The Discovery of the Source of the Nile
John Hanning Speke

Part 1 out of 11

This etext was produced by Laura Shaffer and J.C. Byers

The Discovery of The Source of the Nile

by John Hanning Speke

John Hanning Speke, born 1827. Served in the Punjab but left
in 1854 to explore Somaliland. Discovered Lake Tanganyika with
Burton, and Lake Victoria independently. Was, with Grant,
the first European to cross equatorial africa. Died 1864.

Editor's Note

John Hanning Speke was a man of thirty-six, when his Nile Journal
appeared. He had entered the army in 1844, and completed ten
years of service in India, serving through the Punjab Campaign.
Already he had conceived the idea of exploring Africa, before his
ten years were up, and on their conclusion he was appointed a
member of the expedition preparing to start under Sir Richard
(then Lieutenant Burton) for the Somali country. He was wounded
by the Somalis, and returned to England on sick leave; the
Crimean War then breaking out, be served through it, and later,
December 1856, joined another expedition under Burton. Then it
was that the possibility of the source of the Nile being traced
to one of the inland lakes seems to have struck him.

Burton's illness prevented him accompanying Speke on the latter's
visit to the lake now known as Victoria Nyanza. During this
expedition Speke reached the most southerly point of the lake,
and gave it its present name. Speke arrived back in England in
the spring of 1859, Burton being left behind on account of his
illness. The relations between the two had become strained, and
this was accentuated by Speke's hast to publish the account of
his explorations. He was given the command of another expedition
which left England in April 1860, in company with Captain James
Augustus Grant, to ascertain still further if the Victoria Nyanza
were indeed the source of the Nile. He met Sir Samuel Baker, to
whom he gave valuable assistance, and who with his clue
discovered the third lake, Albert Nyanza.

Speke telegraphed early in 1863, that the Nile source was traced.
Returning to England that year he met with an ovation, and
addressed a special meeting of the Geographical Society, and the
same year, 1863, published his "Journal of the Discovery of the
Nile." Opposed in his statements by Burton and M'Queen (The Nile
Basin, 1864"), it was arranged that he and Burton should meet for
a debate, when on the very day fixed, Speke accidentally shot
himself while out partridge-shooting.

Sir R. Murchison, addressing the Royal Geographical Society that
year, speaks of Speke's discovery of the source of the Nile as
solving the "problem of all ages."

Only two books were published by Speke--the "Journal" of 1863,
which follows, and its sequel--"What Led to the Discovery of the
Source of the Nile," which appeared in the year of his death,


In the following pages I have endeavoured to describe all that
appeared to me most important and interesting among the events
and the scenes that came under my notice during my sojourn in the
interior of Africa. If my account should not entirely harmonise
with preconceived notions as to primitive races, I cannot help
it. I profess accurately to describe native Africa--Africa in
those places where it has not received the slightest impulse,
whether for good or evil, from European civilisation. If the
picture be a dark one, we should, when contemplating these sons
of Noah, try and carry our mind back to that time when our poor
elder brother Ham was cursed by his father, and condemned to be
the slave of both Shem and Japheth; for as they were then, so
they appear to be now-- a strikingly existing proof of the Holy
Scriptures. But one thing must be remembered: Whilst the people
of Europe and Asia were blessed by communion with God through the
medium of His prophets, and obtained divine laws to regulate
their ways and keep them in mind of Him who made them, the
Africans were excluded from this dispensation, and consequently
have no idea of an overruling Providence or a future state; they
therefore trust to luck and to charms, and think only of self-
preservation in this world. Whatever, then, may be said against
them for being too avaricious or too destitute of fellow-feeling,
should rather reflect on ourselves, who have been so much better
favoured, yet have neglected to teach them, than on those who,
whilst they are sinning, know not what they are doing. To say a
negro is incapable of instruction, is a mere absurdity; for those
few boys who have been educated in our schools have proved
themselves even quicker than our own at learning; whilst, amongst
themselves, the deepness of their cunning and their power of
repartee are quite surprising, and are especially shown in their
proficiency for telling lies most appropriately in preference to
truth, and with an off-handed manner that makes them most

With these remarks, I now give, as an appropriate introduction to
my narrative--(1.) An account of the general geographical
features of the countries we are about to travel in, leaving the
details to be treated under each as we successively pass through
them; (2.) A general view of the atmospheric agents which wear
down and so continually help to reduce the continent, yet at the
same time assist to clothe it with vegetation; (3.) A general
view of the Flora; and, lastly, that which consumes it, (4.) Its
Fauna; ending with a few special remarks on the Wanguana, or men
freed from slavery.


The continent of Africa is something like a dish turned upside
down, having a high and flat central plateau, with a higher rim
of hills surrounding it; from below which, exterially, it
suddenly slopes down to the flat strip of land bordering on the
sea. A dish, however, is generally uniform in shape--Africa is
not. For instance, we find in its centre a high group of hills
surrounding the head of the Tanganyika Lake, composed chiefly of
argillaceous sandstones which I suppose to be the Lunae Montes of
Ptolemy, or the Soma Giri of the ancient Hindus. Further,
instead of a rim at the northern end, the country shelves down
from the equator to the Mediterranean Sea; and on the general
surface of the interior plateau there are basins full of water
(lakes), from which, when rains overflow them, rivers are formed,
that, cutting through the flanking rim of hills, find their way
to the sea.

Atmospheric Agents

On the east coast, near Zanzibar, we find the rains following the
track of the sun, and lasting not more than forty days on any
part that the sun crosses; whilst the winds blow from south-west
or north-east, towards the regions heated by its vertical
position. But in the centre of the continent, within 5 of the
equator, we find the rains much more lasting. For instance, at
5 south latitude, for the whole six months that the sun is in
the south, rain continues to fall, and I have heard that the same
takes place at 5 north; whilst on the equator, or rather a
trifle to northward of it, it rains more or less the whole year
round, but most at the equinoxes, as shown in the table on the
following page. The winds, though somewhat less steady, are
still very determinable. With an easterly tending, they deflect
north and south, following the sun. In the drier season they blow
so cold that the sun's heat is not distressing; and in
consequence of this, and the average altitude of the plateau,
which is 3000 feet, the general temperature of the atmosphere is
very pleasant, as I found from experience; for I walked every
inch of the journey dressed in thick woollen clothes, and slept
every night between blankets.

The Number of Days on which Rain fell (more or less) during the
March of the East African Expedition from Zanzibar to Gondokoro.

1860 Days on 1861 Days on 1862 Days on
which which which
rain fell rain fell rain fell

*** *** January 19 January 14
*** *** February 21 February[FN#1]12
*** *** March 17 March 21
*** *** April 17 April 27
*** *** May 3 May 26
*** *** June 0 June 20
*** *** July 1 July 22
*** *** August 1 August 20
*** *** September 9 September 18
October 2 October 11 October 27
November 0 November 17 November 20
December 20 December 16 December 6


From what has been said regarding the condition of the
atmosphere, it may readily be imagined that Africa, in those
parts, after all, is not so bad as people supposed it was; for,
when so much moisture falls under a vertical sun, all vegetable
life must grow up almost spontaneously. It does so on the
equator in the most profuse manner; but down at 5 south, where
there are six months' drought, the case is somewhat different;
and the people would be subject to famines if they did not take
advantage of their rainy season to lay in sufficient stores for
the fine: and here we touch on the misfortune of the country; for
the negro is too lazy to do so effectively, owing chiefly, as we
shall see presently, to want of a strong protecting government.
One substantial fact has been established, owing to our having
crossed over ten degrees of latitude in the centre of the
continent, or from 5 south to 5 north latitude, which is this:
There exists a regular gradation of fertility, surprisingly rich
on the equator, but decreasing systematically from it; and the
reason why this great fertile zone is confined to the equatorial
regions, is the same as that which has constituted it the great
focus of water or lake supply, whence issue the principal rivers
of Africa. On the equator lie the rainbearing influences of the
Mountains of the Moon. The equatorial line is, in fact, the
centre of atmospheric motion.


In treating of this branch of natural history, we will first take
man--the true curly-head, flab-nosed, pouch-mouthed negro--not
the Wahuma.[FN#2] They are well distributed all over these
latitudes, but are not found anywhere in dense communities.
Their system of government is mostly of the patriarchal
character. Some are pastorals, but most are agriculturalists;
and this difference, I believe, originates solely from want of a
stable government, to enable them to reap what they produce; for
where the negro can save his cattle, which is his wealth, by
eating grain, he will do it. In the same way as all animals,
whether wild or tame, require a guide to lead their flocks, so do
the negroes find it necessary to have chiefs over their villages
and little communities, who are their referees on all domestic or
political questions. They have both their district and their
village chiefs, but, in the countries we are about to travel
over, no kings such as we shall find that the Wahuma have. The
district chief is absolute, though guided in great measure by his
"grey-beards," who constantly attend his residence, and talk over
their affairs of state. These commonly concern petty internal
matters; for they are too selfish and too narrow-minded to care
for anything but their own private concerns. The grey-beards
circulate the orders of the chief amongst the village chiefs, who
are fined when they do not comply with them; and hence all orders
are pretty well obeyed.

One thing only tends to disorganise the country, and that is war,
caused, in the first instance, by polygamy, producing a family of
half-brothers, who, all aspiring to succeed their father, fight
continually with one another, and make their chief aim slaves and
cattle; whilst, in the second instance, slavery keeps them ever
fighting and reducing their numbers. The government revenues are
levied, on a very small scale, exclusively for the benefit of the
chief and his grey-beards. For instance, as a sort of land-tax,
the chief has a right to drink free from the village brews of
pombe (a kind of beer made by fermentation), which are made in
turn by all the villagers successively. In case of an elephant
being killed, he also takes a share of the meat, and claims one
of its tusks as his right; further, all leopard, lion, or zebra
skins are his by right. On merchandise brought into the country
by traders, he has a general right to make any exactions he
thinks he has the power of enforcing, without any regard to
justice or a regulated tariff. This right is called Hongo, in the
plural Mahongo. Another source of revenue is in the effects of
all people condemned for sorcery, who are either burnt, or
speared and cast into the jungles, and their property seized by
the grey-beards for their chief.

