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Travels In The Interior Districts Of Africa

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  437 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
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 Sa ...more
Published February 1st 2005 by Soft Editions (first published 1799)
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Jacob Overmark
More than a year of traveling, on foot, sometimes on horseback or mule and enduring tropical rain, heat, hunger and thirst, dysentery and all kinds of fever.

There is a plan to this, to get as far up along the River Niger as at all possible, but with no maps and only relying on what you have heard and what you can procure of local guides.
Mungo Park did this, from June 21st, 1795 and spent nearly two years on his travels starting from the mouth of the Gambia River and slowly working his way to Sil
Apr 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Journey of a young Englishman into a part of Africa previously not explored by Europeans. This book allows the reader to re-live Parks journey in a place that will never exist again. Park took this trip and published his journal for the Royal Explorers Society in London (need to check the name). Because of this we now have an accurate veiw of the how highly developed and well functioning societies were in Africa during the 1700-1800's.
In addition to this book's historical significance, it is an
Aug 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
TRAVELS IN THE INTERIOR OF AFRICA. (1799). Mungo Park. ****.
This is, without a doubt, the best narrative of exploration that I have ever read that had Africa as its subject. Mungo Park was a Scotsman from Selkirk who had studied at university in the medical arts. He took up a challenge when he was offered the job of exploring certain areas of West Africa that were, at that time, relatively unknown. His goal was to characterize and plot the territories around the Gambia and Niger rivers. During t
Jun 19, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lyl, 00, new2me
I enjoyed reading of the travels made by this explorer in a place and time where travel was so unpredictable and dangerous. Without these explorers our world would be a much smaller place. As they say, travel broadens the mind. I was happy to read about it rather than have to do it myself in this case. The risks were great and unfortunately Mungo did not return to his family after his second journey. It was an amazing chance that his words did make it back to be printed. I felt very sorry for hi ...more
Mar 13, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Read this because it is the basis for TC boyles "Water Music". Read them both! ...more
Oct 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't think there's anybody I wouldn't recommend this book to. Not a single page lacks something fascinating. Park was the first European to travel that way and return to tell the tale. He finds an Africa of extremes. On the one hand here is a land with iron working and inoculation. On the other you have a society that is destroying itself with slavery and where Boko Haram predates on its borders. Park writes very well. There's an immediacy to the narrative so you exult when he exults and get ...more
Ronnie Strachan
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Travel apparently used to be a dangerous proposition; an adventure into the unmapped and and unknown, dependent on the generosity of strangers and the integrity of hired hands.

And being robbed repeatedly.

