AFRICA

2017

Welcome to Kenya

Feel like joining me there for a walking Safari and more adventures in Africa. #aerialvideo #drone #safari #whyilovekenya

SAFARI

As proud members of the Save the Elephants and Live Lokai circle, I traveled to Nairobi, Kenya to take part in a curated Balance Trip as part of the #WearYourWorld & #Savetheelephants campaign in partnership with UNICEF and International Rescue Committee. Our journey was a series of highs and lows, shedding some light on the refugees whose lives have been shattered by conflict and disaster. Through travel, we learn that we are all citizens of the same world. #livelokai #irc #unicef

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There's a corner of Kenya where you can get intimate access to a number of Wild Dog packs. This is possible due to years of dedicated research, monitoring and eco-tourism efforts in the region. The Laikipia-Samburu ecosystem has seen a resurgence in this critically endangered species, largely down to tolerance from communities, landowners and the inter-connectivity of conservancies in the landscape. I still can't believe that this shot was taken while sat on some rocks in the middle of the Ewaso Nyiro River, having anticipated that the pack was likely to come down for a drink and dip. Afterall, they had just made at least three Dik dik kills and were in a thirsty, boisterous mood. Sitting low and still, the pack are totally relaxed with our presence. One pup was carrying the carcass of the latest kill, being chased relentlessly by his siblings. This adult male eventually came down on his own once the youngsters had calmed down somewhat. That morning will always stay with me as one of the most exhilarating wilderness experiences I've ever had. #wilddog #trailsguide #safari #walkingsafari #theoriginalkerdowney #laikipia #dogsofinstagram #dogsofig #dog

Few things beat soaking up a great view with friends in the presence of magnificent creatures in their natural environment.

#oldonyolodge #greatplainsconservation #walkingsafari #whyilovekenya #elephant

How lucky to capture two of my favorite animals in one shot! Although so different, they are equally both majestic and gracious! #wildlife #wildlifephotography #leopard #elephants

There are all kinds of silences and each of them means a different thing. There is the silence that comes with morning in a forest, and this is different from the silence of a sleeping city. There is silence after a rainstorm, and before a rainstorm, and these are not the same. There is the silence of emptiness, the silence of fear, the silence of doubt and...There is a certain silence from Serengeti. This kind of silence can speak. Whatever the mood or the circumstance, the essence of its quality may linger in the silence that follows. There is also a sound of my heart aching not wanting to leave. It is a soundless echo.

#fsserengeti @natgeotravel

Segera Retreat

Segera, a 50,000 acres (More than 3x the size of Manhattan) of wilderness restored by Jochen Zeitz who made it a point to turn his attention to conserving the beauty of the region by engaging the community around him and preserving the cultural legacy of the people here. It's build on a project of giving back to people and that's what travel is about and I witnessed this.

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Even as shadows you can feel their stare. After a great walk taking a wide berth around this herd of buffalo, we drove back to camp right through the middle of them. Behind us were at least 150 more. Despite the disapproving look from these two, I couldn't resist stopping to admire the sunset and the light through the grass and Fever trees. A group Black Saw-wings and Barn Swallows were taking advantage of the last light to hawk insects disturbed by the herd's footfalls.

Say hi to Paul. Paul has been our guide & friend throughout the trip. He's a Maasai warrior and loves bats and lions. He taught us how to identify animals calling from far away, introduced us to his community & taught us how to stay calm in frightening situations. I learned more from him this trip than I ever thought I would. Africa is born in me now and I owe a lot of it to him!

Did you know that Zebras' stripes serve as a natural defense mechanism. When they are standing in a group, their stripes make them blend together, which makes it harder for predators like lions or leopards to pick out just one zebra to hunt.

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Hippo-land. Hippo's on the run... (and all the splashing that it implies 💦) #hippo #Wildlife #safari #africa

‘The pap life’ Sitting down for lunch with this beauts

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Whenever someone bemoans Spotted Hyaenas as ugly, I wish I could take them to meet these three. Cuddled up outside their den in the morning sunlight, they kept choosing impossibly cute configurations. Having spent some time with them, we figured they were from two litters; the one at the back is somewhat older. For the two at the front to have reached 5 or so months old, they are likely to be a boy and a girl, or both males. When two daughters are born, there is usually more competition, as aggressive and dominant females are preferred in Spotty society. The weaker one often doesn't make it. This all helps maintain the unusual trait that females are much larger and dominant to the males. #hyena #spottedhyena #masaimara #safari #animalbehavior

Quality time spent with lions. We saw this group everyday while camping in the Maasai Mara and got to figure out some of the family dynamics. Two lionesses had three cubs between them. The youngest lone cub spent lots of time on his own while his older cousins rough and tumbled, competing for mum's attention, sticks and rocks. The little one eventually mustered the confidence to 'hunt' the bigger ones and practice those vital skills that will come in useful a few years from now.

