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I usually read books on entrepreneurship related topics. This is my first travel book I have read. So I didn’t know what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised.

The book is funny, but also smart. Sihle get’s into plane and travels to West African, and when he lands in Senegal, he uses public transport to travel throughout the region. In each of the cities, he spends a few days there, visits tourist attractions sites, eats local foods and then get’s into a bus to another country.

Traveling by public transport, a bus, and a not so luxury couche is not easy, let alone being in an French speaking country, where almost everyone doesn’t understand what you are saying is scary.

Sihle Khumalo makes it look so easy and enjoyable.

This book is about exploring African cities, African people, transport systems, b&bs, local food, cultures etc.

He lands in Senegal, spends a few days there, then proceeds to Mali. Burkina Faso, Benin, Togo using busses and cabs.

What stood out for me is that Sihle is not deterred by the fact that almost everyone in these countries are French speaking, and very little if any of the locals speak English.

Besides the adventure and scary encounters, this is a smart book. Sihle has done his homework in terms of researching various places he wants to visit but also the history of those places. He goes to various tourist attraction places with knowledge of what happened at these heritage sites, monuments, statues, airports, cities.

Rating

9/10

I loved this book and I would recommend it especially to those who want to explore the real West Africa.

If you are into first class travel, fancy hotels and restaurants, and you are not willing to explore the real lives of locals, then this book is not for you.

This book takes you out of your comfort zone.

Not only will you be entertained by Sihle’s stories, but you will be well informed about West Africa.

Favourite Quotes

  • “Part of me likes to live on the edge, waking up and not knowing where I am going to sleep that very night. I love being forced to make plans as I go along. I love solving a series of problems and the satisfaction that comes from having done so successfully.”

  • “Naturally, we Africans won’t take responsibility for our actions, and especially our inactions; instead, as usual, we blame it all on colonialism. And Imperialism. And racism. And God. And the Ancestors. And anything and everything else under the sun but ourselves.”
  • “On all my trips I have had to reluctantly accept that Africans are not light travelers. I have realised, however, there is a logical reason for this: most people travel for a very long time before they get to the city of their destination.”

  • “But that is the unending story of Africa: loads of potential that remains just that, potential.”
  • With a ‘mercy buku’ [that is how ‘thank you’ sounds in French]

  • “Records show that the slave trade in Africa was initiated by the Arabs, as early as the 7th century, mainly in the north and on the east coast of the Continent, with the slave routes running across the Indian Ocean, and on land through North Africa.”
  • “If all the skies were paper and all the seas ink, I would not be able to describe the brutality of the slave trade.”
  • “I grappled with the question of how people could act so inhumanely and yet claim to be civilized. How could people have been so brutal and heartless to other human beings?

One thought on “Book Review: Almost Sleeping My Way to Timbuktu by Sihle Khumalo

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