AWARD-winning travel writer Hilary Bradt has picked up another prestigious literary gong for an article on travelling in Africa.

The 60-year-old owner of Chalfont St Peter firm Bradt Travel Guides which publishes books on the more unusual and adventurous destinations has won an all-expenses-paid trip with a friend to a game reserve in South Africa on July 20 and will receive an award from Cheryl Carolus, the head of the country's tourist board.

Judges from Africa Geographic magazine awarded her Travel Writer of the Year after reading her account of visiting Madagascar.

She said: "It's nice to get the recognition, particularly for travel writing. It's something you work hard at and you never know if you are any good or not."

Mrs Bradt, who grew up in Chalfont St Peter and runs her publishing company from its shop and offices in the High Street, has always loved backpacking through less well known parts of the world.

The publishing business began with her first book, a guide to exploring Peru and Bolivia, which she wrote in 1973.

Her adventures have also included hitchhiking through the Middle East and getting arrested while trying to get to Entebbe in Uganda, unaware that the Entebbe raid was taking place at the time.

Mrs Bradt, who still hitch-hikes, says she has no intention of slowing down. "I think the 60s is a wonderful decade. You can be yourself. And the really adventurous travellers are those in their 60s and 70s. They've got time, they've seen a lot, they want new horizons all the time and are less worried about perceived dangers."

Bradt Guides, she says, are grown-up guides rather than being angled to gap-year students. Her new edition on Madagascar won the Best Guide Book 2000 award, and her firm was Small Publisher of the Year in 1997.

July 8, 2002 16:00