Travel Books: Europeans in Africa, Part 1

Africa as a continent in which to undertake explorations and adventures has been a focus of European interest since the time of Herodotus in the 5th century BCE. The Gibson Library has a broad range of accounts of European journeys in the continent, covering a period of over 400 years, from 16th to 20th centuries. There is a concentration on the more immediate pre-colonial period, from about 1760 to the 1880s, particularly those involving missionary activities and the various attempts to discover the source of the Nile. As with all travel reports, the fascination is as much with the personalities involved and the actions witnessed, as with the landscape and the scenery.

Here are some details of journeys in the volumes you can examine in the library.

Return to the Travel page. All of these volumes are stored in the Rolling Stacks of the Gibson Room, and unlike Gazetteers and Atlases they are in reference number order. You will need to ask a member of staff to bring items from the Gibson Room.

Travel - Africa, 1617 to 1860

Author(s) Title Publisher Date Journey details Region Reference
Purchas, Samuel Purchas his pilgrimage : or Relations of the world and the religions observed in all ages and places discovered, from the creation unto this present. In foure parts. This first containeth a theologicall and geographical historie of Asia, Africa, and America, with the Ilands adiacent ... With briefe descriptions of the countries, nations, states, discoveries ; Private and publike Customes, and the most remarkable arities of Nature or Humane industrie in the same. Henry Featherstone 1617 The Sixth Book covers Egypt, the River Nile, Tunis, Tripolis, Fesse (Fez), Marocco, Numidia, Libya, Guinea, the land of the Negroes. The Seventh Book covers Ethiopia , Benomotapa, Congo, Loango & and the Islands of Africa lying from the Cape hitherwards. Worldwide E1539
Bruce, James Travels to Discover the Source of Nile in the years 1768, 1769, 1771, 1772 and 1773: a life of the author Constable, Edinburgh ; Longman, et al, London 1805 Account of expeditions to Egypt and Ethiopia, following the Blue Nile. From Cairo to Thebes, the Red Sea , Jidda, Masuah (Massawa in Eritrea), Aduwa, Axum, Gondar, Lake Tana, 'Mountains of the Moon' (the Ch'ok'e Mountian range), back to Gondar, Teawa, Sennar, Chendi, Assouan and Cairo. North-East Africa, East Africa D561-8 (Vol 8, D568 missing)
Drury, Robert Adventures of Robert Drury during fifteen years captivity on the island of Madagascar Meadows 1807 Originally published in 1729. Drury was a sailor shipwrecked on south coast of Madagascar; the book describes his travels on the island, and its people, 'their customs, wars, religions and policy'. It has been thought by many to be a re-creation by Daniel Defoe, possibly using a journal of Drury's adventures accidentally burnt in a fire in 1714. Madagascar D669
Pinkerton, John A general collection of the best and most interesting voyages and travels in all parts of the world; many of which are now first translated into English Longman, et al 1808-1814/ Volumes 15, 16 cover African Voyages, including Poncet's Journey to Abyssinia, Browne's Journey to Darfur, Pococke's Travels in Egypt, Windhus's Journey to Mequinez (Meknesh), Shaw's Travels in Barbary, Lempriere's Tour to Morocco, Brown's Journeys in the Interior of Africa, Bosman's Description of the Coast of Guinea, Adanson's Voyage to Senegal, and the River Gambia. Worldwide D50-D66
Park, Mungo Travels in the Interior districts of Africa, 1795, 1796,1797 with an account of a subsequent mission to that country in 1805 John Murray 1816 First journey, 1795-1797: Up the Gambia river to Pisania, the lands of the Mande kingdom and Bondou, the Senegal river, Kasson, Kaarta and Bambara kingdoms, the Moorish kingdom of Ludamar, river Niger at Segou, Silla, return to the Gambia. Second journey 1805 : from the Gambia to Madina, Faraba, Fankia, Maniakorro, Marraboo, on the Niger, to Sansanding. Later reports establish that he travelled by canoe down the Niger as far as Bussa, where his group were attacked and drowned trying to escape. West Africa D569, D570
Salt, Henry A voyage to Abyssinia, and travels into the interior of that country, executed under the orders of the British Government in the years 1809 and 1810 Rivington 1814 First to Mozambique, thence via Aden and Mocha to Amphila (Anfila Bay, now in Eritrea), Massowa (Massawa, Eritrea) , Chelicut (in Tigre province , Ethiopia), Antalo (Hintalo), Adowa (Aduwa), with an excursion to the ruins at Axum, Dixan, back to Massowa and Mocha. East Africa D426
Campbell, John Travels in South Africa undertaken at the request of the Missionary Society Black, Parry and Hamilton 1815 From the Cape of Good Hope, to Stellenbosch, Bethelsdorp, Grahams Town, Griqua Town, Lattakoo, Malapeetzee, Damara Country, return to Cape-town. Southern Africa D584
Burckhardt, John Lewis Travels in Nubia John Murray 1822 From Assouan, Mahass, Dongola, Berber, Shendi, Suakin, Djidda on coast of Arabia, to Cairo. North-east Africa D578
