Farewell to Lynne Leakey, Robin Hood’s African Ambassador

Robin Hood and the Littlefield family lost a friend and memorable benefactor last month with the passing of Lynne Leakey, the African safari guide and conservationist instrumental in arranging for a Maasai warrior to travel to Robin Hood and teach campers the ways of his tribe.

Lynne died peaceably in her sleep Sept. 12 while on safari in Tanzania, and the outpouring of sadness form every corner of the world shows how many people she touched with her endless energy and love for Africa.

Lynne and Joseph

Lynne’s vision and energy made it possible for Kenyan Maasai warrior Ole Shergeegeelolodaritroi (better known to campers as Joseph) to join us at Robin Hood for five summers as a special counselor. Lynne proposed the idea, introduced me to a Maasai chieftan while on safari, personally sponsored Joseph on behalf of Robin Hood, and lobbied mightily and effectively to secure Joseph’s travel visa, a very difficult feat. Lynne believed in Robin Hood and the value to the Maasai people for a member of their tribe to join Robin Hood’s diverse international community. We owe her a major debt of gratitude and remembrance.

Lynne was a dynamic, charismatic, and famous African Safari guide, forceful conservationist, and activist of many causes. A daughter-in-law to legendary anthropologists Richard and Mary Leakey and formerly married to the long time head of the World Wildlife Federation, Lynne developed a protective passion for the preservation of African animals, particularly the elephants she cherished so much. She inspired many of us to care, too. Her rage at poachers and governments that allowed the slaughter of animals to continue touched our hearts and minds. If she could care so passionately about the animals, shouldn’t we?

We cherished our time with Lynne on safaris in Africa and her annual visits to our home in Carmel, California. Adventures with Lynne provided among the most memorable highlights of our Littlefield family life.   And, thanks to Lynne, hundreds of campers learned about Maasai life, how to throw a spear and track animals from Joseph, another once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Considering the hundreds of nicknamed essay-writer reviews jazz musicians who took to the world’s stages during the 20th century, the dearth of nicknames among up-and-coming artists is rather striking


H 35° : L 25°