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Aidan Hartley rss

Aiden Hartley is the Spectator’s Wild Life columnist.

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It's time for Kenya to put aside dreams of singing wells and dancing bulls

30 August 2014

Laikipia   ‘Good morning, sir!’ The warrior strides up to me on the high plains and shakes my hand. ‘May I traverse your farm? I thought it impolite not to… Read more

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Climbing Mount Kenya with my 13-year-old daughter

19 July 2014

 Kenya Highlands I’ve just descended Mount Kenya with Eve, my 13-year-old daughter, and her class of school leavers from Pembroke House. Afterwards our guide Steve, an ex-Grenadier guardsman, emailed me… Read more

TO GO WITH AFP STORY By Jean-Marc Mojon

Please take your holiday in Kenya this year

21 June 2014

 Rift Valley Many of my British tribe fled Kenya around independence in 1963 because they believed there was no future. Gerald Hanley, an Irish novelist who knew the country, forecast… Read more

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The books that have kept me alive

24 May 2014

In bed Safety measures — I’ve never been good at them, so inevitably I inhaled and got soaked by the toxic agricultural chemical I was out spraying on a windy… Read more

A Somali government soldier at the site of car bomb blast in front of the Makka Al Mukarrama Hotel in Mogadishu,  March 15, 2014

Hunted in Mogadishu by the Sick Man and the Jilbab

26 April 2014

From a way off, as he entered the café, he looked young and handsome but when he sat down there was something wrong in that face. He moved like a… Read more

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Before you talk about 'Lessons from Rwanda', read this

5 April 2014

In Rwanda I was an ant walking over the rough hide of an elephant — this time 20 years ago I had no idea of the scale of what I… Read more

A £50 million search for love

29 March 2014

 Laikipia When I first knew Michael Cunningham-Reid he was such a strict teetotaller that he would not eat trifle for pudding in case there was sherry in it. For years,… Read more

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Jubilant greetings to you, Celestino! How is the atmospheric pressure in your corner? 

15 February 2014

 Laikipia ‘I am old and cannot work again,’ said Celestino. ‘But you are 46 and we have many years to go.’ ‘No. Working for you has made me blind.’ ‘We… Read more

The greater the risk, the greater the reward

I don't love money, but I love the risks it makes me take

18 January 2014

On the flight into Kinshasa, I sat next to an elderly Englishman who was pallid with fear. He revealed that he was a bankrupt who was determined to survive by… Read more

Laikipia

Aidan Hartley: Kenya is special like no other African nation

16 November 2013

As I write this, my hands are seared and bruised from holding a hot iron after branding our cattle. We have castrated our steers and piled up the testicles on… Read more

The Sphinx and the Pyramid of Menkaure

The only people thriving in post-revolution Egypt — tomb raiders

9 November 2013

 Cairo Hook nose, blue chin, Arab headdress: the tomb robber resembled a villain from a Tintin comic. His friend was packing a big pistol and behind them it was sunset… Read more

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Aidan Hartley: How Muslim militants and Western jihadis wrecked enchanting Somalia

19 October 2013

Wizards inland from the little Somali port of Barawe bewitched a person to come to them by banging a nail into a tree and chanting his name. ‘He comes no… Read more

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How we survived terror at Nairobi's Westgate mall

28 September 2013

 Nairobi Kenya is one of those places where everybody knows everybody — and each one of us seems to have friends or relatives caught up in the Westgate shopping mall… Read more

Somali women carry weapons during a demo

Al-Qa'eda targeted Kenya not because it's a banana republic, but because it's a symbol of African success

28 September 2013

If Al-Shabaab was behind the terrorist attack in Nairobi, then the group has come a long way since its foundation in a derelict shampoo factory called Ifka Halane — ‘Clean… Read more

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Aidan Hartley: I have been shot at and bombed so why do I fear a pyramid?

21 September 2013

It was towards dusk by the time we had given the tourist police the slip and started climbing the pyramid of Mycerinus at Giza. It was Sebastian Barry-Taylor and I… Read more

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Killing in Kenya: Aidan Hartley tracks the last steps of an elephant

24 August 2013

  Laikipia The bull elephant had roamed our northern marches of the Laikipia plateau for decades. I always recognised him when he passed through the farm because his handsome 65-pound… Read more

The Ghosts of Happy Valley, by Juliet Barnes - review

3 August 2013
The Ghosts of Happy Valley Juliet Barnes

Aurum Press, pp.320, £16.99, ISBN: 9781781310854

Rift Valley, Kenya The other day when I told the headmaster of a top British public school that I came from Kenya, he quipped, ‘Ah, still living in Happy Valley?’… Read more

A Somali shepherd in Kenya

A binge on alcohol and meat, plus hired sex and lodging — all for £1.50

27 July 2013

 Kenya Home is beyond the perimeter of modern Kenya and way off the grid. When the ancient generator goes off in the evening we are left with a sky of… Read more

Wild life: Could I ever revive the Pinguaan Springs?

15 June 2013

Il Pinguaan Springs When I first saw the Pinguaan Springs they were small, fetid bogs set about with papyrus, the haunt of mercury-coloured frogs and dragonflies. I wondered why they… Read more

Kruger National Park

Wild life: Leopard on a hot tin roof

18 May 2013

A leopard has been on the rampage night after night. We know her because she often lurks in the woods behind the farmstead, between the beehives and the old long-drop… Read more

Kenny Kunene's Birthday Party

Life among South Africa’s nouveaux riches

11 May 2013

Not long ago Cyril Ramaphosa, probably South Africa’s future president and ANC leader, attempted to buy a buffalo. It was at an auction for hunters and game ranchers. He bid… Read more

Wild life

20 April 2013

Colobus monkeys in the forest were throat singing like Tibetan monks. Mist rose from the Kericho tea gardens above us in the gloaming. My son Rider gazed longingly at the… Read more

Wild life

23 March 2013

Rift Valley ‘We’re on the frontline,’ I said. ‘And however many guns we had, it wouldn’t be enough against the cattle rustlers.’ ‘Yes,’ replied my friend Jamie, a shareholder in… Read more

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Kenya election: bullets and the economic boom

16 March 2013

The bandit opened fire at me from a distance of about six feet. He rose out of darkness and pumped three bullets into my car as I drove slowly through… Read more

Wild life

23 February 2013

Rift Valley I am training for a half-marathon on the slopes of Mount Kenya in June and I must prepare myself for failure. I may not even make it to… Read more