Out of

In Aug. and Sept. 2012 I had my first trip to Africa. Here are some pictures of my days in Africa.

South Africa

The South Africa trip happened when Reza Najafimanesh offered us to join a trip that Ali Tabatabaii, another friend who lives in Johannesburg, has arranged for some family and freinds. We were happy to join, as I and Shahrzad were thinking of going to Africa for some time.


We were 23 people, friends and relatives of Reza. Most of us flew from Doha to Johannesburg. We arrived in OR Tambo International airport. This is a picture of the group in the airport. Left to right they are: Maryam, Shaghayegh, Ali, another Ali, Reza, yet another Ali, Farid, Fereshteh, Abbas, Nika, Ali's sister, Ali again, another Maryam, Giti, Sheri, Faranak, Mrs. Morshedi, Farshad, Mohit, Firouzeh, Mr. Morshedi, Aida's mother, Aida.
Our group


We stayed at Cabanas hotel in Sun City. Sun City is not a city, really. It is a touristic resort with many hotels and casinos. The good thing about it is that it is very close to the Pilanesberg National Park.

Early in the morning, in chilly weather, we went on a 'safari' in the Pilanesberg National Park. This large African White Rhinoceros was first to greet us. Like many animals in Africa, the rhino didn't seem to be bothered by the car.
White Rhino
Two South Africa giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis giraffa) in Pilanesberg National Park. These giraffes look paler than their relatives in the northern areas of Africa. Note how good they can be camouflaged behind tree branches.
A typical Safari car which took us to Pilanesberg Park. These cars are modified and have raised back seats for better viewing. I am not the driver, the steering wheel is on the other side.
A safari car

Ali Eating Pap
We visited a demonstration village tour of various tribes of South Africa. here I am eating pap, a kind of liquid ugari, which is made from maze.

A man in Zulu warrior attire is greeting us to their village.
A man in Zulu warior dress.

Sheri with python
Shahrzad was happy to have this python put on her shoulders, at first. Later she tried to get rid of it.

Cape Town

Cape Town from Table Mountain

After Johannesburg we flew to Cape Town. Cape Town is located between two bays and one magnificent mountain, called the Table Mountain. This is a picture from atop that mountain showing northern parts of the city, bay and the Table mountain telecabin.
In Knysna we visited the Knysna Elephant Park. Here some orphan or abounded  baby elephants are kept. They are trained to take vegetables and fruits from tourists. African elephants are known to be hard, or impossible, to tame, but these looked non-threatening.
Ali with a baby African Elephant

African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus) lives only at South African shores. These cute little birds have a sound very similar to a donkey's bray.



After South Africa we parted with our group and went to Kenya.
In Nairobi we met my old time friend Hamed and his family. They have been living and working there for so many years. This is their terrace under an African fig tree, frequented at times by baboons.
Hamed's terrace

Ali We visited a 'hotel' in downtown Nairobi, where Abu Bakr and his friends present their recent imports of African traditional artifacts. Wooden sculptures, known as 'colonial style', are seen in this picture.

With Hamed at his office in Nairobi. His collection of African swords and daggers can be seen. He kindly spent time with us, despite his busy schedule.

Hamed's office


I decided to take time off from our Nairobi trip and make a short trip to Mombasa and Zanzibar. These two towns have been destinations for Persian, Arab and Indian dhow captain/traders for centuries.

Fort Jesus was built by the Portuguese  and later was a prison. Today it is a museum.
Fort Jesus in Mombasa

Mombasa old port.
Old port of Mombasa, as seen from the Fort Jesus. Here my captain friends from Bandar Kong have anchored their boums many times.

Old Town of Mombasa has many interesting architectural beauties. The balcony is a characteristic element of Mombasa houses.

Sheri in a Mombasa alley

Tuc Tuc in a Mombasa alley Another view of an ally in old town of Mombasa. A Tuc Tuc is seen, as well as schoolgirls in Islamic dress.

Entrance to the old port of Mombasa from the Indian Ocean. All dhows used to pass this passage to reach the old port.

Mombasa enterance


Although technically we visited Tanzania, but actually we only went to Zanzibar. I wanted to meet Prof. Abdul Sheriff who had written books about the Indian Ocean dhow trade. He was kind enough to book a nice local B&B in the old town of Zanzibar.


Dhow in Zanzibar

Buriti beams in the cieling. House of Fatima which was our hotel in Zanzibar. This is a three-story traditional Zanzibari house. The ceiling beams are buriti, or mangrove poles. Such poles were the main exporting item that Persian sailors carried from Zanzibar and Rufigi river delta to the Persian Gulf.

Ali talking with Dr. Abdul Sheriff. He was the head and the curator of the 'House of Wonders' and supervised the construction of a model of Mtepe, the traditional East African dhow. Dr. Sheriff also gave me copies of documents regarding the Iranian dhows which visited the Mombasa and Zanzibar ports. I am very grateful for his help and the time he spent with us.
Ali talking with Sheriff

Persian inscription on cannon This is a Persian inscription which appears on two old cannons in front of the House of Wonders. The cannons are Portuguese and apparently were seized by the Iranians in the Perso-Portuguese wars during the reign of Safavid Shah Abbas. It reads:

یا الله
در زمان سلطنت روزافزون پادشاه زمین و زمان شاه عباس صفوی موافق سنه احدی و ثلاثین و الف هجری ابن الله وردی خان غلام با اخلاص شاه دین پناه امام قلی خان بیگرلربیگی فارس و لار و کوه گیلویه و بحرین قلعه هرموز رامفتوح ساخته این توپ را بدست آورد
یا محمد یا علی

Kedichi bath, near Zanzibar. This is one the Persian baths of Zanzibar and has a distinct Persian bath architecture.
Kedichi bath

Kedichi interior Inside Kedichi baths.

A Persian verse on the wall inside of Kedichi bath. It reads:
خوشست باده گلرنگ با کباب شکاری
ز دست ساقی گل‌چهره در کنار بحاری

Persian verse on Kedichi bath wall

Back in Kenya

After the short trip to Mombasa and Zanzibar, we were back in Keny. This time we went on a typical African safari in the vast Masai Mara region of western Kenya.

Masai Mara
Masai Mara was the highlight of our African trip. Wildlife films on TV can not give you the smell and splendor of the grasslands. Our guide was Mari, a Masai himself and he was very good at finding good picture taking opportunities. He is wearing the traditional red outfit of the Masai men.

Mari, our Masai guide/driver.

Two female lions caught a zebra right before our eyes. They didn't seem to care about our car at all. While the first one was busy suffocating the poor zebra with its powerful jaws, the other started tearing the prey.

Two female lions hunting a zebra.


This crocodile was swiming right in front of our tents in the river Talek.

A rather large contingent of African elephants passing in front of our car.

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