As to punishments, all irreclaimable thieves or murderers are
killed and disposed of in the same manner as these sorcerers;
whilst on minor thieves a penalty equivalent to the extent of the
depredation is levied. Illicit intercourse being treated as
petty larceny, a value is fixed according to the value of the
woman--for it must be remembered all women are property. Indeed,
marriages are considered a very profitable speculation, the
girl's hand being in the father's gift, who marries her to any
one who will pay her price. This arrangement, however, is not
considered a simple matter of buying and selling, but delights in
the high-sounding title of "dowry." Slaves, cows, goats, fowls,
brass wire, or beads, are the usual things given for this species
of dowry. The marriage-knot, however, is never irretrievably
tied; for if the wife finds a defect in her husband, she can
return to her father by refunding the dowry; whilst the husband,
if he objects to his wife, can claim half-price on sending her
home again, which is considered fair, because as a second-hand
article her future value would be diminished by half. By this
system, it must be observed, polygamy is a source of wealth,
since a man's means are measured by the number of his progeny;
but it has other advantages besides the dowry, for the women work
more than the men do, both in and out of doors; and, in addition
to the females, the sons work for the household until they marry,
and in after life take care of their parents in the same way as
in the first instance the parents took care of them.

Twins are usually hailed with delight, because they swell the
power of the family, though in some instances they are put to
death. Albinos are valued, though their colour is not admired.
If death occurs in a natural manner, the body is usually either
buried in the village or outside. A large portion of the negro
races affect nudity, despising clothing as effeminate; but these
are chiefly the more boisterous roving pastorals, who are too
lazy either to grow cotton or strip the trees of their bark.
Their young women go naked; but the mothers suspend a little tail
both before and behind. As the hair of the negro will not grow
long, a barber might be dispensed with, were it not that they
delight in odd fashions, and are therefore continually either
shaving it off altogether, or else fashioning it after the most
whimsical designs. No people in the world are so proud and
headstrong as the negroes, whether they be pastoral or
agriculturalists. With them, as with the rest of the world,
"familiarity breeds contempt"; hospitality lives only one day;
for though proud of a rich or white visitor--and they implore him
to stop, that they may keep feeding their eyes on his
curiosities--they seldom give more than a cow or a goat, though
professing to supply a whole camp with provisions.

Taking the negroes as a whole, one does not find very marked or
much difference in them. Each tribe has its characteristics, it
is true. For instance, one cuts his teeth or tattoos his face in
a different manner from the others; but by the constant
intermarriage with slaves, much of this effect is lost, and it is
further lost sight of owing to the prevalence of migrations
caused by wars and the division of governments. As with the
tribal marks so with their weapons; those most commonly in use
are the spear, assage, shield, bow and arrow. It is true some
affect one, some the other; but in no way do we see that the
courage of tribes can be determined by the use of any particular
weapon: for the bravest use the arrow, which is the more dreaded;
while the weakest confine themselves to the spear. Lines of
traffic are the worst tracks (there are no roads in the districts
here referred to) for a traveller to go upon, not only because
the hospitality of the people has been damped by frequent
communication with travellers, but, by intercourse with the semi-
civilised merchant, their natural honour and honesty are
corrupted, their cupidity is increased, and the show of firearms
ceases to frighten them.

Of paramount consideration is the power held by the magician
(Mganga), who rules the minds of the kings as did the old popes
of Europe. They, indeed, are a curse to the traveller; for if it
suits their inclinations to keep him out of the country, they
have merely to prognosticate all sorts of calamities--as
droughts, famines, or wars--in the event of his setting eyes on
the soil, and the chiefs, people, and all, would believe them;
for, as may be imagined, with men unenlightened, supernatural and
imaginary predictions work with more force than substantial
reasons. Their implement of divination, simple as it may appear,
is a cow's or antelope's horn (Uganga), which they stuff with
magic powder, also called Uganga. Stuck into the ground in front
of the village, it is supposed to have sufficient power to ward
off the attacks of an enemy.

By simply holding it in the hand, the magician pretends he can
discover anything that has been stolen or lost; and instances
have been told of its dragging four men after it with
irresistible impetus up to a thief, when it be-laboured the
culprit and drove him out of his senses. So imbued are the
natives' minds with belief in the power of charms, that they pay
the magician for sticks, stones, or mud, which he has doctored
for them. They believe certain flowers held in the hand will
conduct them to anything lost; as also that the voice of certain
wild animals, birds, or beasts, will insure them good-luck, or
warn them of danger. With the utmost complacency our sable
brother builds a dwarf hut in his fields, and places some grain
on it to propitiate the evil spirit, and suffer him to reap the
fruits of his labour, and this too they call Uganga or church.

These are a few of the more innocent alternatives the poor
negroes resort to in place of a "Saviour." They have also many
other and more horrible devices. For instance, in times of
tribulation, the magician, if he ascertains a war is projected by
inspecting the blood and bones of a fowl which he has flayed for
that purpose, flays a young child, and having laid it lengthwise
on a path, directs all the warriors, on proceeding to battle, to
step over his sacrifice and insure themselves victory. Another
of these extra barbarous devices takes place when a chief wishes
to make war on his neighbour by his calling in a magician to
discover a propitious time for commencing. The doctor places a
large earthen vessel, half full of water, over a fire, and over
its mouth a grating of sticks, whereon he lays a small child and
a fowl side by side, and covers them over with a second large
earthen vessel, just like the first, only inverted, to keep the
steam in, when he sets fire below, cooks for a certain period of
time, and then looks to see if his victims are still living or
dead--when, should they be dead, the war must be deferred, but,
otherwise commenced at once.

These extremes, however, are not often resorted to, for the
natives are usually content with simpler means, such as flaying a
goat, instead of a child, to be walked over; while, to prevent
any evil approaching their dwellings a squashed frog, or any
other such absurdity, when place on the track, is considered a

How the negro has lived so many ages without advancing, seems
marvellous, when all the countries surrounding Africa are so
forward in comparison; and judging from the progressive state of
the world, one is led to suppose that the African must soon
either step out from his darkness, or be superseded by a being
superior to himself. Could a government be formed for them like
ours in India, they would be saved; but without it, I fear there
is very little chance; for at present the African neither can
help himself nor will he be helped about by others, because his
country is in such a constant state of turmoil he has too much
anxiety on hand looking out for his food to think of anything
else. As his fathers ever did, so does he. He works his wife,
sells his children, enslaves all he can lay hands upon, and,
unless when fighting for the property of others, contents himself
with drinking, singing, and dancing like a baboon to drive dull
care away. A few only make cotton cloth, or work in wood, iron,
copper, or salt; their rule being to do as little as possible,
and to store up nothing beyond the necessities of the next
season, lest their chiefs or neighbours should covet and take it
from them.

Slavery, I may add, is one great cause of laziness, for the
masters become too proud to work, lest they should be thought
slaves themselves. In consequence of this, the women look after
the household work--such as brewing, cooking, grinding corn,
making pottery and baskets, and taking care of the house and the
children, besides helping the slaves whilst cultivating, or even
tending the cattle sometimes.

Now, descending to the inferior order of creation, I shall
commence with the domestic animals first, to show what the
traveller may expect to find for his usual support. Cows, after
leaving the low lands near the coast, are found to be plentiful
everywhere, and to produce milk in small quantities, from which
butter is made. Goats are common all over Africa; but sheep are
not so plentiful, nor do they show such good breeding--being
generally lanky, with long fat tails. Fowls, much like those in
India, are abundant everywhere. A few Muscovy ducks are
imported, also pigeons and cats. Dogs, like the Indian pariah,
are very plentiful, only much smaller; and a few donkeys are
found in certain localities. Now, considering this good supply
of meat, whilst all tropical plants will grow just as well in
central equatorial Africa as they do in India, it surprises the
traveller there should be any famines; yet such is too often the
case, and the negro, with these bounties within his reach, is
sometimes found eating dogs, cats, rats, porcupines, snakes,
lizards, tortoises, locusts, and white ants, or is forced to seek
the seeds of wild grasses, or to pluck wild herbs, fruits, and
roots; whilst at the proper seasons they hunt the wild elephant,
buffalo, giraffe, zebra, pigs, and antelopes; or, going out with
their arrows, have battues against the guinea-fowls and small

The frequency with which collections of villages are found all
over the countries we are alluding to, leaves but very little
scope for the runs of wild animals, which are found only in dense
jungles, open forests, or praires generally speaking, where hills
can protect them, and near rivers whose marshes produce a thick
growth of vegetation to conceal them from their most dreaded
enemy--man. The prowling, restless elephant, for instance, though
rarely seen, leaves indications of his nocturnal excursions in
every wilderness, by wantonly knocking down the forest-trees.
The morose rhinoceros, though less numerous, are found in every
thick jungle. So is the savage buffalo, especially delighting in
dark places, where he can wallow in the mud and slake his thirst
without much trouble; and here also we find the wild pig.

The gruff hippopotamus is as widespread as any, being found
wherever there is water to float him; whilst the shy giraffe and
zebra affect all open forests and plains where the grass is not
too long; and antelopes, of great variety in species and habits,
are found wherever man will let them alone and they can find
water. The lion is, however, rarely heard--much more seldom
seen. Hyenas are numerous, and thievishly inclined. Leopards,
less common, are the terror of the villagers. Foxes are not
numerous, but frighten the black traveller by their ill-omened
bark. Hares, about half the size of English ones--there are no
rabbits--are widely spread, but not numerous; porcupines the
same. Wild cats, and animals of the ferret kind, destroy game.
Monkeys of various kinds and squirrels harbour in the trees, but
are rarely seen. Tortoises and snakes, in great variety, crawl
over the ground, mostly after the rains. Rats and lizards--there
are but few mice--are very abundant, and feed both in the fields
and on the stores of the men.

The wily ostrich, bustard, and florikan affect all open places.
The guinea-fowl is the most numerous of all game-birds.
Partridges come next, but do not afford good sport; and quails
are rare. Ducks and snipe appear to love Africa less than any
other country; and geese and storks are only found where water
most abounds. Vultures are uncommon; hawks and crows much
abound, as in all other countries; but little birds, of every
colour and note, are discoverable in great quantities near water
and by the villages. Huge snails and small ones, as well as
fresh-water shells, are very abundant, though the conchologist
would find but little variety to repay his labours; and insects,
though innumerable, are best sought for after the rains have set

The Wanguana or Freed Men

The Wa-n-guana, as their name implies, are men freed from
slavery; and as it is to these singular negroes acting as hired
servants that I have been chiefly indebted for opening this large
section of Africa, a few general remarks on their character
cannot be out of place here.

