This post is the second in a set of publications which will describe the last trip I did in East Africa, back in August, leading me to Zanzibar and back again. Read the first post here.
After a good nights sleep, I was ready to catch the bus to Dar Es Salaam.
The bus leaves every day at 6.45am and arrives at around 8pm, quite a long journey.
The beginning of the trip wasn’t too exciting, the view was very similar and rather dull, I took this time to sleep a bit more (I am not a morning person).
After the short nap, I woke up to a very different landscape: dry lands with light brown hills. The land of the Masai.
Not long after, we had to get off the bus as we had reached the border Kenya-Tanzania (I find border checkpoints in East Africa very unsettling, so I searched for a picture to give you an idea: border checkpoint in Namanga). After all the paperwork has been completed, we returned to the bus heading to Arusha.
Arusha, capital of the Arusha region, is a mandatory stop for hikers, mainly for being very close to the Arusha National Park, the Mt. Meru Forest Reserve and, more importantly, to the Mt. Kilimanjaro National Park, home of the famous Mt. Kilimanjaro.
after few weeks of being here and getting to know the people and the places, I finally settled in Lyon and now I forced myself to update the blog. Even if I have been rather busy lately, that shouldn’t be a reason for me to stop posting.
So, the first will be from the city tour the University has planned for the foreign students in the French language course.
This post is the first of a set of publications which will describe the last trip I did in East Africa, back in August, leading me to Zanzibar and back again.
My stay in Uganda was, as expected, going to end and leaving East Africa without visiting Kenya and Tanzania was surely not an option.
The initial plan was to go to Nairobi (the capital of Kenya) first, head South to Dar Es Salaam (the capital of Tanzania) then cross the Dar Es Salaam Bay by ferry to reach Zanzibar and then return to Kampala in a similar fashion. But, as you will read, the trip, mainly the return, did not go as planned.
Once having discussed with my boss the precise dates of my trip, planned the locations and contacted my hosts, it was time for my camera, my backpack and me to start the long trip by leaving Kampala to get to the first destination: Nairobi.
The route from Kampala to Nairobi by bus is quite frequented making it rather comfortable and safe; the only exception being, as usual, the border where it is required to cross it by foot and stand in a long queue at both the emigration and immigration office, even in the middle of the night.
Left Kampala at 8pm and arrived at 8am on a rather comfortable bus helped dealing with the new busy and chaotic city. Nairobi has the look of a very East African city, with areas being extremely different from each other: from muddy slums to extremely modern malls.
The other weekend, during a full moon, I tried several approaches to get the best of our dreamy satellite.
I got suggested several techniques, but stacking was the most interesting one. Stacking is a technique used for improving the quality/detail of an object, usually during night time (due to the low light conditions); used for instance with stars, galaxies and, of course, the moon.
It requires taking a certain amount of pictures, I used 50 for the full moon, and stacking them together using a specific software. I used Lynkeos, as I am currently on OS X, but RegiStax is often quoted as being among the best freeware for such purpose.
Full moon shot using double exposure.
Although taking over 100 pictures, with different settings and exposure, the result I got wasn’t exactly what I wanted/expected, so I just ended up using a double exposure. Essentially taking a picture for the foreground (the clouds, in this case) and one picture for the moon and then stacking them together. This fixes the issue related to the fact that the time required to get a correct exposure of the moon is different (lower) than the one required for the foreground.
Sleepy faces. Slow movements. Few words. A common scene from an early morning. A nice breakfast put us all back on our feet, ready for chimp tracking.
For the tracking, we had to go into the thick forest, moving slowly and staying together in a group. This is necessary in order to not be considered a threat by the chimpanzees; scattering around would give them a feeling of being surrounded, frightening them.
It took us a good hour (or so) before we could see a chimp. Until then we could hear them calling each other (chimps have a sort of language; there are up to 30-40 sounds used for indicating different actions, i.e. food, anger, danger…).
The first one, was a rather sleepy one; he stayed most of the time laid down on a large branch and chilling under the sunlight, turning around at times. Continue Reading
After an exhausting climb under the hot African sun, our group made it to the top. Welcomed by both the incredible view and the fresh shower created by the water crashing into the rocks.
It was amazing, and the feeling to be finally arrived and to be in front of these marvellous falls in Uganda was priceless. Few months ago most of us wouldn’t even have remotely thought about the possibility of being in Africa and now, here we were, speechless in front of yet another spectacle of nature. Continue Reading
And as you can understand from the pattern I use in the titles, the game drive ended without us being able to see any lion.
Our guides also went to get a ranger for tracking the felines, but luck wasn’t on our side this time. Once we got to the place where they were supposed to be staying, we just found lonely bushes and grass, without any sort of cat.
After an hour, we just gave up as it was time to catch the ferry which would bring us to the other side of the river Nile for lunch. Continue Reading
Today I will publish 2 posts as tomorrow I will leave for my Rwanda-Burundi trip and I will not be able to publish anything for few days.
I can say we have been both lucky and unlucky; lucky because we managed to see some elephants, unlucky because they were quite far from us. I know it is not much of a big deal, but other tourists had the chance to see them really close to them.
Due to them being far, I couldn’t grasp much of their behaviour; but I am pretty sure I will see them again some time soon!
I must say I was quite surprised when I first saw a giraffe in real life. Of course, I knew they were very tall, I read it gazillion of times and saw loads of pictures, but being just few meters away made a huge difference. Even the smallest one, a baby giraffe, was tall compared to us (or our van).
We saw them in 2 occasions and got to take pictures both from afar and very close-by. Although they tended to not get too close to us, they seemed to be very interested in us; especially the baby giraffe, which literally stood on the road in front of us, just facing us. Continue Reading
After a well-deserved rest at the lodge, our group woke up at 6am for the game drive. Our group was split in 2 safari vans (with a very large sunroof) and we moved around the park.
The drive, more or less 3 hours long, had very exciting moments, such as seeing giraffes and buffalos from very close, and other much more quiet ones, where we would just drive on the dusty road in search of some new animal.
We got extremely close to a herd of buffalos, they didn’t seem to much bothered by us taking pictures or the vans themselves. They mainly stood there looking at us with our cameras.