How To | Make Red Red Ghanaian Dish

How To | Make Red Red Ghanaian Dish

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RED RED

One of my absolute favourite dishes whilst I have been away has got to be Red Red – the plantain goodness from Ghana. Like the name suggests, red red is made with a mellow red palm oil accompanied by black eyed beans and crispy fried plantain. It’s delicious and I had the amazing opportunity to learn from my host mum the whole process to make the signature Ghanaian dish. Now when I think of Red Red, I think of it with fond memories of my host family and the community of Afranse. When I first tried the dish I instantly loved it and began recruiting members (volunteers) into the Red-Red club! Here’s how:

You will need:

Plantain – how ever much you like! We used about 4 for 3 people

White beans or black eyed beans

Palm oil – the most essential ingredient

Tomatos x 2

Small Onion x 4 or Big onions x2

Chilli spice (add according to desired tolerance)

A few pinches of salt

Tinned fish (tuna, mackerel, sardines) – optional

Cooking oil – 2 tablespoons

 

Red Red Process:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boil a pot of water over a low heat

Add the beans into the pot and boil the beans till soft – add salt and stir

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chop and peel onions and tomatos

Pour palm oil into a different pot over a low heat

When the oil is bubbling hot add the onions and tomatoes, salt, spice and mix well

Add softened beans to mixture and stir

Leave to simmer for a few minutes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chop plantain into thin slices and fry in the boiling cooking oil until golden brown and crispy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plate up the beans with plantain on the side and dive in, to be really authentic use the plantain to scoop up the beans, it’s messy but it’s great!

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Being A Team Leader | VSO

Being A Team Leader | VSO

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Experience of being a Team Leader with VSO in Ghana

Context:

For 8 months I volunteered in Ghana with VSO as a Team Leader. I was posted in the Eastern region in Asamankese under the livelihoods project; working alongside a local NGO called FLOWER. The main aim of the project was to give the local communities access and training to alternate livelihoods that they could support themselves with.

Most of the community members were unemployed, high school dropouts or illiterate so the skills training by volunteers and FLOWER provided had to be simple, practical and realistic for them to put into practice. The livelihoods project had been running since September 2015 and I was on cycles 3&4. Cycle 1&2 taught skills like tie-dye, sandal decorating, liquid soap and beaded handiwork as well as some bookkeeping and marketing skills. Cycle 3&4 continued with beaded work, soap production and introduced new skills like hair pomade, animal rearing and fruit juice making. They also continued with developing branding and marketing skills.

All of these sessions and skills training combined aim was to make sure the communities have different options and are well equipped to manage their own businesses in the future.

Whilst Livelihoods was the main focus for the program the volunteers also run local reading clubs with the schools, help with infrastructure development – repairing boreholes, renovating clinics and cementing school floors, undertake personal projects and if you are pro-active you can also take on personal projects if you can fit it around your schedule.

A few of the success stories are featured on the VSO website, which you can read here

My experience of being a Team Leader:

“I’ll start by saying my overall experience and time in Ghana was incredible and I was able to gain so much from it. From management, interpersonal skills, community entry, networking and cross-cultural working these were just some of the skills I was able to gain from the role. It really is amazing to see a group of individuals from different backgrounds come together and help a community as well as develop themselves.

I felt like there were times where I was being held back a little from being more decisive as a leader; as the essence of the program is that it is ‘volunteer led’. This meant that I could not play a key role in the individual teams decisions and this was a big challenge for me as I had always been at the forefront of the work from the volunteering experiences I have had; I had to learn to be more in the background and let the volunteers ‘learn’.

It was a different approach of leadership to what I had first thought but I was able to learn a new style. To some extent you are allowed to be a part of the work by supporting, guiding and facilitating (I have never heard this word as many times as I did throughout my VSO experience – being a facilitator is a major part of the program) but you have to remember not to take over the volunteer’s work and just be prepared if someone needs anything.

