Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Looking for Lovedu: A Woman's Journey Through Africa” as Want to Read:
Looking for Lovedu: A Woman's Journey Through Africa
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Looking for Lovedu: A Woman's Journey Through Africa

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  231 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
The adventure began when a young British photographer, Kevin Muggleton, suggested driving from one end of Africa to the other–“You know, the old ‘Cape to Cairo’ sort of thing.” For the renowned feminist writer Ann Jones, it soon became an expedition with a mission: to find the legendary Lovedu, a tribe ruled by a great rainmaking queen and dedicated to the “feminine” ideal ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published July 9th 2002 by Vintage (first published January 23rd 2001)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Looking for Lovedu, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Looking for Lovedu

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Feb 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Diane by: Jennifer Wilson
This is the classic story of woman meets man, woman wants to travel around Africa, man gets a car and takes over driving, man contracts malaria and woman takes care of him, woman suffers in silence while man is stubborn and refuses to compromise, woman gets fed up and ditches man, woman finds female friends and finally travels around Africa the way she wants. The end.

OK, it might not be a classic story, but it should be. American writer Ann Jones was inspired to visit the Lovedu (pronounced low-
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Ann Jones sets off across Africa in search of Lovedu.

And what is this Lovedu that so intrigues this seasoned journalist?

Lovedu is an old African civilization in which the chief is a woman. Unlike most of Africa. Unlike most of the rest of the world.

So Ann Jones sets out in search of this mythic place, traveling across Africa with a reckless and impulsive young male driver to accompany her and complement her more sedate, less knowledgeable-about-Africa older self. Along the way, they bog down in
Jun 18, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
3.5 stars...

I read the first chapter of this book several times before finally committing to finish it. There's something slightly prickly about Anne Jones, and you can sense it right from the start of the novel. It's a bit off-putting, but the story, the excellent writing, and the message make it worthwhile (and reveal in many instances why the author is prickled). Once I really began, I read it in just a few days.

This book holds all the adventure and frustration you'd expect someone would find
Aug 11, 2008 rated it it was ok
I picked up this booking thinking I would love it, but truth be told it took some effort to get through. I loved the history and detail on the African nations, but didn't love the writing style and story telling... I just kept wanting more...
S.J. Nielsen
Dec 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite a ride! You'd like to strangle the macho partner now and then, yet without his mechanical skills and brute strength, the author probably would not have gotten as far as she did. The driving conditions and volatile political situations are certainly not for the faint-hearted.
Oct 26, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: africa, bio-memoir, travel
I struggled whether to give this book three or four stars, and went with four stars mainly because what I loved in this book can be read in other books, and what I found only OK was the stuff unique to this book.

I always love reading about overland adventures through Africa - the adventure, the difficulty, the cast of characters met, the personal growth and insight. This book had all of those things, plus a lot of historical facts about most of the places they visited, which I loved. Especially
While on a canoe trip on the Zambezi River, the group started talking about where each of them would *really* like to travel. British photographer Kevin Muggleton mentioned driving from one end of Africa to the other. Something about it struck Ann Jones and she found herself agreeing. And so, in October 1995, the 1980 Land Rover Muggleton acquired was loaded up, ferried over to Europe, driven through France and Spain and then ferried across Gibraltar into Morocco. Ann had found information abou ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
The idea of finding the Rain Queen started off on a canoe on the Zambezi….. In 1995 Ann Jones a travel writer and Kevin Muggleton, a photographer, and traveling partner, set off on an expedition through the African continent. They drove from Tangier to Cape Town. They used the search of the mystical Rain Queen Modjadji of Lovedu, a matriarchal tribe in southern Africa as the reason, but eventually it became Ann’s passion to find her. Ann is also is equally interested in whether the Lovedu tribe ...more
Jul 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
I have been browsing the books available from OverDrive through my local library - if I limit the selection to those books available immediately, often the choices are . . . limited, but not necessarily bad. If I give them a chance.

I have been reading books about Africa more recently - I happened upon this by searching OverDrive for "Africa" as a keyword. The author traveled from England through France to Morocco and down the west side of Africa through Senegal, then across Mali and more or less
Aug 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I am conflicted over rating this book....does it deserve 5 stars for honesty, great writing and beautiful imagery? Or does it deserve 2 stars for whining rants and feminism overboard? I'll go with the 5 because I'm an optimist and more often than not I felt so touched by the author's observances, and her desire to slow down and *see* what was around her...places, people, relationships, history, challenges, triumphs, depth. "There are those who are living, I thought, and those who are rushing on. ...more
Jun 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: chronicles
Reasonably interesting in providing a broad view of European influence and conquest across the African continent and painting a picture of life, customs and mentalities of local people. The writing got to be a bit superfluous such that at times I felt Jones was trying to prove her worldly knowledge and vocabulary more than telling a meaningful story. I would be hard pressed to find the words 'resplendent' and 'implacable' more frequently used...

Overall a straightforward read and interesting enou
Oct 27, 2012 rated it liked it
This was an interesting visit to Africa, and I enjoyed most of the adventure. The author didn't seem to have a clear reason for being there and hadn't done a great job of choosing her traveling companions along the way, which added to the conflicts along the way.

