banner homeweb

Heather Ellis is an Australian author, journalist, photographer and motorcyclist.

heather ellis

Heather Ellis is the author of Ubuntu: one woman's motorcycle odyssey across Africa, published by Nero and imprint of Black Inc. Books in April 2016. Her book, a travel memoir details her epic journey over 15 months, through 19 countries riding 42,000 kilometres from south to north Africa during 1993/1994.

Heather holds a Bachelor of Journalism and has worked as a journalist for News Ltd and in communications for international development agency, Plan. She also holds a Graduate Diploma of International Development and a Master of Arts (creative enterprise).

Heather is also a freelance features writer and a professional public speaker. As a motorcyclist with 40 years of riding experience, she is also an advocate for motorcycle road safety and is a member of the Victorian Government’s Motorcycle Advisory Group.

She is currently writing the sequel to Ubuntu, which will be available in 2018. Her second book details her motorcycle ride through Central Asia and by train through China to Vietnam.



I'll be speaking about my book, Ubuntu and screening photos taken during my travels by motorcycle through Africa. Signed copies available for $20. Tea and bickies provided. If you're in the Yarra Valley, hope you can make it.

Heather Ellis 




Clunes Booktown Festival on this weekend 30-31 April. I'm a guest speaker on Saturday at 11am talking about my book and writing. It's my first writers' festival. I'm told Clunes Booktown is quite something as far as writing festivals go and is set in a stunning goldfields village. Check it out at

Heather Ellis 



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.

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

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

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

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

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

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 !!


BOOK LAUNCH - 17 April 2016

Ubuntu: One Woman's Motorcycle Odyssey Across Africa was launched by Father Bob Maguire on Sunday, 17 April at Kustom Kommune, in Collingwood, Melbourne. The launch was an outstanding success with around 200 wonderful family, friends - old and new - sharing this special event with me. My memoir has been a life long journey spanning twenty years, a much longer journey that the 15 months, 19 countries and 42,000 kilometres I rode through in Africa on my beloved Yamaha TT600 back in 1993/1994. Thank you to all who attended the launch and purchased a copy of Ubuntu.


Heather Ellis 

Heather Ellis 

Ubuntu: One Woman's Motorcycle Odyssey Across Africa was launched in Melbourne, Australia on Sunday, 17 April 2016.


Heather Ellis 

My Yamaha TT600 today. It is the same motorcycle I rode through Africa in 1993/94; rode as a motorcycle courier in London from October 1994 to November 1995; and rode through Central Asia during 1997.


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 it fell victim to a SMIDSY while I was stopped at a red traffic light (SMIDSY = Sorry Mate I Didn't See You)


Today, I ride this Triumph Thruxton 900cc. Note the Ohlins shocks... a must have on the Thruxton as the factory-fitted shocks are so inferior it makes this bike unsafe.




ubuntu book cover


Buy a signed copy for $20 AUD


Postage for Australia: $15

Postage for Europe, UK: $39

Postage for United States: $29


Please email me: h.ellis (at) for postage to other countries

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.




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


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