Arts + Culture

The Dream List: Once-in-a-Lifetime Trips

by Brook Wilkinson

Kenya: Wildlife in a national park, home life in a Masai village

The specialist: Linda Friedman, Custom Safaris; Bethesda, Maryland

The Dream Trip: "Imagine watching the moon almost entirely cover the sun—leaving just a ring of fire around the edge—from Kenya's Lake Nakuru National Park, with just a few other people. Lake Nakuru is by far the most appealing spot from which you'll be able to view next January's exceptionally long annular eclipse—there are no trees in that area, it's the perfect time of year to visit, and the weather should be superb. We'll also arrange for an astrophysicist from Nairobi University to answer all your stargazing questions. Plus, there are both black and white rhinos in the park, so you've got a good chance of spotting one [$2,000 for two].

"Eclipse aside, everyone really comes to Africa for the wildlife. Before the eclipse, you'll want to spend a day with the Amboseli Elephant Research Project in Amboseli National Park. This program, led by elephant expert Cynthia Moss and staffed by local women, is renowned as the longest and most detailed study of African savanna elephants. You and project manager Soila Sayialel will drive around the park, checking on family groups and observing their behavior [$1,000 for two].

"If you're really adventurous, you can spend one of your last nights in a Masai village. This is not the usual staged visit to a tourist village. Your host will be a young Masai whom we put through guiding school. You'll be able to walk in his shoes (literally, since we'll get you a pair of the rubber sandals he wears, which are made from old tires), sleep on a cowhide bed in his hut, help out at the community's school, understand how one lives in harmony with three wives, and share meals of roasted meat and cornmeal porridge—plus the peanut butter, cereal, and bottled water that we'll supply. Don't worry, you'll also have a cell phone in case anything goes wrong [$1,500 for two]."

Linda Friedman
Tel: 866 530 1982

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