German photographer Michael Poliza took to the skies by helicopter to capture the extraordinary landscapes of the Rift Valley in Kenya and Ethiopia from the air. These images appear in his books Kenya and Eyes Over Africa

The Simien Mountains, Ethiopia A World Heritage Site and national park, with the tallest peak Ras Dashen reaching 4,619 metres, this region is best known as the habitat of Gelada baboons and Ethiopian wolves #
Lake Chamo One of the largest of Ethiopia’s Rift Valley lakes, the 213 square mile waters of Chamo are a sanctuary for several thousand Nile crocodiles, some reaching lengths of up to seven metres from their snout to the tip of their tail #
Flamingo Lake, Central Island, Lake Turkana, Kenya The region is home to hundreds of species of birds endemic to Kenya. They are essentially supported by plankton masses in the lake which feed the fish #
Lake Bogoria, Kenya This strongly alkaline, saline lake has an area of roughly 12 square miles. Many types of algae flourish in its waters, turning the lake a multitude of different shades. The algae-rich water is especially attractive to flamingos. When the water dries up during the hot season, the earth dries out and cracks #
Lake Borogia, Kenya A piece of abstract art created by hundreds of flamingos. In the dry season, the Eastern Rift Valley is a haven for these birds. The classic one-legged stance of these pink-plumaged birds actually protects them from the cold: two feet submerged in a lake results in losing more body heat than just one #
Nabiyotum Crater, Lake Turkana, Kenya“The first time I saw a photo of this crater, I just knew I had to go there,” says Michael Poliza. “I was able to make it happen on my eight-week heli-Africa expedition, where I flew by helicopter from Hamburg to Cape Town, an expedition which provided material for my book Eyes Over Africa” #
Lake Turkana, Kenya Visiting fishermen ring the lake and stay for eight to 12 weeks, drying their catch in the sun to preserve it. The lake is home to tiger fish and Nile perch weighing up to 220 pounds #
Suguta Valley, Kenya A dune landscape with Aruba Rock visible in the background. Temperatures of up to 71C have been measured here. There are few other places on earth where so many different types of terrain can be found so close together – there are lakes, mountains, flood-plains and rich grasslands in close proximity to the dunes #
Suguta Valley Cloud formations and rain showers. “In this dry area near the Suguta Valley, rain is a very rare event. But when it does happen, it’s a good idea to keep your camera handy” #
Village near Lokwakangole, Kenya On the shores of Lake Turkana, woven palm-frond homes glow warmly in the afternoon light #