Life is as much about those delightful moments of unexpectedness as it is being sure that every ball thrown comes down exactly as and where you would have hoped. Chancing late last year upon the Friedkin Fund, at Legendary Lodge, Arusha, during a routine educational trip in northern Tanzania, is one of those moments.
A quick overview: The Friedkin family lease 3.5 million acres of Tanzania’s wildernesses, managed on their behalf by the Friedkin Fund - in partnership with the Tanzanian Wildlife Division. As well as serving for years as a family holiday destination, the land also services the family’s wildlife commercial arm Legendary Expeditions, and includes a number of seasonal and permanent camps, of which super high-spec Mwiba is the newest. Dan Friedkin, a pilot, heads up the family’s conservation interests. Most of the land is in northern Tanzania.
That’s the Friedkins. And that’s 3.5 million acres. To put this in perspective, Paul Tudor Jones’s much – and justifiably – lauded Singita concession is 350,000 acres large. So is Kenya’s Maasai Mara. This is huge; and right under Serengeti noses – or thereabouts. Who would have known? Not me, that’s for sure. Certainly, I've been to some of the Friedkin camps and lodges, and some of us have heard about Mwiba, which looks set to help guarantee a vital stretch of the east-west migration corridor. But 3.5 million acres?!
Of course, as I've since discovered, not having all the world know is part of the Friedkin approach to the business of wilderness conservation. The excellence of its services and products speak for themselves. The family itself values its privacy.
However, a piece of good fortune: Sophy Roberts of the Financial Times is as keen as I am to visit Mwiba and reserves in general, and Dan Friedkin has kindly offered to host the trip. I’m extremely grateful, to both. Land this size, beautifully managed: I can’t wait to see where the Friedkins are going so right.