My daydreams of Kenya were born from reading Out of Africa as a girl, and I have long since understood the place to be magical. Naturally when I arrived in Lamu, I was received by a mythical black Lamu cat (a descendant of the ancient fine-limbed Egyptian cat) outside a duty-free shop that sells bones not booze.
On the way to a water taxi, it hit me: here, even the mundane is magnificent.
This solitary fort on Shela beach sits deep in sand dunes and divides 14 km of deserted beach from a bustling waterfront that leads to the famous Peponi Hotel where "everyone" meets for daily sundowners.
The interior designer Guini Suarez (my childhood friend and travel companion) finds the freedom - on an empty stretch of sand - to remember her days as a ballet dancer.
Down the beach, Spanish supermodel and actress Inés Sastre catches up with her old pal, the jeweler Carolyn Roumeguere who was raised with the Masai when her mother, a social anthropologist, left her life in France to marry a warrior.
In town, I run into the stylish Harlem-born, Lamu-reborn resident, Lee Harvin, who chats with his friend about a youth rehabilitation center he has built on the island.
Every morning, I feed donkeys outside the simple but chic Baitil Aman guesthouse. 40,000 donkeys exist in lieu of cars on Lamu and Shela.
Did someone mention donkeys?
The delightful Stephanie Von Watzdorf, who designs the travel inspired line, Figue, walks towards the Majlis Hotel with two Masai tradesmen.
We arrive into a grass airstrip at Samburu National Preserve
Serenoy, our guide in brilliant red, looks for wildlife on a game drive.
We are moved by the simple serenity of a Zebra finding shade under a tree.
And enchanted by a magical elephant kingdom. Sadly many of these elephants still live under threat from poachers despite the Kenyan government's recent crackdown.
The next day, we run across lions making love in the Mara…
As well as lions making war: A brave female Zebra tries to stomp a lioness in a failed attempt to save her baby while a second pregnant lioness circles her.
The bold and the beautiful: Samburu men and their jewelry
A Masai warrior dance at a local village results in the ultimate jumping photo.
Lovely light showers the plains.
Rosemary, the first female guide in Kenya, and her friends enjoy a campfire.
In an easy travel dress from Bungalow 8 in Mumbai, I take a catnap at the Indian-inspired Elephant Watch Camp.
Teary goodbyes at Julianna Silvester's birthday party in Nairobi put on by Royal African Safaris, the outfit she and her husband Peter own.