Autumn – the colorful

There was this occasion of a family reunion in a small valley. As a boy i used to spend our family holidays in these mountains in Northern Italy.

Blue sky invites for a hike in nature. From the top of the mountains shines the first snow of the season, and the colors of autumn burst from the forest.

A good opportunity to grab my Nikon and take some shots of this colorful world in autumn…

Greece – Arrival In Igoumenitsa

Greece. Since my brief visit in 2017 i knew i’m coming back. Due the pandemic it was difficult to make any travel plans. However, i just went off, needed a break, needed to get a glimpse beyond the horizon again.

The last working shifts was planned as nightshifts. That’s how the idea came up to travel by night since i’m in that rythm anyway. On lonely Swiss and Italian highways i covered dark 800 kilometers trough the short night. Coffee along the roads kept me awake and focused as the distance was melting with the rising sun.

Ancona was awaiting with the “Superfast” Ferry. All went smoothly. I just wished the floor i lied down was smoother too. Another night with almost no sleep was ahead me.

To my surprise Igoumenitsa wasn’t as bad as expected. A nearby campsite right at the sea offered a lovely place to camp. And in the small city of Igoumenitsa wasn’t crowded with tourists, but i found everything i was asking for. Some nice little coffee shops, few supermarkets and a shop selling me a SIM card to stay online on my trip. Not a bad start.

The Sipi Falls

From Kampala leads a wide, tarred road to the Kenyan border, but on my way i decided to drive a detour to the Sipi Falls. The camp was settled opposite the falls with stunning view to the scenery. Even a sprinkling rainbow appeared with the setting sun. Unfortunately it’s a typically ran down campsite, as many others in Uganda and in Africa in general. The staff tell me from a owner living far away, not interested to invest in facilities, nor seems the employers really keen on keeping it nice and tidy. they only count on customers coming (and paying) for the scenery up here. Probably i would had stayed longer if the campsite would been better maintained. However, that one beautiful night i enjoyed the place.

making of: music clip with my travelcar

At first sight of the scenery i got confused. A girl was dancing on my dirty Land Rover and many spectators were watching her. As i noticed the film crew with all the equipment and the loud music from the back, i realized  my Land Rover gonna be part of their music clip. I didn’t find that clip on internet now, but desperately wanna see it when it’s published. And i’ll share it with you!

Tanzanian Beach Life

A crowded ferry sets hundreds of people over to the southern beaches of Daressalam. At Kigamboni i found a little paradise to camp and got stocked for more than two weeks. Every morning i watched early sun pushing trough the clouds and chased them away, made my coffee with the friendly words of the staff, did some laundry or small repairs before taking my book to the hammock at the beach.

There’s always been people to talk with too. As i met energetic Radhia, who told me about life here and all the many ideas and projects she has in life. Or two young volunteers just finished their time on a project in Rwanda and were on search for a perfect beach before heading back to Europe. I offered to drive south to more remote and unspoiled beaches …and we found was we were looking for: A lonely, white sanded beach with crystal clear water.

Tanzanian Maasailand (part 2)

Silence woke me up early in the morning. Camping in African bushland is always a great experience, with vast scrubland or desert around. For my new „friends“ joining me trough Maasailand there’s all new kind traveling. Little things has to be learned, like to cook and dishwashing with a little amount of water or to use a shovel if you’re going to bush toilet. The nature gives back many little things too. The chirping birds, slightly waves of the wind, the scent of wildflower …and sometimes annoying flies.

The path lead us to a dusty, little town called Naberera, where we get some more supplies from a tiny shop. I asked for banana beer to let the girls taste it later that day. The shop lady was shouting into the backyard and few minutes later a guy appeared with the ordered drink. Meanwhile my tourist girls started to go around and having fun by making selfies with locals. It wasn’t the first time i noticed they hardly try to avoid having me on one of their selfies. Although we started as friends, i feel treated as a tour guide for free. This feeling persisted when i stopped next to a village for the opportunity to meet real village people. A dozen women gathered under a big shady tree to listen to man who taught them something or gave a speech. The girls wanted rush into the village, as i hold them back and told them to wait till we get invited from the inhabitants. Not long after that two younger men arrived, started to talk in Kwisahili with us. He asked us to wait and got an elder man, presumably the chief in village, who spoke some English. He looked uncomfortable but couldn’t refuse the repeated request of the girls to show us the village. While i tried to learn more about the village and life, the girls had fun taking selfies, teach them Dutch phrases and asked them several times to jump around as they expect all Maasai people doing it permanently. The chief looked awkwardly with the GoPro cam and selfie stick in his hand, not knowing what to do with it. When the situation got unbearable to me, i thanked the people for their understanding and kindness and asked the girls to continue our trip.

