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Preparing to visit Africa

Sunday 31 December 2017

It has has been quite a year. Let’s hope the new year brings more delights than the old one. 2018 is shaping up well, with some in­ter­est­ing travels on the program​—​including a couple of weeks in Africa, a continent I have not set foot on (apart from the time I stepped ashore at Suez in 1966). The prospect of a trip turns my mind to the question of what to bring.

Mr H M Stanley’s boat, the “Livingstone,” for crossing lakes and rivers in Africa, a wood engraving published in the Illustrated London news, 31 July 1875.

Which reminds me of Mr Stanley who also went to Africa. He carried with him…

… two different contrivances for crossing the lakes and rivers in that vast wilderness. One is of cedar, 40 ft long and 6 ft wide, divisible into portable sections, which was built for him by Mr J A Messenger, of Teddington, and which is the subject of two of our illustrations. The other is a raft, composed of inflatable indiarubber pontoon tubes, which rest transversely on three keels, with poles laid above the cylinders or tubes and lashed to the keels beneath; there is a triangular compartment fore and aft of the same depth, to form the bow and stern, This raft was made by Messrs J C Cording and Co, of Piccadilly, and is reported by Mr Stanley, in one of his published letters, to answer its pur­pose very well. It weighs altogether 300 lb, which can be divided into five loads of 60 lb each. The tubes are in­flated by means of a pair of bellows. Their material is a very strong kind of twill, which promises to endure any amount of wear; but if it should need mending Mr Stanley has wherewithal to make it good.

—​“Mr Stanley’s indiarubber pontoon raft,” Illustrated London news, 31 July 1875.

I hope I have sufficient wherewithal to enjoy my trip.

Mr H M Stanley’s boat, the “Livingstone,” carried overland in Africa, another wood engraving published in the Illustrated London news, 31 July 1875.

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