One of the toughest parts of writing Crossing the Heart of Africa was trying not to fall into the morass of cliché that pervades the body of literature about the continent, at least the majority of it written by non-Africans. Sitting down to write about Africa as a Westerner is to step into a minefield of hackneyed images, stale themes and stereotypes that date back centuries. The problem bloomed in the 19th century as European explorers, missionaries and travelers started churning out breathless accounts of the "Dark Continent." Although Grogan isn't nearly as bad as some, he certainly has one foot in that camp; some passages in his book are genuinely cringeworthy.
One of the best descriptions of the issue I've found is Binyavanga Wainaina's acidic essay in Granta titled "How to Write about Africa." "Africa is to be pitied, worshipped or dominated," he writes with blistering irony:
In your text, treat Africa as if it were one country. It is hot and dusty with rolling grasslands and huge herds of animals and tall, thin people who are starving.