Of course, having been born in Africa, and associated in
childhood with the untainted negroes, they retain all the
superstitious notions of the true aborigines, though somewhat
modified, and even corrupted, by that acquaintance with the outer
world which sharpens their wits.

Most of these men were doubtless caught in wars, as may be seen
every day in Africa, made slaves of, and sold to the Arabs for a
few yards of common cloth, brass wire, or beads. They would then
be taken to the Zanzibar market, resold like horses to the
highest bidder, and then kept in bondage by their new masters,
more like children of his family than anything else. In this new
position they were circumcised to make Mussulmans of them, that
their hands might be "clean" to slaughter their master's cattle,
and extend his creed; for the Arabs believe the day must come
when the tenets of Mohammed will be accepted by all men.

The slave in this new position finds himself much better off than
he ever was in his life before, with this exception, that as a
slave he feels himself much degraded in the social scale of
society, and his family ties are all cut off from him--probably
his relations have all been killed in the war in which he was
captured. Still, after the first qualms have worn off, we find
him much attached to his master, who feeds him and finds him in
clothes in return for the menial services which he performs. In
a few years after capture, or when confidence has been gained by
the attachment shown by the slave, if the master is a trader in
ivory, he will intrust him with the charge of his stores, and
send him all over the interior of the continent to purchase for
him both slaves and ivory; but should the master die, according
to the Mohammedan creed the slaves ought to be freed. In Arabia
this would be the case; but at Zanzibar it more generally happens
that the slave is willed to his successor.

The whole system of slaveholding by the Arabs in Africa, or
rather on the coast or at Zanzibar, is exceedingly strange; for
the slaves, both in individual physical strength and in numbers,
are so superior to the Arab foreigners, that if they chose to
rebel, they might send the Arabs flying out of the land. It
happens, however, that they are spell-bound, not knowing their
strength any more than domestic animals, and they even seem to
consider that they would be dishonest if they ran away after
being purchased, and so brought pecuniary loss on their owners.

There are many positions into which the slave may get by the
course of events, and I shall give here, as a specimen, the
ordinary case of one who has been freed by the death of his
master, that master having been a trader in ivory and slaves in
the interior. In such a case, the slave so freed in all
probability would commence life afresh by taking service as a
porter with other merchants, and in the end would raise
sufficient capital to commence trading himself-- first in slaves,
because they are the most easily got, and then in ivory. All his
accumulations would then go to the Zanzibar market, or else to
slavers looking out off the coast. Slavery begets slavery. To
catch slaves is the first thought of every chief in the interior;
hence fights and slavery impoverish the land, and that is the
reason both why Africa does not improve, and why we find men of
all tribes and tongues on the coast. The ethnologist need only
go to Zanzibar to become acquainted with all the different tribes
to the centre of the continent on that side, or to Congo to find
the other half south of the equator there.

Some few freed slaves take service in vessels, of which they are
especially fond; but most return to Africa to trade in slaves and
ivory. All slaves learn the coast language, called at Zanzibar
Kisuahili; and therefore the traveller, if judicious in his
selections, could find there interpreters to carry him throughout
the eastern half of South Africa. To the north of the equator
the system of language entirely changes.

Laziness is inherent in these men, for which reason, although
extremely powerful, they will not work unless compelled to do so.
Having no God, in the Christian sense of the term, to fear or
worship, they have no love for truth, honour, or honesty.
Controlled by no government, nor yet by home ties, they have no
reason to think of or look to the future. Any venture attracts
them when hard-up for food; and the more roving it is, the better
they like it. The life of the sailor is most particularly
attractive to the freed slave; for he thinks, in his conceit,
that he is on an equality with all men when once on the muster-
rolls, and then he calls all his fellow-Africans "savages."
Still the African's peculiarity sticks to him: he has gained no
permanent good. The association of white men and the glitter of
money merely dazzle him. He apes like a monkey the jolly Jack
Tar, and spends his wages accordingly. If chance brings him back
again to Zanzibar, he calls his old Arab master his father, and
goes into slavery with as much zest as ever.

I have spoken of these freed men as if they had no religion. This
is practically true, though theoretically not so; for the Arabs,
on circumcising them, teach them to repeat the words Allah and
Mohammed, and perhaps a few others; but not one in ten knows what
a soul means, nor do they expect to meet with either reward or
punishment in the next world, though they are taught to regard
animals as clean and unclean, and some go through the form of a
pilgrimage to Mecca. Indeed the whole of their spiritual
education goes into oaths and ejaculations--Allah and Mohammed
being as common in their mouths as damn and blast are with our
soldiers and sailors. The long and short of this story is, that
the freed men generally turn out a loose, roving, reckless set of
beings, quick-witted as the Yankee, from the simple fact that
they imagine all political matters affect them, and therefore
they must have a word in every debate. Nevertheless they are
seldom wise; and lying being more familiar to their constitution
than truth-saying, they are for ever concocting dodges with the
view, which they glory in of successfully cheating people.
Sometimes they will show great kindness, even bravery amounting
to heroism, and proportionate affection; at another time, without
any cause, they will desert and be treacherous to their sworn
friends in the most dastardly manner. Whatever the freak of the
moment is, that they adopt in the most thoughtless manner, even
though they may have calculated on advantages beforehand in the
opposite direction. In fact, no one can rely upon them even for
a moment. Dog wit, or any silly remarks, will set them giggling.
Any toy will amuse them. Highly conceited of their personal
appearance, they are for ever cutting their hair in different
fashions, to surprise a friend; or if a rag be thrown away, they
will all in turn fight for it to bind on their heads, then on
their loins or spears, peacocking about with it before their
admiring comrades. Even strange feathers or skins are treated by
them in the same way.

Should one happen to have anything specially to communicate to
his master in camp, he will enter giggling, sidle up to the pole
of a hut, commence scratching his back with it, then stretch and
yawn, and gradually, in bursts of loud laughter, slip down to the
ground on his stern, when he drums with his hands on the top of a
box until summoned to know what he has at heart, when he delivers
himself in a peculiar manner, laughs and yawns again, and, saying
it is time to go, walks off in the same way as he came. At other
times when he is called, he will come sucking away at the spout
of a tea-pot, or, scratching his naked arm-pits with a table-
knife, or, perhaps, polishing the plates for dinner with his
dirty loin-cloth. If sent to market to purchase a fowl, he comes
back with a cock tied by the legs to the end of a stick, swinging
and squalling in the most piteous manner. Then, arrived at the
cook-shop, he throws the bird down on the ground, holds its head
between his toes, plucks the feathers to bare its throat, and
then, raising a prayer, cuts its head off.

But enough of the freed man in camp; on the march he is no
better. If you give him a gun and some ammunition to protect him
in case of emergencies, he will promise to save it, but forthwith
expends it by firing it off in the air, and demands more, else he
will fear to venture amongst the "savages." Suppose you give him
a box of bottles to carry, or a desk, or anything else that
requires great care, and you caution him of its contents, the
first thing he does is to commence swinging it round and round,
or putting it topsy-turvy on the top of his head, when he will
run off at a jog-trot, singing and laughing in the most provoking
manner, and thinking no more about it than if it were an old
stone; even if rain were falling, he would put it in the best
place to get wet through. Economy, care, or forethought never
enters his head; the first thing to hand is the right thing for
him; and rather then take the trouble even to look for his own
rope to tie up his bundle, he would cut off his master's tent-
ropes or steal his comrade's. His greatest delight is in the fair
sex, and when he can't get them, next comes beer, song, and a

Now, this is a mild specimen of the "rowdy" negro, who has
contributed more to open Africa to enterprise and civilisation
than any one else. Possessed of a wonderful amount of loquacity,
great risibility, but no stability--a creature of impulse--a
grown child, in short--at first sight it seems wonderful how he
can be trained to work; for there is now law, no home to bind
him--he could run away at any moment; and presuming on this, he
sins, expecting to be forgiven. Great forbearance, occasionally
tinctured with a little fatherly severity, is I believe, the best
dose for him; for he says to his master, in the most childish
manner, after sinning, "You ought to forgive and to forget; for
are you not a big man who should be above harbouring spite,
though for a moment you may be angry? Flog me if you like, but
don't keep count against me, else I shall run away; and what will
you do then?"

The language of this people is just as strange as they are
themselves. It is based on euphony, from which cause it is very
complex, the more especially so as it requires one to be
possessed of a negro's turn of mind to appreciate the system, and
unravel the secret of its euphonic concord. A Kisuahili grammar,
written by Dr. Krapf, will exemplify what I mean. There is one
peculiarity, however, to which I would direct the attention of
the reader most particularly, which is, that Wa prefixed to the
essential word of a country, means men or people; M prefixed,
means man or individual; U, in the same way, means place or
locality; and Ki prefixed indicates the language. Example:--
Wagogo, is the people of Gogo; Mgogo, is a Gogo man; Ugogo, is
the country of Gogo; and Kigogo, the language of Gogo.

The only direction here necessary as regards pronunciation of
native words refers to the u, which represents a sound
corresponding to that of the oo in woo.

Journal of the Discovery
The Source of the Nile

Chapter 1

London to Zanzibar, 1859

The design--The Preparations--Departure--The Cape--The Zulu
Kafirs-- Turtle-Turning--Capture of a Slaver--Arrive at Zanzibar-
-Local Politics and News Since Last Visit--Organisation of the

My third expedition in Africa, which was avowedly for the purpose
of establishing the truth of my assertion that the Victoria
N'yanza, which I discovered on the 30th July 1858, would
eventually prove to be the source of the Nile, may be said to
have commenced on the 9th May 1859, the first day after my return
to England from my second expedition, when, at the invitation of
Sir. R. I. Murchison, I called at his house to show him my map
for the information of the Royal Geographical Society. Sir
Roderick, I need only say, at once accepted my views; and,
knowing my ardent desire to prove to the world, by actual
inspection of the exit, that the Victoria N'yanza was the source
of the Nile, seized the enlightened view, that such a discovery
should not be lost to the glory of England and the Society of
which he was President; and said to me, "Speke, we must send you
there again." I was then officially directed, much against my
own inclination, to lecture at the Royal Geographical Society on
the geography of Africa, which I had, as the sole surveyor of the
second expedition, laid down on our maps.[FN#4] A council of the
Geographical Society was now convened to ascertain what projects
I had in view for making good my discovery by connecting the lake
with the Nile, as also what assistance I should want for that

Some thought my best plan would be to go up the Nile, which
seemed to them the natural course to pursue, especially as the
Nile was said, though nobody believed it, to have been navigated
by expeditions sent out by Mehemet Ali, Viceroy of Egypt, up to
3 22 north latitude. To this I objected, as so many had tried
it and failed, from reasons which had not transpired; and, at the
same time, I said that if they would give me 5000 down at once,
I would return to Zanzibar at the end of the year, March to Kaze
again, and make the necessary investigations of the Victoria
lake. Although, in addition to the journey to the source of the
river, I also proposed spending three years in the country,
looking up tributaries, inspecting watersheds, navigating the
lake, and making collections on all branches of natural history,
yet 5000 was thought by the Geographical Society too large a sum
to expect from the Government; so I accepted the half, saying
that, whatever the expedition might cost, I would make good the
rest, as, under any circumstances, I would complete what I had
begun, or die in the attempt.

