Richard Dowden

The Vampires of Africa

Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Cape Town

By

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).

Theroux the traveller says he wants to escape: ‘out of touch in Africa was where I wanted to be…Travel in the African bush can also be a sort of revenge on mobile phones and fax machines, on telephones and the daily paper…I desired to be unobtainable.’

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