Aidan Hartley rss

Aiden Hartley is the Spectator’s Wild Life columnist.

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


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


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


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

Wild life

12 February 2011

Democratic Republic of Congo It is impossible to predict how a person will behave in a tight spot. I have been in Congo’s rain forest with my TV producer Ed… Read more

Wild life

15 January 2011

Juba In the run-up to this week’s referendum on Southern Sudan’s future, I flew to Juba with a bottle of Bushmills. The whiskey was for Dan Eiffe. When Sudan’s southern… Read more


Wild life

18 December 2010

Laikipia A Christmas gift of perfume smelling of chocolate caused my wife Claire to burst into tears. ‘I have never received such a lazy present!’ she wailed. ‘Hang on,’ I… Read more


Pride of Somalia

20 November 2010

When the Sun ran a story saying that a council in London’s East End will investigate whether a Somali immigrant, Dahir Kadiye, scammed on his housing benefits, the point did… Read more


White man’s burden

13 November 2010

Suffering has had at least one benefit for white Zimbabweans, says the writer Peter Godwin – it has brought them closer to the rest of the population When Robert Mugabe… Read more

Wild life

6 November 2010

Laikipia I have a mob of finished Boran steers ready for the holidays. The butchers are suddenly chasing me and that’s a fine feeling. A year ago, we were in… Read more

Wild life

23 October 2010

Bangkok ‘Any Thai man who is not married is gay,’ said a Thai woman to me. ‘You could say that about many places,’ I observed. ‘Yes, but 80 per cent… Read more

Wild life

25 September 2010

Rift Valley The patriarch Jacob Mukhamia Omanyo, grandfather of my friend Celestina, was born in 1888 in western Kenya. For 119 years he lived a healthy life, falling sick only… Read more


Last season

28 August 2010

Kenya Our surfing gang — average age 50 — are out in the bay again, dodging sewage, bull sharks and even, earlier this season, a pirate’s corpse. The waves are… Read more


Friendly fire

31 July 2010

Laikipia, Kenya My cousin Charlie Williams is a young Irish Guards captain about to deploy in Afghanistan. The other day he came to stay on our farm in Kenya’s highlands… Read more


Battle lines

30 June 2010

South Africa Rarely is Jonathan Clayton, the Times man in Africa, far from the front lines — but this month when I stayed at his Johannesburg house the battlefield came… Read more


Let’s do business

2 June 2010

Tanzania Here’s this Chinese guy in the midday sun. Straw hat, faggy in his mouth, bright eyes, tanned face. I feel like crying. We’re in the middle of nowhere and… Read more

White-knuckle ride

12 May 2010

Rainy Season on the Cattle Stock Route From the side of the track, a Samburu youth waved me down. I stopped the vehicle. He was gorgeously dressed for market day:… Read more


Let’s have an adventure

14 April 2010

Colombian jungle The first day I was in Bogota I saw a big yellow bus speeding by, full of old-aged pensioners dancing Salsa. I knew I was going to like… Read more


Shooting the breeze

24 March 2010

Malindi, Kenya I’m at Malindi’s Driftwood beach bar, nursing a Tusker beer. I’m gazing at the Indian Ocean. The day was hot: 110 in the shade. Now at dusk, a… Read more

Will China kill all Africa’s elephants?

24 March 2010

At first he was coy. ‘Yes my brother,’ Salim the dealer smirked. ‘How many kilos you want?’ It had taken us only a day to find a man in Tanzania… Read more


Entrance exam

24 February 2010

Before disembarking at Bulawayo airport I stuffed the book I was reading in the front-seat pocket. It was Peter Godwin’s fine When a Crocodile Eats the Sun. I did not… Read more