I dreamed of Kenya


I dreamed of Kenya


Since I was a child, I have loved elephants. They are peaceful, calm, intelligent, but ready to charge whenever it’s necessary. Maybe it’s because I loved Babar! I have watched them in zoos, of course, saw them several times in Asia, patted their leathery skin on occasion, but I really dreamed of seeing them roam free, in Africa. There is something exhilarating about discovering African wildlife up close and authentic, when you truly see that these majestic animals really do exist outside of nature documentaries on television.

An elephant there to welcome us as soon as we enter the reserve in Ol Pejeta.

Two giraffes pose for the camera in front of Mount Kenya, early in the morning.

I had no idea how rich Kenya really could be. Like anyone else, I imagined people stacked into cars driving single file across the arid savanna. That’s not what it was like at all. It was a rejuvenating cure, and I became a ten-year-old girl again, happy to wake up at dawn to watch the sunrise over zebras, gleeful each time I saw a new species on the plains. But I was a ten-year-old girl with a Canon 100-400 to immortalize the journey.
Then, yes, like any amateur photographer in Kenya, I couldn’t resist the idea of renting a wide telephoto lens to play animal photographer over the course of the trip. Of course, the exercise is difficult for a neophyte, but it was very amusing. You’ve got to be eagerly on the lookout, with your finger on the release at all times, but of course that doesn’t prevent you from making goof-ups. So, I don’t have any photo of a hyena. Or at least no clear photo, since that species is far too fleeting for an inexperienced wildlife photographer. But it’s only a matter of time!

Animals around the watering hole while the day is just barely breaking



In Kenya, you’ll find everything: large national parks, smaller reserves, savanna and lush mountain slopes, places to set off on a safari car tour, but also places where you can discover animals by boat, on a bicycle, and also on foot. And to see the most wildlife you can, you’ll have to have lots of experiences, go back at different times, get up early, stay late… As for crowds you might be afraid of encountering, visitors are spread out over practically 600,000 km²; so you can imagine that you’ll run into few people outside the hotel!



My most wonderful experience was at the Sweetwaters tent camp in the Ol Pejeta reserve. A few meters away from the tents, right in the hotel itself, a trench, then a pond. And all day long, animals come to drink there. No big cat or rhinoceros, of course, but dozens of zebras, warthogs, storks, and even elephants! If I tell you that these elephants were photographed with the 50mm, on a full frame, and that I didn’t crop the shot, it will give you an idea of the distance between me and them. And there was no fence, no protection whatsoever. Maybe you love pachyderms as much as I do, but I can tell you that when you see a whole wild herd, with babies, and they’re that close, well you show your respect, and you snap away despite the darkness!



Aurélie Amiot

Aurélie Amiot is a photographer and blogger who specializes in travel. In June, 2013, she published a book with Eyrolles called “Photo Tips for Travelers”.
Her blog: http://www.madame-oreille.com/blog
Find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or on Google +.

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