Book Review | Kenya: A Mountain to Climb [gifted]

Kenya: A Mountain to Climb, Book, Travel,
Having worked in travel for five years, my sense of wanderlust is crazy – even now. It wasn’t until I started that job that I compiled a travel bucket list and my desire to explore the world more extensively than Europe intensified. Having finished reading Kenya: A Mountain to Climb by Rod Wood, I cannot wait to complete my personal travel goals and even add to my current list.

I haven’t read Rod’s first book, Kilimanjaro: My Story, but I didn’t need to, to understand the reason behind this second climb. From reading this second instalment, I’d call Rod an open book (no pun intended) – he’s open in discussing his previous battles with depression and throughout this book, he mentions other areas of his personal life: his health issues, his career and his upcoming marriage to fiancée, Jane. That said, now I’ve finished A Mountain to Climb, I really must read his debut novel.

Rod has a way of writing that immediately enthrals you. His descriptions were so thorough, but vivid and it felt like I was on the journey with him. Throughout the novel, there were interludes for pages of photos – it was a shame that these were printed in black & white, rather than colour – and it brought the sights and sounds of Africa to life in a more captivating way. Having never travelled to the continent, I feel my understanding and knowledge is a lot better. Not only do we find out about the numerous species of plant and animal, but also the local people and their culture, the attitude towards tourists and the way in which many wider issues affect the country.

But it isn’t just Africa. You are on Rod’s journey from the start – from the planning and booking of the itinerary (and the problems that arise along the way), to his training regime and life in Shropshire (I was familiar with many of the places and landmarks he mentions as my friend lives in Telford). Of course, the main story is of him attempting to climb Mount Kenya, as well as the other places he experiences. Like I’ve said, it’s not just landscapes and animals – we find out about the people he travels with, the tour guides and the accommodation. It all feels very real as you’re reading and like you are also on the journey, experiencing the highs and lows. At points I wanted to laugh; at others I wanted to cry.

I know people that have climbed Kilimanjaro and embarked on other difficult but thoroughly rewarding treks, so to a degree, I understood the pressures and struggles he encountered along the way and I certainly admire anyone with a similar goal – I don’t think I could do it! For Rod, he comes to a realisation that his health and future life are important and while scaling Kilimanjaro (which he refers to as his mountain and often talks about it in the third person) helped him overcome previous struggles so will always have a special place in his heart, Mount Kenya may just be one mountain too many. He really wants to experience the big five in their natural habitat and particularly those species that are becoming seriously endangered. He has strong (but relatable) views on all matter of issues: the ivory trade, poaching, global warming and climate change, to name but a few – and is keen to share his thoughts on those throughout the novel. Having overcome his own personal battles, Rod realises that Kenya too has many obstacles to overcome.

I found A Mountain to Climb so easy to read, taking it on holiday and picking it up whenever I got a spare moment. I even read it on our flight home, which took off around 9:30pm, until I fell asleep in the book... I just couldn’t wait to find out what would happen next. The descriptions filled all of my senses and I’d love even more so now, to go on a game drive. Staying at Giraffe Manor has long been on my bucket list anyway (he briefly mentioned it in the novel). Would there seriously be anything better than having breakfast or afternoon tea in such beautiful surrounds with giraffes joining you through the windows?

If you’re expecting this to be another travel guide, you would be mistaken, it’s so much more than just landscapes and wildlife. If you’re interested in travel and culture, like me, you’ll thoroughly enjoy A Mountain to Climb. The personal element and his story make it much more interesting than anything else you could read about Africa, or more specifically, Kenya. Like I say, I must read book one and I wonder whether there will be a third book too (Rod mentions his plans to return to Africa as a result of his charity work with Send a Cow).

I’ll be sharing my views with my book club to see if anyone would be interested in reading it. If you are, you can find it on Amazon.

Love, Lucy xx

*Thank you to Bloggers Required and Helen Naylor at Book Printing UK for sending me Kenya: A Mountain to Climb FOC for review purposes. Images and opinions are 100% my own.

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Love, Lucy xx

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