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Dead Men Don't Leave Tips: Adventures X Africa [Kindle Edition]

Brandon Wilson , Dr. Bob Rich
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description


"A great read in the comfort of an easy chair, one of those books that inspires the dream of wanderlust…" -- Liz Janes-Brown, The Maui News, 11/20/05

"A magical story laced with humor and tragedy…it brings Africa to readers on an intimate level not found elsewhere." -- Andrew F. O’Hara, author of The Swan: Tales of the Sacramento Valley/journalist

"An adventure journal only the craziest traveler would take as a guide. But we can dream, can’t we?" (5 shakas) -- Joseph W. Bean, Book Reviewer, Maui Weekly (Hawaii), October 26, 2005

"Both a delight and a puzzlement...It is, as many trips go, the
end that really whomps you." -- Marilis Hornidge, Book Reviewer, The Courier-Gazette, Maine, August 2006

"Honest, gritty and insightful. Best of all, it makes the world’s most exciting continent read just like that." -- John Heminway, film producer/author of Yonder: A Place in Montana and No Man's Land: A Personal Journey into Africa

"Terrific read from first page to last… would make a popular addition to any personal or community library travel section." -- Midwest Book Review, March 2006

"The most eclectic collection of travelers I've ever read about. I couldn't stop laughing. Highly recommended. (smile)" -- James Damico,

"Transcends its genre to become a tranformative journey of the soul into a disparate and gorgeously challenging culture…" -- C. W. Gortner, author of The Secret Lion

"Wilson is a writer with the eye of an artist, a basic decency and social conscience…I strongly recommend it." -- Dr. Bob Rich, award-winning author of thirteen books/editor/counselling psychologist

"Wilson offers great advice for the road… And his concerns about the ecological and social woes of Africa are shared…" -- Honolulu Advertiser (Gannett), January 22, 2006

Product Description

What does it take to follow your dream? Quite a bit, if it means crossing Africa. That’s what a couple discovers when they leave on a seven-month, 16,000-km. overland journey from London to Cape Town, South Africa. Against their better judgment, they join a do-it-yourself safari with a bizarre band of companions. After their dream quickly turns into a nightmare, they set off across the continent alone—and that makes all the difference.

Wilson, in a style one reviewer described as “a hybrid of Paul Theroux and Tom Robbins,” takes you onto the crazed roads of Africa and into the hearts and lives of its people.

Meet mountain gorillas face-to-face. Melt down during a Saharan breakdown. Hunt dik-dik with Pygmies. Climb Africa’s highest mountain. Hop the “gun-run” through Mozambique's civil war. Rush down thundering Zambezi rapids and dive into South Africa’s cauldron of turmoil.

Join us for a raw look at the real Africa—one far removed from the usual postcard perfection.

From the Lowell Thomas gold award-winning author of Over the Top & Back Again, Along the Templar Trail, and Yak Butter Blues.

Sample Reviews: "Journeys of body and soul in every sense of the word... Interlaced with this honesty and detail are Wilson's beautiful prose, obvious passion for adventure and a deep inquisitiveness about other cultures, making this book a pleasure to read. Highly recommended." ~ Midwest Book Review

"A masterful crossroads of characters, exotic places, history and human drama in a rig that never stalls, and allows the devil to drive his own ill-behaved backyard..." ~ Richard Bangs, legendary adventurer, author of "Mystery of the Nile"

"Entertaining and a monument to those who would take on the challenge of land travel across one of the most dangerous, unhealthy continents in the world." ~ Heartland Reviews

"Honest, gritty and makes the world's most exciting continent read just like that." ~ John Heminway, author of "No Man's Land: A Personal Journey into Africa"

"I was swept away by the drama and storytelling...Wilson is never a tourist. He travels heart-first with both feet solidly on the ground and his curiosity always in high gear. He is exactly the right person to be writing travel books for the rest of us." ~ Joseph W. Bean, Maui Weekly

"Travel writing at its most sublime, a paean to Africa in all her contradictory beauty, and a tribute to the resiliency of those who travel beyond boundaries not only in search of meaning, but also of understanding." ~ C.W. Gortner, author of The Secret Lion and The Last Queen