Maasai Mara

Arriving to his house, he greeted me with a big smile and open arms. He owns a house with his 3 wives and plenty of grandchildren. He invited me in for a cup of chai. When leaving, they gifted me with a Masai blanket, which I am sure will keep me warm once I leave Africa (if ever do 😅) #kenya #maasai

A wise Maasai elder, very well respected within their communities. Someone with I am sure many stories to tell!

Maasai warriors ceremony, one of the most colorful and interesting cultural experiences I have witnessed. This happens once in 10/15 years, it celebrates the passing of a warrior into a junior elder. This lasts about two days with many different stages going by their tradition. Below is where the warriors wife will cut his hair, which is traditionally long while they are a warriors. Then they have their head painted with red ochre. The whole community comes out to celebrate and contribute to the singing and dancing. We were invited by two of our guides who were passing through to become a junior elder. It just so happened that Mt Kilimanjaro was in full show to add to the day. The most memorable moment was dancing and laughing with some of the Maasai tribe, a vision that encapsulates so perfectly my overarching memory of Kenya. This is the journey, the safari, the trip of a life time. (Via my instagram) Next page: This is Nabik, she is part of the Maasai tribe. It was fascinating learning about how they live and their traditions. So beautiful!

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"Being a warrior is exciting and fun, it has many privileges but also many duties. Many of us look at those times as the best in our lives- though by no means the easiest. To become warriors we have to demonstrate our bravery: we have to undergo circumcision in front of the whole community, without flinching or squinting our eyes or giving any other sign that we are experiencing pain. After all, if we cannot stand bravely that bearable pain, how can we persuade the elders that we will risk our lives to protect our livestock and our community?" #conservationstory #maasai #whyilovekenya

Giraffe Manor

“The true reason you visit Giraffe Manor is the highlight… breakfast. As you dine, giraffes comfortably stick their heads through the windows and dine with you.”

Giraffe Manor

Breakfast for 3 please. #giraffe #GiraffeManor

I had a little sneak peek inside one of the most photographed hotels in the world and a bucket list for so many people including myself. I stayed at Giraffe Manor for one night and it was probably all I needed to soak in the excitement and magic of the place. I’ve learned that guests visit Giraffe Manor at a point of their trip before heading to the bush (safari) or right after they had their safari trip to either start their Kenya journey at the Manor, or towards the end of their trip. Giraffe Manor is 40 minutes away from the airport and when I first arrived, it felt like I was looking at a pop-up pinterest picture and had to pinch myself twice before realizing this was my reality. I had the opportunity to feed, hug and even kiss, the great beauties with ease and humour, as the team educated me on giraffe conservation, over a sneaky G&T, no less. Drawing my blinds the next morning, I was greeted by one of the majestic creatures, waiting patiently for his morning nibble. Feeding a giraffe by hand in your pyjamas is a memory I am sure you can imagine will be forever treasured, followed closely by the breakfast we shared that morning! I felt like a child again, over stimulated and excited to be so close. It was incredible to learn about the animal, their habits and behavioural patterns, in such close proximity. Despite the quick comfortability that you feel towards the great animal, gave me chills every time, a moment I will treasure and never forget. Part of The Safari Collection, the manor is on 12 acres of private land with a giraffe sanctuary right across the property. Back in the days, it used to be a hunting house. Its herd of resident Rothschild giraffe pops in every morning at 6am to the breakfast window till 8:30am and you can also enjoy feeding them at 5pm while you have your afternoon tea in the garden. Breakfast, lunch and dinner is served in different dining areas and the in-house guests make part of your trip as one family. It’s exciting to meet everyone for the first time and hear about their Kenya journey they have been on or about to start. The most important thing I have learned from the team at Giraffe Manor is “Don’t touch anything” Meaning, the giraffes. They will guide you on who you can feed and who isn’t so…social. It’s a wonderful place to visit with children as they are all welcomed at any age and prices are on full board basis. Complimentary chauffeured vehicles are available for sightseeing, however guests may need to share vehicles depending on demand and availability. With five star dining, beautifully appointed double ensuite bedrooms, all in the original 1930’s Scottish manor style, true luxury awaits you here. As with each of the luxury destinations I visited in Kenya, no stone is left unturned. Ensure you allow a full day to visit the world-famous Giraffe Centre next door, as well as Karen Blixen’s farmhouse and the Daphne Sheldrick elephant orphanage. I will most definitely be back.

