From the Back Cover
FOR TRAVELLERS WHO WISH TO REMAIN CAREFREE, AFRICA IS THE WRONG CONTINENT
Embarking on a three-thousand mile solo cycle ride across sub-Saharan Africa, Dervla Murphy, at sixty 'the toughest female travel writer of our age', had hoped to escape from the mental and emotional shackles of home. But as she pedalled and pushed her bicycle over some of the roughest roads from Kenya through Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia to Zimbabwe, inevitably the harrowing problems of the peoples among whom she travelled rose up to take their place. In particular, the mysterious threat of AIDS ('ukimwi' in Swahili) was talked about wherever she went, by both men and women.
Finding comfort in the beauty of the contrasting landscapes of the countries she passed through, in the space and the solitude, and entertained by the talkative, welcoming local people, Murphy survived starvation, a beating by paramilitaries and a bout of malaria. As ever, she was sustained by her extraordinary compassion, humour and sense of adventure. What emerges from her journey along the Ukimwi Road is a personal, often controversial, always compelling view of Africa, its peoples and its future.
''The Ukimwi Road' is at times a grim work. It is also illuminating and clear-headed'
MARK COCKER, 'Daily Telegraph'
'[Dervla Murphy] belongs firmly to that fine tradition of eccentric women travellers…endearingly self-deprecating'
ANTHONY DANIELS, 'Spectator'
'Wonderful descriptions of the varied landscapes spanning her six-country tour … the reader is given a flavour of the African sense of humour not normally found in travel literature'
JARLATH DOLAN, 'Irish Times'
About the Author
Dervla Murphy was born in Co. Waterford, Ireland, of Dublin parents and still lives there. Since 1964 she has been regularly publishing descriptions of her journeys – by bicycle or on foot – in the remoter areas of four continents. She has also written about the problems of Northern Ireland, the hazards of the nuclear power industry and race relations in Britain.