Accompanied by her laconic teenage daughter, Rachel, and an endearing horse named Egbert, Dervla Murphy journeys through the remote areas of Cameroon following bush-paths from village to village. The two women are frequently mistaken for husband and wife – forcing Dervla to bare her chest in order to prove her femininity. They are obliged to eat repulsive delicacies, repeatedly get lost, fall seriously ill, are baked by the sun and soaked by tropical storms. Camping in the idiosyncratically beautiful Mbabo Mountains, where they seek warthogs, antelope, baboons and colobus monkeys, is a highlight of the trip. An unplanned and harrowing trek through the 'graveyard area' around Lake Nyos (a recent mysterious explosion has released poisonous gases, killing hundreds) results in their arrest, and towards the end of their journey they disastrously lose Egbert – the final stage of their trek is a three-day forced march covering 87 miles.
But through it all the two women's charm and good-humoured sense of adventure shine through. They eventually leave this laid-back, peaceful country with great reluctance, having been 'enspelled' by its beauty and the unfailing friendliness of its people. The resulting account is warm, witty and wonderfully evocative.
“This is the very stuff of travel”
“Dervla Murphy is a celebrated travel-writer . . . she records every experience with madcap enthusiasm”
“This is vintage Murphy”
“Dervla Murphy brings to Cameroon all the sympathy, wit and perception that we have come to expect from her”
Dervla Murphy was born in Co. Waterford, Ireland, and still has her home there. Since 1964 she has regularly published descriptions of her journeys in the remoter areas of the world. She has also written about the problems of Northern Ireland, the hazards of the nuclear power industry and race relations in Britain.