Richard Dowden

The Vampires of Africa

Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Cape Town

By Paul Theroux

Hamish Hamilton 495pp £17.99 order from our bookshop

Deciding that he wanted to see behind the media images of Africa (wars, poverty, disease and catastrophe), Paul Theroux went to Egypt in 2000 and then (by bus, car and train, on foot, and with deep regret occasionally by air) made his way down the continent to Cape Town. En route from Egypt to South Africa he passed through Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. That slice of Africa actually reveals the better parts, although not the best (Botswana), nor the worst (Congo, Nigeria and Angola).

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