From management, interpersonal skills, community entry, networking and cross-cultural working these were just some of the skills I was able to gain from the role

A lot of my experience was made up by making sure the team was healthy and able to work – whilst not getting sick myself – or if you do then putting it to the side. As much as everyones health is important, as the leader you have to prioritise the team, no matter what anyone said I felt pressure to remain at 100% for the team – even if the pressure was just from myself.

However, as far as an experience, it really was one of the best I have had. You get to completely immerse yourself in a different culture, live with a host family, taste the local foods, learn the language and interact with real people as well as manage different people, emotions and workloads. You also get to make great bonds and relationships with your volunteers and community members which helps you manage the ‘high demand’ days.

Teaching the kids useful stuff like animal sounds 👌#ttot #travels #travelblog #positivevibes #ghana #africa #volunteer #VSO #VSOICS

A photo posted by Jack ✈️🌎👌 (@travelling_jackg) on

Be prepared for anything. You’ll plan your days with your counterpart in the evenings and the next morning receive texts from sick volunteers, annoyed teammates and hear from just about every community member before lunch. You could be on your way to visit a head teacher of a school and then have to completely do a u-turn because there is a volunteer who thinks they have malaria 20 mins away and needs to go to the hospital asap. I could be invited to a meeting with a chief and before I even get there have to be in a different community because a host home needs to discuss an issue. It really is a juggling act but I loved the variety and challenge that came with it.

So I’d finish by saying prepare yourself for an incredibly dynamic role and to be tested – which I guess if your signing up to do this – you are going in with the forethought of ‘challenging yourself’….or at least you should be.

Prepare to be a leader, volunteer, friend, family member, supporter, networker, confidant, councillor, hospital chaperone and local celebrity – every role comes with its pros and cons.

Be ready for sick volunteers, tears, persuading people to stay, arguments, cultural differences and volunteers adjusting to everything (adjusting to everything yourself).

BUT

also expect welcoming friendly people, big highs, great people, diversity, talented volunteers, amazing culture, interesting foods, beautiful scenery and at the end of it all being so proud of your team (a little bit of yourself) for making it through, but more importantly making an impact on the community, each other and you.”

What VSO say:

How it works

Depending on the placement, you will spend four months living in one of the following countries:

  • Bangladesh
  • Cambodia
  • Ghana
  • Kenya
  • Nepal
  • Nigeria
  • Tanzania
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

ICS is funded by the UK Government, meaning all costs are covered including flights, visas, accommodation, food etc, and you will receive an allowance during your time on placement.

As with all ICS volunteer placements we will ask you to do some fundraising before you go overseas.

All volunteers have a target of at least £800, but you don’t have to start any fundraising until you are definitely accepted onto the programme and we will offer you 1:1 fundraising support.

No one is excluded from ICS for financial reasons.

You will receive training prior to going overseas, as well once you arrive in country, and once you return to the UK.

Requirements

Team Leaders must be aged between 23 and 35.

You need to have experience – either voluntary or professional – in leading and motivating young people, along with organisational and communications skills.

You need to be able to support young people both individually and as a team, and gain the respect and trust of others through leading by example.

You will also need experience in some of these areas:

  • Co-ordinating a project or initiative
  • Coping with change
  • Empowering and motivating team members
  • Managing a variety of projects in a varied environment
  • Understanding of volunteering
  • Living/working/volunteering in a cross-cultural environment
  • Committed to VSO for a minimum of four months

If you want to do something worthwhile whilst also developing yourself then apply to be a team leader today!

You can read more about my Life in Asamankese as a Leader here

Also check out what Ghana meant to me after being there for so long…

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Mole National Park | Ghana

Mole National Park | Ghana

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During my time in Ghana I had some free time in-between my two cycles. I choose to head north towards Tamale for one thing; elephants.

If you are heading from Accra then I’d advise getting a flight to Tamale or what I did which was to travel by coach. I bought my ticket with VVIP coaches costing 80 GHC (£19) and made my way 12 hours to Tamale. I stayed overnight in Tamale then boarded a tro-tro (bus) to Damongo which is about 4 hours from Tamale central. Once you get to Damongo you have to either hike (45mins/1hour) or get a taxi costing 30GHC (£6) to the Mole National Park.