My motive for deferring the journey a year was the hope that I
might, in the meanwhile, send on fifty men, carrying beads and
brass wire, under charge of Arab ivory-traders, to Karague, and
fifty men more, in the same way, to Kaze; whilst I, arriving in
the best season for travelling (May, June, or July), would be
able to push on expeditiously to my depots so formed, and thus
escape the great disadvantages of travelling with a large caravan
in a country where no laws prevail to protect one against
desertions and theft. Moreover, I knew that the negroes who would
have to go with me, as long as they believed I had property in
advance, would work up to it willingly, as they would be the
gainers by doing so; whilst, with nothing before them, they would
be always endeavouring to thwart my advance, to save them from a
trouble which their natural laziness would prompt them to escape

This beautiful project, I am sorry to say, was doomed from the
first; for I did not get the 2500 grant of money or appointment
to the command until fully nine months had elapsed, when I wrote
to Colonel Rigby, our Consul at Zanzibar, to send on the first
instalment of property towards the interior.

As time then advanced, the Indian branch of the Government very
graciously gave me fifty artillery carbines, with belts and
sword-bayonets attached, and 20,000 rounds of ball ammunition.
They lent me as many surveying instruments as I wanted; and,
through Sir George Clerk, put at my disposal some rich presents,
in gold watches, for the chief Arabs who had so generously
assisted us in the last expedition. Captain Grant, hearing that
I was bound on this journey, being an old friend and brother
sportsman in India, asked me to take him with me, and his
appointment was settled by Colonel Sykes, then chairman of a
committee of the Royal Geographical Society, who said it would
only be "a matter of charity" to allow me a companion.

Much at the same time, Mr Petherick, an ivory merchant, who had
spent many years on the Nile, arrived in England, and
gratuitously offered, as it would not interfere with his trade,
to place boats at Gondokoro, and send a party of men up the White
River to collect ivory in the meanwhile, and eventually to assist
me in coming down. Mr Petherick, I may add, showed great zeal for
geographical exploits, so, as I could not get money enough to do
all that I wished to accomplish myself, I drew out a project for
him to ascend the stream now known as the Usua river (reported to
be the larger branch of the Nile), and, if possible, ascertain
what connection it had with my lake. This being agreed to, I did
my best, through the medium of Earl de Grey (then President of
the Royal Geographical Society), to advance him money to carry
out this desirable object.

The last difficulty I had now before me was to obtain a passage
to Zanzibar. The Indian Government had promised me a vessel of
war to convey me from Aden to Zanzibar, provided it did not
interfere with the public interests. This doubtful proviso
induced me to apply to Captain Playfair, Assistant-Political at
Aden, to know what Government vessel would be available; and
should there be none, to get for me a passage by some American
trader. The China war, he assured me, had taken up all the
Government vessels, and there appeared no hope left for me that
season, as the last American trader was just then leaving for
Zanzibar. In this dilemma it appeared that I must inevitably
lose the travelling season, and come in for the droughts and
famines. The tide, however, turned in my favour a little; for I
obtained, by permission of the Admiralty, a passage in the
British screw steam-frigate Forte, under orders to convey Admiral
Sir H. Keppel to his command at the Cape; and Sir Charles Wood
most obligingly made a request that I should be forwarded thence
to Zanzibar in one of our slaver-hunting cruisers by the earliest

On the 27th April, Captain Grant and I embarked on board the new
steam-frigate Forte, commanded by Captain E. W. Turnour, at
Portsmouth; and after a long voyage, touching at Madeira and Rio
de Janeiro, we arrived at the Cape of Good Hope on the 4th July.
Here Sir George Grey, the Governor of the colony, who took a warm
and enlightened interest in the cause of the expedition, invited
both Grant and myself to reside at his house. Sir George had
been an old explorer himself--was once wounded by savages in
Australia, much in the same manner as I had been in the Somali
country--and, with a spirit of sympathy, he called me his son,
and said he hoped I would succeed. Then, thinking how best he
could serve me, he induced the Cape Parliament to advance to the
expedition a sum of 300, for the purpose of buying baggage-
mules; and induced Lieut.-General Wynyard, the Commander-in-
Chief, to detach ten volunteers from the Cape Mounted Rifle Corps
to accompany me. When this addition was made to my force, of
twelve mules and ten Hottentots, the Admiral of the station
placed the screw steam-corvette Brisk at my disposal, and we all
sailed for Zanzibar on the 16th July, under the command of
Captain A. F. de Horsey-- the Admiral himself accompanying us, on
one of his annual inspections to visit the east coast of Africa
and the Mauritius. In five days more we touched at East London,
and, thence proceeding north, made a short stay at Delagoa Bay,
where I first became acquainted with the Zulu Kafirs, a naked set
of negroes, whose national costume principally consists in having
their hair trussed up like a hoop on the top of the head, and an
appendage like a thimble, to which they attach a mysterious
importance. They wear additional ornaments, charms, &c., of
birds' claws, hoofs and horns of wild animals tied on with
strings, and sometimes an article like a kilt, made of loose
strips of skin, or the entire skins of vermin strung close
together. These things I have merely noticed in passing, because
I shall hereafter have occasion to allude to a migratory people,
the Watuta, who dressing much in the same manner, extend from
Lake N'yassa to Uzinza, and may originally have been a part of
this same Kafir race, who are themselves supposed to have
migrated from the regions at present occupied by the Gallas. Next
day (the 28th) we went on to Europa, a small island of coralline,
covered with salsolacious shrubs, and tenanted only by sea-birds,
owls, finches, rats, and turtles. Of the last we succeeded in
turning three, the average weight of each being 360 lb., and we
took large numbers of their eggs.

We then went to Mozambique, and visited the Portuguese Governor,
John Travers de Almeida, who showed considerable interest in the
prospects of the expedition, and regretted that, as it cost so
much money to visit the interior from that place, his officers
were unable to go there. One experimental trip only had been
accomplished by Mr Soares, who was forced to pay the Makua chiefs
120 dollars footing, to reach a small hill in view of the sea,
about twenty-five miles off.

Leaving Mozambique on the 9th August, bound for Johanna, we came
the next day, at 11.30 A.M., in sight of a slaver, ship-rigged,
bearing on us full sail, but so distant from us that her mast-
tops were only just visible. As quick as ourselves, she saw who
we were and tried to escape by retreating. This manoeuvre left
no doubt what she was, and the Brisk, all full of excitement,
gave chase at full speed, and in four hours more drew abreast of
her. A great commotion ensued on board the slaver. The sea-
pirates threw overboard their colours, bags, and numerous boxes,
but would not heave-to, although repeatedly challenged, until a
gun was fired across her bows. Our boats were then lowered, and
in a few minutes more the "prize" was taken, by her crew being
exchanged for some of our men, and we learnt all about her from
accurate reports furnished by Mr Frere, the Cape Slave
Commissioner. Cleared from Havannah as "the Sunny South,"
professing to be destined for Hong-Kong, she changed her name to
the Manuela, and came slave-hunting in these regions. The
slaver's crew consisted of a captain, doctor, and several
sailors, mostly Spaniards. The vessel was well stored with
provisions and medicines; but there was scarcely enough room in
her, though she was said to be only half freighted, for the 544
creatures they were transporting. The next morning, as we
entered Pamoni harbour by an intricate approach to the rich
little island hill Johanna, the slaver, as she followed us,
stranded, and for a while caused considerable alarm to everybody
but her late captain. He thought his luck very bad, after
escaping so often, to be taken thus; for his vessel's power of
sailing were so good, that, had she had the wind in her favour,
the Brisk, even with the assistance of steam, could not have come
up with her. On going on board her, I found the slaves to be
mostly Wahiyow. A few of them were old women, but all the rest
children. They had been captured during wars in their own
country, and sold to Arabs, who brought them to the coast, and
kept them half-starved until the slaver arrived, when they were
shipped in dhows and brought off to the slaver, where, for nearly
a week, whilst the bargains were in progress, they were kept
entirely without food. It was no wonder then, every man of the
Brisk who first looked upon them did so with a feeling of
loathing and abhorrence of such a trade. All over the vessel,
but more especially below, old women, stark naked, were dying in
the most disgusting "ferret-box" atmosphere; while all those who
had sufficient strength were pulling up the hatches, and tearing
at the salt fish they found below, like dogs in a kennel.

On the 15th the Manuela was sent to the Mauritius, and we, after
passing the Comoro Islands, arrived at our destination, Zanzibar-
- called Lunguja by the aborigines, the Wakhadim--and Unguja by
the present Wasuahili.

On the 17th, after the anchor was cast, without a moment's delay
I went off to the British Consulate to see my old friend Colonel
Rigby. He was delighted to see us; and, in anticipation of our
arrival, had prepared rooms for our reception, that both Captain
Grant and myself might enjoy his hospitality until arrangements
could be made for our final start into the interior. The town,
which I had left in so different a condition sixteen months
before, was in a state of great tranquillity, brought about by
the energy of the Bombay Government on the Muscat side, and
Colonel Rigby's exertions on this side, in preventing an
insurrection Sultan Majid's brothers had created with a view of
usurping his government.

The news of the place was as follows:--In addition to the
formerly constituted consulates--English, French, and American--a
fourth one, representing Hamburg, had been created. Dr Roscher,
who during my absence had made a successful journey to the
N'yinyezi N'yassa, or Star Lake, was afterwards murdered by some
natives in Uhiyow; and Lieutentant-Colonel Baron van der Decken,
another enterprising German, was organising an expedition with a
view to search for the relics of his countryman, and, if
possible, complete the project poor Roscher had commenced.

