Abstract

In 2002 the ”Atlas of the Great Caves and the Karst of Africa” was released in this series (Laumanns 2002a, b, c). The atlas has been an unexpected success and I was surprised by the appreciation and support of the many readers. The atlas indeed became a speleological standard reference work that reached a reasonable distribution to serve for the further underground exploration of the ”dark continent” You all have made this possible and it was a pleasure for me to experience that four years of in-depth literature research, writing, drawing, and extensive communication on a world-wide scale was not all in vain! Of course, speleological exploration continues steadily, which consequently rise the question whether the 2002 ”Atlas of the Great Caves of Africa” shall be considered to be a one-time effort or shall lead to a continuous source for providing information on caves and karst of Africa. And, if the latter alternative is chosen, what would be the best way to continue? Intensive discussions with contributors resulted in a first and a second update of the ”Africa Atlas” (Laumanns 2005; 2007). However, the amount of new information also led to many changes in country chapters that could not be included in the update volumes. Furthermore a third update would have scattered the data creating a lack of overview. Consequently, it was decided to release a second edition of the Atlas. In case experts on a specific country will detect inconsistencies or faults in a specific country chapter they are hearty invited to contact the author to provide for amendments. The ”Atlas of the Great Caves and the Karst of Africa”, is based on the “Atlas of the Great Caves of the World” (Courbon et al. 1989), and on the “Atlas des cavités non calcaires du monde” (Chabert & Courbon 1997). A lot of geological and tectonic information has been gathered from the excellent publication “Limestone and Dolomite Resources of Africa” (Bosse et al. 1996), which is a unique source of knowledge on African carbonate rocks (ISSN 0341-6429, available from the Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe, POB 510153, D - 30631 Hannover). For the 2nd update a brilliant publication by P. Van Straaten (2002) – called “Rocks for Crops: Agrominerals of Subsaharan Africa” - was also used to locate possible limestone and dolomite occurrences. The latter publication also mentions many bat guano deposits directly linked to caves. Furthermore a “Geological Atlas of Africa” has been published by Schlüter (2006), which will be used for future updates of the “Atlas of the Great Caves and the Karst of Africa”. The Speleological Abstracts, published annually by the UIS, served as source for publications after 1980. Furthermore, valuable information on the latest French speleological campaigns in African countries was taken from the annual reports of the “Commission des relations et expéditions internationales” (CREI) published by the Fédération Française de Spéléologie. In the reference lists the articles that have been seen by the author are printed in italic letters. All north direction arrows on the cave maps refer to magnetic north.