Monday, August 09, 2010

Jambo Amboseli...

So as promised, I'm finally getting around to sharing some highlights from our trip to Kenya last month. Unlike our South Africa trip, this one was all about the safari. We traveled to two different areas: Amboseli and Masai Mara. First things first, our few days in Amboseli…

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We flew into Nairobi first, getting in very late at night. I'm not usually concerned much about safety while traveling - I tend to think most places are generally safe if you keep your wits about you - but while doing my normal research I learned about some disturbing things about the Kenyan capital. I won't lie - it gave us pause as to whether we should go - but on second thought we decided it was going to be now or never so we booked. As a result, we didn’t plan in any extra time to see the sights of Nairobi so I don't have anything to show you. Maybe that was a mistake but I'll never know.

First thing the next morning we made our way to Wilson airport to take a small plane to Amboseli. In the tiny shop near the taxi areas, there was a shop that had plenty of liquid courage on sale for the weak of heart.

Tuskers

Here I am right before I said my ritualistic Our Father and Hail Mary's before take off. Notice how tight I am clutching my purse. (You might also notice my new haircut - what do you think?)

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Finally we landed safely. Phew.

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It was time to get the camera out and ready to go. Yes, those are a pile of animal bones laying near the sign. I was duly impressed. We were on safari! Hooray!

First stop would be where we called home for the next couple of nights, Tortilis Camp.

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Tortilis Camp Lobby, Watering Hole (viewed from lobby), Exterior and Interior shots of our "tent"

At this point it was about time for lunch and we got to taste something out of this world delicious: Banoffee Pie. I had never heard of it before but we were sold after the first bite. The managers were nice enough to give me the recipe (I'll be sharing it and photos later this week). Ok, enough about the pie, its time for animals!

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One of my first favorite photos from the trip. Its amazing just how many animals look you straight in the face. Kind of surreal.


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Amboseli is most famous for their elephants. One morning we got to see a huge herd feeding on the pan. It just so happened that the only other vehicle there was that of famous wildlife photographer Nick Brandt (check out some of his fabulous work here). As you can easily see, an amazing talent but does not play well with others. I thought he was going to have a coronary the way he was huffing and directing us to vacate the area as if we didn't have a right to be there as well. Manners are clearly not something he has mastered. Out of respect for his art, we didn’t stay that long but long enough to get some decent snaps of my own.

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One afternoon right before sunset we got to see a pride of lions waking up for the evening. They were still a bit sleepy but not at all shy.

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We got to see the sun setting behind them - just beautiful.

We also got to see plenty of less scary animals. I was in love with the Ostrich - so gangly and huge but fast and beautiful at the same time. I call this one Manage a tois...

ManageatoisOstrich

And a few other favs...

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Last but not least we got a few glimpses here and there of the local people. Like this young boy who was tending a herd (our ranger stopped to ask him if he had seen any cheetah around) or an older boy tending his grazing goats and this mother and child walking past camp.

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And in a flash it was time to pack up for our flight to the Masai Mara. More on that in a future post.

Leavingthetent

64 comments:

  1. Beautiful photos Stefanie! I love the one of the elephants especially.

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  2. OMG. Such beautiful photos!
    The elephants, goodness me.

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  3. we are headed to South Africa in November and you have gotten me so excited! what kind of camera and lens are you using?

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  4. How did you plan this trip? Did you book the air travel, hotel & safari accommodations with a group or did you find them on your own? We're doing this same trip in ~ 5 years, and I'm already pulling together a file. Thanks!

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  5. Just spectacular! I loved your pictures but I had a special fondness for the elephants -- there's something about them that I find captivating and mysterious.

    Looking forward to your future post on Masai Mara.

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  6. Amazing! What a wonderful experience, and I love your photos.

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  7. I felt like I was inside the movie Lion King. Thank you for sharing. And I like the new do

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  8. These photos are amazing! I especially like the ones with the local people.. and why does that elephant have a heart shaped hole in his ear?!

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  9. Wow, you have some great shots there, Mrs. Limestone! Sorry to hear about the other photographer. It's not like he owns the place, sheesh.

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  10. Oh lordy, I am floored. So jealous!

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  11. Your pictures are really incredible. The one of the baby elephant "sitting" and the trio of ostriches! Lovin' these animals!

