Andrew (Anders) Sparrman

A Voyage to the Cape of Good Hope

Towards the Antarctic Polar Circle, and Round the World, but chiefly into the Country of the Hottentots and Caffres, from the year 1772 to 1776

Published by London, Printed for G.G.J. and J. Robinson, 1785

The young Swede, Anders Sparrman (1748 – 1820), was the first traveler to give an extended and readable account of travels into the interior of the Cape, between 1772 and 1776. As a student of Linnaeus, he was particularly well qualified to explore the rich floral heritage of South Africa. Although he trod familiar paths, his fresh and lively comments offer valuable insights into life in Cape Town, into the flora and fauna of the interior and the indigenous people whom he encountered.

Illustrated with an engraved frontispiece to Volume 1 plus 9 other engraved plates including 2 of Hottentot subjects and 7 of natural history subjects and a large folding map.

Sparrman sailed for the Cape of Good Hope in 1772 to work as a tutor. When James Cook arrived there at the start of his second voyage, Sparrman was taken on as an assistant naturalist. After the voyage, Sparrman returned to Cape Town in 1775 and practised medicine, earning anough to finance a journey into the interior. He reached the Great Fish River and returned in 1776. 

"The most trustworthy account of the Cape Colony and the various races of people residing in it that had been published in the 18th century."

In Volume 1 Sparrman travelled from Cape Town via the “Warm Bath” (today’s Caledon) on to Swellendam and then to Mossel Bay. From there the journey proceeded along the Langkloof Valley and into the Tsitsikamma forests. 

In Volume 2, Sparrman completed his journey through the eastern parts of the Cape, eventually reaching the Fish River.

My facsimile reprint of the 2-volume first edition bound as a single volume

A Voyage Round the World with Captain James Cook in H.M.S. Resolution

Sparrman kept a journal of the voyage, the first part being published in Swedish in 1802, while the second part was not published until 1818. The journal was not translated into English until 1944 when the Golden Cockerel Press published it in a limited edition. Robert Hale published in 1953 the First General Edition, and I own a copy of this edition.