Since some time last year, I’ve only been reading travel books about people who go out and do something most of us wouldn’t dream of, travelling to far flung or unusual places and then write about it for our enjoyment. I will list some of these books on another post, as there is one book that I want to highlight in this post. While at a bookshop at O R Tambo airport I spotted a book which piqued my curiosity. The book is called “Around Africa on my bicycle” by Riaan Manser. The name caught my attention as it sounded South African and it’s not everyday that I read a book about a South African adventurer.
Once I started this book, I was enthralled by the mission of this South African. Having decided he wanted to do something different with life and make an impression on the world, he took on the journey of circumnavigating the African continent by bicycle, the first person to achieve this. This self imposed, life changing journey took him over two years to complete, cycling from Cape Town, up towards the Western coast around Northern Africa and then down the Eastern coast all the way back to Cape Town.
In the book, Riaan shares this incredible journey which saw him persevere in the most adverse conditions. There is so much to like about this book, but what stood out was the constant acts of kindness which encouraged and in some cases actually helped him complete his journey. This also proved that there is more to Africa than civil wars, abject poverty and wilderness. However he did have some hair raising experiences, but I’ll leave that to you to find out.
A curious fact about this extraordinary adventure is that Riaan refused to pay any bribes when confronted with corrupt officials in the 33 African countries he visited. This in itself is an amazing achievement, as my experiences in Libya, Zimbabwe and Mozambique have proved.
However one of the qualities Riaan shows during this trip, which I found interesting is that at times he allowed himself to slump or feel defeated, if only to get the defeatist attitude out of his system and then regroup and move on.
This is an inspirational book from an inspirational South African, who not only loves his country but shows immense pride at being a son of Africa. He is another South African which makes me and others Proudly South African!