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"Too good. It's too bloody good"

EXTRACT FROM DEPARTURES MAGAZINE - TOTAL SURRENDER - JULY 2008 BY SOPHY ROBERTS

With a world-class guide, scout, portable tent (oh yes, and a rifle), Sophy Roberts heads to Tanzania to experience the old-fashioned way to safari on foot.

"Too good. It's too bloody good", says my guide, Richard Knocker. We've come across a pack of wild dogs - remorseless animals that eat their prey alive - sunning themselves on the Serengeti Plain. "I love this place," he says of the remote pocket of northern Tanzania. "The freedom to go where you want when you wan, with no curfews. I love it for its sheer possibility, that in Africa you can still find your own private patch of wildness and exist with very few rules."

Knocker is leading me on a six-day safari in and around Loliondo, a 1,500 square-mile block of wilderness east of Serengeti National Park and just below the Kenyan border. Specifically, we spend most of our time in Piyaya, off-radar Masai ancestral lands visited by few outsiders and where are no permanent commercial camps.

This is far from a typical African safari. It is conducted almost entirely on foot, our light canvas tents and supplies transported separately by Jeep. Knocker and I are accompanied by photographer Bill Phelps and a nine-member crew that includes Masai watchman, waiters, chefs, and attendants. Unlike the more fashionable safari experience, where the campsite is fixed, ours gives us the freedom to change locations, making day trips into the bush and across the plain. We move our camp twice, though clients can relocate more frequently, especially if the game is elsewhere.

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Departures, July 2008