“Imagine yourself. Your vehicle overturned by an angry elephant, the tantrum of which you escaped by a hair’s breadth. You are unarmed, with no food and water, and lost in one of the remotest arid valleys of the African wilderness, the Zambezi Valley, where lion and leopard and hyaena stalk their prey…Hurungwe is a true personal account of survival in wildest Africa during the summer of 1958.” So reads the back cover.

This is a great little book. I was asked to edit the manuscript some years ago, and everything else went on hold while I finished it, because I was that caught up in the implications of the story; when Pierre van der Walt at Pathfinder Adventure Books agreed to publish it, I was honoured to be asked to write the foreword.

Hurungwe is the story of an inadvertent African adventure in the Zambezi Valley of over half a century ago. A prospector, faced with an arduous journey out of the valley on foot when the clutch plate of his WWII truck gives up the ghost and a young girl from England, separated from her friends on the way into Mana Pools when their vehicle is attacked by an elephant. Lost and on foot, she heads, unknowingly, toward the Zambezi Valley. What are the chances that the two would meet?

I first got to know the late Trevor Heath a quarter of a century ago, and this is but one of a plethora of stories he used to tell about the Zambezi Valley back in the day. He followed the Lake Kariba road before there was a road, and canoed the Zambezi River to the Indian Ocean. We can’t have experiences like that today, so we have to live them through the eyes of those who went before us.

Augmented by 47 black and white photographs, Hurungwe, at 129 pages, makes for outstanding campfire reading, or a good book for a rainy day. And an added bonus is eight illustrations by Alan Walker.

Available from Stronghold Arms in Harare – for $25.00

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