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Hugh Clapperton

Hugh Clapperton


A 19th-century hero who lived a life of travel and excitement, from his time as a 13-year-old cabin boy on a cross-Atlantic ship to a spell as a navy captain; his adoption by the Hurons in Canada; through his stint as an explorer searching for the source of the Niger in the 1820s. He died of dysentery in Africa without reaching his goal.

Difficult and Dangerous Roads: Hugh... Clapperton's Travels in Sahara and Fezzan 1822-1825. Hugh Clapperton was one of the first British explorers to enter the central Sahara, but his journals have never been published before. Recently discovered in South Africa, they show him to be one of the most sensitive and sympathetic travellers, his observations untainted by any sense of moral superiority.

Hugh Clapperton has a sharp eye for detail, be it wind-stiller magicians, the effect of the evil eye or slave skeletons clustered around well heads. He hears musicians in jackal-headed masks and bagpipes in a wedding procession. He has a gift for friendship, feasting locals, offering himself to women and delighting in the company of both dignified tribal sheikhs and fearsome renegades like Mustapha the Red.

With sixteen maps and contributions from three leading authorities, these journals will fascinate all who delight in travel and the Sahara.

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