Reader & Media Reviews:

UBUNTU: One Woman's Motorcycle Odyssey Across Africa

Australian Road Rider - Nov 2016

Australian Road Rider book review 


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)


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)


Have just finished your remarkable book. A true adventure and insightful look at your passions and dreams. Not many dare to dream this big let alone undertake a much smaller challenge. Enjoyed the ride on your TT as I felt I was a pillion the entire journey. John White


You don't know me from Adam, Heather, but I've just finished reading Ubuntu and read it in three sittings. Haven't enjoyed a book so much in such a long time.
I bought the latest edition of Just Bikes on Monday and saw your book advertised there. Dymocks did some business with me on Tuesday and it's been read by Friday!! Anyway Heather, you are an absolute inspiration with your entire wherewithal. Obviously Just Bikes wasn't being read for no reason, but instead of coming out of the magazine with a prospective new "baby", I came out captivated by a single word..."Ubuntu". It takes something significant to upstage a magazine full of beautiful motorbikes, but your publication with it's intriguing title did it for me. Michael Smith


Heather, I've just finished reading your marvellous book Ubuntu, about your fantastic adventure riding across Africa. It was brilliant, and one I would describe as 'unputdownable'. I've just come back home after a 12-day ride in USA on a Harley, which was spectacular, but I had the comforts of home, motel rooms, hot food, showers etc. Your journey was far more risky. I had 17 mates riding with me, and another in a van following. You did it almost alone, roughing it in the most desolate places you could find with no support to speak of, making friends along the way. Your determination to go on, when the wildness of Africa piled against you, is fantastic and inspirational. You have my admiration, as a fellow cyclist, and as a human being. You surely have found ubuntu. Peter Lunney


Two weeks since I finished your book, your ability to tell a story is undeniable, letting the reader inside your head is brilliant and making me think outside of my comfortable existence a gift few writers have, looking forward to the next book. David Lockyer


A really good book telling the story of a gutsy Aussie woman in her twenties on a motorbike through some of the most dangerous parts of Africa on her own in the 1990s. Engrossing. The real life story of an adventurous personality, told with unusual honesty - her fears and her evolving spiritual awareness in the face of them. Jim Pletch


I'm about to start Chapter 14 of Ubuntu. My daughter bought me the book and I'm so glad she did. A fantastic read so far and it's one of those books that I just don't want to end! You certainly had an amazing and very memorable journey. A true adventure in every sense and a terrific achievement and one you can be justifiably proud of. Keep up the good work...and I hope you have lots more adventures... John Morrison


A couple of weeks ago I finished your book which I really enjoyed.  You should be so proud of yourself – not only for making it through Africa like you did but also writing the book and facing your ongoing challenges.  What a woman!  I was  continually impressed! Cindy McLeish MP, State Member for Eildon.


I am loving your book. As you so modestly said on radio, 'It's a page turner'. Bob Burgess, Back Chat, Yarra Valley FM


I not a big reader at all. But I could not put this book down. I loved it. Was disappointed when I finished it. Can't wait for you to do the next book. Thank you for a fantastic read :) Maxine Davis


Just finished reading Ubuntu....sitting here in tears and just want to say thank you for sharing your amazing journey with the rest of the world! Peace and love to you Heather xxx Kaz Fraser


I have just finished your marvelous book and wished I hadn't. I was pillion all the way! An amazing journey and can't wait for the story of the next stage in 2018. I am thinking it will be as tough or tougher than the Africa leg.
I have read many books on world motorcycle travel and I am a decades long motorcyclist with many long rides in Oz and overseas, however nothing as difficult as your ride.
I am so pleased that you have recovered from that awful illness and how good it is to see your involvement in the AIDS health programs and motorcycle safety.
Keep well, good health and safe riding. David Jobson


I met Heather through work back in 2005 so was very excited to hear she had finished her book and got it published.  Although I had heard her talk about her solo trip across Africa on a motorbike, it was only on reading the book that I came to appreciate what an incredibly courageous and extraordinary feat it was.  From page one I was totally gripped, travelling with her every inch of the way through dust storms, heat, rain, mud, a fair few plates of greasy meat and rice, and more. Early on in the journey she decides to trust rather than fear and lets herself be guided from place to place and person to person. Somehow things always work out seemingly against all the odds. That’s because she allows herself to be guided and protected by the spirit of Ubuntu, a Bantu word describing  the universal bond that connects us all, irrespective of colour, creed or race.  Her book is a terrific adventure and, at a time when the world is so divided and conflicted, restores your faith in humanity. Charlotte Francis


I just finished Ubuntu - it is a simply amazing book! You need to buy and read this. Tams O'Sullivan


