmail.com
And if you want to call him direct:  +254705199979









Article written by:  Lanny Cottrell
Contact:  123photogo@gmail.com









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