Travelling Native: A story of adventure through the rivers of South America by Paul Enright, is an exciting true adventure story of survival and daring escapades along the Orinoco River and Casiquiare River in Venezuela and the Rio Negro in Brazil. Beautifully written, it absorbs the reader from the opening sentence to the last as the writer relates his stories of travelling up the Orinoco river in a large dugout canoe with mestizos before continuing on alone in a small dugout canoe through the remote Casiquiare River and the upper reaches of the Rio Negro before eventually ending his river journey in Manaus.
Completely unprepared for travelling alone and surviving the dangers of alligator attack, jaguar attack, being knocked unconscious for twelve hours by a stingray and collapsing with exhaustion in an Indian village, the writer describes the journey in rich prose and a style that is easy to read and understand. Self-deprecating and humourous the story nevertheless emphasises the need to face life’s challenges, no matter how little understood, and the will power needed to overcome adversary and appreciate life, no matter how bleak it look for a while.
Interspersed with wonderful anecdotes and well-balanced timelines of historical interest specific to the regions the narrative moves through, this is a book for all ages including the aspiring adventurer and the armchair traveller. The author was born and raised in Ireland but lives in Kenya. His forthcoming books expected next year, will cover his time working in Somalia, South Sudan and east and central Africa in general. If those stories are as adventurous as this one, then we can be assured of exciting and challenging reads over the coming years.