Into Africa

My latest posts have included a bit of history and background on a few countries my family called “home” for a period of time.  Kenya is one such place.  When my family left India in 1954, we moved to Kenya.  The 1950’s – 1970’s were arguably some of the best times of my formative years evoking fond memories.  Kenya straddles the Equator and as a result enjoys some of the finest weather year round.  It’s amazing how much we took for granted back then when the weather was never a topic of conversation.

When we lived in Kenya, we had never experienced a safari.  A safari is an expedition to observe animals in their natural habitat.  Kenya’s abundance of wildlife especially “The Big Five” is what attracts visitors each year.  From nature to the culture, from the flora and fauna to the tribes and its people.  I had made a promise that someday I would return and see it for myself.  In 2005 I was fortunate enough to have fulfilled that dream.  I wrote a journal about it when a friend and I decided to take an adventure and explore parts of Kenya that I had never seen before.  It surely was an experience of a lifetime, one that will be etched in my memory forever.   If you’d like to read further, here is the journal I wrote in 2005, which I’ve since added to the travel section on my blog.  Now sit back, relax and embark on this virtual safari with me, enjoy the spectacular scenery, the wildlife and the warm, wonderful people of Kenya.  I dedicated the post to Selma at the time, whose comments you will see at the bottom of the journal’s post.  Oh how I miss discussing Kenya with her.

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It is simply amazing how close to the animals one can get. Of course there are rules to abide by.  The guides learn the behavior of most animals and can tell when danger lurks.

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Crested cranes

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378451565Desert Rose

IMG_0192A lone leopard splayed up in a tree, no doubt full from a kill.  We were fortunate to have seen this animal, as leopards are mostly solitary and a rare sighting.  This was the first animal we encountered, our hearts were racing, so near us.

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We went to 3 different game reserves. Each very different from the other.

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Can you spot the oxpecker feasting on the ticks from this gazelle?

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We were fortunate enough to spend an entire morning in a village with the Samburu tribe. Here they are performing a dance for us.

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Diane practices the latest dance moves with the village ladies

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This young mother had a baby, we were able to enter the hut and see the baby.  The fancy beaded hat I’m wearing is a fly swatter. You just move your head from side to side and the movement of the beads prevents the flies from landing on you.  How innovative!

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The hut is made of cow dung and branches from the trees

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The children are up early to fetch the firewood and help with the fire

Some of the elders of the tribe getting ready to call a meeting

Some of the elders of the tribe getting ready to call a meeting

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Yours truly interrupting the meeting for a photo opportunity 🙂

Did you know that the Cape Buffalo is one of the most dangerous animals in Africa? Did you know that the Cape Buffalo is one of the most dangerous animals in Africa?

IMG_0426The hippo is also considered one of the most dangerous and territorial animals in Africa.  Their loud booms and snorts were deafening.

The above was a very different experience seeing the animals up close. The lodge is built around a waterhole where the animals come to drink. You can view them from the balcony. The elephants form a tightly-knit family bond.  The journal describes in detail how we viewed them through a bunker.  The last picture depicts elephants and cape buffaloes drinking harmoniously with hardly any altercations.

IMG_0368We were fortunate to have seen this rhino, they are shy and introverted often grazing by themselves.

IMG_0317Mother and baby gerenuk

A Cape Buffalo down – a carcass from the day before, but still enjoyed by the pride.  There were so many times when I’ve watched National Geographic’s programs from the comfort of my sofa, but here was I experiencing it “live in the wild” an adrenal rush for sure!

IMG_0441The Maasi tribe about to perform their jumping dance.  It is said that lions fear the Masai as they will bring down a lion if it has attacked their livestock.  We were told that the lions recognize the red clothing and stay away.

How could I not include a recipe celebrating Africa and its people?  Because of the many Indians that chose to make Kenya their home, curries were quite popular and certain spices were incorporated in the local cuisine.  Although this curry hails from South Africa, I just thought it would be a good way to celebrate that dark continent.  This was my contribution to the curry cook-off we hosted a few weeks ago.  You can click on the link for the recipe.

IMG_6632Kwaheri (a swahili word meaning goodbye)!  Sadly a few years after Kenya became independent, we left that beautiful country for England.  😦

Linking this post to Fiesta Friday #110 with co-hosts Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook and Apsara @ Eating Well Diary.  Thanks ladies for hosting us all.

75 comments

  1. Wow Loretta, your pictures are amazing and your accounting of the trip was as thorough as if you just returned. I really appreciated the picture of the hut. It amazes me how people are so good at using their available resources to live. I think that this hut looks the same today as it did years ago. Thank you for sharing, I just love to travel and haven’t ever been on a Safari!

