Wrapping up my trip to Kenya

DSC_0316Three parks in eight days, looking back it was not enough time. As my adventure began it seemed to come to an end. I have had illusions and expectations about Kenya for most of my life. I must say it exceeded my expectations tremendously. It is hard to put into words the emotions and experiences one has when they have been on an adventure that they have always dreamed about. I will do my best to put how I feel into words.
I must first say that the people of Kenya are wonderful. They are friendly and above all they are proud of their culture and their heritage. They are also proud of their wildlife and want to protect it. Now, this is coming from someone who only met a small portion of the people and most of them were those I met in the bush. Those that I met and formed a relationship with will stick with me and be friends I hope for a long time.
I tried to go into this trip with an open mind. I wanted to absorb all that I could so I could come home and share what I learned with as many people as I could. There is no way to remember everything or tell the whole story with some pictures. Some of the experiences that will stand out to me are as follows. Watching Mt. Kilamanjaro “wake up”, as the natives put it, early in the morning just after the sun rose was awe inspiring. I waited three days to see the mountain as it stayed cloud covered and on my last day in Amboseli it showed itself, but only for an hour or so. I felt lucky and blessed to experience the event in a moment of silence when my mind could be openned.
Seeing my first lion up close in the wild was spectacular. When it looked at me as I was shooting I thought my heart was going to jump out of my chest. On that same token, seeing my first leopard was more amazing. I went in without any expectations of seeing Africa’s most elusive cat. Yet, at the end of the day I saw five, but what I will truly remember is knowing that I am one of a handful of people who has witnessed these elusive animals in their mating ritual.
I was caught up in the power, yet humbleness of the elephants we encountered. The main reason I was so excited to go was to get the chance to witness part of the wildebeest crossing the Mara River during the migration. It was a long day filled with anticipation. Just as we thought nothing would happen, the animals crossed making the whole day that much more special.
With everything that I witnessed, what will stand out for me the most? The event that will stick with me and has not left my mind was standing a few feet away from one of Africa’s most endangered animals, the white rhino. I said I would leave Africa with no regrets if I saw just one of these animals. I was given the opportunity to see these animals up close. As I stood there photographing them, I was suddenly caught up in the moment. I found myself putting the camera down to soak in what I was witnessing. It is still hard to explain, but as I stood there with the understanding that these were the last two of their kind in the Masai Mara Park it brought tears to my eyes. Knowing that the rangers were there to protect these amazing creatures because of man’s desire for money brought everything into perspective for me. I may never be able to put into words the emotions that I felt in that moment, but I hope this is not the last time I see these animals in the wild. I had to think of my nephews and pray that they someday get to have the same experience I did, but with these animals roaming without their personal guard and without fear for their lives.
There was so much to this trip that I could spend weeks writing about it and never get to the end. There is a lot to sort through from this trip, but in the end I know a few things. My resolve to share with others to protect the wildlife I love has never been stronger and my passion for what I am doing has never been greater. I will go back and I will keep sharing what I learn with anyone who will listen. Thank you, asante san as they say in swahili, to those who followed this trip. It has been a wonderful ride that I hope is not close to being over.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s