A Single Swallow


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.

Publisher: Vintage Publishing
ISBN: 9780099526315
Number of pages: 336
Weight: 234 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 21 mm



“Clare’s extraordinary and mesmerising odyssey following the migration of the swallow from South Africa to South Wales” — Annabel Goldie * Herald *
“A gifted and lyrical travel writer” * Financial Times *
“The author deploys some fine lyrical writing and a gift for inventive, unexpected metaphor … Clare’s other great asset is his brave, modern, multicultural and open-hearted approach to travel itself” — Mark Cocker * Guardian *
“Fizzingly entertaining. His own prose has something of their flight: daring, sharp-edged, fast-moving, graceful, full of surprises. This is a great adventure, thrillingly realised” — Tom Fort * Literary Review *
“Remarkably insightful and entertaining, with Clare proving himself to be the most enthusiastic, open-minded, intelligent and incorrigibly romantic of travellers” * Mail on Sunday *