The Atlas


19 Sep

A Week in the Mara

In 1975 I stayed in Kenya’s Maasai Mara for 18 months living amongst the Maasai with all that entailed and making films.  It was among the happiest times of my life. Almost every year I return to East Africa and I try, even if for only a couple of days, to my home on the Olareorok River to drive the plains I once walked across.  We have just...

18 Sep

A Day with the Orphans

Dame Daphne Sheldrick has for many years run an orphanage on the grounds of Nairobi National Park in Kenya.  Her story is wonderfully inspiring and can be pleasurably read in her memoir, Love, Life and Elephants.  The important piece is that, many years ago, she discovered after much trial and error a mother’s milk formula that would keep orphaned...

6 Sep

Goodbye to Lamu

Maisha Marefu Na Matamu May You Have a Long and Sweet Life A sunset cruise begins with flower petals strewn from an unfurled sail.

5 Sep

Lamu Cheat Sheet

Here is my Lamu cheat sheet – Overview:  While many now opt for an end to their safari in a private house in the blander Watamu or Malindi on Kenya’s southerly coast, there is nothing quite like Lamu.  The most northerly outpost of the important Swahili people, whose geographical and cultural roots can be traced back thousands of years...

4 Sep


When I travel I spend a good deal of time making sense of change – the before and the after, the old and the new, the process of aging.  Knee jerk reaction often decries what has happened to that which I have seen and loved.  It takes a widening of the perspective and a generosity to pierce the surface and see the innovative in what has replace...

3 Sep


Sunrise in the mangrove channels, painted sail bowed with the morning breeze. We are out for a day of line fishing with Omar and Ali in the protected waters off Manda island. First things first – preparing the bait. We have shrimp and ghost crabs collected last night by flashlight on the beach. I make a video tutorial of Jeremy ripping off legs...

2 Sep


Epicenter of Swahili culture that mixes Arab and African aesthetics and flavors, Lamu is an island of deep history. I have been coming here for forty years and in some essential ways the island has changed little. Jehazis, those wide beamed wooden boats with gorgeous sails and rush matting laced along the sides, ply back and forth between Shela, where...

1 Sep

Day 1 Nairobi

We arrived to a remarkably smoothly run burned out airport. The welcome tents have to be the most beautiful anywhere but to be expected in this country that virtually invented them. Also to be expected unfortunately is the horrible traffic that everyone encounters now. As we sat at a roundabout a thief reached in the car window for Justin’s computer...

31 Aug

Africa Bound

It’s been a while since the Lindblad family has headed for Africa together. Justin, Jeremy and I have spent years in and out of East Africa but the last years have inevitably seen everyone going their own way. For three weeks now we will be enjoying Kenya in the company of two great girls – Justin’s girlfriend, Martina, and Jeremy’s...

25 Aug

Kenya 2013

In a week’s time I will be back in Kenya.  I am traveling with family and we will spend almost three weeks split between Lamu, Nairobi and the Mara.  I have lost count on the number of trips I have made to this country, let alone to the continent; but each trip brings immense joy and leaves memories that linger sweetly through the years. The...

4 Apr

Richard Turere: Maasai Inspiration

The Maasai have a complex relationship with Lions.  On the one hand, they admire them more than any other wild animal.  The lion is the warrior’s ultimate combattant and, apart from fearlessness, they share something else in common:  a wild mane of hair.  On the other hand, lion fearlessness threatens the Maasai pastoral lifestyle for they...

29 Nov


I am in a privileged position of sitting ringside at the ever-changing landscape of innovative hotel properties.  I travel to, I read about, and I visit with people associated with new hotels.  I can scan floor plans and site plans, instantly convert square meters to square feet, and ask the right questions about room floor, view, and location. ...

16 Nov

All Hearts Beat As One

Author and legendary conservationist Lawrence Anthony died March 2. His family tells of a solemn procession of Elephants that defies human explanation. For 12 hours, two herds of wild South African elephants slowly made their way through the Zululand bush until they reached the house of late author Lawrence Anthony, the conservationist who saved their...

25 Sep

Meditations #39

You can fall in love with a place as you do with a person. In the beginning, there is that recognition, a sense of belonging, of coming home. As time passes, when others mourn the changes and find fault, you only see lengthening shadows reaching across the dazzling landscape you so love. Where your souls are intertwined. Your relationship is now mature,...

8 Sep


Swift, solitary, elegant, fragile.  The cheetah is my favorite cat in Africa and one that I had the privilege of living with over the course of 18 months in the Serengeti in the 1970’s during the making of a film.  They are still here, endangered as so much is; habitat is being destroyed, poaching is on the rise and the alarm bells are ringing...

29 Aug

African Heritage (2)

28 Aug

Alan Donovan – African Heritage

On the eve of my departure for Kenya, my heart place, I offer you a glimpse of what makes this country and this continent so unique. I first met Alan Donovan 41 years ago in Nigeria.  I was on an 8 month drive from London to Kenya and had stopped for Christmas in the town of Oshogbo in Nigeria’s Yoruba land ; Alan was looking at art in this...

25 Jun

Meditations #36

Luxury in travel is defined by who you meet what you see when you have the encounter and how it comes to pass… a reward at the end of a taxing climb or, serendipitously, a face to face encounter in a forest clearing. Photo:  Michael Lorentz

30 Jan

Meditations #31

Our travels begin in the imagination, long before the body is set in motion; and they do not end when we return home.  The sounds, sights and smells, the newly learned and, even, the glancingly felt, continue to echo, refracting as they filter, like dust motes, through the thickness of our lives. And so one travels once, in real time, and then forever...

18 Dec

Meditations #30

His daughter had died, he told me, tears running freely down his cheeks.  He went alone into the desert in search of himself, to touch the very center.  The fearful void.  The prophet lived 40 burning days and bitter nights in the desert, alone, hungry, engaged in an epic struggle.  The angels came to them both.  To spend one night in the desert,...

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