In The Last Safari, photographer Elizabeth L. Gilbert sets out for Kenya’s Great Rift Valley and to give back to the tribes she photographed a decade earlier. Gilbert explains that because so many photographers show up, take pictures, and never return, the tribes feel exploited. Because many of the warriors and their tribes have never seen photographs of themselves, her goal is give copies of her books to people she has photographed and to show the villages slide shows of their vanishing cultures, while Matt Goldman documents the experience. This is also a chance for her to reconnect with many of the warriors she met, and with the young boy she sponsored in school who lives, a decade later, exposed to the challenges and stress that globalization, industrialization and evangelical missionaries have placed on the tribes.
This safari will be different for Gilbert from her previous trips. A former war photographer who documented genocide in Rwanda and other African countries before turning her camera on the vanishing tribes of Kenya, Gilbert is used to traveling light. But in order to bring her vision to reality she assembles a crew in Nairobi, most of whom, including Director Goldman, have never been in the bush–or even camped.
On their journey, Gilbert and the crew must brave floods, lions, and bullets as they comes face to face with the cultural and social changes that disrupted Kenya (and by extension all of the African continent) and threaten the traditional life of the Masai and other tribes. Always exciting, and definitely bittersweet, The Last Safari reveals a vanishing world with grace and beauty.