The women traveller books are a collection of works by women adventurers and settlers in Africa or Asia, from times when most women just did not do adventure or upsticks and go and set up home in the wilds.
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Celebrated Women Travellers Of The Nineteenth Century by W H Davenport Adams (1883). Interesting descriptions of places and peoples including Tierra del Fuego, Hawaii, Japan by Lady Brassey on the Sunbeam in 1876, also the travels of Mrs. Trollope, Miss Isabella Bird in America and her descriptions, Florence and Rosamond Hill, Lady Barker in New Zealand, Lady Hester Stanhope and more.
A Girdle Round The Earth: Women Travellers And Adventurers by Maria Aitken (1988) are fascinating historical accounts of women travellers and adventurers from around the world.
Women Adventurers: Travelers, Explorers And Seekers by Maria Aitken (2001)
A Breath Of Africa by Jessica Allin (1997) is a memoir of the author's life in Africa. Jessica Allin went to Tanganyika as a Government secretary in 1951 and married a young bank official. The next 32 years were spent in Dar es Salaam, Moshi, Zanzibar, Nyeri (during Mau Mau), Khartoum and Rhodesia where they bought a property. Despite their obvious affection for Africa they have retired to Javea and the final chapters include vignettes from their life in Spain and an account of a family reunion in South Africa.
Evelyn Ingeborg (Perkins) Ames (1908 - 1990) was an American author and poet.
A Glimpse Of Eden by Evelyn Perkins Ames (1967) is an account of her East African safari with her husband with another couple and a guide. The group went to the Kenya highlands and through Masai country, camping in the wilderness.
Isabel Weld Perkins (1877 - 1948) known as Isabel Anderson after her marriage to diplomat, Larz Anderson, was a Boston heiress and prolific travel author.
Circling Africa by Isabel Anderson (1929) is an account of adventures on a cruise around Africa as well as stories of the ports that for centuries were the haunts of pirates and slavers.
From Corsair To Riffian by Isabel Anderson (1927) is about a 2 month long journey in the mid 1920s, through Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.
White Men Don't Have Juju: An American Couple's Adventure Through Africa From The Forbidden Zone To Timbuktu by Pam Ascanio (1992) is a memoir of their adventures in Africa while traveling on their own.
Mary Anne Barker, Lady Barker (1831 - 1911), later Mary Anne Broome, Lady Broome, was an author and journalist.
Travelling About Over New And Old Ground by Lady Mary Anne Barker (1872) is accounts of travel through Australasia, North and South America, Africa and Asia during the 1860s and 1870s.
The Lands And Peoples Of East Africa by Maud Alice Barker-Benfield (1960)
Primrose Marie Swan (1912 - 1991) was a British journalist and author born in Ceylon. She used the pen-name of Valerie Rift for 10 of her novels and worked as a journalist and women's editor for the Nairobi Times. Fearing for the safety of her two children, born in Kenya, Marie and her second husband William Harry Bartlett, returned to Britain where she continued her writing.
The Rhino Stayed For Breakfast by Marie Bartlett (1958) is an autobiographical account (published under her own name) of life set in colonial Kenya, the difficulties faced by Europeans in an increasingly hostile environment of Mau Mau revolution. The book was later re-published in 1975 under the author's name of Rowena Lee.
A Serious Pair Of Shoes: An African Journal by Joan Baxter (2002) is about her life in Africa, set against the backdrop of the hardship that most Africans battle every day of their lives. Set in Kenya, Mali, Ghana and Cameroon, she tells the story of her own personal discoveries of Africa and introduces some amazing people.
Dust From Our Eyes: An Unblinkered Look At Africa by Joan Baxter (2008) draws on more than two decades of living in and reporting from Africa to reveal that there is more to the continent than poverty and suffering, and far more to Western involvement than benevolent charity. Alternately funny, chilling, moving and disturbing.
Graveyard For Dreamers: One Woman's Odyssey In Africa by Joan Baxter (2002) is a personal and colourful account of living, travelling and reporting on coups and customs in seven West African countries.
Strangers Are Like Children: Stories Of Africa by Joan Baxter (1996) is a collection of stories from Africa by the Nova Scotian born author who lives in Nairobi.
Blown By The Winds Of Change by Vivienne Bell (1987) is the story of a single woman’s service in the colonies as a personal secretary. She started in 1949 as a secretary for the Groundnuts Scheme in Tanganyika. She had numerous jobs as secretary and personal assistant in government circles in Northern Rhodesia, Uganda and Swaziland. She faced many difficulties in countries which were emerging in 'the winds of change' and when she became dispensable in Africa her career continued in Cyprus, Australia and the South Pacific. There is one chapter about hunting.
Maasai Days by Cheryl Bentsen (1989) is an account of her six year relationship with a group of Maasai villagers who regard cows as currency and resist new ways of life.
Strawberries All Year Round by Ruth Showell Best (1970) is the story of a Canadian women who lived in Kenya for two years.
The People From The Pit: A Trans-African Journey by Christine Korol Blakemore (1997) is the fascinating diary of Christine Korol Blakemore, who travelled across the African continent with eighteen young people from across the globe in a converted army truck. Describing the hardships which she and her fellow travellers had to endure as they crossed jungle, desert and mountains, she provides a detailed and often hilarious acount of the problems encountered when a trans-continent expedition is undertaken.
Dr Helen Virginia Blakeslee was an American osteopath and missionary to Kenya with the Africa Inland Mission.
Beyond The Kikuyu Curtain by Helen Virginia Blakeslee (1956) is a true account of the Mau Mau uprisings and atrocities in Kenya in the 1950s and what led up to them.
Conflict With Darkness: A Story Of God's Love Among The Mau Maus by Helen Virginia Blakeslee (1957) is a missionary's account of "the Gospel light penetrating the darkness of Kikuyuland - land of the terrifying Mau Mau".
