Mt. Longonot 2013/14

Well 2013 is just about to come to an end. How time goes fast! Am here, already climbing Mt. Longonot crater, hoping to go round the 7.2km disc of rocks. I am discovering the inner me, come 2014. Doing my last day of the year 2013, at least on top of the crater.

Sample some of the images. More to come next year!!








Photography :: Joel Lukhovi

Location :: Mt. Longonot Crater


Photographs for Africa: Tanzania

Poa kichizi kama ndizi!

To a visitor the daily life presents itself colorful, lively and mixed up. As a visitor you first have to get used to it. But soon everything will appear in a much sharper focus. In between the many people, you will recognize different persons doing their jobs.

arrival in morogoro

It feels more like a lifetime. A world away from here. Everyday I think about my experiences in Tanzania with longing and wonder. Did it really happen to me? Did I swim in the Indian Ocean, fly over the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro, get to know great people from around the region? Did I really walk on the rooftop of Africa? Did I meet and fall in love with some of the greatest kids I’ll ever know, did Moshi, Arusha, Dodoma, Morogoro and Dar really feel like home?

morogoro mountains


Did I truly discover some of the harsh realities people face? Will the lessons stay with me forever or will Tanzania slowly fade away? If I’m being honest, how much does that scare me? What will happen next and how can I build on what I know now? How can I reflect my memories, the lessons and truths learned, in my life back home? Well…I am still working on it. Here is what I know now.

the hills across

People say that this is an experience of a lifetime. And it is, I do not wish to take one moment I had in Tanzania for granted. But for me I feel like that phrase falls flat. They don’t describe what I have felt or seen, they do not encompass all of the quirks, joys, fears, and beauties that have existed for me. I know that I can not sum up Tanzania in four words or less, I guess that is why I have written this much.

bus station


You have heard about it, experienced it, and seen it along with me. Perhaps you have felt some of my happiness, sorrows, and excitement. And maybe you now have the desire to seek the unknown or help where you have never thought you could. It was my hope and reason for documenting my days across the neighbouring nation.

taxi stop

I encourage everyone to leave behind what they know, to experience a new world and reality. It will open you up to all kinds of possibilities you never imagined, for instance interacting with all the new communities i got to meet in search of a life with my camera. Yet I know that these trips are not possible for everyone. And for those of you whose lives are going down different paths than my own, there are still many ways to discover the world, because we can all make a difference no matter where we are.

masai warriors

But more than just the struggles and hardships, I have seen the importance of putting people and relationships before money and possessions, a love for nature and the outdoors, and the need to appreciate the little things. Living in another culture lets you absorb all of the good things it has to offer. I am so grateful for the opportunity to see both the good and the bad.

dar in the morning

The most common way to get around in Tz, is to use dala dala. Buses of various sizes and brands. All of them have one thing in common: they are always overcrowded. It’s fascinating to see the variety of baggage and freight: from living chickens to 50 kg sacks of rice on the roof or anywhere else. Passengers must be masters of self-control: sitting closely together, skin to skin even at high temperatures, tolerating all with peace and serenity. It’s an adventure to get out from such a vehicle at rush hour.

crowded daladala

A more pleasant way is to drive with bajaja. Particularly in Dar es Salaam it is the preferred mode of commuting, these three-wheel motorcycles, where the guests are sitting in the rear passenger compartment, almost as the British royal couple in person. So elegantly chauffeured around, most destinations will be reached faster than with cars which tend to be stuck in traffic jams. The skilled drivers know a lot of short ways. However, it may happen that you are bound to lend a hand to cross an obstacle at a construction site.


Tanzania is a liberal country when it comes to the acceptance of different religious opinions. Believers of the great world religions live peacefully side by side. The belief in ancestors and other convictions are also tolerated.

bus terminas

For many people music is the purpose of life, at least it belongs inseparably to the way of life. Regardless that some cars are almost wrecks, they will surely have good music equipment.  Sometimes you get the impression that the car windows bend outside due to the massive sounds from the radio. Tanzanian music is melodious and swinging.

sunset in arusha

At the coastal region you will hear the typical TAARABA sound. Mzee Yusuf is one of the famous interpreters of this music style. It’s a style that is full of life.

Photography & Text:: Joel Lukhovi

Arusha, Moshi, Dodoma, Morogoro, Dar es Salaam

Photographs for Africa: Ethiopia

Many reasons combined made me make the choice of wanting to visit Ethiopia. Indeed, it is one of the most beautiful countries, I have had the finest opportunity of traveling to. Beautiful and kind people, big churches, very big roads and wonderful natural scenarios including the famous Blue Nile.

orthordox church

My first stop was in Addis Ababa, thats the Amharic meaning for New Flower. First, you get to ride on line taxis. Line taxis are, as I said, is a convenient and inexpensive way to get around Addis Ababa. Most rides cost either between 2-5 birr. Line taxis are minivans with sliding doors on one side; they hold maybe 12 to 15 people. Most of them are blue and white and are easy to identify, and there are hundreds of them on the roads, weaving in and out of traffic.