Belzoni, Giovanni Batista Narrative of the operations and recent discoveries within the pyramids, temples, tombs, and excavations, in Egypt and Nubia; and of a journey to the coast of the Red Sea, in search of the ancient Berenice, and of another to the oasis of Jupiter Ammon. [Third edition] Murray 1822 To Thebes, Elephantine and Philae, cleared the great temple at Abu Simbel, excavated at Karnak, and opened up the sepulchre of Seti I (still sometimes known as "Belzoni's Tomb"). Travelled to the second pyramid at Giza. He also identified the ruins of Berenice. North-east Africa D479; B45, B46
Irby, Charles L, & Mangles, James Travels in Egypt & Nubia, etc, 1817-18 - 1823 Series of letters describing voyages; first one through Egypt ; Phylae, Farras, Assuan, Thebes and Nubia. North-east Africa D413
Denham, Dixon, Clapperton, Hugh & Oudney Narrative of Travels and Discoveries in northern and central Africa, in the years 1822, 1823, 1824 John Murray 1826 Volume One is Denham's narrative of the journey from Mourzuk in Libya to Kuka (Kukawa in Bornu, north-east Nigeria) , on to Mandara in northern Cameroon, and to Gambaru, the ancient capital of Bornu. Volume Two contains Clapperton's account of journey from Kuka eastward to Katagum (where Oudney died) Kano and Sokoto, returning to Kuka. Clapperton and Denham returned to Tripoli. West Africa D583
Caillie, Rene Travels through Central Africa to Timbuctoo; and across the great desert, to Morocco, performed in the years 1824-28 Colburn and Bentley 1830 St Louis to Neyreh, Kakondy, Fouta-Djallon, the Mandingo, the Djoliba, Boure, Bambara villages, Jenne, Timbuctoo, Berbers, Morocco. West Africa D609, D610
Backhouse, James Narrative of a visit to the Mauritius & South Africa Hamilton Adams 1844 To Mauritius, Port Louis, Grand Riviere; Cape Town, Bethelsdorp, Caffraria, Grahams Town, Griqua Town, Beaufort, the Hottentot, the Bushman. Southern Africa & Mauritius D659
Barrow, Sir John An autobiographical memoir, including reflections, observations, and reminiscences at home and abroad, from early life to advance age. John Murray 1847 Chapter three is about Barrow's time in Southern Africa, at the Cape of Good Hope, as private secretary to Lord Macartney as Governor, in 1797. Visited Algoa Bay, 'Kaffir-Land', and as he said 'every part of the colony of the Cape'. returning in 1803. He then became second Secretary to the Admiralty in May 1804. Southern Africa A1098
Freeman, Joseph J A tour of South Africa with notices of Natal, Mauritius, Madagascar, Ceylon, Egypt and Palestine John Snow 1851 From Cape Town to Pacaltsdorp, Dysselsdorp, Bethelsdorp and Graham's Town, King William's Town; to Bechuana country, Basuto country, Natal, then to Madagascar and Mauritius, and Egypt. Southern Africa D658
Richardson, James Narrative of a mission to Central Africa performed in the years 1850-51 Chapman and Hall 1853 Caravan across the Sahara with Heinrich Barth, from Tripoli to Ghat, the Fezzan, Aghadez, the Touaregs, Zinder, the Hausa, Lake Chad, Bornou, Kukawa, Ngurutua, where he died. Central Africa D611, D612
Parkyns, Mansfield Life in Abyssinia, being notes collected during three years' residence and travels in that country Murray 1853 Volume One describes the journey. From Suez to Massawa, Adowa, Axum, Addaro, Rohabaita . Volume Two describes ways of living. North-east Africa D646, D647
Baikie, William Balfour Narrative of an exploring Voyage up the rivers Kwora & Binue (commonly known as Niger & Tsadda) in 1854 Murray 1856 The voyage report includes stops at Accra, Lago, Old Calabar, Fernando Po, as well as up the Niger and Benue, its principal tributary, covering Igbo, Igara, Adamawa, Kororofa. Baikie went out as the ships surgeon, but took over command after the death of the intended commander. West Africa D613
Anderson, CJ Lake Ngami: explorations and discoveries during four years wanderings in the wilds of south-western Africa Hurst & Blackett 1856 Lake Ngami is in Botswana. Anderson's account covers Walfisch Bay, Hottentots, Richterfeldt, Damara, Ovambo. Southern Africa D618
Ellis, William Three visits to Madagascar during the years 1853, 1854, 1856 including a journey to the capital, with notices of the natural history of the country and of the present civilisation of the people John Murray 1858 First, from Port Louis, Mauritius, to Tamatave and return. Second, to Tamatave and Foulepointe (Mahavelona). Third, to Tamatave, to the capital, Antananarivo, visiting the Queen of Malagasy, return to Tamatave and Mauritius. Information about ways of life, productions, commerce, etc. Madagascar D670, D670A
Tristram, HB The great Sahara: wanderings south of the Atlas Mountains John Murray 1860 Algiers, Boghar, El Aghouat, Berryan, Ghardaia, Waregla, Tuggurt, El Oued Souf, back to Tuggurt, Biskra, and to the coast. North Africa D588
Beke, Charles Tilstone The Sources of the Nile, being a general survey of the basin of that river and its head-streams; with the history of Nilotic discovery. James Madden 1860 Atbara, the Blue Nile, the White Nile and its tributaries, the 'Mountains of the Moon'. East Africa D597

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