Monthly Archives: May 2014

MySkills4Afrika–Journal 09

When I started on my journey to Kenya, I packed my bags and packed my devices.  Although I’m here on business, there is no doubt that I wanted to be a tourist as well.  For most that means packing your overly expensive and rather large camera (maybe it is a super sized Nikon) with your telephoto lens so you can make sure you capture that special picture.  Or, maybe you are packing your video camera so you can capture your experience for your family to see in videos.

I do own a very nice Nikon camera and a few expensive lenses that I could take with me on this journey.  However, majority of the time I find it quite bulky and a hassle to take.  For this experience, I opted to only take my Nokia Lumia 1020 Windows Phone.  You may recall that I did a post previously on the Lumia 1020:

How good is the Lumia 1020 for Videos

But, those were other peoples stories.  How does the phone stack up when I need it most?

My story starts at the Detroit airport.  When I was checking in my bags, the attendant saw my phone and asked me if the camera was as good as the commercials say it is.  I put it to the test.  I took a picture of the inside of the airport and then zoomed the picture in to show the attendant.  This is what I initially showed her:

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Like you are probably thinking, she looked at me puzzled as the picture is a little distorted and pixelated.  But, I want to point out a few things about this picture.  You can definitely make out each of the three people that are forward facing in the picture and I would bet that you could pick them out of a line up if needed.  The story doesn’t end there.

I ended up zooming out of the picture and showed her the real picture that I took.

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Based on this knowledge, how does the phone hold up at a Kenyan tourist destination?  Quite well I might suggest.

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Here is the actual picture

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As we were about to leave the park, we ran into this little beauty.

The quality of video in this post isn’t the best, but you can look at all of the High Res photos and High Def videos that I have captured with this camera… um, I mean phone by going to my OneDrive folder – http://1drv.ms/1og5bK7.  Select the “Location Specific” folder (which is where I stored all of the High Resolution Photos).  Once there, select the desired location of interest (i.e. Kenya Nairobi National Park, or Kenya Elephant Orphanage, or the Videos folder).

A few details about the phone.

NUSA-PP-Lumia-1020_EOS_Refresh_Hero_2000x1000_1

Specifications

4.5” Display
41 megapixel camera
Xenon Flash
Dual-core 1.5 GHz
ZEISS optics
Full High-Def 1080p (1920 x 1080)
30 fps Video Frame Rate
6X Video Zoom

You can see all of the tech specs at Nokia’s website

Why carry two devices (a phone and a camera)?  Make the switch to the most awesome Camera Phone on the market.

-Stephen

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MySkills4Afrika–Journal 08

It’s Friday… my last full day of work in Kenya has been completed.  I still have a few more journal entries I want to write about but it may take me a few days to get them completed and posted.  On Saturday, I will be waking up super early (4:00a) and will be heading to the Sweetwaters Game Reserve (yes, I’m trying to squeeze in 1 more tourist visit while here).  I’m really excited to visit the Chimpanzee Sanctuary. 

Words have a lasting impact.  I guess that is why I’m most excited to see the chimpanzees… my mother used to call me a little monkey when I was younger.  That has always stuck and is the reason for my excitement and love for these animals.

I hope to get back to the hotel around 5:00p, will shower, finish packing, eat my last dinner in Kenya then off to the airport.  My flight leaves around 10:30p Saturday night (3:30p EST on Saturday).  God willing, my plane will land safely in Detroit around 10:30a EST on Sunday (5:30p local Kenya time).

For those of you that have been following along my Kenya journey, I hope you have enjoyed a few of the posts.  I thank you for reading.  This experience that Microsoft has allowed me to do under the #MySkills4Afrika program will always be remembered.

