Archive for the 'Zanzibar' Category

08
Nov
10

Landscapes of Africa – Best Photos

Nothing is as evocative of Africa as the  landscape: the physical territory with lots of long shots, sunsets, sunrises, oceans and deserts. Why it should be so, evocative that is, is a bit of a mystery. But when  I  look at these photos, they cry out, “Africa!” and no other place on earth that I’ve been.

Red soil, red sand, champagne glass shaped trees form the setting for the furry creatures most people go there for: but the most evocative, single thing about the continent for me is the land, ancient and worn, new and untested, puzzling and yet strangely familiar. Hope you enjoy them!

Sunset over Serengeti waterhole

 

To be included in this “best-of” there should not be animals or people or at least not the focus of the shot. Getting hoards of people, usually kids, out of the photo is an issue for  being included in this post but not for taking pictures.  In Africa,taking photos, I hardly ever thought, “wait till that kid gets out of the shot”.

On the other hand, if there were a tubby tourist with a blue and cream flowered Hawaiian shirt and skin tight, orange Bermuda shorts wearing new silvered Nike’s on the feet, I’d have no trouble waiting. Anybody wearing cameras and/or snapping photos (yes, like I was) also meant I waited or pointed the lens in another direction.

Here’s  what I found in the photo folder one year later thinking “landscapes, yes, they were striking”.

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08
Nov
10

Birds of Africa – Best Photos

From the hoopoe in Namibia to the crested cranes in Tanzania Africa was a place of marvelous birds and birds very different that the ones we are used to seeing in North America. Only the greater and lesser egrets, gulls (though different ones) and the great blue heron come to mind as birds we are used to seeing here that crossed our path somewhere in the nearly 2 months in southern Africa.

From the Okavango delta to the plains of Serengeti to the Chobe river banks Africa was chock-a-block with peeping, flapping, chirping, kindom animalia, phylum chordata, class aves.

In Africa it’s easy to focus on the big, furry, nursing mammalians but when we got back, there were a surprising number of photos of our avian friends: Africa is a great place for birding. Birders (the real honest-to-goodness fanatical types like Harry and Ted) know this, of course but we novitiates thought only of the hairy things like lions and tigers and bears. Here are the feathered creatures that stayed still long enough to clap a lens on during our seven week trip between Oct. and Nov. of 2009. Hope you enjoy them!

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08
Nov
10

Reptiles, Plants & Miscellaneous of Africa – Best Photos

This is a catchall post from our Oct. to Nov. 2009 southern Africa trip:  those photos that didn’t belong in one of the big 4 categories.  Where do you put a spitting cobra, e.g.?  Or a tse-tse fly or a termite mound or Mr. and Mrs. Dung Beetle? Well, they just don’t belong with mammals or bird or landscapes, I can tell you that!

Still these are pictures worth looking at (IMO). Hope you enjoy them.

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08
Nov
10

People of Africa – Best Photos

Aside from the furry, nursing, large and small mammals, we went to Africa to meet and see Africans at home and at work. With varying degrees of success, we did just that between Oct. and Nov. of 2009. Here are the (IMO) best photos of the people we traveled with and the people we encountered. Enjoy!

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08
Nov
10

Mammals of Africa – Best Photos

Mammals: big and small, furry and nurse their young, our close relatives in the animal kingdom. Unless I miss my guess, mammals are the reason people travel to Africa. Here are the best (IMO) of the previously blogged mammals of Africa taken between October and November of 2009. Hope you enjoy them!

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12
Sep
10

Zanzibar – Tanzania – The Spice Island

Lying off the east coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean just south of the equator, the historic island of Zanzibar lies like jewel in the sun. The spice island: cumin, cinnamon, lemon grass, clove (especially clove!), nutmeg, ylang-ylang, vanila and black pepper. The name conjures up pictures of exotic dhows sailing the Indian ocean to India with spice and back laden with silks and trade goods of old.

The actual picture is a bit more touristed, a bit more jaded and a bit more crowded, especially Stone Town – almost impossible to photograph, yet an interesting warren of narrow cobbled streets, shops and sellers. Somehow the picture I  had of “Stone Town” did not do justice to the reality.

It’s also true that Stone Town is difficult to photograph for whatever reasons: tight quarters, shy people (I don’t jam cameras in people’s faces), bad angles, rain (which we had in plenty in the House of Wonders) or take your pick.

While there on the island, going to the wonderful outdoor barbecue in Forodhani Gardens (park on the water) one of the two nights we were there, a very strange scam was attempted on your blogger. It went like this:

  1. Imagine a nice, warm evening and a park of maybe 5 acres/2 hectares covered with open air barbecue stands, vendors of all sorts of wonderful smelling food.
  2. One goes up to one of the barbecue stands and orders, squid-kebab, chicken in spicy sauce on a skewer and many sorts of goodies on a stick.
  3. You don’t have a drink and the food isn’t quite ready yet and a helpful person standing at the end of the grill says he will “bring your food right over” and would you like a something to drink.
  4. Sure, you’re thirsty and haven’t given any money to anyone yet.
  5. Pick a bench in the warm summer breezes on this island of spice and voila! here comes your food and a drink.
  6. You pay the drink/food bringer guy some Tanzanian Shillings and all is well until…
  7. The food vendor in white chef hat walks over and asks you for the money for the meal! Ooops! Well, you go through the whole explanation and eventually the sneaky drink vendor is identified in the crowd of maybe 1000 people.
  8. The sneaky drink vendor INSISTS ON BEING PAID FOR THE DRINKS.
  9. Well, ok, at least I, er the unwary tourist didn’t pay twice for the kebabs and all is seemingly well except I still don’t understand the scam.

We drove (when I say we, I mean the entire Africa in Focus crowd minus Ebron and Will who stay in Dar es Salam with Benji, the truck). At Nungwi we dive a couple times, hang out on the beach, take a sunset cruise (hokey, okay, but kinda fun) on a dhow, the lateen rigged sail craft with these guys who wind up dancing on the top of the cabin and some slightly inebriated tourists who do the same. Very relaxing place.

We get the “spice tour” with the guy climbing the coconut palm tree while singing the most overplayed tourist song on the island. I think there’s a picture of him waaaay up in the tree just before he bombs us with some loose coconuts. We see all sorts of spices in the raw (there are definitely pictures of them). Back to Stone Town and the attempted scam and back on the ferry to Dar es Salam (capital of Tanzania)  and a really, really, really long day in Benji up to Arusha, Tanzania and the end of the Africa in Focus tour.

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