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Tuesday, 27 March, 2001, 15:30 GMT 16:30 UK
Palin to cross the Sahara
Michael Palin
Michael Palin prepares to go off on his travels again
Globetrotting Michael Palin is to jet off on his travels again as part of a six figure advance for a book about crossing the Sahara desert.

The Monty Python star has signed up with publisher Cassell & Co for an expedition from the shores of the Mediterranean to Timbuktu in Mali, West Africa.

To reach the fabled 11th century city, Palin will have to cross crocodile-infested rivers and high mountain ranges.

A BBC television series will accompany the book, which is due for release in October 2001.

The BBC had previously published much of Palin's travel books up until Hemmingway's Travels, which was published by Cassell's parent company Orion.

Michael Palin in Cuba
Palin followed Hemingway's footsteps to Havana
The 57-year-old's other adventures have included Around the World in 80 Days, Full Circle and Pole to Pole.

A spokeswoman for Cassell & Co said:" A closer look at the Sahara reveals a huge and diverse range of cultures, with a long history of civilisation, trade and conquest.

"There is no easy way to cross the Sahara by land and Michael will encounter the same problems and difficulties as travellers have for centuries.

"The Sahara will stretch Michael and the team to rise to a new and exciting challenge."

Photographer Basil Pao will once again join Palin for the journey to illustrate the book.

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