We use cookies to help make this website more user-friendly.

Countless explorers preceded the current generation of expats. They travelled to unknown places and discovered new regions, peoples and treasures. Their astounding insights inspired whole generations. We believe that today's expats are continuing the legacy of the world's great travellers, on their own (stubborn) adventure into the unknown.

Today, we are highlighting Hanno from the famous Carthaginian Empire. He was one of the first explorers to keep a travel journal.

Hanno was probably exploring the northwest coast of Africa, more specifically the sea route to the south, from Cadiz in Spain along the coast of West Africa, around 500 BC. Some sources say he got as far as central Africa.

Hanno's travel journal helped researchers reconstruct his journey. As far as we know, however, only a fragment in Greek has been preserved. It is believed that Hanno embarked on his journey with thirty thousand men and women and dozens of ships. The journey ‘around the outskirts of Africa, beyond the Pillars of Herakles’ was intended to establish colonies and strengthen existing trading posts. In addition, they hoped perhaps to find an alternative route to the African shores. In the preserved fragment, Hanno talks about his contact with gorillas. This is probably one of the first – recorded – descriptions of the African great ape species.

Where Hanno got to and how long he was on the road remains a mystery. Some sources suggest that his journey took about three years and that he reached Cameroon. But this is not certain.

For more information on Hanno's voyage of discovery, you can consult the PDF on Hanno's Sea Voyage on the VincentHunink website (in Dutch)(.pdf-New window).

Would you like to share your travel experiences?

Are you an expat or do you know someone with an inspiring experience abroad? Please don't hesitate to contact us at overseas-expat@onssrszlss.fgov.be. And who knows, you might inspire future expats with your story.

Back to Top