Travels in West Africa
By Mary Kingsley
(National Geographic, Paperback, 9780792266389, 320pp.)
Publication Date: July 15, 2002
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Originally published in 1895, and never out of print, "Travels in West Africa is Kingsley' s account of her dauntless travels, unaccompanied but for African guides, into Africa' s most dangerous jungles, where the tribes were reputed to be ferocious and cannibalistic. Along the way, she fought off crocodiles with a paddle, hit a leopard over the head with a pot, fell into an animal trap lined with sharpened sticks, and waded through swamps in chin-deep water. Despite her travails, Kingsley succeeded remarkably in this unknown place, establishing warm relationships with the natives and collecting more than 400 samples of plants and insects, some of which are now extinct.
Featuring an introduction that expertly sets Kingsley' s adventure against the history of European exploration of Africa, "Travels in West Africa is a unique and extraordinary contribution--by an equally unique and extraordinary woman--to the best of adventure writing.