I Dreamed of Africa
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

I Dreamed of Africa

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  1,559 ratings  ·  114 reviews
At the age of twenty-five, Kuki Gallman, divorced and badly injured in a devastating car accident, left Italy to convalesce in Africa with the man who would become her second husband. Enchanted by the land, they established a vast ranch on the Laikipia plateau in Kenya. But Africa's splendor came with a price. Filled with pain and joy, beauty and drama, Gallman's haunting...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published April 1st 2000 by Penguin Books (first published 1991)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
Things Fall Apart by Chinua AchebeThe Poisonwood Bible by Barbara KingsolverHalf of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi AdichieHeart of Darkness and the Congo Diary by Joseph ConradCry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
58th out of 797 books — 654 voters
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara KingsolverOut of Africa by Isak DinesenThe Liquidator by Iain ParkeThe No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall SmithDon't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller
Best books for an African Safari
34th out of 322 books — 363 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,404)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Although I wanted to like this story I didn't. Most probabaly it's me, because I guess I expected something completely different. I expected to read about the people in Africa their customs and culture, their daily life and Kuki adjusting to this. Instead I got the mistreatment of animals, a lot of horrible accidents, dead people, mourning and over all a depressing story that is written (with a lot of long descriptions) in a way that didn't pull me in. I skipped passages and just wanted to have...more
Where will I start?
Well, this was in a way one of the best books i've ever read. A great story about an Italian woman who leaves behind her live in Europa to start somewhere else: Kenia. There, in Africa, she finds true joy in her life but also true misery. She keeps fighting though, and she keeps loving her land in Africa which she calls home.

The story touched me, because life simply isn't easy in Africa and surely not when bad things happen.

I myself dream of a life somewhere else, far away fr...more
This was a memoir about an Italian woman that brought her family to Kenya and made a life for herself and her family. Kuki Galllmann, the author, described how throughout her childhood, she dreamed of living in Africa and that she eventually made that a reality. The book outlines hardships that followed her dream including the death of her husband, Paolo, death of her son, Emmanuelle and being a single mother in a foreign country.

The memoir was well written and easy to follow. I liked the way th...more
A description of the author's life in Africa in the 1980's.

Almost as an aside but a little unnerving - I had been reading the latest National Geographic magazine (April 2012) earlier in the day. There was an article describing the slaughter of rhinos in Africa for their horns, more than 1000 killings alone since 2006, and suddenly in Gallmann's memoirs one confronts the same ugliness from thirty years ago. Toward the end of the book, as a way to honor her husband's and son's lives, Gallman becom...more
More emotionally intense than I had expected. 4 stars, 5 stars, I'm not sure, while captivating at times, periodically I had to force myself to not skim through some pages. I can not deny that it will stay with me forever . . .why is that books about Africa have such mystic about them? I've read stories fiction and non about so many other places on the Earth but the most affective are told from Africa.

My copy is a library book and I am reluctant to put it far from my reach, I'd prefer not to giv...more
I heard Kuki Gallmann speak at a conference I attended and was swept away by the courage and dedication, strength and vision of this amazing woman. A colleague lent me this book and having given it as a birthday present to a student who just spent part of his summer holidays in Africa, I thought it was time I actually read it. I had been impressed by what a persuasive speaker Kuki Gallmann was- her written voice is often pure poetry. Her tale is lyrical but oh so tragic in many ways- I wept buck...more
As a child growing up in Italy, Kuki Gallman heard stories of Africa from family and friends and dreamed of the opportunity to live there hereself one day. In 1970, as a single mom and recovering from a horrific car accident, she had her first opportunity to travel to Kenya with her eventual second husband. In 1972, after they were married and she'd fully recovered, the family moved to Kenya and made their home at Ol Ari Nyiro ranch in the west-central part of the country. Family tradegies ensu...more
Claudia Sesto
"Una vita, come un concerto, è fatta di note alte e basse, di paise nello slancio e di vertici di vibranti, assordanti battiti del cuore."
Una bella biografia, a tutto tondo, la Kuki non si risparmia ci racconta del suo immenso amore per l'Africa, che l'ha portata a vivere lì.
Ci parla della sua vita fatta di tanta felicità e libertà nelle sconfinate regioni del continenete nero, dei suoi grandi, immensi dolori la perdita del marito prima e del figlio poi, vuoti difficili da colmare, eppure lei s...more
I read this a long while ago it was an amazing read
DISCLAIMER: This is more of a rant than a review.

