Published: 27/01/2014
ISBN: 9781783060375
eISBN: 9781783068975
Format: Paperback/eBook



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Strip Pan Wrinkle
In Namibia and Botswana
by David Fletcher

Strip Pan Wrinkle (in Namibia and Botswana) is an account of a five-week expedition made by Brian (of Brahmaputra fame) and his wife, Sandra, as they drive their Land Cruiser in an extended loop through Namibia, Botswana and a little bit of Zambia.

As with all of the other books in David Fletcher’s ‘Brian’s World’ series, the account is rather more than a day-by-day diary of their trip. It is also an insight into each of the countries visited, an exploration of what wildlife one might encounter in these countries and, above all else, an exercise in humour. It isn’t, therefore, a standard travelogue. Instead, with Brian’s experiences – and his contemplations – chronicled in a manner which is more wry than comprehensive, it is very much an amusing travelogue.

It contains a consideration of how much our own Royal Mail is subsiding the Botswanan Post Office, an evaluation of the ugliness of the human form when compared to that of a leopard and a reflection on the efficacy of protecting rhinos by poisoning their horns with arsenic. Furthermore, there is a review of the failings of democracies and a suggestion that wild-dog dynamics might constitute a better model for the conduct of human affairs, and even an examination of the outcome of a reverse takeover of Disneyland by the Church of England. So not really a standard travelogue at all...

Strip Pan Wrinkle (in Namibia and Botswana) is the fifth book in David’s seven-part series that details Brian and Sandra’s travels to Assam, Syria, Borneo, Cape Verde, Namibia/Botswana and Morocco – and in due course, Zambia.

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Caycosta 72

In one respect, this travel memoir could be described as a diary of a trip through Namibia and Botswana, with a brief detour into Zambia, in that each chapter covers a day’s experiences. In another, its third person narrative means that it reads like a work of fiction. This latter device, with the author assuming the identity of middle-aged English traveler, Brian, allows a certain poetic licence in describing the events of the trip and commenting on the people met on the way.

This is soft adventure travel of the kind we can all enjoy, in which Brian and his long-suffering wife, Sandra, drive a 4x4 vehicle for long distances on rough roads in remote country to destinations described as bush camps, but consisting of ‘tent-like structures’ housing hardships ranging from en-suite facilities to four-poster beds with magnificent views from the balconies. Between negotiating feral donkeys and chaotic border posts, they meet other travellers from several countries, encounters which allow Brian free reign to take side-swipes at everything that irritates him, including national stereotypes, politicians, bankers, the cult of celebrity and the inanities of popular television, while remaining painfully aware of his own shortcomings.

And there is, of course, the wildlife, which is the main purpose of the journey. This comprises an abundance of just about every animal and bird for which Africa is famous, plus a few more, in such places as Etosha, Makgadikgadi and Nxai National Parks and the amazing wetlands of the Okavango Delta. I would like to have seen more of the excellent photographs, and a map would have removed my need to continually refer to an atlas to follow Brian’s and Sandra’s progress. But these are minor niggles. This is an attractively produced book, humorous, informative and always highly entertaining. It makes one want to go to see these wonderful places for oneself.

by Anthony Toole


More than a day-by-day diary of a trip. It is also an insight into each of the countries visited, an exploration of what wildlife one might encounter in these countries and, above all else, an exercise in humour. Not a standard travelogue. Chronicled in a manner which is more wry than comprehensive, it is very much an amusing travelogue.

by Julie Welsh


 

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