Book Review: Dark Star Safari by Paul Theroux

Dark Star Safari by Paul Theroux is the story of the creator’s overland journey from Cairo to Cape Town with all of the adventures, individuals and locations he encounters all through the continent.

Paul Theroux traveled Africa from north to south within the first half of 2001. Beginning in Cairo, he traveled down the Nile in Egypt, by means of Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, South Africa and Swaziland . He traveled largely by public transport together with trains, boats, bush taxi, buses, cattle truck, rented Land Rover, canoe and hitch-hiking. As a younger 20-something-year-old, Theroux had come to Africa to show in rural Malawi as a Peace Corps volunteer and so this journey 40 years later was partly a sentimental journey but additionally to see how a lot has modified since.

The e-book begins in Egypt’s capital Cairo and heads south into the land of the Nubians, Sudan. Theroux travels all the way in which down into Kenya after which heads west to Uganda. He catches up with buddies in Kampala the place he had lived a number of years earlier. He takes a ferry throughout Lake Victoria to Mwanza in Tanzania after which the practice to Dar es Salaam. Another practice will get him to Mbeya in southern Tanzania earlier than coming into Malawi the place he visits the varsity the place he taught as a younger man. This might be essentially the most demoralizing level of the entire journey as he assesses the impression of overseas assist over the 40 years since he was there. After the treatise on improvement (or lack thereof), he travels through the Zambezi River into Mozambique. The subsequent nation is Zimbabwe the place he experiences the consequences of Mugabe’s regime on white farmers. Finally he reaches South Africa and the luxurious of the Blue Train between Johannesburg and Cape Town. Theroux’s abstract after this journey reveals a disappointment within the “assist” foreigners have thrown on the continent but additionally the enjoyment he skilled in assembly individuals as he traveled:

Africa is materially extra decrepit than it was once I first knew it, hungrier, poorer, much less educated, extra pessimistic, extra corrupt, and you’ll’t inform the politicians from the witch docs. Not that Africa is one place. It is an assortment of motley republics and seedy chiefdoms. I bought sick, I bought stranded, however I used to be by no means bored. In reality, my journey was a delight and a revelation.”

Dark Star Safari is an fascinating account of Theroux’s travels, particularly as he travels in Africa by means not dared by most. He may be very unfavorable in regards to the work of overseas improvement organisations, which isn’t completely unfair. I’ll agree. Throughout the e-book nevertheless, Theroux’s model stays witty and entertaining.

Paul Theroux’s account of his overland journey from Cairo to Cape Town in Dark Star Safari follows his different tales of epic overland journeys corresponding to Riding the Iron Rooster in China and two books in regards to the Silk Road. You might get pleasure from contrasting Theroux’s wit and perception with Sihle Khumalo’s Dark Continent My Black Arse. Khumalo additionally traveled the size of Africa from Cape Town to Cairo by public transport, however he has fairly a distinct perspective being a local of the continent and focuses extra on the touring than the impression of overseas intervention.

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