IT'S a Jungle out there :)

Published January 30th, 2012

Dear All, Rediff.com is running a feature on my photographs. Please check the link, hope you will like it.

http://www.rediff.com/news/slide-show/slide-show-1-stunning-photos-it-is-a-jungle-out-there/20120130.htm

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Tanzania: 11th March – 20th March

Published January 11th, 2012

Africa was not the original destination of choice while I was planning my impulse vacation. My trip to Tanzania in East Africa was the fallout of Europe being a poor choice due to climatic conditions early in the year, too cold for my liking. What could have been your average holiday at the customary resort, with visits to the spa, throw in some water sports at the beach and visits to the local hot spots, actually turned out to be an awe-inspiring, adrenaline filled, completely overwhelming experience!

I came across several raised eyebrows on indicating that I was planning a visit to Tanzania. Some even asked ‘where’s that’. Africa, that’s where! Tanzania is probably one of the oldest known inhabited areas on Earth; fossil remains of humans and pre-human hominids have been found dating back over two million years. The buck stops here when it comes to wild life and national parks.

I cannot begin to describe the beauty and vastness of this relatively underrated nation [Underrated as a ...

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Day1: Lake Manyara National Park

Published January 11th, 2012

On exiting the Kilimanjaro Airport, it didn’t take us long to spot our guide. He had a big board with our names printed on it and an even bigger smile pasted on his face. We exchanged the customary greetings, took a stab at Swahili, taught him some Hindi and we were on our way to Arusha Mountain Village, a beautiful stone lodge at the foot of Mount Meru.

We left early next morning to Lake Manyara National Park, our first park in the ‘northern circuit safari’, a two hour drive from Arusha.

Lake manyara is a shallow lake; the name comes from the Maasai word emanyara, which is a euphorbia species of plant that is grown into a hedge around a family homestead. The name "is a Masai description not for the lake, but in general for a lake shore region." This national park is about 329 sq km.

Lake Manyara was where I got a glimpse of what I can expect in Tanzania. On entering the park, you are surrounded by the tall trees of the "ground water" forest with lush foliage. You won’t miss the ‘sa ...

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Day 3: In search of Duma

Published January 11th, 2012

The next day was dedicated to spotting the elusive Duma (Cheetah in Swahili). Cheetahs are typically solitary creatures although the males sometimes live with a small group of brothers from the same litter. The cheetah achieves by far the fastest land speed of any living animal—between 112 and 120 km/h (70 and 75 mph) in short bursts covering distances up to 500 m (1,600 ft), and has the ability to accelerate from 0 to over 100 kmph (62 mph) in three seconds. Cheetahs are an endangered species, principally due to shrinking habitat, loss of species to prey upon, disease and a high rate of cub mortality.

We drove many a mile, combing through the grasslands of Seronera (Central Serengeti), eyes peeled, hoping to spot the shy cat. We probably drove for at least 5 hours at a stretch and I must tell you, it is not easy to navigate through the tall grass and keep a look out at the same time. We spotted the occasional tusker, the mating lions but the cheetah completely eluded us.

I can’t s ...

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Day 2: Serengeti

Published January 11th, 2012

What can you really say about Serengeti without using every cliché in the book? 32,000 sq kms of wildlife haven? It’s truly heaven on earth for wild life enthusiasts, amateurs, professionals, well; even you’re just tagging along. Notice that I’m using the clichés, hence I’m gonna keep it simple. ‘Paradise’.

Serengeti is derived from the Maasai language, Maa; specifically, "Siringet" meaning "Endless Plains". The Serengeti hosts the largest mammal migration in the world, which is one of the ten natural travel wonders of the world.

As you enter one of the many gates and drive down the dusty track, the landscape opens into the classic African acacia tree woodlands and the vast never ending plains make you feel….small. I felt humbled as I looked around, gawking at the rolling plains of this vast grassland. My mouth just wouldn’t close and I wished I could put my eyes into the ‘panoramic vision’ mode.

The drive from Lake Manyara to Serengeti itself was truly amazing. We drove past the ...

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Day 4: Hunt for Duma in Ndutu

Published January 11th, 2012

Random conversations with a Dutch photographer we ran into revealed that we should be heading towards Ndutu lake to spot cheetahs. I bullied my guide, who had become a buddy of sorts now, into driving us to Ndutu. He protested mildly but in the end, promised to get me a cheetah sighting,

I’m not sure how to explain this, but the pulse of the Ndutu region was quite different from the Seronera. I could feel the adrenaline coursing through my veins; like I was about to enter a battlefield, in the midst of action.

And there lying in plain sight was a pride of lions with their cubs, gnawing on a fresh kill. Big brother was chewing on a wildebeest, while the little fellows scampered around playfully.

And then we got lucky - Three cheetah brothers were enjoying an afternoon nap. We parked ourselves at a distance, quite certain that they’d wake up and hunt. A baby zebra dangerously close by didn’t realize she could become lunch, anytime. But looks like the zebra had a hint that brothers wer ...

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Last stop: Ngorongoro Crater

Published January 11th, 2012

Ngorongoro Crater is part of Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA). NCA is UNESCO World Heritage Site. Eight million years ago, the Ngorongoro Crater was an active volcano but its cone collapsed, forming the crater that is 610 meters deep, 20 kilometres in diameter, covering an area of 311 sq. km.



This crater is simply magical, right from the rays of the sun streaming out of the clouds on a rainy morning, to the staggering number of animals present in the crater. Our lodge, which was located on the rim of the crater, had a beautiful viewing post with a very powerful pair of binoculars. The large group of animals that you land up spotting on the floor of the crater is inconceivable.



It’s also an extraordinary place for landscape photography and is native to almost all animals. Views from the rim of the crater are sensational. On the crater floor, grassland blends into swamps, lakes, rivers and woodland. It’s pure poetry!

Memories of this trip make my soul sing. When I think of the da ...

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