Travels in West Africa

by Mary Kingsley

Paperback, 2002

Call number




National Geographic (2002), Edition: Reprint, 384 pages


Following the death of her parents in 1892, Mary Kingsley set out to finish her father's anthropological studies in West Africa. She went deep into the jungles where she fought off crocodile and leopard alike. Published in 1897, Travels in West Africa is an account of her second journey to the continent, written with reserves of good humor and a profound sympathy for her subject.

User reviews

LibraryThing member billsearth
This book is a great source of the culture of the native Africans in the Congo during the late 1800s. The book is exciting as it describes many mini-xpecitions into the unknown where white people were not known by many natives. The main tribes encountered were cannabals and difficult to move through safely. The forests and hills and swamps are well described. The author has considerable humor, often traveling without any other white person but with a band of black men of mixed tribes. This is a good adventure book and it enlightens the reader of the way fo life and the values of the native people back then.… (more)
LibraryThing member amerynth
What Mary Kingsley did was pretty incredible.... in 1893, she decided -- skirts and all-- to travel to West Africa to explore, collect fish and learn more about the religion of native people. Her account "Travels in West Africa" follows her adventures as she traipses through the jungle, paddles down rivers in canoes, and hikes up a mountain in the Cameroons in a storm. Her spirit of adventure and pluck is incredibly admirable and pulls together a wide ranging story, as she travels across the country and battles mosquitoes and leeches, is stalked by wild animals and meets with tribes who are shocked to see a white woman emerge from the forest. Sometimes the book gets a little bogged down in detail ( could use a bit of an edit...) but otherwise it's an amazing tale of the adventures of an amazing woman.… (more)
LibraryThing member kaitanya64
Kingsley is possibly unique in her perspective as a single white woman traveling alone in Africa in the late 19th century. While her views on race and culture are more narrow than ours, I think she conveys considerably more respect for the Africans she works with and considerably less Victorian judgmentalism than most of her contemporaries. Her style is witty and often self-deprecating.… (more)




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