Entrance Fee – Foreign: 40 GHC (£8) National: 20GHC (£4)

Mole Motel Bed/Breakfast Dorm Room – 60GHC p/night (£12)

MOLE MOTEL – prices

You can go on walking safaris and driving safaris – I opted for a driving safari to increase my chances of elephant exposure. I was there for 1 day and 1 night and unfortunately for me it was rainy season so chances were low as there was plenty of water around the park. I went on a 2 drives – afternoon and the following morning. We saw lots of Antelope, monkeys and birds. The scenery was beautiful but of course I had come to see one thing. Chances looked bleak but in the last 40 minutes of the drive our ranger spotted 2 young male elephants! We got down from the roof of the car and walked into the bushes where we got to get real close. Such an amazing experience seeing them in the wild and being so near.

During peak seasons the elephants can be seen as close as the hotels entrance to get to water and the numbers are greater. A definite must if your visiting Ghana and want a great nature encounter up close and personal that won’t cost you as much as other safaris.

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Gazelle II | Mole

Gazelle | Mole

Waterbuck | Mole

Elephant II | Mole

Elephant | Mole

Travel. Create. Be Nice!

 

Akwaaba Life

Akwaaba Life

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Ghana is known for its welcoming and hospitable people, which I am glad to say is incredibly true. From the moment you land, to the minute you leave, you will always be greeted with ‘Akwaaba’ welcoming you into the heart of the country. I wanted to briefly touch upon more of my experiences so far and start to paint a picture with the colourful palette that makes up this fascinating country.

FOOD

When I thought about what I would be eating when I came to Ghana; I’ll be honest my first thought was ‘great I’ll finally be able to shift the mid-way chub and have a serious detox’. Secondly, I imagined eating boring, repetitive and flavourless foods. This was of course based on no research or experience with the realities that I would actually face.

The Ghanaian dishes could not be further away from my initial thoughts at all. The meals here are packed with spices, flavours and colours that have had me eating double the portions I would normally. For the majority, I have loved all the new foods I have been introduced to whilst I have been here; apart from my relationship with fufu (a pounded cassava and maize flubber playdough like creation) I have enjoyed Baanku, waache, jollof and the almighty Red-Red plantain tastiness.

I have had the absolute bonus of having a caterer for my host mum throughout my stay here. She surprises me with new dishes and has given me the opportunity to sample a lot of the Ghanaian cookbook which I am very grateful for. From eto-eto to kele wele her culinary delights always deliver a satisfied stomach. I am also in awe of how she manages to get fried chicken to taste so damn good.

So far my food journey in Ghana has been a massive success.

MUSIC

It goes without saying that, as a whole, the African continent know how to make great sounds and put on a killer party. The music here is a colourful blend of hip-life and reggae beats. The music is always blasting from dusk till dawn. I’m now a passionate Shatta Wale fan throwing out ‘chop kisses’ everywhere I go and serenading people to ‘let me be there soldier’. It seems the chart here takes a little longer to change, so most of the songs you’ll hear, all year round, from every shop, taxi and phone; which you’d think gets repetitive but I see it as people really appreciate a great song.

There’s no slow songs for those moody, brooding days. Instead it’s upbeat and instant smile makers. Maybe that’s why I haven’t seen a sad face during my stay. The music is deep rooted into this culture and as well as a social outlet it is also an expressive art used to define regions, stories and the people.

DANCE

Being able to express emotions through dance is another integral part of the Ghanaian culture. Rhythm is everywhere you look here, from the pounding of the fufu to the intense tribal jama displayed through the beating of drums, clicking of fingers and unity of voices. Every part of the country has different regional dancing to express different stories, beliefs and celebrations.

Even the greeting handshake has its own rhythm and click that seems so strange to a rigid westerner’s hand.