Slavery had received a severe blow by the sharp measures Colonel
Rigby had taken in giving tickets of emancipation to all those
slaves whom our Indian subjects the Banyans had been secretly
keeping, and by fining the masters and giving the money to the
men to set them up in life. The interior of the continent had
been greatly disturbed, owing to constant war between the natives
and Arab ivory merchants. Mguru Mfupi (or Short-legs), the chief
of Khoko in Ugogo, for instance, had been shot, and Manua Sera
(the Tippler), who succeeded the old Sultan Fundi Kira, of
Unyanyembe, on his death, shortly after the late expedition left
Kaze, was out in the field fighting the Arabs. Recent letters
from the Arabs in the interior, however, gave hopes of peace
being shortly restored. Finally, in compliance with my request--
and this was the most important item of news to myself--Colonel
Rigby had sent on, thirteen days previously, fifty-six loads of
cloth and beads, in charge of two of Ramji's men, consigned to
Musa at Kaze.

To call on the Sultan, of course, was our first duty. He
received us in his usually affable manner; made many trite
remarks concerning our plans; was surprised, if my only object in
view was to see the great river running out of the lake, that I
did not go by the more direct route across the Masai country and
Usoga; and then, finding I wished to see Karague, as well as to
settle many other great points of interest, he offered to assist
me with all the means in his power.

The Hottentots, the mules, and the baggage having been landed,
our preparatory work began in earnest. It consisted in proving
the sextants; rating the watches; examining the compasses and
boiling thermometers; making tents and packsaddles; ordering
supplies of beads, cloth, and brass wire; and collecting servants
and porters.

Sheikh Said bin Salem, our late Cafila Bashi, or caravan captain,
was appointed to that post again, as he wished to prove his
character for honour and honesty; and it now transpired that he
had been ordered not to go with me when I discovered the Victoria
N'yanza. Bombay and his brother Mabruki were bound to me of old,
and the first to greet me on my arrival here; while my old
friends the Beluchs begged me to take them again. The
Hottentots, however, had usurped their place. I was afterwards
sorry for this, though, if I ever travel again, I shall trust to
none but natives, as the climate of Africa is too trying to
foreigners. Colonel Rigby, who had at heart as much as anybody
the success of the expedition, materially assisted me in
accomplishing my object--that men accustomed to discipline and a
knowledge of English honour and honesty should be enlisted, to
give confidence to the rest of the men; and he allowed me to
select from his boat's crew any men I could find who had served
as men-of-war, and had seen active service in India.

For this purpose my factotum, Bombay, prevailed on Baraka, Frij,
and Rahan--all of them old sailors, who, like himself, knew
Hindustani--to go with me. With this nucleus to start with, I
gave orders that they should look out for as many Wanguana (freed
men-- i.e., men emancipated from slavery) as they could enlist,
to carry loads, or do any other work required of them, and to
follow men in Africa wherever I wished, until our arrival in
Egypt, when I would send them back to Zanzibar. Each was to
receive one year's pay in advance, and the remainder when their
work was completed.

While this enlistment was going on here, Ladha Damji, the
customs' master, was appointed to collect a hundred pagazis
(Wanyamuezi porters) to carry each a load of cloth, beads, or
brass wire to Kaze, as they do for the ivory merchants.
Meanwhile, at the invitation of the Admiral, and to show him some
sport in hippopotamus-shooting, I went with him in a dhow over to
Kusiki, near which there is a tidal lagoon, which at high tide is
filled with water, but at low water exposes sand islets covered
with mangrove shrub. In these islets we sought for the animals,
knowing they were keen to lie wallowing in the mire, and we
bagged two. On my return to Zanzibar, the Brisk sailed for the
Mauritius, but fortune sent Grant and myself on a different
cruise. Sultan Majid, having heard that a slaver was lying at
Pangani, and being anxious to show his good faith with the
English, begged me to take command of one his vessels of war and
run it down. Accordingly, embarking at noon, as soon as the
vessel could be got ready, we lay-to that night at Tombat, with a
view of surprising the slaver next morning; but next day, on our
arrival at Pangani, we heard that she had merely put in to
provision there three days before, and had let immediately
afterwards. As I had come so far, I thought we might go ashore
and look at the town, which was found greatly improved since I
last saw it, by the addition of several coralline houses and a
dockyard. The natives were building a dhow with Lindi and
Madagascar timber. On going ashore, I might add, we were
stranded on the sands, and, coming off again, nearly swamped by
the increasing surf on the bar of the river; but this was a
trifle; all we thought of was to return to Zanzibar, and hurry on
our preparations there. This, however, was not so easy: the sea
current was running north, and the wind was too light to propel
our vessel against it; so, after trying in vain to make way in
her, Grant and I, leaving her to follow, took to a boat, after
giving the captain, who said we would get drowned, a letter, to
say we left the vessel against his advice.

We had a brave crew of young negroes to pull us; but, pull as
they would, the current was so strong that we feared, if we
persisted, we should be drawn into the broad Indian Ocean; so,
changing our line, we bore into the little coralline island,
Maziwa, where, after riding over some ugly coral surfs, we put in
for the night. There we found, to our relief, some fisherman, who
gave us fish for our dinner, and directions how to proceed.

Next morning, before daylight, we trusted to the boat and our
good luck. After passing, without landmarks to guide us, by an
intricate channel, through foaming surfs, we arrived at Zanzibar
in the night, and found that the vessel had got in before us.

Colonel Rigby now gave me a most interesting paper, with a map
attached to it, about the Nile and the Mountains of the Moon. It
was written by Lieutenant Wilford, from the "Purans" of the
Ancient Hindus. As it exemplifies, to a certain extent, the
supposition I formerly arrived at concerning the Mountains of the
Moon being associated with the country of the Moon, I would fain
draw the attention of the reader of my travels to the volume of
the "Asiatic Researches" in which it was published.[FN#5] It is
remarkable that the Hindus have christened the source of the Nile
Amara, which is the name of a country at the north-east corner of
the Victoria N'yanza. This, I think, shows clearly, that the
ancient Hindus must have had some kind of communication with both
the northern and southern ends of the Victoria N'yanza.

Having gone to work again, I found that Sheikh Said had brought
ten men, four of whom were purchased for one hundred dollars,
which I had to pay; Bombay, Baraka, Frij, and Rahan had brought
twenty-six more, all freed men; while the Sultan Majid, at the
suggestion of Colonel Rigby, gave me thirty-four men more, who
were all raw labourers taken from his gardens. It was my
intention to have taken one hundred of this description of men
throughout the whole journey; but as so many could not be found
in Zanzibar, I still hoped to fill up the complement in
Unyamuezi, the land of the Moon, from the large establishments of
the Arab merchants residing there. The payment of these men's
wages for the first year, as well as the terms of the agreement
made with them, by the kind consent of Colonel Rigby were now
entered in the Consular Office books, as a security to both
parties, and a precaution against disputes on the way. Any one
who saw the grateful avidity with which they took the money, and
the warmth with which they pledged themselves to serve me
faithfully through all dangers and difficulties, would, had he
had no dealings with such men before, have thought that I had a
first-rate set of followers. I lastly gave Sheikh Said a double-
barrelled rifle by Blissett, and distributed fifty carbines among
the seniors of the expedition, with the condition that they would
forfeit them to others more worthy if they did not behave well,
but would retain possession of them for ever if they carried them
through the journey to my satisfaction.

On the 21st, as everything was ready on the island, I sent Sheikh
Said and all the men, along with the Hottentots, mules, and
baggage, off in dhows to Bagamoyo, on the opposite mainland.
Colonel Rigby, with Captain Grant and myself, then called on the
Sultan, to bid him adieu, when he graciously offered me, as a
guard of honour to escort me through Uzaramo, one jemadar and
twenty-five Beluch soldiers. These I accepted, more as a
government security in that country against the tricks of the
natives, than for any accession they made to our strength. His
highness then places his 22-gun corvette, "Secundra Shah," at our
disposal, and we went all three over to Bagamoyo, arriving on the
25th. Immediately on landing, Ladha and Sheikh Said showed us
into a hut prepared for us, and all things looked pretty well.
Ladha's hundred loads of beads, cloths, and brass wire were all
tied up for the march, and seventy-five pagazis (porters from the
Moon country) had received their hire to carry these loads to
Kaze in the land of the Moon. Competition, I found, had raised
these men's wages, for I had to pay, to go even as far as Kaze,
nine and a quarter dollars a-head!--as Masudi and some other
merchants were bound on the same line as myself, and all were
equally in a hurry to be off and avoid as much as possible the
famine we knew we should have to fight through at this late
season. Little troubles, of course, must always be expected, else
these blacks would not be true negroes. Sheikh Said now reported
it quite impossible to buy anything at a moderate rate; for, as I
was a "big man," I ought to "pay a big price;" and my men had all
been obliged to fight in the bazaar before they could get even
tobacco at the same rate as other men, because they were the
servants of the big man, who could afford to give higher wages
than any one else. The Hottentots, too, began to fall sick, which
my Wanguana laughingly attributed to want of grog to keep their
spirits up, as these little creatures, the "Tots," had frequently
at Zanzibar, after heavy potations, boasted to the more sober
free men, that they "were strong, because they could stand plenty
drink." The first step now taken was to pitch camp under large
shady mango-trees, and to instruct every man in his particular
duty. At the same time, the Wanguana, who had carbines, were
obliged to be drilled in their use and formed into companies,
with captains of ten, headed by General Baraka, who was made

On the 30th September, as things were looking more orderly, I
sent forward half of the property, and all the men I had then
collected, to Ugeni, a shamba, or garden, two miles off; and on
the 2nd October, after settling with Ladha for my "African
money," as my pagazis were completed to a hundred and one, we
wished Rigby adieu, and all assembled together at Ugeni, which
resembles the richest parts of Bengal.

Chapter II


The Nature of the Country--The Order of March--The Beginning of
our Taxation--Sultan Lion's Claw, and Sultan Monkey's Tail--The
Kingani --Jealousies and Difficulties in the Camp--The Murderer
of M. Maizan.

