banner homeweb

Heather Ellis is an Australian author, journalist, public speaker and motorcycle road safety advocate who rode her Yamaha TT600 from south to north Africa, and from London where she worked as a motorcycle courier, to Vietnam via Central Asia on the 'Silk Road' from 1993 to 1997.

Ubuntu: One Woman's Motorcycle Odyssey Across Africa details Heather's epic journey over 15 months and 19 countries riding 42,000 kilometres from south to north Africa during 1993 to 1994. It has been described as Ted Simon’s Jupiter’s Travels meets James Redfield’s The Celestine Prophecy with a touch of Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. It is about a life-changing adventure into the soul of Africa where she finds ubuntu — a traditional Bantu word from South Africa meaning 'I am because we are', the universal bond that connects all of humanity as one. Heather is now writing the sequel to Ubuntu, which will be available late 2018.

'Ubuntu is an inspiring memoir about an extraordinary journey taken by an exceptional woman. Heather Ellis writes about her most daring adventures and deepest struggles with humour, heart, guts and grace. I was enthralled by every page.’ —Cheryl Strayed, bestselling author of Wild

There is also a twist to her story that:reveals something about Heather Ellis that's even braver still. You'll have to read the afterword to find out about that’. Tony Davis – Australian Financial Review 8/12/2016.



ubuntu book cover

To read more visit: Amazon



ubuntu polish book cover

To buy the Polish translation



August 2017


Finding Ubuntu - 'Everything Will Always Work Out'

In 1993, Heather Ellis took off, left her home, left Australia, on an epic ride that would see her discover Africa, discover the world, discover herself, discover UBUNTU...

Read the article at:

Subscribe to Traverse magazine, a free bi-monthly magazine published online in Australia that explores global adventure motorcycle travel, and the culture, the people and the experience discovered on those journeys.






Heather Ellis 

My Yamaha TT600 today. The same motorcycle I rode through Africa in 1993/94; used for motorcycle couriering in London ; and then rode through Central Asia during 1997. He waits patiently for our next adventure.


Heather Ellis 2011

I now call Melbourne, Australia home and enjoy riding my Moto Guzzi V50 around the hills of the Yarra Ranges. That was until the dear old girl fell victim to a SMIDSY while I was stopped at a red traffic light (SMIDSY = Sorry Mate I Didn't See You). I'm in the process of rebuilding her.


Today, I ride a Triumph Thruxton 900cc. The 'Black Princess', she is a quick nimble thing on mountain roads and in city traffic.

Heather Ellis - a Jupiter's Traveller

The Ted Simon Foundation encourages those who adventure into the world to go the extra mile and transform their experiences into something of value for the world to share.




heather ellis

ubuntu book cover

(Published in Australia by Nero, an imprint of Black Inc. Books. Released April 2016. 370 pages)



Black Inc. Books



Google Play



Buy a signed copy for $25 AUD
Postage for Australia: $10
Postage for Europe, UK: $39
Postage for United States: $29
Please email me: h.ellis (at) for postage to other countries




'Ubuntu is an inspiring memoir about an extraordinary journey taken by an exceptional woman. Heather Ellis writes about her most daring adventures and deepest struggles with humour, heart, guts and grace. I was enthralled by every page.’ —Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild


Ubuntu is a story that goes way beyond one woman motorcycling through Africa. It's a detailed and descriptive account of Heather's travels through the beautiful but dangerous landscape of one continent, and it will surely inspire the beginner or awaken the adventurer in the most experienced motorcyclist. She makes it possible to believe that anyone can do it. Beautifully written and a pleasure to read. Heather's enthusiasm for Africa, her motorcycle and the journey itself is very infectious. Mary Dobie, AMCN (Australian Motorcycle News - July 2016)


Heather Ellis is the newest entrant to the field (of motorcycle travel writing), with Ubuntu, her story of a ride across Africa. She's young, blonde and alone on her Yamaha TT600 - what could possibly go wrong? Read it and you'll find out, but it's not exactly as you'd imagine. Grant Roff, AMCN Australian Motorcycle News - April 2016)


'Most of us wouldn’t take a motorcycle solo through Africa. Or remember much about what we were saying, smelling, believing or hoping twenty years ago. Heather Ellis did that, and has written a remarkable book about it too. She tells her story vividly and honestly, taking us through fields, national parks, into towns and down red-mud tracks, meeting other travellers and working with locals, eating rice and fish, honing her self-belief and increasing our respect for her with every day on the road. This is a really fascinating and compelling tale, told well. For anyone who has ever doubted themselves, Ubuntu has a message: there is a way through, down a road you haven’t travelled yet.’Kate Holden, author of In Her Skin


'No two big journeys are alike, and Heather Ellis’ could not have been more different to mine, but certain fundamental similarities seem to unite us all, from the prosaic –‘My bike was dangerously overloaded’ – to the sublime awakenings that such journeys engender. Hers was a great adventure into the soul of Africa, a thrilling story of endurance and self-discovery, told with care, intelligence and deep humanity. It is beautifully written and a pleasure to read. So read it.’ Ted Simon, author of Jupiter’s Travels



'Ever wondered what your life would look like if you chose to trust rather than fear? Heather Ellis does just this as she rides a motorbike across Africa. She discovers a land torn apart by war and poverty but also a land rich in beauty and kindness. Reading this book is challenging and inspiring. Heather’s journey will stay with you long after you finish her story.’ —Maggie Mackellar, author of When It Rains & How to Get There



'The next stage of our evolution is how are we to live together. Through Heather’s motorcycle journey across Africa, and the African people who embrace her, we learn what is possible – this is ubuntu.’Father Bob Maguire AM, RFD


'Ubuntu is the story of a motorcycling adventure that goes way beyond the physical journey. It takes you to other places too. This story has wide appeal and I reckon it will inspire both men and women, especially women motorcyclists.’ —Damien Codognotto OAM


'In the 1990s Heather had an impulsive idea to ride a motorcycle through Africa and, through perseverance, made this come true. Her story is not just a very detailed, descriptive account of the countries she rode through but also of the problems she faced and overcame. It reveals her ability to communicate with people of all nationalities and walks of life, learn from them and find that if you have faith in the Universe, it will provide. Very well written and immensely readable.’ Linda Bootherstone-Bick, author of Into Africa with a Smile