I had a preconceived notion of what to expect from a British traveler’s account of a ride down the length of Africa and only agreed to read the book because of the BMW motorcycle content. I anticipated a metronomic litany of place names, mileage, and meals eaten served up with outrage at the damned natives, their irritating lassitude, and the rigors of seeking high tea each afternoon. As a result, I nearly missed out on a thoughtful, entertaining read…
This would be a book I could easily recommend to any reader with interest in traveling through Africa, although clearly more for flavor and texture than as a handbook….
BMW ON USA
Sam’s writing style is very engaging. He gives you the feeling of being right there beside him baking away in the sun or fearing for dear life. Graphic storytelling? Hell yes!
…he tells the story with rich detail of the terrain, the people, the food, and the circumstances, creating that vivid imagery of the mind only made possible by the written word.
Comparisons with Ted Simon’s seminal ‘Jupiter’s Travels’ are somewhat inevitable, but Manicom’s work does not suffer in the least by comparison to his illustrious forebear. He writes engagingly, and in the classic style of the travel writer, with a marked ability to draw out the salient features of a scene and place them center-stage. The deep red of the African earth glows under Manicom’s pen.
A skyscraper-high stack of experiences. Full of vivid detail of the terrain, people, food and circumstances.
Adventure Rider Magazine USA
The word-pictures that bring a good travel book to life are all here; Sam’s perceptions of people, places and predicaments have real depth and texture, their associated sights, smells and sounds are evoked with a natural ease. Where other author’s detailed descriptions can sometimes get in the way, Sam’s style is engaging and well tuned. I found myself in the midst of action rather than a mere fly on the wall.
Excellent book. Gives a very honest account of life on the road, fear, boredom, terror, pain, love and humor, good and bad days of riding, it’s all there. I particularly liked the mention of other travelers on the road, so often not mentioned in many books. They may only be in your life for a short time but nearly always leave a lasting impression. Good reading for anyone.
Take you mind off the short days coming and dreary winter evenings, with novice biker Sam’s fascinating description of his trip across fourteen African countries by motorcycle. The sights, colours and smells of this amazing continent are brought to life in this brilliant account of his journey.
SE Biker Magazine
Sam Manicom is now established as one of the foremost and most readable adventure motorcyclists currently writing about their adventures on two wheels.
Not being an avid reader of books, I was somewhat reluctant to commit to reading one, probably the first time since my school days! My attention was quickly immersed in the book, learning of Sam’s experiences almost convinced me that I was there. His writing style makes the book very easy to read and goes into some detail. A very good read, go and buy a copy today!
Manicom makes it clear that travelling via motorcycle immerses him in the travel experience like no other form of transport can, answering the question, “isn’t it easier to travel by bus?”
City Bike Magazine USA
In the range of Motorcycle Travel Books out there, this one pulls no punches. In the gritty bits, you can feel the grit. I liked it a lot.
There is something refreshing about reading a travel book by an author who has not sought to write the screenplay of their travels. Sam Manicom’s book is as honest in its narrative as it is in the author’s nativity of the countries and people he encountered while traveling north to south across this vast continent. If you are an experienced traveler you may read this book and empathise with the steep learning curve involved with surviving in an unfamiliar land; if you are an inexperienced, or ‘wanna’be’ traveler – especially involving motorcycles – you may well read this and think, “He’s no different to me, I COULD do that …”
I like Sam’s style; he takes you with him and describes the experience in fascinating detail, with a nice touch of understatement.
The Rider’s Digest
I’m not much of a reader and did have some concerns about getting through it. I needn’t have worried though; I was quickly immersed in the adventures. I felt like I was around a camp fire and Sam was reliving some of his experiences… As if being in the back end of nowhere wasn’t rural enough, our intrepid traveller goes in search of what must be one of the most remote places imaginable. Impassable even on ‘Libby’, his BMW R80 GS, he ‘parks’ her in the bushes and walks the rest of the way. It’s possibly the seeming ‘insanity’ or total improbability that makes this book compelling reading, even to a seasoned ‘African’… I enjoyed this book very much.
Sam Manicom’s journey from the British Channel Islands to South Africa’s Cape Town is head and shoulders above the very popular Long Way Down. … Into Africa is the journal of a gifted storyteller; a writer with keen observational skills, his flowing narrative alone distinguishes Sam Manicom from his contemporaries. … This is the book for the beach, for the tube, for the bus and always for the sheer enjoyment of reading it.
A captivating book for all, this is the story of an enlightening, yet daunting (and sometimes downright harrowing) journey across fourteen African countries by motorcycle. The author, a novice biker, decides to break free from the doldrums of everyday life in search of adventure and finds it. Whether he’s thrust into a brutal jail cell in Tanzania, or experiencing a serous wipe out in Namibia or climbing a mountain, each chapter is filled with one great story after another.
…But as much as I can tell you what not to do in a motorcycle travel book — or any travel book, for that matter — it’s much harder to put my finger on exactly what should be done. There’s a subtle difference; a smoky line that’s crossed somewhere that turns a boring diary into an edge-of-the-chair adventure yarn, and Manicom has done it in these two books (Into Africa and Under Asian Skies). If pressed, I’d say that to be successful, a travel book surely must go beyond a simple narrative to imbue the reader with the history, the culture and the mood of the place in addition to its sights, sounds and smells. Yet the author has only words to convey all of this — a most difficult task. Fantastic book, a must have.
(Into Africa) … took me on a refreshingly honest journey through a fascinating continent narrated by a man who was there, in my opinion, for all the right reasons. It’s the good rather than the grim times that shine through … which made me reluctant to put the book down. (Sam) has a gift to describe people and places…
UK Moto Guzzi Club Magazine
Into Africa, where, brand new to riding, the adventurous Manicom sets out and before he’s even done with the first leg of the journey, he finds himself stuck in an African jail cell. From there, the adventure really kicks off! And when you get to the end of that book and are ready for more, guess what? You pick up the second book Under Asian Skies.
This is definitely a story which should be shared. It’s hard to fit a whole years worth of travel and adventure into one book, so though Into Africa is just over 300 pages long, I could have happily read on. But you are left with a solid understanding of Sam’s experiences thanks to the descriptions of sight, smell, sound and taste, along with an easy narrative of the authors thought provoking questions and learning experiences, making Into Africa a truly excellent read.
This is a great adventure and a really enjoyable read.
Johnnie Walker – ‘BBC Radio Two’ Drive Time
For Sam Manicom, the motorcycle was the means to see Africa, not an end in itself, but he soon becomes a biker. He’s also a compelling writer with a real story to tell. There is plenty of adversity and problems, but encounters with the people along the way illuminate the darker times like shafts of sunlight. It’s a shame Sam Manicom didn’t have a camera following him, it would have made for compelling television in places, but his books create compelling pictures of their own.
Traveling on two wheels is the perfect way to explore a continent such as Africa. It’s just that many of us don’t have the opportunity to do it ourselves, due to many reasons such as family commitments, money or plain old fear. Thank goodness for people like Sam Manicom, who keep armchair travelers like myself occupied with their fantastic motorcycling travel stories.
Sam has an obvious sensitivity to his surroundings and the people he meets. His joy at simply being out on the road comes through strongly on almost every page.
Motorcycle Sport and Leisure
Upfront with adventure mishaps, dust, heat and the thrill of overlanding. A good book to add to your collection.
World of BMW
Sam Manicom writes with a warmth and enthusiasm for a continent he has come to love and evokes all the pleasure and pain of a long trip by bike. Highly recommended.
BMW Club Journal