"A worthy read for those travelers looking to gain further appreciation of post-colonial history across what can only be described as an utterly intoxicating region of the African continent."
Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda
Townsend recounts his own personal safari taken in the late 1960s through Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda in a refreshingly readable style analysing his experiences from not only a wildlife perspective but also observing the current humanitarian state of East Africa as he passes from village to village and town to town. His journey turns out to be a round trip of many thousands of miles, surprisingly conducted using an old Ford Cortina for most of the way.
(Spotted Hyenas are expert scavengers, second only to vultures who wait their turn impatiently. Click to enlarge image).
The author’s fascination with the indigenous wildlife runs through every page, from an impromptu afternoon tea with a chimpanzee to finding the four legs of a giraffe barring a midnight trip to the loo. These light hearted comments only serve as a compliment to a very perceptive and informative text.
(A lone elephant makes his way across the Serengeti National Park in the fierce mid day sun. Click to englarge image).
Looking at the region soon after Kenya’s independence has been granted in 1963, Townsend’s views are of great interest as we read, "the much publicised national policy of Kenya, ‘Africa for the Africans’, a philosophy promoted by President Jomo Kenyatta who has proved to be an impressive, highly capable statesman and a good friend to the West, has never meant kick out the Europeans regardless."
This clever ability to link the interest of the wildlife in its immensely inspiring environment with a political commentary on the state of the countries and their peoples at the time is undoubtedly the achievement of the book. A lot has changed in these beautiful countries since 1969 when the book went to print, however, with this book this author gives the reader an interesting insight into a unique snap shot in East Africa's history.
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(If you come across of copy of this illuminating book it will likely look like this, an original 1969 copy).
(The African savannah stretches out as far as the eye can see below us here in Tanzania. Click to enlarge image).