We were now in U-za-Ramo, which may mean the country of Ramo,
though I have never found any natives who could enlighten me on
the derivation of this obviously triple word. The extent of the
country, roughly speaking, stretches from the coast to the
junction or bifurcation of the Kingani and its upper branch the
Mgeta river, westwards; and from the Kingani, north, to the
Lufigi river, south; though in the southern portions several
subtribes have encroached upon the lands. There are no hills in
Uzaramo; but the land in the central line, formed like a ridge
between the two rivers, furrow fashion, consists of slightly
elevated flats and terraces, which, in the rainy season, throw
off their surplus waters to the north and south by nullahs into
these rivers. The country is uniformly well covered with trees
and large grasses, which, in the rainy season, are too thick,
tall, and green to be pleasant; though in the dry season, after
the grasses have been burnt, it is agreeable enough, though not
pretty, owing to the flatness of the land. The villages are not
large or numerous, but widely spread, consisting generally of
conical grass huts, while others are gable-ended, after the
coast-fashion--a small collection of ten or twenty comprising one
village. Over these villages certain headmen, titled Phanze,
hold jurisdiction, who take black-mail from travellers with high
presumption when they can. Generally speaking, they live upon
the coast, and call themselves Diwans, headsmen, and subjects of
the Sultan Majid; but they no sooner hear of the march of a
caravan than they transpose their position, become sultans in
their own right, and levy taxes accordingly.

The Wazaramo are strictly agriculturists; they have no cows, and
but few goats. They are of low stature and thick set and their
nature tends to the boisterous. Expert slavehunters, they mostly
clothe themselves by the sale of their victims on the coast,
though they do business by the sale of goats and grain as well.
Nowhere in the interior are natives so well clad as these
creatures. In dressing up their hair, and otherwise smearing
their bodies with ochreish clay, they are great dandies. They
always keep their bows and arrows, which form their national arm,
in excellent order, the latter well poisoned, and carried in
quivers nicely carved. To intimidate a caravan and extort a hongo
or tax, I have seen them drawn out in line as if prepared for
battle; but a few soft words were found sufficient to make them
all withdraw and settle the matter at issue by arbitration in
some appointed place. A few men without property can cross their
lands fearlessly, though a single individual with property would
stand no chance, for they are insatiable thieves. But little is
seen of these people on the journey, as the chiefs take their
taxes by deputy, partly out of pride, and partly because they
think they can extort more by keeping in the mysterious distance.
At the same time, the caravan prefers camping in the jungles
beyond the villages to mingling with the inhabitants, where rows
might be engendered. We sometimes noticed Albinos, with greyish-
blue eyes and light straw-coloured hair. Not unfrequently we
would pass on the track side small heaps of white ashes, with a
calcined bone or two among them. These, we were told, were the
relics of burnt witches. The caravan track we had now to travel
on leads along the right bank of the Kingani valley, overlooking
Uzegura, which, corresponding with Uzaramo, only on the other
side of the Kigani, extends northwards to the Pangani river, and
is intersected in the centre by the Wami river, of which more

Starting on a march with a large mixed caravan, consisting of 1
corporal and 9 privates, Hottentots--1 jemadar and 25 privates,
Beluchs--1 Arab Cafila Bashi and 75 freed slaves--1 Kirangozi, or
leader, and 100 negro porters--12 mules untrained, 3 donkeys, and
22 goats--one could hardly expect to find everybody in his place
at the proper time for breaking ground; but, at the same time, it
could hardly be expected that ten men, who had actually received
their bounty-money, and had sworn fidelity, should give one the
slip the very first day. Such, however, was the case. Ten out
of the thirty-six given by the Sultan ran away, because they
feared that the white men, whom they believed to be cannibals,
were only taking them into the interior to eat them; and one
pagazi, more honest than the freed men, deposited his pay upon
the ground, and ran away too. Go we must, however; for one
desertion is sure to lead to more; and go we did. Our procession
was in this fashion: The Kirangozi, with a load on his shoulder,
led the way, flag in hand, followed by the pagazis carrying
spears of bows and arrows in their hands, and bearing their share
of the baggage in the shape either of bolster-shaped loads of
cloth and beads covered with matting, each tied into the fork of
a three-pronged stick, or else coils of brass or copper wire tied
in even weights to each end of sticks which they laid on the
shoulder; then helter-skelter came the
Wanguana, carrying carbines in their hands, and boxes, bundles,
tents, cooking-pots--all the miscellaneous property--on their
heads; next the Hottentots, dragging the refractory mules laden
with ammunition-boxes, but very lightly, to save the animals for
the future; and, finally, Sheikh Said and the Beluch escort;
while the goats, sick women, and stragglers, brought up the rear.
From first to last, some of the sick Hottentots rode the hospital
donkeys, allowing the negroes to tug their animals; for the
smallest ailment threw them broadcast on their backs. In a
little while we cleared from the rich gardens, mango clumps, and
cocoa-but trees, which characterise the fertile coast-line. After
traversing fields of grass well clothed with green trees, we
arrived at the little settlement of Bomani, where camp was
formed, and everybody fairly appointed to his place. The process
of camp-forming would be thus: Sheikh Said, with Bombay under
him, issues cloths to the men for rations at the rate of one-
fourth load a-day (about 15 lb.) amongst 165; the Hottentots cook
our dinners and their own, or else lie rolling on the ground
overcome with fatigue; the Beluchs are supposed to guard the
camp, but prefer gossip and brightening their arms. Some men are
told off to look after the mules, donkeys, and goats, whilst out
grazing; the rest have to pack the kit, pitch our tents, cut
boughs for huts, and for fencing in the camp--a thing rarely
done, by-the-by. After cooking, when the night has set it, the
everlasting dance begins, attended with clapping of hands and
jingling small bells strapped to the legs--the whole being
accompanied by a constant repetition of senseless words, which
stand in place of the song to the negroes; for song they have
none, being mentally incapacitated for musical composition,
though as timists they are not to be surpassed.

What remains to be told is the daily occupation of Captain Grant,
myself, and our private servants. Beginning at the foot: Rahan,
a very peppery little negro, who had served in a British man-of-
war at the taking of Rangoon, was my valet; and Baraka, who had
been trained much in the same manner, but had seen engagements at
Multan, was Captain Grant's. They both knew Hindustani; but
while Rahan's services at sea had been short, Baraka had served
nearly all his life with Englishmen--was the smartest and most
intelligent negro I ever saw--was invaluable to Colonel Rigby as
a detector of slave-traders, and enjoyed his confidence
completely--so much so, that he said, on parting with him, that
he did not know where he should be able to find another man to
fill his post. These two men had now charge of our tents and
personal kit, while Baraka was considered the general of the
Wanguana forces, and Rahan a captain of ten.

My first occupation was to map the country. This is done by
timing the rate of march with a watch, taking compass-bearings
along the road, or on any conspicuous marks--as, for instance,
hills off it --and by noting the watershed--in short, all
topographical objects. On arrival in camp every day came the
ascertaining, by boiling a thermometer, of the altitude of the
station above the sea-level; of the latitude of the station by
the meridian altitude of the star taken with a sextant; and of
the compass variation by azimuth. Occasionally there was the
fixing of certain crucial stations, at intervals of sixty miles
or so, by lunar observations, or distances of the moon either
from the sun or from certain given stars, for determining the
longitude, by which the original-timed course can be drawn out
with certainty on the map by proportion. Should a date be lost,
you can always discover it by taking a lunar distance and
comparing it with the Nautical Almanac, by noting the time when a
star passes the meridian if your watch is right, or by observing
the phases of the moon, or her rising or setting, as compared
with the Nautical Almanac. The rest of my work, besides
sketching and keeping a diary, which was the most troublesome of
all, consisted in making geological and zoological collections.
With Captain Grant rested the botanical collections and
thermometrical registers. He also boiled one of the
thermometers, kept the rain-gauge, and undertook the photography;
but after a time I sent the instruments back, considering this
work too severe for the climate, and he tried instead sketching
with watercolours-- the results of which form the chief part of
the illustrations in this book. The rest of our day went in
breakfasting after the march was over--a pipe, to prepare us for
rummaging the fields and villages to discover their contents for
scientific purposes-- dinner close to sunset, and tea and pipe
before turning in at night.

A short stage brought us to Ikamburu, included in the district of
Nzasa, where there is another small village presided over by
Phanze Khombe la Simba, meaning Claw of Lion. He, immediately
after our arrival, sent us a present of a basket of rice, value
one dollar, of course expecting a return--for absolute generosity
is a thing unknown to the negro. Not being aware of the value of
the offering, I simply requested the Sheikh to give him four
yards of American sheeting, and thought no more about the matter,
until presently I found the cloth returned. The "Sultan" could
not think of receiving such a paltry present from me, when on the
former journey he got so much; if he showed this cloth at home,
nobody would believe him, but would say he took much more and
concealed it from his family, wishing to keep all his goods to
himself. I answered that my footing in the country had been paid
for on the last journey, and unless he would accept me as any
other common traveller, he had better walk away; but the little
Sheikh, a timid, though very gentlemanly creature, knowing the
man, and dreading the consequences of too high a tone, pleaded
for him, and proposed as a fitting hongo, one dubuani, one
sahari, and eight yards merikani, as the American sheeting is
called here. This was pressed by the jemadar, and acceded to by
myself, as the very utmost I could afford. Lion's Claw, however,
would not accept it; it was too far below the mark of what he got
last time. He therefore returned the cloths to the Sheikh, as he
could get no hearing from myself, and retreated in high dudgeon,
threatening the caravan with a view of his terrible presence on
the morrow. Meanwhile the little Sheikh, who always carried a
sword fully two-thirds the length of himself, commenced casting
bullets for his double-barrelled rifle, ordered the Wanguana to
load their guns, and came wheedling up to me for one more cloth,
as it was no use hazarding the expedition's safety for four yards
of cloth. This is a fair specimen of tax-gathering, within
twelve miles of the coast, by a native who claims the protection
of Zanzibar. We shall soon see what they are further on. The
result of experience is, that, ardent as the traveller is to see
the interior of Africa, no sooner has he dealings with the
natives, than his whole thoughts tend to discovering some road
where he won't be molested, or a short cut, but long march, to
get over the ground.

