The History and Facts About Mungo Park
Mungo Park was among the early explorers who explored Africa. He was particularly known for the exploration of the River Niger in the Western part of Africa. The River Niger in West Africa flows primarily from the west through Guinea, Mali, Niger, Benin, and Nigeria to the Gulf of Guinea. With a length of 4,180 km, it is the third longest river in Africa, the first being the Nile and the second, the Congo River.
The Niger River timbuktu Mali on flickr.com by stringer_bel
The Niger originates in the highlands of southern Guinea near Guinea’s border with Sierra Leone. Several tributaries, including the Tinkisso, Niandan, Milo, Sankarani, and Mafou join the Niger as it flows northeast through Guinea and into Mali. The well-defined valley of the upper Niger gives way to a broad, level floodplain downstream from Bamako, near Ségou in Mali. The Niger flows through Gao in Mali and Niamey in Niger, to Kainji Lake in Nigeria, and from there moves south to its junction with the Benue River at Lokoja, past Onitsha, and toward its mouth, Gulf of Guinea.
Niger Riverbank, Segou on flickr.com by upyernoz
Mungo Park, the Scottish explorer was born in Foulshiels, Selkirk in 1771. He started his expedition to Africa to explore the Niger River in 1795. He traced the source of the River Niger down to the town of Segou. In the course of his journey, he arrived in the present day Gambia and made his way eastwards up to the Gambian trading town of Pisana which is now known as Karantaba, about 322 km off his port of arrival. From Pisana he continued deeper into the east until he ran into trouble with one of the Gambian local chiefs. He was captured and locked up by the chief but somehow he managed to escape and finally made his way to the Niger source at the town of Segou, Mali in 1796.
Niger River Mopti, Mali on flickr,com by stringer_bel
Upon arriving at Segou, he started his expedition down the River Niger. He traveled 129 km downstream as far as Silla before his supplies were exhausted and he returned to Great Britain in 1797 and remained in Great Britain for another eight years. During this time, Park published a book that recorded the account of his trip to Africa titled ‘Travels in the interior of Africa’ which was released in 1799. In 1805 Park returned to Africa to continue his expedition. He started his exploration of the Niger from Segou down towards the mouth of the Niger by canoe. While tracing the river to the mouth, he was attacked at Bussa and he was drowned. He couldn’t discover the mouth of the Niger River before his death at Bussa in 1806. An account of his second expedition, culled from his journals, was posthumously published in London in 1815.
Picture in box by stringer_bel on flickr.com