The view of Addis Ababa from the surrounding hills.

The view of Addis Ababa from the surrounding hills.

They have a conductor, usually a young man or boy, who pops his head out of the window or gets off at stops and shouts the name of the destination. When I first arrived I had no idea what the conductors were saying, because they speak Amharic so rapidly. Amharic on the other hand is a very charming language, but the phonetics and the pronunciation kept challenging me several times thou in the end i was able to construct a proper full length sentence.

Line taxi navigating the crazy traffic snarl up within the capital of Ethiopia.

Line taxi navigating the crazy traffic snarl up within the capital of Ethiopia.

Well, when I first arrived in Addis I was cautious to take any line taxi. I’m not sure why, maybe I was concerned about being self-conscious as a conspicuous foreigner; then there was the fear of getting on the wrong line taxi and ending up lost in a strange new country place. Over time i have developed the habit of using public means to move around the city whenever i travel. I believe this is rather the best way to tour a new place and get to interect with the locals on a one on one basis. I’m addicted to using public means, and while in Ethiopia, I looked forward every day to my line taxi trips. Every one of them is an experience.

woman buying maize in one of the taxi

So what’s so wonderful about squeezing into a packed line taxi for an hour every day, bumping your head half the time when you get on or off, having sometimes to squat on a small wooden block inches off the floor if there’s no room on the real seats, or scrambling with six or seven other people, aiming to be the lucky one who gets on when a line taxi approaches the stage, with room for just one more?


I can only say that my experiences with line taxis combine learning about Ethiopia, Ethiopians and Ethiopian culture, having simple yet poignant human interactions that are precious and noticeably less common in other societies.  Getting to see street life and scenes of Addis through the taxi window, and picking up new words of written and spoken Amharic amongst the passengers.

enroute to bahir dar

As I mentioned previously, written Amharic is based on “consonant-sound” combinations that make up a syllabary, which is akin to an alphabet but has well over two hundred characters. The more you mingle among Ethiopian people, the better you learn this fascinating and elegant language. Like a child, I got to learn the syllabary slowly. I kept looking frequently at street signs, food and drink labels, posters, and stickers on the walls and windows of line taxis, carefully trying to pronounce the words. I listen to locals speaking, and I ask, when I’m in stores or cafes, for the shopkeeper or waiter to pronounce the word for bread or milk or potato for me. This was the only way for me to get to learn this beautiful language.

This is one of the methods that i got to learn amharic language.

This is one of the methods that i got to learn amharic language.

If I know an Amharic phrase or word, I practice it, encouraging feedback as praise or correction. Many shop signs have both Amharic and English words together, equivalent to an Amharic-English dictionary, with instant translation. I translated the sounds of characters from the word that was on the letter-head.

One of the meandering roads that drives through to the blue nile.

One of the meandering roads that drives through to the blue nile.

Basically, that’s another reason to love Ethiopia, at least if you’re a foreigner: you get the chance to learn first hand a new, inspiring, fascinating language, from the best teachers of all- local Ethiopians. And what better way to learn it than to live, dine  and breathe among wonderful people who smile when they hear you speak Amharic and are always patient and willing to help you improve.


There are thirteen months of the year in the Ethiopian calendar: 12 months each with 30 days and a final “month” with five days, or six in a leap year. It can therefore claim to be a capital city with “thirteen months of sunshine.” During the weeks I had arrived there was a rainy season, in Addis, Debre Markos, Bahir Dar, Gondar and Aksum. Despite the wet season, there is  plenty of sunshine between downpours, thou it can be very cold during the night and day as well.

young Habesha girl and boy trade maize for school fees.

Young habesha girl and boy trade maize for school fees.

I think of the excesses that many people have in the world, yet they often don’t enjoy or appreciate them; I’m reminded of how there is so much strife for monetary wealth. To quote the words of my mother, a kind woman who never had much material wealth, and who would give the last penny in her purse to a needy neighbour, “You didn’t bring any money with you into the world and you’re not going to take any with you when you leave.”

Amhara boys covering themselves away from the cold.

Amhara boys covering themselves away from the cold.

Sure, terrible poverty does not breed happiness, but then material excess is not the key either. Somewhere between the two extremes, the Havenots and Havelots, there is a place where the Havegots dwell with contentedness, tolerance, a sense of belonging, humour, compassion and humanity, without greed, prejudice, misguided strife, animosity or arrogance; where the true jewels of life are valued;

bahir dar bus terminal

main trading point in badir dar close to the lake tana.