Quite undisturbed, we packed and marched as usual, and soon
passed Nzasa close to the river, which is only indicated by a
line of trees running through a rich alluvial valley. We camped
at the little settlement of Kizoto, inhospitably presided over by
Phanze Mukia ya Nyani or Monkey's Tail, who no sooner heard of
our arrival than he sent a demand for his "rights." One dubani
was issued, with orders than no one need approach me again,
unless he wanted to smell my powder. Two taxes in five miles was
a thing unheard of; and I heard no more about the matter, until
Bombay in the evening told me how Sheikh Said, fearing awkward
consequences, had settled to give two dubuani, one being taken
from his own store. Lion's Claw also turned up again, getting
his cloths of yesterday--one more being added from the Sheikh's
stores--and he was then advised to go off quietly, as I was a
fire-eater whom nobody dared approach after my orders had been
issued. This was our third march in Uzaramo; we had scarcely
seen a man of the country, and had no excessive desire to do so.

Deflecting from the serpentine course of the Kingani a little, we
crossed a small bitter rivulet, and entered on the elevated
cultivation of Kiranga Ranga, under Phanze Mkungu-pare, a very
mild man, who, wishing to give no offence, begged for a trifling
present. He came in person, and his manner having pleased us, I
have him one sahari, four yards merikani, and eight yards kiniki,
which pleased our friend so much that he begged us to consider
his estate our own, even to the extent of administering his
justice, should any Mzaramo be detected stealing from us. Our
target-practice, whilst instructing the men, astonished him not a
little, and produced an exclamation that, with so many guns, we
need fear nothing, go where we would. From this place a good
view is obtained of Uzegura. Beyond the flat alluvial valley of
the Kingani, seven to eight miles broad, the land rises suddenly
to a table-land of no great height, on which trees grow in
profusion. In fact it appeared, as far as the eye could reach,
the very counterpart of that where we stood, with the exception
of a small hill, very distant, called Phongue.

A very welcome packet of quinine and other medicines reached us
here from Rigby, who, hearing our complaints that the Hottentots
could only be kept alive by daily potions of brandy and quinine,
feared our supplies were not enough, and sent us more.

We could not get the Sultan's men to chum with the Wanguana
proper; they were shy, like wild animals--built their huts by
themselves-- and ate and talked by themselves, for they felt
themselves inferiors; and I had to nominate one of their number
to be their chief, answerable for the actions of the whole.
Being in the position of "boots" to the camp, the tending of
goats fell to their lot. Three goats were missing this evening,
which the goatherds could not account for, nor any of their men.
Suspecting that they were hidden for a private feast, I told
their chief to inquire farther, and report. The upshot was, that
the man was thrashed for intermeddling, and came back only with
his scars. This was a nice sort of insubordination, which of
course could not be endured. The goatherd was pinioned and
brought to trial, for the double offence of losing the goats and
rough-handling his chief. The tricking scoundrel--on quietly
saying he could not be answerable for other men's actions if they
stole goats, and he could not recognise a man as his chief whom
the Sheikh, merely by a whim of his own, thought proper to
appoint--was condemned to be tied up for the night with the
prospect of a flogging in the morning. Seeing his fate, the
cunning vagabond said, "Now I do see it was by your orders the
chief was appointed, and not by a whim of Sheikh Said's; I will
obey him for the future;" and these words were hardly pronounced
than the three missing goats rushed like magic into camp, nobody
of course knowing where they came from.

Skirting along the margin of the rising ground overlooking the
river, through thick woods, cleared in places for cultivation, we
arrived at Thumba Lhere. The chief here took a hongo of three
yards merikani and two yards kiniki without much fuss, for he had
no power. The pagazis struck, and said they would not move from
this unless I gave them one fundo or ten necklaces of beads each
daily, in lieu of rations, as they were promised by Ladha on the
coast that I would do so as soon as they had made four marches.
This was an obvious invention, concocted to try my generosity,
for I had given the kirangozi a goat, which is customary, to
"make the journey prosperous"--had suspended a dollar to his neck
in recognition of his office, and given him four yards merikani,
that he might have a grand feast with his brothers; while neither
the Sheikh, myself, nor any one else in the camp, had heard of
such a compact. With high words the matter dropped, African

The pagazis would not start at the appointed time, hoping to
enforce their demands of last night; so we took the lead and
started, followed by the Wanguana. Seeing this, the pagazis
cried out with one accord: "The master is gone, leaving the
responsibility of his property in our hands; let us follow, let
us follow, for verily he is our father;" and all came hurrying
after us. Here the river, again making a bend, is lost to sight,
and we marched through large woods and cultivated fields to
Muhugue, observing, as we passed long, the ochreish colour of the
earth, and numerous pits which the copal-diggers had made
searching for their much-valued gum. A large coast-bound
caravan, carrying ivory tusks with double-toned bells suspended
to them, ting-tonging as they moved along, was met on the way;
and as some of the pagazis composing it were men who had formerly
taken me to the Victoria N'yanza, warm recognitions passed
between us. The water found here turned our brandy and tea as
black as ink. The chief, being a man of small pretensions, took
only one sahari and four yards merikani.

Instead of going on to the next village we halted in this jungly
place for the day, that I might comply with the desire of the
Royal Geographical Society to inspect Muhonyera, and report if
there were really any indications of a "raised sea-beach" there,
such as their maps indicate. An inspection brought me to the
conclusion that no mind but one prone to discovering sea-beaches
in the most unlikely places could have supposed for a moment that
one existed here. The form and appearance of the land are the
same as we have seen everywhere since leaving Bomani--a low
plateau subtended by a bank cut down by the Kingani river, and
nothing more. There are no pebbles; the soil is rich reddish
loam, well covered with trees, bush, and grass, in which some
pigs and antelopes are found. From the top of this enbankment we
gain the first sight of the East Coast Range, due west of us,
represented by the high elephant's-back hill, Mkambaku, in
Usagara, which, joining Uraguru, stretches northwards across the
Pangani river to Usumbara and the Kilimandjaro, and southwards,
with a westerly deflection, across the Lufiji to Southern
N'yassa. What course the range takes beyond those two extremes,
the rest of the world knows as well as I. Another conspicuous
landmark here is Kidunda (the little hill), which is the
southernmost point of a low chain of hills, also tending
northwards, and representing an advance-guard to the higher East
Coast Range in its rear. At night, as we had no local "sultans"
to torment us, eight more men of sultan Majid's donation ran
away, and, adding injury to injury, took with them all our goats,
fifteen in number. This was a sad loss. We could keep ourselves
on guinea-fowls or green pigeons, doves, etc.; but the Hottentots
wanted nourishment much more than ourselves, and as their dinner
always consisted of what we left, "short-commons" was the fate in
store for them. The Wanguana, instead of regarding these poor
creatures as soldiers, treated them like children; and once, as a
diminutive Tot--the common name they go by--was exerting himself
to lift his pack and place it on his mule, a fine Herculean
Mguana stepped up behind, grasped Tot, pack and all, in his
muscular arms, lifted the whole over his head, paraded the Tot
about, struggling for release, and put him down amidst the
laughter of the camp, then saddled his mule and patted him on the

After sending a party of Beluch to track down the deserters and
goats, in which they were not successful, we passed through the
village of Sagesera, and camped one mile beyond, close to the
river. Phanze Kirongo (which means Mr Pit) here paid us his
respects, with a presentation of rice. In return he received
four yards merikani and one dubuani, which Bombay settled, as the
little Sheikh, ever done by the sultans, pleaded indisposition,
to avoid the double fire he was always subjected to on these
occasions, by the sultans grasping on the one side, and my
resisting on the other; for I relied on my strength, and thought
it very inadvisable to be generous with my cloth to the prejudice
of future travellers, by decreasing the value of merchandise, and
increasing proportionately the expectations of these negro
chiefs. From the top of the bank bordering on the valley, a good
view was obtainable of the Uraguru hills, and the top of a very
distant cone to its northward; but I could see no signs of any
river joining the kingani on its left, though on the former
expedition I heard that the Mukondokua river, which was met with
in Usagara, joined the Kingani close to Sagesera, and actually
formed its largest head branch. Neither could Mr Pit inform me
what became of the Mukondokua, as the Wazaramo are not given to
travelling. He had heard of it from the traders, but only knew
himself of one river beside the Kingani. It was called Wami in
Uegura, and mouths at Utondue, between the ports of Whindi and
Saadani. To try and check the desertions of Sultan Majid's men,
I advised--ordering was of no use--that their camp should be
broken up, and they should be amalgamated with the Wanguana; but
it was found that the two would not mix. In fact, the whole
native camp consisted of so many clubs of two, four, six, or ten
men, who originally belonged to one village or one master, or
were united by some other family tie which they preferred keeping
intact; so they cooked together, ate together, slept together,
and sometimes mutinied together. The amalgamation having failed,
I wrote some emanicipation tickets, called the Sultan's men all
up together, selected the best, gave them these tickets,
announced that their pay and all rewards would be placed for the
future on the same conditions as those of the Wanguana, and as
soon as I saw any signs of improvement in the rest, they would
all be treated in the same manner; but should they desert, they
would find my arm long enough to arrest them on the coast and put
them into prison.

During this march we crossed three deep nullahs which drain the
Uzaramo plateau, and arrived at the Makutaniro, or junction of
this line with those of Mboamaji and Konduchi, which traverse
central Uzaramo, and which, on my former return journey, I went
down. The gum-copal diggings here cease. The Dum palm is left
behind; the large rich green-leaved trees of the low plateau give
place to the mimosa; and now, having ascended the greater decline
of the Kingani river, instead of being confined by a bank, we
found ourselves on flat open-park land, where antelopes roam at
large, buffalo and zebra are sometimes met with, and guinea-fowl
are numerous. The water for the camp is found in the river, but
supplies of grain come from the village of Kipora farther on.

