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by Sally Henderson

Sally Henderson's first book Silent Footsteps was a bestseller in Australia and her second book Ivory Moon has just been released. Subtitled Getting lost and found among the desert elephants of Namibia, it tells the wonderful story of a Queenslander's journey of discovery in Namibia.

Together with her husband Jer, Sally volunteers to run a wilderness camp in a remote part of Namibia near the Skeleton Coast. She had traveled extensively throughout the continent and in 1990 she joined an elephant research project in Zimbabwe (this was the focus of her first book). Sally describes at the beginning of Ivory Moon that she had “a single-minded need to simply ‘be' in an African wilderness that remains pristine because it is inhospitable to humans, to hear the silence and gain the assurance that there are places in the natural world that still hold the power to repel the incursions of our kind”. Her descriptions and stories from the African wilderness are heart-warming to read, perhaps even more so as an African living far from Africa.

Sally and Jer volunteer to manage the camp so that they can stay for three months in the area. She tells a wonderful and sometimes emotional story of the challenges that she faces, being so far away from everything, managing staff members who are mostly African men and just experiencing the Namibian desert. There are tales of sand storms, accommodating guests when the camp is overbooked, taking over the role of chef when there are guests, of a safari guide with an elephant phobia and Sally and Jer's extremely close encounter with a leopard.

Also evident in the book is Sally's own spiritual journey, and her desire to share her experiences of Africa with others. For those of us from Africa, it is wonderful to read about our beautiful continent through the eyes of an Australian. Perhaps also knowing what we know about Africa helps us to recognise Sally's courage in venturing into the desert. In the introductory chapter of Ivory Moon, Sally shares with the reader, “I have lived a life some may see as crazy. But it's mine and it's been fun to believe anything is possible and to make my dreams come true. Whenever the circumstances have arisen to shrug off restriction and grasp freedom, I've taken the lure and run with them. This time they brought me to a place that dared humans to enter at their peril. Few outsiders have the privilege of living in the ancient desert that God forgot, or of sleeping beside an elephant with jug ears and a springbok name Sam. I want to share that privilege.”

Posted in books |
Posted by Sally Henderson
20 Aug 2009

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Rating: 5 / 5
by Sabona Admin on 22 Sep 2009

Sally Henderson is proving to be an amazing author. As the saying goes, "You can take us out of Africa but you can't take Africa out of us" so as one who loves the continent of Africa, I am sure Ivory Moon will not disappoint and will more than meet my expectations. I love Sally's spirit of adventure and the fact that she is prepared to go beyond her comfort zone. We've been waiting for an author like Sally to write about Africa!
Rating: 5 / 5
by Michelle Wessels on 04 Sep 2009

During one December school holiday I worked on the train travelling from Cape Town to Windhoek. For 3 days all I saw was desert, but I fell in love with Namibia. I also know that the skeleton coast is so named because of the numerous ship wrecks. This book seems to have it all, plus stories of the African wilderness. I'm looking forward to turning the pages of this amazing book.
Rating: 5 / 5
by Edward Taylor on 31 Aug 2009

As a Namibian, I'm definitely going to read this. I lived in Nam for more than three decades, never thinking of doing anything like this, because it's 'dangerous' - not the animals, but the political situation. Then I read about people from other countries coming to Africa and doing volunteering! Elephant research in Zimbabwe??! What are these people thinking! Why on earth volunteer in Africa? Don't they know what's going on? Then you read the book and experience your country/continent through the eyes of someone who didn't have the same prejudice against Africa - thank you. This will be another amazing book, highlighting the wonders of Africa.
Rating: 5 / 5
by Lesley on 30 Aug 2009

I truly look forward to reading this book. Namibia itself is an amazing country with its diversity and wildness (and harsh conditions at times). Elephants are majestic animals that are family orientated and can be very gential, but also very feroscious. I look forward to reading these two diverse elements coming together in a narrated story. I look forward to being transported into the 'now of Africa'. Bring it on!!!
Rating: 5 / 5
by Diane on 29 Aug 2009

I am looking forward to reading this book - elephnats are amazing creatures and Namibia is such a different country - so this should be an interesting read....
Rating: 5 / 5
by Taryn on 24 Aug 2009

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