The Moorish ship from Aden in which Covilham had embarked, landed him at Cananor on the coast of Malabar, whence, after some stay, he went to Calicut and Goa, being the first of the Portuguese nation who had navigated the Indian ocean; having seen pepper and ginger, and heard of cloves and cinnamon. From India he went by sea to Sofala on the eastern coast of Africa, where he is said to have examined the gold mines, and where he procured some information respecting the great island of Madagascar, called by the Moors the Island of the Moon. With the various and valuable information he had now acquired, relative to the productions of India and their marts, and of the eastern coast of Africa, he now determined to return to Egypt, that he might be able to communicate his intelligence to Portugal. At Cairo he was met by messengers from King John, informing him that Payva had been murdered, and directing him to go to Ormuz and the coast of Persia, in order to increase his stock of commercial knowledge. The two messengers from the king of Portugal whom Covilham met with at Cairo, were both Jewish rabbis, named Abraham of Beja and Joseph of Lamego. The latter returned into Portugal with letters from Covilham, giving an account of his observations, and assuring his master that the ships which sailed to the coast of Guinea, might be certain of finding a termination of the African Continent, by persisting in a southerly course; and advising, when they should arrive in the eastern ocean, to inquire for Sofala and the Island of the Moon.
Covilham and Rabbi Abraham went from Cairo, probably by sea, to Ormuz and the coast of Persia, whence they returned in company to Aden. From that place, Abraham returned by the way of Cairo to Portugal with the additional information which had been collected in their voyage to the Gulf of Persia; though some authors allege that Joseph was the companion of this voyage, and that he returned from Bassora by way of the desert to Aleppo, and thence to Portugal.
From Aden, Covilham crossed the straits of Babelmandeb to the south-eastern coast of Abyssinia, where he found Alexander the king, or negus, at the head of an army, levying tribute or contributions from his rebellious subjects of the southern provinces of his dominions. Alexander received Covilham with kindness, but more from motives of curiosity than for any expectations of advantage that might result from any connection or communication with the kingdom of Portugal. Covilham accompanied the king to Shoa, where the seat of the Abyssinian government was then established; and from a cruel policy, which subsists still in Abyssinia, by which strangers are hardly ever permitted to quit the country, Covilham never returned into Europe. Though thus doomed to perpetual exile in a strange and barbarous land, Covilham was well used. He married, and obtained ample possessions, enjoying the favour of several successive kings of Abyssinia,