Among Whistling Thorns by Joan Booth (2018) is the memoir of a British painter and illustrator who went to Kenya with her sister Cicely in 1922 to help their brother Eric with his new farm. She created the first elephant head logo for Tusker lager in the late 1920s which was still used into the 1960s. Her adventures include being on a ship that sank off the coast of Mozambique and her harrowing experiences during the times of the Emergency in Kenya.
Eleanor Constance Bor (1898 – 1957) was a British writer who travelled in remote parts of north-eastern India and Tibet with her botanist husband Norman Loftus Bor (1893 – 1972) who became the Assistant Director of Kew Gardens in London after leaving India in 1946. Eleanor Bor wrote 3 other books which were never published.
Adventures Of A Botanist's Wife by Eleanor Bor (1952) is the very engaging personal account of travels and adventures in the Himalayan foothills by the wife of a forestry officer who worked in India for ten years. Free eBook
Alice Evelyn Maud Brodhurst-Hill (b.1883) was a Kenya settler married to Capt. Tim 'Bronco Bill' Brodhurst-Hill.
So This Is Kenya! by Evelyn Brodhurst-Hill (1936) is her account of the ups and downs of farming in the Rift Valley and of matters domestic and native.
The Youngest Lion: Early Farming Days In Kenya by Eve Bache (1934) (pseudonym of Evelyn Brodhurst-Hill) is a no-nonsense account of farming in Kenya by early settlers in the 1920s and 1930. Includes the various hardships such as labour problems, theft, diseases, cattle lifting lions and marauding elephants, leopards that prey on the livestock and dogs, isolation and loneliness and the pleasures during the harvest. This book was hailed as one of the best on the subject.
Sylvia Leonora, Lady Brooke, Ranee of Sarawak (1885 - 1971) was the British-born Honourable Sylvia Leonora Brett and was the consort to His Highness Rajah Vyner of Sarawak, last of the White Rajahs.
Queen Of The Headhunters: The Autobiography Of Sylvia Brooke, Wife Of The Last White Rajah Of Sarawak by Sylvia Brooke (1970) is a narrative that spans 80 years and is a unique personal history enriched by vivid anecdotes too marvellous to have been contrived. The exotic heart of her memoirs is her story of her marriage to Vyner Brooke, last of a long tyrannical line of White Rajahs of Sarawak, and her long years as his consort among primitive people in a land she instantly recognised as home.
Sylvia, Queen of the Headhunters: An Outrageous Englishwoman And Her Lost Kingdom by Philip Eade (2008) is a biography of Sylvia Brooke, better known as the Ranee of Sarawak, who was the wife, consort and by custom, slave of Sir Vyner Brooke, the last White Rajah of the jungle kingdom of Sarawak on the island of Borneo. The nation had its own flag, revenue, postage stamps, money and for three generations the White Rajahs had held the power of life and death over their subjects. By the 1930s there was a sharp decline in their power and prestige and at the center of it all stood Ranee Sylvia. Author of eleven books, an extravagantly-dressed socialite and incorrigible self-dramatist, the Ranee was described by the press as 'that most charming of despots' and by her own brother as 'a female Iago'. With a supporting cast including her father, a celebrated courtier in love with his own son, and her whimsical husband, this is the fascinating account of the extraordinary and often malevolent life of Ranee Sylvia.
Beating Around The Bush by Clara Lee Brown (1967) is the story of a married couple and their three-week African safari.
One For The Road by Clara Lee Brown (1970)
Voyage Into Danger: Factual Account Of A Shipwreck Adventure by Clara Lee Brown (1972). The author was one of eleven Ohio passengers aboard the shipwrecked Norwegian vessel 'Lindblad Explorer' who was rescued about 600 miles south of Cape Horn, South America in what the Cincinnati newspapers described as "the greatest feat in the history of naval operations."
Mary Aline Bradshaw Buxton (1896 - 1954) was the first wife of Clarence Edward Victor Buxton, a British settler and coffee grower in Kenya.
Kenya Days by Mary Aline Buxton (1927) is a fascinating description of old-time settler life in the Kenya of the 1920's. Includes chapters on Nairobi, Kenya tribes, wildlife and a safari round Mount Kenya.
Charlotte (nee Wales-Almy) Cameron (c.1872 - 1946) was an intrepid British traveller and author. She was first married to Major Donald Cameron who died c.1901. She re-married briefly in 1901 to Auguste Ernst George Jacquemard de Landresse.
A Woman's Winter In Africa: A 26,000 Mile Journey by Charlotte Cameron (1913) the the story of the author's loop around the coast of Africa, starting and ending in Southampton, travelling down the African east coast first. Her ticket for as many ships as necessary cost £100, 5 shillings. Charlotte Cameron was a "dedicated sightseer, determined to get to the end of a beaten track, but never off it." She also wrote books about her solo travels in Alaska, Mexico and the South Seas. Free eBook
Juanita Carberry (1925 - 2013) grew up in Kenya as part of the 'Happy Valley' set of Kenyan white settlers notorious for their decadent lifestyle.
Child Of Happy Valley: A Memoir by Juanita Carberry with Nicola Tyrer (1999). The author grew up on a coffee farm in the Kenya of the 20s and 30s, the White Mischief era. At fifteen Juanita became involved in the Lord Erroll affair: she is the only person to whom Delves Broughton confessed to the murder of Lord Erroll.
Violet Mabel Carnegie (nee Fraser) was the wife of Robert Francis Carnegie who served in the British East Africa Protectorate Forces.
A Kenyan Farm Diary by Lady Violet M Carnegie (1930) is about true life on a farm built up near Gilgil in the Rift Valley in Kenya from 1919 to 1928.
Barbara Carr, nee Lennon, was married to Norman Carr, an elephant poacher turned professional hunter, game warden, conservationist and writer.
Not For Me The Wilds by Barbara Carr (1963) describes her life married to Norman Carr. She much prefers the fashionable life of London and complains about the scarcities, lack of hygiene in the bush and lonliness when her husband was away.
Cherries On My Plate by Barbara Carr (1965) is an entertaining autobiography. Carr came from England to live in Nyasaland and saw its transtion to independence as Malawi.
