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.
on the road
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.
In the beautiful heart of northern Kenya sits one of the most scenic community conservancies in Kenya. It covers 49,000 hectares teeming with wildlife that attracts visitors from far and wide. Apart from that, Kalama Community Conservancy is where some of Kenya’s most exquisite jewellery is made.
Less than 20 kilometres from the heartbeat of Nairobi is a settlement that many living on the opposite side of Nairobi fear to visit. Famous for being the home of Nairobi’s main dumpsite, Dandora is also where enthusiasts believe Kenyan hip hop was born, bred and continues to thrive to this day.
It’s where I was born and called home for more than 25 years. These are the streets that shaped me, where I played shake, hid and sought and watched apartments grow in what were once open fields. When I was born, my parents were living in Buru Buru Phase 2. From there, they moved to Umoja 1 before settling in Doonholm in July 1979. They have lived there ever since. #OnetouchLive_Eastlando was a walk down memory lane for me.
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’.
With family spanning almost every administrative ward since the 1950s, Nakuru is naturally my second home. It’s a place that I’ve visited more times than I can remember, making beautiful memories filled with smiles from family and friends. As it came up on the Onetouch calendar last April, I knew it would be a challenge to find something new to shoot there, but still booked my seat in Shani’s Forester for the ride to Nakuru.
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.
Nairobi National Park is a place you can’t get tired of visiting. No matter how many times you venture into the world’s only capital city park, you’ll find something new to excite you. That’s why last week, as Kenya celebrated Madaraka Day, I hooked up with Amunga, Sharon and Joanne to see what we would unearth this time round.
Last November, I had the privilege to visit Lakes Magadi and Natron. You can read more about that trip which has been my most epic to date here. When we got to Lake Magadi, we made our way to the hot springs where we met Maasai ladies selling curios and crafts in an open air market set up daily so that anyone who visits the area can get some memorabilia to take back with them.
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’ll always be grateful to God my Father for blessing me with the gift of photography because through it, I’ve been able to visit places that I might have only dreamt of if I had a regular desk job. This year alone, I’ve been to more new places in Kenya than in my entire life combined, the latest on the list being Lake Natron.
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.