The young Maasai men and warriors, those ones who use to jump for rituals and to impress the girls when they look for a wife, are usually outside the village to protect the livestock. We’ve been lucky to meet some at a pond next our route. Of course, the girls got a lot of attention. The men came shyly closer, but start soon to have fun by showing their weapons and teach the girls how to use them. After awhile -and many selfies- we proceed our journey towards coast. But not without taking an elder man as an hitchhiker a few villages further. The next day we reached the tarred highway, let beautiful Maasailand behind us, but bringing a bunch of new experiences with us.

As we got closer to Daressalam, the traffic got heavier. The girls pushed me to drive faster and overtaking the big trucks, since they wanted to reach the ferry to Zanzibar. I suggested to stay together at the southern beach to celebrate the end of our trip, as friends suppose to do. But they wanted leave desperately. I’ve been even asked shamelessly i really want the money for fuel, since they’re late to reach the ferry and would have to withdraw cash first. HELL, YES!!

Tanzanian Maasailand (part 1)

It’s a little while since, but i don’t want hold back the pictures from my last Tanzania trip any longer. After the safari tour to Serengeti and Ngorogoro crater with – a rather disappointing – safari tour operator. I was happy to continue traveling with my own car and pace. On the safari tour i met two young tourist girls, who wanted to go to Daressalam too. I offered them to join me trough Maasailand instead of a boring, long bus ride direct to Dar. They agreed for sharing fuel and food.

The day before departure, the three of us went to local market to buy food. It’s hard bargaining if one goes with typically dressed tourist girls to the food stalls. Somehow we managed to get our supplies, as the girls told me about their appointment with the owner of the safari company we went days before. The same guy who cheated me and gave false informations to me, was inviting those young girls for pizzas and swimming pool at the most expensive hotel in Arusha and paid them even their room in a backpacker hostel. I joined the girls for that appointment and got at least a pizza myself and some relaxing hours with wifi at the pool at „Mt Meru Hotel“. The pizza was tasty, the pool refreshing and the view of Mount Meru splendid.

The first day traveling didn’t brought us very far, but to a wonderful oasis i knew from earlier visit. Hot spring and pool with crystal clear water was a delight after a dusty road trip. Since we supposed to travel as friends, the girls had to help with cooking while i pitched their tent for the night. With the highest mountain of Africa – Mt Kilimanjaro – we camped just next to the hot spring.

On the next day, we got deeper in Maasailand, with no specific route, just follow south on dusty roads. We passed some huts and villages which seemed to be abandon. Some kids lead cows somewhere, looking bewildered as we crossed their ways. The rain brought much green food for their cows. For us was it easy to find a quite place to camp in that lush, green bushland and enjoy a peaceful sunset.

Namibia Selfie Project

Being a tour guide for my parents was a completely new thing. It brought me a whole bunch of experiences and challenges too. At the start i did a selfie with my crappy cellphone at train station for remembering reason and posted it on Instagram. I repeated it at airport. Somehow i liked it and went on picturing my parents in this selfie style throughout our trip in Namibia. It became a collection of selfies of our journey.

Zambia – South Luangwa National Park

The man stands in middle of the path, only with shorts and a towel over his shoulder. “I supposed to take a shower”, he explains, “but now the elephants turned up around the shower hut. Better I wait till they’re gone.” It’s the small group of elephants I followed trough the camp to the backyard, where the employees of the lodge lives. When the group spread around, I keep myself closer to the houses. Just as I warned another man for an approaching elephant he points a spot behind me. A young bull watched us rather aggressively. Suddenly we’re surrounded by two groups of elephants, withdrawn us back to the wall or hiding in the house, until all disappeared in the forest. It was not the last time we’ve seen these giant mammals. In the same night a big bull crossed the electric fence to have a dinner under the trees of the camp.

Wildlife is all around us, but one feel safer to watch them from the car when roaming trough the national park. Despite of not seeing any lions or leopards, we enjoy the landscape and wildlife of South Luangwa National Park. There are quite a few safari cars crossing the way of animals, but mostly we had a great time to observe the antelopes grazing, giraffes resting on the ground, birds chasing insects or sea eagle hunting fish.

