From the slums of Cape Town to the palaces of Algiers, through Pygmy villages where pineapples grow wild, to the Gulf of Guinea where the sea blazes with oil flares, across two continents and fourteen countries - this epic journey is nothing to swallows, they do it twice a year. But for Horatio Clare, writer and birdwatcher, it is the expedition of a lifetime.
Along the way he discovers old empires and modern tribes, a witch-doctor's recipe for stewed swallow, explains how to travel without money or a passport, and describes a terrifying incident involving three Spanish soldiers and a tiny orange dog. By trains, motorbikes, canoes, one camel and three ships, Clare follows the swallows from reed beds in South Africa, where millions roost in February, to a barn in Wales, where a pair nest in May.
Horatio Clare is the author of Running for the Hills (nominated for the Guardian First Book Award 2006 and shortlisted for the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award), Sicily through Writers' Eyes and Truant: Notes from the Slippery Slope. The journey for this book was partly financed by a Somerset Maugham Award. He has made radio features in Morocco, written about Ethiopia for the New Statesman, and been commissioned by CondeNast Traveller to write on Sicily and Namibia. He has worked as a producer for BBC Radio's 'Night Waves' and 'The Verb'.