Well, in German it’s actually »Schnaakenmoor«, a waterland-conservation area in the north-west of Hamburg. Fens are mires in which the water accumulates because the area is slightly lower than the surrounding land, so that there is always an excess of water that rises to ground-level. Mires are inhabited by peatforming plants. As the plants die, they form peat which traps CO2 from the air, as the ground itself is separated from the oxygen in the air, the decomposition processes make it climate-neutral. Most mires nowadays have to be conserved so that they actually keep the water, if they don’t, they will transform into woodland with birches being the most common pioneer species (if around). In that process they will lose their CO2 and release it into the atmosphere, adding to climate change. For that reason it seems appropriate to appreciate these areas and raise awareness for their uniqueness.
The gnat-fen here is in the process of transforming back into wetland, so there are quite some trees around that have to be removed by conservationists.
Well, it’s sort-of-finally come. As the sun-hours finally coincide with my circadian rhythm I went out to snap some pics of flowers and such. Here is a small collection from the Hirschpark and Planten un Blomen. Not much to say, really.
Going to Ruaha-National-Park is an adventure in itself. Shortly after Iringa you leave the tarmac and go on a rubble-road for 55 miles. Mean speed drops to a crawl of 15 mph max and the whole journey takes three to five hours, depending on the vehicle. Once you enter the camp, which is close to the gate of the park, bliss awaits. Tandala tented camp is centered on two communal areas, one on poles with a thatched roof and luxurious South-African leather sofas and one under the open sky. The tents (after all, it’s called tented camp) each sit on a platform on stilts and are of the rough’n’lush kind. They keep all of the uncomfortableness of the rough nature outside and let fresh earthy air and beautiful sunlight inside. Massai watch over you day and night and the chef caters to almost all whims the European palate may come up with.
These amenities are complemented by an artificial waterhole which is frequented by elephants, kudos, impalas, baboons, warthogs, birds and sometimes even lions. The lodge belongs to Dionysia and Yanni, both coming out of families with a long history in Tansania. We’ve spent quite some time talking, laughing and exchanging ideas with each other. Their hospitality is enormous and they made me feel at home right away. Thank you for that!
From the camp you can enter the car either with your own jeep, a rental with a driver or by bus. I never managed to be in the park either in dusk or early dawn, so most animals are tucked away in the shadow of trees. That doesn’t lessen the experience (though the resulting photographs).
The Ruaha National-Park is located in the western regions of Tansania on a highland plateau of roughly 900m. Since 2008 it has been the largest national-park in Tanzania. Surrounded by mountains it receives twelve hours of continuous sunlight during the dry season with temperatures rising to up to 35C. At night falling winds blow mightily across the plains. These pictures were mainly taken around noon when temperatures are at their hottest and most animals seek shelter under a tree. No one but tourists would go out at that time of day.
Despite feeling somewhat sick, I managed to catch the evening light at the Jenischpark, if only to crush it down to moody black and white, making it look more like a place where you would not want to amble around at night for fear of film-noir-esque passerbys.