LANGUAGE

What does language mean to you? For some its communication. For others it’s a sense of identity. My time here has led me to pick up a lot of the local language: Twi. I’ve learnt to slow my speech down to an almost grinding halt as well as incorporating a lot of the local clicks and sounds. I’ve always found the best way to learn a language is to be thrown straight into the deep end. In my case, 8 months in a rural community, living with a host family should do it. I don’t like to do things by halves.

I’ve ended up picking up a fair bit of the vocab and now things like ‘Ghanafuo pe kasa papaa’ just rolls off the tongue. More than anything, I found that even when I could hardly say anything at all the joy trying would bring to the locals faces was incredible. I guess it’s my way of saying I don’t want to forget your culture, your identity. Which is incredibly important today, when everyone is being pushed so hard to learn English; it is becoming harder and harder for people to hold onto their local dialects, heritages and identities.

LANDSCAPE

Bright sunburnt dusty roads contrasted by lush green jungles and mountain backdrops are some of the things I’m surrounded by when I wake up and drink my cup of coffee in the mornings.

Ghana is an incredibly diverse country in terms of landscape. You can go from the dry northern farming regions to the tropical south and infamous Gold Coast towns. There are the national parks packed full of wild gentle giants; as well as the lakes and waterfalls of the central regions.

An incredibly dynamic geographical landscape.

Reds, yellows and greens define this landscape.

This is Ghana.

 

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Life in Asamankese

Life in Asamankese

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So it’s been 4 months since I boarded the flight that would take me to my new home for the next 8 months, Ghana. When I cast my mind back to the first few days it seems bizarre to me that things like ‘Ghana time’ and ‘Obroni’ would become such a big part of daily life here.

I spent the first few weeks in team leader training, orientation in community and getting to know my counterpart – Hiki; a lady who knows her own mind, has a lot of passion and can stand up for herself. We instantly got along and I knew we’d become a dynamic duo to lead the team to the end.

Our teams of volunteers started arriving from early June and then we spent a few days training them all once again. It was intense long hours and already everyone was pretty drained. We finally made it to the end of the relentless flip-charts and later came to realise that nothing can prepare you for what happens in the field – not even conflict resolution technique no.14. We introduced everyone to their counterpart pairs and explained a bit more about Asamankese as well as the local partner F.L.O.W.E.R.

On the 12th of June we loaded our luggage onto the roof of the bus, said goodbye to the bathroom facilities of the hotel and started our bumpy journey to Asamankese.

Fast-forward the first few weeks in community where the teams were introduced to their new parents for the next 3 months and integration into the communities were underway. We were split into 3 communities around Asamankese the main town – Odjarde, Afranse and Oworam. The volunteers completed action research to identify issues that the people needed help with as well as get to know their surroundings and communities a lot better.

After a month our partner F.L.O.W.E.R came in to train the volunteers in livelihood skills – the main focus for cycle 3 was to teach bead making in purses, jewelry and hair pomade production. The volunteers would then train the community members in the hope that some of them might be able to make it a business or help to bring in extra income to support themselves.

One word that became integral to daily life was the loud shrill sound of ‘Obroni!’ everywhere you went. Obroni – meaning white person (but not in a racist way, more of an affectionate ‘notice me’) was something that was able to create an instant connection with a lot of the community members and if you spoke a few more words of Twi to them, then you’d instantly have made a new friend.

Having come from a place where everything was fast, efficient and strictly to schedules, it comes as no surprise that the introduction of ‘Ghana time’ had a massive impact on the team. It was a constant source of frustration and resistance throughout. Perhaps with hindsight something could be taken from the slower laid back approach to life; in the sense that if you turn up 10 minutes late the world won’t fall apart, but trying to tell this to frustrated emotional volunteers wasn’t the easiest.

A lesson that can be taken from living in a community and staying in a host home for a period of time is the sense of closeness. Everyone looks after one another and supports each other no matter what.You give the little you have and share it, you help one another get up and put each other in front of your own needs. The sense of community is something I’ve experienced many times before, but it always feels just as good each time you learn it again.

