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The bigger picture

Protection of the wilderness and wildlife we cherish is increasingly falling to private conservancies. To find out what they are like to visit, we sent Craig Rix to Laikipia

Experience a conservancy

Dery earth crunched under foot. The ankle-high grass glistened yellow as first light stretched out across the hill. The sky shimmered in anticipation of the heat to come. For now, however, a cold, breathless tension hung in the air. We pulled our hoodies over our ears and strode silently on, in single file behind our lead scout.

He paused. We paused. We scanned the forest in the dip to our right, peering hopefully through binoculars. A few mutterings in kiSwahili (our guides were men of few words), then Scout Number 1 set off cautiously into the thicket below while Number 2 led us onwards around the crest. Along the way we barely noticed two hyenas sleeping in the morning sun. They each focused one eye on us before flopping back into their slumbers. For about fifteen minutes we surveyed the valley, squinting into the sun, which by now had fully risen, turning the sky a vibrant blue and slowly thawing out our fingers.

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About Travel Africa

12 Great adventures to experience in 2016 • Conquer Kilimanjaro • Paddle the Zambezi • Walking in North Luangwa National Park • Meet a mountain gorilla • Visit a conservancy... get off the beaten track!