the modern africa safari

    African man on a pirogue

    Travel to Africa and Beyond

    reinventing the safari because we recognize that people are part of nature

  • Mission


    A buffalo in Maasai Mara, Kenya

    Our Pledge: No Lion Jams

    Samburu warriors working with Ewaso Lions to track lions instead of killing them

    Fair Trade

  • Our Story: Dirtbag Deluxe

    Sierra Club founder John Muir in Yosemite Valley

    There are no new stories, just new ways of telling them.

    Cowgirls & Pirates was inspired by stories. One was John Muir's, a farm boy who arrived in California in the late 1800s. If he were around today, we'd affectionately call him a Dirt Bag, the kind of scruffy, highly intelligent, mildly maladjusted young man you meet in Joshua Tree or Missoula.


    Muir found his life's work in California's Yosemite Valley. "I have run wild," Muir wrote. "As long as I live, I’ll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. I'll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm, and the avalanche. I'll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can.”


    Another inspiration? Jackson Looseyia, a Maasai warrior who learned to track animals from his father, a famous hunter - and poacher recruited by conservationists to save animals instead of hunt them. Looseyia bridges the old and new, reminding us, as Muir did, that we are not separate from nature but connected to it in ways that are both quotidian and profound.

  • jackson looseyia's story

    The Maasai Mara: Then and Now

  • The Difference: People

    Cowgirls & Pirates was founded by environmental writer Susan Zakin. In 2001, she applied for a fellowship in Madagascar. Her French was rudimentary and the only guidebook written in English described broken-down buses and strange diseases. It took a long night of tequila and karaoke, but she said OK.


    Madagascar changed her life. A decade later, she founded Cowgirls & Pirates to share those mind-expanding experiences.


    Now, more than ever, we need to think globally.

    Cowgirls & Pirates founder Susan Zakin in Madagascar
  • Contact Us

    Need information? Idle curiosity? Researching your next novel?

    Just care for a chat? We're here.

    (If you're feeling shy, just sign up for our rarely published but always interesting newsletter: Letters from Cowgirls & Pirates

  • Featured Safari

    The Great Migration LIke You've Never Seen It

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    The Great Migration

    Like You've Never Seen It

    From luxury lodges to mobile camps, follow the great herds (and their predators). Lots of wildebeest. No tourists.