Showing posts with label Kenya. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kenya. Show all posts

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Kopjes of Serengeti

Serengeti is 30k Square Kilometers vast plain of grassland, woods and swamps stretches from North-Western Tanzania into South-Western Kenya. These plains are home to more than 70 large mammal and 500 avifauna species including the largest terrestrial mammal migration in the world. The plains of Serengeti are too flat to hold water; the hollows in the rock surfaces provide catchments for rainwater.

What are Kopjes?

Dotting this vast savannah are outcrops of granite that stick out like rocky islands in a sea of grass. They are called kopjes, formed with soft volcanic rock and ash. It covers Serengeti were eroded away to expose the extremely old metamorphic rock below. Kopjes are scattered throughout Serengeti, one particular kopje found much publicity for providing inspiration for some of the scenes in the movie “The Lion King” later named it Simba Kopje.

The rock is standing impressively around plains of savannah with vegetation surrounded by bushes and grass. These wonderful metamorphic rocks consist of very hard granite accomplished of resisting erosion from rain and harsh tropical winds. Kopjes are refuges for life in the Serengeti. The natural structures helps special plants grow by sticking roots into the cracks in the rocks that trap soil and nutrients.

Kopjes provide a scenic contrast to the nearby grasslands. It also offers habitat for numerous creatures. The presence of a many plants, caves for dwelling, water, and a vantage point for Serengeti’s various predators. It piles of ancient rocks that poke through the more soils and surface rocks. Therefore, rocks were laid down over 500 million years ago all over Africa. These kopjes, also known as inselbergs (island mountains), add to the already dramatic back drop of the Serengeti landscape.

The volcanic activity from volcanoes of the Ngorongoro highlands deposited a layer of rocks and ash, about one million years ago. It creates a rich and fertile soil that produces short, sweet grass while raining. When the surface rock and soil wore away, it exposed the uneven top of the granite layer forming kopjes. Various animal species that only live on kopjes because of these plants, the rocky habitats and hiding places they offer. Moreover, lions are regularly uses the kopjes as vantage points. Because this is an ideal place to bask in the sun as well as hide their cubs. Someone can see cheetahs using kopjes to assist them in scouting the area for a potential meal.

Kopjes weathered cracked and rounded surface is home to insects, birds, lizards, and snakes, to mammals such as shrews and mice. The perfectly elevated rocks are ideal places to warm up in the morning or evening sun. It provides an ideal viewpoint for animals to survey the plains for food. These kopjes play a pivotal role for the ecosystem. They are habitat for different kinds of flora and fauna which can only be found in and around the formations.

An interesting mammal Hyraxes exclusive to the kopjes is the Rock Hyrax. This mammal is about the size and shape of a rugby or football. This animal eats grass and herbs around the kopjes. Another animals that have made home on kopjes are the small size antelope called “klipspringer”. Snakes and agamas thrive here thanks to the ample hiding spaces as well as an abundance of food.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Lake Nakuru, The Greatest Birds Display on Earth

Lake Nakuru is one of the Rift Valley soda lakes at an elevation of 1754 m above sea level. It lies to the south of Nakuru, in the rift valley of Kenya. The surface of the shallow lake of Nakuru is almost unequivocally pink. The lake's abundance of algae used to attract a massive myriad quantity of flamingos that famously lined the shore. The Lake Nakuru is widely regarded as the greatest bird spectacle on earth, millions of millions flamingos gathered here to seek food, feed on the abundant blue-green algae which thrive in the warm alkaline waters, with their high soda content caused by intense evaporation in the burning African sun. The countless flamingoes on the lake Nakuru are varying depending on the water and food conditions and the best vantage point is from Baboon Cliff. Researchers believe that countless flamingo population at Nakuru can consume as much as 500 tons of algae every day.

 Lake Nakuru National Park is 188 km2, created in 1961 around Lake Nakuru, is mainly famous for its thousands, sometimes millions of flamingos nesting along the shores, however, around the lake fenced off as a sanctuary to protect giraffes, black and white rhinos, warthogs, baboons and other large mammals. There are two types of flamingo species; the lesser flamingo can be illustrious by its deep red carmine bill and pink plumage unlike the greater, which has a bill with a black tip. In 1961, the Lake Nakuru National Park was created around the lake to protect this spectacle. Yet, conservationists are increasingly concerned that pollution from local industries could be causing the flamingo population at Lake Nakuru to fall. Nakuru means "Dust or Dusty Place" in the Maasai language, and lake is famous for its surrounding mountainous vicinity, but has since been extended to include a large part of the savannahs.