I hope I have done my Kenyan colleagues proud (as well as Microsoft 4Afrika and my team back at home).  I’ve tried to portray Kenya as I have experienced it.  I’ve also tried to ensure that the “real Africa” story gets told; although I will admit that I sorta lived the high life while here – 5 star hotel, all expenses paid (except my tourist visits), taxis and travel all arranged, customer appointments scheduled, above and beyond hospitality from all of my colleagues, etc., etc.  Sure, there are security concerns and living concerns (which I will blog about shortly), but overall the experience has been amazing.

For my colleagues in Kenya, thanks to you my blog posts have reached about 350 views over the last several days.  Hopefully everyone around the world will know Kenya is a great place to visit, do business, and be a tourist.

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If you have considered traveling to Kenya, I would highly recommend it.  It is breathtaking and beautiful.

-Stephen

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MySkills4Afrika–Journal 07

I’m having to skip my Monday customer journal entry as I’m waiting on a few details so I decided to go ahead and post about my Tuesday customer experience.

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Last Friday, I had mentioned that I presented to two groups at the Microsoft Kenya office to showcase the newest Windows-based tablets and phones that are available.  We discussed overall strategy, what’s working, what’s not and I answered several questions from my colleagues.  After those sessions, we scheduled a customer meeting for Tuesday… it was the most excellent experience.  Again, I think I’m learning more than the value that I’m giving.

Tuesday

I arrived at the office around 10a and then Andrew and I geared up, caught a taxi and went to the customer office.  It was a short visit at the headquarters (didn’t even take a seat) because our main contact, Paul, offered to take us on a factory tour of one of their facilities – Karirana, The Home of Eden Tea.

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Karirana tea has a deep history that began in 1903 when the first seedlings were introduced to Kenya and planted in Limuru (about 5 kilometers from Karirana) – known for its high altitude and rich acidic soils which is a natural habitat for tea to flourish.  But, it wasn’t until 1920 when commercial cultivation of tea began in Kenya… and between the years 1925 and 1930 is when two brothers planted the first tea which is now known as Karirana Estates.  Source:  Karirana About Page.

When we arrived at Karirana Tea Factory, Paul introduced us to Steven their Finance Director for a brief introduction.  Steven then made a quick call and arranged for myself and Andrew to do a factory tour.

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I was able to take a few pictures while I was outside of the factory; however, I wasn’t able to take pictures inside.  I wish I was able to share that experience because the experience is worth sharing.  Michael was a very gracious host and tour guide.  He was very patient with us and had a sense of pride and honor as he described the entire process to us.  I was able to understand the process from picking the tea leaves from the tree (what was good and what was not good).  Andrew and I was able to witness the entire processing – from the picking of the tea leaves, to their initial quality testing of the batch, to the drying and processing of the leaf, to the quality assurance through taste testing… all the way up to the selling of the tea (which is another whole process).

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There are acres and acres of trees that produce the tea leaves.  There are several farms and about 800 pickers that call this place home and live on the farm to make a living for themselves and their family.

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Not all of the leaves are picked for consumption.  Only the top leaves are picked and make their way through the processing.  In the picture to the right, you will find a good pick (which is two leaves and a bud) and you will see a bad pick (it’s the darker tea leaf and has a pretty hard texture… comparatively speaking.  The lighter “good pick” leaves are very soft).

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The trucks come into the factory often.  If I understood Michael correctly, the preference is that the tea leaves make it to the factory in about 2 hours after they are picked (4 max).

imageThere is a lot of education that happens for the pickers to ensure they are only picking the best possible leaves… it is the good tea leaves that make the taste of Karirana one of the best teas in the world to drink.  Karirana takes their quality assurance very seriously and randomly selects various bags coming into the factory for testing.  The picker will also be there while this testing is being performed just in case there is a dispute on why a tea leaf may be discarded.

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As I mentioned earlier, I can’t show you the next few process steps which includes withering, cutting, fermentation, drying, packing and quality control.  But the end result of this processing is the great tasting tea that gets produced.

In the end, you might think there is one kind of tea that gets produced.  That is so far from the truth.  Through this process, it looks like 8 different teas are created… not counting the combinations that can be made that range from pure dark tea to a more bitter tasting tea for those that like that (and anywhere in between).

