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Last Updated: Monday, 25 August, 2003, 23:54 GMT 00:54 UK
Great explorer Thesiger dies
Sir Wilfred Thesiger
Sir Wilfred inspired a generation of travel writers
One of the 20th century's greatest explorers, Sir Wilfred Thesiger, has died in hospital aged 93.

The Oxford-educated adventurer spent much of his life roaming the most distant, desolate and inaccessible parts of the world.

He made a home in northern Kenya, where he informally adopted a boy, Lawi, from the Samburu tribe, and his extended family.

A death notice in The Times said Sir Wilfred, who spent the past few years in Coulsden, Surrey, died "quietly in hospital" on Sunday.

Ill health

Born in Africa, Thesiger was later educated at Eton and then Oxford, after which he set out on the first of his many adventures in Africa.

He joined the Sudan Political Service in 1934, and his first appointment was to the remote Kutum district where he lived in a thatched hut.

It was here that he fell in love with the desert.

His writings bore witness to the savagery and beauty of the places and people he met, influencing a generation of travel writers including Colin Thubron and Paul Theroux.

Knighted in 1995, Sir Wilfred would have preferred to stay where his heart lay, in the deserts of Africa or the hills of the Hindu Kush.

But ill health left him little choice but to spend his last years in a Britain largely alien to his desires.

The BBC's Frank Gardner
"His death marks the end of a whole age of exploration"

Sir Wilfred Thesiger: Your tributes
26 Aug 03  |  Have Your Say

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