This is the blog of journalist, Lonely Planet author and photographer Stuart Butler. It features news and travel updates from the regions in which Stuart works, including northeast Africa (Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan), Yemen and Sri Lanka.

Wednesday 20 May 2015

Walking With The Maasai Project

My big project for 2015 is Walking with the Maasai; a one month walk across the Maasai lands of Kenya that will result in a books, photographic projects and a speaking tour.
Over the course of May and June 2015 a Maasai companion, Josphat Mako, and I shall walk around 200km across a part of Kenya’s Maasai lands. The walk begins from the highest point of the remote, forested and little visited Loita Hills before heading westwards to the edge of the famous Masai Mara National Reserve. Skirting around the edge of the reserve we will walk through several of the private and community conservancies (essentially private game reserves) before finishing at the foot of the Oloololo Escarpment at the western edge of the Mara North conservancy.
The point of this project is not so much the walk itself but rather to get to know the Maasai and the landscapes and animals they live with. There’s no set in stone route and there will be numerous deviations and diversions in order to take in as many interesting encounters as possible.
Along the way I will visit and sleep in Maasai villages and spend as much time as possible with the Maasai learning what I can about their culture and contemporary lifestyles. But it’s not all going to be about the Maasai. By walking at a leisurely pace I am hoping to also understand something of the landscapes and wildlife of the region. Nights when I’m not a guest of the Maasai will see us camping in the bush with the animals or, around the Masai Mara itself, even visiting and staying in safari camps. The end result will be for me to gain a more in-depth understanding of contemporary Maasai lifestyle and the impact of 21st century life, conservation, political pressures and tourism on them.
For more on this project please see and follow the dedicated website and blog:
Please also follow the progress of the walk on Twitter: @StuartButler2 and Instagram: stuartbutler1974

Monday 28 April 2014

Latest Photographic Work: Ethiopia

It was a long while ago now but back in September and October 2012 I had the great pleasure in travelling around West Ethiopia and Addis Ababa as well as a quick side-trip to Harar in eastern Ethiopia in order to update the (now published) new Lonely Planet Ethiopia guide. One of my favourite books to work on to one of my favourite countries to travel through and I was really excited to get way out to the west - a place I'd never before visited.

Enjoy the photos: 

Wednesday 22 January 2014

Latest Work: Ijen Crater Sulpher Miners, Java, Indonesia 2013


I was recently in Java for Lonely Planet and at the end of my stay visited the spectacular Ijen sulphur mines and spent two days and nights following the miners at work. Here is a short photo story on Ijen and the miners work.

Tuesday 21 January 2014

Latest Work: Java 2013


Latest Work: Java 2013, a set on Flickr.

Back in the autumn of 2013 I was lucky enough to be sent to Java, Indonesia to update that section of the Lonely Planet SE Asia on a Shoestring guidebook. Java is my favourite part of Indonesia (although I've never been to Papua and reckon that would be right up my street): I love the vibrant art and culture scene in the towns and the dramatic volcanic landscapes (and the food ain't bad either!). The following are a selection of images from what was, once again, a wonderful trip to Indonesia.

Tuesday 17 December 2013

Africa: New Book

The new Lonely Planet Africa guide is out now. For this edition I had the mammoth, but utterly brilliant, task of updating Sudan, Republic of Congo and DR Congo. I also wrote the Ethiopia chapter, the coffee table-style South Sudan chapter and contributed to the Central African Republic chapter. When a book covers a continent the size of Africa coverage of some places can be rather short but for me this book is Lonely Planet at its ground breaking and adventurous best.