Author of more than a dozen guidebooks covering Africa, from South Africa, Mozambique and Namibia to Ghana, Ethiopia and Uganda.
Philip Briggs has been exploring the highways, byways and backwaters of Africa since 1986, when he spent several months backpacking on a shoestring from Nairobi to Cape Town. In 1991, he wrote the Bradt Guide to South Africa, the first such guidebook to be published internationally after the release of Nelson Mandela. Over the rest of the 1990s, Philip wrote a series of pioneering Bradt travel guides to destinations then – and in some cases still – otherwise practically uncharted by the travel publishing industry, among them Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Ghana and Rwanda.
More recently, he authored the first guidebook to Somaliland for Bradt in 2012, and is currently working on a new Bradt Guide to The Gambia. Also a prolific writer for magazines, he spends at least four months travelling every year, usually accompanied by his wife, the travel photographer Ariadne Van Zandbergen, and lives in the sleepy village of Bergville, in the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg region of South Africa.
Q&A with Philip
You are an expert in which African countries?
South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Malawi, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Somaliland, Ghana, The Gambia, Senegal, and more patchily Swaziland, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, DR Congo, Mali, Egypt, Tunisia & Madagascar
What do you love about traveling in Africa?
I can't answer that. It's as strange a question to me as asking somebody who's travelled in Greece, Scotland, Norway and France what they love about travelling in Europe. What I enjoy about Egypt is completely different to what I enjoy about being on safari in the Serengeti or backpacking in remote parts of Ethiopia or Ghana. I just enjoy travelling.
What is your favourite place in Africa?
I wouldn't say I have a favourite. Ethiopia is probably the most fascinating country I've visited but it can be hard work. It's nice to spend time in any quality game reserve, and I'd rate the Serengeti-Mara, Samburu-Buffalo Springs and Lower Zambezi among the very best.
With whom do you love to travel?
My wife (and photographic collaborator) Ariadne Van Zandbergen. We usually travel together, but when she can't make it, I'd rather travel alone than hook up with somebody just for the company.
If there is only one item you could take on a journey, what would it be?
Depends on the journey. If it's a safari, binocs & a bird field guide. If its a long road trip, my iPod.