A Tale of Two Cities: Nairobi and Mombasa

I decided that I wanted to spend my last 72 hours in a Kenyan city. But which one? The modern capital, Nairobi, or the historic port, Mombasa?

I asked Twitter, but results were mixed. So I went to both.

A Change of Pace on the Kenya Coast

It feels good, after four safaris in a row, to spend a few days on the southern tail of Kenya’s 333-mile coastline that stretches between Somalia to the north and Tanzania below. As far as the eye can see, white-sand shores greet the turquoise Indian Ocean.

A Snapshot of Samburu

An elephant is between my tent and the Wi-Fi. I watch it wander from bush to bush. Pulling twigs off trees, munching on leaves. Looking around. What else do you expect when you’re staying at a place called Elephant Bedroom Camp? And yet, I catch myself actually upset (for a second) that this elephant is keeping me from my Twitter.

Searching for Kudu in the Green Hills of Africa

Konee grins and offers a fist bump. I return it. “Woowww,” he says, in disbelief. This jolts me. Over our past two days together in eastern Kenya, it’s become clear that Konee isn’t really a fist-bumping kind of guy. His sudden enthusiasm is due to the fact that we—or rather he—had tracked down for kudu in the dusty ten-foot-tall bush, off road, and under a mid-day sun.

The Art of Being Present

Since I’ll be clocking plenty of Land Cruiser­-passenger hours chasing wildlife across the sun-scorched savannas of Kenya for the next few weeks, I’ve come to Hell’s Gate National Park for a single reason: to walk.

The Rising Stars of Kenya’s Greater Mara

I’m on a night safari at Kenya’s Olare Orok Conservancy, something you can’t do in neighboring Masai Mara National Reserve. True, the 932-square-mile reserve’s big skies and open plains are stunning. But I’m finding that making the adjacent conservancy my home base in the Mara region has doubled my experience: There are more options and fewer visitors to compete with.

One True Thing About Kenya

“In your text, treat Africa as if it were one country.” That’s tongue-in-cheek advice from Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina’s brilliant satirical essay “How to Write About Africa.” I came across it because I’ll be traveling around Kenya as Nat Geo Travel’s Digital Nomad for the next month, and, if I’m being honest, I’m not yet sure how to write—as Ernest Hemingway might put it—“one true sentence” about the country.

A Literary Journey Through Monterey and Big Sur

John Steinbeck’s typewriter has left a well-known mark all over this pocket of California, where agriculture meets clear beaches and layered mountains, not to mention one of the world’s great coastal drives. What’s less known is that Steinbeck isn’t the only writer to capture it. For the last leg of this year’s Digital Nomad road…

California’s Treasure Island

“It looks like a zombie apocalypse out here.” More than one local says this of San Francisco’s Treasure Island, an often ignored artificial isle built on dredged sand. And at first sight of the mysterious island, reached halfway across the Bay Bridge, I have to agree. Around me, on wide empty streets, I see paint…

California’s Longest-Running Light

It’s got the wine, the hills, the history—and the world’s biggest laser, too. It even has an element named for it (livermorium). What Livermore, California, doesn’t have going for it, perhaps, is its name. Just the mere mention of other wine stars of the Golden State—Napa, Sonoma, Paso Robles—linger on your tongue like a chocolaty,…