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Photograph courtesy of Geographic Expeditions
Kenya
Save the King!

Lion kills cow, Maasai warrior kills lion. It’s a centuries-old conflict in the Kenyan bush. But in the past ten years lion populations across Africa have plummeted from 100,000 to 23,000, transforming the issue into a full-fledged crisis. Alarmed research crews have come to Kenya to study the cats and teach the Maasai ways to live with them harmoniously. But one conservation group is way ahead of the curve. Kuku Group Ranch, a 280,000-acre spread in the Chyulu Hills of southern Kenya, is entirely owned and operated by the Maasai themselves. And so far they’ve had dramatic success with their cat-protection efforts: In a recent 30-month period, the ranch’s lion population jumped from 15 to 52. Now, in conjunction with Geographic Expeditions, Kuku will bring in its first guest-researchers. From your luxury tented camp at Campi ya Kanzi, you’ll set out on foot with Maasai trackers to study Kuku’s lions, reading paw prints and at times walking up on the felines (tagging and collaring is part of the job). “You have an opportunity to observe natural history at a slowed pace,” says Geographic Expeditions president Jim Sano. “You’re not zipping around a park from one animal to another.”

Outfitter: Geographic Expeditions; geoex.com
Price: From $7,600 ($$$$)
Length: 9 days
Departs: January, March–July, September–December

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