The flamingoes naturally feed with their long necks bent down and their bills upside down in the water, using their tongues to pump in and out to suck in the salty, alkaline water and mud. Filters in the bill catch the microscopic algae floating in the water, as well as the small shrimps which give them their pink color. Moreover, the park also has large sized pythons that inhabit the dense woodlands, and can often be seen crossing the roads or dangling from trees. The huge amount of flamingos has been declining recently, maybe due to too much tourism, pollution resulting from industries waterworks nearby who dump waste into the waters or simply because of changes in water quality which makes the lake temporarily inhospitable. Typically, the lake recedes during the dry season and floods during the wet season.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

“Kit-Mikayi” Mysterious Rock Formation in the Town of Kisumu in Western Kenya

Kit-Mikayi is a rock formation a tor almost 40 m high. Kit-Mikayi means “The Stone of First Woman” & “Stone of First Wife.” It is also called “Kit Mikayi”, “Kitmikayi”, and “Kitmikaye” is situated about 29 km west of the town of Kisumu in western Kenya. It is about one kilometer from the Kisumu-Bondo road, however, the sign board is on the gate of Kit Mikayi primary school and entrance is via N’gop-Ngeso primary school. The legend behind Kit Mikayi, which in Luo dialect means "the stone of the first wife", is that: Long time ago, there was an old man by the name Ngeso who was in great love with the stone. Every day when he woke up in the morning, he could walk into the cave inside the stone and stay there the whole day, and this could force his wife to bring him breakfast and lunch every day. The old man became passionately in love with this stone to the extent that when people asked his wife his whereabouts, she would answer that he has gone to his first wife hence the stone of the first wife. Moreover, local inhabitants living around the stones are recognized as the Luo-Kakello clan.

This place is associated with sacrifices and various legends from pre-Christian times, particularly stories explaining the meaning of the name. Kit-Mikayi is a regional point of sightseeing interest, exclusively among the neighboring Luo tribes. It also has become a famous local pilgrimage place for followers of the Legio Maria sect who come to the rock for several weeks at a time. Futhermore, the unique stone structure represents the Luo cultural polygamous family which had the first wife’s house (Mikayi) built further in between on the right hand side was the 2nd wife’s Nyachira house though the third wife’s Reru house was built on the left hand side of the homestead.

This rock also is seen to have a nuclear family whereby the father “Ngeso” being the middle stone followed by the bulky Mikayi “first wife”, and then second wife “Nyachira” and then followed by third wife “Reru” and further in front they’ve the child which is representing “Simba” the house for the first born boy in the homestead. From a long time, this stone has been a holy place for the villagers to worship in times of trouble. Kit-Mikayi is really a cluster of rocks is a mystery, because there are some stones, which are mysteriously hanging in the air by mysterious reasons, still influence the life of residents. Apart from stunning shape and patterns of the rocks, tourists are really surprised at the eerie environment at the footsteps of the cave and huge trees that grows horizontally leaves the impression of unnatural features. Kit-Mikayi rocks are so huge and heavey, as no human being could have arranged them in a spectacular style in which they’re appearing. Therefore, there are numerous spectacular rock formations which abound with myths and mythologies. In the past, only men were allowed near the rocks, but tourists are these days very welcome.

 Source: Wikipedia

Monday, 4 May 2015

Nabiyotum Crater, in Lake Turkana, Kenya,

This is the Nabuyatom Crater, a geological marvel of that Lake Turkana. It's a caldera the remnants of a collapsed volcano. You can found Crater in the middle of Lake Turkana in Kenya. Without any doubt, it is an impressive landform, described in a Telegraph photo the world's largest desert lake and the world's largest alkaline lake in the Great Rift Valley. Traveling to this region is not for the meek, but the rewards are wonderful; home to numerous active volcanoes, the Rift Valley has more than 150 bird species, giraffes, zebras and buffalo. Moreover Kenyan Lake Turkana by volume is the world's 4th-largest salt lake after the Caspian Sea, Issyk-Kul, and Lake Van. Be sure, Nile crocodiles are found in great abundance on the flats. Further the rocky shores are home to scorpions and carpet vipers, so not precisely a destination one would want to be nomadic around unawares. The Rift Valley area of Africa is acknowledged as "the cradle of mankind. We wonder how very few people in the world over all time have seen or explored inside the crater, perhaps very few given its dangerous isolation and striving of access. It’s a place to visit if you have already been everywhere and done most things. Moreover one of picture of Nabiyotum Crater Lake Turkana was taken by the photographer Christian Strebel on 22 April 2009 and published over Panoramio.