Flashback to an amazing experience

February 12, 2017  •  1 Comment

Time for a short flashback!

The date was the 9th of September 2014 and we were in the middle of our amazing Uganda trip (you can read the entire Uganda Story via the link). It was the day we were going to meet the mountain gorillas! 

In the morning, upon arriving to base camp, you choose a family according to your level of fitness. Some families lay as close as 15 minutes away from base camp, other more than 4 hours. Since our group was prepared to go the extra mile (and it's not about the goal but the journey ..;)), we choose the furthest away.   

After the hike we finally arrived to a hillside where our family was waiting (*). 

 (*) I must note here that the approach to the animals happens with the utmost respect. It takes years before the animals are used to people and although it is widely contested by environmental organizations this is the only way to ensure the conservation of these wonderful animals. 

Little can prepare you for a close encounter with such magnificent animals.. Meeting the alfa male, the occasional fight with the beta, the kids that play around .. It feels as if you are intruding a forbidden meeting where the members could easily harm you if they would like to (which of course didn't happen). 

After around 30 minutes we had to head back to base camp and leave the family to their daily chores. As you see, I still cherish the encounter to this day. So this is also a small reminder to everybody, don't pass on an experience when you are travelling! 

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Bwindi Impenetrable National Park contains the largest concentration of mountain gorillas in Uganda and is situated along the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) border next to the Virunga National Park. Together with Rwanda, Uganda has done a lot to contain the loss of habitat of these wonderful animals. 

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Sri Lanka

January 30, 2017  •  1 Comment

Discovering the small(er) details from my surroundings has always brought me great joy. It's often the smaller things that make the "bigger picture". There's a fine line between trivial and decisive. I hope I got 'close' to decisive .. ;) 

Please enjoy the little serie on the wonderful daily life from Sri Lanka..

 


A short introduction to Sri Lankan fishing techniques

January 28, 2017  •  1 Comment

What is progress? .. If you measure it by "fishing techniques" - you would probably start with a rod, a line and some bait. The return is slow but doesn't require a lot of technique and resources. In Sri Lanka, you could add - balance - to that equation.. Second step in progress would be to work together and make your return higher. For example, a large net that is lowered to the seabed and then slowly pulled by people (or any passerby..) on shore. Third and final step is industrialization (bigger boats, bigger nets, .. )

What I wanted to make clear is that even in the small villages outside of Galle this "progress" is very tangible. The first technique you see, is called stilt fishing (made famous by Steve McCurry, more info on this LINK) and is unfortunately almost gone. The few places where you can still see stilt fishers are only there to the amusement of tourists. The return is higher .. 800 rupees to be exactly (around 3,5 EUR). You could argue and say that the stilt fishing pictures are missing authenticity (but would you say that if I hadn't mentioned that I paid for it?). In any case .. I agree.  

We stumbled upon the second "technique" by accident when I saw a large group pulling a net on shore. I immediately ordered the tuk-tuk driver to drop us off so that we could investigate. After taking a couple of pictures, I decided to help them out with the catch of the day!

"Hey-O  Hey-O  Hey-O" - cried the foreman to keep the rhythm. "Hey-O" - I mumbled.. 

Enjoy the series! 

 


Shantipura - Village in the Tea Hills of Nuwara Eliya

January 26, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

The mountains of Sri Lanka make an interesting change in landscape. From Kandy, a historical city with the famous relic "the tooth of Buddha", to Nuwara Eliya, the change in scenery and temperature is quite remarkable. Heading into the mountains also uncovers Sri Lankan number one export product; Tea! We were lucky enough to find an excellent guide who was willing to take us off the beaten track to a small Tamil village in the mountains. A hefty but very rewarding 8 hour or 22km trek!  

Meet the locals from Shantipura ..  


On a morning in Kiwengwa, Zanzibar ..

November 26, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

On a morning in Kiwengwa, Zanzibar, children go to school and the local fishermen are at sea..  the women tend their seaweed lot while the men fish for octopus and clams in their laguna. Not a cloud in sight. While the community awakes, a foreigner passes by - a shy smile. Though neighbours, their worlds couldn't be further apart.

.. A short serie on my neighbours. 

 

 

 

 


Du Noon

September 19, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

One of the "attractions" tourist can experience in South Africa, is called a Township tour (in other countries they are also called Shanty town, Bidonville, Favela, .. ).The first time I heard about these excursions was in Rio De Janeiro where at the time they were done poorly and it implied that a portion of your money would go to the ruling warlord of the favela. Reason enough to understand that I was absolutely not eager to participate (but curious nonetheless). 

Luckily enough some happy coincidence brought me to Du Noon on a Sunday morning (but not for a township tour!). I was invited for a "braai" (BBQ) by the lovely people from JoshGen Church after attending the Sunday mass in the City Center. So after a meal of "(Mielie)pap" and "Braaiwors" I was very eager to discover the township in the (safe) proximity of the town preacher. 

One of the first things that struck me was the amount of activity. No corner is unused! Every shop is screaming for your attention through home made signs.. All the better for the photographer! 

As a side note .. Du Noon is considered one of the most dangerous Townships from Capetown.  

Which one is your favourite? Can you guess mine? 

 

 

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