This is by no means a new book, but since this week’s theme is travel books, I thought I would review this book as a classic must read.
In 2003 Manser rode out of his beloved Cape Town, he wanted to be the first person to circumnavigate Africa by bicycle. He thought it would be a one-year journey but it actually ended up taking him over two years. ‘Around Africa on my Bicycle’ is about this trip and the glorious adventure it turned out to be.
He wanted to highlight the standard of living in Africa but he was also propelled by the idea of his own African adventure. He arrived back in Cape Town at the end of 2005. He covered approximately 36,500km´s and thirty-four countries.
Manser cycles an average of 90km a day, often in sometimes extreme conditions on run down gravel and sand roads. During the trip he is thrown in jail in Equatorial Guinea, gets taken hostage and faces possible death by Liberian teenage rebels.
During his journey he met many people, most of them poor. You experience the highs and lows with him. Some of the highlights of his trip are surviving the Sahara and Libyan deserts, standing in front of the pyramids, eating a bat, standing on the highest point in Africa, feeding hyenas mouth to mouth. He also experienced generosity like never before.
This is an amazing account of human spirit. I thought it was well written and I enjoyed the book thoroughly. Even though the book was 700 pages I could have carried on reading more. I enjoyed travelling along with him as I was reading.
The author has written more recent novels but I still think this is his best work and is recommended reading if you are a fan of this genre.