"One of the most engaging travel books we have read." ~

"Powerful and gripping story...Fascinating, informative, humorous, poignant, surprising...a terrific read from first page to last-would make a popular addition to any personal or community library Travel section." ~ Midwest Book Review, Travel Shelf

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 959 KB
  • Print Length: 284 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0977053644
  • Publisher: Pilgrim's Tales, Inc. (29 Nov. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0055PRA8U
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #432,250 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

BRANDON WILSON is the Lowell Thomas award-winning author of a series of four travel adventure books, a photographer, explorer and adventure-travel writer whose stories have appeared in international anthologies, magazines, newspapers, and across the Internet. A voracious explorer of nearly 100 countries, Wilson is passionate about inspiring others with the possibility of discovery through adventure travel. Much like his vow to "Never say Impossible," his stories are accounts of somewhat everyday people taking on extraordinary challenges.

Born in Pennsylvania, USA, he developed wanderlust at an early age and has spent much of his so-called adult life in Hawaii (or on the road). However, his fascination with what he calls "slow, deliberate travel" began when he and his wife Cheryl became the first western couple to trek 650-miles across the Himalayan Plains from Lhasa, Tibet to Kathmandu on a harrowing trek in 1992.

The peripatetic writer has now thru-hiked ten of the world's great long-distance trails, including the Camino de Santiago (twice) and Via de la Plata across Spain, as well as St. Olav's Way across Norway. He was among the first to hike the 1150-mile Via Francigena from Canterbury to Rome, and in 2006, he and a friend re-blazed the 2600-mile route of the First Crusades from France to Jerusalem on an 11-country walk for peace, naming it the Templar Trail.

Their adventure was chronicled in ALONG THE TEMPLAR TRAIL: Seven Million Steps for Peace, the Lowell Thomas Gold Award-winner for 2009 Best Travel Book (Society of American Travel Writers Foundation) and a ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Finalist (adventure/recreation). It was called "a rhapsody on the theme of pilgrimage" by Phil Cousineau, author of The Art of Pilgrimage.

Other books in his travel adventure series include: DEAD MEN DON'T LEAVE TIPS: Adventures X Africa (2005); and YAK BUTTER BLUES (2004, 2nd edition 2005), his debut book, which won an IPPY Award. A Spanish edition will be published in 2010.

His newest book, OVER THE TOP & BACK AGAIN: Hiking X the Alps, published in fall 2010, was named a 2010 Book of the Year Finalist by ForeWord Reviews. It's a typically gritty (yet humorous) look at the eight-country Alpine crossing made by Wilson and his wife in 2009--and the first such book about trekking the Via Alpina from Trieste to Monaco in English. (with 53 maps, photos and illustrations by Ken Plumb)

"Life When Hell Freezes Over," his story about his year of purgatory spent living in the Arctic, appeared in THEY LIVED TO TELL THE TALE: True Stories of Adventure from the Legendary Explorers Club (The Lyons Press/Globe Pequot, 2007). He was also honored to write the introduction to ON A DONKEY'S BACK, a collection of poetry and paintings by and about the tough lives of Nepalese porters, (Yileen Press, 2008).

His photos have won awards from National Geographic Traveler and Islands magazines, while his 50-page photo essay on Spain's Via de la Plata was featured in NÄIVE & ABROAD: SPAIN, Limping 600 Miles Through History by Marcus Wilder (2008).

Wilson is a human rights activist and member of the prestigious Explorers Club.

For previews, photos and videos, please visit:

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Midwest Book Review 23 Mar. 2006
Dead Men Don’t Leave Tips is the thrilling, captivating true tale of a honeymooned couple who quit their job, sell their home and cars, and leave everything behind to achieve a dream: cross Africa on a seven-month, 10,000-mile journey from Morocco to Cape Town.

Join professional travellers Wilson and Cheryl as they bargain with villagers, struggle with incompetent guides and government officials, pass sleepless nights in deplorable accommodations, cross the Sahara amidst sand storms and blistering heat, meet gorillas and Pygmies face to face, and climb Mount Kilimanjaro, reminding us all along that simple things such as a nice meal, a shower and getting cash can become the ultimate luxuries.