Life in community was upbeat, welcoming and a lot of fun, it came with its own challenges but overall it became like a second home or third maybe fourth; I’ve lost track of how many places I can call home now. I guess for me, now it’s the people that make somewhere home, not the physicalities of bricks and water.

I’m going to take a brief moment to give you an insight into a team leader’s daily life – of which can’t be narrowed down to a specific routine, as every day is like a lottery but here’s a few things that came our way during the course of the programme. Waking up somewhere between the hours of 5am – 6am to a message saying somebody is sick, wants to go home or wants more to do. This immediately creates a problem for your perfectly planned iteniary you did the night before, nevertheless adaptability comes into play. I’d go between communities, hospitals and the office to make sure everything ran as smooth as it could do. However challenging the programme was at times, the rewards far outweighed the problems. Getting to see a group of individuals from different backgrounds, cultures, ages and personalities grow and develop strong relationships to become a hardworking team, is the reward of having the perspective of the leader.

Coming back to here and now as I write this post. The volunteers have all departed back to their homes, reports have been written up and loose ends have been tied, I can’t help but reflect on the experiences and achievements we made as a team over the past few months. It takes a unique individual to decide to give up their own time and dedicate it to a cause. It is also an experience that not a lot of people realise will improve their own selves and developing a community is more of a secondary outcome to that.

I’m ending this experience with fond memories, lessons learnt and a team to be proud of. The bar is set high and I’m looking forward to what the next cycle can bring – even if it means I’ll be seeing my friends at the hospital once again.

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I’m Volunteering with VSO

I’m Volunteering with VSO

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VSO ICS

I have been wanting to share this news for a while but I was waiting on confirmation of my placement whereabouts! And I am very happy to announce I will be volunteering as a team leader overseas in Ghana collaborating and helping with local livelihoods projects, gender equality education and human rights! The program is 8 months long split into 2 cycles of 4 months and I’ll be starting the first in May 2016. I’m super excited to get involved with these projects and learn about ways to help the local communities in this area.

Before I went through the application process with VSO, I went straight to google to find any links or helpful reviews and when I was told I got Ghana I immediately did the same – but I didn’t manage to find much in depth info about either…so I’m going to document my journey with VSO and try to give a well rounded insight into what to expect from being a team leader in this program; whilst also sharing my adventures in Ghana!

To give you an idea of what I have done so far:

  1. Initial Application process via online form
  2. Acceptance on the scheme
  3. Assessment day at the Kingston office which involved some team solving problem tasks and a 1-1 interview. I found the day really casual and well organised. Try not to be too nervous for it, it’s not intense. You just need to show that you are capable of looking at a problem and finding a solution collectively. Our first task was to build the tallest giraffe we could out of newspaper and sticky tape!
  4. Acceptance!
  5. DBS & Medical Clearance – arrange these as soon as you can and get the forms sent back to VSO; so as to move your application forward as quickly as possible. All the costs of these things are covered by VSO.
  6. Clearance accepted and details of your placement confirmed!
  7. Start fundraising! As soon as you get your placement you can start the process of fundraising, all VSO volunteers are required to fundraise an amount (£800 usually) to begin the program. Get baking, selling, running and shouting about your placement & cause!

Here’s a snippet of my fundraising page bio which explains a bit more about what VSO ICS is and what my placement will involve when I get to Ghana:

https://www.justgiving.com/Jack-Gunns1

VSO GHANA

“In May 2016 I will volunteer for VSO ICS on a development programme in Asamankese, GHANA.

This is part of International Citizen Service (ICS), which brings young people together to fight poverty and make a difference where it is needed most. I’ll be working alongside volunteers, on projects within the community.

Through this project, VSO seeks to increase cocoa production, provide alternative markets for cocoa and other products and add value through income generating activities by increasing business and marketing knowledge skills among the target group.

