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Across East African Glaciers: An Account of the First Ascent of Kilimanjaro

Nature volume 44, pages 149150 | Download Citation

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Abstract

LONG before he thought of exploring any part of Africa, Dr. Meyer was an experienced and enthusiastic traveller. The idea of undertaking explorations in “the Dark Continent” was suggested to him by the fact that while the German colonial possessions in the west of Africa had been thoroughly investigated under Government supervision, and at the Government expense, those in the East had been left to the more limited resources of commercial companies. It occurred to Dr. Meyer that he might do good service to his countrymen by devoting himself to the task which the German Government seemed so unwilling to undertake. Accordingly, in 1886, he began to make preparations for the accomplishment of his plan and since that time he has organized no fewer than three important expeditions, in the third of which he succeeded in reaching the top of Kilimanjaro. It is this third expedition of which an account is given in the present work. The broad results of the journey were soon made known; but of course it is only from the explorer's full narrative that an adequate idea can be formed of the interest and importance of his achievements. The mountain mass of Kilimanjaro towers up to a height of nearly 20,000 feet, and Dr. Meyer describes well the feelings with which he saw it after his arduous march across the steppes. “It was a picture.rldquo; he says, “full of contrasts—here the swelling heat of the equator, the naked negro, and the palm-trees of Taveta—yonder, arctic snow and ice, and an atmosphere of god-like repose, where once was the angry turmoil of a fiery volcano” The story of the ascent is told most vividly, and there are few readers who will not sympathize with the delight with which he speaks of the moment when he set foot on the culminating peak. Although the record of his experiences at Kilimanjaro forms the centre of the book, he has much to say about what he saw both on his way to the mountain and on his way back; and in appendices various writers present classifications of his collections, and the conclusions at which they have arrived in working out his astronomical and meteorological data. The book is admirably translated, and its value is greatly increased by illustrations and maps.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/044149b0

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