The Long Riders' Guild

Laura Bougault's Record-Breaking 
Ride across Africa!

bougault.jpg (7116 bytes) 
Photo (c) Laura Bougault

Famed Equestrian Explorer, Laura Bougault, is shown in her native France on a training ride prior to setting off on her historic solo journey across Africa.

Click on photo to enlarge

16th April 2002

After thinking long and hard, I have decided to finish my ride on the edge of Lake Malawi.  Because of the time I have lost, particularly at the time of the attack, I will not be able to get as far as Tanzania and Kenya.  Julien has to fly back on 16 April, and we wanted to end the journey on a positive note.  The ninth largest lake in the world, and possibly one of the most delightful, seemed to me a beautiful enough place to make the end more bearable.  So – another 240 kilometres and I will have to bid farewell to a way of life which has been mine for seven months.

As we proceeded, the landscape became more and more theatrical.  The mountains, covered in brush, reared up on all sides and some of the sides were really steep.  But when we arrived, we were not disappointed:  little verdant isles dotted about here and there opposite a long beach, and water bluer than the Mediterranean.  It was like being on the Côte d'Azure before it was invaded by concrete and asphalt.  Paradise.

Julien has left, and taken the baggage, and I shall return alone to Mangochi in a few days, where I am meeting the young woman who wants to buy my horses.

I feel rather lost, and know that this last stage is the hardest.  Three more days of travel….  

18th May 2002

Laura has finished her journey!!  

"The journey is over.  I do not suffer from the sentiments of loss and emptiness which some Long Riders feel.  I am going to pick up my life where I left it, get back together with my dogs and my horses, the granite house full of books, and carry on with a rather marginal existence far from that of my contemporaries, and think, write, and live among my animals.  

I am the richer for my hundreds of meetings, the richer for the countryside I have seen and experiences I have lived.  I have known the sharp smell of death, and I have had my fill of slow horizons, sunrises, the evening light, the fields of stars, and shimmering waters." 

To read earlier emails from Laura, please click here.

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