VSO ICS teams will help improve livelihood conditions by supporting FLOWER (local NGO partner) to increase their support of community groups, and inspire an interest in agriculture amongst in and out of school youth.

In addition, VSO ICS volunteers will organise seminars for the local people for them to gain skills in bookkeeping and adopt innovative marketing practices to reach new communities not currently working with Cocoa Life.

ICS works with communities that have specifically requested their help. It also aims to inspire young people in the UK and overseas to become active citizens who are passionate about long term community development.

I need to raise £800.00 for VSO who are one of the respected development charities that deliver ICS. This will allow them to continue to bring about positive change in the developing communities where they work. You can check out their amazing work here http://www.vsointernational.org

I’m doing multiple fundraising activities and challenges and you can keep track of how I get on here on my Justgiving page or www.jackgunns.com. Any contribution from you will make a real difference to the lives of people in developing countries, so please dig deep!

Thanks for your support!”

My next update will be when I go for a Team Leader training weekend in April which you are required to do before you begin placement as it provides you with the leadership training and details of your role when overseas.

Hopefully you found this useful and keep an eye out for the next step in my VSO ICS adventure!

Keep up to date by following my social media channels as I post regular updates on there!

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David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust | Adopting an Elephant!

David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust | Adopting an Elephant!

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I have always had a deep love for elephants. I think they are incredible creatures and have so many human like qualities that make them relatable. They are the gentle giants of the african plains and graceful grazers of the asian forests. Everything about them I have always enjoyed studying from the very first elephant toy to the countless documentaries I have seen. With all that said you can imagine my excitement when I found out that on my trip to Kenya we would be stopping at The David Sheldrick Widlife Trust.

If you don’t know what that means, here’s who they are:

David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Mission statement

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust embraces all measures that compliment the conservation, preservation and protection of wildlife. These include anti-poaching, safe guarding the natural environment, enhancing community awareness, addressing animal welfare issues, providing veterinary assistance to animals in need, rescuing and hand rearing elephant and rhino orphans, along with other species that can ultimately enjoy a quality of life in wild terms when grown.

One of the main ongoing projects at the trust is their orphan project which includes rescuing and hand-rearing orphaned elephants. I couldn’t wait to get there.

What they say about the elephant orphan project:

At the heart of the DSWT’s conservation activities is the Orphans’ Project, which has achieved world-wide acclaim through its hugely successful elephant and rhino rescue and rehabilitation program. The Orphans’ Project exists to offer hope for the future of Kenya’s threatened elephant and rhino populations as they struggle against the threat of poaching for their ivory and horn, and the loss of habitat due to human population pressures and conflict, deforestation and drought.

 

To date the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has successfully hand-raised over 150 infant elephants and has accomplished its long-term conservation priority by effectively reintegrating orphans back into the wild herds of Tsavo, claiming many healthy wild-born calves from former-orphaned elephants raised in our care.

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You pre-book a place beforehand and pay a small fee to go and see the elephants, usually when they get back from a walk and go to bathe. The keepers hand feed them using bottles of specially mixed milk. It’s a great sight to see and if you love elephants then you’ll be in your element. Its great to see the elephants playing around and messing about in the mud with each other and whats also great to see is the bond the keepers share with each individual animal. The keepers become their surrogate parents and are with them 24/7 feeding, walking, bathing, playing and sleeping.

SlipTiring being an Elephant

Bros

Elephants by Jack Gunns on 500px.comIMG_0097

One Man & His Elephant by Jack Gunns on 500px.com

 

Your given the opportunity to adopt an elephant and donate towards the upkeep of the trust. Of course I did this when I was there, it was about £30 ($50) you can obviously pay more than this if you wish. Adopting an elephant let me re-visit the trust at the end of my trip to help put young Kibo (my adopted elephant) to bed as well as help bottle feed him. It finished my trip in Kenya on a high and was great to get a real intimate personal time with the orphaned elephants who were all a lot more inquisitive once there wasn’t a crowd of people around and just as playful! You also get regular updates about your elephant even after they grow up and introduced back into the wild, I often get e-mails telling me how Kibo and the new orphans are getting on.