Spy In The Sun: The Story Of Yuriy Loginov by Barbara Carr (1969) are detailed investigations into the activities of a Russian spy, posing as Canadian, arrested in 1967 in South Africa.
The Beastly Wilds by Barbara Carr (1969). Barbara Carr married a man in Africa and found him embued with a vocation for killing things. He thought it would be nice for both of them if she killed things too. Her books, written with sparkle and flashes of great descriptive power, are consistently readable.
Ka'nyali by Barbara Carr (1995)
Weep For The Warrior: A Sory of Africa by Barbara Carr (1978) is the author's first novel concerning an African herd boy who goes to England and the problems he encounters.
Wayfaring In Africa: A Woman's Wanderings From The Cape To Cairo by Daisy M Chown (1927) is the tale of an intrepid woman who journeys 7000 miles from the Cape to Cairo in the mid-1920s using available public transport.
Etta Close (d.1945) was a British woman who travelled in East Africa only in the company of her native staff and a Dutch guide called Mr Trout, who was no help to her.
"Altogether I would say to a woman going to a wild country to learn never to be hungry unless there is something to eat, never to be thirsty unless there is something to drink, and never be sleepy or tired unless you know your bed is ready for you. When you have mastered these three simple rules go out on safari and you will enjoy yourself".
A Woman Alone In Kenya, Uganda And The Belgian Congo by Etta Close (1924) describes her wanderings in Kenya, Uganda and Belgian Congo. The author went to Africa intending to stay for three months and stayed for eighteen. Indeed, she almost stayed forever as a consequence of a bad attack of malaria.
Excursions And Some Adventures by Etta Close (1926) is about her early travels with her mother and siblings in Norway, France, Morocco, Spain, Bosnia, Canada, Sweden, Russia, Manchuria, China, Japan and Korea. Free eBook
Lady Evelyn Zainab (Murray) Cobbold (1867 - 1963) was the first British-born Muslim woman to make the pilgrimage to Mecca at he age of 65. Lady Evelyn was an adventurous traveller as well as a keen sportswoman and published accounts of her expeditions.
Kenya The Land Of Illusion by Lady Evelyn Cobbold (1935) is a diary of her travels in Kenya. Having completed the Hajj, she crossed Europe, the Mediterranean and flew down the Nile to Kenya with her grandson.
Wayfarers In The Libyan Desert by Lady Evelyn Cobbold (1912) is about travel among the pyramids and other ancient ruins in Egypt with Frances Gordon Alexander who also published an identically titled book.
Pilgrimage To Mecca by Lady Evelyn Cobbold (1934) is as much an account of a journey of faith as a conventional travelogue. It takes the form of a day-by-day journal interspersed with digressions on the history and merits of Islam.
Dirtroads: Footloose In Africa by Mary Cole (1975) is a lively personal account of a young Irish volunteer teacher who worked in Kenya and travelled to Uganda and Zaire, where she lived with pygmies.
Zélie Isabelle Colvile (nee Richaud de Préville) (d.1930) was the wife of Sir Henry Edward Colvile, the Commissioner of Uganda from 1893 to 1895.
Round The Black Man's Garden by Zélie Colvile (1893) is an account of her prolonged journey to Africa starting at the Suez Canal and moving along the east coast, around the Cape and up the west coast of the continent. They visited several Red Sea ports on their way from Suez to Durban and then turned inland to Pretoria and Cape Town before completing the circuit to Brindisi by steaming up to Cameroon and Sierra Leone and touching on the Canary Islands. In addition they visited Madagascar. The author traces the main expeditions into the interior of Africa from 1870 until 1890. Free eBook
Ten Days On An Oil-River by Zélie Colvile (1893) is an account of a British settlement on Oil Rivers. In 1891 the British 'Oil Rivers Protectorate' was founded in the Niger basin, named after it's main export, palm oil.
Emily May Crawford, nee Grimes (1864 - 1927) was a British hymn writer and a missionary in Pondoland in South Africa before she married Canadian, Dr T W W Crawford in 1904 and set off for east Africa.
By The Equator's Snowy Peak: A Record Of Medical Missionary Work And Travel In British East Africa by E May Crawford (1913) is an account by the wife of a Canadian missionary doctor, T W W Crawford, and their travels and work among the Kikuyu and Embu people of Mount Kenya. While on a journey through Embu country, they met "the famous hunter" R J Cunninghame, whose camp was nearby. They also met Colonel Dugald McTavish Lumsden (known for founding Lumsden's Horse Corps of the Second Boer War) who was on a hunting safari with a Mr C B Branch. The author was also struck by the fact that the mission station overlooked the forest where Roosevelt hunted elephants. Free eBook
Grace Crile, nee McBride (1876 - 1948) was an American author who accompanied her husband, Dr George Washington Crile, a surgeon and research scientist, to a laboratory in the Great Rift Valley.
Skyways To A Jungle Laboratory: An African Adventure by Grace Crile (1936) is the record of the author's journey and adventures. Free eBook
Sunshine And Rain In Uganda by Adela M Day (1932) is an account of life as the wife of a surveyor in Uganda and the adventures of her young son growing up in Uganda in the early 1910s. Adventure in travelling throughout Uganda plus a chapter on big game and one on lesser game.
A Princess Remembers: The Memoirs Of The Maharani Of Jaipur by Gayatri Devi (1976) presents an intimate look at the extraordinary life of one of the world's most fascinating women and an informal history of the princely states of India from the height of the Princes' power to their present state.
C Emily Dibb's evocative poems, 'Call Of Africa' and 'The Exile' appear on dozens of websites selling hunting and photographic safaris, rarely with any credit to the author.
Ivory, Apes And Peacocks by C Emily Dibb (1981) is a charming account of growing up in Matabeleland in the early 1900s and of her life with animals. This is a delighful presentation of reminiscences involving a variety of animals, birds and reptiles. The anecdotes, which are loosely strung on a biographical thread, were assembled from the personal experiences of the author, family and friends. No creature is too insignificant to excape the author's overtures of friendship and instructive comment - wild or domestic.
