February 19, 2009

Karibu Kenya

Jambo and Karibu Kenya - Hello and Welcome to Kenya in Swahili ... And that's what you will hear throughout your stay in Kenya.
We decided to take a week away from urban monotony and hit the safari trail all the way to Kenya - always been our dream destination.

So here is Kenya for you through our camera-lens or the week that we spent in the pages of National Geographic ...

Before we take you to the reserves, here are the many roads that lead you there. Be prepared for very dusty, hot and rocky roads - guaranteed to snap a few bones in your frame - however, when you reach the destination - the tiring journey is all forgotten. The roads are picturesque indeed ...
http://picasaweb.google.com/jayeshvijayan/Roads#

A 6 hour road trip from Nairobi takes you to Amboseli National Park. Home to elephants, giraffes, zebras, wildebeest, lions, gazelles and more. And more importantly, a grand view of Mt.Kilimanjaro – Africa’s highest peak.
http://picasaweb.google.com/jayeshvijayan/AmboseliNationalPark#

Amboseli means 'sand tornado' and there are plenty of them in this park. The many watering holes in this park is the meeting place for all the animals that live here. Catch them all here ...
Elephants - http://picasaweb.google.com/jayeshvijayan/Elephants#
Gazelles - http://picasaweb.google.com/jayeshvijayan/Gazelle#
Zebras - http://picasaweb.google.com/jayeshvijayan/Zebra#
Giraffes - http://picasaweb.google.com/jayeshvijayan/Giraffe#
Buffalos - http://picasaweb.google.com/jayeshvijayan/Buffalo#
Wildebeest - http://picasaweb.google.com/jayeshvijayan/Wildebeest#
Gazelles - http://picasaweb.google.com/jayeshvijayan/Gazelle#

Kilimanjaro is called 'Mountain Tricky' by the Masai ... And here's why ... Have captured a few of the 1000 faces of Kili ...
http://picasaweb.google.com/jayeshvijayan/Kilimanjaro#

The ethnic people of Kenya – the Masai – are very interesting to meet. A proud and largely aloof tribe, who have held on to their traditions and are mostly nomadic herders. They don’t like to be photographed without permission though. A slice of their life when we visited their community near Amboseli -
http://picasaweb.google.com/jayeshvijayan/Masai#

At Amboseli we stayed at the Amboseli Sopa Lodge – very good hospitality. However, the Serena Lodge is better recommended for its location in the centre of Amboseli National Park -
http://picasaweb.google.com/jayeshvijayan/AmboseliSopaLodge#

Our next stop was Lake Nakuru – not too far from Nairobi. Lake Nakuru is considered ‘the greatest bird spectacle on earth’ and we discovered why. It was home to millions of flamingoes, pelicans and other birds – who feed on the algae of this alkaline Rift Valley lake. We were fortunate to spot the Black Rhino, Lions and the White Rhino as well here.
http://picasaweb.google.com/jayeshvijayan/LakeNakuru#

Rhinos - http://picasaweb.google.com/jayeshvijayan/Rhinos#

Flamingoes - http://picasaweb.google.com/jayeshvijayan/Flamingos#
Over 400 species of Birds can be spotted here - http://picasaweb.google.com/jayeshvijayan/Birds#

We stayed at the Sarova Lion Hill – has a very scenic view of the Lake.
http://picasaweb.google.com/jayeshvijayan/SarovaLionHill#

After a day here, it was off to Masai Mara – Kenya’s and probably the worlds best known game reserve. Mara roughly means ‘dotted great plain’ - and was grand enough to overfill our soul. Famous for its Lions, Cheetahs, Leopards, Rhinos, Elephants, Birds ... Voted one of the true Wonders of the Natural World – the Wildebeest migration – when they migrate from Serengeti to Mara.
http://picasaweb.google.com/jayeshvijayan/MasaiMara#

Lions - http://picasaweb.google.com/jayeshvijayan/Lions#

Some of our best moments were the sunrises and sunsets in Mara, the acacia forests and the open savannah -
http://picasaweb.google.com/jayeshvijayan/StillLife#

A few images that we picked along the way -
http://picasaweb.google.com/jayeshvijayan/Misc#

Stay at Masai Mara was at Sarova Mara Lodge – a cluster of tents –
http://picasaweb.google.com/jayeshvijayan/SarovaMaraLodge#

Our next and last stop was Lake Naivasha – a boat ride across this Lake and one can spot Hippos, Monkeys, WaterBucks, Giraffes and several Birds. Visit the Crescent Island whilst there – where one can wander on foot amongst wild animals.
http://picasaweb.google.com/jayeshvijayan/LakeNaivasha#

Travel Tips:
Not one insect bit us. We had carried a supply of insect repellants.
No, we weren’t mugged! Don’t flash any bling on the streets of Nairobi though.
Kenyans will overwhelm you with their smile, warmth and hospitality. They are adorable.
Fruits, veggies and food are fresh and in plenty.
Don’t buy a thing at curio shops that dot the roads. They don’t have fixed price and can overcharge the tourist.
Buy all souvenirs at good stores in Nairobi. Fixed price. Good range.
Don’t visit Kenya if you can’t afford a good camera (300mm telephoto lense recommended) and a pair of binoculars.
Most places don’t have fans or aircon. Some Safari lodges have restricted usage of electricity.
Peak tourist season is when the Wildebeest migration happens. Check your nature calendar.

Our tour operator was www.habibtours.com – who did a good job. Definitely recommendable. Our guide was John – a walking-talking nature textbook.

January 07, 2009

Food from Kerala