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3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  118 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
Inspired by the legendary explorers who first crossed the African heartland, Fran Sandham left the daily grind of London to undertake an extraordinary adventure. He traveled on foot across Africa from the Skeleton Coast on the southwest tip of the African continent through Namibia, Zambia, Malawi, and Tanzania, until he reached the Indian Ocean. Traversa is the fascinating ...more
274 pages
Published 2007 by Duckworth
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Apr 12, 2008 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library_books
Incredible story of trekking from Namibia's Atlantic Coast to the Indian Ocean (ending up at Zanzibar). Although the author's attacked by neither man nor beast (just insects aplenty), he has his share of troubles, starting with recalitrant wild donkeys, and finishing up with a week of malaria treatment (apologies if that proves a spoiler). Terrific writing skills and a great sense of humor make this book one of my top books for the year. Highly recommended.
Mar 29, 2013 Rachel rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It was captivating. I feel like I've travelled across Africa with him, obviously without the challenge of walking 5000km.

You'd think after reading a book about a man walking across four African countries, from Skeleton Coast to Bagamoyo on the coast of the Indian Ocean, I'd have some awesome and poetic quotes for you, but my favourite passages were:

"On the outskirts of Karonga I sit outside a little shop, eating a slurp as I watch the world go by. A cow stands patiently on the
I really enjoyed this book. It has a lot going for it (in terms of appealing to me): it is slightly unorthodox travel, it is written in a relaxed and easy style, it is very funny, and the author doesn't hold himself up for glory.

So, what did he do? He completed the Traversa.
Page 2: While many Victorian explorers became obsessed with the notion of being the first white man to set foot in some particular place, a few individuals came to regard crossing Africa overland from coast to coast as a goa
Apr 25, 2008 Greg rated it it was amazing
An entertaining account of the author's 'traversa' across Africa on foot from Namibia to Tanzania. Sandham tells the story with self-deprecating humor and anecdotes from the great African explorers like Stanley and Livingston of how he backpacked across the continent entirely on his own.
Chris Steeden
Dec 06, 2016 Chris Steeden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With a mix of adventure and history this is a fantastic book. Also very inspiring. We follow Fran as he treks across Africa from the Skeleton Coast to Zanzibar and, my word, what a journey it is. He did it on his own under his own willpower, strength, determination and bloody mindedness. Fantastic.

The book is free-flowing and damn is it interesting. I love the way that Africa is so vast that at one point Fran looks at two places on a map and realises it is not to far to walk in comparison to wha
GUD Magazine
Feb 24, 2008 GUD Magazine rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
It's hard to read many travel books without a sense of 'Why? Why are you putting yourself through all this?' and Traversa is no exception. Those who sit at home may not understand what drives some people to these lengths, but that doesn't stop us lapping it up and asking for more.

In this enthralling book, Sandham brings his solo walk from the aptly-named Skeleton Coast to the Indian Ocean to life. He comes across, variously, as courageous, determined, bloody-minded, and completely insane. By the
Jun 01, 2009 Maliades rated it liked it
If there is one burning desire in my life right now, it is adventure! This book choice seems serendipitous, having just watched the series premiere of 'Expedition Africe' on the History Channel last night. In Expedition Africa, the journey begins in Zanzibar, and in Traversa, the journey ends in Zanzibar. Both sets of travelers seem to be loosely re-creating the journeys of Livingstone and Stanley. I shall read this book with great pleasure (hopefully) while I dream of foreign lands and travel!

May 25, 2012 Linda rated it it was amazing
Fran Sandham is a British writer who worked for years as an editor for the Rough Guide Travel Series. Tiring of the hustle and bustle of London, he decided to walk across Africa. Even as a child he had been fascinated by the stories of the African explorers, such as Stanley and Livingstone. The walk became a real test of endurance. He wouldn’t accept rides, and often spread his sleeping bag in an inconspicuous place at night rather than stay at a hostel or guest house. His pack was much too hea ...more
Sep 11, 2008 Abby rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, travel
Former bookseller Fran Sandham has always been fascinated by Africa and the Victorian explorers who opened the continent to trade (with apologies to the Portuguese who came before). One New Years Eve he decides to do it himself: walk across Africa, from the west coast to the east. Scrimping and saving for the next year, Sandham fills his rucksack, gives up his flat in London, his job and sets out.

Why I Picked It Up:
I love reading stories about people doing crazy things, especially things that I'
Pat Stearman
Aug 07, 2012 Pat Stearman rated it really liked it
Reading group book. Took me a little while to get into it but thoroughly enjoyed once I did (and once I worked out it was a bloke!!) Some parts are hilariously laugh out loud funny, some are horrific but he drives the narrative along and you really want to know more. Half tempted to follow up by reading more about Livingstone and Stanley - hadn't realised a) how many other expeditions Stanley had done and b) what a nasty piece of work he was!
He doesn't really answer the question we all wanted
Marie Knock
Feb 16, 2013 Marie Knock rated it really liked it
An excellent book charting one man's coast to coast walk across Africa.

