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The Skeleton Coast - Benedict Allen (book cover)

£25 + £4 p&p

Very limited copies available.

The Skeleton Coast – a journey through the Namib Desert (1997)

Named after the bleached bones and scattered remains of shipwrecks washed up on its shore, The Skeleton Coast is where the Namib Desert meets the Atlantic Ocean in south-western Africa. Benedict trained three camels - including the indomitable Nelson - single-handedly, and walked them up the coast on a thousand mile trek, the first time this had been permitted through the diamond-scattered and harsh but delicate environment. A glossy hardback, and suitable present maybe.

Recommended for: A suitable gift? It's a glossy hardback; those fascinated by Namibia, and fans of camels and deserts.

Most exciting moment: midway through the journey, setting off into the desert alone with camels, having left the government guide behind. And reaching safety, no-one in the world knowing where Benedict was.

Benedict's comment: Although commissioned to accompany the BBC TV series, the book - I like to think - stands alone. Taken from detailed diaries, and heavily illustrated thanks to the photographer Adrian Arbib, the book I hope accurately evokes not just a journey but this glorious part of the world. It was my first long trek through a desert, an environment which seems to "open-up" the traveller – in the opposite way that the "jungle" closes in on the traveller, making him or her feel the odd one out. Namibia remains one of my favorite countries, and Nelson a cherished companion.

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