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The Shadow of Kilimanjaro: On Foot Across East Africa

3.72  ·  Rating Details  ·  224 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
In one of the most acclaimed travel and adventure books of the past year, Rick Ridgeway chronicles his trek from the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro to the Indian Ocean, through Kenya's famed Tsavo Park. His tale is, according to The Boston Globe, "a gripping account of how it feels to be charged by an incensed elephant and kept awake at night by the roaring of stalking lions. ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 15th 1999 by Holt Paperbacks (first published October 1st 1998)
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Community Reviews

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Jennifer Goldby
Feb 22, 2014 Jennifer Goldby rated it it was ok
To be honest, I was quite disappointed by this book. I think the title is misleading, it evokes images of an epic journey fraught with danger and excitement. I had imagined the author going back to basics, surviving in the wild with only the simplest necessities of life and battling the elements, facing the conundrums that exist for the Masai, Waliangulu and other tribal groups. Instead the group are met with professionals and cooks and a whole team of people at frequent stops along the way who ...more
AfricaAdventureConsultants
Oct 22, 2011 AfricaAdventureConsultants rated it really liked it
Rick Ridgeway’s ‘The Shadow of Kilimanjaro’ isn’t just a journey through Kenya, it’s a journey through time. The book begins with Rick and his traveling companions climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. It is the beginning of a walking safari that will take them all the way to the Kenyan coast. He is accompanied by seasoned guides and trackers as well as rangers from the Kenya Wildlife Service.

Filled with the incredible adventures of meeting and observing animals while on foot, as well as descriptions of t
...more
Sarah
Mar 11, 2012 Sarah rated it it was ok
This was an interesting read. In addition to a story of a walk on foot from Kilimanjaro to the Indian Ocean, it is also an exploration of issues surrounding conservation and hunting in East Africa. In some ways, it's a very interesting read, and we get to meet many larger-than-life personalities who have been involved in the history of conservation and the national parks in Kenya, like Richard Leakey and Bill Woodley. I also appreciated Ridgeway's attempts to make sense of the fact that many inv ...more
Sara
Feb 10, 2012 Sara rated it it was amazing
I love a good adventure book and picked this one up thinking it would be just that. Instead, it was so much more. Ridgeway barely talks about his walking journey from the summit of Kilimanjaro to the Kenyan coast. Instead he uses the journey to tell a much larger story.

This book is really about the history of hunting and poaching, the ivory trade and conservation in Kenya. It is about the interesting people who stood up to corruption and greed to protect wild lands and wild animals in Kenya.

I s
...more
Foster
May 01, 2012 Foster rated it it was ok
I was excited for an account of Ridgeway's epic walk from the summit of Kilimanjaro to the shores of the Indian ocean, but this did not meet my expectations. My overall impression was that one of two things happened: 1) he didn't experience enough on the walk to build a book around so he had to add in a lot of information on Kenya's wildlife conservation community, or 2) he felt that a straight adventure book was too lowbrow, so focused instead on the wildlife conservation policy issues.

I was le
...more
Terry
Jul 16, 2012 Terry rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel
I didn't expect much from this book but was most pleasantly surprised. Ridgeway is an adventurer and conservationalist and this book contains his thoughts as he walks from the summit of Kilimanjaro to the Indian Ocean. Along the way we learn about African wildlife and the history of Tsavo National Parks, particularly the relationship between its elephants and the native and colonialist ivory hunters. Although there may be a balance needed between elephants and the commercial interests of nearby ...more
Meredith
Nov 22, 2013 Meredith rated it really liked it
This is a compelling analysis of the complex interactions between man and "megafauna" - in particular, elephants - in the region of Kenya that became - and still is - Tsavo National Wildlife Refuge. The frame upon which this is suspended is a trek from the top of Mt Kilimanjaro to the Indian Ocean, in the company on several knowledgable individuals, two of whom are the sons of one of the original wardens of Tsavo. Much to think about in this excellent book, for both the "bunny-huggers" among us, ...more
Shawn
Jul 01, 2008 Shawn rated it liked it
Read this after our RTW and climbing Kili in October 2006 and while writing and editing a journal of our trip. Makes me wish for the gift of storytelling: the ability to weave innocuous observations and details into a cogent, interesting tale that keeps the readers entertained and brings the imagery alive. Alas.

Since we trod some of the same ground, I came away with a deeper and renewed appreciation of East Africa.
Davidka
Dec 16, 2007 Davidka rated it really liked it
This is a brilliant book, telling of the past & present of the African National Parks. Told from the point of view of a walk from Kilimanjaro to the Indian Ocean with the sons of the ranger that helped create the parks.

