Amboseli National Park, Kenya

A Gift from the Kilimanjaro

Two Masai women climb to the top of Normatior Hill, an elevation with a privileged view over Amboseli and Kilimanjaro.
masai fashion
Native women parade during a dance show carried out with Kilimanjaro in the background.
An elephant grazes on the green plain at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro.
in sync
Female elephant and breeding a little sunken in a grassy swamp and surrounded by opportunistic herons.
The turn
Several jeeps lined up watch herds of elephants in a swamp near Normatior Hill
small confrontation
Juvenile buffaloes in an unserious fight, in the middle of the Amboseli savannah.
Masai trio
Young Masai in their traditional red costumes.
On the way to Kilimanjaro
Jeep travels along the unpaved road that passes between the Enkongo swamp and the Normatior hill.
Conquering Normatior
Young Masai climb Normatior Hill, one of their favorite vantage points of the Amboseli plain and Mount Kilimanjaro.
healing power
Masai priest, with the scepter that identifies him in the tribe.
African symbiosis
Jeep approaches a herd of buffaloes accompanied by a flock of herons.
a golden savanna
Vehicles cross the PN Amboseli during a lush sunset.
Normative II
Young Masai about to reach the top of Normatior Hill.
Amboseli to the Lists
Herd of zebras graze with the silhouette of the great Mount Kilimanjaro in the background.
The first European to venture into these Masai haunts was stunned by what he found. And even today, large herds of elephants and other herbivores roam the pastures irrigated by the snow of Africa's biggest mountain.

We had already been somewhat massacred from the nearly four-hour journey along Mombasa Road, via the C-102 and C-103, leaving early in the morning from Nairobi.

Driver John's warning sounded with a mixture of satisfaction and surprise: “Okay, we've reached the bat land diversion.

going to the park entrance. The good news is that there is much less to go, the bad news is that we are going to vibrate. Let's vibrate and it won't be short!"

The erratic traffic on the asphalt here and there, full of craters on the road that linked the Kenyan capital to the country's second city and the Indian Ocean, is behind us.

Finally, we stopped passing trucks and old buses and matutus overcrowded, even so with difficulty since the company that employed John kept limited to 80km/h of its fleet of jeeps.

Amboseli National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, jeeps

Several jeeps lined up watch herds of elephants in a swamp near Normatior Hill

End of Asphalt. The Savannah Road to Amboseli National Park

Little by little, we penetrated into a savannah of tall yellow grass.

Always trembling, we saw the first bouncing flocks of impalas, a little later, ostrich lost in the endless landscape, and then small herds of zebras. The bar-coding pattern of those braying donkeys broke the pallor that had gripped the trip.

From time to time, we scrutinize the horizon, among the acacias and related grasses. We tried to unveil the silhouette as haughty as it was dubious that imposed itself to the south, among the heavy clouds that persist as a legacy of the rainy season.

Until we reach the final destination, in vain.

Meanwhile, the road passes through soggy meadows devoured by the first of many elephants and buffaloes that we would see in the following days. And others, aquatic, full of rotting old trees, dotted with wading birds.

We skirted another one of these rather tenebrous bogs and entered the forested area of ​​the lodge that was going to welcome us. We stretch our legs and take care of the check in and of settling into one of their tribal wooden huts. Shortly after, also dinner.

Between the two moments, John caught up on the conversation with fellow guides and conductors, in a lively exchange of the latest adventures of their itineraries and gamedrives, of the most unprecedented observations and actions of customers who were forced to transport and pamper.

Towards the end of the night, we negotiated an awakening in line with the times of the animals that we had come from so far away to enjoy. With the inn's generators turned off, we were left in the African blackness.

We fall asleep enjoying the distant sounds – or not so much – produced by the creatures around.

Dawn at the Foggy Foot of Mount Kilimanjaro

The new dawn did not take long.

Amboseli National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, Elephant and Kilimanjaro

An elephant grazes on the green plain at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro.

It forced us to get up, frustrated and struggling, which only the tepid water on the bodies and the cozy breakfast alleviated.

