Snap in Africa
Updated: May 5, 2022
Now that the “Snap in Africa” photography expedition successfully ended in Kenya, I’m ready to share a few words regarding the wonderful trip we had.
Our Wildlife photographic journey began on February 19, 2022 where 12 of us were supposed to meet in Nairobi, Kenya. Not all memories were wonderful though, as 2 of our friends from Kosovo could not come because of a delayed visa. This was not well received from us at all. I truly hope that authorities in Kenya get their act together by sharing accurate information and do a better job overall in the future, with respect to visa processes treating everyone with the promt professional service they deserve. Nevertheless, with a bittersweet feeling and some plane delays, the rest of the gang eventually met and the journey began in Maasai Mara National Reserve.
We spent three days there and every moment was truly astonishing, watching and photographing wild animals in their natural habitat. One thing that struck us as unique was the harmony we witnessed between the Maasai Mara people, which we ended up meeting, and the wild animals that were present everywhere around them. An interesting fact: Maasai Mara people were mainly cattlemen and their reaches were measured based on how many cows one owned.
On the first day when we arrived in Maasai Mara, a memorable photographic moment was when we captured a female cheetah hunting a gazelle. The cheetah's hunt was unsuccessful this time but our emotions ran very high as we were able to take some nice shots of the chase.
The rest of the days were equally impressive. We photographed lions, other cheetahs, a leopard, elephants, buffaloes, giraffes and the list grows long. All of these beautiful creatures were approached real close and of course with high caution in such a way so as not to disturb them.
After such a splendid time, Lake Elementaita was our next destination. It took us nearly 7 hours to drive from Maasai Mara to arrive at the destination. The last light found us photographing terns, storks, black winged stilts, swallows and small shore birds. Part of the background view was composed by mountains depicting a fallen soldier, as a remembrance of past hard times, which in turn was nothing short of breathtaking scenery with the peaceful lake reaching to our vilas as the foreground.
The night ended with us resting, a great dinner and followed by a comfortable sleep. The following morning, as we drove from Lake Elementaita to the next adventure, I reflected and realized that I almost achieved my bucket list in Maasai Mara of the big five, except the rhino which was soon to be realized at Lake Nakuru National Park where we were heading. This next place was also striking. We photographed rinos, deers, flamingos, pelicans, a very cool lion who posed for us magnificently and many many other bird species by the lake.
Lake Nakuru left us speechless as our succeeding stop was Lake Naivasha on the following day, where we looked forward to photographing the much anticipated African fish eagle. Among many sunbirds, herons, cormorants and kingfishers we eventually did manage to photograph the majestic eagle.
Our final destination was Nairobi National Park. We got in a bit late, the sun was high up and the light too strong. Nonetheless, this was another impactful photographing day. We photographed many vaulters, kytes, wildebeest, heartbeats and many other bird species including the striped kingfisher and a unique lizard.
There are so many other details to share, but essentially we were able to squeeze 8 fascinating shooting days in 5 different incredible places on this trip. From the beginning to the end, this was a fantastic awe dropping photographic expedition. It was also very tiring though, because we were in the car for most of the time. But the adrenaline was quite high and our spirits were met with the fascinating wonders of Kenya, making this adventure truly distinctive.
I must mention our mentor Lorenzo as well as the guides and drivers Jack & Onesmos, who were also very professional, always on time, eager to assist, happy and very knowledgeable, which definitely made the difference. Thank you guys!
In conclusion, our passion for wildlife photography was channeled in such a way where all of its perspectives hit the pluses, most of all we met new friends, strengthen our bounds, enriched our purposes, learned from one another, got to see magnificent creatures and in some small way we gave back to the community.
It is my belief that Wildlife Photography should not be a solitary journey, it should rather be shared and cherished with others. And that is how this passion of ours can attain the highest gratification, enriching our lives while transcending positive footprints to others.
In the end I asked myself if I would go back again, and the answer was yes without hesitation. But this next time perhaps to focus on photographing more birds. Kenya counts over 1000 bird species. How amazing is that!
Written by Jetmir Troshani Edited by Ilir Hebovija.