Escape to Another Planet: Journey to Wild Africa in the comfort of your own home.
As I made yet another helicopter turn over the world’s greatest waterfall, Victoria Falls, I thought about how lucky I was. Again and again I return to this amazing continent, Africa, discovering new and unexpected places and having a stunning experience akin to the sensations of travelers to other planets!
Photo of Victoria Falls taken from a helicopter in the sky over the Zambia-Zimbabwe border. The waters of the Zambezi River plummet 108 meters from a precipice 1,708 meters wide. In November 1855 David Livingstone was the first European to see this spectacular waterfall. The island in the middle of the falls, where he stopped, is named after him.
The waters of the Zambezi River fall from a height of 108 meters from a precipice 1,708 meters wide. In November 1855, David Livingstone became the first European to see this spectacular waterfall. The island in the middle of the falls, where he stopped, is named after him.
I first went to Africa when I was a boy – my father was an engineer at a Soviet-supported construction site in Sudan in the early seventies. It’s where I went to school. It was here that I first picked up a camera – my father’s old rangefinder Kiev with a 50mm prime lens and Zeiss panes (a copy of German Contax, the rights to which were acquired during the repatriations after the war).
I have been on the road ever since. My work involves constant movement, but I also prefer to spend all my free time travelling. For me, the best investment is an investment in your own impressions and memories, which remain with you always, despite any crises and upheavals. That is why my main hobby is travel and travel photography.
I have visited over 65 countries during my life, and I am not going to stop. I have managed to visit different parts of the world, but Africa keeps beckoning me. And I come back here to see new places, to talk to people living a different life from ours, and, of course, to observe the world of amazing African animals.
I shot this lion at point-blank range from 3 meters. The lion is rightly considered the king of beasts and is part of the so-called African Big Five – lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhinoceros.
The hardest to see of the Big Five is the leopard and rhinoceros. This colorful character jumped out from under our wheels almost when we had already lost hope of finding rhinos.
The Soul of the Maasai. The Masai are people of a different culture. They live an unreal life from the point of view of a modern person, their world is a world of unity with Nature. Here you can see a Maasai warrior who spends most of his life alone in the savanna, eating only meat, blood and milk, hunting with a club, knife and spear. This is why they are so slender and graceful, like the wild beasts among which they live.
When the Maasai sing and dance, they are practically in a trance state.
The savannah people have never had papers. The Maasai still have the right to cross freely from Kenya to Tanzania and back without passports, because it is their land and they do not recognize any borders. And in order to distinguish which family a particular Masai belongs to (those who have not become warriors, live practically in primitive communal system in villages, each of which is a small tribal association of one to five families), they have had holes cut into their ears of various shapes since childhood.
Now this tradition has been preserved, only the marks on the ears have become very small and almost invisible, so that children are not embarrassed to go to school. Educating children has now become the goal of most Maasai families, so they use every means to get at least some money. For most of them it is trading and entertaining tourists.
If you are just starting to wonder if you should go to Africa, the easiest place to start is Egypt, Zanzibar or Mauritius. These are very beautiful places with their own unique culture and nature, but if you want to get a real shock in a good sense of the word a hurricane of incredible experiences, I suggest the following challenging and very intense route.
Remember the song “In the port of Cape Town / With a hole in the side / “Jeannette” corrected the rigging. “Let’s start with Cape Town.
Cape Town is the view of Table Mountain, which gave its name to the bay where all the ships that sailed from Europe to India stopped.
It’s the only town in South Africa where I feel like I’m in Northern California – mild climate, local wine tasting in welcoming wineries, wonderful seafood restaurants and sailing into the evening to watch the sunset with a glass of champagne in hand.
That’s the kind of yacht you can take on the Champaign Sunset Cruise every evening from the city’s harbor.
And the main thing – from Cape Town we get to the legendary place, steeped in the romance of the Age of Discovery – the Cape of Good Hope. In this place, the powerful currents of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans collide, which were almost insurmountable obstacles for medieval sailing ships. But their brave captains kept going! Standing there, you yourself feel involved in the spirit of distant wanderings and the eternal longing of people for the unknown.
Cape of Good Hope . There, farther south, there is nothing but the boundless ocean and the ice of Antarctica.
These penguins have populated the snow-white Boulders Beach near the Cape of Good Hope, on the side of the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.
