When David and I visited the Segera Retreat in the Laikipia region of Kenya, I awoke before dawn to watch the sunrise and be in the African day, experiencing all it had to offer. I loved the expansiveness of land and sky and was able to live my personal practice of three R’s: rest, rejuvenation, and reimagination so easily there. We had a beautiful villa where we enjoyed the night sky and sounds of nocturnal animal life. Days were spent observing animals and birds, feeling the wind and sun, and absorbing the light and land around us.

During these moments, many of my earliest connections to nature returned to me. My love of the open ocean from my youth on the East End of Long Island; and my devotion to gardening, and nature photography. I also thought a lot about my time with the Inuit learning how to “hunt” animals with my eyes on the Arctic tundra, and the “university degree of observation and curiosity” that was the cornerstone of earth wisdom. The elders taught me that being in a state of love and grace allowed the animals come to you.

As I mulled over these memories we embarked on a trip to see lions, a male hadn’t been spotted in Segera in three months.  With the golden grasses, the lions blend in and are often detected only by movement. I was in a state of gratitude and meditation, deeply receptive to their greeting us, when I saw the grasses shift. A lion was there, and then another one. Then the two males who protect the pride.  All in all: four cubs, one mother, and two male lions. For two hours we observed them. It was beyond words. It was about being open. About scanning. About being aware of all around us and being in the presence of the present moment.

For the rest of our stay David and I witnessed abundant bird life, and elephants with their young that made me weep; we saw zebras and cheetahs and giraffes and more lions.  We were lucky to experience such great beauty with guides who had deep knowledge of this cradle of civilization, and a place of wildness that is like no other.

With Segera, Jochen Zeitz has created a retreat where you have the luxury of privacy, quiet and time. We dined alone, had our own guides, as well as the choice of whether to engage with other guests. Segera is a beautiful environment of design, art, gardens and culture. A model of sustainability that anyone interested in tourism with purpose and vision would love to visit.

The Cornerstone of Segera Philosophy is the Four C’s of:

  • Conservation: Conservation brings people to the area
  • Commerce: Commerce sustains the retreat
  • Community: Community support the retreat’s efforts
  • Culture: Cultural exchange benefits the employees and guests

It was a transformative experience, all around. A bold network of environmental leaders, conservationists, farmers, cattle herders, beekeepers, hospitality experts, and educators poised to lead the next generation, and conserve the beauty and bounty of Africa.

If anyone wants to invest in a future for Africa, visit Segera.