Adopting an elephant

I’d really recommend visiting this place and I’m sure you’ll agree seeing the amazing work they are doing to help orphaned animals all over Africa. Keep supporting this essential wildlife trust. You also see some rhino and giraffes whilst your there!

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If you’d like to see more of my travel photos from Kenya or my other photography then check my social links!

Flickr | 500px

If you’d like to keep up with my adventures and get social;

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Kenya | Travel Talk Pt.2

Kenya | Travel Talk Pt.2

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The kenyan adventure continues…

The second part of the trip was all about safari. We woke up early and departed our home in Malindi and headed for our first game park Tsavo East. We stopped off at a small shop on the way to get snacks and some souvenirs and were able to walk down to a river – where there were hippos and crocodiles. No barriers – we were truly up close and personal with animals now.

We headed off through the reserve and got our first taste of the safari experience – amazing. (All Photographs are my own copyright 2015)

Our first camp was an eco camp that was set up with large green tents right in the heart of the reserve. The camp looked out over a watering hole where a group of elephants and buffalos were gathered. Amazing to watch these gentle giants up so close. I think that was what was the most overwhelming – not realising quite how close you would be to so many of these wild animals. At night you could hear loud noises and on the morning game drives you’d see the aftermath. Dining with lions for breakfast.

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Eco-Camp in Tsavo East | Copyright Jack Gunns 2015

Elephant Eyes by Jack Gunns on 500px.com

 

Flying Antelope by Jack Gunns on 500px.com 

Buffalo Soldier by Jack Gunns on 500px.com

 

Simba by Jack Gunns on 500px.com 

Hide and Seek by Jack Gunns on 500px.com

 

After exploring Tsavo East we headed for the next national park – Amboseli the home of Elephants. Staying at Kilima Safari Camp were we were given a quick break to refresh and then headed out on some more game drives. The hotel and staff were very friendly and the bedrooms were incredible and there was also two large pools and the facilities were great – not what you would expect to find out in the wilderness. We climbed the tower to watch a burning red sunset behind Mount Kilimanjaro and were treated to a relaxed evening around a fire pit with music. A truly spectacular hotel that sits underneath he magnificent Mt.Kilamanjaro. k2

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Kilima Safari Camp | Copyright Jack Gunns 2015

Elephant Crossing

Monk II by Jack Gunns on 500px.com

 

Tribal Bird by Jack Gunns on 500px.com 

Cheetah. by Jack Gunns on 500px.com

 

We got the chance to visit Mzima Springs and although it was the height of a drought we still managed to see a few hippos and wildlife. I’d definitely recommend seeing this place especially when it is in full bloom there are usually hundreds of hippopotamuses! Smile

Our final stop ‘The Severin Safari Camp‘ in the Tsavo west part of the reserve was another amazing place to stay. Being upgraded to the royal suites on arrival with outside private showers and a watering hole right beside our balcony was a truly luxurious experience. The facilities here were top class and you were escorted between the lodges and the main restaurant reception areas by Masai warriors in case you bumped into any wildlife on the way…More game drives and our final chances to spot animals. Finishing off watching elephants and giraffes wander around the watering hole by our balconies at sunset – priceless. If your looking for a luxurious safari experience right in the heart ion everything then this place is for you!

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Severin Safari Camp | Copyright Jack Gunns 2015
source: http://www.severin-hotels.com/severin-safari-camp/tents-suites/
source: http://www.severin-hotels.com/severin-safari-camp/tents-suites/

it’s days like these that I #wish I was on #safari in #hot #africa #goingback #oneday

A photo posted by Jack Gunns (@jackgunns) on

Elephantidae by Jack Gunns on 500px.com 

Elephant & the Bird by Jack Gunns on 500px.com

 

On Safari by Jack Gunns on 500px.com 

Zebra Crossing by Jack Gunns on 500px.com

 

The journey of our safari had come to an end after a week of roaming the national parks and witnessing some truly spectacular sights. I think i’ll finish off with one of our final destinations when we were back in Nairobi – The Giraffe centre and Manor. Another place you should check out as you couldn’t get much closer to giraffes if you tried, lots of hand-feeding and petting with these blue-tongued spotted giants.

