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The pilgrimage to Mecca made on foot across Africa from west to east between the desert and the tropical forest keeps many West Africans in close touch with the valley of the Nile. The pilgrims follow a route along which culture must from the earliest times have been spread by refugees, traders, military expeditions and the like. (In these latter days motorized convoys of West African troops and aerial reinforcements for the Middle East have followed the same route). Over twenty years' servicedoi:10.1017/s0003598x00018494 fatcat:vvxg23u5njaalate7q32dutmeu