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Near the end of the tour, I actually got to be a quality taste tester… well, I got to taste the tea direct from the processing.  I don’t think I’m skilled enough to be able to pass Karirana’s standards as a taste tester.

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And to be sure everyone is on the same page in their terminology, there is actually a “Tea Tasting Terminology” key to help you.

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After our factory tour at Karirana, I went back to the office where I joined Paul, Steven, Michael, and their IT Manager/Director, John.  For the next 20-30 minutes I got to showcase the various Windows-based Tablets and Phones and discussed Microsoft’s vision around a single device for all of your needs and our strategy on Mobile First, Cloud First.

Then, we left the factory and headed for a late lunch – me, Andrew, and our most gracious host Paul.

I am extremely grateful for being a Microsoft employee and getting to meet the best customers around the world (literally around the world as I type this – 8,100 miles from home as I sit in my hotel in Nairobi, Kenya).

We do have the best customers and I truly enjoy getting to know them more and learning about their business.  This was a special experience for me… getting to learn about tea from the tree leaf to the processing and, of course, the best part – the consumption.

I THANK YOU Paul, Michael, Steven and Karirana for this most amazing experience.  The time I spent with you will always be cherished and I am very grateful for the time you spent with me and sharing your thoughts on business – including the challenges Kenya faces as the country moves more into the mobile workforce.

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Thanks for reading.

Stephen

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MySkills4Afrika–Journal 06

imageIt’s Monday and it is time for me to get back to work.  For most in the United States, people will be off work today because it is a special federal holiday – Memorial Day.  Memorial Day isn’t a time of celebration.  It is a time for all of us to come together and remember the men and women that have died for our freedoms while serving in the country’s armed forces.  The holiday happens every year on the very last Monday of May.  One of my biggest pet peeves is when I hear “Happy Memorial Day.”  It’s not a happy day although I am happy when I gather with my friends and family.  May God Bless all of those men and women and their families that serve and that have sacrificed for our freedoms.

Well, back to my Monday as I’m still here in Nairobi Kenya for another full week.  It’s not a holiday here… but, I didn’t have to be in the office until noon.  What to do with my morning free time?  How about wake up at 4:15a and squeeze in the Nairobi National Park before work?

That sounds like a plan to me… I’ll get sleep when I get back home to the states.

Nairobi National Park

I don’t know how anyone works around here?  To have access to this park which is maybe 20-30 kilometers away is a thing of wonder.

I’m not going to post as many pictures or discuss as much because it is comparable to my visit to Lake Nakuru (see MySkills4Afrika – Journal 03).  You can see all of my pictures and videos at: http://1drv.ms/1og5bK7.  Select the “Location Specific” folder and then go to Kenya Nairobi National Park.

imageNairobi National Park was established in 1946 and was Kenya’s first National Park.  The park is about 118 square kilometers (45 square miles) and has a fence to separate it from Nairobi.  There is an open section that does allow the animals to migrate to open space.

imageI was told that I was most lucky today.  During my visit to Lake Nakuru, I did get to see 2 lions (sort of).  They were resting behind a few shrubs under a tree and I could only see their chest and an occasional tail wag in the wind.  Here, I got to see FIVE lions… the first lion I got to see (the king of the jungle) was walking across the flat part of the land.  I was even able to capture a quick video where he is doing a vocal call.

imageShortly after that, I got to see two more lions.  These two lions were resting in the middle of the road and we had to navigate around them.  Once the other two cars moved on, we stayed there for about 10 minutes just watching them.  We were so close and it was very special.  You are so close you just want to hop out the car and pet them… that would be the most foolish mistake I’m sure.

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I also got to see two hyena’s and two baby cheetah’s (although I must have done something really foolish because I lost the video of the cheetah’s that I took.  I chose to take a video because they were on the move and it was hard to capture a picture between all of the shrubs and grass).

