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On my earlier 1973 solo trip through East Africa, I had travelled further east than Amboseli, ending up on the Indian Ocean coastline, where I was astounded to see a postcard-like fortress guarding the harbour of Mombasa! It turns out that the Portugese began building Fort Jesus in 1593 as part of their trade network along the tenuous routes to their far-Eastern possessions in India, China and Indonesia. By 1598 the fort was ready for habitation but its construction continued until completion in 1631. Not paying much attention to the details of history in this part of the world, I had never realized that this once-British colony had long-before been Portugese territory.
Fort Jesus has had its share of battles, changing hands more than once over the centuries as both the locals and Arab slave-traders battled the Portugese for control of this coral outcrop at the entrance to Mombasa. Its first major test came in 1631 when the locals revolted and massacred the garrison, requiring Portugal to recapture the Fort in 1632. The next assault came in 1661 when the Omani Arabs decimated the city, but were unable to capture the fort. They had better luck the next time, beseiging the fort for over two years (1696-98) before it finally fell to their forces. This basically put an end to Portugese influence in East Africa, although they later ruled large colonies to the south in Angola and Mozambique. Fort Jesus came under British rule in 1895 when this part of Africa became a British Protectorate, and it was converted to a prison by its new owners.
The fort is now a very interesting museum and tourist attraction. I was not to see another example of this architecture until visiting Portugal itself in 2004!
Updated Dec 12, 2006
At the south side of Nairobi National Park you can visit the elephant orphanage around midday. There were also a lot of schoolchildren around. Just at the moment we arrived the little baby elephants came out of the bushes for their feeding and mudbathing. There was also a baby rhino around.
The baby elephant orphans were rescued in different parks all over the country. When they are old enough they go back to the wild in the Tsavo Park.
Written Nov 10, 2004
Address: PO Box 15555 Mbagathi Nairobi 00503 Kenya
Phone: +254 (0) 20 891996
Another one of Africa's 'big 5' game animals, the Cape Buffalo is a very impressive animal in its own right. They move around in good-sized herds, with one bull in charge of everything and a few younger ones hanging around as well, along with the Cows and their offspring. Standing 5-ft tall at the shoulder and weighing up to 1800-lb, a bull Cape Buffalo is a force to be reckoned with! This particular specimen gave us an even better appreciation of his bulk when he turned side-on in the 2nd photo. Unlike the males, with their very thick horn 'bosses' that meet on top of their heads, the females have horns which are a bit more delicate in nature (3rd photo). That particular one also has the usual Oxpecker or two on her side helping to keep the insect bother down to a minimum. The final photo shows the rest of the herd following along in the footsteps of the the big bull who is calling the shots for this bunch. Although Cape Buffalo have a short temper and are very strong and dangerous, they are one of the most common animals preyed upon by prides of lions.
Updated Mar 11, 2007
Tsavo (East and West) comprise some 21,000 sq. km. and is located in south-east Kenya. The area boasts volcanic hills, four rivers, more than 60 major mammal species and 1000 plant species. The park is home to giraffe, buffalo, antelopes, monkeys, many exotic birds and Kenya's largest herds of elephant. The elephant often look red, covered in the dust and mud of the region’s ruddy soil.
Updated Jun 26, 2004
Other wildlife in the Lake Nakuru National Park include: The famous Black and White rhinos. The Black rhinos have been slowly multiplying over the years, and are well protected. Thanks partially to the government of South Africa. Lake Nakuru National Park also boasts an increase in White rhinos. There are plenty of waterbucks, impalas, dik-diks, grants gazelles, lions and leopards. In 1977, the Rothschild giraffe was introduced to the Park. The park also has large sized python snakes that inhabit the dense woodlands, and can often be seen crossing the roads or dangling from trees.
Updated Jun 26, 2004
The lake catchment is bounded by Menengai crater to the north, the Bahati hills to the north east, the lion hill ranges to the east, Eburu crater to the south and the Mau escarpment to the west. Three major rivers, the Njoro, Makalia and Enderit drain into the lake, together with treated water from the town's sewage works and the outflow from several springs along the shore. Lake Nakuru was first gazetted as a bird sanctuary in 1960 and upgraded to National Park status in 1968. A northern extension was added to the park in 1974 and the lake was designated as a Ramsar site in 1990.
Updated Jun 26, 2004
It is always great to admire Africa's tallest mountain, the 5290-m (19,000-ft) Mount Kilimanjaro as it rises 15,500 feet above the surrounding plains. Even though it is a few miles over the border in Tanzania, you can still get some great views from Amboseli Game Park, whether by telephoto or normal viewing (2nd photo). I had actually spent some time at the foot of the mountain in 1973, when I stayed in Moshe, Tanzania with 'volunteer' friends during my roundtrip 2000-mile hitchhiking/bus adventure from Zambia into Tanzania and Kenya. However, I had seen enough snow growing up in Canada, so was not in the mood to climb to the top for a closer look. Still, I have to admit that it is a majestic sight looming up behind the savannah of Amboseli!
Recent images from the Earth Observer cicling high above show a dramatic decline of the extent of the ice cap between 1993 and 2000. The trend is continuing today, with the ice and snow cover at the top of Kilimanjaro down by 82% over the course of the last 100 years.
Updated Sep 18, 2006
Here you can see the pictures, taken one after another, with camera aimed directly to the sun and the landscapes under the reflective light of the sun while going down. The colours are spectacular because, all the sudden, the sky becaming coloured in broiling yellow-gold colour. On the other side, the forrest becoming mixture of enriched natural colours and everything looks breath-taking.
Written Oct 4, 2006
The truth is, these safari parks occupied huge area which barely can be considerate the zoo's. The animals are free to go wherever they want and, as I could see it, they move from one to other place inside the park. Besides, Africa is their natural enviroment.
Since I am an animal lover, I was trully impressed and fascinated by watching all these animals in their every day activities. The most fascinating moment I've seen happened very early in the morning when group of antelopes start to run across the savannah. It was amazing scene because, from time to time and all the sudden, they jumped high in the air in order to change direction. I tried to snaped them, but the light was poor and they were so quick. When I checked the pictures it was nothing to see.
Updated Sep 26, 2006
The Mara (as the old hands like to call it) is the most popular wildlife park in Kenya.
The western border of the park is the spectacular Esoit Olooloo (Siria) Escarpment and it's at the edge of the park that the concentrations of wildlife are the highest.
Lions are found in large prides everywhere and it's not unusual to see them hunting. Elephants, buffaloes, zebras, various antelopes and hippos also exist in large numbers.
Inside the reserve the Masai people are allowed to graze and hunt animals.
Updated Jun 26, 2004
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