The strongest theme I took away from this story was the plight of women in African countries and the difficulties they face surviving life in a male-centered culture. By the time the author reached her objective of visiting the queen of
Eli Hook
Dec 10, 2012 rated it did not like it
Incredibly entire book about looking for a mystical rain queen who turns out to be a very unwelcoming woman in a La-Z-Boy recliner. Not to mention the author does nothing but complain throughout the whole trip. When she's with her traveling companion she does nothing but complain about him. After he leaves she does nothing but complain about the fact that he's not there to help her. Don't waste your time with this book.
Bill Subalusky
Jun 29, 2008 rated it liked it
An entertaining but unfortunatey not very informative, book about the current state of Africa, written by a lady as she travels through the numerous African countries. If James Michener defines a 10 on a 1 to 10 scale for informational detail, this book is a minus one. That said, it does give a view, albeit shallow, of the unfortunate states of these countries and helps one to again recall how fortunate we are to live in the U.S.
Mar 12, 2012 rated it liked it
A really good book, easy read. Jones' flow of the story is easy to follow. She certainly was on an adventure! The only reason for three and not four stars is I felt that by the time she reached Nairobi she was somehow no longer dedicated to telling the story or that her energy had slowed (as it would I suspect) for the actual trip she was on.
Sandy Thomson
Jun 14, 2008 rated it liked it
Fun narrative about a woman journalist traveling by land rover through West Africa with a "Mr. Boyscout" from Britian - a man remarkably like my husband.... causing me to laugh uproariously and want to punch him at regular intervals. Fun chronicle.
Jul 25, 2011 rated it liked it
2008- I enjoyed the portions of this book that dealt with Jones and Muggleton. Towards the end I felt she tried to rush and finish up the story. Still an interesting account of a trip from the top to the tip of Africa.
What could be better?
The story of a modern day female explorer going through AFRICA to discover the Queen of a matriarchal tribe and discussing history and adventure along the way?
I swear! If I have to read about one more VISA palaver I will swear off travel forever!
May 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Besides providing a digestable introduction to the often complicated history of African countries, this book made me reflect on my own discomfort during travel, especially to places where I know the women do not have the means, rights, or both to explore their world in the same way.
Marilyn Matheny
I liked this book, a lot. The conflicts between the author and her traveling companion are gripping, the struggles to keep their old, beater Land Rover repaired and running were thoroughly documented. It should be required reading for anyone interested in a cross country trek through Africa.
May 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Annie
Recommended to Janet by: found in my used book store!
This book made me examine my feminist leanings - something I haven't given serious thought to since my college days! I also came away with more knowledge of the individual African countries that Jones traveled through, and as a good read always does, it made me want to find out more.
May 15, 2007 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: anyone travelling to Africa
This was a book that I had to read before my trip to Kenya with TFC. That said, it was an interesting subject: the search for a matriarcal tribe in Kenya and all the mishaps along the way. Its been a while since I've read it and my memory is full of other better things.
Pam Crosby
Mar 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Read this on the encouragement from my mom even though not something I might normally pick up. Now one of my favorite travel books ever. Really quite extraordinary!
Jb Meredith
Jun 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
A keeper....added to the guest room collection
Nov 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa
Read Nov. 2008. Very good. Driving Morocco to So. Africa -- Very good
Mar 08, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: africaandaidwork
good story about a road trip through africa
Honest narrative exploring terrain and understanding, quite moving (pardon the pun) interpersonal dynamic, cultural references and perceptive analysis of the people met.
Jennifer Wilson
Dec 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
i love books that teach you history and context, and you can hardly feel it. africa is daunting subject matter, but jones couches it in a personable travelogue.
Jul 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was an accidental second read, and I enjoyed it this time around, too. Travel adventure, just a bit of history, and really good writing. I wish she had more books like it.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Angry Wind: Through Muslim Black Africa by Truck, Bus, Boat, and Camel
  • Somebody's Heart Is Burning: A Woman Wanderer in Africa
  • The Village of Waiting
  • Blue Clay People: Seasons on Africa's Fragile Edge
  • The Ukimwi Road
  • The Tecate Journals: Seventy Days on the Rio Grande
  • Where the Pavement Ends: One Woman's Bicycle Trip Through Mongolia, China, & Vietnam
  • To Timbuktu: A Journey Down the Niger
  • My Battle of Algiers: A Memoir
  • Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik: One Woman's Solo Misadventures Across Africa
  • Emma's War
  • Sunrise with Seamonsters
  • Sufferings in Africa: The Incredible True Story of a Shipwreck, Enslavement, and Survival on the Sahara
  • The Lost World of the Kalahari
  • Traversa
  • Chasing the Devil: The Search for Africa's Fighting Spirit
  • To the Heart of the Nile: Lady Florence Baker and the Exploration of Central Africa
  • The River's Tale: A Year on the Mekong
Author of Kabul in Winter: Life Without Peace in Afghanistan, Ann Jones is a journalist and activist for womens rights around the globe. She is currently working on a book about women, war, and photography.


More about Ann Jones