After enjoying Cape Town, it’s time to see another Africa. We get on a plane and fly to Livingstone in Zambia. On landing, you’ll see a column of water vapor rising over Victoria Falls. But before you go there, I suggest taking a safari trip to Botswana. A couple of hours drive and you’ll get to a unique point on the map of Africa – the water crossing of the Zambezi River, where four (!) countries – Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana – converge at one point.
Hippos only look big and clumsy. Look at the spray as the hippo jumps into the Chobe River. They can run swiftly underwater. They are driven by instinct. Although they are herbivores, they can easily tip over a boat and chew a man in half if they get angry.
Breakfast on the grass – wild African dogs chased the kudu antelope on a morning hunt and rejoice in their prey. It’s not a scary sight. It’s just part of real animal life.
Safaris come in classic overland jeep safaris and water safaris by boat. Botswana is a great opportunity to discover both types of this amazing entertainment. The main thing I learned for myself from my first safari was that you don’t need to show animals to children in zoos. I always felt sorry for those poor animals in cages. Show them the real life of animals here in Africa!
This elephant suddenly came out of the bush right to our jeep and looked at us very sternly. I didn’t have time to change the lens, so only her eyes fit in the frame.
On water safari we transfer from jeeps to motorboats and can observe animals and birds from the water.
Time on safari flies by. Early rise, morning observation of the animals as they eat breakfast in the vastness of the waking savannah. Return to the lodge for lunch or lunch in the car to wait out the hottest time when the savannah animals hide in the shade of bushes or tall grass. Then an evening safari. A good dinner with South African wine rounds out the long day.
The animals are not afraid of people and can come very close to the lodges (tent camps for tourists). For the safety of people is responsible almost inconspicuous wire fence under low voltage, which will not hurt the animals, but scare them away.
That’s the end of the Botswana trip. It’s time to drive on. Our destination is Victoria Falls!
A very important point when planning a trip to Africa is to choose the right season. If you want to visit Victoria, I suggest you go in February-March, when the water has already gained strength after the dry season, but the heavy rains of the wet season have not yet started. In the first case, you risk seeing only a few streams instead of a powerful waterfall; in the second, you won’t see anything at all except a huge cloud of water vapor.
I recommend stopping on the Zambian side rather than the Zimbabwean side – it’s safer and more comfortable. And the best way to see all of Victoria’s splendor is from the air anyway. You can fly as a passenger in a two-seat motorized hang glider, you can just launch a drone, but I always prefer to see everything with my own eyes, so I took a helicopter. After 15 minutes of flying over the waterfall itself, it dives into the gorge into which the water falls, and flies, repeating all the curves of the channel. It feels like Star Wars when the Millennium Falcon gets away from another chase!
You can only see Victoria Falls fully from the air. From the ground, you’ll only see parts of it, walking under a torrential downpour from clouds of water vapor rising from streams of rapidly falling water.
Now we have a chance to consider where to go next. I recommend heading either to Namibia (it’s still on my Travel Bucket List) or towards Kenya and Tanzania, where you can see Africa’s greatest peak, Kilimanjaro, and the most classic and varied safari, as this is where this particular type of travel originated.
During the day, Kilimanjaro is usually obscured by thick clouds gathering over its glacier-covered summit (remember Hemingway’s Kilimanjaro Snows?). But at dawn it can show itself in all its glory.
The Amboseli National Park at the foot of Kilimanjaro is inhabited mainly by elephants and antelopes.
The two countries have much in common. Even some National Parks of the two countries are parts of a single animal habitat, just separated by the border. The most famous of them are the Masai Mara (name from the Kenyan side) and the Serengeti (from the Tanzanian side).
Typical Masai Mara landscapes. Don’t be surprised – these are acacia trees. Not at all like what we are used to in Russia.
In the Masai Mara you can watch the animals from the balloons as well.
How many giraffes can you count here?
Herds of zebra and gnu antelope always graze together. The gnu have a very short memory, no more than 15 minutes, so they use the zebras as guides to lead them to both food and water. And in return, they provide zebras with feasible protection from predators, because they are larger and have horns.
This is where you can observe the so-called Great Migration, when herds of zebra and wildebeest twice a year, following the change of seasons, massively cross the crocodile-infested Mara River in order to reach richer pastures. Unfortunately, I never got to see this spectacle – the seasons shifted.
This year, at the height of the Dry Season in Kenya, there were torrential rains. I used to ride here across a small stream in a dried up river bed, but now it has proven to be a very difficult crossing.