The Conundrum Trees by C Emily Dibb (1989) is another delightful book about the author's love of the bush in Zimbabwe.
Spotted Soldiers by C Emily Dibb (1978) is a powerful novel set in Rhodesia's war-torn Gaza Province.
The Bite by C Emily Dibb (1978)
Aymée Lavender Dower (1907 - 2003) was a British radionic therapist, writer and wife of Lieutenant-Colonel Alan Vincent Gandar Dower who was the brother of Kenneth Cecil Gandar-Dower who led an expedition to Mount Kenya and the Aberdare Range in an attempt to capture a spotted lion rumoured to exist there.
Epic Failure by L Dower (1939) is about a mainly photographic safari in Kenya and Tanganyika. However, they shot their own animals to use as bait and set it up to attract the lions and leopards for the best photographic angles. They had numerous photographic encounters with lion, elephant, rhino and buffalo but after the safari, it was discovered that much of the film was bad and out of 216 photos, only 72 were came out, hence the title.
Anne Louise (Hay) Dundas (d.1959) was the wife of Sir Charles Dundas who was a district commissioner of the Moshi area in Tanzania between 1908 and 1915.
Beneath African Glaciers by Anne Dundas (1924) includes the "Humours, tragedies and demands of an East African government station as experienced by an official's wife, with some personal views on native life and customs". Free eBook
Africa: What It Gave Me, What It Took From Me: Remembrances From My Life As A German Settler In South West Africa by Margarethe Von Eckenbrecher (2015) is the memoir of an extraordinary woman who travelled with her husband to German South West Africa to begin farming in a remote area, raising cattle, sheep and goats. The book chronicles colonial life, the natives of the colony, the Spanish Influenza pandemic in Namibia, World War I in Africa, German surrender, and the South African occupation of German South West Africa and the eventual ceding of the colony to South Africa. Translated, edited & introduced by David P Crandall, Hans-Wilhelm Kelling & Paul Kerry.
Tigers, Durbars And Kings: Fanny Eden's Indian Journals 1837-1838 by Fanny Eden, edited by Janet Dunbar (1988). Eden was a sister of George, Lord Ackland, Governor-General of India from 1835 to 1842. Hers is a thoroughly un-Victorian approach, with none of the earnestness and arrogance which disfigure so many later memsahibs' accounts.
Amelia Ann Blanford Edwards (1831 - 1892) was an English novelist, journalist, traveller and Egyptologist. Accompanied by her friend, Lucy Renshawe, she toured Egypt in the winter of 1873 - 1874. Journeying southwards from Cairo in a hired houseboat, they visited Philae and ultimately reached Abu Simbel, where they remained for six weeks.
A Thousand Miles Up The Nile by Amelia B Edwards (1877) is a vivid description of the author's Nile voyage with her own hand-drawn illustrations. The expedition was the first general archaeological survey of Egypt's ruins and remains "one of the most inspiring travel books in the language." Edwards was one of a party, which, in February 1874, discovered and excavated the ruins at Abu Simbel, in Nubia. Free eBook
Grace Hodgson Flandrau (1886 – 1971) was an American author of novels, short stories and articles. In 1927 she travelled 7000 miles across Africa in 5 months and wrote a non-fiction book about her travels which was well-received by the critics and boosted her literary reputation.
Then I Saw The Congo by Grace Flandrau (1929) is an account of the author's trip across Africa with her husband and other friends in 1927. The party of five, travelled up the Congo river to Matadi, where they travelled by train to Kinshasa. While there, they assembled their safari staff and over 2 tons of supplies, then took a river boat to Stanleyville. They then went by car and truck through the Ituri Forest, looping back close to Stanleyville by canoe on the Aruvimi river. They took the Cape to Cairo railway south, then east to take a steam ship across Lake Tanganyika. They had a spot of game viewing in East Africa before leaving Mombasa for home.
Dian Fossey (1932 - 1985) was an American zoologist who studied gorillas for 18 years in Rwanda.
Gorillas In The Mist by Dian Fossey (1988) is an enthralling testament to one of the longest field studies of primates, covering fifteen years in the lives of four gorilla families in Central Africa.
The Dark Romance Of Dian Fossey by Harold Hayes (1990). In 1985 Fossey was brutally killed in her research camp cabin in Ruwanda. The identity of the murderer remains speculative to this day. There were no lack of suspects, however, as in her single-minded committment, she was the intractable foe of poachers, imperious to Africans and abrasive to colleagues. This book explores that strange life of the complicated Fossey, a life lived far from her native Kentucky.
Woman In The Mists by Farley Mowat (1988). One of the world's most respected naturalist writers draws for the first time ever on Dian Fossey's personal writings to reveal the true story of a magnificent obsession...one woman's enormous empathy for a highly intelligent, desperately endangered animal - and how it ruled her life, her work and her heart.
A Lion To Market: I Came To Live by L M Francis (1971) is an account of her life in the wilds, where she carved a farm out of the wilderness, raised a lion cub and lived alone with no white person within many miles.
The Warrior Queens by Antonia Fraser (1990). In this panoramic work of history, Lady Antonia Fraser looks at women who led armies and empires: Cleopatra, Isabella of Spain, Jinga Mbandi, Margaret Thatcher, and Indira Gandhi among others.
The Silence Of The North by Olive Frederickson (1972) is the incredible true story of one woman's fight for survival in the Arctic wilderness.
Mary Eliza Bakewell Gaunt (1861 - 1942) was a prolific Australian author of mostly novels. However, once established as an author, she started travelling and writing autobiographical accounts of her journeys to China, Africa and Jamaica.
Alone In West Africa by Mary Gaunt (1912) is an account of her journey in west Africa. She arrived in the Gold Coast (now, Ghana) in 1908 and began exploring the old west coast forts. Setting out with a "cabin trunk of pretty dresses, rose trimmed hats, gloves", camera equipment, and a band of porters, she was the only white woman on what proved to be an often dangerous journey. Free eBook
Passionate Nomad: The Life Of Freya Stark by Jane Geniesse (1999) is the first biography published in America of Freya Stark, last of the great female adventurers and one of the most engaging writers of the 20th century.
