Travels in West Africa, Congo Français, Corisco and Cameroons by Mary Kingsley
Kingsley is one of the best-known Victorian women travellers, whose solo adventures in West Africa made her a celebrity in England. This, her first book, published in 1897, was an instant best-seller. She travelled extensively, engaging in trade both to fund her trip and to get to know the African people, rather than merely observing as an outsider. She brought back quantities of natural specimens, three of which were named after her. On her return to England she was asked to give numerous lectures. Some of her views were considered controversial - she opposed the attempts by missionaries to impose European culture on native people, and defended polygamy and even slavery. Her observations and interests are wide-ranging, and she showed an acute and sympathetic understanding of West African culture and society.