Monthly Archives: September 2023

African vacation – ver. 2023: Oceanic decompression, then home!

And finally, as per tradition, it was time finish off our typically active vacation – this time our Kenya safari – with a spot of decompression: to take it easy after all the dashing about and tourism-till-you-drop and getting up early every morning to fit everything in; also, to make sure the return to the reality of everyday life doesn’t take place too quickly for the mind (or is it spirit, or even soul?!) to cope

And since our tour of Kenya’s national parks took us, slowly but surely, eastward – from Nairobi over to the east-African coast along the Indian Ocean – the perfect setting for decompression was deemed to be Diani Beach, just south of Mombasa. Why? Because “it has been voted Africa’s leading beach destination for the fifth time running since 2015” (– Wikipedia, 2020). And I can see why: not busy at all, super-fine sand on the beach, and refreshingly cool water (too cool for comfort actually, neoprene advised)…

Not that we resorted to the neoprene; we were here to take it easy: no active anything – including watersports. Instead – inactive everything; e.g., beach + Bombay Sapphire, and sun + Scotch – on the rocks sand!

Read on…

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African vacation, ver. 2023: Amboseli – elephant-land.

After the brief Bali-interlude, we’re back in Kenya…

First – recap:

Pre-safari Nairobi – done.
Ol Pejeta reservation – done.
Lakes Naivasha and Nakuru – done.
Maasai Mara – done.

Next up, Amboseli National Parkhere. Amboseli is more of the same wonderful wildlife but with the accent firmly on elephants – and with none other than  Mount Kilimanjaro in the background…

Read on…

Brilliant Bali!

Herewith, another brief interlude to my ongoing tales from the safari side. Where from? Bali!

So, what was I doing in Indonesia? You’d think it’d be for the volcanoes, since there are a great many of them here, and you know about my love affair with them. Yes – we did get some volcanism in, but that wasn’t the principal reason. I was here mainly for our new press event for the APAC region. As per the template, it just had to be in a warm, sunny, sandy, beachy location, which, being Asia-Pacific, meant we had plenty of options, but in the end we went for Bali, because… why not Bali?! ->

More than 30 journalists attended the event from nine countries. All day it was presentations (me telling it as it is regarding the cyberthreats of today and tomorrow), interviews, handshakes, and all that. The guests all appeared to be extremely pleased, so we’re looking forward to some good press soon!…

Read on…

The Maasai Mara National Reserve. It gets scary; can you hold you nerve?!

The main course on our Kenyan safari was Maasai Mara, the country’s vast game reserve, which we caught at just the right time: during the wild animals’ mass migration. Huge herds of wildebeest, zebras and assorted other, smaller hooved beasts. But the main attraction is the wildebeest, and their particular migration is known as the great migration – up from Serengeti in neighboring Tanzania ->

A zillion zebras too:

Read on…

African vacation – ver. 2023: Hippo Point.

Before continuing with my narrative along our route through Kenya, I must tell you a bit about where we stayed on the bank of Lake Naivasha. It was at Hippo Point (but don’t click that link just yet)…

Now, before reading on, dear readers, can you guess what I’m about to write here? Was I one-star-hotel slumming it, or five-star-living-large?…

See, I do both – and everything in-between. I prefer 5*, of course – who doesn’t? – but sometimes lesser star-rating hotels (or no-star establishments, like Airbnb-style apartments in remote towns in deepest Siberia) are the only thing going. In Tibet and Nepal the ratings tended to dip, while in Kamchatka and Altai we’ve always bedded down of a night in the tents we carry on our backs all day. Then there are the spartan but cozy-enough cabins we sleep in on yachts workhorse ships – that sail around, say, the Kuril Islands or even Antarctica. Things sometimes get real bad: in the year 2000 we stayed a night in an abandoned port in Belomorsk; it was… indescribable. Heck – the trauma lingers to this day!

So, come on folks, what do you reckon?…

Well, it went like this at Hippo Point:

Joke. That’s the former servants’ quarters of even stables of the British landed gentry that must have had the place built and who lived here originally. Here’s where we were staying:

No, it’s not an Edwardian country pile in Surrey – it’s actually Hippo Point here in Kenya!

Inside, just like outside, and just like the lawn and garden – all in traditional English style. Couldn’t complain…

…Wait: yes we could!…

See, the place was so old-fashioned and typically British that it still featured old-fashioned and typically British… taps (faucets to our American friends); meaning: one tap is for (freezing) cold water; the other – for (scalding) hot water. No mixer tap/faucet where you can get just the right temperature for the water for your bath. And bath’s the right word since – there’s no shower here either! What? In 2023? :0)

We have a walk around the property and its grounds…

Africa, stone fireplace, armchairs. The only things missing are a Sir John and Lady Mortimer or some such!

All’s set for cocktails at sundown ->

And finally – my luggage lost by Ethiopian Airlines arrived! ->

Over there – zebras!

From here to the lake – a zebra crossing! ->

Sunset: another aaaaah ->

And that was that. All very nice. We’d have loved to have stayed longer in this little piece of England, but we had to be up and off in the morning…

The rest of the photos from Kenya are here.

African vacation – ver. 2023: Lakes Naivasha and Nakuru.

After the brief Everest Base Camp trek video interlude, I continue today with my tales from the Kenyan safari side…

Pre-safari Nairobi – done.

Ol Pejeta reservation – done.

Next up – Lakes Naivasha and Nakuru (here). First – Naivasha…

It’s around 200km to Lake Naivasha from Ol Pejeta, which took us four or five hours by road. What made the journey a pleasant one were the good quality roads: astonishingly well-built, smooth, and rather new:

Read on…

The long and winding… trek – to Everest’s Base Camp: video version.

Hi folks!

I’ve decided to take a time out (for some, probably a welcome one) from my ongoing Kenya-safari series, to bring you a redux of another series – the one on my trek up to the (Nepalese) South Base Camp of Mount Everest in May, but in video format.

Now, I’m no (video) cameraman; nor are my fellow travelers who found themselves 5000+ meters above sea-level at the foot of the world’s tallest mountain. Photography is more my thing. However, one of said fellow travelers did a rather good job of shooting plenty of footage of our trek, and a short video has since been produced therefrom. And that’s what today’s time-out of mine is about: to suggest you, dear readers, become dear viewers for a mere two minutes and 37 seconds. You won’t regret it!

For those who might have missed the series, what I’ll say briefly about it is that it was tough. So tough in fact, that near the end I even contemplated… deserting (visibility was down to almost nothing: no enjoyment whatsoever)! Yes – me: who normally relishes tough stamina tests in harsh conditions around globe (and mostly – up it:). In the end, it was probably a mix of laziness and mild altitude-sickness symptoms that convinced me to carry on. Today, looking back, I’ve only fond recollections of the adventure (memory’s like that:) – mostly of the bonkers beauty all around for almost the whole trek – that is, when the Himalayan foggy weather didn’t spoil our view of said beauty all around. It’s experiences like this one – with all their ups-and-downs (pun not intended) – that life is made up of.

Enjoy the show!…

African vacation – ver. 2023: Ol Pejeta Conservancy.

Farewell Nairobi; hello savanna-safari!…

But first – warning: coming up – tons of photos. But of course; for what was observed in the Kenyan savanna was just so exotic, varied, and often unique!… Don’t later say I didn’t warn you!…

Our first spot of safariing took place in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy – a conservation area crammed with marvelous mammals and wonderful winged creatures, whose main attraction is the rhinoceros – of which there are plenty…

Read on…