Shortly after greeting the guard on duty, we went through the lodge gate and out under the soaring canopies that protected it from the elements.

Overnight, most of the clouds from the day before had migrated elsewhere. As it leapt over the horizon, the sun splattered in the warm hues we'd missed the previous afternoon. We were at an almost equatorial latitude.

Even so, at an altitude of 1200 meters, its slant rays barely disguised the cold that was felt, even more humid, due to the great amount of water that soaked the plain.

We found ourselves rubbing our hands. The unexpected cold may have been responsible. But it is more likely that we did it out of sheer joy.

The Dazzling Vision of the Roof of Africa

Onward, the once elusive silhouette had become the sharp cone of Mount Kilimanjaro, with its soaring 5896-metre snow-flecked summit above a rim of tough cloudiness.

"Why, there he is!" confirms us John. “And right on your first morning! Do you know that there are many people who stay here for a week or more without being able to see it properly…?!”

We had the roof of Africa ahead of us. In the times we spent in Amboseli National Park, it served us as the main geographic and photographic reference.

Confident of its presence, we proceeded in search of the prolific fauna that lived in the vast northern foothills of the largest isolated mountain on the face of the Earth.

Amboseli National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, zebras

Herd of zebras graze with the silhouette of the great Mount Kilimanjaro in the background.

Joseph Thomson and the Feet of Wind for which the Amboseli National Park is named

The European pioneer in this remote part of Africa was the Scottish explorer, geologist and naturalist Joseph Thomson, a nickname that would be attributed to the Thomson's gazelle, also present in Amboseli.

Thomson had the motto “Whoever travels smoothly travels safely; who travels safely, goes far.”

Probably for this reason, in 1833, he was the first protagonist of the Sharing of Africa to manage to enter the dreaded Masai territory known as Empusel, a term from the local Maa dialect that defined the salty and dusty plains found there.

Amboseli National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, buffaloes

Jeep approaches a herd of buffaloes accompanied by a flock of herons.

John belonged to the predominantly Kikuyu Kenyan ethnic group, but he was used to contacting the Masai and wanted to make the concept more concrete for us. "Do you see in the background?" he asks us pointing to a series of gusts lost in the vastness. "It's what the Masai call Amboseli."

Thomson saw the strange phenomenon over and over again.

The Scotsman led an expedition in the service of the Royal Geographical Society that aimed to find a route between the east coast of Africa and the northern coast of Lake Victoria that would avoid both the fierce Masai and the German merchants vying for dominance in that region.

All in all, Thomson's expedition was enormously successful and his biological, geological and ethnographic observations were considered a significant contribution.

Thomson's Adventures and Misadventures to the Conquest of Mount Kilimanjaro

However, the intrepid Scot has had its share of defeats and disappointments. He was too ambitious when he set out to conquer the summit of Kilimanjaro (white mountain in the Maa dialect) in twenty-four hours and failed.

During the journey back to the African coast, on the last day of 1883, a buffalo that was trying to shoot down attacked him and pierced his thigh. Along the way, he still contracted malaria and suffered from dysentery.

Amboseli National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, buffaloes

Juvenile buffaloes in an unserious fight, in the middle of the Amboseli savannah.

In 1885, already back in Great Britain, he published “Through Masai Country".

The book became a best seller. It inspired a young writer who was also knowledgeable about Africa by name Henry Rider Haggard to write your own novel. “King Solomon's Mines” – which would go on to become world famous – enraged Thomson.

The Scotsman had been the first to credibly describe the existence of snowy mountains above the equator and how he himself had terrified the Masai warriors by removing their false teeth and reassuring them that it was magic.

Amboseli National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, Masai sorcerer

Masai priest, with the scepter that identifies him in the tribe.

What was Thomson's astonishment when, reading Rider Haggard's work, he came across the description of snowy African mountains.

And with the character of Captain Good doing the same to a newly imagined Kukuana tribe.

Between Elephants and Hippos of PN Amboseli

O Kikuyu John was not aware of all this literary-historical commotion.

He knew the path that the herds of elephants took to reach water and pastures. “They don't stay here at night. When sunset approaches, they gather at the edge of the park. Then, at dawn, they return in caravans to spend the day.”

