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Around Madagascar on My Kayak

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In the last five years Riaan Manser has re-written the definition of tenacity and become the epitome of determination. Riaan rose to prominence when he became the first person to cycle around the entire perimeter of Africa. For over two years, he padalled a mammoth 37,000kms through 34 countries; some of which rank as the most dangerous places on Earth. It was a feat that e In the last five years Riaan Manser has re-written the definition of tenacity and become the epitome of determination. Riaan rose to prominence when he became the first person to cycle around the entire perimeter of Africa. For over two years, he padalled a mammoth 37,000kms through 34 countries; some of which rank as the most dangerous places on Earth. It was a feat that earned him the title Adventurer of the Year 2006 and made his resulting book, Around Africa on my Bicycle, a best-seller. In July 2009 Riaan again set another world first when he became the first person to circumnavigate the world's fourth largest island of Madagascar by kayak; another expedition achieved alone and unaided. This incredible journey, 5000km in eleven months, was considerably more demanding, both physically and mentally. Daily, Riaan had to conquer extreme loneliness while ploughing through treacherous conditions such as cyclones, pounding surf and an unrelenting sun that, combined with up to ten hours in salt water, was literally pickling his body. The perseverance, of course, brought memorable close encounters with Madagascar's marine life - humpback whales breaching metres away from his kayak, giant leatherback turtles gliding alongside him and even having his boat rammed by sharks. Riaan travelled around Madagascar during a period of the country's political turmoil, which gave him unrivalled insight into the exotic island's psyche and even earned him two nights in prison on suspicion of carrying out mercenary activities. Around Madagascar in my Kayak is packed with engaging stories and beautiful photographs and is set to become another best-seller.


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In the last five years Riaan Manser has re-written the definition of tenacity and become the epitome of determination. Riaan rose to prominence when he became the first person to cycle around the entire perimeter of Africa. For over two years, he padalled a mammoth 37,000kms through 34 countries; some of which rank as the most dangerous places on Earth. It was a feat that e In the last five years Riaan Manser has re-written the definition of tenacity and become the epitome of determination. Riaan rose to prominence when he became the first person to cycle around the entire perimeter of Africa. For over two years, he padalled a mammoth 37,000kms through 34 countries; some of which rank as the most dangerous places on Earth. It was a feat that earned him the title Adventurer of the Year 2006 and made his resulting book, Around Africa on my Bicycle, a best-seller. In July 2009 Riaan again set another world first when he became the first person to circumnavigate the world's fourth largest island of Madagascar by kayak; another expedition achieved alone and unaided. This incredible journey, 5000km in eleven months, was considerably more demanding, both physically and mentally. Daily, Riaan had to conquer extreme loneliness while ploughing through treacherous conditions such as cyclones, pounding surf and an unrelenting sun that, combined with up to ten hours in salt water, was literally pickling his body. The perseverance, of course, brought memorable close encounters with Madagascar's marine life - humpback whales breaching metres away from his kayak, giant leatherback turtles gliding alongside him and even having his boat rammed by sharks. Riaan travelled around Madagascar during a period of the country's political turmoil, which gave him unrivalled insight into the exotic island's psyche and even earned him two nights in prison on suspicion of carrying out mercenary activities. Around Madagascar in my Kayak is packed with engaging stories and beautiful photographs and is set to become another best-seller.

30 review for Around Madagascar on My Kayak

  1. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    It pains me to have to give this only two stars, as I became a huge fan of Manser's after reading Around Africa on my Bicycle. However, in order to stay true to the mission of reviewing the book here, I must admit I was slightly disappointed in the book overall. Manser picks up his story almost immediately upon finishing the bicycle trip, and perhaps this is a harbinger of the essential problem this book will face. After the 800+ pages of Africa, it seems that he embarked upon this Madagascar ma It pains me to have to give this only two stars, as I became a huge fan of Manser's after reading Around Africa on my Bicycle. However, in order to stay true to the mission of reviewing the book here, I must admit I was slightly disappointed in the book overall. Manser picks up his story almost immediately upon finishing the bicycle trip, and perhaps this is a harbinger of the essential problem this book will face. After the 800+ pages of Africa, it seems that he embarked upon this Madagascar manuscript intending to write another tome of expeditionary adventure. And for the first third of the book he is well on his way. He gets home to Cape Town, gets restless, decides to kayak around the fourth-largest island on Earth, builds a support team, trains, takes off on his journey, completes maybe a tenth of the overall journey up the northeast coast of the island and.....we are already half-way through the book. I looked at the map of Madagascar provided at the first of the book, looked at how relatively few pages remained and literally held the book out in front of me, wondering if a chunk had fallen out. How in the hell was he possibly going to complete the vast remainder of his adventure with only half of the book left? Well, he continues his deft story telling and adventurous descriptions of almost every night's stop until he gets just about the the southern tip of the island. Then, he compresses the trip from the southern end all the way back up to his starting point, hundreds if not thousands of kilometers, into just a handful of chapters. You can literally see the point where either the editor said "This is WAY too long; cut it", or he simply had to make the deadline and wasn't finished. As I mentioned, rather disappointing. I am certainly not lamenting Manser's approach, point of view or even his simple writing. It is this style that endears him to me and I would expect to many of his fans: his simple, straight-forward and very honest storytelling. He opens himself up beautifully. He is not a literary scholar and never pretends to be. He is an adventurer, a man of IMMENSE courage and bravery (or stupidity, as he regularly admits) and shouldn't be expected to turn out a benchmark of literature. But with incredible journeys like the ones he takes and then takes us on, I wish he would have the number of pages he deserves instead of thinking of possible book sales, or that he would have more help from those knowledgeable in constructing the story at a better pace. Or, just tell us that nothing at all interesting happened along that stretch of southeastern coast worth writing about. But with Riaan Manser and his adventures, somehow I doubt that was the case.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Siffy Torkildson