And just in case you are possibly thinking this is a zoo, think again.  We came across a number of zebras (there are a lot of zebras in this park… maybe thousands) and there was one that obviously avoided being a meal.  If you look close, you will see this huge gash in his leg.  I’m guessing it was 20 inches long and probably 8 inches deep.  He also had another smaller gash on the opposite leg.  He was lucky that day.

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There is also a monument at the park and an ivory burning pit.  The government on direction from the President of Kenya burned 12 tons of ivory on July 18, 1989 as a symbol that the poaching needs to stop.  I tried to do a quick search and if the numbers are accurate, Ivory is going for $150 US per ounce.  Remember that ivory is highly illegal; however, I am curious to know what the government gave up to ensure they make the point that poaching is illegal and you should not do it.

If I do my math correct, there are 32,000 ounces in a ton.  So, the Kenya government burned 384,000 ounces of ivory worth about $57.6M US (or 5 billion Kenya shillings).

Bravo for the Kenya government.  They could have sold that ivory but that would have only encourage more poaching. 

In the 10 years preceding a decision in 1989 by CITES to ban international trade in African elephant ivory, the population of African elephants declined from 1.3 million to around 600,000.  Source: Wikipedia

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To learn more about the Nairobi National Park, visit their website.

Well, I guess I better get into the Microsoft Kenya office.  I have a busy day meeting consumer resellers.

Thanks for reading.

-Stephen

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MySkills4Afrika–Journal 05

A Taste of Home Far, Far Away

After our activities on Sunday (see MySkills4Afrika – Journal 04), David (my transporter) and I were heading to the hotel.  It was about 3:30 and I hadn’t had lunch yet because I ate such a late breakfast before we started on our adventure.  My plan was to just head back to the hotel and grab a bite to eat there.

During our drive, I noticed that we were close to a KFC and had a quick chat with David about KFC.  David hasn’t been to KFC yet so I thought we would pop in and grab a bite to eat.  Most people would think that I’m crazy to eat at an American Fast Food restaurant while I’m in Kenya, but the experience served two purposes:  1) gave me a small taste of home far, far away and 2) it allowed me to buy David lunch for his hospitality throughout the weekend and give him a taste of my hometown as well.

But, would the experience be as it is at home?  When I mention “home,” I’m not referring to the United States where there are thousands of KFCs.  I was born and raised in Louisville, KY so KFC has a bit more of a special feeling.

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There are three things I want to share about my experience with KFC in Kenya:

  1. I would say about half of the people don’t realize that KFC was actually named Kentucky Fried Chicken.
  2. When you order the chicken, you choose between “spicy” and “not spicy.”  Not Spicy is what we call “original” back at home… it’s the original 11 herbs and spices created by Colonel Sanders that make Kentucky Fried Chicken (I mean KFC) stand out.
  3. Back at home, we generally eat the leg/drumstick with our hands but many will grab a fork and knife for the breast and thigh.  Since I had both (a leg and breast) I went back to the counter to see if they had a plastic fork and knife that I could have.  The kind man said “we don’t have them, you just use your hands because it is finger licking good.”  That definitely put a smile on my face.  “Finger Licking Good” is the Kentucky Fried Chicken tagline.

There was an added bonus on my visit.  I was actually wearing my Louisville Cardinals (the mascot for the University in Louisville, KY) polo shirt and it sparked a quick chat with the man behind the counter on my hometown and on the restaurant – Louisville, KY being where KFC was founded.

So, that is it… my slice of home in far, far away Nairobi Kenya.  I’m about 8,300 miles from home.  Since then, I found another KFC in the city area.  Somebody had mentioned there might be 4 KFCs in the area.

If you haven’t yet, please install my very first Windows 8 game – Simple Simon Said.  I’m at about 125 installs against my personal goal of 500.

