Explorer and anthropologist Julian Monroe Fisher believes he has solved a mystery that has puzzled geographers and explorers for more than 200 years. Last year, while trekking through West Africa, Fisher says that he discovered the location of the fabled Mountains of Kong, which were once prominently displayed on maps of the continent, but were later believed to have been just a myth. In a new book that just released last week, he shares details of the location of this landmark, which has eluded others for decades.
Unless you’re a history and geography buff, chances are you’ve never heard of the Mountains of Kong, which have nothing to do with the giant ape of movie fame. The story begins way back in the late 1700’s when a Scottish explorer by the name of Mungo Park set off to explore parts of Africa that hadn’t been visited by Europeans yet. His journey took him through the western regions of the continent, where he explored the Niger River basin and had numerous adventures along the way, including being held captive for four months by a Moor chieftain.
Eventually Park made his escape, and continued alone on horseback through a wild, untamed, and almost completely unexplored landscape. He suffered illness, hardship, and many brushes with death, before eventually returning home to Scotland in 1797 with many tales to tell. Those exploits were set down in a book called Travels in the Interior of Africa, and his knowledge helped fill in some blank spots on the map, including the location of the source of the Niger River.
Park’s maps also showed a location for a mountain range which he called the Mountains of Kong, and later other mapmakers incorporated this bit of knowledge into their own diagrams of the African continent. It wasn’t long before the Mountains of Kong appeared on numerous charts. But, a century after Park’s own expedition, a French explorer by the name of Louis Gustave Binger explored much of the same region, and concluded that the mountains didn’t exist at all. Other expeditions would go in search of them too, but they came up empty, prompting cartographers to remove them from their maps and allowing them to slip into mythology.
But, Julian Monroe Fisher says that the mountains do exist, and they are where they have always been in Western Africa, not far from the Mountains of the Moon. His tale, as told in his new book Mountains of Kong, takes readers on an adventure across Africa, a place that he is intimately familiar after conducting six Explorer’s Club flagged expeditions across Sudan, Uganda, Angola, Mozambique, and numerous other countries.
The book isn’t just about the discovery of the Mountains of Kong. It is a collection of ten different stories, detailing Fisher’s exploration of Africa, often on foot, through some of the most wild, dangerous, and unpredictable places. For instance, he was in South Sudan a few years back when the Civil War there broke out. He also walked from Mozambique to Angola, and has traveled from Cairo to Khartoum along the River Nile. He also delved deep into the Mountains of the Moon, and of course has reportedly found the Mountains of Kong along the way.
So where exactly are these fabled mountains located? We’ll all just have to read the book to find out, but Julian tells me it’s no great mystery. They are exactly where they were said to be, he just happens to be the only one who has gone looking for them in a very long time. He discovered their location in the summer of 2016, on yet another expedition to Africa. After which, he returned home to share his tale.
You can find out more about Fisher on his official website, and you can order the book now from Amazon and on your Kindle device. It should be a fascinating story to hear, and I’m looking forward to learning more about this discovery.
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