    I was initially attracted to the book by it being an adventure in Madagascar, where I lived for a year. I enjoyed the descriptions of the Malagasy people, sea life, and the seaside landscape. I learned alot about fishing and kayaking, and I enjoyed Riaan's humor and his thoughts as he travels. He is the first person to kayak around the island, an impressive feat. His descriptions of the people and the landscapes are very good and one also learns about the people. Highly recommended!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    An interesting read although I never enjoyed it as much as Around Africa on my Bicycle.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Marize De Klerk

    what can I say. I'm probably one of his biggest fans!!!!! love his books. Enjoyed Around Africa and enjoyed this book just as much. Can wait to read his third. A mist read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Curtis Stoddart

    Love reading about South Africans penning their adventures around the world. I wish more of them would follow Manser's example. I , unashamedly always seem to justify a book by the length of breaks in-between the reading there-of...or more commonly known as the - "cannot put down" factor...and this was indeed one of those reads. Manser obviously learnt from his first attempt and has embarked on a methodology of précis's in his writings, the effect being a more spell binding read. He also goes to Love reading about South Africans penning their adventures around the world. I wish more of them would follow Manser's example. I , unashamedly always seem to justify a book by the length of breaks in-between the reading there-of...or more commonly known as the - "cannot put down" factor...and this was indeed one of those reads. Manser obviously learnt from his first attempt and has embarked on a methodology of précis's in his writings, the effect being a more spell binding read. He also goes to great lengths to ensure he does not bore the reader with too many technical facts, but still somehow ensures we understand exactly what he is talking about. The one issue I take with this book is the one I found quite fascinating...if that makes any sense...and that is the photography included of his adventures? While I love the beautiful pictures he has included...and they ARE beautiful....often bringing to life what he has described in words...there was a definite dis-connect...well for me at least. Quite simply what I mean by this is, he reportedly took over 10 000 photographs (a feat on its own very impressive given the adventure he embarked on)..but few of them matched some of the adventures he thought pertinent enough to pen. I would really have loved to had a visual supplement to the adventures he described. What there was however was well worth the inclusion...but often at times one photograph would be repeated from different angles..etc, etc Still well worth a read indeed...and well done Riaan!!!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Leo Passaportis

    I briefly deliberated whether this book deserved 3 or 4 stars. I've given it 4 because I felt the average of a little over 3 deserved a boost. It is a great achievement from a guts and determination perspective. He conveys the best and worst parts of the trip convincingly it must be said even if the latter half of the trip is glossed over a bit. I think, however, that this could well reflect Manser's sheer exhaustion at this stage of his epic - both what he said explicitly and what was implied t I briefly deliberated whether this book deserved 3 or 4 stars. I've given it 4 because I felt the average of a little over 3 deserved a boost. It is a great achievement from a guts and determination perspective. He conveys the best and worst parts of the trip convincingly it must be said even if the latter half of the trip is glossed over a bit. I think, however, that this could well reflect Manser's sheer exhaustion at this stage of his epic - both what he said explicitly and what was implied through reading between the lines as it were. One aspect I seemed to have been deprived of reading the ebook are his photos which is a shame. As another reviewer pointed out dating of the entries would also make it easier for readers to envisage the passage of time better. To be fair though he does state his goals and milestones periodically and the chapters are mostly logically spaced. All in all an enjoyable read and the video footage should make for some great viewing.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Charl

    He wont go down in history as the best logistic planner but he makes up for it with more than enough guts and determination. Great book that is easy to read and also have some very nice photos.Sadly, I got the feeling that a lot of the story has been left out to be used in the television documentary.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sean

    I think the book Round Africa on my bicycle was a better read. This one seemed a bit rushed. I still enjoyed the book and was an interesting read. As with Riaan's previous book the trips aren't dated so there's no concept of how long the journes are taking. Good read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Julia Katic

    What a tough journey

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ronelwilken

  11. 4 out of 5

    Karey

  12. 4 out of 5

    Amelia Mulder

  13. 4 out of 5

    Beverly

  14. 5 out of 5

    Katie Cowan

  15. 5 out of 5

    Grant Wood

  16. 5 out of 5

    Martin

  17. 4 out of 5

    Zack Buchan

  18. 5 out of 5

    V Janse

  19. 4 out of 5

    Claire Brear

  20. 5 out of 5

    Dylan Haskin

  21. 5 out of 5

    Alex

  22. 5 out of 5

    Gavin Brown

  23. 5 out of 5

    Greg Stout

  24. 5 out of 5

    Pieter Louw

  25. 4 out of 5

    Annette

  26. 4 out of 5

    Bruce Cline

  27. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jarvis

  29. 5 out of 5

    Fayçal

  30. 5 out of 5

    Dimitkoster

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