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

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Jaisalmer Desert Safari

Jaisalmer Desert Safari

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Jaisalmer

One of my highlights from my trip to India has to be the incredible 3 day 3 nights desert safari through the Thar Desert in Jaisalmer. I booked through Jamin Desert Nomads where I was picked up from the bus stand by Jamin Khan the owner of the safari tour. I had been recommended him from a friend in Jaipur.

I was taken to the Saraswati Hotel where I was able to get a room and then sit down with a cup of chai with Jamin.

saraswati
400 rupees p/n (£4/$8) – Double room, en-suite, hot shower, wi-fi, rooftop restaurant

He told me about the desert safaris and why his was different. The main difference is that he takes you further, deeper in to the desert where theres more chance of wildlife and zero light pollution. This is because you are taken by jeep for at least 40 minutes into the heart of the desert before you even begin the camel ride; many of the other tour companies were offering camel rides straight from the city.

Jamin told me about himself and how he is from the desert and started the tours when he was 8. He self taught English by working with tourists and now has over 30 camels and riders working for him. He was a really cool, honest and genuine guy. In the evening he took me to his friends restaurant on the back of his motorbike and we watched the cricket world cup quarter-final India vs Australia.

I opted for the 3 days and 3 nights camel safari. I was taken by jeep for 40 minutes and got the chance to explore a ‘ghost village’ where there is a completely abandoned village in the middle of the desert. Stopped by a small oasis and then headed for the camel ride starting point. We met up with my camel rider who became my guide and good friend over the next few days. It was me, him and two camels for the duration.

We spent much of the first day travelling into the desert. Theres something peaceful about being surrounded by nothing but sand for miles. We stopped a few times at some desert villages, filled up on water and then found a beautiful little lunch spot under some shade. Another major plus about booking with Jamin Desert Nomads was that I was sent with fresh food, vegetables and fruit as well as a box of 12 x 1ltr bottled waters. Sujan my camel rider made up his desert kitchen and cooked some of the tastiest currys, deals and chapatis! Couldn’t fault the food, especially seeing as we were in the middle of the desert I was amazed at what he managed to come up with.

We made it to some massive sand dunes and watched the burning red sun set behind the dunes, just incredible.

My favourite part of the whole experience was definitely camping – I say camping loosely as we pretty much put a mat on the sand and had a blanket – and falling asleep underneath the clearest night sky I have ever seen with a million bright stars above, I even saw some shooting stars!

The next few days were a similar routine of breakfast (toast, jam, eggs, biscuits and tea), camel riding until midday, stopping for lunch (curry/daal, chapatis, chips, fruit and tea), camel riding in the afternoon once it had cooled down, making camp, having dinner (curry/daal, chapatis, chips and tea) and watching the sunset before falling asleep under the stars.

I’d really recommend looking up Jamin Desert Nomads if you’re planning on doing a desert safari when you visit Jaisalmer. Jamin is a really honest, helpful and friendly guy. Sujan is also a great camel rider/guide and the camels are looked after well.

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Chitwan Safari at the Eden Jungle Resort | Travel Talk

Chitwan Safari at the Eden Jungle Resort | Travel Talk

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Whilst in Nepal I made sure I got to visit one of the regions famous national parks in Chitwan. Located in the southern part of Nepal, Chitwan is about 6-7 hours travel from central Kathmandu via tourist bus. I would recommend travelling in a tourist bus as you get your own seat, water and toilet breaks; the driving is also ‘slightly’ safer as there are less people in them compared to one of the local buses.

I went on a 2 night 3 day safari tour at the Eden Jungle Resort which cost around £59 ($90) which I thought was super cheap for what you get!