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    1. Thanks Julie, it does feel like just yesterday, it was a trip that I shall never forget. I said to myself on my way home (if my plane goes down, I’m sure glad that I saw what I did. It just brings you so much closer to God and nature) it is indescribable. Spending a full morning with the villagers just made my day, the best part, there was just the 2 of us, my friend and I. I can’t tell you how much I wanted to bring them home. You and John should definitely put that on your bucket list 🙂

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    1. Thanks Suzanne. I must say I’m enjoying these posts (giving the food part of my blog a break). Did you see the comment from Selma? When I posted my journal on my blog about a year and a bit ago, I dedicated it to Selma. She wrote about her own experiences with Jake on a safari in Kenya.

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      1. Thanks for your sweet comment Suzanne. If you click on the word “journal” in this post, it will bring you to the journal I dedicated to Selma. At the end of that post, you’ll see her remarks.

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  2. What a wonderful post, thank you for sharing more or your story. And I love all of the animals photos, especially the elephants, how wonderful for you to see them in their natural habitat.
    I recall conversations with Selma about Kenya, how lovely that you had that in common xx

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    1. Thanks so much Elaine. I feel like a nomad at times having lived in all these countries, and not really having a “home base”. But home is where you hang your hat and what you make of it huh? Did you see Selma’s comments at the end of the journal that I dedicated to her? She had such a beautiful and expressive way of telling a story. I always used to tell her she should have been a writer and specifically should have written a post on bloggers etiquette :). She taught me so much about blogging and WP that’s why I dedicated that post to her. Thanks for reading, glad you enjoyed the safari 🙂 The elephants were absolutely amazing up close.

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      1. Yes, I did read Selmas words, it was lovely to virtually hear her voice, whilst sad at the same time 😦
        I understand that nomadic feeling, my childhood was the same, that’s why I went to 10 different schools and why I don’t have a parental family home to return to. And which is why the home we have now, with my little family, is so special. This is a true home, no moving around, no upsets, just a strong family unit full of love and laughter.
        I am grateful for all of the experiences that I had in the first half of my life, but I’m far happier now 🙂

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    1. Ahh thanks Fae, so glad you enjoyed the safari from the confines of your chair. A lot less adrenalin flowing that way 🙂 It was such an experience, how I wish I could visit other parts of Africa again, but I figure I’m just too old and crotchety now for those long plane rides.

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  3. Loretta, thank you so so much for sharing this beautiful post. Kenya is amazing country and African people are so welcoming. Your pictures made me want to go there. I have the chance to spend a few years in (kinshasa and Pointe Noire). I’m a nomad and my head is full of amazing pictures! 🙂 I’m so glad you have the chance to live there!

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  4. Such beautiful back story when did u revisit? Lovely wildlife reminds me of the National geographic programs
    As for the food I’ve heard of the huge Indian influence due to Indians who settled there and there is a Kenyan Indian cuisine apparently that celebrates confluence of both cultures correct me if I am wrong http://www.mumbaitomelbourne.com/food-and-health-blog-posts/mexican-mint-and-ginger-prawn-skewers-with-black-bean-salad

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    1. Thanks so much. I re-visited 35 years after we’d left. It was in 2005. You’re absolutely spot on regarding the Indian cuisine. I myself was so surprised when I returned. Thanks for stopping by. For some reason, I do not get your posts on my “Reader” feed even though I’ve subscribed. So let me go check it out right now 🙂

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  5. Wow! Such a beautiful post, Loretta. It is very much lovely to read things like this. When we went to Singapore, there was a tour that somewhat called ‘safari ride’, but I haven’t experienced that. If I had, maybe atleast I would’ve had a little glimpse of place like this. But seeing these photos now make me want to travel and have a ‘real’ safari tour. I love the hat, too, and the all the photos especially of the people you have met. And of course, could I forget the recipe? It looks so delicious. 🙂 Thank you for sharing such wonderful post. Happy FF! x

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    1. Thanks Jhuls… yes definitely, if you get a chance to see animals in their natural habitat, you should go for it. My other great experience was being up close with the whales in Nova Scotia, Canada. It is something about God’s wonderful creatures that brings a sense of tranquility up close.

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    1. Thanks Sadhna, how wonderful that you too lived in Kenya. We left in 1970, I wonder what it was like in the 80’s? I found your comment in my spam folder with 3 others, I wonder what went wrong there. No worries though, glad I found you, thanks so much 🙂

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  6. Beautiful post, Loretta! Love the memories, the photos, the background…all of it! What a remarkable childhood you must have had! By the way…love your new photo gracing your gravatar!

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    1. Thanks Nancy. I could read that journal again and again and never tire of it. It brings back some really fond memories. Thanks for the photo compliment, thought it was about time I updated it 🙂

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  7. Such breathtaking pictures and a beautiful account of your safari, Loretta. I have spent a couple of years of my childhood in Tanzania and yet never went on a safari. Maybe some day, I will get lucky enough to make the trip like you did! Thank you for sharing this lovely account with the FF folks.