Amboseli National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, elephants

Jeep travels along the unpaved road that passes between the Enkongo swamp and the Normatior hill.

No other region in Kenya allows for such a rewarding approach and contemplation of pachyderms as Amboseli.

There, the almost absence of high, dense vegetation and the abundance of dirt tracks allowed us to follow them and photograph them up close, with the bonus of being able to frame them with Kilimanjaro as a backdrop.

One of the favorite places for elephants and hippos are the swamps of Olokenya and Enkongo Narok, both fed by the scattered waters of the river Sinet.

Amboseli National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, elephants

Female elephant and breeding a little sunken in a grassy swamp and surrounded by opportunistic herons.

We cross the second on the way to the Normatior observation hill. There we found them.

Huge adults with newborn cubs, all of them half-sunken in the dark muck devouring grass in industrial quantities, in the company of dozens of opportunistic herons.

We continue to the top of Normatior, one of the few places on the Amboseli PN where it is possible to get out of the vehicle and use your legs.

All around, the latent threat of attacks from wild animals prevails.

Living with the Masai People on Normatior Hill

We conquered the hill side by side with some Masai women who, as is the hallmark of their people, do everything to ensure that we don't photograph them without paying first.

Amboseli National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, Normatior Hill

Two Masai women climb to the top of Normatior Hill, an elevation with a privileged view over Amboseli and Kilimanjaro.

At the top, we enjoy the surreal Africa all around, unfolding from the swamps and meadows at the foot to the endless yellow savannah and the imposing Kilimanjaro massif.

In the meantime, we took the opportunity and got along with some colorful and elegant young Masai who had gone there for a dance performance.

As expected, we also photographed them and with them we photographed ourselves.

That privilege took its toll, of course.

Amboseli National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, Masai Women

Native women parade during a dance show carried out with Kilimanjaro in the background.

And, as a rule, the Masai convert them into cows, the more the better, or if the cows were not the expression of wealth that this proud and warrior people continues to consider sacred and supreme.

Soon, it would start to get dark. John gave the signal and we walked back to the lodge without haste.

We arrived at dusk. The guide was tired of the driving that was accumulating and retired to his room.

We continued with energy. We told him that we wanted to stay at the entrance of the lodge photographing Kilimanjaro at dusk. “Uhmm, they won't be alone for sure! answered us right away.

Let's see how we solve this…”

And the Marathon and Safety Masai Philippe

In three moments, he appeared to us with the guard at the entrance of the lodge, who was ready to keep us company for as long as necessary. “Actually, I just thank you,” confessed Philippe. I have to spend my shifts all cooped up in that cabin.

It's a pleasure to come out here and chat with you. In the meantime, I make sure nothing happens to you. Just yesterday there was a leopard probing right here in front.”

Phillipe was Masai. “In addition to working at the lodge, I'm a runner. I've participated in several marathons. Now I'm injured and I'm looking forward to training again.

"Where do I train?" he replied satisfied with the interest. “I usually train right here on these roads and trails around. To us Masais, lions do not usually attack us. They fear us.”

Amboseli National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, Masai silhouettes

Young Masai climb Normatior Hill, one of their favorite vantage points of the Amboseli plain and Mount Kilimanjaro.

Before the cold and hunger overcame us, we continued a good forty minutes talking about the rival running tribe kalenjin, which gives the most successful runners to Kenya and whose name the Decathlon chain gave to one of its lines of sports equipment.

With sunset over the horizon, we are talking about the Kenyan predominance in world middle-end athletics and so many other subjects.

Amboseli National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, sunset

Vehicles cross the PN Amboseli during a lush sunset.

Until the sky settled in full over the savannah and Kilimanjaro, and hunger and the cold forced us to retreat inside the inn.

