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An African Journey by Yusuf Hashim – Part 6

This is the 6th installment of An African Journey by Yusuf Hashim, a co-owner of PhotoSafari.com.my. Yusuf Hashim has been traveling around the world in a 4×4 for more than 12 years. This is one of his episodes of his travels in Africa. It will give an insight on what to expect when you travel in Africa.

Yusuf is now planning to organize a PhotoSafari for photographers to Africa soon. So stay tuned.

An African Journey by Yusuf Hashim – Part 6

This is Mt Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, and the only one with a permanent ice and snow cap in that amazing continent. We drove part way up the slope with our 4×4. Mt Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa. It is a dormant Volcano with three snow capped volcanoes, Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira. Uhuru Peak, on the crater rim of Kibu, is the highest point in the group at 5,895 metres. Mawenzi and Shira, are extinct while Kibu (the highest peak) is dormant, and it could erupt again. However, the last major eruption has been dated to 360,000 years ago, while the most recent activity was recorded just 200 years ago. Kibo has fumaroles that emit gas in the crater. Volcanologists concluded in 2003 that molten magma is just 400 m below the summit crater.

The highest point on Kilimanjaro were first reached in 1889 by Hans Meyer, a German geology professor, and Ludwig Purtscheller, an Austrian mountaineer. Tanzanian Medical Services around the mountain have expressed concern recently over the current influx of tourists that apparently perceive Kilimanjaro to be an easy walk. However this is not the case, because Kilimanjaro summits are well above the altitude at which high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE), or high altitude cerebral edema (HACE) can occur . Tanzanian authorities say that more people have died to date trekking up Kilimanjaro than Mount Everest, but Everest is attempted by significantly fewer climbers. Deaths of trekkers, porters, and guides are common place. Causes of deaths are usually hypothermia for porters, and for climbers, it is from rockslides or falling off steep portions of the mountain. The present environmental concern with Mt Kilimanjaro is its widespread glacial retreat. It has lost 80% of its ice cover since 1912. At the present rate of loss, it is estimated that Kilimanjaro will become ice-free some time between 2022 and 2033.

 

 

And this is the British India Car in the farmlands en route to Lesotho. British India has been regularly participating in our driving expeditions. The second picture are more farmlands in South Africa on the way to Lesotho

 

This is the car of one of my friends as it rounds a bend on the way to Cape Point, at the tip of Cape Peninsula or better known as the Cape of Good Hope. Cape Point is in the distance. There is a misconception that the Cape of Good Hope is the southern most tip of Africa because it was once believed to be the dividing point between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. In fact, the southern most point is Cape Agulhas, about 150 kilometres to the east-southeast. The currents of the two oceans meet at the point where the warm-water Agulhas current meets the cold water Benguela current and turns back on itself—a point that fluctuates between Cape Agulhas and Cape Point, about one kilometre east of the Cape of Good Hope.

Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope were key beacons for the early explorers, and are the source of many myths and legends. In 1488, the Portuguese explorer Bartholomew Dias named the Peninsula Cabo Tormentoso, or the Cape of Storms when he supposedly was the first modern sailor to round the Cape in 1488. However, Herodotus the Greek historian, wrote that some Phoenicians had rounded the Cape during his lifetime in the 5th century BC. King John II of Portugal renamed the cape Cabo da Boa Esperanca – the Cape of Good Hope.

The first lighthouse was erected here at Cape Point in 1860. However, due to its high location 238m above sea level, it was often obscured by clouds and mist. When the Portuguese ship the “Lusitania”, was wrecked in 1911 at the Cape, the lighthouse was relocated to its current position above Dias Point, only 87m above sea level. In the 17th century Dutch Captain Hendrick van der Decken, tried to round the Cape in strong headwinds. His ship and crew disappeared, and legend now tells of the ghost ship “The Flying Dutchman”, which has supposedly been sighted around Cape Point. There are lots more stories about the Cape, but these should be enough to whet your resolve to go and see the Cape in person.

This is Aswan, across the Nile. I shot this picture from the roof of the 6 star Hotel Oberoi on Elephantine island.

This is part the Roman ruins of Sabratha. It is the western-most part of the three cities of ancient Tri-polis or modern day Tripoli. It is located near the modern town of Ṣabrātah, west of Tripoli, in Libya. The Carthaginians first built ot as a trading post, and later in the 4th century BC it grew into a full settlement. Sabratha had a modest natural harbour which was later improved by the Romans. Together with Oea (modern day Tripoli) it served as an outlet for the trans-Saharan caravan route through Ghudāmis. After a period of semi-independence following the fall of Carthage in 146 bc, it passed under Roman rule, and thereafter enjoyed considerable prosperity. The Austurianis sacked the city in 365 AD but it was later rebuilt and regained its prosperity. However, it declined again in the 5th century under Vandal misrule. A revival that followed under the Byzantines was on a greatly reduced scale, and soon after the Arab conquest (643) the city ceased to exist. It is significant that rebel forces in the recent Libyan revolution, defeated Gadaffi’s forces near Sabratha, and hoisted their new flag atop these ruins. Archaeological excavation has uncovered more than half the area of the ancient city, including the forum area, many of the harbourside installations, and a large 2nd-century residential quarter adjoining a theatre. Other Roman buildings include baths, temples, and fountains; Christian remains include a catacomb and four churches.

I bought Gaddafi’s Green Book at a bookstall for tourists here at Sabratha

 

Below are the mud houses in the red earth region of the Ourika Vallay in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. The Atlas Mountains are the most northerly of Africa’s mountains, extending in a broken chain for over 2500 km across Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. The High Atlas in Morocco, is home to the highest peaks in North Africa, with Mt Toubkal as its highest at 13,665 feet. Ther are at least a dozen peaks of over 13,000 feet here, and they form jagged ridges and deep narrow valleys running 250 miles across Morocco, dropping steeply as cliffs into the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts. In the south, they slope gradually down into the arid Sahara.

The Atlas Mountains were created more than 300 million years ago by continental tectonic movement when the continent of Africa crashed against Europe, isolating the Mediterranean Sea, and narrowing the gap between Europe and Africa at Gibraltar. The Atlas mountains were once as lofty as those of the Himalayas, but erosion has weathered them down, with remnants of geological folding making impressive sights to behold. The Atlas Mountain Canyons I drove through rivaled the Grand Canyon of Arizona in beauty. In many places there were no tracks, so we simply drove directly in shallow streams in the valleys.

The names of some of the cities of Morocco, such as Marrakech, Casablanca and Tangier, stir more than a hint of spice in the nostrils of people who’ve not been there. Mythologised by Hollywood, where Casablanca, for instance, has been featured as a place where villians escape to, and the fabulous kasbah or ancient village of Ait Benhaddou where scenes from the classic Lawrence of Arabia was filmed, Morocco is on the “must visit” list of many people. For me, apart from the thrill of driving through the magnificent Atlas Mountains, some of my most memorable moments in Morocco were exploring the medinas of Fez and Marrakech, eating lamb in the snack stalls of Marrakech’s Djemaa el-Fna, going overboard and buying nearly a dozen jackets of the softest leather imaginable for my wife and kids, and indulging in Moroccon cafe culture drinking mint tea and eating croissants.

This is a typical scene along the route to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.

 

Stay tuned for the 7th part of this series where Yusuf visits Zambia and  jumped the Bungee at Victoria Falls

 

 

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