Tag archives for Africa

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.

Letters from Londolozi

Monday I’ve never been so intrigued by the sex lives of animals as to gawk at the television when David Attenborough is narrating mammalian copulation, but TV is quite a different matter than sitting ten feet away from a grown male lion as he impregnates one of the lionesses in his pride, with a growl.…

Back in ZA

I thought I’d been selected for a secondary search. The man motioned at me from behind the table, lulling me away from the security line at Johannesburg’s Oliver Reginald Tambo International Airport—and so I grabbed my bags and dropped them on the table. But it was all just a ruse—as I stepped closer, his uniform…

National Geographic’s 125th Anniversary Expedition: FULL MOVIE

Superlatives are the bane of travel publishing. Magazines tend to shout their hot pink sans serif headlines, boasting the highest, remotest, southernmost, fanciest, nicest, cheapest, most sophisticated, most beautiful, and most wonderful; in short—the best. But who decides these things, and what exactly constitutes the very best travel experience? Playing with pandas in China? Riding…

Tracking Gorillas in Rwanda

I never in a million years ever believed I would get to spend time with gorillas in the wild. The shock of living the pages of National Geographic magazine, over and over, is what makes this 125th Anniversary Expedition so spectacular. For me, Rwanda marked the final stop in what has been, truly, a life-changing…

In the Kalahari with the San

More than the lions or the elephants or the hippos—it’s the smell of Africa that I find so intoxicating. Right now, in November, it’s the smell of the driest dust—grey Kalahari sand so fine you can taste it on your teeth at the end of the day—and the smell of the promise of rain. Scientifically-speaking,…

Transitions

I packed two separate suitcases for this trip. The green one is for Africa, the grey one is for Iceland. July means different things in different parts of the world. In Tanzania, July means winter, so I packed flip-flops and T-shirts, shorts and a wide-brimmed hat—then a tube of SPF 70 sunblock and a sweatshirt…

High School Girls With Pickaxes

Breaking rocks is hard work. I wish I could speak from a lifetime experience, but in all my years, I only have these two half-days in Tanzania  during which time I personally smashed very hard rocks with iron tools. As activities go, breaking rocks can hurt something horrible. I still have blisters on both hands,…

Water For Tea

I went running that morning. I took off outside the gate and launched up the chocolate-colored road, ankle-deep in dust. A minute later, my shoes and socks were black with dirt, and I tasted the earth on my teeth, like salty crushed graham crackers. Tanzania’s winter is so dry and the air so still, the…

Climbing Kilimanjaro

I walk through the uphill dust of an ancient explosion. My boots crunch into the slope in rhythm, worn rubber upon stones and sand, and in my head, I imagine the mighty boom that formed this mountain before me. I have walked five days to get to this point—through leafy forests jumping with monkeys, then…