Friday, May 30, 2008

Breathing Break: Hakuna Simba!

Photos & text copyright Yasir Khan 2008

Willie and the other safari drivers in the Masai Mara were on edge for our first two days there. Nobody had seen a lion.

It's a safe bet that most people come to the Masai Mara to see lions. Hell, most people spend thousands of dollars on safaris, and if they don't see anything else except for lions, they will go home happy. Drivers like Willie take pride in finding lions for their clients.

It's hard to find lions in the spring, though - the Serengeti / Masai Mara grass is tall, and it rains frequently. So, for 2 nights, the talk at the drivers' dinner table centered around "hakuna simba." No lions. They took it personally.

But on the 3rd day, as we were wrapping up a giraffe, our CB radio began to squawk excitedly.

Kuja! (Look!)

Simba! Simba! Simba! Simba!

A mad rush across the Mara, with constant directions over the CB, led us to this big cat:

What I wasn't prepared for, were the paparazzi:

Photo copyright Sufia Lodhi 2008

For the next 45 minutes, camera shutters from 8 safari vans clicked with her every bored move.

The rest of the Mara thought we were the most ridiculous animals there. We barely noticed.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Breathing Break: Kenya pt. 4

Photos & text copyright Yasir Khan 2008

On day 2, we drove over to Buffalo Springs National Park. We got stuck in the mud, were charged by an elephant, and ate lunch on a hill overlooking herds of these guys. Enjoy:

Breathing Break: Kenya & the Dik-Dik

"The dik-diks... they are never alone," whispered Willie as our van crawled along the dirt road.
"And if one of them dies, the other won't live for too long."
I've been curious about the dik-dik ever since I read my friend Marie's book about her trip across Africa. They're elusive as hell, and will disappear before you can even say "dik-dik." I really wanted to photograph one for Marie, and tried a hundred times to click before they fled.
But perseverance has its payoffs, and I finally got mine. So here you go, Marie - meet Dik and Dik.
Photos & text copyright Yasir Khan 2008

Monday, May 19, 2008


Photo copyright Sufia Lodhi 2008
I am interrupting this Kenya love-in to inform you all that today is my birthday.
I have turned 17 for the second time.
My sweet mama wrote in with a prayer. She wants god to make me a wise man.I am resisting the urge to write back ...
... maybe god has already answered her prayers.
That's it. Back to Kenya.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Breathing Break - Kenya Pt. 2

Photos & text copyright Yasir Khan 2008

"We're going past mount Kenya now."
Willie, our driver, woke us up to see Kenya's tallest peak.
"Soon we will cross the equatah."

We had been driving for a couple of hours, heading to the Shaba National Reserve - about 300km north of Nairobi, where we were to spend 2 days at the Sarova Shaba Game Lodge. Normally, we wouldn't be able to afford this palace in the wild. But these are special times in Kenya. The croc you see above was pretty much right outside our room window. Cairomaniac was convinced that crocs can jump, and issued many stern warnings for me to keep my distance. Obviously, she's watched a lot of When Animals Attack and not enough Animal Planet. Needless to say, the croc stayed put. Crikey!

When I tell people about crossing the equator, everybody asks about the water - does it change the direction of the flow when you flush the toilet? Sure enough, there's a guy by the equator sign with a jug of water and a plastic tub with a hole in the bottom.

"Would you like to see a demonstration?"
"No thanks."

I didn't want to pay money to see water go down a hole. Honestly, I'm not the least bit curious.

"Then maybe you can look in my shop? Buy something to keep us going? There have been no tourists lately."

Monday, May 12, 2008

Breathing Break: Kenya Pt. 1

Photographs & text copyright Yasir Khan 2008

I'm a bit late on this. But we got back from Kenya a couple of weeks ago.

People warned us not to go because of the recent political shitstorm. But tickets were cheap, and safari prices were down by almost 20% since people had cancelled their Kenyan vacations en masse. So we went... and had a great time - great food, clean air, and loads of silence. Not to mention loads of wildlife.

Kenyans were on their best behaviour.

Details and pictures coming soon. In the meantime, here's a short video of our trip, courtesy of Sony PS2:

Told you we had a great time. Stay tuned for more.