Mary Hall (1857 - 1919) was a British traveller. Whilst she does not seem to have made any scientific observations or discovered any geographical features, her exploits sufficiently impressed the Royal Geographical Society, which was exclusively male until 1913, to allow her membership.
A Woman's Trek From Cape To Cairo by Mary Hall (1907). Mary Hall was the first woman to cross Africa from south to north, which she did by foot, rail, steamer and rickshaw in the company of her terrier and the native guides she hired along the way. It was described as "an astonishing journey, which Miss Hall took entirely in her diminutive stride.Her bands of porters became little communities of which she, with her small, rounded figure and thoroughly British bearing, became a local Queen Victoria. Where possible, she would stay at mission stations en route, but never regretted having to camp in a native village if need be; the chief might meet her with suspicious bewilderment, but they would always part with gales of laughter and the best of friends". Free eBook
An Elephant's Ear: The Diary Of An American Housewife In Africa by Beverly Hicks (1973) is the down-to-earth diary of the author's year in Kenya with her husband and 3 children. Her husband, Bob, was an American plastic surgeon assigned to the Flying Doctor Service in Nairobi.
They Went Whistling: Women Wayfarers, Warriors, Runaways And Renegades by Barbara Holland (2002) is an account of history's outstanding, and largely forgotten, females. The women revealed within these pages were driven by passion - for religion, humanity, adventure, politics and knowledge - that couldn't be curtailed by convention. They were witty, defiant and, more often than not, beautiful. Holland brings such faces as Joan of Arc, Daisy Bates, Stagecoach Mary and Mary Mother Jones into the same light as Napoleon, Lawrence of Arabia, Billy the Kid and Frederick Engels.
Edith Maud Hull (1880 – 1947) was a British writer of mainly romance novels set in the deserts of the Middle East. Her best-selling book was 'The Sheik' which was released as a film in 1921, starring Rudolph Valentino.
Camping In The Sahara by E M Hull (1926) is the author's only non-fiction travel memoir and recounts her travels in Algeria in the early 1920s.
Kathryn Hulme (1900 – 1981) was an American author most noted for her best-selling novel 'The Nun's Story'.
Look A Lion In The Eye: On Safari Through Africa by Kathryn Hulme (1974). In 1971, Kathryn Hulme and her two friends, also in their seventies, went on a safari of twenty-five hundred miles in Kenya and Tanzania. Their white hunter guide said "they passed over Africa on a magic carpet"... which is really what a well-organised safari is about after all.
Caroline Kirkland (1865 - 1930) was a well-known society columnist and editor for the Chicago Tribune, writing under the name 'Madame X'. Much of her 'African Highways' book first appeared as articles in the Chicago Tibune in 1906.
Some African Highways: A Journey Of Two American Women To Uganda And The Transvaal by Caroline Kirkland (1908). The journey took them to Lake Victoria and Uganda by railway, the by ship from Dar es Salaam to Lorenco Marques (now Maputo), Mozambique. Free eBook
Women Travelers: A Century Of Trailblazing Adventures 1850-1950 by Alexandra Lapierre (2007) are the stories of the greatest women adventurers in history. From deserts and jungles to mountains and icebergs, they faced unimaginable dangers as they crossed all five continents, often armed with little more than a corset and an umbrella.
Norma Octavia Lorimer (1864 - 1948) was a Scottish-born novelist and travel writer. She spent her youth in the Isle of Man and later travelled widely in the USA, Europe and Far East.
By The Waters Of Africa by Norma Lorimer (1917) describes life upon the great African lakes - the "up-to-date style of living adopted by the British settlers with their golf-courses and motoring". The author was one of the very few women to trek in the Mountains of the Moon during which she was guided by a Mr Grant, said to be the brother of explorer, James Augustus Grant. However it is more likely this was J A Grant's son. She was also accompanied by the then Governor of the East African Protectorate, Sir Frederick Jackson. Contains some big game hunting. Free eBook
Olive MacLeod (1880 - 1936) was engaged to marry Lieutenant Boyd Alexander, the explorer, who was killed by natives in Nyeri, French Sudan, on the 2 April 1910. Olive MacLeod travelled to Africa to learn from the French authorities what had happened to Boyd Alexander and to visit his grave. Olive later married Charles Lindsay Temple (1871 – 1929) who became Lieutenant-Governor of Northern Nigeria from January 1914 until ill-health caused him to relinquish the post in 1917.
Her travelling companions were Mr & Mrs P A Talbot. Mr Percy Amaury Talbot (1877 - 1945) was one of the original members of the Alexander-Gosling expedition in 1904 when they were the first Englishmen to navigate Lake Chad. He subsequently married Dorothy Amaury Talbot and became a District Commissioner in southern Nigeria. Dorothy accompanied her husband to his posting and came to enjoy the adventurous life - both becoming keen botanists and collectors.
Chiefs And Cities Of Central Africa: Across Lake Chad By Way Of British, French, And German Territories by Olive MacLeod (1912) is an account of the author's remarkable 3700 mile expedition in 1910 to 1911, with Mr & Mrs P A Talbot, from the coast of Southern Nigeria, through Northern Nigeria, across Cameroon and on to Lake Chad and south east from there, with much on the scenery, the wildlife, hunting, the people and their customs. Free eBook
Women Of The Raj by Margaret Macmillan (2005). Looking at Britain's involvement in India over three and a half centuries but particularly the period of empire from the 1850s to 1947, the author recreates the role of the women of the Raj from their own letters and memoirs, from novels and from interviews with survivors.
Annie Martin was a seasoned British traveller, visiting the West Indies, Brazil and Eygpt before going to South Africa where she and her new husband raised ostriches. She later returned to London and would nostalgically visit the ostriches in London Zoo.