The tale is poignant with ironic humor and human drama. Each chapter begins with a witty, profound African proverb, and in the middle section the author includes interesting B&W photographs to complement his account and give a clearer picture of Africa’s sights and sounds.

What’s striking about Wilson’s books (he’s also the author of the IPPY Award winner Yak Butter Blues) is that his journeys are not only physical but highly spiritual as well. His are journeys of body and soul in every sense of the word. The author writes with honesty and a sharp eye for detail, making this an invaluable amalgam of information for readers of adventure travel or anybody who is considering “do-it-yourself” safaris or simply visiting Africa. Interlaced with this honesty and detail are Wilson’s beautiful prose, obvious passion for adventure and a deep inquisitiveness about other cultures, making this book a pleasure to read. Having already reviewed Wilson’s previous work, this reviewer is already looking forward to his next. Highly recommended.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.9 out of 5 stars  26 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rare journey into the heart of Africa 3 Nov. 2005
By C. W. Gortner - Published on
Brandon Wilson's DEAD MEN DON'T LEAVE TIPS is that rare event: a travel book that transcends its genre to become a transformative journey of the soul into a disparate and gorgeously challenging culture, as seen through the eyes of a man determined to experience life as it is, rather than as it's presented to us. Eschewing the typical tourist African safari, Wilson and his travel companion, along with a host of madcap dysfunctional fellow travelers, embark on a wildly funny, poignant, and at times terrifying, trip across the African continent. From the rapacious markets of Marrakesh to the stunning breadth of the Sahara and haunting domains of the Masai, Wilson brings to life in lucid prose the smells, sights, and sensations of being a foreigner in a strange land, who yearns for communion with the world he has set out to explore.

This is travel writing at its most sublime, a paean to Africa in all her contradictory beauty, and a tribute to the resiliancy of those who travel beyond boundaries not only in search of meaning, but also of understanding.
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The most boring and shallow travel account ever read 19 Feb. 2008
By Heoe - Published on
I bought this book following Amazon's reader reviews but found it a pain to read.
From the start the author can't bear the way he chose to travel (overlanding with a group) and his fellow travelers... well, when on a low budget, stay graceful! If one can't stand other human beings AND can't afford a way to travel suitable to both his arrogance and means, why do it anyway?

The "traveler" seems to wander through Africa with American centered prejudices and poor references of a narrow minded background.
The reader is continuously faced with his self centered obsession for his own boring motives (if any) that he thinks anyone cares about. He makes the reader witness all his irritations and frustration of a pure misanthrope, "forgot" to check the proper geography and history and spelling of the names of the countries he goes through, remains ignorant of the world, cultures and people and till the end totally misses the whole point of traveling.

Everything, even the slight excitement he seems to feel when encountering wild animals is awkwardly written, in dry insensitive words without style.

Oh, those hundreds of dull phrases in italic! Those infinitely repeated "burro" like donkeys have Spanish names in Africa, "black" like there's a need to remind us of the color of Africa's inhabitants.
What is Lake Kiva? Lake Tanzania? Are there really "caimans" in Africa? What is a "wild west town" to anyone not American? When were there only 700 black rhinos left? "Zaire, these days, after years of war, known as DRC": check exactly when the name changed? Victoria Falls, the world highest cascades? Since when does Michelin rate up to five stars? Any need to be condescending and transcript everyone's accent again and again while oneself has no clue about foreign languages? Any need to be rude, pushy and obnoxious when addressing people?

In this long boring account of what seems to have been an ordeal to him that we are forced to share, the only human encounter that seems to have somewhat pleased the ever complaining author are... another white couple traveling and Whites in South Africa.

This is a shallow disappointing report that would disgust anyone who wishes to travel to Africa.
Thanks God we know better.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and Enjoyable 1 April 2006
By Shirley Priscilla Johnson - Published on
This was my first experience reading about the travel adventures written by Brandon Wilson and I have to say it was one enjoyable one.