Where there is no greed or selfish exploitation of others, and where the goal for everyone to make life better for everybody else. Knowledge, humility and humanity constitute the currency that makes people truly rich, and the more of these they have and spend, the wealthier they, their children and the society around them become.

beautiful landscape. A blessed country.

A beautiful landscape en route to Addis from Gondar. A blessed country side.

One of my observations was basically, how the ethiopian people and culture is so inter twined that they assist each other whenever a problem arises. During my 13 hour trip from Bahir dar to Addis, I did not fail to realize how the passengers in the mini bus i was traveling in, began contributing money just to offer to the road side monasteries that were up in the hills.

Sudan Ethiopia border

Sudan – Ethiopia border.

This is a common thing that they get to do always when traveling, since it brings more blessing s to them and their journey as well. Generally Ethiopian have a culture of giving and thats what i admired amongst all the things that i got to observe during my stay. I really liked Gondar and was amazed that Ethiopia still has its history intact, 400 years now. Emperor Fasilidas empire and palace still stand at Gondar which was the capital of ethiopia in 1636.


Emperor Fasilidas main capital of control in the early 1636. 400 years plus and it still stands strong.

Back to the cost of living in Ethiopia, you can eat a tasty main course Ethiopian injera meal in a very reasonable restaurant and have two Meta or Saint George beers to go with it for less than 4 dollars, or have a cup of the best coffee you ever tasted, along with a gigantic piece of invitingly seductive white forest cake, for less than a dollar.

Entrance to the main castle and palace.

Entrance to the main castle and palace.

I must mention that Ethiopia indeed was amazing and am looking to paying another visit to this wonderful country soon if not later.

Photographs for Africa

Photography:  Joe Lukhovi

Stone Town – A shared history

As soon as I set my foot in Zanzibar island, I could just feel the unending joy and passion of what this town had to offer. The fantastic weather and the wonderful people truly charmed my heart.

The main means of transport in Zanzibar. It allows easy movement of commuters in the small streets.

The main means of transport in Zanzibar. It allows easy movement of commuters in the small streets.

It soon came to my notice about the traditional culture that this island holds. The people, mode of transport, food and the white sandy beaches that reflected the magnificent sun that sets each and every day slowly across the western horizon, ushering in a night full of rejuvenated energy and action. This is the Zanzibar International Film Festival in Stone Town.

performance As I later came to understand, this was my very first 16th ZIFF 2013 film festival and as a creative, I was looking forward to documenting the unfolding events at the venue. My camera on my neck and sandals, I kept moving across the town collecting moments that would cover entire stay at the island. I wanted to scream to the world about the joy of the town and the ever traditional culture.

Common means of movement in the island.

Common means of movement in the island.

Despite the trends in modernity that the world has aspired to get to, and the thousands of people that visit the island, there is one thing that stands in Zanzibar, and that is the swahili tradition that the islanders have kept all along. Many people from varying nationalists all over the world visit Zanzibar, but what stands out is the magnificent culture, that the community holds.

A boat sailing back to the port after a day of work.

A boat sailing back to the port after a day of work.

Stone Town, Zanzibar it was then. I have to mention in a few but the craze of writing will keep this text going for a while. The atmosphere was wanting for the Zanzibar Internatonal Film Festival initially known as the Dhow festival. At its 16th year, the festival has indeed remained to be one of the biggest art and film festivals that is dominating the East and Central African region. I must say that am greatly honored having been a part of the ZIFF 2013 as a photographer.


Excitement is in the air with the ongoing Zanzibar International Film Festival, thousands of people around town are visiting locations to view the film screenings, attend workshops and be a part of the total Film and Cultural experience that ZIFF 2013 offers.

an hour and a half. I kept getting a long exposure of the ship that docked at the port.

An hour and a half. I kept getting a long exposure of the ship that docked at the port.

Children naturally grow up wanting to be like their parents, and some actually do. Children of actors becoming actors, children of musicians becoming musicians, and I’m sure there are some children of accountants who become accountants. (Okay, maybe not that last one.) but one thing that normally stands out is the fact that art is the driving force of the society.

This snake charmer amazed the crowd during the ZIFF award ceremony at the amphitheatre.

This snake charmer amazed the crowd during the ZIFF award ceremony at the amphitheatre.

One of the staples of the ZIFF is the festival’s amphitheater screenings which brings together viewers and selected films in the industry to discuss their craft and offer inside insights on what it is like to be a working director, screenwriter, actor, or composer. It was an interesting show with the East Africans and the rest of the world sharing the experience of composing for films while a couple had avoided some of those studio pressures to pave their own way through the industry.

Sunset at the indian ocean in Zanzibar.

Sunset at the indian ocean in Zanzibar.