Home Life On An Ostrich Farm by Annie Martin (1890). The author accompanied her husband to South Africa in 1881 and they resided there for several years engaged in ostrich farming. There is a good deal of information on the subject of ostrich breeding. It includes an interesting account of a wounded buffalo attacking a hunter's horse, a springbok hunt in the Karoo region and additional mention of hunting leopards and baboons. Free eBook
Women Explorers In Africa: Christina Dodwell, Delia Akeley, Mary Kingsley, Florence Von Sass-Baker, Alexandrine Tinne by Margo McLoone (1997) are five photo-illustrated biographies of famous women travellers to Africa.
I Married A Hunter by Marjorie Michael (1956) was the wife of George Michael, author of African Fury. Together, they did the BBC television show 'The Michaels in Africa'. Chapters include Zambesi Journey, Elephant Mixture, The Menagerie at Home, A Little About the Man I Married, More About Him and more.
Victorian Lady Travellers by Dorothy Middleton (1993) is a lively, amusing re-telling of the adventures of seven unique women, who fearlessly travelled to remote corners of the earth - Isabella Bird Bishop, Marianne North (a botanist who painted in Brazil), Fanny Bullock Workman (photographer and mountaineer), Annie Taylor, May French Sheldon, Kate Marsden and Mary Kingsley.
Dr Janet Miller was an American missionary and doctor who had worked in China for 12 years before going to the Congo to set up a medical facility. She was sent back to the US shortly after because the Congo was considered too dangerous for a female doctor.
Jungles Preferred by Janet Miller (1931) is an account of the author's journey into Africa at the behest of the Belgian government to offer medical services. It includes many incidental observations about the wildlife.
Lilian Decima, Lady Moore-Guggisberg (1871 - 1964) was an actress and the second wife of Frederick Gordon Guggisberg and she accompanied him on his survey journeys in West Africa.
Brigadier-General Sir Frederick Gordon Guggisberg (1869 - 1930) was a Canadian born soldier and administrator in the Colonial Service, becoming governor and commander-in-chief of the Gold Coast.
We Two In West Africa by Decima Moore & Major Frederick Gordon Guggisberg (1909). The authors despite their separate names are man and wife, each writing chapters from contrasting points of view - he the "old hand" in Africa and she the newcomer. Much on the siege of Coomasie, gold mining prospects and other colonialist ventures, plus vivid descriptions of African life. Guggisberg is rather scathing about his wife in the preface of the book - "This is a most irritating book to read...Throughout the book my wife talks - I write." Free eBook
The Virago Book Of Women Travellers by Mary Morris (2000). From the acerbic wit of Freya Stark to the raw courage of Dervla Murphy, over 300 years of the best and bravest women's travel is gathered here in a collection of stunning journeys.
Maiden Voyages: Writings Of Women Travelers by Mary Morris (1993) is a collection of travelogues by distinguished women authors includes the writings of Mary Wollstonecraft, Vita Sackville-West, Annie Dillard, Isak Dinesen, Rebecca West, Willa Cather, Margaret Mead and Mary McCarthy among others.
Mrs Patrick Ness, born Elizabeth Wilhelmina Miller (1881 - 1962) was the first woman to ride from Embra to Nairobi in 1913 and was the first woman to travel on Lake Kivu with a fleet of canoes in 1927. In 1930 she became the first woman to be elected as a Fellow of The Royal Geographical Society.
Ten Thousand Miles On Two Continents by Mrs Patrick Ness (1929) is an account of her travels mostly in Africa - the title is a little misleading. In 1923 she crossed the Syrian desert, from Beirut to the Caspian Seas via Baghdad and Teheran. In 1927, Mrs Ness travelled from Khartoum to Nairobi, Entebbe and southern Uganda to the Congo by car, truck, steamer and on foot, sometimes using her specially designed safari chair. She then crossed the swamps to Elisabethville (now Lubumbashi, DCR) and on to the Cape.
Women Of The Four Winds: The Adventures Of Four Of America's First Women Explorers by Elizabeth Fagg Olds (1985). Annie Smith Peck attempted seven times to climb Peru's highest mountain; Delia Akeley hunted big game in Africa; Marguerite Harrison spied in Russia for America; Louise Arner Boyd led expeditions to perilous East Greenland. Precursors of the modern Jane Goodalls and Sally Rides, these women represent a fascinating but forgotten era in the literature of exploration.
Western Women In Colonial Africa by Caroline Oliver & Sarah Oliver (1982) is a collection of biographies of five intrepid women who traveled through the interior of Africa during colonial times. Alexandrine Tinné led her own expedition up the Bahr el Ghazal tributary of the Nile. Florence Baker who accompanied her husband on two hazardous journeys to the lake regions of Central Africa. Mary Kingsley, an intellectual who walked alone through the West African forests doing ethnographic research. The closing biographies are of two missionaries; Mary Slessor, who became the first female magistrate of the Okon district of Calabar, and Mother Kevin, who established many schools throughout East Africa.
The Bolter by Frances Osborne (2009). As the First World War ended, Idina Sackville shocked high society by leaving her multimillionaire father to run off to Africa with a near penniless man. Sackville went on to divorce a total of five times. Sackville's life was so scandalous that it was kept a secret from her great-granddaughter Frances Osborne. Now, Osborne tells the moving tale of betrayal and heartbreak behind Sackville's road to scandal and return, painting a dazzling portrait of high society in the early twentieth century. Kindle Version
Joy Petersen Packer (1905 â 1977) was a South African journalist and author of travel books and novels. She married a British Royal Navy admiral, Sir Herbert Packer and produced several memoirs published from 1945 to 1953 about her travels with her husband.
Apes And Ivory by Joy Packer (1953) is an account of the author's extensive journeys she made across Africa, visiting Basutoland, Swaziland, Bechuanaland, the Rhodesias, Madagascar, Nigeria, the Gold Coast, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Senegal and the Ivory Coast.
Out In The Noonday Sun: Edwardians In The Tropics by Valerie Pakenham (1985). Drawing from letters, diaries and memoirs, Pakenham brings us the lives of the remarkable men and women who passed their days, flamboyantly, desperately and sometime degeneratively, with little company but the mongoose and a cup of tea. You will meet traders, soldiers, sportemen, land-hungry younger sons, hunters in search of ivory, missionaries in search of souls, prancing proconsuls and earnest young men who enlisted to bear the White Man's burden in the wilds of Asia and the African bush.
