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Microsoft's Mungo Park


Launch the expedition: River Road to Timbuktu


In mid-1996, following the impact and awards that TerraQuest garnered, Microsoft launched its own version of "virtual expeditions on the World Wide Web." The software company recruited Richard Bangs of Mountain Travel-Sobek, who in turn gathered together several of his colleages from past adventures (including yours truly) to create an online magazine devoted to adventure travel in life and literature. (For more about Richard, visit his site.)

From the first issue in October, 1996 until Bill Gates pulled the plug in 1998, MungoPark.com had quite a run. We covered Bangs' return descent of Ethiopia's Takese River, complete with online interviews of Ziggy Marley and the President of Ethiopia; we went into orbit with the Space Shuttle Columbia, underwater with Jean-Michel Cousteau in Fiji, to the Islands of Love with Dr. Ruth, to Chile with Lyle Lovett and to Newfoundland with Martha Stewart. Check out the promo video below.

In 1996 I went as correspondent to Mali in search of the real Mungo Park, with photographer Denise Rocco and guide Alberto Nicheli. From Bamako, where we interviewed world musician Salief Keita, to the mysterious burial caves of the lost Dogon, to the legendary trading town of Timbuktu, and our final disappearance into the Sahara, we followed in the footsteps of Mungo Park.

This is one of the only places online where the content from Mungopark.com can be found today — relive the adventure in The River Road to Timbuktu. (Launches pop-up presentation)

Who was Mungo Park? According to the Web site Electric Scotland, Mungo Park (b. 1771) was a "distinguished but unfortunate traveller" who met his death in what is now Mali, or perhaps Niger, in 1806. Or 1807. No one really knows for sure.

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