Book reviews – Travel Africa Magazine

Book reviews – Travel Africa Magazine

A Taste of Tanzania

We’ve been looking forward to a new coffee table book on Tanzania for some time. And it’s been well worth the wait with the release of the self-published A Taste of Tanzania. At 176 pages, and with no expense spared on the print and paper quality, this is a statement production. The photography is fresh and expressive, allowed to breathe by a minimalistic design. The accompanying text is short but evocative – mostly extended captions – which creates a perfect balance: you can enjoy the images and understand the context without being distracted by heavy text to read.

The book records the travels of Wim Demessemaekers and his friend, chef Axel Janssens, as they explore the country together to discover hidden gems and explore the taste of Tanzania. The result, brought to life by Stephen Walckiers’ editorial skills, is a fusion of food, friendship and travel, with neither dominating. As a nice surprise, though, Janssens has shared a selection of his favourite recipes, with glorious photographs, in a separate section.

For me, however, the triumph is that we are left with a sense of what the country is really like, beyond the tourist postcard. We get an insight to daily lives of Tanzanians, and even the wildlife shots seem less manicured and edited than is often the case. Quite simply, it feels real.
Reviewed by Craig Rix


By Errol Fuller (Princeton University Press)

It is appropriate that this beautifully illustrated tribute to one of the world’s most persecuted species should have been written by a leading authority on animal extinction. In tracing the evolution of elephants from prehistory to the present day, Errol Fuller not only looks at their behaviour, herd dynamics and social life, but also explores the legends that have grown around them and their role in cultures around the globe, from folklore and fine art to  their exploitation as circus animals and war machines. Fittingly, the final chapter deals with the grim subject of their very survival in a world that covets their ivory, treats them as sportsmen’s trophies, steals their habitat and renders them down into trinkets and footstools.

How much more powerful it would have been had it included the poaching wars played out in Tsavo, and the extraordinary achievements of Iain Douglas-Hamilton who, more than anyone, has championed the cause of elephant conservation.

Reviewed by Brian Jackman

Travel Africa

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