Travels in Africa

Fred and Donanne Hunter

TRAVELS IN AFRICA: Mauritania, 2014

In 2014 Abderrahmane Sissako, a Mauritanian filmmaker, made a movie in Mauritania with Mauritanian government financial support. It shows breathtakingly beautiful scenes of the Mauritanian landscapes, Mauritanian wildlife and Mauritanian people. It is perhaps counterintuitive that the movie should be titled Timbuktu. That city is some distance away in neighboring Mali. But there are reasons […]

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TRAVELS IN AFRICA: Timbuktu, 1970

TIA has devoted a trio of posts to explorers who visited Timbuktu. It used to be that you could animate dinner party conversations with accounts of your travels there. No longer. It’s too easy to get to these days. In 2001 when Donanne and I were wandering along the Niger River, we stopped to have […]

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TRAVELS IN AFRICA: Explorer Heinrich Barth

Last week’s TIA post mentioned the journey in 1324 of Mansa Musa, King of the Mali Empire, to Mecca and his astonishing the people of the lands he crossed with his retinue of 60,000 men and 12,000 slaves, each carrying four pounds of gold bars. The extent of this wealth and the remoteness of his […]

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TRAVELS IN AFRICA: Explorer Rene Caillie

In 1324 Mansa Musa, King of the Mali Empire and a devout Muslim, made a pilgrimage to Mecca. Says Wikipedia: “His procession was reported to include 60,000 men, 12,000 slaves who each carried four pounds of gold bars, heralds dressed in silks who bore gold staffs, organized horses and handled bags. Musa provided all necessities […]

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TRAVELS IN AFRICA: Hanmer Warrington and Gordon Laing

Donanne and I arrived in Bamako, Mali, in late 2001, setting foot in Africa after an absence of thirty years. Delighted to be back on the continent, we found the sensory overload to be joyous, immediate and overwhelming. But the recollection that keeps returning now and then from those few days in Bamako, before we […]

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TRAVELS IN AFRICA: Quintessential Nigeria, 1971

After Donanne returned to our home in Nairobi, Kenya, Monitor photographer Ed Pieratt and I flew to Onitsha on the east bank of the Niger River in Iboland. That was largely because I wanted to visit the Onitsha market, famous in the literature of Ibo authors as one of the wonders of West Africa, if […]

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TRAVELS IN AFRICA: Nigeria, 1971

Putting together these accounts of travels in Africa, we realize that there is no account of a trip to Nigeria. This is a curious oversight because Nigeria is surely one of the most important countries of the continent, a place of immense human potential. Nigerians will tell you that one African in every six is […]

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After the first ceremonies of the new Asantehene’s enstoolment, Donanne and I returned to the hotel for showers and a lunch of orange juice. In the hotel lobby we ran into Mary whom we had met at church in Accra. She was bright, young and English, working in Sierra Leone with Volunteer Service Overseas, an […]

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TRAVELS IN AFRICA: Ghana, 1970 #2

The celebrations regarding the enstoolment in Kumasi, Ghana, were all about the Asantehene, chief of the Ashanti. In covering the continent I had read and thought a great deal about African chieftaincy. While chiefs had not ruled all Africans in the days before colonialism, the institution of rule by elders, many of them chiefs, had […]

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TRAVELS IN AFRICA: New Energy in Today’s Africa

Readers of this blog are accustomed to reading posts about conditions in Africa some 45 years ago. However, things have changed considerably since that time – and in very positive directions. It may be fairly well known that mobile phone usage has changed the way many Africans live. It has made communications links possible without […]

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