NP Gorongosa, Mozambique

The Wild Heart of Mozambique shows Signs of Life

Gorongosa was home to one of the most exuberant ecosystems in Africa, but from 1980 to 1992 it succumbed to the Civil War waged between FRELIMO and RENAMO. Greg Carr, Voice Mail's millionaire inventor received a message from the Mozambican ambassador to the UN challenging him to support Mozambique. For the good of the country and humanity, Carr pledged to resurrect the stunning national park that the Portuguese colonial government had created there.
Lake Manyara NP, Tanzania

Hemingway's Favorite Africa

Situated on the western edge of the Rift Valley, Lake Manyara National Park is one of the smallest but charming and richest in Europe. wild life of Tanzania. In 1933, between hunting and literary discussions, Ernest Hemingway dedicated a month of his troubled life to him. He narrated those adventurous safari days in “The Green Hills of Africa".
Serengeti NP, Tanzania

The Great Migration of the Endless Savanna

In these prairies that the Masai people say syringet (run forever), millions of wildebeests and other herbivores chase the rains. For predators, their arrival and that of the monsoon are the same salvation.
Masai Mara, Kenya

A Journey Through the Masai Lands

The Mara savannah became famous for the confrontation between millions of herbivores and their predators. But, in a reckless communion with wildlife, it is the Masai humans who stand out there.
Savuti, Botswana

Savuti's Elephant-Eating Lions

A patch of the Kalahari Desert dries up or is irrigated depending on the region's tectonic whims. In Savuti, lions have become used to depending on themselves and prey on the largest animals in the savannah.
PN Hwange, Zimbabwe

The Legacy of the Late Cecil Lion

On July 1, 2015, Walter Palmer, a dentist and trophy hunter from Minnesota killed Cecil, Zimbabwe's most famous lion. The slaughter generated a viral wave of outrage. As we saw in PN Hwange, nearly two years later, Cecil's descendants thrive.
Zanzibar, Tanzania

The African Spice Islands

Vasco da Gama opened the Indian Ocean to the Portuguese empire. In the XNUMXth century, the Zanzibar archipelago became the largest producer of cloves and the available spices diversified, as did the people who disputed them.
Okavango Delta, Botswana

Not all rivers reach the sea

Third longest river in southern Africa, the Okavango rises in the Angolan Bié plateau and runs 1600km to the southeast. It gets lost in the Kalahari Desert where it irrigates a dazzling wetland teeming with wildlife.
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwee

Livingstone's Thundering Gift

The explorer was looking for a route to the Indian Ocean when natives led him to a jump of the Zambezi River. The falls he found were so majestic that he decided to name them in honor of his queen
Chobe NP, Botswana

Chobe: A River on the Border of Life with Death

Chobe marks the divide between Botswana and three of its neighboring countries, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia. But its capricious bed has a far more crucial function than this political delimitation.
Rhinoceros, PN Kaziranga, Assam, India
PN Kaziranga, India

The Indian Monoceros Stronghold

Situated in the state of Assam, south of the great Brahmaputra river, PN Kaziranga occupies a vast area of ​​alluvial swamp. Two-thirds of the rhinocerus unicornis around the world, there are around 100 tigers, 1200 elephants and many other animals. Pressured by human proximity and the inevitable poaching, this precious park has not been able to protect itself from the hyperbolic floods of the monsoons and from some controversies.
Yak Kharka to Thorong Phedi, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal, Yaks
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit 11th: yak karkha a Thorong Phedi, Nepal

Arrival to the Foot of the Canyon

In just over 6km, we climbed from 4018m to 4450m, at the base of Thorong La canyon. Along the way, we questioned if what we felt were the first problems of Altitude Evil. It was never more than a false alarm.
Traditional houses, Bergen, Norway.
Architecture & Design
Bergen, Norway

The Great Hanseatic Port of Norway

Already populated in the early 1830th century, Bergen became the capital, monopolized northern Norwegian commerce and, until XNUMX, remained one of the largest cities in Scandinavia. Today, Oslo leads the nation. Bergen continues to stand out for its architectural, urban and historical exuberance.
The small lighthouse at Kallur, highlighted in the capricious northern relief of the island of Kalsoy.
Kalsoy, Faroe Islands