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MySkills4Afrika–Journal 04

Today, it is Sunday and I am expected to hit a few hotspots close to Nairobi Kenya.  On the list is the Elephant Orphanage, the Giraffe Center, the Karen Blixen Museum and possible others (which included the Nairobi View Point, Mamba Village, and Kazuri).

Nairobi View Point

imageOur first stop on the way to the Elephant Orphanage was the Nairobi City Public View Point.  It is here where you may find the President of Kenya, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, give his large public addresses.  He’s the fourth president of Kenya since Kenya won its independence from the United Kingdom on December 12, 1963.

I’ve also come to understand this where you will find many international visitors that will use this location to reach large audiences for their addresses or concerts.  Such visitors include Joyce Meyers and many religious leaders.  It appears that Nairobi leverages this spot as an outside auditorium because of it’s large grass area which allows people to sit on the side of the hill to get a good view.

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It was just a quick visit and it really showcased the city skyline in the background.  Then, we were off to the Elephant Orphanage.

Elephant Orphanage

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I have mixed emotions about my visit to the Elephant Orphanage.  On one hand, seeing these animals up close is breathtaking… especially if you are an animal lover.  But, I’m torn due to the necessity that this place has to exist because of the terrible acts from humans.  As you come to know me, you will quickly find that I love animals and in many cases I like animals more than humans.  It may seem odd but it stems from my thinking that animals have a sense of innocence and they just want to live, survive, be loved, and have peace.  Humans are easily corrupted and may stoop to anything to make a buck – including stealing, mobbing, and in this case poaching these precious animals.  Instead of getting on my soapbox, I will focus on the beauty of this particular experience.

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I can’t recall but I think there are over 50 elephants at this particular orphanage and they brought them out in two groups.  First were the younger babies and then followed by the larger young elephants.

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The baby elephants are brought to the orphanage through different circumstances.  Some of them are found alone as their mother may have died or been killed and others may have been rescued (in fact, they found one baby elephant in a man-made pit with spikes and the elephants leg was broken in several locations).

imageOnce the baby elephants arrive at the orphanage, they are well taken care of.  There is generally two phases for these baby elephants.  The first phase lasts until they are about three years old.  Each elephant has a caretaker that stays with them 24 hours 7 days a week.  The caretaker never leaves their side… in fact, they even sleep with the elephant.  This care creates a special bond between the baby elephant and their caretaker that will last a lifetime. 

Once it is agreed upon that the baby elephant is doing well, then they are moved to the second phase that will last for about five years.  This is the phase when the elephant is being reintroduced into the wild and finds a group of other elephants to become family.  The whole process can last about 8 years.

The elephants are absolutely magnificent creatures and it is a shame that poaching elephants is happening.  Poaching happens because there is a demand for ivory (which should now be illegal around the world).  If you have bought or interested in buying anything made of ivory, you are part of the problem.  Do NOT buy anything from any store/person that sells ivory.  These animals don’t need to become extinct.

If you are interested in knowing more or finding ways to help these orphaned elephants (including fostering an elephant), you can visit The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

I have many pictures and a few videos of the Elephant Orphanage.  Go to http://1drv.ms/1og5bK7 to view them.

Now, I’m off to the Giraffe Center.

Giraffe Center

Have you ever been on your way to a place without knowing what to expect?  Well, that was the case for me.  Sure, I knew I was heading to the Giraffe Center and I was expecting to see a few giraffes while I was there.  I didn’t expect this experience… one of my favorites here in Kenya.

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Welcome to the Giraffe Center.  Where being tall is just a fact of life.  When we arrived here and once I stepped through the gates (after paying for my ticket of course), I probably turned into the biggest kid, giddy with excitement.  These guys are huge and beautiful. 

These giraffes weren’t off in a distance where I’m having to stretch and wait to get a good picture, they were right in front of your face… begging for attention (well, they were begging for food).

image And, how can you resist when you have this face looking right at you (albeit, I’m having to go to the second story platform to be face-to-face).  But, they are right there.

