The rainforest of Cameroon

Book Review – From The Congo Basin To The Highlands Of Ethiopia by Steve Christenson

This is simply a fascinating book. I found it to be particularly poignant in some of the detailed descriptions of places and things. It focuses on a period of time in that part of Africa that was nearly two decades after I had haunted many of the same spots. Mostly, Christenson’s descriptions and my memories of those places and things were so close that reading the text triggered flashbacks. And the color photos in the book are worth the price, just by themselves.SCIbookreviewchristenson

As interesting as some of the adventures and near-misadventures described in the book are the accounts of hunting some of the exotic species that live in that part of the world. Safaris in that region, then and now, are quite different from those in many other parts of Africa. It is not that one type is better or worse than the other. They are just different. If anything, trips there probably should not be considered entry level for would-be safarists. Probably a good idea to get some other adventures under one’s belt before going there. It is not that there are more dangers, etc. why I say this. It is because one’s ability to truly enjoy the totality of the area and what it has to offer is enhanced if there is a solid foundation of international hunting experiences. But by reading this captivating book, everyone can become vicariously immersed in the aura.

At first, it seemed a stretch to include everything from the Congo Basin to the Ethiopian Highlands in the same book. They certainly are different kinds of places, and the animals hunted in them vary a great deal. But geographically, it makes total sense.

This book gives new meaning to exotic and difficult safari destinations. “These hunts often come with a price: gaboon vipers, mamba bed mates, killer hordes of ants, ambushes in the Danakil Desert, sabotage by Hadendowa warriors, and marauding poachers from Darfur,” Safari Press notes. “Whether they are unearthing Neolithic artifacts in the Awash Valley, daring a late-night visit to the local Bangui ivory poacher, or masquerading in Arab garb to enter the Omdurman slave market, there is never a dull moment.”

Definitely, this is the kind of book that one reads from cover-to-cover the first time, and then returns to again and again to be taken away to places and things that are known by relatively few but treasured by all who have come to know them. Buy the book.– STEVE COMUS

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