A Lighthouse at the End of the Faroese World

Kalsoy is one of the most isolated islands in the Faroe archipelago. Also known as “the flute” due to its long shape and the many tunnels that serve it, a mere 75 inhabitants inhabit it. Much less than the outsiders who visit it every year, attracted by the boreal wonder of its Kallur lighthouse.
Tiredness in shades of green
Ceremonies and Festivities
Suzdal, Russia

The Suzdal Cucumber Celebrations

With summer and warm weather, the Russian city of Suzdal relaxes from its ancient religious orthodoxy. The old town is also famous for having the best cucumbers in the nation. When July arrives, it turns the newly harvested into a real festival.
San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Zapatismo, Mexico, San Nicolau Cathedral
San Cristobal de Las Casas, Mexico

The Home Sweet Home of Mexican Social Conscience

Mayan, mestizo and Hispanic, Zapatista and tourist, country and cosmopolitan, San Cristobal has no hands to measure. In it, Mexican and expatriate backpacker visitors and political activists share a common ideological demand.
young saleswoman, nation, bread, uzbekistan
Fergana Valley, Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan, The Nation That Does Not Lack Bread

Few countries employ cereals like Uzbekistan. In this republic of Central Asia, bread plays a vital and social role. The Uzbeks produce it and consume it with devotion and in abundance.
Obese resident of Tupola Tapaau, a small island in Western Samoa.
Tonga, Western Samoa, Polynesia

XXL Pacific

For centuries, the natives of the Polynesian islands subsisted on land and sea. Until the intrusion of colonial powers and the subsequent introduction of fatty pieces of meat, fast food and sugary drinks have spawned a plague of diabetes and obesity. Today, while much of Tonga's national GDP, Western Samoa and neighbors is wasted on these “western poisons”, fishermen barely manage to sell their fish.
Reindeer Racing, Kings Cup, Inari, Finland
Inari, Finland

The Wackiest Race on the Top of the World

Finland's Lapps have been competing in the tow of their reindeer for centuries. In the final of the Kings Cup - Porokuninkuusajot - , they face each other at great speed, well above the Arctic Circle and well below zero.
Homer, Alaska, Kachemak Bay
Anchorage to Homer, USA

Journey to the End of the Alaskan Road

If Anchorage became the great city of the 49th US state, Homer, 350km away, is its most famous dead end. Veterans of these parts consider this strange tongue of land sacred ground. They also venerate the fact that, from there, they cannot continue anywhere.
Jean Marie Tjibaou Cultural Center, New Caledonia, Greater Calhau, South Pacific
Grande Terre, New Caledonia

South Pacific Great Boulder

James Cook thus named distant New Caledonia because it reminded him of his father's Scotland, whereas the French settlers were less romantic. Endowed with one of the largest nickel reserves in the world, they named Le Caillou the mother island of the archipelago. Not even its mining prevents it from being one of the most dazzling patches of Earth in Oceania.
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

life outside

Museum of Petroleum, Stavanger, Norway
Stavanger, Norway

The Motor City of Norway

The abundance of offshore oil and natural gas and the headquarters of the companies in charge of exploiting them have promoted Stavanger from the Norwegian energy capital preserve. Even so, this city didn't conform. With a prolific historical legacy, at the gates of a majestic fjord, cosmopolitan Stavanger has long propelled the Land of the Midnight Sun.
São Nicolau, Cape Verde

Photography of Nha Terra São Nicolau

The voice of the late Cesária Verde crystallized the feeling of Cape Verdeans who were forced to leave their island. who visits São Nicolau or, wherever it may be, admires images that illustrate it well, understands why its people proudly and forever call it their land.
Sampo Icebreaker, Kemi, Finland
Winter White
Kemi, Finland

It's No "Love Boat". Breaks the Ice since 1961

Built to maintain waterways through the most extreme arctic winter, the icebreaker Sampo” fulfilled its mission between Finland and Sweden for 30 years. In 1988, he reformed and dedicated himself to shorter trips that allow passengers to float in a newly opened channel in the Gulf of Bothnia, in clothes that, more than special, seem spacey.
shadow vs light
Kyoto, Japan

