Travels in the Interior Districts of Afrby Mungo Park
In 1795, at the age of twenty-four, Mungo Park began a journey from the Gambia into the uncharted interior of the African continent. Travelling with only native guides, and later entirely alone, his goal was to become the first European to reach the River Niger and the fabled city of Timbuctoo. The journey took him through warring African kingdoms and the fringes of the Sahara Desert, leading him into great physical hardship and danger. He endured imprisonment by a Moorish chief for several months, was repeatedly robbed, and came close to death from thirst and starvation. He eventually reached the Niger and mapped part of its course, before being forced to turn back. He had long been given up for dead by the time he returned to the Gambia in 1797.
Throughout the journey he kept meticulous notes, which he transcribed into Travels in the Interior Districts of Africa on his return to Britain. His simple and modest account of his journey and the conditions he encountered along the way has been an inspiration to travellers and writers ever since it was first published in 1799. More than a travel journal, it is a story of adventure and survival that offers a unique insight into conditions in West Africa before widespread European settlement.
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