Book review: From Libyan Sands to Chad ~ Nigel Heseltine


Nigel Heseltine, 1960 (o/p)

Of the same era but less petulant than Newman, the author sets off on what turns out to be a vexatious journey across the Sahara through Libya to Lake Chad via the Tubu lands of the Tibesti and Ennedi. What makes this book so unusual in the era of unreviewably lame Travel Book Club adventures, is that the author is no fluffy travel writer, but a well-read if rather stroppy Theroux-esque character who does not spare those who irritate him.

His Jeep blows its gearbox south of El Gatrun and he is forced to travel on in a lorry and the chirppy M. Gautier in his Landrover. Having studied his Nachitgal and other material, the author explores the rarely seen Tibesti, Ounianga and the Ennedi and the customs of the wily Tubu. It’s a credit to the author’s detailed research that it was used to fill the huge gaps in that Saharan turkey, Sahara, The Life of a Great Desert (see other reviews). From Libyan Sands… is about the best book available in English on the little known Sahara of Chad.

More on Chad here.