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Title: Desert Adventure
Subtitle: In Search of Wilderness in Namibia and Botswana
Genre: Illustrated art book
Author: Paul Augustinus
Publisher: Acorn Books
Randburg, South Africa 1997
ISBN 1874802084 / ISBN 1-874802-08-4
ISBN 1874802092 / ISBN 1-874802-09-2
Hardcover, dustjacket, 30 x 28 cm, 240 pages, throughout colour photos and drawings
Desert Adventure describes a year-long journey, made by wilderness artist Paul Augustinus, through the rich diversity of desert landscapes of the Namib and the Kalahari. Infused with the spirit of adventure, it is an odyssey in search of southern Africa’s last remnants of unspoiled and untamed wilderness. The journey begins at the edge of the wilderness, among the dunes of Sossusvlei, and continues through Walvis Bay and the delights of Swakopmund into the lonely, rugged scenery of the Kaokoveld. Through the artist’s eyes, we see a land of mountains, vast plains, and dry riverbeds inhabited by myriad forms of wildlife.
We share the excitement of being surprised by elephants close to the camp at night, and the thrill of encountering the rare desert rhino, and gaze at the ancient rock engravings at Twyfelfontein. Leaving the arid grandeur of the Kaokoveld, we enter a world of dazzling sand dunes and turbulent ocean, the Skeleton Coast, and are regaled with stories of coastal lions and desert elephants, and the many shipwrecks still visible on the beaches. After the freedom of the wilderness, the Etosha National Park, where nature is ‘controlled’ by man, appears tame by comparison, but this lack is more than made up for by the abundance of its wild animals and the drama of their encounters.
Lion and cheetah chases and the competitive interactions between elephant, rhino and lion around the waterholes are vividly captured by the pen, brush and camera of the author. The Okavango, the unique swampland of the northern Kalahari Desert, with its secret waterways and wealth of wildlife, is Paul’s next goal, and here he embarks on two dugout canoe trips into its northern reaches, far from the normal tourist routes, to encounter buffalo and lion, and the legendary honeyguide, at close quarters. The final stages of this epic journey take us through Moremi to the massive elephant herds of the Chobe National Park, where Paul’s vehicle was attacked and damaged by elephants.
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