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Dr David Livingstone

Dr David Livingstone

The story of David Livingstones's life is a compelling "rags to riches" tale. Born into poverty, his meteoric rise to being considered the "greatest man of his generation", was due in no small part to his dogged determination and extraordinary physical and mental toughness.

To experience this great story, join our "Mists of time" tour for half a day or a full day in Victoria Falls with the great story teller Russell Gammon, a distant relative of David Livingstone.

We have described here short excerpts from the book "The Life and Explorations of David Livingstone, LL.D." We hope this wets your appetite to discover some of the areas this great explorer discovered across Africa with his two faithful African companions Sussi and Chuma.

The book has been "carefully compiled from reliable sources" and was printed in London. We found it on the top shelf of a little old book shop on the Barbican in Plymouth, not far from the Mayflower Steps and just a few miles from our English office - fancy that! Sadly there is no date, however, another copy has a signature of its owner of 1876, it must have been compiled before this date. When I've been too long in our Devon office and I'm homesick for Africa, I dust this large, leather bound book down and page through the chapters, instantly transported back to the most fascinating and complicated continent in the world.

Here we go ...

"When the report of the death of Dr Livingstone reached this country, many people refused to give it credit. He had so often been given up for lost and mourned as dead, his countrymen were reluctant to believe the grand old man would never more be seen amongst them.

Ever since the indomitable Stanley took his last look of the great traveller who, although for nearly six years he had been wholly cut off from civilisation, still lingered, self exiled, until his work should be completed - the interest in his movements had not abated.

From the Congo to the Nile - according to the opinions formed as to the further course of the mysterious Lualaba, whose gathering waters he had followed from the uplands which divide the African Central Valley from that of the Zambezi, to a point within a couple of hundred miles of the hitherto supposed head waters of the Nile - intelligence of his movements had been looked for with an impatience which shows how strong an impression this remarkable man and his extraordinary career had made apon the public mind."

Back to Victoria Falls or read more about our hunt for Livingstone's Grave

The Chapters tell the tale

Chapter XIII

Dr Livingstone and His Fellow Travellers Leave for Africa - Ascend the Zambesi - Difficulties of Navigation - Ascend the Shire - Discover Lake Shirwa and Nyassa.

"The interest felt by the public in the second mission of Dr Livingstone to Africa was shared by the Government of the day. Lord Palmerston, who was then at the head of Her Majesty's Government, readily assented to rendering assistance to enable him to prosecute his researches in the Valley of the Zambesi. Lord Clarendon then held the seals of the Foreign Office, and under his auspices a mission was formed and means furnished to enable Dr Livingstone to provide himself with efficient assistance and equipment for the proper prosecution of his new enterprise. This provision included his brother, the Rev. Charles Livingstone, who had joined him from the United States, Dr Kirk, as botanist, since well-known to the public as Her Majesty's Consul at Zanzibar, Mr R Thornton, as geologist and naturalist, Mr Baines, an artist, and Captain Bedingfield, as navigator and surveyor of the river systems. A small steamer constructed of steel, and christened Mr Robert in honour of Mrs Livingstone, was specifically designed for the navigation of the Zambezi.

... As the steamer moves on through the winding channel, a pretty little heron or bright kingfisher darts out in alarm from the edge of the bank. The magnificent fishhawk sits on top of a mangrove tree digesting his morning meal of fresh fish, and is clearly unwilling to stir until the imminence of the danger compels him at last to spread his great wings for flight. The glossy ibis, acute of ear to a remarkable degree, hears from afar the unwonted sound of paddles, and springing from the mud where his family has been quietly feasting, is off screaming out his loud, harsh and defiant ha! ha! ha! long before danger is near." ...

Chapter XIV

Start for Linyanti - Cutting up an Elephant - The "Go-naked" Tribe - the Victoria Falls - They find Sekeletu III - Leave Sesheke - Arrive at Kongone.

..."At several of the villages, on their way up the Zambesi Valley, they saw and conversed with pondoros, as men are called who pretend to be able to change themselves into a lion or other animal. Strangely enough, this power appeared to be believed in by the people; even the wife of the pondoro during the period when he retires into the forests to change his shape, leaving food for him in a hut in the forest prepared for him, the change to the brute form apparently not destroying or altering human appetite. These excursions usually last until the pondoro has discovered some animal just slain by a lion, when he returns to his village and leads them to the carcase, taking credit to himself, of course, for having killed it during his transformation." ...

Chapter XX

Dr Livingstone's account of his Explorations - His Theory of the Connection between the Lualaba and the Nile - Horrors of the Slave Trade - A Man-eating Tribe - Massacre of the Manyema

... "The shelter of the forest from the sun makes it pleasant, but the roots of trees high out of the soil across the path keep the eyes, ox-like, on the ground. The trees are so high that a good ox-gun shot does not harm to parrots or guinea fowls on their tops; and they are often so closely planted, that I have heard gorillas, here called 'sokos', growling about fifty yards off, without getting a glimpse of them. His nest is a poor contrivance; it exhibits no more architectural skill than the nest of our cushat dove. Here the 'soko' sits in pelting rain with his hands over his head. The natives give him good character, and from what I have seen he deserves it; but they call his nest his house, and laugh at him for being such a fool as to build a house, and no beneath it for shelter. " ...

Perhaps you're interested in a CD telling the story of Dr Livingstone or better still would like the highly skilled storyteller on the CD, Russell Gammon, to accompany you around Victoria Falls telling the tale of this great explorer.

Click here to read more or contact us for a booking.


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