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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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!

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Australia | Travel Talk Pt.1

Australia | Travel Talk Pt.1

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Heading down under with this post all about the awesome aussie east coast, starting off in sunny Sydney!

Icon : Sydney Opera HouseI flew from Heathrow airport in London on an Emirates flight – which was incredible. The service, food and choice of films couldn’t have been better. With a stop off in Dubai airport we continued our 18 hour journey to the beautiful city of Sydney. ( I have tried to give rough estimations on what I spent in Sydney, please take this as guide price and always look for online discounts or deals that may be available in other months/times of the year! )

Quick Prices: Return Economy Flights with Emirates ( 1x stop off June/July – August/September) £900 $1400

When we arrived at our first hostel ‘The Base‘ we checked in, dropped off our backpacks and decided to head for a large coffee in Hyde park and take a stroll through Sydney’s botanical gardens – which led us to our first glimpse of the iconic Sydney Opera House. Very surreal to finally see it up close and its a lot smaller than it seems on tv but just as magnificent with the back drop of the harbour bridge. The architecture and design of it is stunning and after soaking up the sun on the steps of the opera house we headed back to our hostel to catch up on some much needed sleep! The Base’ facilities were really well maintained and all the staff were very friendly and helpful. Your able to book tours through most of the hostels you go in and can even work shifts for free accommodation or food – so make the most of this if your on a budget!

Quick Prices: 1x Night Accom. The Base £16 $24

 

holding the #sydney #operahouse #austrailia #selfie #instadaily

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Whilst in Sydney we discovered that you can get water taxis across the harbour. We hopped in one and jetted over the scenic harbour taking in a 360 view of the opera house and bridge – pretty cool way to see it and I’d definitely recommend going in one as they are only a couple of dollars – way better than cramming onto a ferry! It took us over to The Taronga Zoo to check out our first glimpse of Australian critters. The zoo itself was huge, there was so much to see and do. We saw everything from koalas to kangaroos, crocodiles and platypus’ as well as loads more. Some great photo opportunities for any wildlife photographers out there. A great and well run zoo packed with information on wildlife, we managed to get our ticket in a deal with the water taxi by scouting out around the harbour and combining deals.

We managed to get our tickets in a deal with the water taxi return fare as well! Look out for the promoters round the harbour front and don’t be scared to haggle for better prices – theres loads of different tour operators but they all want your custom!

Quick Prices: Taronga Zoo & Taxi Return £27 $41

Taxi view #watertaxi #sydney #austrailia #instadaily

A photo posted by Jack Gunns (@jackgunns) on

Giraffe In The City

Tiger Light

Hi Nigel! #pelican #bird #instadaily

A photo posted by Jack Gunns (@jackgunns) on

We also took the opportunity to visit Darling Harbour for a bit of sightseeing round the city and a chance to check out the shops and food places. If your looking for a day of retail therapy with snacks and drinks then you should head here. Theres everything you could want and its all set around a picturesque harbour front. Whilst here we visited Wildlife Sydney which was another chance to see some of the animals indigenous to this country. Wildlife Sydney had a more up close and personal feel with some of the smaller creatures of the bush and was catered a lot more to families with young children – so if this is you I’d head to Wildlife Sydney for your dose of aussie animals.

As this is part of the Merlin attractions family you can usually get great discounts to combine entry to multiple places, so really good if your planning to visit more than one of them and make the most of the deal. Make sure you look tickets up online as well as you can often save money on online deals and discounts!

Quick Prices: Online Booking £10 $15 | Walk-In Booking £15 $21

RexBoomerangs

Being in Sydney we couldn’t not take a bus down the road to the famous Bondi Beach. A beautiful small beach located just 20 mins bus journey out of the city offers stunning oceans views and a bustling beach town with cafes, restaurants and shops to explore. I just enjoyed sitting on the beach soaking up the incredible views and ocean sunset! The bus system in Australia is run very efficiently as you can buy tickets in local shops or by machine – they do not take cash on board so its just a swipe on and off system which makes travelling really quick and easy. Trains work in the same way but you buy all the tickets as you go down into the underground using machines.

Quick Prices: Sydney Town Centre – Bondi Beach Bus Return £5 $8

I’d quite happily live on bondi beach #sydney #bondi #beach #instadaily

A photo posted by Jack Gunns (@jackgunns) on

sunset at bondi #beach #bondi #sunset #perfection

A photo posted by Jack Gunns (@jackgunns) on

You can take a walk along the famous Harbour bridge and glance out across at the Opera house and city from the Pylon Lookout at the centre of the bridge. You can also walk the harbour bridge if your feeling brave and want a higher view of everything!

Quick Prices: Harbour Bridge Climb Day £135 $205 | Twilight £170 $260 | Night £116 $176 | Dawn £170 $260

Amazing views from the bridge #sydney #austrailia #landmark #operahouse #instadaily

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To finish our first stop in Sydney off we took a trip back down the harbour and relaxed in the Opera bar that comes alive at night with bars and tables set up along the harbour front. Massive fire patio heaters light the way and you are able to order food from the bars restaurant as well. You can soak up the atmosphere as you look out onto a bustling harbour front whilst you sip your ice cold aussie beers.

Quick Prices: Beer £4 $6 | Red/White Wine £5 $7 | Pizza £10 $15 | Chips £5 $7

 

perfect end to the day a cold beer at the opera bar #ideal #sydney #austrailia

A photo posted by Jack Gunns (@jackgunns) on

the best course #dessert #cake #foodporn #instadaily

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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

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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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Capturing 365 days a year | Photography

Capturing 365 days a year | Photography

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Whilst art & design are two of my interests I also use photography as a creative outlet. In 2012 I took the ‘365 challenge‘ dedicating everyday for a whole year to taking a picture. It was a great way to improve my skills with a camera and at the same has given me a wide variety of photographs to use as my portfolio. If you enjoy photos as much as I do go over and check it out, I had a lot of fun doing it and would recommend it to anyone who is thinking of taking up photography. Drop me a link to your own 365 if you have done one as well!

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175/365

139/365

 

So this year I have taken it upon myself to undergo another 365 project because I loved the last one so much, however I’m giving myself a bit more breathing space this year and not forcing myself to upload everyday. Still frequently, just not giving myself the panic of not having taken a photo before midnight everyday! I also wanted to make sure I produce concepts and pictures I’m happy with and proud to upload as there were some days in the first 365 where picking up a camera was the last thing I wanted to do. Any camera buffs interested in what I have, I use a Nikon D40 with standard 50mm f.4.5 lens as well as a zoom lens 55mm-200m f.4.5. I am currently using a Nikon D7000 which is my baby and I love teaming it with my 50mm f1.8 lens; the shallow dof and bokeh are b-e-a-utiful.

South Bank At Night

Snow Mountains

Tiger Light

 

Take time to doodle!

Take time to doodle!

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Being able to set aside time to just sketch something is so important for me. The enjoyment I get from just simply picking up a pencil and sketchpad is unparalleled, especially when I know it’s not being graded and isn’t for someone else! Being able to just doodle is a great way to get everything out of my head into a visual form that I can build form. Sometimes choosing the creative career path can actually be pretty draining on your creativity; so it’s great to remember that it started as a hobby and is beneficial to do things for your enjoyment as well. Loved drawing this jamming to one of my old school favourite bands. This blog is designed for me to able to release some creativity in my own little section of the internet and deliver some great content which hopefully inspires you to have a go yourself. I’m always working on a variety of projects so there will hopefully be something you find interesting here! I’ll aim to upload new content weekly and if you’d like to follow me on my social media then you can stay up to date with the newest creations from me.

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