Words leave imprints in your mind like footprints in the sand...
Prague, Czech Republic
Uluru, Australia
  • Location: Kenya, Garissa

The Camel Bookmobile

The Camel Bookmobile

Why a Booktrail?

Books and camels…what’s not to love?

  • ISBN: 978-0753823828
  • Genre: Fiction

What you need to know before your trail

Once a fortnight, the nomadic settlement of Madidima, set deep in the dusty Kenyan desert, awaits the arrival of three camels laden down with panniers of books. This is the Camel Bookmobile, a scheme set up to bring books to scattered tribes whose daily life is dominated by drought, famine and disease. Into their world comes an unexpected wealth of literature – from the adventures of Tom Sawyer to strange vegetarian cookbooks and Dr Seuss. Kanika, a young girl who lives with her grandmother, devours every book she can lay her hands on. Her best friend is Scar Boy, a child who was mauled at the age of three by a hyena. They are joined by Matani the village teacher, his alluring wife Jwahir and the drummaker Abayomi, as well as Mr Abasi, the camel driver, who is convinced that one of the camels is possessed by the spirit of his dead mother-in-law. The only condition of The Camel Bookmobile is that every book must be returned or else the visits will cease. Then one day a book is stolen…

Travel Guide


The author says “The unique mobile library operates in the Northeast Province near the border with Somalia. Four times a week, in sweltering temperatures, librarians and camel drivers travel from Garissa and Wajir to accompany the camels two to three hours into the bush.  I traveled with the camel library on some of its runs in Kenya in February 2006”

“Bringing Literacy to the African bush”
“Garissa, along the murky Tan river not far from the border with Somalia, is home to the camel-borne bookmobile, which travels deep into the busy to bring books to a semi -nomadic people know as pastoralists who have spent generations roaming in  search of water for themselves and their camels, cows, and goats. Though they live in Kenya, most are ethnic Somalis; borders on maps are of little meaning here. Homes are built on grass so as to be easily transportable, paper and pencil are rare..”

Trail Gallery

Booktrail Boarding Pass:  The Camel Bookmobile

Destination: Kenya, Garissa  Author/Guide: Masha Hamilton

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