Women Of Discovery: A Celebration Of Intrepid Women Who Explored The World by Milbry Polk and Mary Tiegreen (2001). Here for the first time are gathered the tales of early voyagers, such as the valiant tenth-century Viking adventurer Unn the Deep Minded and seventeenth-century Spanish conquistadora Catalina de Erauso. Intrepid explorers like Mary Kingsley in Africa, Alexandra David-Neel in Tibet, and Freya Stark in the Middle East traveled fearlessly into the blank spaces on the map. Artist explorers, including the great botanical painter Anna Maria Sibylla Merian in Surinam, writer Zora Neale Hurston in Haiti, and photographer Ruth Robertson in South America, captured in their art the beauty and mystery of exotic lands. Many brave women have ventured into extreme environments to bring back knowledge, whether they were aviators like Amelia Earhart, mountaineers like Annie Smith Peck, or Arctic explorers like Irina and Valentina Kuznetsova. And the annals of science would be far poorer without the work of such women as primatologists Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey, ethnobotanist Nicole Maxwell and ichthyologist Eugenie Clark.
Lady Alys Reece (1912 - 1995) was the wife of Sir Gerald Reece (1897 – 1985) who was colonial administrator, serving as the District Commissioner in Moyale and Marsabit, Provincial Commissioner of the Northern Province of Kenya and then Governor of the British Somaliland Protectorate from 1948 until February 1954.
To My Wife - 50 Camels by Alys Reece (1963) is about the author's life as a District Commissioner's wife in the remote station of Marsabit in the Northern Frontier District of Kenya in 1936-45.
African Saga by Mirella Ricciardi (1985). In these vivid pages the author, an internationally famous photographer, recreates her life, set against the cruel beauty of Africa. Telling of her father's imprisionment, her brothers fight against the Mau Mau and her parents eventual death. There have not been many accounts of family life in Africa quite like this one and none illustrated with such a range of rare and evocative photographs.
Vanishing Africa by Mirella Ricciardi (1971) is a history of African tribal art told in text and photographs. African tribesmen in celebratory poses as well as text relating to the author's experiences. Beautiful images of a now nearly extinct way of life.
African Rainbow: Across Africa By Boat by Mirella Ricciardi & Lorenzo Ricciardi (1989) is an account of the African Rainbow Equatorial Expedition which achieved the first-known crossing of Africa by boat, navigating an often hazardous and uncharted course through the waterways which lie between the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. The 6000 km journey, made by Lorenzo Ricciardi and his photographer wife, Mirella, is recorded in text and photographs describing the dangers and pleasures of the journey, and the controversial issues of todays Africa. Description and photographs of people encountered en route (George Adamson, James Ash, Maurice Craft, Citoyen Mushenzi and Jane Goodall); the couples encounters with white water rapids, hippos,crocodiles, apes, elephants, sleeping sickness, poachers, fishermen, villagers and a live volcano are portrayed against a backdrop of African scenery.
Ladies In The Veldt by Brian Roberts (1965) is the story of two remarkable woman journalists in the Transvaal and Natal between the Zulu War and the Transvaal War of 1880-1881.
Bridget Robertson spent more than fifteen years of her nursing career in Africa with the Colonial Service and finally as part of Queen Elizabeth's Overseas Nursing Service, becoming Regional Matron in Kisumu, Kenya.
Angels In Africa: A Memoir Of Nursing With The Colonial Services by Bridget M Robertson (1993) is a fascinating account of a nursing career that took Bridget Robertson to Kenya, Zanzibar, the Seychelles and Northern Nigeria. She recounts how trying problems of climate, environment, shortage of supplies and even physical dangers were cheerfully overcome and nursing care of the highest possible standards maintained.
Unsuitable For Ladies: An Anthology Of Women Travellers by Jane Robinson (1994) is an exhilarating journey through sixteen centuries of travel writing, aboard almost anything from a Bugatti to a Bath chair, 'Unsuitable for Ladies' is a fascinating read, suitable for anyone who loves exploring new cultures and landscapes, whether first-hand or from an armchair.
Women's Voices On Africa by Patricia Romero (1992) is an anthology of women travel writers with potted biographies of each, includes Kingsley, Dundas, Forbes, Mott-Smith, Perham, Fannin, Murray and more.
The Blessings Of A Good Thick Skirt: Women Travellers And Their World by Mary Russell (1986) is a richly researched, eclectic anthology of women travellers' experiences. Mary Kingsley said, "It is at these moments you realise the blessings of a good thick skirt. Save for a good many bruises here was I with the fullness of my skirt tucked under me, sitting on nine ebony spikes some twelve inches long, in comparative comfort, howling lustily to be hauled out." May French Sheldon's journey is included in this book.
Margaret Ryan was a wealthy American widow who decided on a whim to visit some diamond mines in the Congo in which she had an interest. So she bought a specially outfitted four-wheel drive Alfa Romeo and set off with her dog and her long time servant.
African Hayride by Margaret G Ryan (1956) is the account of a New York woman's 18630 mile drive in a specially-built car through 12 African countries - including Algeria across the Sahara, French West Africa, Nigeria, French Equatorial Africa, the Belgian Congo, Angola, Uganda, Kenya & Zanzibar. An entertaining view of an Africa that is no more.
Joan Root (1936 - 2006) was a Kenyan-born conservationist, ecological activist and Oscar-nominated filmmaker. She was married to fellow film-maker Alan Root. After several years of harassment, Joan Root was murdered at her home in Lake Naivasha.
