Nairobi National Park is the only national park on earth that borders a capital city. It was quite a remarkable feeling to watch lions walking through the tall grass with skyscrapers in the distance and planes flying overheard. It's actually one of Africa's smallest national parks, but it sure didn't feel that way to me with all the abundant wildlife around. It is home to 4/5 of the 'Big 5' which includes Lions, Leopards, Buffalo, Elephants and Rhino's. They are called the Big 5 not because they are the biggest (although they are amongst the biggest), but rather because they've been hunted for something of perceivable value in the past. Sadly, there are no more Elephants at Nairobi National Park.
I was scanning through Twitter last week as I'm trying to improve my social media skills for my new job at LishaBora (check out our website and my blog posts at www.lishabora.com) when I stumbled across an ad by Bigfoot Adventures Kenya who was hosting an event with Versatile Photographers (links to their websites in their titles). I'm not going to lie, at first I thought this was probably another mzungu (white person) tourist only event, but something captivated me about it so I decided to sign up alone. I figured at the very least it would be a good networking opportunity. The next day I drove my new motorbike (yup that's right, I'm an official 'picky picky' lady now) to the park, which in itself was an adventure as we had to arrive by 6AM. A couple of wrong turns and help from another boda (motorbike) driver finally got me to the main gate where I met a group of 20+ passionate and enthusiastic Kenyan photographers. We were fortunate to receive a private photography lesson from David Macharia of Versatile Photographers (check out his website, link in his name) who besides having some of the most incredible wildlife shots I have ever seen in my life, also had a very inspiring message to share. The wildlife of Kenya, and all over the world for that matter are something of extraordinary beauty that we must cherish. Unfortunately, climate change and other factors like poaching have taken their toll on these animals, and slowly their numbers are decreasing. We really don't know how much longer any of these beautiful creatures will be around, and so his message to all Kenyan's is to get out and explore their beautiful country and take photos of the wildlife so that future generations can at least know what they looked like. I was so inspired by this message that I am making it my new mandate as well to share the beauty of Kenya with all of you. By incorporating art with an inspiring message of conservation for our planet, we can start a revolution and help preserve our wildlife. I hope you enjoy this collection of wildlife photos. To be honest, I feel like I could have done a lot better, especially after hearing David speak at the end of the game drive, but it's motivating me to keep practicing. Wildlife is such an intricate photo shooting technique and I can't wait to get out to explore again. Luckily it's only a 50 minute drive from where I live! :)
These lions were enjoying on another's company in the early morning sun. The best time of day to spot lions is at dusk or dawn as it gets too hot for them during the afternoon so they keep themselves well hidden in the tall grass.
The female lions do the hunting for the pride, and we almost saw 2 lionesses partner up to hunt down a gazelle. I was on edge as we watched them size up the gazelle and plan out their kill. Unfortunately for them (but fortunately for the gazelle) they didn't catch anything this time.
Birds of Nairobi
At first I didn't find the ostriches to be very interesting, but the more I snapped photos of them, the more I grew to like them. They seriously know how to walk about and strut their stuff. Can you feel their sass through these photos? Look at those cocked hips and fierce blue steel looks they've got on their faces...am I right?! My next blog will feature all the birds I saw on my birdwatching tour near Thika town, stay tuned!
All of these giraffe photos are dedicated to my friend Becky back home in Calgary who's spirit animal is the giraffe. Hope you enjoy these girl!
I actually find the buffalo to be the most frightening of all the animals. Maybe because of that scene in the Lion King when the wildebeests trample Mufasa, or maybe it's the horns? In most of these photos they reminde me of statues or gigantic gargoyles.
Gazelles & Impalas
Being one of the lowest on the food chain these animals are constantly on the run from lions and leopards. They are quite elegant and graceful and I did enjoy watching them bounce around the park.
I love zebras. I am actually modelling my new home in Nairobi in a black and white zebra inspired minimalistic theme. I think what I like about this theme so much is how it juxtaposes my views on the world, because nothing is black and white, it's always somewhere in between.
Fun fact: Is a zebra black with white stripes or white with black stripes? I found out the answer but I want to hear from you in the comments below!
And the rest...
A wonderful day in Nairobi National Park. Thanks again to all the inspiring photographers I met.
Let's keep conserving our planet through art!