The Atlas


13 Nov

Campi Ya Kanzi

I had the opportunity recently to reconnect with Luca and Antonella Belpietro, the passion behind Campi ya Kanzi, their lovely camp in Hemingway’s green hills of Africa. The camp, located in the Chyulu Hills of southern Kenya, is a community camp, owned by the Maasai of the area, run in concert with them and for their community.  It is a true...

25 Sep

Africa’s Legendary Leaders

For me as a New Yorker, the greatest compensation for the passing of summer and long days spent outside are the new art shows that draw me into the wealth of museums and galleries that surround us.  Two gems sit side by side at the Metropolitan Museum:  Heroic Africans: Legendary Leaders, Iconic Sculptures and The Andean Tunic, 400 BCE-1800 CE. Holland...

7 Jul

Elephants & the Extinction Vortex

The definition of Extinction Vortex is “a situation where genetic traits and environmental conditions combine to make a species gradually become extinct.”  The elephant march toward this end game across the African continent seems not to be very gradual.  With the, to date, wholesale slaughter of the medium and big tuskers, and the current...

16 Mar

Willing Foot Goes to East Africa

Willing Foot, the exciting purveyor of smart, authentic, unique itineraries for the world, has just launched four new itineraries for Tanzania and Kenya.  These itinerary modules, which can be linked together to create one long and glorious safari, capture the best that East Africa has to offer:  The Serengeti migration, camels and nomads on Kenya’s...

9 Mar

Shambala Game Reserve Opens Zulu Camp

A really lovely experience has become available 45 minutes by helicopter and 2 hours by road from South Africa’s Johannesburg.  Shambala, located on 30,000 privately held acres of South Africa’s Limpopo Province, has just opened seven chalets to receive guests.  Beautifully and luxuriously appointed, Zulu Camp allows guests a well-rounded...

2 Dec

Serengeti Mon Amour

In 1971 Shep Abbott and I lived in the Serengeti National Park and made a television film on the life cycle of the Cheetah.  For close to a year, we criss crossed the plains, following Brigitta, our photogenic subject. Today, there is talk about building a highway through the Serengeti.  We have spoken of it before in this blog.  Nothing could more...

17 Nov

MAD Goes African

The Museum of Arts and Design has opened its Global Africa Project, a blockbuster show of African and African-inspired art and craftwork.  Many items of great beauty and interest but, to me this cluster of red gowns – stylish, ethnic, chic – were among the best!

1 Nov


I wrote about Brigitta in my last posting on the Shep and I lived for 18 months in that beautiful land keeping company with a fine young cheetah, documenting her life, her motherhood, her family.  Brigitta was the first cheetah that any of us are aware of who would jump on the bonnet of a car and use it as a lookout for prey. When I...

31 Oct

Serengeti Highway – Disaster Unfolding

In 1972,  on a street in Nairobi, I met a charming filmmaker who was heading down to the Serengeti to make a film on the life cycle of the Cheetah.  Long story short – we fell in love, and I joined him for 18 months in a mobile camp we used as a base as we followed our beloved cheetah, Brigitta, across the Serengeti Plains. In 1989 I produced...

5 Oct

Elephant Wisdom

20 Aug

Bridging the Gap

Say the word, bridge, and what comes to mind?  It might be a beautiful span like the one that links the Rhode Island mainland to  Newport.  Perhaps it evokes the homecoming feeling one has crossing the Triboro on the way into Manhattan.  I think of the bridge John Read built in Punakha Valley, Bhutan, which allowed his team to complete the ferrying...

28 Jul

The Tree Where Man Was Born

On the open plains of the southern Serengeti stands a massive fig tree.  It’s trunk measures over 20 feet around, and its capacious limbs, huge and generous, offer much needed shade to wildlife in the heat of the day. And not only wildlife. There are Maasai stories which speak of this tree.  “My grandmother was walking across the plains...

12 Jul

Another Time

Kenya’s Maasai Mara, 1974-1976:  camped between the Olareorok and Njagatiak Rivers, a 4-hour, Maasai-stride from Governor’s Camp;  a year  we  spent filming jackals and hyenas and living with our Maasai neighbors; becoming daktari for 13 villages and receiving daily throngs in camp for simple medicines. The last months I stayed on...

24 Jun

Meditations #11

The diversity of cultures is a remarkable thing. The Roman Empire built forums and amphitheatres, colonnaded avenues and temples, some of the oldest and best preserved to be found in the desert landscapes of Syria. And then there are other empires – The Songhai of West Africa, for example – whose palaces, mosques and tombs rise like sandcastles...

29 Mar

Meditations on Travel #8

We must travel to know the beauty and the value of this earth. When we have borne witness to the diversity and sanctity of life, when we have had our breath taken away, only then will we be moved to protect this world that has been so gently given to us. 

24 Mar

I have a Friend in Africa…Sandy Price

She might have had a farm in Africa that nurtured her and then failed her; I have a friend in Africa who nurtures and never fails me.  Sandy Price arrived in Kenya within months of my own arrival in 1971 and, in spite of a few months of flight – back to Ohio where she was born and where her beloved Mama lived and back to New York where she had...

22 Mar

Funny Signs Africa – #1

One of my favorite past times, when traveling around the world, is finding – and smiling at – signs.  Africa is a great source for me because they are in English and so I can understand the actual text, appreciate the intended text and savor the disjuncture between them!

22 Feb

Toumani Diabate

On my first morning in Bamako, Mali’s capital, I awoke to the strings of the kora, the country’s national instrument, being played outside my window.  A serenade?  The plucked strings, so quiet, so intimate, unaccompanied by voice or other instrument, aroused my senses and my curiosity.  I peeked outside my window onto the dusty street...

21 Jan

Creative Women

I met Ellen Dorsch a number of years back in the Handmade section of the biannual NY Gift Show, a wonderful, wide display of textured products and committed people.  Ellen founded Creative Women which is all about beautiful hand-woven textiles, about good design, and about improving women’s lives. They are a Vermont based company,...

17 Dec

Looking Back/Looking Forward (2)

AFRICA! I spent three weeks in South Africa recently and returned with these gems – three world-class, small museums, inspiring contemporary craft, two hotels, one new and one well loved, and the art of storytelling.  Craft is everywhere in South Africa (see my September writeup on my blog and can be accessed in shops...

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