Most of the actions took place at the old Fort that acted a while back as the main arena for bringing people together and admire art. I made my way further, just across at the Forodhani public space, which is the main food court that residents come to get food. Apart from ZIFF which came to a closure on the 7th, I was able to capture some images that tell the story of Zanzibar from an artist’s impression. I cannot wait to do another visit.

Stone Town, Zanzibar

Photography: Joel Lukhovi

Coastal balance

My very first day in Watamu coast was one of wind and rain. As weather forecast had predicted such conditions for the whole three-day stay, seeing those heavy and threatening clouds made my hopes slowly fade away. But since I firmly believe in the law of attraction, I forced myself to think positive in order to somehow influence the atmosphere and, in a totally unintented marketing gimmick, you will find out soon in the coming images whether my theory worked or not.


The fisherman’s journey to the deep sea waters.

After I got off the bus from Mombasa, I bought myself a boat ticket to the deep waters with the local fishermen. Mshipaji, the fisherman kept telling me these wonderful stories about the nature of the trip on the region’s southeastern coast from where it’s easy to visit the unknown unending reefs.


Going out to meet the wonders of his journey by the lagoon Kikambala.

Once in Watamu, I took the scenic walk towards the shoreline to get the fisherman and the rest of his crew. It was time again for me to reflect on what I think are my best pieces of works in the starting months of 2013. These are the photos that have special meaning to me in some way, either the exhilaration of being there and seeing the vista/subject in front of me and bringing home the memory in the photo, or being touched by the composition in some way.

The coastline

Inspirational anchor. The role of the anchor making its statement at the coastal waters.

This has been a photo journey from my walk, enjoy the tour and stay tuned for more pictures and words from my earlier and future trips!

Photography: Joe Lukhovi

Location : Watamu

PS: All images on this site are protected by copyright. None of the images may be used without the written permission of Joe Lukhovi, including copying, duplicating, reproducing, storing, publishing, or transmitting by any means.

One Time Climate

We are living in a climate-changed world. At a one degree average temperature increase, our planet has already been pushed to the limit, and communities across the globe are feeling the harsh impacts. It is those who are least responsible for this crisis that are being dealt the strongest blows. Climate change is no longer some kind of distant future scenario, it is happening here and now, and requires a response like nothing we have ever seen before. People are looking out for the real deal!

An acacia tree standing alone at the shore of the expanding lake Elementaita, Rift Valley.

An acacia tree standing alone at the shore of the expanding lake Elementaita, Rift Valley.

One Time is a statement of solidarity with the people living and fighting on the front lines of a warmed world. Even as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change talks in Doha are in progress, we need to stand together and address the situation of climate change with the seriousness it deserves. Many people all over the world are suffering and this ought to be a reminder to negotiators, politicians, and the entire UN that we the people will not back down.

A fallen tree lying almost in the middle of the lake. Effects of climate change

A fallen tree lying almost in the middle of the lake. Effects of climate change.

We refuse to compromise present and future lives and livelihoods. It is a statement of solidarity with communities on the front line of the expansion of the fossil fuel industry – an affirmation of our support for the rights of Indigenous peoples and frontline communities threatened by environmental and climate injustice. It is a declaration that we will not stand idly by as the planet is sold to the interests of the few on the backs of the many.

Climate change does not happen in isolation. The changing environment cannot be divorced from our political and economic systems. We cannot rise to this unprecedented challenge without acknowledging that climate change forces a fundamental shift in global society. It means shifting to a society that values people and the planet over profit and pollution. Deeper than that, it requires recognition that the struggles of people around the globe are rooted together, and that solutions do not exist in isolation.

Flamingoes roaming Lake Elementaita early in the morning. Their feeding and wading patterns have somehow been affected.

Flamingoes roaming Lake Elementaita early in the morning. Their feeding and wading patterns have somehow been affected.

By ignoring environmental limits for the past few decades, we have come to a point of reckoning Peoples’ movements worldwide are rising to challenge the status quo of economic and environmental injustice. Find unity in global struggles against the root causes of climate injustice. Connect to the One Time project.

Photography :: Joe Lukhovi

Location :: Lake Elementaita, Rift Valley


African rhino

Rhinos are generally very shy and somewhat secretive animals and finding then standing out in the open posing for a camera is certainly not an everyday occurrence, not for me anyway. On a trip to lake nakuru, I made my way down to the lake shores one afternoon to photograph the flamigoes and the increasing spread of the lake waters.

african rhino

Upon arriving, here stood this magnificent two rhinos out in the open with a beauriful backdrop gracing the scene. The contrast of the scene were intense and screamed black and white to me and for one brief moment the rhino lifted his head up and looked up at me. This print is available on a selection.

Photography:: Joe Lukhovi

Location:: lake Nakuru National park