MARA NABOISHO, KENYA
Few places can make you feel so buzzingly alive as East Africa, not only because of the astonishing assortment of wildlife that populates one of the earth’s most dramatic landscapes, but also because it becomes clear, very quickly, that if you walked off on your own, in any direction, you probably wouldn’t get very far before something killed you. But safaris can feel canned and constrained when limited to national parks, where vehicles have to stick to established paths and sightings of the “Big 5” (rhino, elephant, lion, leopard and African buffalo) are often shared with hordes of others. The solution? A private conservancy, like Mara Naboisho, which borders Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve to the northeast.
Within its 50,000 acres, visitors experience unparalleled wildlife viewing. Yet the privacy of Mara Naboisho is what gives it its extra dose of magic. A cooperative effort between five hundred Masai landowners and a consortium of conservation-minded, ecologically exemplary safari outfitters, Mara Naboisho limits visitors, and entrance fees go toward community initiatives that protect and preserve the locals’ way of life. As a result, guests experience the Kenya of Karen Blixen, Ernest Hemingway and Beryl Markham, walking out on the plains accompanied by a Masai guide or exploring by four-wheel-drive the hidden corners of one of Earth’s last great wildernesses. After exploring Kenya’s interior on safari, there’s no better way to unwind than a few days on Lamu, an island off the northeast coast of Kenya. Family owned and operated, the remote resort of Kizingo is a toes-in-the-sand, ends-of-the-earth eco-nirvana with twelve kilometers of untouched beach fronting the Indian Ocean. For aspiring Robinson Crusoes only.