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Book Review: Dark Star Safari by Paul Theroux

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Dark Star Safari Paul Theroux is the story of the author’s overland journey from Cairo to Cape Town with all the adventures, people and places he encountered across the continent.

Paul Theroux traveled across Africa from north to south in the first half of 2001. Starting in Cairo, it traveled across the Nile River in Egypt via Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, South Africa and Swaziland. . He traveled mostly by public transport such as trains, boats, bush taxis, buses, cattle truck, rental Land Rover, canoe and hitchhiking. As a young 20-year-old Theroux had come to Africa to teach as a Peace Corps volunteer in rural Malawi, and so this trip 40 years later was partly an emotional one, but also to see how much has changed since then.

The book begins in Cairo, the capital of Egypt, and travels south to Sudan, the land of the Nubians. Theroux travels all the way to Kenya and then west to Uganda. He meets up with friends in Kampala, where he lived a few years ago. She crosses Lake Victoria to catch a ferry to Mwanza in Tanzania and then a train to Dar es Salaam. Before entering Malawi, another train takes him to Mbeya in southern Tanzania and visits the school where he taught as a young man. This is probably the most frustrating point of the entire trip, as he’s been assessing the impact of foreign aid over the 40 years since he’s been there. After his review of development (or lack thereof), he travels to Mozambique via the Zambezi River. The next country is Zimbabwe, where the Mugabe regime experienced its effects on white farmers. He finally reaches South Africa and the luxury of the Blue Train between Johannesburg and Cape Town. Theroux’s summary after this journey also reveals his disappointment at the “help” foreigners have been doing to the continent and his joy at meeting people while traveling:

Africa is financially more worn out, hungrier, poorer, less educated, more pessimistic, more corrupt, and you can’t tell politicians from witch doctors than when I first knew them. Africa is not just one place. It is a variation of colorful republics and seedy chiefdoms. I got sick, I got stranded, but I was never bored. In fact, my journey was a pleasure and a discovery.”

Dark Star Safari An interesting account of Theroux’s travels, especially as he travels through Africa in ways many don’t dare. Very negative about the work of foreign development organizations, which is not entirely unjustified. But throughout the book, Theroux’s style remains witty and entertaining.

Description of Paul Theroux’s overland journey from Cairo to Cape Town Dark Star Safari Other epic land expeditions, such as Riding the Iron Rooster Two books about China and the Silk Road. You can enjoy comparing Theroux’s intelligence and insight with that of Sihle Khumalo. Dark Continent My Black Ass. Khumalo has also traveled the length of Africa by public transport, from Cape Town to Cairo, but as a native of the continent he has a quite different perspective and focuses more on travel than the influence of foreign intervention.