The Seven-Colored Earth of Chamarel (Mauritius)-(Rainbow on the Ground)

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If life is blue, then select another color from the rainbow, or just pick the whole rainbow, seems to be what this patch of sand dunes in Mauritius is saying, either that or choose love. The seven colored earth is a natural phenomenon and a prominent tourist attraction. The colors evolved through conversion of basaltic lava to clay minerals. It is a relatively small area of sand dunes comprising sand of seven distinct colors (approximately red, brown, violet, green, blue, purple and yellow). And what is more fascinating is the fact that the colors never disappear in spite of torrential downpours, the sand dunes never erode, and if you mix the colored earth together, they’ll eventually settle into separate layers.

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And you may also be puzzled as the colors might play tricks on you and may appear to be shadows. The dunes are protected and visitors are prevented from walking atop the formation but worry not, if the urge of having the coveted sand in your hands appears to be to strong there are Shops near the dunes sell small test-tubes filled with the Colored Earths for tourist to enjoy.

 

Lake Natron -Tanzania and the Medusa’s Curse.

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Greek legend states that Medusa was once a beautiful, avowed priestess of Athena, (the goddess of wisdom and military victory, and also the patron of the city of Athens, also  Hercules’ half-sister), who was cursed for breaking her vow of celibacy. When Medusa had an affair with the sea god Poseidon, Athena punished her. She turned Medusa into a hideous hag, making her hair into writhing snakes and her skin was turned a greenish hue. Anyone who locked gaze with Medusa was turned into stone.

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Lake Natron, a natural alkaline soda lake, is one of a series of the East Africa Rift Valley lakes, located in the Northern Tanzania, North of Ngorongoro Highlands and South of the active volcano Ol Doinyo Lengai. The Lake measuring a maximum of   57 Km in length, is quite shallow, less than 3 m deep, and varies in width depending on its water level. It is known as a soda lake due to its exceptionally high concentration of Sodium Carbonate.

 

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One of Africa’s most serene lakes is also the source of perhaps the most phantasmagorical photographs ever captured (It is to be noted that we know English please!)—(images that depict living animals instantly turned to stone). What is responsible for this is not Medusa’s curse but the alkaline water in Lake Natron, whose PH is as high as 10.5 and is so caustic it can burn the skin and eyes of animals that aren’t adapted to it. Deposits of sodium carbonate, once used in Egyptian mummification, are what act as a preservative for those animals unlucky enough to die in the waters of Lake Natron. Once again my fantastical hopes are thwarted by science but like always, the hope still burns within.

 

Ethiopia’s Chapel in the Sky

Priest reading in an old goatskin manuscript, Abuna Yemata Guh church with mural painting, Hawzien, Tigray Region, Ethiopia

Perched 650 feet above a steep cliff in Northern Ethiopia, visitors face a 45-minute climb up the cliff’s vertical face in order to access the precariously positioned church, Abuna Yemata Guh. Dating back to the 5th century, history has it that its founder Father Yemata built the chapel to be closer to heavenly spirits; however, others claim it was a strategic move to avoid his enemies. This risky and thrilling experience is common practice for a few dedicated priests. The monolithic place of worship is said to be the world’s most inaccessible and dangerous church. Adding to the general sense of dread, the route passes by an open-air tomb filled with the skeletal remains of deceased priests (although it’s said that none of the priests died from falling off the cliff).

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If the intense climb and the gorgeous view of the valley below aren’t enough to take your breath away, the interior of the church surely will. The cave’s ceiling is covered by two beautiful frescoes, featuring intricate patterns, religious imagery, and the faces of nine of the twelve apostles of Christ. The church also contains an Orthodox Bible with vibrant, colorful sheets made of goatskin. The Church is so sacred that some Ethiopian parents even risk bringing their babies all the way to the top of the cliff to have them baptized there.

Nigerian city of Eredo-(Queen of Sheba’s Monument)

eredo-2.jpgSungbo’s Eredo is a rampart or system of walls and ditches that surrounds the Yoruba town of Ijebu-Ode in Ogun state southwest Nigeria. It is reputed to be the largest single pre-colonial monument in Africa. As a construction project, it required more earth to be moved than the Great Pyramid of Giza. More than 100 miles (160 kilometers) in circumference with some sections having walls which reach 70 feet (20 meters) in height, it encloses an area 25 miles (40 km) north to south and 22 miles (35 km) east to west.

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Sungbo’s Eredo has also been connected with the legend of the Queen of Sheba which is recounted in both the Bible and Koran. This link comes from a wealthy childless widow named Bilikisu Sungbo. According to them, the monument was built as her personal memorial. Her actual grave is located in Oke-Eiri, a town in a Muslim area north of the Eredo. Pilgrims of Christian, Muslim and traditional African religions annually trek to the holy site in tribute to her. It is believed that the Eredo was the means to unifying an area of diverse communities into a single kingdom.

Meroe Pyramids-(The forgotten Pyramids)

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Meroe is an ancient city on the east bank of the Nile about 6 km north-east of the Kabushiya station near Shendi, Sudan, approximately 200 km north-east of Khartoum. This city was the capital of the Kingdom of Kush for several centuries.

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It is here that there lies a collection of nearly 200 ancient pyramids—many of them tombs of the kings and queens of the Meroitic Kingdom which ruled the area for more than 900 years. The Meroë pyramids, smaller than their Egyptian cousins, are considered Nubian pyramids, with narrow bases and steep angles on the sides. There are more pyramids in one small section of the northern Sudanese desert than there are in the whole of Egypt. The pyramids at Meroe range from the 8th century BCE to the 4th century CE. Many of these structures were damaged in 1834 by an Italian treasure hunter, who was searching for gold. Archaeologists are still trying to reconstruct and restore them today.

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Written by James Gathitu

I am a writer, performer, creative entrepreneur, and adventurer! My journey has been crazy and has led me at this very moment to you.

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