Above: View of Mount Kilimanjaro, Ol Donyo Lodge, Kenya

I lost count long ago of the number of times I’ve been on safari. My first was in 1981 — to Kenya — and I’ve been to Africa at least once a year ever since, so the minimum number must be 40. No one has ever had to push me up the steps of the plane. I’ve always loved watching animals and birds, and I’m seldom happier than in wild wide-open spaces. Going to Africa is still a thrill (and, of course, in this context, by “Africa” I mean the famous wildlife areas in the eastern and southern areas of the continent). I also love big cities, and I am as susceptible as anyone to the exquisitely manicured landscape of Tuscany, but it is in wilderness that I feel most calm and centered. And I suspect that the same is true for many people. Sitting beside a fire in the gathering darkness, listening to Africa’s nightly orchestra warming up, I invariably feel elated and intensely alive.

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