Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o has had a whirlwind couple of years: on the heels of her success in the film 12 Years A Slave she has been busy making more movies, becoming a style icon, and enjoying her status as one of the most photographed women in the world. All that has left her little time to visit Kenya, the beloved country she was raised in.
Until last month, that is, when she returned to her homeland for a quick trip. Nyong’o had some personal downtime, but spent most of her time promoting a cause that is near to her heart: saving Kenya’s elephants. (She’s gorgeous, talented AND a philanthropist!!!)
We dipped into Nyongo’s Instagram account to bring you these highlights of her work and trip, which covered Nairobi, the Masai Mara, Kisumu, and Amboseli National Park.
Nick Barose at work in the wild. @lancomeusa. #ivoryfree #Lupitaishome #elephants @dilokritbarose @wildaid
A photo posted by Lupita Nyong’o (@lupitanyongo) on
Nyong’o is a global elephant ambassador for WildAid, a conservation charity whose mission is to end the illegal wildlife trade. In this photo the actress primps before a photo shoot with some elephants (no word on whether the elephants got makeovers too.)
Tea in the savannah. #anytimeisteatime #MaasaiMara. Photo by Nick Barose. @dilokritbarose A photo posted by Lupita Nyong’o (@lupitanyongo) on
Here Ms. Nyongo sips some tea — a very Kenyan drink — before her shoot in the Masai Mara, one of the most famous wilderness areas in Kenya.
I have joined @WildAid as a global ambassador to call for us to save elephants from extinction. Join me. Be #ivoryfree. And visit the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust @dswt to meet adorable orphaned baby elephants with names, histories, personalities and a desire to live out their lives. #whenyouknowmoreyoudomore photo by @kristianschmidt_ A photo posted by Lupita Nyong’o (@lupitanyongo) on
The photo shoot took place at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi, a sanctuary for orphaned and abandoned elephants, many of which lost their parents to poachers.
#elfiselfie. Elephant tusks start showing when they are around 2 years old. Let THEM wear the ivory. #ivoryfree @WildAid #elphie #elfie #elephants #naturelovers #kenya #JohnKerrythanksforthetip @dswt A photo posted by Lupita Nyong’o (@lupitanyongo) on
This was the moment that Nyong’o taught the world what the term “elphie” means.
Elephants can hear more than 5km away. So my whisper must be like a shout at this distance…? #dubiouslogic. Tonight’s gala at @villarosakempin is to raise funds and awareness to ensure that we get to hear from elephants for a long long time. @wildaid #ivoryfree #LNhomecoming #elephants #secretsthatcanbeheard A photo posted by Lupita Nyong’o (@lupitanyongo) on
After this photo shoot Nyong’o attended a fundraiser at Villa Rosa Kempinski in Nairobi to benefit WildAid.
Back to the roots, to my ancestral home #Kisumu #homecoming #homeiswherethefishis #latergram A photo posted by Lupita Nyong’o (@lupitanyongo) on
On July 1 Ms. Nyong’o headed to Kisumu, her family’s ancestral home on the Kenyan coast.
Dance lessons from Aoko in preparation for the #Lancome party tonight. Happy 80th Anniversary! #expectsomeseriousmoves #cantwait @lancomeusa @lancomeofficial @lancomeuk #latergram #Kisumu #nevertoooldtodance
A video posted by Lupita Nyong’o (@lupitanyongo) on
In this cute video Nyong’o learns some dance moves from her 80-year-old grandmother. Go Aoko!!!
Hello Kenya! #nofilter #ivoryfree A photo posted by Lupita Nyong’o (@lupitanyongo) on
An open leap from the #Kilimanjaro.Happy 4th, Americans! #homeawayfromhome #Ivoryfree. #Amboseli #Kenya #Lupitaishome A photo posted by Lupita Nyong’o (@lupitanyongo) on
Here she poses with the dramatic Mount Kilimanjaro in the background.
Me and Elephant researcher Katito Sayialel of the Amboseli Trust for Elephants. Thank you for introducing me to these incredible animals with such passion and joy. May your job always exist by us ensuring that the elephants always do too. #bestclassroomexperience #ivoryfree @wildaid #Amboseli #Kenya #Lupitaishome #elephants A photo posted by Lupita Nyong’o (@lupitanyongo) on
Nyongo spends some time with a researcher from the Amboseli Trust for Elephants, which has worked to understand and protect elephants since 1972.
Sandra: Hey sweetie, How’s the homecoming? Where are you now? Me: in the Mara Sandra: Oh wow! Are you camping? Me: I’m #glamping girl! Sandra: OMG I’m so jealous. Why are you talking to me then? Me: Because I CAN!!! @SafaricomLTD, thank you for the continuous coverage over more than 900km. #safarichronicles #Lupitaishome #homecoming @olaremarakempin A photo posted by Lupita Nyong’o (@lupitanyongo) on
This lucky girl got to stay in the swank Olare Mara Kempinski safari camp in the Masai Mara, one of the most elegant tented camps in Kenya.
I took this photo. @natgeo consider this a job application submitted. #nofilter #naturalbeauty #maasaimara #Kenya #SmartphoneArtphone #giraffe A photo posted by Lupita Nyong’o (@lupitanyongo) on
The girl’s obviously got photography skills as well!
This fun slideshow reveals just how swank the safari camp is. No roughing it for this classy lady. We are jealous!!!!!