Bill Bryson's "African Diary"

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Mar 19th, 2003, 05:27 AM
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Bill Bryson's "African Diary"

Has anyone read it?
There is a review of the book and interview with the author in my current issue of Travel Africa mag and I would like to hear from anyone who has read it.
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Mar 19th, 2003, 11:38 AM
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I've not read it, but would love to hear what the review said - was it positive? I've seen the book and considered buying it a few times, but it seems awfully slim compared to other Bill Bryson tomes...
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Mar 19th, 2003, 02:57 PM
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Yes it was very positive.
It's in Travel Africa current issue.
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Mar 19th, 2003, 07:14 PM
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I read the book and while I must admit it was not what I expected, I found it interesting. It is a very "easy" read, by that I mean good writing. I was expecting a bit more about scenery and wildlife. The trip he took was to Kenya at the invitation of CARE International, subsequently the book is about hopes and dreams of people living in poverty and what efforts are being made to improve their living conditions. It goes into great detail about the slum of Kibera, which is in Nairobi. While in the Great Rift Valley he visits a village where a water tap has made a dramatic difference in how people live there. Bryson's humor does emerge frequently, but if you are looking for something about wildlife, scenery, etc. this is not the book. Proceeds from the book go to CARE International.
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Mar 19th, 2003, 11:43 PM
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Susan
Yes the review was very positive about the way he was honest and open about the work of CARE and how uninformed he'd been about it before the trip - so the reader learns as he learns. The review said that even with such a serious matter he wrote with humility and some humour too where appropriate.
I think I'll go get the book.
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Mar 20th, 2003, 12:19 AM
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Has anyone read 'I'd rather be on safari' by Gary Clarke? It gives one excellent insight on safaris in diffferent parts of Africa and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It is only available in US from http://www.barancorp.com/store/p000325.htm

About the book:
On over 100 Safaris, Gary K. Clarke has canoed the Zambezi River, camped on the floor of the Ngorongoro Crater, slept under the stars of the Kalahari Desert and traversed the Great Rift Valley. In this book he writes about his many adventures and misadventures in Africa. “I’d Rather Be On Safari” conveys a true feeling for the land, the animals and culture of this diverse and complex continent. Gary K. Clarke has a lifelong involvement with wild animals, human cultures and the natural world. He is a naturalist, lecturer, photographer, writer, consultant, Safari Leader and former Zoo Director. For more than a quarter of a century Gary has explored the majesty that is Africa. If you’ve ever been on Safari this book is a must. If not, it’s the next best thing. Jack Hanna, television star of Jack Hanna's Animal Adventures graces the dust jacket with the following quote "My dream is to someday be on Safari with Gary Clarke."
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Mar 20th, 2003, 01:27 AM
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Thanks King
I am going to look out for that.
Any more recommendations?

I received the photography book "Best of AGFA Wildlife Awards: Twenty Years of Winning Photography" for Xmas and adore it.

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Mar 20th, 2003, 02:28 AM
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Kavey yes.

As you are keen on Botswana and Namibia invest in this book (size of coffee table book):

Desert Adventure - In search of wilderness in Namibia and Botswana by Paul Augustinus - ISBN 1-874802-08-4 .

Well written with detailed maps, pics and paintings by Paul Augustinus,it gives you a true and detailed perspective on the two countries.

The other ones for general reading are:
Africa House by Christina Lamb

About the book: It is 1912 in Africa, and a rich young man goes to Northern Rhodesia and creates an idyllic English style of life. But life changes with the political scene in the 1960s and 70s and tragedy hits the family.

The house has now been refurbished and one can stay there if on a Robin Pope Safari.

and..

I dreamed of Africa and Night of the Lions by Kuki Gallman and any book by Elspeth Huxley who writes brilliantly for Africa

If you are looking for some of the most stunning wildlife photography then check out books by Mitsuaki Iwago:

- Serengeti: Natural Order on the African Plain
- Wildlife

If you are looking for guide books:
The Safari Companion by Richard Estes is brilliant.

If you love birds then the most detailed books for Southern Africa are:
- Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa by Gordon Maclean
- Southern African Birds: A Photographic Guide by Ian Sinclair et al
- Birds of Kenya and Norther Tanzania by Dale Zimmerman

Hope this helps.

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Mar 20th, 2003, 03:21 AM
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It does it does!

Thank you so much!
BR>
Kavey
[email protected]
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Mar 20th, 2003, 05:26 AM
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I would add the following:

"Dangerous Beauty" by Mark C. Ross, a compilation of experiences by him while on safari.

"In the Shadow of Kilimanjaro" by Rick Ridgeway, about his walk from Kilimanjaro through Tsavo to the Indian Ocean. He is accompanied by such notables as Iain Allan and Bill Woodley, legendary Tsavo warden.

"Jambo, Mama" by Melinda Atwood, her story of leaving a plush lifestyle in America to live in Nairobi and start a small business.

"The Eye of the Elephant" by Mark and Delia Owens. Americans who do research in a remote area of Zambia and their battles against poaching.

"Cry of the Kalahari" also by Mark and Delia Owens. This time they are in Botswana, where they live for seven years.

I found all of the above to be wonderful, insightful and honest accounts.

