Last Thursday, out of the blues that engulfed Nairobi after tensions from the General Election, I got an urge to return to the Nairobi National Park to shoot wildlife. I shared the idea with friends from Onetouch and Friday morning, we met at the NNP Lang’ata Road Gate at 6am.
The light from the starry skies above faded as the sun pieced the morning clouds, illuminating the beauty of Marsabit’s Abdul Camp. Thick fog engulfed us. And as the smoke from the campfire breakfast danced with the fog, we packed our cameras and set out to explore Marsabit National Park.
For many years, The Big North has been a forgotten territory. Lack of infrastructure meant only resilient pastoralists and opportunistic bandits called this home. But around ten years ago, President Kibaki’s government decided to prioritise tarmacking of the A2 from Isiolo to Moyale. Now complete, this stretch of asphalt has opened up The Big North to those seeking to soak in the beauty of semi arid lands that hug the skies where jagged mountains quench themselves by sipping rain clouds. Welcome to Kenya’s last frontier.
The 2016 Canon Kenya Photography Awards were held in Nairobi on 19th June. At the event, this image which I shot in Masai Mara won in the Nature Category. Allow me to share the story behind the image.
It’s not a place many would like to visit because of the stories of carjackings and muggings that have happened here. These were also my objection statements when I was invited to pay a visit by Arune, one of the friends of the forest. In her defence and that of the forest, she told me there’s parts that are completely fenced off ensuring safety for those visiting. Convinced, I called on friends from Onetouch to come along for the ‘myth debunking tour’.
Masai Mara will forever hold a special place in my heart. It was the first place my wife Gina and I went on an expedition together. That was back in 2004 when I was throwing darts at her. I returned there last August, eleven years later, to experience the beauty of Mara once more, this time with Joe Makeni and Kelvin Shani, brothers from Onetouch.
Located between the Aberdare Ranges and Dundori Ridge is Central Province’s only natural lake – Ol Bolossat. I also didn’t know that it was the only one in Central Province until about two years ago. I’d always longed to visit it and see the beauty it held and last week, the opportunity presented itself and I joined friends from Onetouch for a short trip there.
I spent most of last week in Abuja, shooting at The Nordic Villa. While flying there from Nairobi, I flipped through my Msafiri and found an article recommending what to do while in Nigeria. Since I had one free day before returning to Nairobi, I immediately had a plan to take in some Nigerian beauty.
Last weekend, we took our second photographic road trip of the year as Onetouch. We had chosen Amboseli National Park as our destination and crossed out two days and one night in our calendars for the adventure. After invites on social media, we had two vans with 16 photography lovers buckled up and ready to experience Kilimanjaro’s Royal Court.
Northern Kenya holds a beauty you won’t find anywhere else in the region. This is the one place you will struggle to get out of mud-bogged rain forest roads and find yourself cruising on dry sun-scorched desert sands few minutes later. It doesn’t sound like much but when you experience it, it is a magnanimous event that will be permanently etched in your mind, right next to memories of the first time you attempted to make chapos.
Towards the end of October this year, I embarked on a road trip to northern Kenya. My last attempt to head north was in 2006 when the April rains rendered the place totally inaccessible by road. Seven years later, thanks to Safari Desk, I buckled up in a Gametrackers overland truck and it was ‘Turkana or burst!’
Travel and photography have taken me to many parts of Kenya. From the ice caps of Mt Kenya to the shores of Lake Victoria; from the Aberdare highlands to the slavery caves in Shimoni; but never to northern Kenya. It has been the last frontier in my mission to capture and share the beauty that Kenya has.