Riaan Manser rewrote the definition of determination when he cycled unaided over 37 000km around Africa. It was a feat that earned him the title Adventurer of the Year in 2006 and turned his book Around Africa on my Bicycle into a bestseller.
Riaan set another world first in 2009 when he became the first person to circumnavigate Madagascar, the world’s fourth largest island, by kayak.
This incredible journey, 5000km in a little under a year, was consider- ably more demanding, both physically and mentally. Daily, Riaan had to conquer extreme loneliness, while ploughing through treacherous conditions such as cyclones, pounding surf and an unrelenting sun that, combined with up to ten hours in salt water, was literally pickling his body. The journey brought memorable encounters with Madagascar’s marine life – humpback whales breaching metres from his path, giant leatherback turtles gliding alongside him and sharks ramming his kayak. It also brought a different kind of risk – that of arrest and imprisonment on suspicion of mercenary activity.
An amazing adventure packed with courage and endurance – Riaan’s story sweeps the reader along like a tsunami.