africa, where the colors don’t fade

Jose Gonzalez – Stay Alive

 
You know how they say you leave your heart in Africa? How this wildly contrasting place gets to you and you keep revisiting your steps, toying with the idea of going back? How you find yourself looking around your home afterwards and wondering how people take so many things for granted, forgetting to enjoy the little things that make their day? Well, they were right.

It’s very hard to put in words what this place does to you (and I’m not the best of writers anyway), but you can’t just ease back effortlessly into your old life and habits. It changes you a bit, as cliche as it may sound, especially if you give into the experience and life instead of gliding on the surface. It’s enough to see the genuine smiles on the little kids’ faces who are eager to talk to you or the richness of colors and garments people wear; to walk on the pearly white beaches on the Indian Ocean coast; to witness the staggering wildebeest migration where thousands upon thousands of animals fill up the horizon as far as your eyes can see and beyond; to walk on the endless plains of Serengeti and come across diverse wildlife; to look at the incredible redness of the Rhotia valley soils or the vibrant green of the Ngorongoro crater; to stand at the top of Africa at nearly 6,000m or see a stunning sunset after a deafening storm in the heart of Tanzania… yes, I did leave my heart in Africa and I can’t wait to go back for it πŸ™‚

Below you will find some highlights from the trip, hope at least the photos can do it some justice.

***

 
Sunset over Kendwa, Zanzibar.

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Passenger ferry in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania’s largest and richest (an interesting word in this case) city. Packed is a nice way of putting it. Also, being the only two white people on board didn’t help the stares we were getting when crossing over to the “slum” side of town πŸ˜‰

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Albeit a little shy of the camera, this girl loved practicing her English and chatting.

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Boats. And shacks.

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Lake Manyara from a distant vantage point. One of the biggest pink flamingo gatherings can be observed there, but because of the low water levels in recent years you can’t get near them. If you look closely, you can see the Land Cruisers on the road.

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The great wildebeest migration… as many as 1.5 million animals move around throughout the year in this spectacle of nature. It’s hard to express in words really, one needs to see it in person to really feel what that number means.

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Best beer in town πŸ˜‰

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Climbing Kili can be a cold experience (even in summer time) and the dark clouds and storms are never too far behind.

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I wonder if it’s the same Mr. Bean πŸ™‚

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The charming narrow streets of Stone Town, Zanzibar.

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Baboons are special in so many ways πŸ™‚

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Beautiful butterfly in one of the many wildlife parks.

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One my absolute favorite shots of the trip, what a lucky capture πŸ™‚

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The Eastern shores of Zanzibar are perfect for kitesurfers

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A man walking through the red hills of the Rhotia valley…

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Typical means of transportation πŸ˜‰

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All hail to the King!

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I call this the “Gateway to Kilimanjaro”, an interesting tree arrangement you go through during the first day of climbing.

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Playing football (soccer to all my American friends πŸ˜‰ ) barefoot with the local kids was definitely one of the highlights of the trip πŸ™‚ Let me tell you, these guys are good! I don’t even know what they’d do to us if they had cleats on and were playing on grass instead of the semi-rocky sand…

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You know, just a hyena darting across the road early in the morning… no biggie πŸ˜‰

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Porters and trekkers near Kibo hut, close to 4,500m.

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It might be hard to tell from the angle, but this fella was well over 4m high… majestic animals.

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Kigamboni community centre’s pupils and Meto.

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A luscious green valley near Ngorongoro crater with Masai huts in the foreground.

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Football clubs and jerseys were really popular amongst men! So was eating with your fingers πŸ˜‰

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Wherever you are in the world, you always need more cowbell πŸ˜‰

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“Whatcha looking at?” πŸ˜€

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Sunrise over Serengeti…

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Just before the 6am dip in the Indian Ocean, with a storm approaching… it literally started raining two seconds later πŸ™‚

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At 5,700m it was -15C and extremely windy with waist-deep snow at times, but at least the moon was so bright we didn’t need headlamps to climb Uhuru (Kilimanjaro’s highest peak, sitting at 5,895m in the distance)… no one said getting to the top of Africa would be easy πŸ˜‰

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More photos and stories coming in the following weeks πŸ™‚

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