The annual Lake Turkana festivities see around a dozen tribes, mainly from northern Kenya, take part in cultural exchanges and traditional dances. It’s quite a fascinating couple of days and provides opportunities to see local tribes who are not normally on a safarist’s bucket list. For example, I found one local El Molo village to be just a few rudimentary huts loosely strewn together, surviving largely through fishing. A dwindling tribe, the El Molo may soon disappear through assimilation and intermarriage with other local tribes.
With the day’s festivities finished and with the onset of twilight, a few miles from the nearest village, the tribes of the Turkana and Samburu dance well into dusk on the windswept shores of Lake Turkana. Seeing the tribes enjoying each other’s company, it can sometimes be difficult to remember that cattle-stealing is causing much strife between the different tribes. But initiatives such as the Lake Turkana festival will help promote trust and understanding.
The town of Hpa An in Myanmar, surrounded by a karst landscape, offers opportunities to visit the caves in that region. Many caves are used for Buddhist shrines, and some are used for navigation. Here, nearly 20 kilometres from Hpa An, fishermen are shown outside a cave entrance that runs through to the other side of the karst hills.
A rice field several miles from Hpa An, Myanmar. We had already journeyed through a cave in this karst-rich landscape when we came across this field. It was great to be out in the open again!
We were journeying overland from the south of Namibia to the north, and had an overnight stay in a secluded rest-stop. The stars were out, and we wandered across a field looking up at the Milky Way.
After a long day in Amboseli National Park in Kenya, it was time to return to the lodge. Venturing back, we were greeted by this wonderful view of Mt Kilimanjaro, the clouds ablaze in the colours of sunset. Photo taken in May 2017.
There we were, travelling along the Hindu Kush in Afghanistan. A journey through mountain passes and dry valleys, along dried river-beds and empty places on lonely roads, with nothing more than dust-devils keeping us company. Low temperatures and the glare of the sun added to the harshness of the landscape.
However, it was a challenge that I enthusiastically seized in my quest to reach the fabled Minaret of Jam, a place that only a few travellers reach. But here, in the middle of nowhere, there was human activity; a rest-stop for truck drivers hauling their goods across the country, a place to stretch the legs and take shelter from the elements.
Although it was August, the place was cold, and I couldn’t imagine what this place would be like in winter. A hardy landscape creates a hardy people. This man tendered to our needs with chai and food, his face betraying the challenges of the environment.
Dawn near the Kyauk Kalap Pagoda a few miles from Hpa An, Myanmar (Burma). It was important to get here early, not just to see this golden-red scenery, but to pack in a lot of activities such as exploring caves and trekking across the fields. Photo taken in December 2014.
It needed a small truck to get here but, up here in the hills of Kayah State (Myanmar), there was plenty to like as we experienced a wonderfully foliaged landscape interspaced with small villages. In what seemed to be the most substantial local village, we were warmly welcomed by the Padaung, and we had the chance to explore the area by foot. Outside the village, we came across some children who were clearly enjoying each other’s company! Afterwards, we decided to forgo the truck and return to base by hiking down through the hills, which added magnificently to the experience.