There is something about Africa that words cannot explain. It is a place of majestic beauty, death, and wonder. Nowhere else on this planet can you see the different types of biodiversity. Even well respected scientists hypothesize all humans share a unique connection with Africa: it is in fact the place our earliest ancestors walked. With the help of Dr. Munir Virani from the Peregrine Fund and Dr. Marc Bechard from Boise State University, I was able to experience this incredible place for my very time. My adventures were captured first hand on camera and I’m so excited to share them. I also documented my journey with numerous photos and various notes. I hope you all enjoy the adventure! First Stop: Nairobi, Kenya.
Boise to Africa is quite a long journey. Over 30 hours to be exact! There were numerous stops along the way including layovers in Seattle and Amsterdam.
When I woke up I could not help but be excited about this pillow! I mean where else in world would you find a design like this? I definitely knew I was in Africa. Looking back on it now I can remember how surreal the feeling was. I could not believe I had finally made it.
Because Nairobi is incredibly dangerous we had an arranged driver meet us at the airport. Once we began driving I could not help but notice all the different types of billboards. This one was my favorite.
Take a close look at the electric fence and the acacia trees in the background. That is Nairobi National Park. It is the only park in Africa that can be found in a major metropolitan city. The fence is to keep out lions and hyenas.
Seconds off the plane we saw this amazing animal! I could not believe that a city home to millions of people was also home to herds of giraffe in Nairobi National Park. Interestingly enough the park is not home to elephants. They are too destructive.
Our first stop was the Nairobi Club where we were arranged to stay for the night. Although none of us were ready to settle down. We arrived in Africa at 7am and had a full day ahead of us!
I had to show this picture of the mosquito nets! I’m not going to lie; at first I thought they were part of the room décor. It took me until that night to realize their real importance.
On the way to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust we spotted these numerous creatures: the Olive Baboons. They are EVERYWHERE in Africa and are a nuisance. Matter of fact our driver Tony explained that if one is killed in a road accident, hundreds of baboons will show up to mourn their loss. They actually have to close the roads down completely to make way for the grieving primates.
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has been around since the 1970s and is world famous for their work with orphaned elephants and rhinos. To date they have successfully reintroduced over 150 animals back into the wild.
Walking to the orphans I found this sign quite entertaining…
The elephants are walked from the forest in Nairobi National Park to a special clearing where guests have the opportunity to see the animals up-close. The animals spend all day with their caretakers in the park and at night are walked to their individual bunkers that keep them safe from “the creatures of the night.”
Once they reach the clearing most head straight for the plus size bottles of formula.
They try to keep individuals of the same age in a group. Most of these orphans lost their parents to poachers, luckily though they will be re-introduced back into the wild.
The elephants are enriched by a variety of different things including being splashed with mud!
Some guests are even lucky enough to touch them!
I couldn’t think of a better time for a photo-op!
The next stop in Nairobi was the Giraffe Centre. This 100 acre reserve was established as a captive breeding program for the endangered Rothschild Giraffe.
Here I had the awesome experience of feeding my “girlfriend” Laura the giraffe. Seconds later she gave me her infamous kiss. You can see the segment in its entirety here: http://www.kivitv.com/multimedia/videos/?bctid=CLIP_ID_3183804
After the Giraffe Centre we headed to the Animal Orphanage located right inside Nairobi National Park. All of its residents are orphans and most are hand-raised including this gorgeous cheetah named Bolt.
Unfortunately none of the footage made it to air but you can still see my excitement as I pet the world’s fastest land mammal! Next stop: Lake Naivasha