The Kyoto Temple Reborn from the Ashes

The Golden Pavilion has been spared destruction several times throughout history, including that of US-dropped bombs, but it did not withstand the mental disturbance of Hayashi Yoken. When we admired him, he looked like never before.
Fishing, Cano Negro, Costa Rica
Caño Negro, Costa Rica

A Life of Angling among the Wildlife

One of the most important wetlands in Costa Rica and the world, Caño Negro dazzles for its exuberant ecosystem. Not only. Remote, isolated by rivers, swamps and poor roads, its inhabitants have found in fishing a means on board to strengthen the bonds of their community.
Sheki, Autumn in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Autumn Homes
Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

Lost among the snowy mountains that separate Europe from Asia, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's most iconic towns. Its largely silky history includes periods of great harshness. When we visited it, autumn pastels added color to a peculiar post-Soviet and Muslim life.
Serra Dourada, Cerrado, Goiás, Brazil
Natural Parks
Serra Dourada, Goiás, Brazil

Where the Cerrado Waves Golden

One of the types of South America savannah, the Cerrado extends over more than a fifth of the Brazilian territory, which supplies much of its fresh water. Located in the heart of the Central Plateau and the state of Goiás, the Serra Dourada State Park shines double.
Miyajima Island, Shinto and Buddhism, Japan, Gateway to a Holy Island
UNESCO World Heritage
Miyajima, Japan

Shintoism and Buddhism with the Tide

Visitors to the Tori of Itsukushima admire one of the three most revered scenery in Japan. On the island of Miyajima, Japanese religiosity blends with Nature and is renewed with the flow of the Seto Inland Sea.
Look-alikes, Actors and Extras

Make-believe stars

They are the protagonists of events or are street entrepreneurs. They embody unavoidable characters, represent social classes or epochs. Even miles from Hollywood, without them, the world would be more dull.
Sesimbra, Vila, Portugal, View from the top
Sesimbra, Portugal

A Village Touched by Midas

It's not just Praia da California and Praia do Ouro that close it to the south. Sheltered from the furies of the West Atlantic, gifted with other immaculate coves and endowed with centuries-old fortifications, Sesimbra is today a precious fishing and bathing haven.
Motorcyclist in Sela Gorge, Arunachal Pradesh, India
Guwahati a Saddle Pass, India

A Worldly Journey to the Sacred Canyon of Sela

For 25 hours, we traveled the NH13, one of the highest and most dangerous roads in India. We traveled from the Brahmaputra river basin to the disputed Himalayas of the province of Arunachal Pradesh. In this article, we describe the stretch up to 4170 m of altitude of the Sela Pass that pointed us to the Tibetan Buddhist city of Tawang.
Back in the sun. San Francisco Cable Cars, Life Ups and Downs
On Rails
San Francisco, USA

San Francisco Cable Cars: A Life of Highs and Lows

A macabre wagon accident inspired the San Francisco cable car saga. Today, these relics work as a charm operation in the city of fog, but they also have their risks.
Replacement of light bulbs, Itaipu watt hydroelectric plant, Brazil, Paraguay
Itaipu Binational Hydroelectric Power Plant, Brazil

Itaipu Binational Hydroelectric Power Plant: Watt Fever

In 1974, thousands of Brazilians and Paraguayans flocked to the construction zone of the then largest dam in the world. 30 years after completion, Itaipu generates 90% of Paraguay's energy and 20% of Brazil's.
Daily life
Arduous Professions

the bread the devil kneaded

Work is essential to most lives. But, certain jobs impose a degree of effort, monotony or danger that only a few chosen ones can measure up to.
Newborn turtle, PN Tortuguero, Costa Rica
Tortuguero NP, Costa Rica

A Night at the Nursery of Tortuguero

The name of the Tortuguero region has an obvious and ancient reason. Turtles from the Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea have long flocked to the black sand beaches of its narrow coastline to spawn. On one of the nights we spent in Tortuguero we watched their frenzied births.
Full Dog Mushing
Scenic Flights
Seward, Alaska

The Alaskan Dog Mushing Summer

It's almost 30 degrees and the glaciers are melting. In Alaska, entrepreneurs have little time to get rich. Until the end of August, dog mushing cannot stop.