Unite for Children

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Kenya has taught us more than we thought it would. It was truly an experience of a lifetime. As the week progressed we connected not only with each other but also with the community. The first couple of days at Primary School, was an eye-opening experience. Although we all knew we were privileged and blessed, having an experience with the kids gave us a whole new perspective on life; not only because they valued their basic education, but also because they were grateful for what little they have.

I recently returned from Kenya where I worked as a volunteer photographer and humanitarian for international organisations. Being one of  photographer on the team had some beautiful advantages. I was able to visit most of the projects we worked on; I captured the progress of work and shared it with the rest of the world for example during the gala like Unicef Snowflake Ball, while traveled throughout Kenya.

More school visits mean more smiles and that brings so much happiness in my life.

Years of drought have had serious consequences for the well-being of Kenyan children and have led to worsening rates of malnutrition, morbidity and mortality. Children were killed and injured and there were displacements due to increased intertribal / inter-clan violence. Despite recent economic development, almost a quarter of the population lives on less than US $ 1 per day. Problems facing children in Kenya Malnutrition rates in much of Kenya are alarming. In some districts, a quarter of children suffer from acute malnutrition. In districts affected by drought, more than one million people need emergency water supplies. In Kenya, in free and compulsory education, gross enrollment rates of over 90 per cent are attained throughout the country. But poor children still can not afford to go to school and 9 out of 10 children from poor households do not complete basic education. Dropout rates are rising, particularly in drought-affected areas. An estimated 10,000 to 30,000 children are trained in the sex trade. Many children come to prostitute themselves to be able to live after fleeing the violence they endured at home. There are significant regional disparities in immunization rates. For example, in the drought-prone North East Province, where access to a health center is difficult, measles vaccination coverage is only 37 percent. The prevalence of HIV / AIDS was 6.7 percent in 2004, down about 10 percent from the level reached in the late 1990s. Female genital mutilation remains common in Kenya, affecting nearly one-third of women aged 15-49. Activities and results for children UNICEF and its partners have provided vitamin A to more than 4 million children under five. Supplementary feeding has improved the health of thousands of malnourished children and pregnant and lactating women. Under the UNICEF-supported Expanded Program on Immunization, more than three million children have been vaccinated against measles, polio, tetanus and other deadly diseases. In the North-Eastern Province, tens of thousands of insecticide-treated mosquito nets have curbed malaria. Advances in salt iodization have reduced goitre rates from 16 percent in 1994 to 6.8 percent. More than 200,000 people have access to clean water through UNICEF and partners who have made emergency water deliveries, installed pumps and distributed water filter kits. A campaign in 38 schools initiated 26,000 children in basic hygiene. Hundreds of health workers have been trained in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV / AIDS. The government has increased investments in social, health and education programs. Districts affected by the flood or violence were provided with educational packages, which enabled more than 15,000 primary schoolchildren to continue to receive education.

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Primary school is an example of a long-term solution. A solar powered pump provides a constant supply of water to a newly built water tank. In turn, this allowed the construction of separate toilets for boys and girls, encouraging better school attendance and promoting better hygiene education. Such measures support UNICEF's goals that must be pursued despite the current crisis. "All of this is going on," says Victor Chinyama. When there is water, there must be a toilet. And when there are toilets, we must teach children how to adopt better hygiene habits, even in this context. " During this crisis, innovative solutions can meet immediate needs while building a more sustainable future through sustainable alternatives to the water problem.

I saw them fetching the water and taking short breaks every few steps. I walked towards them and after a little 'hi muzungu' chat, I helped carrying their containers in to their school.

Whilst there we interacted with baby elephant orphans and friendly local people. Proud to be a part of the lokai circle, unicef and irc and supporting the #wearyourworld campaign #livelokai

David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage

Baby skin, baby hair, baby everything. Each orphan elephant at David Sheldrick Trust is one of a kind, yet they all share the same tragic recent-past: loosing their mums to poaching, while they were still 100% dependent of them.

