In 1795, a young Scottish physician set out to explore the course of the Niger River. The detailed notes from his arduous two-year adventure in West Africa provided Europeans with their first reliable account of the region. Two centuries later, this early classic of travel literature offers a singular array of geographic and anthropological observations of Africa before colonial influence. Unlike the leaders of latter-day expeditions, Mungo Park often traveled alone, trusting locals to supply food, shelter, and directions. His firsthand observations of gold mining, the slave trade, war, and politics, along with his experiences of everyday life, offer unparalleled views of eighteenth-century Africa. National Geographic placed Park's Travels at #25 on its 100 Greatest Adventure Books of All Time. T. Coraghessan Boyle pronounced it "an adventure story to cap them all," and the book's acclaim and influence extends through generations of authors, including Wordsworth, Melville, Conrad, and Hemingway.