Eden Jungle Resort
Eden Jungle Resort

The bus journey from Kathmandu was incredibly long and we got stopped a few times due to small landslides (which are very common throughout Nepal before you worry) along the way. Bring some food, a book and some water; maybe pack some travel sickness tablets just in case. You do stop off a few times for toilet breaks and at local cafes so there are opportunities to get food along the way, however always keep in mind in Nepal that the food may not be what you are used and ‘nepali belly’ much like ‘delhi belly’ is quite common amongst travellers. Be smart about food choices, I pretty much stuck to rice and momos!

Once I arrived at Chitwan we were picked up and taken to our home for the next few days. We were greeted with smiling friendly faces – as you get anywhere in Nepal – and briefed on the iteniary. We were taken to our rooms and were able to have a quick freshen up before heading out on a tour of the resort. The rooms are fairly basic but sufficient for what you need, its not luxury but does the job. You are provided with beds, a ceiling fan, nets and a bathroom; consisting of a western toilet, sink and shower.

We immediately went for a tour around where they kept the elephants and shown around the grounds. We were lucky enough to see one of the famous one horned rhinos bathing in a stream in the first 20 minutes of being there! They showed us the river which at the time was overflowing due to it being the monsoon season. We were able to watch the sunset and then head back for a cold everest beer!

Elephant HairdoOne-Horned Rhino

Later that evening after a buffet style dinner we were driven to the nearby Tharu village where we were treated to some traditional tribal stick dancing. This was a great atmosphere and interesting to see the tribes cultural heritage. Afterwards we headed back to our resort to get some well earned rest after the days travelling but not before we squeezed in a few more everest beers!

The next day we had an early breakfast (breakfast and dinner are included at the resort) and went down to the river where we got into canoes down the river. There are opportunities to spot gharial crocodile, various birds and monkeys. We got out further down the river and went for a short walk through some local villages. Unfortunately when I was there we were not able to go over to the elephant breeding center to see the baby elephants as the river was so high we could not cross safely, however you are usually able to see them up close.

During the afternoon we had some free time so went into the local village to have a look for some souvenirs and to grab a quick lunch. Lunch turned into nearly 2 hours waiting, always remember your on nepali time haha

chitwan 1
You’ll get used to seeing elephants just walking around the village!

We headed back to the resort to quickly freshen up by taking a shower…with an elephant. A pretty cool experience but definitely came out smelling a lot more worse than I wen into it! I made a quick purchase of one of the resort t-shirts and went for another shower minus the elephant.

the best way to shower in nepal! #elephant #powershower #nepal #travels

A photo posted by Jack Gunns (@jackgunns) on

Hatti are awesome #elephant #nepal #travelling #closeup #vscocam A photo posted by Jack Gunns (@jackgunns) on

Next we jumped into a jeep and travelled over to the forest where we were then able to go on an elephant safari. It was a really cool way to see the reserve and some of the animals including deer, rhino and monkeys; left me feeling a bit achey in my legs though! During the Chitwan Safari you have a well experienced guide who spots all the animals a mile off through trees and bushes. When you get off at the end theres usually children selling bananas for a few rupees to feed the elephants with make sure you buy a few to reward them for all the walking they just did.

Elephant EyesElephant Safari

Deer Ears

can’t get enough of these guys #elephant #nepal #travelling #safari A photo posted by Jack Gunns (@jackgunns) on

legit jungle book #chitwan #jungle #safari #nepal #travelling #vscocam

A photo posted by Jack Gunns (@jackgunns) on

For the evening we went our for dinner to make the most of some of the western food that is available here before heading back to our homestay placements. Grabbed yet another couple of everest beers – my favourite if you couldn’t tell by now – before heading to bed to get some rest and digest the days elephant antics.

Early morning wake up call for some bird watching and breakfast and then back onto the tourist buses to head back to Kathmandu.

Chitwan is a great few days away activity whilst travelling around exploring Nepal. I’d head there between october-march to really get the most out of the experience the temperature isn’t too bad at around 25°C, the best months for viewing game is late january-march as the grass is cut shorter improving disability. Check out Lonely Planets essential guide for your trip.

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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…

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