National Geographic : 1889 Apr
Africa, it8 Past and Future. present, travelers in ever-increasing numbers have entered Africa from every side. Some who have entered from the Atlantic or Pacific coasts have been lost in its wilds, and two or three years after have emerged on the opposite coast; others have passed from the coast, and have never been heard from. Zanzibar has been a favorite starting-point for the lake region of Central Africa. Stanley started from Zanzibar on his search for Living stone with two white men, but returned alone. Cameron set out by the same path with two companions, but, upon reaching the lake region, he was alone. Keith Johnson, two or three years ago, started with two Europeans: within a couple of months he was gone. Probably every second man, stricken down by fever or accident, has left his bones to bleach along the road. Drum mond, a recent explorer of Africa, chose a route by the Zambezi and Shire Rivers as healthier and more desirable. Let us hear his experience. Early in his journey, at the missionary station of Livingstonia, on Lake Nyanza, he entered a missionary home: it was spotlessly clean; English furniture in the room, books lying about, dishes in the cupboards; but no missionary. He went to the next house: it was the school; the benches and books were there, but neither scholars nor teacher. Next, to the blacksmith shop: there were the tools and anvil, but no blacksmith. And so on to the next and the next, all in perfect order, but all empty. A little way off, among the mimosa groves, under a huge granite mountain, were graves: there were the missionaries. The Niger is the only river in all Africa navigable by small steamers from the ocean; but the Niger does not give access to the interior, as it rises within 100 miles of the ocean, and, after making a great bend around the mountains of the Guinea coast, empties into the ocean only about five degrees south of its source, after a course of 2,500 miles. Its main branch, the Benue (or " Mother of Waters"), is navigable 500 or 600 miles above its junction with the Niger. The country through which it flows is thickly peopled and well cultivated ; but the natives are fierce and warlike, and have until recently prevented any exploration of the Benue. THE MOUNTAINS OF AFRICA. As mountain-ranges determine the course of rivers, influence the rainfall, and temper the climate, we must understand the mountain system of Africa before we can understand the con tinent as a whole.