We are taken with Brandon and Cheryl Wilson as they travel the length of Africa. We start our adventure right from the beginning and all the woes that transpire in preparation and sometimes some of the unfortunate, like Brandon catching the flu. Once aboard for the true beginning of their adventure they are grouped with nearly two dozen people who in themselves are a story ready to be written.

Then our couple goes it on their own and it is here that they truly get into the meat of their journey, meeting natives, experiencing incredible landmarks and truly tasting of Africa.

This work is very well-written, is brimming with giggles and down to earth reality and the photos bring the reality of the read to life. I enjoyed this one; I believe you will too.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Africa brought to life 11 Nov. 2005
By Dr. Robert Rich - Published on
Dead Men Don't Leave Tips

by Brandon Wilson

I've read travel stories by Brandon Wilson before, so knew I'd be entertained, amused and instructed. His story of a crossing of Africa did not disappoint me.

Leaving domesticity in Hawaii, Brandon and his brand new wife Cheryl joined what proved to be the do it yourself safari from hell. From the hot dry hell of the Sahara to the humid hell of the jungle, through starving villages and squalid cities, we follow a picturesque group of pilgrims. Brandon's writing makes the reader feel the heat, the discomfort and even despair, while giving one laugh after another. Living it was difficult. Reading about it isn't. If I wrote about the travails of camping beside a swamp infested with malaria-bearing mosquitoes, I might bring tears to your eyes, and have you grit your teeth. Brandon gives you a belly laugh instead.

Not that it was all misery. It is clear that Brandon and Cheryl felt well rewarded for their endurance. His passages about wildlife, scenery and friendly people sometimes approach the poetic.

Like all good writing, this book does a lot more than entertain. One would expect to learn about Africa -- its people, animals, landscape -- from a travel book, but, without lecturing Brandon gets us to see social conditions; the gap between rich and poor, urban and starving. Racially, he is colorblind, with respect for all people, while sometimes justly indignant about cruel or exploitative behavior.

The language is always lively and entertaining, clear and lucid with amusing little word-paintings: `a Swiss cheese swatch of dirt road;' `we were finally waved on our way-and after only four hours;' and `It was a sleepy place-so quiet you could almost hear trouble simmering.'

Brandon is a writer with the eye of an artist, a basic decency and social conscience that in another book made him the champion of the suppressed Tibetan people. He has the humor of a cartoonist and the old fashioned ability to tell a good story. I strongly recommend this one to you.

About the reviewer: Dr Bob Rich is a multiple award-winning writer and professional editor [...]
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A True African Adventure... 10 Mar. 2006
By Hadley Goodman - Published on
As a well traveled person myself, I was originally interested in reading "Dead Men Don't Leave Tips" as a guide for planning an upcoming trip to Africa. Once well into the book, it became more than a guide to Africa, but an in-depth, often times laugh-out-loud humorous look at the pitfalls of group travel in such a magical country.

Brandon Wilson's sense of adventure and colorful use of imagery leaves the reader eager to turn the page to see what happens to this motley crew next. Although entertained by the antics of this group I was much relieved when he and his partner were able to break free from their travel companions and I reveled in their independent spirit. I cringed right along with him at the "Ugly Americans" he described as his fellow Overlanders, and I danced with the tribes they met along the way. I felt the nervousness of the unknown as he traded money on the black market, and the frustration of being scammed by the young locals in the busy street markets. I found myself thirsty as they crossed the Sahara, and eager for a shower as they went weeks without access to proper facilities. I gasped for breath as they summited Mt. Kilimanjaro, and relished in relief and accomplishment on the descent. But most of all, I felt the thrill of experiencing a magical cultural found off the beaten path in the depths of Africa.

Wilson clearly depicts the highs and lows of experiencing other cultures, and I thoroughly enjoyed (and learned from) his experiences. Traveling through Africa is not for the weak at heart, and "Dead Men Don't Leave Tips" is a great place to start learning how to navigate through such an unpredictable adventure. Through it all, I look forward to planning my upcoming adventure, and feel certain it won't include an Overland Outfitter.
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