For all you lovers of eclipses, you had better start packing and head to Africa before November 3, 2013 when a total solar eclipse will pass over equatorial Gabon in Western Africa Congo, Uganda, Kenya and finally Ethiopia.

Sibiloi National Park around Lake Turkana in Lodwar, Kenya, will offer the climax of this remarkable moment across the entire eclipse track so you may want to be there before this time to catch the action.

During this rare moment regarded as one of nature’s great spectacles (lasting for only 15 seconds) the sky takes on an eerie twilight as the black disk of the Moon replaces the Sun’s bright face.

The Moon will move between the earth and the sun, completely concealing the Sun with a remarkably concentrated lunar shadow that will sweep over a path barely 13 KM at an astonishing speed of 14,000 KM/H.

This will form a beautiful transparent halo around the Moon. The halo or corona is the super-heated (2 million degrees in temperature) plasma of the sun that causes the famous solar flares that have been a point of scientific research for some time now. The corona can only be seen during the few brief minutes of totality which takes place near Lake Turkana (on the western side) in Kenya.

Records of sightings of solar eclipses have been kept since ancient times. A Syrian clay tablet, for instance, records a solar eclipse which occurred on March 5, 1223 B.C. Besides a total solar eclipse, there are other phases of the eclipse as explained below:

Hybrid Eclipse

This is also called an annular-total eclipse which shifts between a total and annular eclipse. At some points on the surface of the Earth it appears as a total eclipse, whereas at others it appears as annular. Hybrid eclipses are comparatively rare.

They begin as annular eclipses and then transform into total eclipses before reverting back to annular towards the end of their track. In rare instances, a hybrid eclipse may begin annular and end total, or vice versa.

Partial Eclipse

This is a solar eclipse in which the Moon appears to block part (but not all) of the Sun’s disk.

Annular Eclipse

An annular eclipse is a solar eclipse in which the Moon is too far from Earth to completely cover the Sun. During the maximum phase of an annular eclipse, the Sun appears as a blindingly bright ring surrounding the Moon.

As you begin making travel arrangements to come and witness the total solar eclipse choreographed by mother nature herself, remember to spare some few extra days in your itinerary to visit the archaeological dig sites where fossils that made this place to be labelled the ‘cradle of mankind’ were found.