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Up in the air

LEWA WILDERNESS

“It’s the Cadillac of aviation,” says Will Craig, proud owner of a Waco Classic, a buttercup-yellow biplane designed in 1935 for the likes of Denys Finch Hatton and rebuilt in 2007 for Out of Africa joyrides over Samburu. This is where the green highlands around Mount Kenya fall away into an arid wilderness the size of Britain, and to fly with him is to see Africa as it appears to the spiralling vultures. Below us, the morning sunlight falls like a blessing, touching everything with gold as we soar at 180m over the plains. Marooned in endless seas of bush, stark granite inselbergs rise like tombstones, measuring the yawning distance. Volcanic mountains quiver on the skyline and through it all runs a precious ribbon of life — the muddy Ewaso Ng’iro River — graced by doum palms and shady acacias. The flight is all over in 45 minutes but you wish it would never end.

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