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Aidan Hartley rss

Aiden Hartley is the Spectator’s Wild Life columnist.

Will I survive my mid-life marathon?

26 January 2013

Rift Valley ‘I’ve got a brilliant idea,’ said Jools on the phone, his voice characteristically rising like a commentator on the Grand National as Red Rum comes in for the… Read more

Wild life

15 December 2012

Gilgil, Kenya Pembroke House, our children’s school, is a little slice of England set in Kenya’s Rift Valley. In the shadow of extinct volcanoes they play cricket on extensive grounds.… Read more

Years of living dangerously

8 December 2012
Ivory, Apes and Peacocks: Animals, Adventures and Discoveries in the Wild Places of Africa Alan Root

Chatto, pp.336, £20, ISBN: 9780701186038

The son of a fish-paste factory manager in London’s East End, Alan Root fell in love with ornithology as a Blitz evacuee when he first clapped eyes on the pea-sized… Read more

Somalia New Restaurants

Cooking for freedom

24 November 2012

A few days before I met Ahmed Jama in Mogadishu, three Islamist gunmen from Al Shabaab — al-Qa’eda’s Somali branch — burst into his new restaurant wearing suicide bomb jackets.… Read more

Wild life

17 November 2012

Northern Kenya If I go out in darkness I dread neither the leopard nor the lion but I recoil from the aardvark: for me a terrifying creature. The ant bear,… Read more

Wild life

22 September 2012

He was under a tiny patch of shade under a tree in one of the earth’s remotest spots. At Nadapal, the Kenya–South Sudan border, you might expect to meet the… Read more

Wild life

25 August 2012

Kigali Eighteen years after Rwanda’s bloodbath I disembarked from my flight and was surprised to see that mortar craters no longer pitted the airport tarmac. At a city café where… Read more

Wild life

28 July 2012

Kenya coast A loud crash woke us in the middle of our first night at the beach house. ‘Robbers must be trying to break in,’ said Claire, kneeing me in… Read more

Wild life

30 June 2012

Laikipia My new pride and joy is a pedigree Boran bull named Woragus 317. We know him as Ollie. Sired by the famous 956 Segera from the legendary Gianni line,… Read more

Wild life

26 May 2012

Juba After an all-night rainstorm in Juba I woke to see the mosquito that bit me in the dark. Now, several days later, a fever returns to me like an… Read more

Wild life

28 April 2012

Laikipia, Kenya Darkness was closing in and one of the sheep was lost. A search party formed. On my Kenya farm big cats, African wild dogs and hyenas abound. Livestock… Read more

Wild life

31 March 2012

I looked at the bomb craters and their shrapnel blast patterns. Dozens of metres away, rocks and tree trunks were spattered and split from daisy level upwards. I gulped. ‘Say… Read more

Wild life

25 February 2012

Kenya   At Nairobi’s Muthaiga Club this week I bumped into Stanley Johnson, author of the superb memoir Stanley, I Presume and father of Britain’s future prime minister. Mr Johnson… Read more

Wild life

28 January 2012

Wau, South Sudan ‘Let’s visit the brewery,’ said Ken when we reached Wau. We were dusty and parched. It was searing hot. Like a character in Ice Cold in Alex,… Read more

Wild life

3 December 2011

Kenya In protest against the lack of law and order in my farming district I have decided to dye my white cows pink. I don’t know what to do about… Read more

Wild life

5 November 2011

Kenya I am proud of Kenya for taking on Muslim extremists in southern Somalia. Rather wisely, the Kenyan military has so far prevented hacks from reaching the field. But for… Read more

Wild life

8 October 2011

Aidan Hartley’s Wild Life Israel Jerusalem was once a very sad place for me and I feared returning. I was mad with grief when I was last here in the… Read more

Wild Life

10 September 2011

Aidan Hartley’s Wild Life  Nairobi My friend Philip Coulson was shot at midnight while driving home after the theatre in Nairobi recently. He had slowed down to go over some… Read more

Wild life

13 August 2011

Indian Ocean On Hassan’s dhow, shaped like Vasco da Gama’s caravel, I can forget about dry land for a fortnight of holiday. If I could, I’d give it all up… Read more

Drought didn’t cause Somalia’s famine

6 August 2011

War did. And food aid may well make it worse It seems wicked to question charity appeals for starving people in the Horn of Africa. Hunger is a terrible way… Read more

Wild life

2 July 2011

‘So much sorting to do,’ said my Aunt Beryl. We stood in the middle of her home in Sussex. I hadn’t visited for many years, not since Granny and Grandpa… Read more

Wild life

4 June 2011

Aidan Hartley’s Wild life Laikipia I had enjoyed a boozy lunch and afternoon in the Men’s Bar of the Muthaiga. I rarely get time off and I was, like the… Read more

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Wild life

23 April 2011

Kenya Marriage can be hard for all of us. A friend of mine, we’ll call him Charles, works far away from home. One day he told me his wife had… Read more

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Wild life

9 April 2011

Weregoi Plains Three shots rang out in the night air. Rustlers had attacked my neighbour’s boma a few hundred metres from home. At the time, our children were watching a… Read more

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Wild life

12 March 2011

Indonesia In a Jakarta traffic jam it hits me. After decades of frenetic travel, I have learnt less of the world than I might have, had I simply stayed on… Read more