There has been a lot of my hours watching interviews with dame Daphne and her keepers. There has been me, learning from documentaries about the David Sheldrick Trust, then reading the book and spending hours on the @dswt YouTube channel, watching how these unique men saved each elephant. I know about the giraffe they have, the rhinos and even about the newest addition: the baby female hippo. Ask me about this Trust, the life of this extraordinary woman in Kenya, her legacy, and I will know the answer. I've been a follower, a reader, a supporter. I even know the celebrities who passed by. So coming here was a DREAM COME TRUE. I want to learn more, find out more, help more. Stop the poaching. Save the elephants. #DSWT #kenya #africanculture #SaveTheElephants #elephant #elefante

Baby hair all around, tipsy steps, no understanding of what the trunk is for yet and 100% mother's milk dependent still. This is just one (of the many, unfortunately) of the tiniest calfs staying at the nursery of @dswt, in Kenya. The only difference between this baby and any other baby elephant you will see in the wild is that this one's mum got killed by poachers. So he walks around struck by sadness, only kept alive thanks to the endless efforts of the loving and amazing staff at the David Sheldrick Foundation. Please help and donate if you can. Let's save our elephants. #elephants #wildlife #conservation #kenya #africa

There is so much I could say about this picture. I knew, as I was zooming in, that the meaning of this gesture goes beyond a nurturing moment between a caretaker and an elephant. Today, more than ever before, Wildlife survival depends of us - at all levels: 1 - we must keep enough land space on this planet for these animals to roam free, between countries if needed. 2 - we must keep these national parks protected and alerted to fight poaching. 3 - if those babies lives are saved by us, we must ensure that they'll reach adulthood to be integrated back with their wild family members. 4 - wild animals are not pets. Elephants are not domestic animals. They are not in our planet to carry us on their backs, carry heavy weights or be chained. These animals future is in our hands. As a man gently gives this calf its milk bottle and helps him drink it, my heart shouted "Thank You" to him and everyone at the David Sheldrick Trust for bringing all these traumatized elephants back to life and later set them free when they've healed. #kenya #Africa #conservationstory #elefante #elephant #stoppoaching

So many people wanted to touch and then gasped in delight while this tiny little elephant passed by them, this morning. Yet he is so sad, still, from loosing his mother and just wants to be close to his keeper (or should I say, his hero?). This man, next to whom this baby elephant rests his trunk all the way up to his neck (and doesn't let go), is one of the many David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust keepers you work night and day to save and then later rehabilitate wild African elephants (whose mothers were killed by poachers) into Kenyan national parks. Daily, many of us come to visit this iconic foundation -led by the incredible Dame Daphne Sheldrick and her daughter- to learn more about what we can do to stop ilegal trading of ivory and poaching. Here's how you can start: donate to #DSWT or adopt one of these orphans (only $50 a year) and become a foster parent @dswtfosterparents. These gentle giants deserve our time, our knowledge and our fight to save their lives. My heart is with them. #SaveTheElephants #Kenya #Africa #wildlifephotography

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Truly one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, Kenya surpassed expectation in every way. To encounter a country with such a unique and diverse culture, to meet and befriend such passionate and welcoming people and to experience world class luxury combined with action packed adventure has proven to be the formula for awarding this the top travel experience of my life. Every person I’ve ever met lists Safari as the best trip they’ve taken and now I proudly fall into that category. Africa is a wild and free country and I know I’ve only scratched the surface. I look forward to spending a lifetime becoming more closely acquainted. THANK YOU

Share This Story
  • copperline

    Stunning. I don’t know where to start... your photos, the way your descriptions have captured everything you encountered, the magical moments along the way - the giraffes! - and the importance of the conservation work you studied and experienced... I found this story powerful and moving. Thank you for sharing! 🙏🏻

  • kevens

    Great pictures.

  • Leontine

    Love your story, ❤️ Africa

  • juliamsummer

    What a wonderful story! 💛

  • penny4words

    This is truly one beautiful masterpiece! You took me with in your pictures and stories about a special part of Africa which has never been on my bucket list. You shared such rawness and vulnerabilities in all.. Thank you for sharing

  • aderahmatbdm

    What a story and wonderful pic 👌🏻💛

  • habi69367

    Very nice

  • coppolife

    @copperline Thanks for the wonderful review, this means a lot to me. 🙏🏻

  • coppolife

    @penny4words thank you for your words, truly appreciated 🙏🏻

  • Mystia

    🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤

  • sisiliadabs

    This is sooo beautiful! The story, the pictures, and Africa! Thank you so much! Been wanting to go to Africa I wish someday I could go there too

  • bariqshabah

    so greatt

  • coppolife

    @sisiliadabs thank you 🙏🏻

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