Even though this is a remarkable story, touching, tragic and moving, I cannot help feeling a bit annoyed. Before I say what about the book gets my goat, I must say that I appreciate what Kuki Gallmann did for conservation in her part of Kenya. I admire her attitude towards the land on which she lives. She recognises that she is not a land "owner". No one can own land. She is a custodian, a protector with a responsibility to preserve the land and m...more
Aubrey Ingram
The book I Dreamed Of Africa is a non-fictional story of a woman named Kuki Gallmann.
Kuki lives in Venice, Italy in the beginning of the story and it is her first year at a university studying Political Sciences. She meets her first husband, and the father of her first son at the university. His name was Mario, and she fell deeply in love with him.
A couple of months before their wedding, Kuki had her first serious accident, Mario did not stop at a crossroads, and the side of his Black Jaguar was...more

The book I Dreamed Of Africa is a very touching memoir about the author, Kuki Gallman’s life in Laikipia, Kenya. One day when Mrs. Gallman was 12 years old her teacher in Italy told her class to write an essay about where they would be and what they would be doing in 20 years. She wrote about how she would be living in Africa and seeing the giraffes and the lions and the buffalo where ever she went, and when she got the essay back, there was a big check on it but no grade. When she asked her te...more
Isabelle H
I was 12 when my grandmother gave me the book. Ten years later I have read it five times, taking me a to a world I so long to visit and heard of as a child. A Haunting love story, of not only the men in her life, but for the wild nature and beauty of Kenya. A true story, Kuki recalls the memories of life in Africa with such clarity, perhaps you were really there beside her when she stood alone eyes closed in the lukewarm nights, listening to the eternal chorus of buzzing cicadas, and distant hor...more
An autobiographical novel about Kuki Gallman's experiences in Africa...
The book is filled with wonderful descriptions of the African landscape and the struggles of daily life in this enigmatic
country. Kuki engages the reader with tales elephants in her garden to the very real threat of lions that can kill in one moment of carelessness. It is clear through her writing that she truly loves and feels a spiritual conncetion to this land.
Her upbeat attitude, "There has never been a day of boredom"...more
Jun 09, 2009 Antigone rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: travelers, people who love biographies or Africa
The movie didn't do it for me. But the book was very compelling. My friend, Julian, went to the same school in Kenya as the author's son. Having heard all about the school and life back there (when he moved to the DC area) it was so interesting to read her account of life as a modern day pioneer (alright, some might say colonialist as a European settler but the author's work with elephant preservation really was amazing). This is not a book about ecological conservation. It is a very tragic biog...more
R. Gamble
There is a group of books written by African Colonials who lived in that land in a time of imperialistic enablement and who shared two things on common: their love of Africa and the ability to write extremely well. I think of the work of this group of authors (Wheeler, Blixen, Markham, Gallmann, et al) as the African Series. Their stories intertwine, they knew the same people, the time and place was the same, the transient nature of their existence similar. Kuki Gallmann's writing captivates. Sh...more
Love all things Africa. I think I live vicariously through these brave women who leave their homeland to live in the wild beauty of Africa.
Barb Hailey
Really enjoyed this non-fiction account of a short period in Kuki's life in Kenya. I always read a book of a place I'll visit soon, and this book gave me insight into the peoples of Kenya, the differences in a couple of tribes, the way of life, nature and the natural surroundings, animals and their plight, and the compassion of the people who live there, regardless of their culture.

Our world is better with Kuki Gallmann in it.
I'm not sure how I got this book but I read it and I enjoyed it. There were moments where I thought the author must be a poet, some sections are very lyrical. All in all I found the book interesting, sad and triumphant. I had to keep reminding myself that this book was a memoir/autobiographical. I'm getting into reading accounts of people's experiences in Africa. I found Kuki's story very touching, amazing and infused with alot of strength. It starts a bit slow and from time to time had a slow p...more
It was interesting reading this book while in central Kenya; I recognized many of the places and people. Overall, I thought Gallmann's story was good and enjoyable to read, but there were several parts that simply dragged. I found all of the omens and premonitions of death to be incredibly eerie. And there was so much tragedy that at times, I couldn't believe it happened as described. It seemed as though Gallmann's life in Africa was as raw and as wild as Africa's land, life and death following...more
I got this from Amy Grenoble and gave it a good try. It was an interesting read to learn about Africa and the obstacles that they and their immigrants face. However, there were certain aspects that I did not understand. Perhaps it was because I am not a woman, Italian or rich like the author. I was interested to read about her desires and motivations and how she overcame so many trials with broken limbs, robberies and divorce.