I found it brilliantly descriptive & moving in it's narrative. It was a book I read form cover to cover in one sitting & when I put it down I started planning my first trip to Africa.
Tiffany Maxwell
Nov 01, 2011 Tiffany Maxwell rated it it was ok
You can only read about acacia trees and other plants for so long. Not much of a story, just a long description of the sights they see as they hike in Tanzania- which is hard to visualize without having been there, since they name plants and animals that I had never heard of (prior to visiting).

If you are going to this area and want a good read- I'd recommend Karen Blixen's Out of Africa.
Patagonia  Books
Dec 21, 2012 Patagonia Books rated it it was amazing
In one of the most acclaimed travel and adventure books of 1999, Rick Ridgeway chronicles his trek from the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro to the Indian Ocean, through Kenya's famed Tsavo Park. His tale is, according to The Boston Globe, "a gripping account of how it feels to be charged by an incensed elephant and kept awake at night by the roaring of stalking lions."
Michael Harris
May 15, 2012 Michael Harris rated it really liked it
An APL Recycled reads find. This is another walking book this time "up Mount Kilimanjaro, down the East side and across Kenya to the Indian Ocean. Ridgeway walks with the sons of a great Park Warden of Kenya and covers much of the history of conservation of wildlife and creating the National Game Parks. It was well written and a very interesting read.
Karl Sauerwein
Oct 04, 2013 Karl Sauerwein rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Had fun Reading this book.. Took my time looked up animals and plants that The author described to help me visualize it better. Good Read. Very informative and historical account of the national parks in Kenya and such intelligent dialogue on philosophical aspects on hunting and conservation. Oh and they made a fun trek across east Africa as well.
Sheri
Apr 14, 2009 Sheri rated it liked it
I read this to help prepare me for our trip to Tanzania this summer. It's about a walking safari from Kilimanjaro to the coast, and made me very glad that we won't be walking! It deals with issues concerning the management of wildlife and how that has evolved over the years. It's an interesting read.
Matthew
Sep 26, 2007 Matthew rated it really liked it
Ridgeway recounts a journey on foot to the pinnacle of Mt. Kilimanjaro and across the plains to the sea. Along the way he tells stories of the lands he walks through, the characters who shaped the wildlife conservation ethic in Kenya, and the amazing animals indigenous to the region.
Bruce
Aug 02, 2012 Bruce rated it it was amazing
A great story from mountaineer and adventurer Ridgeway about his walk up Kilimanjaro and out to the sea, through Tsavo National Park, with elephants, predator animals, and interesting flora. Extremely readable - you feel as if you are right there traveling with him.
Matt Stansberry
Oct 17, 2007 Matt Stansberry marked it as to-read
Haven't read it yet, but looking forward to it. I bought a used copy online a while back when I was on an Africa kick -- Peter Capstick, Death in the Long Grass and all that. Offer me suggestions on whether to bump it up on the list or drop it.
Heather
Nov 07, 2010 Heather rated it really liked it
Not really about Kili--this is just where they begin their adventure. It gives a lot of great information on the game reserves and conservation efforts in the Kenyan parks. The battle against poaching and those most involved.
Dan
Jul 25, 2011 Dan rated it liked it
I don't know why this is listed as author unknown. It's by Rick Ridgeway. This book didn't do too much for me, although I do value it hgihly in the evolution of my vegetarian philosophy.
Melanie
May 02, 2013 Melanie rated it really liked it
I appreciated the tangential information provided to flesh out the travel story - although my upcoming trip to Africa likely increased my engagement with the novel.
Ross Connelly
Oct 09, 2007 Ross Connelly rated it liked it
Interesting history of Tsavo but Rick Ridgeway is not a great writer. This one could have used some tactful editing but still a good read.
Dan Hall
Sep 26, 2008 Dan Hall rated it it was amazing
A GREAT book about trekking across Africa. I felt like I was trekking with them the entire way, learning a bit of history as we went.
Leslie
May 10, 2010 Leslie marked it as to-read
AWESOME BOOK! I loved this book, it was really entertaining, great mix of action, and history about the wilderness of Africa.
Kirsten
Sep 16, 2009 Kirsten rated it it was ok
Kinda slow after reading a book about the disaster on Everest. I think it would be good if you had been there.
Mark
Dec 08, 2009 Mark rated it did not like it
Interesting read, but I was only able to about half way through it. I couldn't really get into it...
Megan
Mar 08, 2008 Megan rated it it was amazing
A fun trek along eastern Africa that weaves treking, history and ecology. Wish i had been along for the walk.
Ann Freeman
Apr 29, 2014 Ann Freeman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lot of detail about a trek across East Africa, and wildlife management policies and history.
Skigirl
Sep 14, 2011 Skigirl rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book. A bit of adventure and a lot of history...tremendously interesting.
Catherine
Oct 24, 2007 Catherine rated it it was ok
travel literature -- hike from Mt. Kilimanjaro, across Kenya to Mombasa
Krissa Lebacqz
Aug 06, 2008 Krissa Lebacqz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great adventure story that gives you a good sense of the place!
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