Amongst the many motorcycle traveller's books I have been reading over the years -- of which regrettably only a few have really inspired me, in fact - Ubuntu is an outstanding book to me. Having travelled Southern Africa by motorbike myself for many months, it has been very exciting to read about the universe of Heather's travelling experience. She has not only achieved to put on paper her story (many have the desire but only a few actually do it!) but managed to carve out in a well-written style her personal perspective within this journey and link it to the African 'theme' of Ubuntu, the 'humanity towards others'- factor which has a decisive meaning for travellers as vulnerable as motorcyclists. So go get it. It's definitly worth it!  Matthias Kuhlmann, Germany


I have just finished reading your wonderful book. Reading of your adventures, your courage in the face of adversity, and your very special spirituality has given me encouragement to embrace life, with all its difficulties and its joys, and to nurture the spirit of Ubuntu in my own little part of the world. Thank you for writing it "warts and all". I can't wait for the sequel! Julie Laurie.


5 am....Night shift. Just finished the book Heather, brilliant, simply brilliant. Mark Pearce.


I have read your book with total fascination. The superlatives just roll. What an amazing story! You are still here to relate it! What an incredible journey (sorry that’s not original).I feel truly privileged to have met the author. My knowledge of the places you visited has many gaps but the enormous range of locations, people and personal experiences seems to me to be unmatched by anyone I have known. What is truly inspirational is the way you demonstrate the power of belief, despite the countless hurdles, the numerous threatening situations, the continual venture into the unknown and even when it comes to your own health. I sincerely hope that the book is selling well and the film rights are under discussion. David Hawker


Your a very special person Heather Ellis and I am so glad to have the opportunity to read "Ubuntu". Skoota Hamilton


Wow! Just finished your book, which I read in two sittings. Really enjoyed it Heather. I'd been admiring your honesty while reading the story, but with your afterword you have my genuine respect. It was very powerful. Thank you for sharing your journey. Julie Parker


I ordered the book last week and it arrived yesterday. Have loved it from page 1 and wish I could just stop and read the whole thing from beginning to is getting in the way!! Wendy Moorcroft


I am writing to you from Johannesburg, South Africa. I was randomely surfing the net and I came across your interview podcast from Joy radio station, I mean how random was that even though I do not believe in coincidents! I just wanted to say Thank You for the inspiration and the bravery you have displayed in travelling alone in my beautiful Africa. I grew up on Ubuntu, my very being is ingrained in the concept and the philosophy of UBUNTU. I am now inspired to walk my own Ubuntu journey. I wish you well with your book and I can't wait to read it. Mamosebetsi Kekae


I just finished reading your book this afternoon. What a story you have weaved. Your story is informative and detailed whilst all throughout conveying sincerity and honesty. Ubuntu certainly worked for you. I look forward to the sequel. Well done and best wishes. Glenn Sturley


I just finished reading your book Ubuntu. I absolutely loved it and couldn't put it down. I am new to motorcycle/scooter riding and went on my first trip on my Vespa to Tasmania this last Christmas, I thought I was adventurous and it seems like nothing now after reading your book. :)) but you have inspired me to do more and see more, travelling by bike is the best way to immerse yourself in the culture and environment and you reminded me of all that. You also reminded me of the need for kindness in the world and "paying it forward" philosophy. Which is so important. I have always loved travel and think your trip and spiritual journey was fascinating and inspirational.Thank you for sharing your story, and I hope to meet you at a book signing or presentation in the future. Denise Castro

I am really enjoying the book. It is just so well written and easy to read. I knew a lot of your adventures, but reading it step by step just blows my mind at what you achieved, also glad you made it back in one piece. About 1/3 of the way through now. Linda Bassett.


I am about 2 thirds through Heather's book. I am thoroughly enjoying it. You have taken on a journey that I would never even consider doing. One day, I would love to catch up with you just to shake your hand. Noel Wiltshire


I just want to thank you for sharing your wonderful and personal journey with me through Ubuntu, it was inspirational. I am a 59 year old lifetime bike rider and through your words felt I was on the journey with you. I am sorry to have missed meeting you on the 17th at the Collingwood launch.
I look forward to your next book.
Regards Trevor Jennings


I just finished your book last night. To be precise I finished it around 2am this morning as I just couldn’t put it down. Amazing journey amazing story and amazing book. Jude Bell


Just finished your book. Loved it. I was with you through every pot hole, police check and sand dune. Ma Roach passed away a couple of years ago I believe. The guy in Kisangani with the Aussie acent would have been Ugene he's now in Tanzania and you were so lucky to get the river boat. I did that route through Zaire four times and never saw it!! Would love a bowl of beans from a mama at a pot hole!! Look forward to the next book. Jeff Lemon