It is a story about overcoming adversity and persevering despite it....more
An amazing story of a woman with a love for her new country, her attachment to the soil of Africa, and her growth to living in harmony with nature and the local communities. There is so much tragedy in her life, that it was heartening to read of how she grew and drew positives from her losses, and her determination to see Kenya's wildlife and marginalised cultures be protected and thrive. Kuki still has her conservancy and continues to be an activist, and I have so much more admiration for her,...more
I liked this story, although it dragged in places (like the beginning). It brought back some memories of Out of Africa.

The story is true. The story is tragic. As Hemingway said "All true stories end in death." Even though there is much love of Africa in this story, Kuki pays what I would say is an unendurable price for that love. It's very painful to read in places and I could not stop my tears from falling.

So if you can handle the heart-wrenching parts I would recommend this book to you.
One of the great reads if someone is interested in European settlers and how they adapted to the African continent. Kuki Gallmann write so well, the reader can almost smell and taste the dust of the African savannas. Her books are a personal account of their happiness and sorrows in a tough environment and also confirm why Africa is born in everyone who lived there. Loved the book and the sequel 'African Nights'

I couldn't put the book down.
Non-Fiction of a woman, Kuki, that is born in Italy, but marries and lives in Kenya. Liked reading about life in Kenya, the raising of her children, the food, the different tribes and how they all interacted with Kuki and her family. Her husband made me mad when he killed an elephant for no reason other then to say he killed one -- man and his ego -- poor elephant. That was the worst part of the book -- other then that, I liked it!
Heavy-handed on premonitions. Told about upcoming incidents as well as explained their emotional impact. Felt the reader was often left with nothing to think about, to try to predict or feel. Best at descriptions of African areas. Author too sure of how her husband Paolo would have changed when she should have left his character within the timeframe of his life instead of into a future he did not live to be changed or unchanged by.
Kuki Gallmann arrives in Africa as a young woman and fully embraces the "Bwana" expat existence: servants, gin and tonics, wild rides in Land Rovers. Then the tragedies start: she loses her husband, her son, and countless friends in car accidents, snake accidents, plane accidents. The party's over, and by the end she's founded a preserve and is a steward of the wildlife all around her. Africa comes to life and her losses are palpable.
Achieng Onguru
Kuki has the most amazing way with imagery, one of my favorite styles of writing. This book will bring you to tears in a way that no other has made you cry. A sad story of love; looking for it, finding it, losing it and trying to keep it's flame alive even after experiencing so much tragedy. She's indeed a true daughter of the world, mother, wife and nurturer with the spirit of a warrior - a trait I especially admire.
The real-life story of a woman's experiences of living in Africa. Surpisingly well-written, the story manages to bring you into the author's world. She combines stories of Africa with telling about her family and their relationships. Through the book, you can see how Africa changes this family and how differently they begin to look at the world (compared to the avarage European for example).
Beautiful descriptions of the landscape and wildlife of the Kenyan highlands, combined with the soulful memories of building a life and raising a family in Africa make this memoir a page-turner. I could not put it down and felt myself living out Kuki's dreams through her pages in this deeply moving account of her first decade or so on the dark continent.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 80 81 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Rainbow's End: A Memoir of Childhood, War and an African Farm
  • Mukiwa: A White Boy in Africa
  • Letters from Africa, 1914-1931
  • White Mischief
  • The Flame Trees of Thika: Memories of an African Childhood
  • Cry of the Kalahari
  • Emma's War
  • Land of a Thousand Hills: My Life in Rwanda
  • Twenty Chickens For A Saddle
  • A Story Like the Wind
  • Country of My Skull: Guilt, Sorrow, and the Limits of Forgiveness in the New South Africa
  • My Traitor's Heart: A South African Exile Returns to Face His Country, His Tribe, and His Conscience
  • Love in the Driest Season: A Family Memoir
  • Scribbling the Cat
  • The Zanzibar Chest
  • The Last Resort: A Memoir of Zimbabwe
  • Wildflower: An Extraordinary Life and Untimely Death in Africa
  • Rules of the Wild: A Novel of Africa
African Nights: True Stories from the Author of I Dreamed of Africa Night Of The Lions Olifanten in mijn boomgaard Il Colore Del Vento: Diario D'africa (1974 1984) Through the Eyes of the Gods: An Aerial Vision of Africa

Share This Book