Friday, November 01, 2013

Dark Star Safari by Paul Theroux

In this title, Paul Theroux sets off for Cape Town from Cairo - the hard way. Travelling across bush and desert, down rivers and across lakes, and through country after country, he visits some of the most beautiful and dangerous landscapes on earth. It is a journey of discovery and of rediscovery - of the unknown and the unexpected - charting places unknown and those known as a young teacher 40 years before.;In the Swahili language, the word safari simply means journey , and this - to Theroux - is the ultimate journey. It is a trip where chance encounter is everything, where departure and arrival time are an irrelevance and where contentment can be found balancing on top of a truck in the middle of nowhere. 

Righto, I finally got around to reading this ... it's been on my wishlist since I saw someone reading it on my East Africa trip. That was in 2007 o_0 How slack can one person be? In my defense, I did finally get around to buying it while I was still part of a book club. And then when I got it back, it sat on my shelf for months as I read my Kindle.

I figured it'd be a good book to have on a holiday so started it shortly before we went to USA & Bermuda. I lugged it all that way, on my first proper International trip since having the Kindle (which I took too!) ... and I don't think I read a word of it! Pfft. Some things are so typical ;)

Anyway, although it did take me a while to get thru this book (it is fairly lengthy too), I was captivated while reading because I have been to so many of the places he travels thru: Egypt, Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, Mozambique and, obviously, South Africa.

It was also quite a tough read, as someone who has lived in (South) Africa her whole life and traveled thru a lot of the rest of Africa too. Although I traveled quite a number of years after he did and I was in tour groups, specifically there to enjoy the special things each country had to offer.

Some of the writing made me feel uncomfortable and some of the things made me think hard. But, I think anyone who lives in Africa or has traveled thru rural parts of Africa (as in not just visited a few of the amazing safari destinations and five star hotels) should read this and decide for themselves. It certainly sounds like it was an incredible journey.

Honestly tho, the best thing to come out of it for me was reading about the Trans-Karoo Express (Shosholoza Meyl). The Trucker and I have looked it up and are keen to try it next time we go to Cape Town for more than a weekend :) Pity I didn't finish reading this before we booked our flights for Xmas - haha.

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