Not only was A E Filby a famous British explorer, but he was also my Uncle Archie. He died before I was born, but his unpublished manuscript, ‘Horizon Fever', and many scrapbooks survived. Proclaimed "the World's most travelled motorist", A E Filby undertook some breathtaking expeditions, including his 37,000 mile journey from London to Cape Town and back in a series of dilapidated motorcars.
‘Horizon Fever’ is an honest, colourful, often shocking account; a snapshot of bygone days and attitudes. It tells of missionaries, pygmies, big-game hunting, gold-mining, crossing the Sahara and swimming in the Nile with crocodiles. One of Archie’s companions was a monkey called Congo. Another was a dog that adopted him, until it was killed and dragged up a tree by a leopard.
Thanks to Archie’s records and photographs, we have a unique glimpse of an astonishing feat of endurance, 80 years after it was completed. Victoria Twead
Published: 7 August 2012
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