The Ukimwi Road

From Kenya to Zimbabwe

Dervla Murphy



In January 1992, Dervla Murphy prescribed herself several carefree months and embarked on a cycle tour (pedaling and pushing) from Kenya to Zimbabwe via Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia on the cyclist’s equivalent of a Rolls Royce called Lear. Before long, she realized that for travelers who wish to remain stress-free, Africa is the wrong continent. Inevitably she was caught up in the harrowing problems of the peoples she met; the devastating effects of AIDS (ukimwi is Swahili for AIDS), drought and economic collapse; skepticism about Western “aid schemes”; and corruption and incompetence, both white and black.


A brave and thoughtful Irishwoman specializes in treks through remote regions. Here she recounts a 3000-mile, four-month bicycle ride through southern Africa, at first seeking a carefree ramble but soon learning that most of her planned route included the region's ukimwi (AIDS) belt. - Publishers Weekly


Dervla Murphy has written more than twenty books recounting her adventures all over the world on foot, mule, bicycle, and just about every other conveyance imaginable.