514Th0kuxuLFrom Goodreads:In June 2016, Oscar Scafidi and Alfy Weston set out to complete the first ever source-to-sea expedition along Angola’s longest river, the Kwanza. Paddling and carrying a forty-year-old collapsible wooden kayak, they embarked on a journey of 1,300km in support of The HALO Trust, the oldest and largest humanitarian landmine clearance organisation in the world.
Over thirty-two days the pair kayaked, hiked and waded towards the Atlantic Ocean, meeting a whole host of interesting people – from security forces, to diamond miners, to farmers and fishermen. Things didn’t always go smoothly. They were attacked by hippos and bitten by insects. They sank in rapids, picked up nasty injuries, and were arrested then threatened with deportation.Oscar and Alfy’s expedition raised $25,000 for The HALO Trust. The documentary film they made of the journey was aired in film festivals in the UK, the USA, Canada, Australia and Cyprus, and their journey is currently being reviewed by Guinness World Records. This is the story of how they did it.The author will be donating 25% of this book’s profits to The HALO Trust, to help make Angola landmine free by 2025.”

My Review

I read this book through The Pigeonhole, a free online book club and read it with other readers on the web. It was split into 10 parts, called staves, that I read through the nifty Pigeonhole app. I really enjoyed reading in this format. It suited being split into the 10 staves, sometimes leaving us readers on a terrible cliffhanger until the following day.

Oscar Scafidi’s writing was a so engaging, even when explaining Angola’s heartbreaking history, I never feel bogged down by unnecessary facts. In fact right at the beginning I needed to find out more because I was so fascinated by his descriptions.

I didn’t realise that hippos were such a menace and that there are so many diamond mines in Angola. I really felt for Oscar and Alfy as they struggled with the Kayak full of their belongings over very tough terrain, not knowing where they would camp each night. They also had health issues to deal with, as well as some extremely tough officials along the way. Fortunately the locals were very welcoming and helpful when they needed a hand or directions.

This was a great read and one that I definitely recommend if you enjoy travel memoirs.