I love Africa, and therefore loved hearing about so many different cultures, people, animals and environments that the author experienced along the walk. His determination to complete the trip is as admirable as it is crazy at times, he encounters all kinds of dangers and dilemmas. Ultimately this book left me eager for more and inspired... if only I had the guts to try something like this.
Linda Wallis
Reading Group book.
Thoroughly enjoyed this.
Finally finished as was distracted by 2 other books.
Did wonder sometimes why he was doing it, as was so unpleasant for him on occasions.
Learnt things I didn't know and he made me laugh out loud too at times.
Highly recommended.
Sara Lay
Apr 23, 2013 Sara Lay rated it it was amazing
Excellent book, enjoyable tales as well as an insight into a different way of life. Opened my eyes and inspired me.
Jul 31, 2013 Gretchen rated it really liked it
loved it! shows the good, the bad, the lovely, and the ugly.
Mar 19, 2011 Sue rated it liked it
The author takes approximately eight months to walk across Africa from the Skeleton Coast of Namibia to Bagamoyo in Tanzania on the Indian Ocean. This book is the recounting of that trip with the adventures (and misadventures) that he encounters along the way. Included in the account at appropriate points are the experiences of the early Explorers.
Overall, I enjoyed it. At times, like the detour with the mule/donkey delay, it seemed just that: a delay. But there is a certain amount of admirati
Rafał Sobol
Jan 27, 2014 Rafał Sobol rated it it was amazing
I found myself absolutely glued to the book from the very beginning up until the end. Mr. Sandham proved himself a skilled writer, splendidly going between describing his own journey and retelling stories of the Victorian ages' explorers. His writing style is very nice - not terribly stiff, with a few well-placed explicit words here and there, but then again absolutely not annoyingly loose.
I recommend this book to anyone, even those who don't generally fancy travel books. It's a great read, I as
Robert Luke
Jul 07, 2016 Robert Luke rated it it was ok
Desperately sad I didn't like it - the subject was so tempting. The writing style however wasn't to my liking. I obviously don't know the author and don't wish to be personal, but he writes in a style that doesn't appeal. Great potential poorly delivered.
Apr 18, 2009 Cheryl rated it liked it
Shelves: travelbooks
I really liked the adventuresome chutzpah it took to undertake the trip... and the historical expedition details interwoven into the chronology of the trip gave the book depth and made for a more interesting read, but I found the writing style rather bland for this type of travel journal
Rachel Galbraith
This book was enjoyable but hard to read at times cause this guy jumped into his travels with less thought than I'd put into finding a matatu to ride in Kenya... it is entertaining at the very least however.
Jun 04, 2016 Tyrone rated it it was amazing
Had a blast reading this, one to keep around and re-read again and again. Had me utterly gripped from start to finish.
Jul 21, 2008 Jenny rated it liked it
Yet another "Walk Across Africa" story by a Westerner. The part where he gets bogged down in Namibia trying to train a donkey to carry his pack is kind of funny.
catherine rated it liked it
Dec 31, 2010
Nikolaj Søgaard
Nikolaj Søgaard rated it liked it
Mar 06, 2014
Mark Glover
Mark Glover rated it really liked it
May 26, 2013
Michael Garcia
Michael Garcia rated it really liked it
May 06, 2011
James Morcan
James Morcan rated it it was amazing
Apr 03, 2014
Mar 25, 2017 Sue rated it liked it
I bought this book because a friend had heard him speak at a U3a meeting . I think she must have told me all the best bits but the book didn't,t quite live up to her recommendation . still worth a read though.
Sattva rated it did not like it
Apr 30, 2015
Will Bailey
Will Bailey rated it really liked it
Oct 31, 2011
Kat Knapp
Kat Knapp rated it really liked it
Nov 10, 2016
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Fran Sandham was an editor at Rough Guides for several years, and worked in bookselling and in the voluntary sector before that. He has traveled in over fifty countries. He now lives in London and Wirral, and divides his time between freelance writing and public speaking. He has written for many newspapers, magazines and travel publications, including the Sunday Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Obs ...more
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“And new physical problems are arising almost daily. I'm getting problems from a painful trapped nerve in my shoulder, where my rucksack strap has been pinching it, and I can't straighten my arm above shoulder level - soon I will be limping like Richard III. By now my back is covered with eczema, the result of a perpetually sodden shirt and rucksack pressed against it day after day in this heat. In one place my pack has rubbed a painful hole in my skin through the eczema; carrying my rucksack was unpleasant before, but now it is purgatory. This eczema must be partly due to eating bad food for so long - I never had this problem at home. I'm expecting my teeth and hair to start falling out before long, and I've got more or less a permanent acid indigestion from eating so much junk. Week after week I've lived on lukewarm Coca-Cola, stale buns and doughnuts, slurps, green bananas, powdered milk and far too many cigarettes. With all the rubbishy food and sugar soft drinks I've been consuming, I'll see the east coast through a hypoglycaemic haze.” 0 likes
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