In fairness, such blatant robbery was often diluted by plain bilking under the guise of petty regal tributes. My knowledge of Sub-Saharan Africa is by no means extensive, but I imagine that the only difference between Park's account and a contemporary travelogue, would be that coveting kings a
Aug 26, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Travels in The Interior of Africa" Mongo Park 1799. Many early explorers of Africa blasted their way through the continent with superior fire power. In contrast Mongo Park, a twenty three year old physician, brazenly chooses to travel solo, relying on his charm and wit to explore the interior of West Africa. Park's travel log of exploration is filled with humorous anecdotes, yet the reader is left incredulous that he has somehow managed to survive. He is robbed, beaten and held hostage. At one ...more
Mungo Park was 24 when he set out in 1795 to follow the Gambia River inland and then through the interior to the River Niger, through then unknown regions of West Africa. The Scottish Park, educated as a botanist and a surgeon, traveled alone or with a few local guides, which was unusual in and of itself. More striking was his clear-sighted view of the societies he encountered and his lack of prejudice. In this respect he reminded me of another favorite West African explorer, Mary Kingsley. Park ...more
Oct 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There had to be something different about the Victorian explorers that made them leave the relative safety of their homeland to venture into territories that were not well known. Mungo Park was one of the most intrepid of these men and this journal of his exploration into Africa is outstanding. His descriptions of the flora and fauna are minimal, but intriguing. His exactness in detailing the names of the towns and cities along the way, the rulers of those areas, and the tribute demands of those ...more
Nov 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an account of travels by one of the first Europeans in West Africa starting in 1795, and is remarkably readable even today, useful for anyone who is traveling in the region or working there. Park's observations are detailed and mostly balanced so he is a good reporter. A couple of items we know better about now (he thought the Africans backward because they had not domesticated elephants like the Indians, but African elephants do not domesticate), but overall it is a good neutral telling ...more
Dec 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simply a great travel book. Park shows what makes a truly great traveller as he overcomes imprisonment, the perils of nature and regular loss of property at the hands of unscrupulous natives in order to go on with the task at hand; namely the exploration of western Africa and the Niger river.
In spite of his of-the-time views on slavery he comes across as a kindly soul and in turn is met with great acts of kindness by the local population. There are also moments of humour whether intentionsal or
Jul 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Mungo Park's fascinating "Travels in the Interior District of Africa" tells the story of his meanderings around West Africa. His goal was to find the Niger River, which he does with enormous difficulty. Traveling alone or with a single guide, Park is robbed of most of his possessions, trying to avoid getting caught up between warring tribes and is kept prisoner by the Moors. Much of the book focuses on slavery. While it is certainly told from a colonialist perspective, the book is filled with in ...more
Dec 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, travel
I studied this 19th century travelogue at university and was worried it would be dry and dull. I needn't have worried. This is a fantastic early travel piece, really giving a good sense of what it was like to wander around Africa during this period.

Mungo is a likeable and reliable narrator and his adventures often remarkable as well as education and enlightening. Although the story has an ultimately tragic conclusion, for the most part this is a life-affirming read.
I started getting interested in old accounts of travel, and, as a result, came across Mungo Park's book. There were perhaps to many names and dates to make this an entirely pleasurable read, but much of the documentation of life was very interesting. Additionally, for a man of his time, the book reads as open-minded.

I found the accounts of hunting for gold, and iron-smithery particularly interesting.
Kevin Pedersen
It's a primary source document so you sorta have to hold it to a different standard than a story, right? Anyway, while parts of this are just lists of names of countries that are no longer relevant (and a pretty sweet extended appendix about how many rivers exist and what direction they might flow) there is an adventure story too, as Mungo gets captured, escapes, nearly dies in the desert, and is rescued. Tally ho!
Feb 21, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to James by: Garon Wheeler
Mungo is a kind, humble, forgiving and tolerant man. This is not what you expect of an English explorer of Africa. He had all his stuff stolen early on and spent most of his exploration wandering from town to town begging food and lodging fromt the inhabitants to whom he often voices his profound gratitude. He is also nice to his horse. Go Mungo!
Ian Sergeant
Sep 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-softcopy
200 years later and the narrative style is still engaging. It is now as revealing about European attitudes and culture at the time as it is about those of West Africa. Mungo is open minded and ingenious in his survival. It is hard to believe his account is nonfiction.
Markus Bollinger
Jun 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was T.C.Boyle`s Watermusic that brought me to Parks book about his adventures in Africa. It was funny to read the "originale" Version from Park and to find out what Boyle "did to it". I love both books and the Storys from Park are realy breath-taking. Great book. Read it now....... ...more
Kathryn Kochunas
Jan 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting, well written travel diary that is surprisingly easy to read given the date. There are a few turns in the plot to keep it interesting, as well as early European explorer commentary on the cultures they were being introduced to.
Ann Milliman
Jun 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A much more accessible and readable book than I thought it would be. Extremely interesting history of African exploration.
Evert Eliasson
Jul 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Folio Society edition.
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Mungo Park (11 September 1771 – 1806) was a Scottish explorer of the African continent. He was the first Westerner known to have traveled to the central portion of the Niger River.
More about Mungo Park...