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Mar 20th, 2003, 05:39 AM
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Another one I have not yet read, but has been recommended by a friend is
"Colors of Africa," by James Kilgo
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Mar 20th, 2003, 05:40 AM
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Fabulous...

But it's not my birthday till end of September!

Waaiiil!
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Mar 20th, 2003, 09:52 AM
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Some other fun books to read are written by Osa and Martin Johnson. Martin Johnson was an early American photographer (1920's and 1930's) in Africa. He was accompanied by his wife, Osa, and they also made films in Africa which were shown in theaters (I believe in Europe and America). The proceeds from these films were used to fund their next trip to Africa. They also recorded the first African lion roar ever recorded.

The books are detailed accounts of their safaris - listing the equipment they took, the number of natives needed to get them to their destinations, how much they had to pay the natives etc. Very interesting.

George Eastman (Eastman/Kodak) joined them on safaris and on one of the lists of supplies they took was "soap (mountains of it, a gift from Sidney Colgate)" and "crates of Heinz's Fifty-Seven varieties" and "precious lenses from Bausch & Lomb in Rochester and Dallmeyer in London".

Another quote from Chapter 13
". . . I want to live at peace with the animals, for I have the ambition to make a picture record of the animals of Africa that will show the life of each species from birth to death. There are not many years left for making such a record; civilization is creeping into British East Africa. In another generation, perhaps, the animals of Africa, the little, beautiful animals of the plains and the strange, gigantic animals, the last survivors of the age of mammoths, will be all but extinct . . ."

There is also an Osa and Martin Johnson Safari Museum in Kansas (where they are from) that has their films for sale.

Great reading!
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Mar 20th, 2003, 08:58 PM
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For SusanLynne,

It sounds like you know what you are talking about. I'm going to take your suggestions. Where in africa have you been? Regards
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Mar 21st, 2003, 05:19 AM
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For: Pattysuericia

I haven't been to nearly as many places in Africa that I want to go! I was in Kenya and Tanzania in September. In Kenya we stayed in the Masai Mara and Amboseli. While in Tanzania we stayed at the Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire and Selous. Should circumstances ($$$$) allow, I plan to return in 2004 at which time I would like to go to Botswana and/or Zambia. If you haven't been to Africa, please try to go. It is truly a special place. I am obsessed with going back.
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Mar 21st, 2003, 01:31 PM
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Dear SusanLynne,

Like you, I am completely obsessed with africa-I was in SAfrica & zimbabwe in oct-nov 2002. Just loved it but it ended up costing me an absolute fortune.
How long were you in Kenya & Tanzania? Did you use a tour company? I'd love to know. Patricia
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Mar 21st, 2003, 02:08 PM
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Message for Patricia:

Yeah, Africa is an expensive habit to have!! We were in Kenya and Tanzania for a total of 15 days, seven in Kenya and eight in Tanzania. I did a year-and-a-half worth of research before deciding where I wanted to go, how long I wanted to stay at each place and the accomodations. I splurged by staying at Tortillis in Amboseli and Sand River Lodge in Selous. A friend surprised us with a night at the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge (absolutely outrageous! decadent! deliciously fun!) All are spectacular. My favorite, however, was the very simple Mara River Camp just outside of the Mara National Park. Many people would disagree with me, but I thought the camp was quintessential Africa. Not super-duper deluxe, but rather simply comfortable. Right on the banks of the Mara River, hippos outside our tent - it was great. I used a company based out of Arusha, Tanzania to book everything for me. After looking at more safari tour operators than I care to remember, a friend recommended them. They were much less expensive than US-based companies, and even less than many African-based. The company was Roy Safaris Limited. They have a website, but they specialize in private safaris, which is what we opted to do. Best decision we ever made and was well worth the extra money it cost. I doubt a vehicle full of people would have been in agreement to wait nearly three hours at the Mara River in the hope of a crossing, but we did and we saw one that will live forever in my mind. We also stayed with two male lions eating breakfast and watched the clean-up crews (jackal, vultures and hyena) come in, a process which took about two hours. Then we stayed with a leopard for almost two hours as well. That's the beauty of going on a private safari. Anyway, if you are considering a trip to either Tanzania and Kenya, I would give them a try. Again, they were less money and the service was impeccable. Clean vehicles, fantastic guides, etc. The company is family owned and operated, and they have lived in Tanzania all their lives. They know the country, well, as if it were the back of their hands! Website address is www.roysafaris.com I booked the entire trip corresponding by e-mail and it worked out fine. If you have any other questions, I would be more than happy to answer them.
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Mar 21st, 2003, 09:34 PM
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Dear Susan Lynne

I WANT to go with you next time!(haha)I also used a travel agency in south africa and other then that I was lucky as I stayed with the locals who made it very simple for me-too simple as they did everything before my arrival. We went to 2 private luxury game reserves-also decadent(nothing like it eh?)and after that we booked 3 others in Kruger national park. Just had a ball! Can you get in touch with me at [email protected] Just put africa or Tanzania on the subject line so I don't delete. Thanks Patricia
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Mar 22nd, 2003, 05:48 AM
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Message For: Patricia

Will do!!
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Mar 22nd, 2003, 06:50 PM
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Dear SusanLynne
Look forward to hearing from you;don't forget to put on subject line(so I won't delete) africa or tanzania
Kind regards, Patricia
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