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Desert Travels: Motorcycle Journeys in the Sahara and West Africa [Kindle Edition]

Chris Scott
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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  • Length: 244 pages
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Book Description

Today, following over a decade of kidnappings, much increased trafficking, banditry and terrorist activities, as well as nomadic rebellions and not least the recent spread of weaponry from Libya, tourism in the central Sahara has collapsed or has become severely restricted. But it wasn't always like that. The 1980s were a golden age of independent exploration: post-colonial nations had yet to be beset by internal strife, and the popularity of the original Dakar Rally, as well as the evolution of desert-capable motorcycles and 4x4s both saw adventure tourism flourish in the Sahara of Niger, Algeria and Mali. It’s unlikely those days will return soon, so for once I found myself doing the right thing in the right place at the right time.

In 1982 my first African ride on a ratty XT500 ended halfway across the Sahara with a cracked petrol tank. Once I got out of that one I vowed never to return, but the lure of the dunes proved too great to a youthful despatch rider. Over the next decade I made several more forays into the Sahara and West Africa on, or travelling with motorbikes. They included an ill-fated motorcycle tour from which only one rider returned riding. Most of this book describes that tour, and in between accounts of my travels, I weave in historical and cultural episodes from the region, and discuss on the nature and appeal of desert travel.

Desert Travels was originally published as a paperback in 1996. This 1.5 version for Kindle has been lightly reworked to match a paperback reprint available at along with photos, maps and other material.

Product Description


"Desert Travels ... is a light-hearted and readable account of various journeys by motorcycle in the Sahara and West Africa, as the author graduates from empty-tanked apprentice to expert dune-cruiser and desert connoisseur." - Lonely Planet Guide to West Africa
"His half-dozen trips into the searing heat of a vast Saharan desert are more than just a man on vacation. They are a test of his fortitude, cunning and resourcefulness. Desert Travels is an entertaining tale of a modern-day adventurer, a man who sees a personal challenge and rises to it, again and again. Its pages are full of the kinds of stories that keep you reading far past your normal bedtime. Damn the cliché, but I really couldn't put it down." - Gord Mounce,
"Trust me, for three bucks you'll get a lot more enjoyment from this book than you will from a cup of Pike Place Roast." - Jonathan Hanson,

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2456 KB
  • Print Length: 244 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Chris Scott; 1.5 edition (6 Feb. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00677KFRI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #58,678 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Chris Scott's first book was Desert Biking, a practical guide to motorcycle travel in the Sahara, published in 1993. That evolved into today's Adventure Motorcycling Handbook, now in its 6th edition and the go-to bible for adventure motorcyclists. Other guidebooks followed in a similar vein, including Sahara Overland, Overlanders' Handbook, and Morocco Overland, all published by Trailblazer Guides.
Chris has also co-authored several editions of The Rough Guide to Australia and contributed to other Rough Guides and various long-distance British walking guides for Trailblazer. Desert Travels covers his early Saharan explorations and Adventures in Motorcycling: Despatching Through 80s London describes his 12 years as a London despatch rider.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars More please. 20 April 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Beautifully written by an exceptional and erudite author.

Historically informative and an insight into a lost era of travel in North Africa. The author is engagingly self-critical and writes with humour and a light touch, recounting several trips into and across the Sahara by various means of transport and differing levels of success.

Potential readers should be aware that despite his output the author is not a motorcycle fan but a traveler who chose the motorcycle because of his job as a despatch rider and for its cheapness to go long distance. If you're a ADV owner looking for tales of dune bashing and gear tips you'll be disappointed.

Hopefully we'll get another collection soon.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Hard to score. 20 Feb. 2013
By Gcab
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Found this book hard to score because one chapter I would really enjoy,one would bore me and the next was a bit of both.Something that did annoy me was the lack of translation on the French quotations.It may be basic schoolboy French but I hated the bloody subject at school and bonjour is about my limit.Like I say not all bad and Chris Scott has certainly been around Africa but all in all a bit hit and miss for me.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Must have info for the traveller 28 Sept. 2013
By Claire
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A very informative look at travelling Sahara and W.Africa. Amusingly written and easy to digest. It contains a realistic view of what can be expected of vehicles, people and the travellers themselves. A good blend of technical information as well as cultural and
Historic insights.
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