Crossing the Heart of Africa

How far would you go for love?

In 1898, the dashing British adventurer Ewart “The Leopard” Grogan was head-over-heels in love—but he needed the approval of his beloved’s skeptical, aristocratic stepfather. To prove his worth, the 24-year-old Cambridge dropout set out on an epic quest to become the first person to walk the length of Africa, “a feat hitherto thought by many explorers to be impossible” (New York Times).

A little over a century later, journalist Julian Smith also found himself madly in love with his girlfriend of seven years…but terrified by the prospect of a lifelong commitment. Inspired by Grogan’s story, Julian decided to face his fears of marriage by retracing the explorer’s amazing—but now forgotten—4,500-mile journey for love and glory through the lakes, volcanoes, savannas, and crowded modern cities of Africa.

Crossing the Heart of Africa is the unforgettable account of twin adventures, as Julian beautifully interweaves his own contemporary journey with Grogan’s larger-than-life tale of charging elephants, cannibal attacks, deadly jungles, and romantic triumph.

Interactive map and photos

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