Recent read: At the Mercy of the River

I recently completed At the Mercy of the River: An Exploration of the Last African Wilderness, an account of the first decent (by kayak) of the Lugenda River in Mozambique. It was written by Outside contributor Peter Stark, who was invited on the five-person trip to document it.

As books from this genre go, it is pretty good. There is a decent amount of adventure complemented by the de rigeur philosophizing. In this case, Starks muses on exploration in general and African exploration in particular, infusing it with a healthy dose of the history of European “exploration” of Africa. He does this well, and it never bogs down the adventure. I recommend it for those who like this type of book.

If you are interested in getting a flavor of the scenery in this area, much of the trip takes place along the Niassa Reserve, and its site has some nice images and maps. The book was also excerpted in the March 2003 issue of Outside.

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