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Forbes was born in 1893 and later married a soldier with whom she
travelled to India, China, Australia and South Africa. During the first
world war she worked as an ambulance driver and received two medals for
her war services from the French government.
had the gift of the genuine traveller: she lived and mixed with the
Usbegs and Kazaks. After a visit to England, Forbes travelled to Morocco
and then went to Abyssinia where she made a travel film entitled From
Red Sea to Blue Nile.
she visited Persia and in 1930 travelled through Syria, Palestine, Iraq
and Transjordania. Her other travels took her to South America, Russia and
from Kenya to the Gold Coast.
Forbes was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal Geographical Society.
Forbidden Road - Kabul
Forbes was justly famous for her travels in perilous
portions of the world. In fact the intrepid Englishwoman had been making a habit
of visiting remote, and absurdly dangerous, places for years. During the 1920s
she rode a camel across the Libyan deserts in search of a lost city, ventured to
dozens of other forbidden places
written a long list of bestsellers.
had been invaded many times. Alexander the Great had marched his Greeks
through her mountains. Genghis Khan and his hordes had cantered through
her streets. More recently the mighty British Raj had flown warplanes over
the isolated hermit kingdom. Yet none of these military men ever disarmed
the Afghans as effortlessly as Rosita Forbes.
started in Peshawar, that charming, mostly lawless city that sits like a
pigeon egg at the base of the nearby Khyber Pass. Forbes of course had to
venture into the city’s old bazaars, investigating rumours of “the
secrets of Peshawar that all men know.” Yet her desire lay beyond the
cultured sin of this infamous border town. So it was that in 1935 the
intrepid traveller hired a driver and car, threw her bags in the back,
pulled on her gloves, set her stylish hat firmly in place, and climbed
aboard, bound for Kabul, Mazar-I-Sharif, and ultimately faraway Samarkand.
followed was one of the most delightful journeys of the adventure-filled
1930s, for nothing escaped Forbes’ observant eye. She spoke to nomads,
dined with royalty, and uncovered enough stories to fill two books.
Luckily her photographs and the best stories are still gathered here, in
“Forbidden Road”. The delightful book is still fresh, still
charming, just like its beautiful adventuress of an author.
Barnes & Noble or
Secret of the Sahara: Kufara
In a world full of macho, early
male explorers, lovely Rosita Forbes stood alone. The famed English woman went
everywhere, and saw everything, in any perilous portion of the world that met
her fancy. For example, though Afghanistan was supposedly closed to outsiders,
the elegant Rosita hired a car, and had herself chauffeured from Kabul to
Samarkand in style.
In need of new adventures, the intrepid female explorer
decided to penetrate the infamous wastes of the Libyan deserts. At stake
was an interview with the mysterious leader of an obscure Muslim sect. Yet more
important to Rosita was the need to discover, not some minor potentate, but the
legendary lost city of the Sahara, Kufara.
What followed can only be described as a classic 1920s
adventure complete with a dashing Egyptian noblemen, a cast of notorious camels,
and their noisome crew. And though “Secret of the Sahara” is full of the
political observations and interesting interviews that made Rosita a justifiably
famous travel writer, the ever-dashing English woman also regales her reader
with poetic passages about the beauty of the desert world she had wandered into.
Here is Rosita Forbes at her best, speaking to nomads,
dining with desert royalty, or uncovering enough stories to fill two books.
Luckily the best tales are still gathered here. “Secrets of the Sahara”
remains a delightful work, still fresh and charming after all these years, just
like its beautiful adventuress of an author.
For more information, please go to
Barnes & Noble