Tours of South Africa don't get much more legendary than Dr. Livingstone's Victorian-era expeditions. As a missionary doctor, writer, activist and pioneering explorer, he did more in the course of 30 years than most can hope to do in a lifetime.
Medical missionaryDavid Livingstone was born in Scotland in 1813. In college he studied medicine and theology, both earning his physician's license and becoming ordained in the same month in 1840. The next year he set sail for the Kalahari Desert in south-central Africa, where he began his service as a missionary doctor.
Medicine and Christianity were the original drives for his explorations across central Africa. At the end of the decade, he set across the Kalahari Desert, administering medicine along the way, and eventually discovering the upper part of the Zambezi River, which cuts through modern-day Zambia and Angola. In 1854 he set out to find a route from this part of the Zambezi to the eastern coast of Africa.
This region was entirely unknown to the Western world, and as such, Livingstone's mapping of the area was a pioneering contribution to Western knowledge. Along the way, he happened to discover the "Smoke that Thunders," what Western audiences might better recognize as Victoria Falls.
Activist, writer, explorerLivingstone kept copious notes of his travels. These journals are now part of an official archive, and contain everything from medical observations to travel musings to eye-witness accounts of native massacres. The culmination of his first trips across Africa was a book entitled "Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa." It sold well, and upon returning to Africa in 1857, Livingstone toured the country to speak about his travels. Slavery became an increasing preoccupation for Livingstone, and he publicly decried the horrors of the slave trade to which he had been a primary witness.
By this time his interests were much more geared toward exploration and reporting of the slave trade and he continued to publicize his accounts of slavery until the end of his life. He became an official explorer for the British government, and in 1858 returned to Africa to explore the central and eastern regions of the continent.
In 1864, however, a disappointed government called him home, the same year that his wife died. These private and professional blows did not slow Livingstone down. He privately raised funds back in England for an expedition in search of the source of the Nile, and in 1866 he set sail on his last tour of Africa. He died in Africa in 1873, before he discovered the source of the Nile.
ResearcherGiven the grand influence of his geographical discoveries - paramount in later colonial struggles for African land - it's easy to overlook the fact that Livingstone also happened to be an excellent doctor. He became well-known among villages for his healing abilities, thereby securing natives' trust and respect. In addition to extensive observations on scurvy, typhoid and dysentery, Livingstone made the connection between malaria and mosquitoes. He was also one of the first to discover an effective treatment of malaria, whose pill form became known as Livingstone's Rousers.
A historic African grand tour & safari showcasing the wilds & wonders of South Africa, Botswana & Zambia with your host Russell Gammon. Departs Oct 5th 2014.
(Cape Town, Sabi Sands)
A silence falls over your safari group as you creep closer towards a family of elephants and watch them interact in complete peace and harmony.
(Livingstone, Lower Zambezi)
South Luangwa National Park
(South Luangwa National Park - Central)
You lie, perfectly still, listening to the rustling and snapping of the dry grasses just outside your tent. Then you hear it; a slow, rhythmic panting that builds, then fades as the wild thing passes on its way to a nearby watering hole.
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