Rosita Forbes, born Joan Rosita Torr, (1890 – 1967) was an English travel writer and explorer. In 1920-21 she was the first European woman to visit the Kufra Oasis in Libya with the Egyptian explorer Ahmed Hassanein, in a period when this was closed to Westerners. She married Colonel Robert Foster Forbes in 1911. They divorced after she left him in 1917, selling her wedding ring and sailing to South Africa, with a view to riding a horse from Durban to the Zambezi. She married again in 1921, to Arthur Thomas McGrath who accompanied her on her later journeys. She was widowed in 1962, and she died in 1967 in Bermuda, aged 77 years. Learn more about the extraordinary life of Rosita Forbes
From Red Sea To Blue Nile: Abyssinian Adventure by Rosita Forbes (1925) is an account of the author's 1100 mile mule trek across Ethiopia with photographer Harold Jones, in the early 1920's. This book was also published under the title 'From Red Sea to Blue Nile: A Thousand Miles Of Ethiopia' in 1935. Free eBook
Unconducted Wanderers by Rosita Forbes (1919) covers a 13 month period from 1917 to 1918, when Forbes and her friend Armorel Meinertzhagen, the first wife of Richard Meinertzhagen, travelled through more than 30 countries, mostly in Asia. A particular highlight was China, where they found themselves amid warlords. "We were both devoid of physical fear, which is a condition, not a quality", she wrote. After the war, with just £40 to her name, Forbes made her way to the Paris, to find work as a journalist, but when nothing came of this she and Meinertzhagen left for North Africa. In the book Armorel Meinertzhagen is known as Undine. Free eBook
The Secret Of The Sahara: Kufara by Rosita Forbes (1921) recounts her arduous journey with Ahmed Hassanein, to the strategically significant Kufara Oasis in the Libyan desert. During the 600 mile expedition, she pretended to be an Arab woman called Sitt Khadija, to avoid undue attention. They didn't take the usual caravan route from Tripoli but the more hazardous Benghazi-Ouaddai route, guarded fiercely by Libyan tribes. The journey was beset with smothering sandstorms, sick camels, murderous porters and lack of water. Forbes' lack of compass skills caused the expedition to miss the Taiserbo and Zighen wells north of Al-Khufrah and Hassanein's quick wits prevented them from being murdered by Zwaya tribesmen. Free eBook
Adventure: Being A Gipsy Salad - Some Incidents, Excitements, And Impressions Of Twelve Highly Seasoned Years by Rosita Forbes (1928) describes adventures in the Middle East, Abyssinia, New Guinea and other far corners of the world. Three chapters are devoted to her attempt to enter Mecca on a pilgrimage disguised as a Turkish pilgrim. Free eBook
Conflict: Angora To Afghanistan by Rosita Forbes (1931) is an account of Forbes' 8000 mile journey by truck and on horseback from Angora, now Ankara, Turkey to central Asia and Syria, Jordan and Iraq. It delivers commentary on how these countries were changing due to the impact of western ideas on their ancient traditional customs.
Eight Republics In Search Of A Future, Evolution & Revolution In South America by Rosita Forbes (1933) is a book of reflections on a 23000 miles journey during 1932 visiting Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador. Forbes piloted her own ircraft for 14000 miles of this trip.
Forbidden Road: Kabul To Samarkand by Rosita Forbes (1937). Despite government warnings for travellers in the Soviet republics of central Asia, Forbes was determined to cross the mountains of Afghanistan and reach far-off Samarkand, in Turkestan, today Uzbekistan. She started the 8000 mile journet in 1935 in Peshawar near the base of the Khyber Pass. From here she travelled by chauffeur-driven car through the rugged terrain of, then, Pakistan's North West Frontier Province, entering Afghanistan through the Kohat Pass. This book was re-published in 1940 as 'Russian Road To India By Kabul And Samarkand'. Free eBook
India Of The Princes by Rosita Forbes (1939) gives an account of life not only in the royal palaces, but lives of merchants, labourers, money-lenders, artisans and gypsies as well. Forbes fuses travelogue, historical fact and personal opinion into an entertaining book - the 675 Indian princely states not under direct British rule, ranging from the size of Scotland to a London Park. Free eBook
Appointment In The Sun by Rosita Forbes (1949) is the author's autobiography and an amalgamation of her previous autobiograhies, 'Gypsy In The Sun' and 'Appointment With Destiny'.