Heathers book is well worth the read. I read up to chapter 7 this morning in bed and didnt want to put it down. I'm supposed to be keeping it for the hospital shifts, dont think it will last me till then. A great story so far. I'd forgot how much I love reading, especially a good book . Caroline Perrie

I recently finished reading Ubuntu and enjoyed every page - looking forward to Part 2 :) Sue McLean


Your book Ubuntu is very well written. The prose itself is adventurous, the lines have the energy of a motorcycle working its away forward through a richly varied terrain. Peter Davis


I started reading your book on the weekend and I am over halfway through.  I am so enjoying it!!
Also, I am thirsty for a Primus beer. I had to stop and look at my photos from Belgium last summer and realise yes, THAT was the delicious beer I had in Brussels. Love the Primus! Carmen Siegars


I just finished reading your book - Ubuntu - and thoroughly enjoyed it.  It has re-stirred my interest in adventure motorcycling.  I am also  interested in human origins and would love to feel the vibe of the land in Africa and visit places where there is evidence of our ancestors. Craig Dodson


I just thought I'd let you know that I ordered your book from Booktopia on Wed and it has already arrived in the mail today. I'm very impressed with the fast delivery. I have already read 'It started with a kick' and I'm totally enthralled, I won't be able to put it down I'm sure. Angie Macmillan


I love the book. Can't wait for the second instalment and think the way you've positioned the universal themes, outstanding. They project a humane and humanist world view. Daniel Brace


Just received a copy of my friend Heather Ellis 's book Ubuntu...One Woman's Motorcycle Odyssey Across Africa.. and now my Sunday as I knew it has been lost in the universal bond that connects humanity... Get it..learn from dont have to be into motorcycles or even Africa to grow from its words...cant wait for the sequel. Love you my friend. Karen Forman


So inspiring Heather! I am only half way thru ur book and am loving it! Thank u x Kaz Fraser


I met the wonderful Heather Ellis earlier this year.Through her book 'Ubuntu', Heather details her 15 month solo motorcycle ride through Africa. Heather's compelling story is yet another glimpse into the beautiful side of humanity and the kindness she received from people living in a grossly misunderstood corner of the world. Jeremy Scott


A delight to attend Heather Ellis's book launch of 'Ubuntu' in Melbourne on Sunday. Heather was a fin de siècle journalism student of mine at James Cook University, Cairns, and awed everyone with her quiet tales of travelling across Africa solo by motorbike during the nineties. Heather, you are the spirit of 'ubuntu'. James Norgate


A great day was had today at the book launch of "Ubuntu - One Woman's Motorcycle Odyssey Across Africa". Considering I'm not a reader of books, congratulations Heather Ellis ! I've knocked out the first 40 pages and LOVE IT !!
Do yourself a favour and get hold of a copy of Ubuntu. You won't regret it !! Jon Penrose



Heather Ellis 






Just Bikes magazine - 15 Septemer 2016 - Feature


Just Bikes magazine - 18 August 2016 - Book Review


Cycle Torque magazine - August 2016


Australian Motorcycle News - July 2016


Australian Motorcycle News - April 2016


Motorcycle Trader - Issue 307 - April 2016


NT News - 30 April 2016


Ballarat Courier - 1 May 2016


Royal Auto - October 2012


Mountain Views Mail - 10 May 2016


Genio e Sport (Moto Guzzi) - April 2016



Motorbike - 30 March 2016


Speed Sport Blog - 14 May 2016




Temporary Australians (Channel One, Channel 31). - screening date tba




Mix 104.9 Darwin - 360 With Katie Woolf

5 May 2016

Listen to the Podcast


Talk Radio Europe - Travel Daily Show

15 April 2016

Listen to the Podcast


Joy FM Melbourne - Word for Word

13 April 2016

Listen to the Podcast


3CR Melbourne- The Spoken Word

4 April 2016

Listen to the Podcast



The Book Designer -

Gold Star awarded for May 2016

Heather Ellis 

Comments from judges:

JF: A terrific cover that puts us right in the scene. Combined with the lettering that reminds us of the craftwork we see throughout Africa. Beautifully done. ★Heather Ellis submitted Ubuntu: One Woman’s Motorcycle Odyssey Across Africa designed by Peter Long. “As the author, I photographed this image of a group of giraffes by chance on my ride to the Maasai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya. I was travelling across Africa by motorcycle in 1993/1994. Book designer Peter Long’s design skill is exceptional in capturing the true essence of my story – that of ubuntu”



RIDE - Yarra Ranges Regional Museum

15 December 2012 - 17 February 2013

Heather Ellis