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  12. You are a lot braver than myself! But the thrill of the trip can be the best part.

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  13. Stefanie,
    Your photos are awesome. I love the one of the elephant with the heart shape cut out of his ear. Its so beautiful! Can't wait for your next post!

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  14. So amazing! The one of the lions with the sunset is just stunning...

    Glad you are back safe and sound, and I can't wait to see the next round of photos!

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  15. loved all your photos and seriously girlfriend you and the hubster lead such an awesome traveling life!! the sneak peek of the pie via twitter I think it was looked yummy! *hugs from conroe, tx!!!

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  16. Your new haircut looks fabulous. Loving the safari pics..........wow!! :)

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  17. oh my gosh....wow....amazing photographs.. i love the giraffes..and the elephants...all of them!

    And i'm really appalled at the behaviour of Nick Brandt. Knowing me, I would have stuck around longer just to get under his skin more - but I can be a bit of a beeyotch sometime. It's not like you didn't have the right to be there too!

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  18. I have always wanted to go on Safari. These photos are great!

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  19. gorgeous photos! what an adventure...

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  20. I love the trunk at the foot of the bed in the tent. Your photos are beautiful!

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  21. LOVE the baby elephant!
    Thanks for "taking us along" on your trip.

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  22. Sara: Im using a Nikon D90 with a 18-200mm lens.

    Courtney: For both of our Africa trips we used a travel agent (www.go2africa.com) that books the hotel and internal flights for us. We handled the international flight on our own. You could also do it yourself pretty easily but I had a good experience using this company last time so I went with them again. This time it wasn't quite so smooth so I would probably just do it myself next time around.

    Hollie: A lot of the elephants have holes in their ears. I'm not sure why - maybe from fighting. This one had a hole in the shape of a heart which got me interested to take this shot but they usually look like a ragged hole.

    Danielle: No bravery involved. On both safaris, I've never felt in any danger at all. The rangers/guides really know what they are doing and keep you safe.

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  23. Cute new haircut, stuuuuuunnnnnning photos. I absorbed every one, that sunset shot is unbelievable. Loved every picture, what an amazing trip!
    xo
    Kate

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  24. These photos are amazing!! I am in awe of each and every one of these- just stunning!

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  25. Beautiful photos. I love the one of the baby elephant.

    On a side note...How did the ostriches make it to the "less scary animals" part of the post? An ostrich is freakin terrifying!

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  26. haha trista. They don't seem that scary to me. They are big but are totally non threatening with a lot of personality - in S.A. people ride them for entertainment purposes.

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  27. Your pictures are stunning. What an amazing trip.

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  28. OH my lord these are amazing. I would love to do this someday!

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  29. The elephant with the "heart ear" is awesome. Gorgeous pics as always, and seems truly like the adventure of a lifetime (I'd love to do but believe it or not I'm freaked out by all of the drugs you have to take/shots you have to get. Is it a bucketload? Keep in mind I won't even take advil.) I was surprised to hear (read) that you're a nervous flyer. You've had so much practice! :-)

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  30. The photo of the baby elephant is possibly the cutest thing ever.

    On another note, it's comforting to hear that a seasoned traveller such as yourself, has flying rituals. I hate flying and every time I do it, I cross my fingers during take-off and keep myself distracted with trashy magazine crossword puzzles.

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  31. You have a wonderful talent. Great editing. I LOVED the baby elephant. Do you sell prints or even jpegs???

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  32. Big Boops: Yes, I sell prints. http://mrslimestone.zenfolio.com/

    Laura: The shots/pills are pretty optional. We opted to take malaria medication as a precaution but many people do without it. There are no other pills you'd need to take. Its always a good idea to be current on your vaccinations but frankly I highly doubt I encountered anything that would have gotten me sick on this trip. It was really an ultra luxury experience. I get exposed to way more nasties on the subway everyday.

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  33. These pictures are INCREDIBLE. I think you're giving Mr. Photog-with-his-panties-in-a-wab a run for his money. :) You've officially reignited my itch to go back to Africa!

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  34. Wow, what an adventure! I loved the pics!

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  35. Your pictures are spectacular and superb in terms of the composition and exposure. Could you comment on your camera, lenses, etc.
    Thank you!
    Izabela

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  36. Beautiful photographs! It would be too hard to pick a favorite, though the lion pix stand out. Do you do much post processing? What program(s) do you use? On a different note, I, too, was hooked on banoffee pie after the first bite. Good for you for getting the recipe!