The hilly landscape, covered with forest, interrupted by rivers, gives our brand new tyres good terrain to proof his ability for offroading. Patches with deep sand, short river crossing and long, very steep and sharp rocky uphill sections are first tests for them. At the end of the day we watch satisfied the red moon in nighty sky.

 

Mitten auf dem Pfad steht ein Mann nur in Shorts gekleidet und einem Badetuch über der Schulter. Er wolle rüber zu den Duschhütten, aber die Elefanten halten ihn davon ab, erklärt er mir. Besser ist es zu warten und den riesigen Tieren Vortritt zu lassen, pflichte ich ihm bei. Es ist die kleine Elefantenherde, die ich vom Camp aus folgte und die hier Baumfrüchte fressen. Ein zweiter Mann zeigt mir die nahen Hütten der Lodge-Angestellten. Darin befinden sich weder Essen noch Wasser, um die täglich vorbeiziehenden Elefanten nicht hinein zu locken. Manche gebärden sich doch eher aggressiv, erzählt er. Gerade als ich ihn auf einen sich näherndes Tier aufmerksam machen wollte, zeigt er hinter mich und hiess mich vorm jungen Bullen in Acht nehmen. Unter einem Baum wackeln zwei grosse Ohren warnend. Plötzlich waren wir von zwei Herden umgeben und zogen uns näher an die Häuserwand zurück bis sie sich wieder entfernt haben. Es war nicht die letzte, (fast) hautnahe Begegnung mit diesen riesigen Säugetieren. In derselben Nacht durchbricht ein grosser Bulle die elektrische Abzäunung des Camps auf der Suche nach Fressen.

Die Tierwelt lässt sich etwas sicherer vom Auto aus beobachten während man gemütlich durch den Nationalpark rollt. Zwar sehen wir in diesen zwei Tagen weder Löwen oder Leoparden, dennoch sind wir fasziniert von der Landschaft und Tierwelt. Ab und zu kreuzen uns Safariwagen mit Touristen, doch oft haben wir viel Zeit die Tierwelt ungestört zu beobachten. Das lange warten auf einen jagenden Seeadler hat sich gelohnt, als sich dieser auf den Teich hinabstürzt und sich einen Fisch greift.

Durch die hügelige Landschaft mit viel Wald und Busch, durchbrochen von Flüssen, gibt unseren neuen Reifen die erste Gelegenheit ihre Offroadtauglichkeit zu beweisen. Tiefsandige Passagen, kurze, aber schlammige Flussdurchfahrten und vor allem der steile und mit scharfkantigen Felsen versehene Aufstieg am nördlichen Ende des Parks meistern sie ohne Tadel. Zufrieden beschliessen wir den Tag bei einem Glas Rotwein unterm roten Mond .

Malawi – Nyika Nationalpark

Four young men are busy to press tobacco leafs in bales, while the golden sun disappears between the trees. We are allowed to camp overnight at the gate to the national park, just next to a village. On the next day a rough track brings the Landrover higher and higher in altitude. The landscape changes from lush forest to barren land. Islands of trees and scrub stand out of the valleys between the hills. Perfect hideaways for wildlife. Different antelopes, zebras or rabbits graze on open fields, observed from lurking leopards. We’ve been very lucky to see and photograph one of these big, proud cat in the bush just next to the track. The next days we enjoy driving trough the unique landscape, keep looking for more wildlife and watching stars over the bonfire.

Junge Männer pressen Tabakblätter zu Ballen, während die goldene Abendsonne zwischen den Bäumen verschwindet. Wir dürfen im Dorf vor dem Eintrittstor zum Nationalpark campen. Am nächsten Tag klettert der Landrover auf Schotterstrassen höher und höher bis zum Hochplateau auf über 2200m.ü.M. Die Landschaft wechselt von üppigen Wald zu hügeliger, kargen Landschaft. Aus den Tälern stehen vereinzelt kleine Wäldchen wie Inseln hervor. Ein perfektes Versteck für Tiere. Verschiedene Antilopenarten, Zebras und Hasen grasen auf dem offenen Feld, beobachtet von lauernden Leoparden. Einer dieser prächtigen Katzen fanden wir im Busch neben der Strasse. Mit viel Glück konnten wir sie beobachten und fotografieren. Die Tage darauf kurvten wir weiter durch die einzigartige Landschaft, hielten Ausschau nach Tieren und genossen den Sternenhimmel überm Lagerfeuer.