Our guest – Trevor Jenner
He is a celebrated author, traveler, explorer and fascinated observer. The English born Trevor Jenner is a champion for the people, the animals and the landscape of Ethiopia.
His publication, Ethiopia Traveller’s Handbook, has received glowing reviews.
Joanna Lumley, OBE FRGS, says:
Absolutely stunning book. It has made me think of all I missed and reinforced my determination to return to Ethiopia. The book is a masterpiece, a masterclass on what every handbook should be. Ethiopia – Travellers’ Handbook is a book conceived for the discerning traveller, the package tourist and those people wishing to have a quick reference guide with a range of facts at their fingertips. The book provides a clear understanding of what there is to see and do in Ethiopia. The background and reference information conveys a wide-ranging view and it has been designed to be uncomplicated and straightforward to use, without having to constantly refer to abbreviations and symbols. It is a travel guide with a user-friendly presentation that allows quick reference to topics of interest. The many map illustrations have been designed to be uncomplicated and easy to follow.
The book, which is full colour throughout, is packed with information, images and illustrations. As well as people, places and fauna, the book covers many aspects of Ethiopia including myths, history, development, political history, topography, Ethiopian Orthodox Church, language and reference data. Colonel John Blashford-Snell OBE, one of the greatest travellers and explorers of our time, has written the foreword. Other prominent organisations and people have contributed articles illustrating their exciting and heart-warming involvement with Ethiopia that are intended to further inform the traveller. The book contains completely independent travel advice.
Ethiopia, in his own words
Trevor graciously shared his history, experiences and love of Ethiopia with us.
I first decided to go to Ethiopia because I knew of the wonderful highlands and the animals that dwelt there. The plan was Ethiopia first and then Kenya, Tanzania and other countries later. This all changed when the beauty of Ethiopia enchanted me and captured my heart. Not just the amazing landscapes but the people, habesha, who were so welcoming and approachable. The little children (with tourist style sunglasses they made from wood), the happy women and helpful men of Ethiopia made my heart melt. This was especially so, given that I had entered one of the poorest countries in the world. My plans to visit elsewhere in Africa went on hold. I was immediately under Ethiopia’s spell and wanted to return as soon as possible.
That was 25 years ago. Since then I have returned countless times and still never made it to those other countries. I returned often and formed a tour company to help show the world what an amazing place Ethiopia was. I would take long stays and investigate parts of Ethiopia that tourists have never seen. At every turn there was something new and wonderful people to meet.
My love grew as my understanding of the country and its peoples grew. The diversity of the country, in almost every respect, I found outstanding. So many different peoples with their different languages and cultures, such variation in landscapes in which those peoples lived. So many mysteries to solve. From stories of ancient civilisations to how people survive in remote areas with no income. At every turn I had something to learn. Everyone I met was happy to teach me and help me understand their life. This from city dwellers to remote tribes people, even those who had never seen a white person before. In sickness and in health I have experienced love and help not easily found elsewhere.
I wanted to write about my experiences and for other people in the West to know of the wonderful country of Ethiopia – but what kind of book? I started to write a manuscript, I still didn’t have a firm idea so I wrote absolutely everything down and floated the manuscript out among friends to test their reaction. Meanwhile, I felt that current guide books didn’t tell the story of Ethiopia well enough, facts were often incorrect, they lacked imagination and didn’t make you want to go there.
I knew I could do better so decided upon a travel guide with a different concept. A guide that was in full colour, to show all of the colours of Ethiopia, add hundreds of images to add to the story, direct the traveller to the internet for up to date information on hotels and similar, make the book timeless as far as possible, correct the untruths and make the quality of content and production second to none – that was what mattered above all else.
Yes, that would be the book that I would write, that would be the book that would help Ethiopia, that would be the book that would help people to understand what a marvellous country Ethiopia is. The Ethiopia Travellers’ Handbook took 8 years of writing, research, photography and design. I hope the book helps and delights travellers and opens their eyes to the wonders of Ethiopia. Perhaps my happiest moment was when I saw a habesha tour guide walking into a restaurant in a remote town in Ethiopia with my book under his arm. I stopped him and asked him what he thought of the book – he said “this is amazing, I can’t stop reading it.” I knew then that I had written the right book.
Ethiopia Traveller’s Handbook
Mammals of Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia – Field Guide to the Larger Mammals of The Horn of Africa