African Jottings

Photo Essay by Peiwen Yu

Craving adventure, once in a lifetime experiences and culture, I had wanted to visit African safari and witness one of the top wonders of nature world – wildlife migration. In this July, I finally made the trip to Kenya! My imaged-reality of Africa was largely made of stories including the Mount Kilimanjaro, the savannah where our ancestors first conducted hunting and gathering, the snows on equator, and the legendary Maasai people.

It turned out, my 12-day bumping journey on Kenya’s unpaved safari roads brought me into a major shock, along with a major shift of opinion. Why people are drawn into the idea of visiting such a small country with relatively poor infrastructure, scary, somewhat  fabricated reputation due to its social and economic problems? Experience in Kenya is truly unique to me, because of the distinctive contrast between physical discomfort due to lack of resource, and spiritual uplifting from explosive discovery of ecology and natural world.

There is nothing more magical than a close encounter with the continent’s most iconic wildlife such as lions and elephants, through which I realized what animals are really like when not behind the cages in a city zoo, and the fact that humans are a tiny fraction of all creatures.

There are few places in the world that have the incredibly varying landscapes that Kenya has. The range in temperatures, habitats and geography are the reason this country is home to so many different species of rare wildlife, many of which can be only be found in the grassy plains, rain forests and wooded savannas of Kenya.

There is nothing more dramatic than seeing the famous “East African Cross” in one day, when our scenic drive took us to experience the Great Rift Valley and Equator through a route in networks of lakes, mountains, volcanoes, and tea plantations.

Kenya’s notion of protecting their wildlife is well executed. Instead of working against the local people, eco-tourism groups and hotels work with the owners of the land to build trusts which help protect the animals from human harm and poaching, while also helping the local people with a trusted source of income so they can better their lives and focus on education for their kids.

Hope the photo essay present some of the most memorable moments in Kenya – the sunset, the dust, the snow mountain, the iconic animals, masai village and some of the most unforgettable eco camps. Enjoy!

Photos and sketches by Peiwen Yu

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