Wildflower: An Extraordinary Life And Untimely Death In Africa by Mark Seal (2009) is the unforgettable tale of naturalist and filmmaker Joan Root, and her brutal, unnecessary death at the hands of two mysterious masked men in 2006. In an attempt to uncover the secret of her murder, journalist Mark Seal instead discovered one of the most fascinating life stories he had ever encountered. The story of a deeply passionate woman who dedicated her life to wildlife in Africa, whose romance with her eventual husband Alan only added fuel to her fire, and whose reinvention after personal tragedy was inspirational. Kindle Version
Lady Winifred Joan Sharwood-Smith (b.1915) was married to Sir Bryan Evers Sharwood Smith who joined the Colonial Service and ended up as governor of Northern Nigeria. She also worked in the Intelligence Department of the Special Operations Executive during World War II.
Diary Of A Colonial Wife: An African Experience by Joan Sharwood-Smith (1992) is an account of the life of a colonial service wife in Nigeria between 1939 and 1957. The book aims to counteract the commonly-held stereotype of the colonial "memsahib" as haughty and racist and reveals the author's concern for social welfare in Nigeria. The book is full of humour and lively observations on what she looks on as the experiences of just another Colonial Service wife.
May French Sheldon (1847 - 1936) was a wealthy American publisher. In 1891 she undertook an exploring expedition into Africa, unattended by any white man or woman, and succeeded in circumnavigating Lake Chala, an exploit which has attracted universal attention.
Sultan To Sultan: Adventures Among The Masai And Other Tribes Of East Africa by May French Sheldon (1892) is an account of her pioneering safari of 1891, full of adventures and entertainment, from Mombasa to Kilimanjaro and around the previously unexplored Lake Chala. She was alone (other than her 138 Zanzibari porters) and dispensed to the tribal people 1000 rings inscribed with her name along the thousand plus mile route. The book brims with facts and observations on the local tribes, which got her elected as the first woman Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in 1892. Free eBook
Lake Chad by Sylvia K Sikes (1972). From 1955 to 2002, the author travelled on and around Lake Chad - the immense lake in the southern Saharan Desert. This book presents a record of her travels, adventures and observations during this time and illuminates the plight of the indigenous people whose way of life is being affected by climate change and modern development in Africa.
The Natural History Of The African Elephant by Sylvia K Sikes (1971) is considered to be one of the best and most comprehensive books on the African elephant
Alyse Simpson was a Swiss-born author who married an Englishman and emigrated to Kenya in hope of escaping the post-war poverty of the British Midlands with the promise of adventure and wealth there. They stayed there 6 years before returning home.
Red Dust Of Africa by Alyse Simpson (1952) is an account by the Swiss wife of an English farmer in Kenya, of her battle with and eventual attraction to the alien world of East Africa around the time of World War I.
The Land That Never Was by Alyse Simpson (1937) is the cautionary tale of a young couple of would-be settlers in Kenya in the 1930s, who fail to make their fortune, face numerous disillusions and much hard work and return defeated and broke after six years. The book succeeds as a valuable corrective to the romantic image of colonial Kenya as a playground for aristocrats and big-game hunters.
Cornelia Mary Speedy (nee Cotton) was the wife of Tristram Charles Sawyer Speedy (1836 - 1911) who was an English explorer and adventurer during the Victorian era. After a period in India, in 1878, Speedy and his wife spent some months in the Sudan which resulted in the travelogue published by his wife.
Ladies In The Sun: The Memsahib's India 1790 - 1860 by J K Stanford (1962). What was life like for a woman on board an east-bound sailing vessel in the 19th century? And what sort of life was she going to when her vessel at last reached India? Drawing from diaries and letters from the time, this book attempts to answer those fascinating historical questions, so much a part of our history.
Lady Ethel Stefana Stevens Drower (1879 - 1972) was a British anthropologist, traveller and author.
Frances Louisa Swayne (1850 - 1932) was the cousin of Sir Eric John Eagles Swayne (1863 - 1929), Commissioner, Commander-in-Chief and Consul General of the Somaliland Protectorate, and his big game hunter brother Colonel Harald George Carless Swayne (1860 - 1940) who served in the British military in Somaliland. Frances Swayne travelled to Somaliland in 1905-1906 as the guest of her cousins on a route taking her from Berbera to the Upper Sheikh, then east and west through the country during a short peaceful period in the region.
She was the daughter of physician Joseph Griffiths Swayne, a pioneer in anaesthetics, obstetrician and researcher into the cause of cholera. She was very well educated and worked at the University of London. As a woman of independent financial means, she travelled not only in Africa but also in Guatemala.
A Woman's Pleasure Trip In Somaliland by Frances Swayne (1907). In the preface the author's intention was to present the newly-freed Somaliland as a holiday resort suitable for lady travellers. However her book also includes a detailed description of the land and its peoples, an account of activities from hunting to mountain climbing with extensive and early photographs of the country.
Women Into The Unknown: A Sourcebook On Women Explores And Travelers by Marion Tinling (1989) is about the exploration and derring-do of 42 women who, individually or with another, ventured forth to parts unknown or little known in the 19th and 20th centuries. The accomplishment of each is sketched in biographical form that will variously intrigue, interest and fascinate readers.
Serengeti Home by Kay Turner (1978) with a foreword by Bernhard Grzimek. The author, the wife of Serengeti Chief Game Warden, Myles Turner, lived for 16 years in the Serengeti and writes about the animals, the people, the safaris and the visitors.Read the article about Kay Turner, The Night She Walked Through A Pride Of 18 Lions Sydney Morning Herald 1978
Letters From East Africa 1895 - 1897 by Gertrude Ward (1899) is the scarce and fascinating account of the daily life of a nurse, from her letters, in an up-country mission station in German East Africa in the 1890's. The author was stationed at Magila, inland from Tanga in Usambara region. Free eBook
Moonlight, Giraffes And Frying Pans by Selma Whitehouse (1928) is "a record of picnic adventure in Darkest Africa, of travel by motor and horse, of camp life and hunting wild beasts, and of all the pleasures and discomforts that fall to the lot of those who leave civilisation behind them".
A Journey Of One's Own: Uncommon Advice For The Independent Woman Traveler by Thalia Zepatos (2000) are tales of cross-cultural encounters and self-discovery from a wide array of women with detailed advice on practical matters such as how to deal with sexual harassment, stay healthy, be safe and avoid theft.