For example, this year I went to Kenya in late February and early March. It was supposed to be the height of the dry season, and we got caught in a real flood. So much rain had never been seen here since December, when it was supposed to end. Our animal sighting turned into a real jeep safari, where half of the time we were either pulling someone out of the swampy savannah, or someone was pulling us out when a specially made all terrain Land Cruiser got hopelessly stuck in the middle of nowhere.
Giraffes are very family animals.
Cheetahs are the fastest cats on the planet. During the hunt, they develop a speed of up to 128 km / h. Of course, after such efforts, when breakfast is already eaten, we want to lie in the shade and rest.
Another King of the Beasts sees us off.
I don’t know how much I’ve been able to convey to you the amazing pioneer pioneer emotions I experience every time I get to Africa. But if you make the decision to go on the Great African Journey, you won’t regret it. You will forever remember and be nostalgic for the endless expanse of savannah, the incredible power of Victoria Falls and the wild sounds of the African night under the constellation of the Southern Cross.
You can learn more about Africa and other great trips on my Instagram @dz_travel_photo.
The 10 Best Safari Destinations in Africa
A safari in Africa is a unique journey that involves observing wildlife in their natural habitat. Having been on an African safari once, you will definitely want to repeat the adventure.
It is no secret that among the most popular safari destinations are tours to eastern and southern Africa. Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia and Gabon. Here is a list of countries that include the main wildlife parks of the African continent. These countries will open up to you an amazing and diverse world of wildlife and enchant you with unique landscapes.
The 10 Best Safari Destinations in Africa
Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya.
The Masai Mara is Kenya’s most popular wildlife park and Africa’s most popular destination for safari tours. From late July to October you can witness the migration of millions of gnu and zebra antelope.
Chobe National Park, Botswana
Located in Botswana’s Okavango Delta, Chobe National Park includes four different ecosystems. The bank of the Chobe River (Serondela area), the Savuti Swamp area, Linyanti Swamp and the poorly explored forest and plain area between Savuti and Linyanti. This park has the largest concentration of elephants in Africa.
Kruger National Park, South Africa
The Kruger National Park is well-developed and allows self-guided tours by car. The park’s wildlife includes the African Great Five as well as hippos, crocodiles, cheetahs, and many other species.
South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
This is one of the most famous national parks in Africa for hiking safaris. The Luangwa River is filled to the brim with crocodiles and hippos. In addition to them, the park is home to about 60 species of animals and more than 400 species of birds. If you are lucky, you will witness large prides of lions (over 30).
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The Serengeti is the most famous park in Tanzania. In the vast plains and grasslands you can often see lions hunting for park animals. The Serengeti is also famous for being the starting point of the great zebra and wildebeest migrations to the Maasai Mara.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda
The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is home to half of the world’s mountain gorillas.
Etosha National Park, Namibia
Etosha National Park is Namibia’s main wildlife reserve. A large part of the park is the Etosha Pen Plain which is a plateau of a dried up salt lake. Photographers are most interested in the dry season, when animals concentrate near the watering places. Etosha is home to elephants and endangered black rhinos.
Loango National Park, Gabon
Loango is probably the least known park on this list, but it’s only a matter of time. Loango is the only place in Africa where you can visit the savannah, the sandy shores of the stunning lagoon, the impassable marshes and the lush rainforest in the same day. And see elephants, buffalo, gorillas, chimpanzees, dolphins and whales in the same day.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania
Ngorongoro Conservation Area borders the Serengeti National Park. The UNESCO-listed Ngorongoro area is a huge crater created by an exploding volcano. Over the years, the limited area of the caldera has formed a unique habitat for almost all known animal species of East Africa.
Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
The park is situated next to the Victoria Falls, the greatest natural wonder. It is home to 105 species of mammals, including 19 large herbivores and 8 large carnivores. Hwange is home to one of Africa’s largest populations of hyena dogs.
Namib-Naukluft National Park, Namibia
Namib-Naukluft is one of the most unusual protected areas, the largest national park
Victoria Falls Hotel, Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls Hotel in Zimbabwe is located in close proximity to Victoria Falls. It is one
The Moroccan fortified town (ksar) of Ait-Ben-Haddou was founded in the eleventh century to protect the caravan route,
Ouzoud Falls, Morocco
Church of St. George in Lalibela, Ethiopia
Located on the slope of Mount Abun Yosef, the small town of Lalibela in the Middle Ages was a political and
Lake Retba, Senegal
Lake Retba in Senegal has a unique pink water color caused by the cyanobacteria that live in it. The earliest microorganisms appeared
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