Of Africans, Photographers and Nairobi National Park

Of Africans, Photographers and Nairobi National Park

An average person in the first world imagines Africans live on trees.

Our only civilization is a landing strip in a shanty airport whose only exit leads into a jungle. There, lions, elephants, rhinos and other beasts lurk in the dense Savannah grasslands.  An average Joe like me has no idea what a DSLR camera is and my choice of weapon is a spear. We are savage, we carry spears. We move on with life, content, while covering only the front side of our privates with a tiny triangular piece of leather. The backside is always bare. Why do their minds always have our backsides bare?

May be movies like The Lion King are to blame over such perceptions. Lion King has Rafiki as an old medicine man that lives on a scary baobab tree. Yet, Rafiki is Swahili for friend.

I can agree that photographers play a big part in creating the wrong perceptions about this part of existence. Majority of images that make it to the world space are of children dying of hunger, brutal use force by the police or horror rape stories. It always seems like it is the same photos over and over again that make you cringe while thinking cliché!

Not all clichés are bad though! Like the wildlife ones that make people think we walk with bare behinds! We just need to find a way of letting the first world know that places like Nairobi are actually metropolises.

If you are a photographer living in Nairobi you most likely own photos of Kenya’s beautiful wildlife. It is the only city in the world with a national park, how cool is that? If you live in Nairobi and have never been inside Nairobi National Park, you are missing out!

I made my way back to the park last Saturday. After the rains the previous night, the park had to be wet. My car is small for a nature drive. To be sure about the condition of the roads, I sent a DM to an Instagram buddy, Ahmed Sheikh, to ask. Ahmed visits the park so often he literally lives in there. I also asked because last time I was there with a couple of friends, it was wet and we ended up getting stuck for hours.

Ahmed responded saying it was a bit muddy but if I stayed on the main roads I should be OK.

By 2.30pm we were at the entrance. The best time to see animals is normally after 4pm when the sun is less harsh and animals are out to feed. But it was cloudy and chilly, so I was sure of sightings.

Most people go with the intent of viewing cats but they are normally not the easiest to spot. I must I have been in the park so many times but not lucky enough to come across a big cat. The closest I have come to one was one evening when we were just about to exit, we could hear a male lion roar in the immediate distance. I am not a roar expert but that was the sound of a lion looking to mate. The roar was spectacular!

I hope to keep going enough times to finally share photos of the cats. In the meantime, enjoy.

Of Africans, Photographers and Nairobi National Park

The sun was almost setting and it was getting cold. I came across a herd of zebras standing close to each other which is normally for protection. In this case however, they seemed to be more interested in sharing warmth. There was a pecker bird that had gotten cozy with one of the zebra’s mane I ended up spending a lot of time observing it.

Of Africans, Photographers and Nairobi National Park

From the Nairobi National Park, you can view Nairobi’s skyline. It was getting dark due to the heavy cloud cover and it had started drizzling. The sky up north was still open letting you see why Nairobi is the Green City in the Sun.

Of Africans, Photographers and Nairobi National Park

I guess we do live in a jungle, a concrete one.

Of Africans, Photographers and Nairobi National Park

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