National Geographic : 1908 Oct
ACROSS WIDEST AFRICA* An Account of the Country and Peoples Seen During a Journey Across Africa from Djibuti to Cape Verde BY A. HENRY SAVAGE LANDOR The following article has been abstracted by the Editor from a very note worthy contribution to geography, "Across Widest Africa," by A. Henry Savage Landor, recently published by Charles Scribner's Sons. The journey described in this work was over 8,500 miles in length and occupied 364 days. "Pleasure," says Mr Landor, "was its sole object. No white person accompanied the author, who bore the entire cost of the expedition." In this brief summary it is possible to give only a few of the many strange sights seen by Mr Landor during his remarkable trip through what is probably the most disease-ridden and inhospitable section of the Dark Continent. The illustrations are all from actual photographs taken by Mr Landor, and are re published here, together with the extracts from the book, through the courtesy of the author, by whom the entire work is copyrighted. THE start was made from Djibuti, on the Gulf of Aden, January 6, 1906. The most attractive of all the people in French Somaliland are possibly the Somali. They are quite of a superior type to any I found on my journey across Africa from east to west, except the Senegalese, on the West Coast. Although not superior in intelli gence, they are superior to the Senegalese in physical appearance. They are tall, thin, and well proportioned, with well chiseled limbs and features, a good arched nose, with rather finely modeled nostrils, and the lips, although developed, are not so offensively full as with most of the negro tribes of the central zone of Africa. Their skin is of a smooth, delicate tex ture, with no superabundance of oily excretion, as in most negroid races, and their active life gives them a wiry, supple appearance quite devoid of extra flesh. They are of a nervous temperament, ex tremely sober and moral-when not de moralized by European ways-dignified and faithful in a high degree to their leaders. There is no bravado about them, but they are somewhat cruel by nature. They can endure hardships silently and stand impassive in case of danger. Of the great number of men I em ployed during my journey across Africa it was only a Somali-a French Somali who remained faithful to the very end. notwithstanding the severe hardships and sufferings which he had to endure. (See illustration, page 695.) The Greeks, who were very numerous all over Abyssinia, have a wonderful fa cility for learning languages quickly. They also thoroughly understand the ways of the natives, and they are patient to a degree where a European would lose * Across Widest Africa: An Account of the Country and People of Eastern, Central, and Western Africa, as seen during a twelve-months' journey from Djibuti to Cape Verde. By A. Henry Savage Landor. With 160 illustrations from photographs and one large map showing route. 2 vols. Pages 396, 508. 7 by 9/2 inches. Imported by Charles Scribner's Sons, New uork.