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Look at those eyes.  I found the giraffes having a very mild temperament.  They really don’t want to be petted but they definitely want you to feed them.  So, feed them I did.  The center keeps a close eye on the consumption of the giraffes and each person is only allowed two handfuls of food.  I wish I knew that when they gave the first handful to me.  You can go through the ~15 pellets in about 30 seconds if you don’t watch out.

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The Giraffe Center is a MUST THING TO DO while you are in the Nairobi Kenya area.

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To learn more about the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (Kenya) LTD (aka the Giraffe Center), visit their website.

Now, I’m off to the Karen Blixen Museum.

Karen Blixen Museum

imageI enjoyed my trip to the Karen Blixen museum.  It was a fairly quick stop that started (after paying) with a volunteer giving me the history on Karen Blixen.

Karen Blixen was a Danish author best known for her book Out of Africa which was then turned into a movie by the same name in 1985 (starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford).  I wasn’t familiar with either the book (published 1937) or the movie (I was 10 when the movie was released).

After the museum tour and when I arrived back to my hotel, I decided to buy the movie.  At the time of writing this, I’m halfway done.  So far, I’m enjoying it.

Before I head back to the hotel to watch the movie, I have more stops to make.  Onward to Kazuri.

Kazuri

Kazuri LTD is a small bead factory that employs single moms to hand make ceramic beads from clay.  These beads are then turned into necklaces, etc. for purchase.  Unfortunately, the factory was closed on Sunday; however, there was a nice lady that gave us a quick tour of the place – we just couldn’t go inside the buildings with the exception of the gift shop (which I took advantage of).

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Last on my Sunday list of activities was to visit Mamba Village.

Mamba Village

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Mamba Village was a quick stop for me that allowed me to be educated on the crocodiles, turtles, and the Ostrich.

 

 

My tour started with the viewing (and holding) of a baby crocodile and learning about their skin, feet, sight, smell, and hearing.  A crocodile is definitely a fascinating creature… this is probably about as big of one that I would want to try and hold.

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I also got to pick up a 40 year old and 2 month old turtle.  The adult turtle weighed in about 40-45 kilograms (88 – 100 lbs).

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And I learned that turtles don’t need much privacy.

Get a room buddy!!!

 

 

We then moved over to the adult crocodiles and the tour guide wanted to show the strength and quickness of a crocodile chomp… go to my videos.image

I ended my Mamba Village tour with a quick visit to see the Ostrich.

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Another day has been completed.  Exhausted once again but full of energy and wonder.

#MySkills4Afrika

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MySkills4Afrika–Journal 03

This was a big weekend for me.  It was my tourist starting point and I was going to take full advantage of the opportunity.  Monday through Friday I was focused on work and by the time I arrived back at the hotel, night had fallen on us and I really didn’t want to venture out (especially by myself).  My first destination for the weekend was Lake Nakuru… having to set the alarm clock at 4:15a on a Saturday was quite early.

Note – all of my pictures were taken using the Nokia Lumia 1020 Windows Phone and you can view all of my Lake Nakuru pictures from my shared OneDrive folder.  Once there, select the Location Specific Folder and then the desired folder of the destination (i.e. Kenya Lake Nakuru).

Saturday – Lake Nakuru, Kenya

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imageIt was about a 3 hour drive from Nairobi to Lake Nakuru National Park.  The National Park was created in 1961 around Lake Nakuru.  Prior to my travel, I learned that Lake Nakuru is best known for the hundreds of thousands (maybe millions) of flamingos that gather there to nest and to feed on the abundance of algae.  I also learned that it is a sanctuary for the black rhino and they have between 25 and 40 (one of the largest concentrations in the country).  The park has been mostly fenced to try and keep out the poachers as this animal is near extinction.

Other animals that are present at the park include the Rothschild’s giraffe, waterbuck, lion, cheetah, leopard, zebra, flamingos, baboons, and others.

imageBefore we could even get into the park, we were greeted by a few entertaining guests.  They are obviously prepared to meet the guests and as a new visitor, I was caught off guard and didn’t have my camera ready.  But, I was still able to capture a few photos of the baboons… and my excitement intensified – I couldn’t wait to start the journey.

