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March 19 , 2010

Travels with King Kong

Overland across Africa


James Henderson’s overland trip across Africa may have happened forty years ago, but it continues to have a profound effect on his life. It was 1974 when he joined his best friend John, who had always spoken of traveling around the world—starting in Africa. The adventure began as soon as they crossed the Strait of Gibraltar to the African City of Tangiers, where they were surrounded by a small army of children. They kept most of them away by hiring one as their guide, who turned out to make some decent recommendations for a hotel and restaurant. James and John met up with other travelers and made their way across the continent on traveling in an old British Army bus named “King Kong.” While it was constantly in need of repair, it never failed to get them to the next interesting place, though not according to the original schedule of the expedition. The heat of the Sahara Desert took a disastrous toll on James, and he thought about splitting from the group to fly on to Nairobi, but his blossoming relationship with Marion—one of the travelers—helped convince him to stay. That decision changed his life forever, allowing him to experience the wonders of Africa and meet the love of a lifetime in Travels with King Kong.
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