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Riding the Desert Trail
By Bicycle to the Source of the Nile
One wet and windy day in the British Museum, Bettina Selby decided, almost on an impulse, to travel the length of the Nile Valley, from the Mediterranean Sea to the mysterious Mountains of the Moon and the great lakes of central Africa.
She designed a special ‘all terrain’ bicycle for the journey; and suitably equipped with insect repellants, sun hat and an invaluable filter pump for purifying the waters of the Nile, a Swiss army penknife and an impractical aerosol spray for keeping rabid dogs at bay, she set off on her 4500-mile adventure. It took her from the Pyramids, the great temples of Luxor, the Valley of the Kings and all the magnificence of Egypt, to the empty burning sands of the Nubian Desert; from Cairo’s congenial bustle, and the hospitality of remote Nile-side villages, to the starving refugee camps of war-torn southern Sudan; from the world of international aid (about which she has very mixed feelings) to the terrifying child-soldiers of Uganda - the ruined paradise where her journey ends.
Vivid, moving and observant, alive with the encounters that befall a solitary traveller in remote and often dangerous countries, Riding the Desert Trail is travel writing at its most exciting and exhilarating.
Bettina Selby writes as well as she travels