Giraffe Close Up by Jack Gunns on 500px.com 

My time in Kenya was jam-packed with some incredible places, people and experiences. It is somewhere that I will for sure have to visit again and could not recommend this trip more to anyone looking for a taste of the wild thrill of safari and cultured beauty of Africa.

Landscape I by Jack Gunns on 500px.com

 

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Kenya | Travel Talk Pt.1

Kenya | Travel Talk Pt.1

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I love to travel. I’ve thought about how I can incorporate this into my new site and blog – and so ‘travel talk’ was born. I’ll be giving a brief review and sharing my experiences in a series of posts around the places I have explored. And so here is the first of the bunch…Kenya pt.1

When I think of Africa i think wild, untamed, a country rich in culture and The Lion King. Since a very young age it has been somewhere I have always dreamt of seeing myself. When the opportunity came up in 2009 to visit a school and go on safari I couldn’t get on the plane quick enough.

We flew into Nairobi airport full of excitement and anxiousness. This was it, I had finally made it to a country and experience I had dreamt about. The adventure begins.

Fresh from the arrivals lounge we jumped straight into a truck and headed off to The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Now it’s important to note that elephants are number one on my list of animals to see so heading straight to an elephant orphanage was the best possible start to the trip I could have asked for.

One Man & His Elephant by Jack Gunns on 500px.com

 

The David Sheldrick wildlife trust was an amazing place and the work they do there for young orphaned animals like elephants and rhinos is outstanding. The keepers themselves are assigned an animal to look after on a 1-1 24hr basis. I would definitely recommend popping into this place if you are planning a trip as you can get real close to the elephants and watch them play, feed and even put them to bed; we adopted an elephant named Kibo!

Baby Elelphant by Jack Gunns on 500px.com

 

Elephants by Jack Gunns on 500px.com

 

#tb to this little guy 👋 #rhino #travels #africa 🌍

A photo posted by Jack Gunns (@jackgunns) on

We headed straight to our new home for the next few weeks in Malindi – got settled, met the garden monkeys, checked out the pool and went straight to the local beach bar – as you do! The Driftwood was an amazing beach hut bar with incredible ocean views! You can go camel riding (on George) along the beach and book various diving boat trips as well – a must do!

Paradise Cove by Jack Gunns on 500px.com

 

George

Whilst we were there we took the chance to go to a crocodile farm where you get to get pretty close to all sorts of reptiles and lizards. We watched a feeding frenzy in the crocodile pit and got to hold a massive python! The farm was really well run and was a great experience to hold a baby croc and python.

Feeding Frenzy

What's For Dinner?

Once we had settled into life in Malindi and had our first few encounters with wildlife we ventured to our first big project which was to go see and teach at Marafa school. When we first entered the school we were surrounded by a sea of smiling curious faces that followed us everywhere. Once the initial shock wore off we relaxed into our teaching roles. On a rotation of 25+ children in each group we began a week of lessons. It was a fantastic experience and incredibly rewarding to see the kids listening and interested in what we had brought with us. They especially had fun with my camera – which gave me some great photos!

Creative Culture

#africa #mask #tbt #instadaily #insta #instahub

A photo posted by Jack Gunns (@jackgunns) on

After a week of teaching the school put on a traditional tribal dance for us – I was pulled up to bust a move or two.

#tbt #dance #travels #happy

A photo posted by Jack Gunns (@jackgunns) on

With an incredible first week and introduction to Kenya, we packed up our teaching bags and got ready for the next adventure – safari!

Kenya pt.2 coming soon…

If you’d like to keep up with my adventures and get social;

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Travel. Create, Be Nice!