Magical Kenya: Tsavo, Watamu and Goodbye Kenya!

 
Mr. Majestic at Tsavo. Photograph/Sakshi Parikh

Mr. Majestic at Tsavo. Photograph/Sakshi Parikh

Better Photography heads to the final two destinations in Kenya, the lush greenery of Tsavo and the pristine waters of Watamu. Sakshi Parikh writes about her unforgettable experience. 

I was looking forward to visit Tsavo since the day I landed in Kenya. Formed from the Shetani lava of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tsavo has extremely fertile soil and a dense forest area. We couldn’t spot too much of wildlife initially and according to Julius, our guide, it was difficult in Tsavo because of its huge bushes and trees. But, luck favoured us and we were welcomed by herds of zebras, giraffes and wild buffaloes. To add to our luck, during our evening game drive, we also ended up seeing two teenage lion cubs, casually lazing in the forest, without any fear or inhibitions. Seeing them relax in the sun, I was quite envious of their laid back life, as a person who had constantly been on the move for so many days now.

Zebra and giraffe sighting at Tsavo. Photograph/Sakshi Parikh

Zebra and giraffe sighting at Tsavo. Photograph/Sakshi Parikh

The Tsavo landscape. The black pigments on the road are beacuse of the lava from Mt. Kilimanjaro. Photograph/Sakshi Parikh

The Tsavo landscape. The black pigments on the road are beacuse of the lava from Mt. Kilimanjaro. Photograph/Sakshi Parikh

Erick’s sundowner overlooking Mt. Kilimanjaro was exactly what all of us needed. The staff at Severin organised a lovely meal for all of us, complete with champagne, snacks and jazz music. After dinner, we all retired in our tents to gear up for a six-hour road trip to Watamu.

Sundowner at Tsavo. Photograph/Sakshi Parikh

Sundowner at Tsavo. Photograph/Sakshi Parikh

Our awesome butler at Sereina in Tsavo. Photograph/Sakshi Parikh

Our awesome butler at Sereina in Tsavo. Photograph/Sakshi Parikh

Sunset at Tsavo against Mt. Kilimanjaro with Erick from the Kenya Tourism Board and Gulam from Better Photography. Photograph/Sakshi Parikh

Sunset at Tsavo against Mt. Kilimanjaro with Erick from the Kenya Tourism Board and Gulam from Better Photography. Photograph/Sakshi Parikh

I woke up to the sound of impalas grazing outside my room, and it made me realise that this is the last time I am amidst such wilderness. I stepped out for a bit, embracing every bit of it, then quickly showered and packed, as we had to leave early and head towards the coastal region of Watamu. As we drove east, crossing the country, the heat enveloped us. We could feel the temperature rising in the scorching coastal sun as we neared Watamu. We stopped briefly at Mombasa, where we enjoyed our first Indian meal in days, and drove through the city to reach our destination.

Sights from Mombasa. Photograph/Sakshi Parikh

Sights from Mombasa. Photograph/Sakshi Parikh

Sights from Mombasa. Photograph/Sakshi Parikh

Sights from Mombasa. Photograph/Sakshi Parikh

We reached Watamu around 5:30pm and were stunned by the place we were staying in. The luxurious middle eastern interiors of Medina Palms, made us forget our aches as we all ran towards the pool and the beach to get a feel of water. After a sumptuous meal under the starry night, we all retired in our rooms to get a goodnight’s rest and gear up for snorkeling in the morning. The next day I couldn’t hide my excitement as we headed to our boat, post breakfast.

On the way to snorkelling at Watamu when we saw Dolhpins. Photograph/Sakshi Parikh

On the way to snorkelling at Watamu when we saw Dolhpins. Photograph/Sakshi Parikh

As we watched the dolphins swim in the ocean, we got ready with our snorkeling gear to take the first dip, along with our GoPro camera for under water shooting. As I dove in the water, the view of the world under stunned me. The quietude there surrounded me, as I marveled at the beauty of the coral reefs and the turquoise blue shade of the water. We snorkeled for about two hours and then headed back to Nairobi and the to Bombay. As we finally managed to catch the plane back home, I looked back at the incredible 10 days I spent in this country.

In these 10 days, not only did I see something incredible, in Kenya, but I was humbled by my experience. Kenya showed me how passionate her people are about preserving and conserving the ecology, natural resources and wildlife. As a photographer, I learned how to slow down and make images in an uncontrolled environment and get results without any excuses. Although, it started as a recce trip, it gradually turned out to be an educational, emotional and a spiritual experience for me. Asante sana Kenya! I will never forget you.

The Wildlife Photography Masterclass in Magical Kenya is a mentored photography programme with some of the most renowned experts in the field.

In the course of the Masterclass, participants will learn what it takes to make the best images, understanding animal behavior, trying out various forms of photography, and using different kinds of gear. The Masterclass seeks to educate advanced enthusiasts, on various aspects of the subject.

The Masterclass fee includes accommodation for 7 days in Kenya and return airfare from Mumbai. The Wildlife Photography Masterclass is presented by Magical Kenya, Toehold and HP India.

You could even send in your entries for the Wildlife India Photography Awards 2017 (WIPA 2017) presented by Toehold for a chance to win a seat in the Masterclass.

Tags: Kenya, Kenya Masterclass, Magical Kenya, photography, Wildlife, Wildlife Photography, Wildlife Photography Masterclass