“Perhaps the most famous of all African exploration books, this recounts Dr. Livingstone’s travels through South Africa, with the discovery of Lake Ngami, while accompanied by his wife and William Cotton Oswell. Oswell and the author continued their journey, discovering the Zambesi River, and, eventually, the Victoria Falls.” – Czech.
In the period between 1849 and 1856, his explorations took him to Lake Ngami across the Kalahari Desert, to the Zambezi River, and from there west to the Atlantic Ocean at Loanda (today’s Sao Paulo de Loanda, Angola). He turned down a chance to return to England, but entrusted his reports, maps, and letters for transport. The ship went down with all hands except one, and all of Livingstone’s papers were lost, forcing him to re-create everything. He followed his track back to Linyanti (in Botswana) and then decided to assess the possibilities of the Zambezi as a highway into the heart of Africa by following it to the Indian Ocean. He reached Victoria Falls in 1855, confirming what he had heard from natives for many years. “Scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight,” he wrote. It was the only site in Africa that he named with English words. Livingstone reached Quilimane on the coast of Mozambique on 20 May 1856, but he got there by cutting across a loop of the Zambezi to Tete, inadvertently missing the Kebrabasa Rapids, a drop of about six hundred feet. Hence, he was unaware that the river was not navigable when he arrived in London at the end of the year to promote its potential to the British government.
In the meantime, the LMS had informed him that his expeditions were not the kind of gospel work it expected of him, and he resigned the next year. In England, he was feted as a national hero. The present book, written in six months, became an immediate best-seller, with seven editions published in rapid succession.” (Delaney).
First edition. 8vo., ix, 687pp., folding wood-engraved frontispiece, engraved portrait, 2 folding maps (1 in pocket at end), 22 full-page wood-engraved plates, folding plan, illustrations in the text, light foxing to plates, contemporary calf gilt, covers ruled in gilt, spine richly gilt in compartments, red morocco lettering piece, rebacked preserving spine, an attractive example.
Czech p97; Mendelssohn I, 908-910; PMM 341.
Stock ID: 89385