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    1. Thanks Aspara and thanks too for co-hosting. Wow, so you lived in Tanzania, that must have been quite an experience too! After that trip, I so wanted to visit South Africa too, but alas it is getting too late and I don’t feel I could handle that 18 hour journey or any trips more than 10 hours 🙂 Have a great weekend!

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  8. You are the second friend/blogger I know that wrote a post about Africa! Although yours was in the past but still all those beautiful pictures… I love all the colorful beads and clothing the tribes people were wearing. Ah, wishful dreaming for now… 🙂

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    1. Thanks Belle. Would love to also read your friend’s blog. It brought back some wonderful memories of a time I cherished there. We were the only tourists at the village, so you can imagine our excitement at meeting and interacting with all the lovely people. Thanks for stopping, enjoy your weekend. Hope all’s well.

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  9. Suberb photography Loretta. Felt like I was there with you. I did not know Kenya had attracted many Indian emigrants. I really loved seeing the tribal pictures among the safari animal pictorials. It looks like you were warmly and intimately received. My friends who recently travelled to Africa loved it as well and call it the life changing trip of their lifetime. I hope to go someday as well. The curry looks delicious too!

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    1. Thanks Johanne. I was so glad to have written about it when I returned in 2005 because my memory is like a sieve these days. Yes indeed, your friends summed it up pretty well, a life changing experience and so much more. I recall your post on it when they returned from their trip. You’ll definitely have to encounter a safari at least once in your lifetime. The other trip I recall vividly was when we went on a whale watching trip in Nova Scotia. It left me breathless!

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  10. oh wow Loretta! These pictures are absolutely AMAZING!! Seriously beautiful! One of our dreams (in our bucket list), is to be able to travel to Africa and go on a Safari experience! These photos just make me want to go there sooner! Absolutely wonderful 🙂

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    1. Thanks so much Dini, I’m so glad I went back, as that it was on my bucket list too. I’d love to explore other parts of Africa as well, but alas these long journeys don’t appeal to me anymore. Thanks for stopping by, I found your comment in my spam folder with 3 others. I wonder why?

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      1. It wasn’t just yours though Dini, there were 3 others on this post alone that were sent to spam. I had never checked spam before. You’re not at all spam, how dare they! LOL

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    1. Thanks Teresa, so kind of you. You’re right though, that elephant shot is probably the best nature photo I’ve ever taken and I wasn’t into photography then :). Love the sky, the depth of field, the shadows where appropriate. Yes, I feel like a nomad at times with all my roamings. Thanks for stopping.

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  11. Loretta, Thank you so much for taking me on a safari! I enjoyed your account of it and your superbly captured pictures! They are indeed breath takingly beautiful. I love beads! So my favorite picture is that of the women and your friend wearing those gorgeous necklaces and your beautiful fly swatter hat! How ingenious is that?
    I taught children about sustainable architecture today at the Indian cultural school I volunteer at, and showed them the new green skyscrapers as well as the mud huts in India. So your picture of the hut was also very interesting for me to see.
    This is another amazing post in your long line up of very informative and fascinating posts.

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    1. Thanks so much Sandhya for all your lovely comments. So glad you enjoyed the virtual safari. Trips to India and Africa are just a feast for the eyes aren’t they? There’s just so much color to take in. How wonderful that you talked about sustainable architecture at your Indian cultural school yesterday. I wonder what the reactions were from the students? I found the mud huts pretty interesting, I loved spending a full morning at the village, the best part was we were the only 2 there, so got their undivided attention. I love beadwork too, and did end up buying some jewellery from the ladies in the village. Thanks as always for all the encouragement and your kind words Sandhya. xo

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  12. Brilliant post Loretta! Lovely pictures. Thank you for sharing. I loved the fly swatter too. What a tough life the tribals live. It makes me thankful for the blessings which I have been taking for granted. And thank you for the tip. I will definitely wear red when I go on a safari. Wonder if it works only with Kenyan lions😉

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    1. Thanks so much Angie 🙂 Did you manage to see Selma’s comment on the original post? She explains her own experiences with Jake so beautifully. I had dedicated the original post to her as she had held my hand and showed me the way when I first started. It was lovely to re-read her comments and know that she was still looking down and giving us all @ FF a thumbs up! 🙂

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  13. Amazing post! You were really lucky to spot so many animals up close. Love the shot of the lions feasting on the buffalo carcass. Such a wonderful experience! I hope to go to East Africa one day too.

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    1. Thanks Vasun. You really should go if and when you can. It’s an experience I will never forget. I grew up in Kenya, but when we lived there we had never been on a safari. I always wanted to return someday and experience that myself.

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