And here we are.

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(note the above picture of the entrance isn’t the entrance we entered the park – the road was flooded.  This picture is on the opposite side but I have decided to add it here).

imageOnce we entered the park and paid our fee (about $90 US), my captain for the day (David) prepared our vehicle by raising the roof and taking a quick glance before we set out on our adventure.  I then moved from the passenger seat to the back where I remained the entire trip with the exception of our lunch break.  I was the sole passenger which made it great bouncing from side to side and standing up to take a few pictures of what we might see.

We started our journey and the first thing that is evident is the scenery – it is absolutely stunning.

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Almost immediately after we started, I saw a lone waterbuck and lone impala.  A little concerning for these guys… this isn’t your normal zoo out there.

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As we traveled through the park, I got to witness many amazing animals that you only dream about seeing; and for many you only see them in your neighborhood zoo.  Witnessing these animals first hand roaming the vast 188 square kilometer park was a dream come true.  Instead of commenting moment by moment, I thought I would just include a few of my pictures below with additional information afterwards (again, you can gain access to all of the photos from the link at the beginning).

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(the above picture on the right isn’t very clear because I had to zoom in… but, do you see the baby baboon riding on the back?)

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Here come the monkeys… my favorite

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And, just in case you are ever wondering if this is the ZOO… IT ISN’T!!!  Ask this fellow (or, maybe not).

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We stopped for lunch (sorry, so close to the carcass picture) with a beautiful scene.

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We did get to see two lions… well, sort of.  We found the two lions resting behind some shrubs and under a tree.  We were only able to see their chest and every once in awhile got to see the lions tail flap around.  I did take a picture but it really isn’t that great…. but, don’t worry.  If you were hoping to see Lions, you’ll have to wait for my post – most likely the “MySkills4Afrika – Journal 05” which will be my entry for the Nairobi National park I did on Monday.  But hey… I still need to describe Sunday.

We arrived at the park around 8a and left the park a little after 3:30p.

Oh yeah… where are the millions of flamingos?  There weren’t very many flamingos to see at all.  Lake Nakuru has had a lot of rain and I believe that has kept them away.

On our way back to the Fairmont Hotel in Nairobi Kenya, we decided to make two pit stops on the way – Lake Naivasha and the Rift Valley Viewpoint.

Lake Naivasha

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Lake Naivasha was just under halfway on our return trip.  Lake Naivasha is a freshwater lake and is the home of a few hippos… which was the reason why we decided to stop.  Plus, I love being on the water and I was able to experience that joy in Kenya Africa.

 

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Here they are… the hippos.  That is about all you see.  During the day, they stay almost completely submerged in the water (can stay under the water for about 5 minutes on a single breath of air) and then close to evening they move to the land to graze on the grass before they hunker down for the evening to rest.

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It just so happened that the National Geographic had a special on hippos later that night… did you know that hippos can crush a fully grown crocodile with a single bite?  They have such force in their jaws… and they are super aggressive.  DO NOT get too close.  My understanding is that they are the #1 killer of humans in Africa.

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The Rift Valley Viewpoint

The last stop before we arrive “home” was the Rift Valley View Point.  I could have done better with my panorama, but hey… I’m getting tired.

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At the viewpoint, there are small shops where you can purchase a few things… there are about 8+ shops.  I felt bad for the other 7 because I spent all the remaining money I had with this guy.

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I arrived at the hotel around 7:30p (what a great way to spend 17 hours).  You would think that I would have passed out as soon as I entered the room.  Nope.  After a quick shower I got to work on organizing my pictures – still thinking about the excitement for the day (and what is to come on Sunday).  It was a little after midnight before I actually passed out.

Thanks for reading.

#MySkills4Afrika will always be cheerished!

-Stephen

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