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  37. You amaze me with your travels and photos!

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  38. The photos are to DIE FOR! Beautiful.

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  39. My jaw drops everytime I see your trip photos. I know you said you used an 18-200 lens, but what are some tips you used to get your photos so painstakingly clear?

    What setting is your favorite for those animal shots?

    And, how much post processing is done?

    I am in awe!!!

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  40. I randomly stumbled upon your blog and I LOVE it! Your photography is just amazing! I'd ask your what you are shooting with, but I saw that you had already answered that in one of the previous comments. Wow..I'm just blown away by the pictures of the animals!

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  41. ....Wow....gorgeous photography, (and your hair cut is cute!)

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  42. Susan: I use Photoshop. Some of the photos arne't touched at all. Many of them have slight tweaks in photoshop (usually to compesnate for the fact I tend to underexpose a bit to be on the safe side). A few of them have more than a slight tweak - like the brownish tint in the giraffe and ostrich photos were done for the effect. Im not usually into overprocessing but for some reasons this just looked better to me for those images.

    Joi: No tips really aside from holding the camera as still as possible. Not all of my photos are sharp - I delete a lot of them that don't make the cut. I use the auto setting on almost every shot b/c I don't have time (or the speed) to reset the manual settings on each one. Occassionaly Ill get fancy and use a A or S overrides but its pretty rare.

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  43. I love how modest you are: "some decent snaps..." Your photos are more than decent. More like amazing! I adore your "tent." In the land of someday that would be an amazing backyard retreat or poolhouse. What did you guys do for meals?

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  44. Teresa12:08 PM

    I love your photos and I love the haircut!

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  45. Oh Mrs. Limestone these are AMAZING! I love each photo more than the next. I love to live vicariously through your adventures! I am so neurotic all I can think is how many shots you needed for your trip. I love your hair cut.

    xo,

    Miss B.

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  46. Holy gorgeousness! These photos are straight out of a National Geographic Magazine! Love them all! Didn't realize the heart shaped hole at first glance~ love that... The airplane was a little too scary for me;o)

    *Cute hair

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  47. Unbelieveable photos. I can't even imagine seeing these things in person!! That elephant calf is adorable! SO COOL.

    Also, dig the new coif.

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  48. I'm dying to go to on safari so loved this post. And I love, love your pic of the baby elephant sitting down - what a great moment!

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  49. My husband and I stayed at Tortillis in 2006. LOVE it there! So anxious to hear where you stayed in Masai Mara!

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  50. Love the photos, your trip sounds amazing.

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  51. Stunning...That is MOST certainly on my list!

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  52. Wow I am insanely jealous. Africa is my must see destination and really want to make it there someday. The photos are gorgeous and your accomadations look perfect. Sooooo luckkkkee.

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  53. What extraordinary photos! What an amazing journey you had! I'm enthralled and can't wait for the next segment of safari photos!!

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  54. Jambo! What wonderful photographs -- as usual. I'm so glad you decided to go and can't wait to hear about the Masai Mara. I went to school with a Masai named Peter -- he was such a sweet guy. Some day I'll get over there but it's nice to enjoy your trip in the meantime.

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  55. how incredibly breathtaking!

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  56. Stefanie! Your photos are truly stunning! You really have a talent for photography. What an amazing trip! Thanks for sharing these beautiful photos with us! xo

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  57. I am sitting here trying to imagine what it must have been like to spend the night in that tent in such an amazing location: the smells, the sounds, the stars, I am sure my imagination doesn't begin to come close! Janell

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  58. I love the pictures from this trip! I'm sure you realize how blessed you are to be able to travel so much. I love sharing in it through your blog.

    My favorites in this post are the baby elephants. I love the family all around the baby. It's such a beautiful picture.

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  59. um incredible. sweet shot of the ostriches! that tent looks kinda fun! and I'm def. trying that recipe! ;) love!

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  60. Love all the wildlife - these may be some of my absolute favorite photos of yours!

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  61. These are amazing! I may have to splurge on some elephant photos now.

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  62. Truly beautiful photographs. My husband has been wanting to go on safari for years - perhaps this is the motivation we need. Thank you for sharing!

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