A march through the park took us to a camp by a pond, from which,
by crossing the Kingani, rice and provisions for the men were
obtained on the opposite bank. One can seldom afford to follow
wild animals on the line of march, otherwise we might have bagged
some antelopes to-day, which, scared by the interminable singing,
shouting, bell-jingling, horn-blowing, and other such merry
noises of the moving caravan, could be seen disappearing in the

Leaving the park, we now entered the riches part of Uzaramo,
affording crops as fine as any part of India. Here it was, in
the district of Dege la Mhora, that the first expedition to this
country, guided by a Frenchman, M. Maizan, came to a fatal
termination, that gentleman having been barbarously murdered by
the sub-chief Hembe. The cause of the affair was distinctly
explained to me by Hembe himself, who, with his cousin Darunga,
came to call upon me, presuming, as he was not maltreated by the
last expedition, that the matter would now be forgotten. The two
men were very great friends of the little Sheikh, and as a
present was expected, which I should have to pay, we all talked
cheerfully and confidentially, bringing in the fate of Maizan for
no other reason than to satisfy curiosity. Hembe, who lives in
the centre of an almost impenetrable thicket, confessed that he
was the murderer, but said the fault did not rest with him, as he
merely carried out the instructions of his father, Mzungera, who,
a Diwan on the coast, sent him a letter directing his actions.
Thus it is proved that the plot against Maizan was concocted on
the coast by the Arab merchants--most likely from the same motive
which has induced one rival merchant to kill another as the best
means of checking rivalry or competition. When Arabs--and they
are the only class of people who would do such a deed--found a
European going into the very middle of their secret trading-
places, where such large profits were to be obtained, they would
never suppose that the scientific Maizan went for any other
purpose than to pry into their ivory stores, bring others into
the field after him, and destroy their monopoly. The Sultan of
Zanzibar, in those days, was our old ally Said Said, commonly
called the Emam of Muscat; and our Consul, Colonel Hamerton, had
been M. Maizan's host as long as he lived upon the coast. Both
the Emam and Consul were desirous of seeing the country surveyed,
and did everything in their power to assist Maizan, the former
even appointing the Indian Musa to conduct him safely as far as
Unyamuezi; but their power was not found sufficient to damp the
raging fire of jealousy in the ivory-trader's heart. Musa
commenced the journey with Maizan, and they travelled together a
march or two, when one of Maizan's domestic establishment fell
sick and stopped his progress. Musa remained with him eight or
ten days, to his own loss in trade and expense in keeping up a
large establishment, and then they parted by mutual consent,
Maizan thinking himself quite strong enough to take care of
himself. This separation was, I believe, poor Maizan's death-
blow. His power, on the Emam's side, went with Musa's going, and
left the Arabs free to carry out their wicked wills.

The presents I had to give here were one sahari and eight yards
merikani to Hembe, and the same to Darunga, for which they gave a
return in grain. Still following close to the river--which,
unfortunately, is so enshrouded with thick bush that we could
seldom see it--a few of the last villages in Uzaramo were passed.
Here antelopes reappear amongst the tall mimosa, but we let them
alone in prosecution of the survey, and finally encamped opposite
the little hill of Kidunda, which lying on the left bank of the
Kingani, stretches north, a little east, into Uzegura. The hill
crops out through pisolitic limestone, in which marine fossils
were observable. It would be interesting to ascertain whether
this lime formation extends down the east coast of Africa from
the Somali country, where also, on my first expedition, I found
marine shells in the limestone, especially as a vast continuous
band of limestone is known to extend from the Tagus, through
Egypt and the Somali country, to the Burrumputra. To obtain food
it was necessary here to ferry the river and purchase from the
Wazaramo, who, from fear of the passing caravans, had left their
own bank and formed a settlement immediately under this pretty
little hill--rendered all the more enchanting to our eyes, as it
was the first we had met since leaving the sea-coast. The Diwan,
or head man, was a very civil creature; he presented us freely
with two fine goats--a thing at that time we were very much in
want of--and took, in return, without any comments, one dubani
and eight yards merikani.

The next day, as we had no further need of our Beluch escort, a
halt was made to enable me to draw up a "Progress Report," and
pack all the specimens of natural history collected on the way,
for the Royal Geographical Society. Captain Grant, taking
advantage of the spare time, killed for the larder two buck
antelopes, and the Tots brought in, in high excited triumph, a
famous pig.

This march, which declines from the Kingani a little, leads
through rolling, jungly ground, full of game, to the tributary
stream Mgeta. It is fordable in the dry season, but has to be
bridged by throwing a tree across it in the wet one. Rising in
the Usagara hills to the west of the hog-backed Mkambaku, this
branch intersects the province of Ukhutu in the centre, and
circles round until it unites with the Kingani about four miles
north of the ford. Where the Kingani itself rises, I never could
find out; though I have heard that its sources lies in a gurgling
spring on the eastern face of the Mkambaku, by which account the
Mgeta is made the longer branch of the two.

Chapter III


Nature of the Country--Resumption of the March--A Hunt--Bombay
and Baraka--The Slave-Hunters--The Ivory-Merchants--Collection of
Natural-History Specimens--A Frightened Village--Tracking a Mule.

Under U-Sagara, or, as it might be interpreted, U-sa-Gara--
country of Gara--is included all the country lying between the
bifurcation of the Kingani and Mgeta rivers east, and Ugogo, the
first country on the interior plateau west,--a distance of a
hundred miles. On the north it is bounded by the Mukondokua, or
upper course of the Wami river and on the south by the Ruaha, or
northern great branch of the Lufiji river. It forms a link of
the great East Coast Range; but though it is generally
comprehended under the single name Usagara, many sub-tribes
occupy and apply their own names to portions of it; as, for
instance, the people on whose ground we now stood at the foot of
the hills, are Wa-Khutu, and their possessions consequently are
U-Khutu, which is by far the best producing land hitherto alluded
to since leaving the sea-coast line. Our ascent by the river,
though quite imperceptible to the eye, has been 500 feet. From
this level the range before us rises in some places to 5000 to
6000 feet, not as one grand mountain, but in two detached lines,
lying at an angle of 45 degrees from N.E. to S.W., and separated
one from the other by elevated valleys, tables, and crab-claw
spurs of hill which incline towards the flanking rivers. The
whole having been thrown up by volcanic action, is based on a
strong foundation of granite and other igneous rocks, which are
exposed in many places in the shape of massive blocks; otherwise
the hill-range is covered in the upper part with sandstone, and
in the bottoms with alluvial clay. This is the superficial
configuration of the land as it strikes the eye; but, knowing the
elevation of the interior plateau to be only 2500 feet above the
sea immediately on the western flank of these hills, whilst the
breath of the chain is 100 miles, the mean slope of incline of
the basal surface must be on a gradual rise of twenty feet per
mile. The hill tops and sides, where not cultivated, are well
covered with bush and small trees, amongst which the bamboo is
conspicuous; whilst the bottoms, having a soil deeper and richer,
produce fine large fig-trees of exceeding beauty, the huge
calabash, and a variety of other trees. Here, in certain places
where water is obtainable throughout the year, and wars, or
slave-hunts more properly speaking, do not disturb the industry
of the people, cultivation thrives surprisingly; but such a boon
is rarely granted them. It is in consequence of these
constantly- recurring troubles that the majority of the Wasagara
villages are built on hill-spurs, where the people can the better
resist attack, or, failing, disperse and hide effectually. The
normal habitation is the small conical hut of grass. These
compose villages, varying in number according to the influence of
their head men. There are, however, a few mud villages on the
table-lands, each built in a large irregular square of chambers
with a hollow yard in the centre, known as tembe.

As to the people of these uplands, poor, meagre-looking wretches,
they contrast unfavourably with the lowlanders on both sides of
them. Dingy in colour, spiritless, shy, and timid, they invite
attack in a country where every human being has a market value,
and are little seen by the passing caravan. In habits they are
semi-pastoral agriculturalists, and would be useful members of
society were they left alone to cultivate their own possessions,
rich and beautiful by nature, but poor and desolate by force of
circumstance. Some of the men can afford a cloth, but the
greater part wear an article which I can only describe as a grass
kilt. In one or two places throughout the passage of these hills
a caravan may be taxed, but if so, only to a small amount; the
villagers more frequently fly to the hill-tops as soon as the
noise of the advancing caravan is heard, and no persuasions will
bring them down again, so much ground have they, from previous
experience, to fear treachery. It is such sad sights, and the
obvious want of peace and prosperity, that weary the traveller,
and make him every think of pushing on to his journey's end from
the instant he enters Africa until he quits the country.

Knowing by old experience that the beautiful green park in the
fork of these rivers abounded in game of great variety and in
vast herds, where no men are ever seen except some savage hunters
sitting in the trees with poisoned arrows, or watching their
snares and pitfalls, I had all along determined on a hunt myself,
to feed and cheer the men, and also to collect some specimens for
the home museums. In the first object we succeeded well, as "the
bags" we made counted two brindled gnu, four water-boc, one
pallah-boc, and one pig,-- enough to feed abundantly the whole
camp round. The feast was all the better relished as the men
knew well that no Arab master would have given them what he could
sell; for if a slave shot game, the animals would be the
master's, to be sold bit by bit among the porters, and
compensated from the proceeds of their pay. In the variety and
number of our game we were disappointed, partly because so many
wounded got away, and partly because we could not find what we
knew the park to contain, in addition to what we killed--namely,
elephants, rhinoceros, giraffes, buffaloes, zebra, and many
varieties of antelopes, besides lions and hyenas. In fact, "the
park," as well as all the adjacent land at the foot of the hills,
is worth thinking of, with a view to a sporting tour as well as
scientific investigation.

A circumstance arose here, which, insignificant though it
appeared, is worth noting, to show how careful one must be in
understanding and dealing with negro servants. Quite
unaccountably to myself, the general of my Wanguana, Baraka,
after showing much discontent with his position as head of
Captain Grant's establishment, became so insolent, that it was
necessary to displace him, and leave him nothing to do but look
after the men. This promoted Frij, who enjoyed his rise as much
as Baraka, if his profession was to be believed, enjoyed his
removal from that office. Though he spoke in this manner, still
I knew that there was something rankling in his mind which
depressed his spirits as long as he remained with us, though what
it was I could not comprehend, nor did I fully understand it till
months afterwards. It was ambition, which was fast making a
fiend of him; and had I known it, he would, and with great
advantage too, have been dismissed upon the spot. The facts were
these: He was exceedingly clever, and he knew it. His command
over men was surprising. At Zanzibar he was the Consul's right-
hand man: he ranked above Bombay in the consular boat's crew, and
became a terror even to the Banyans who kept slaves. He seemed,
in fact, in his own opinion, to have imbibed all the power of the
British Consul who had instructed him. Such a man was an element
of discord in our peaceful caravan. He was far too big-minded
for the sphere which he occupied; and my surprise now is that he
ever took service, knowing what he should, at the time of
enlistment, have expected, that no man would be degraded to make
room for him. But this was evidently what he had expected,
though he dared not say it. He was jealous of Bombay, because he
thought his position over the money department was superior to
his own over the men; and he had seen Bombay, on one occasion,
pay a tax in Uzaramo--a transaction which would give him
consequence with the native chiefs. Of Sheikh Said he was
equally jealous, for a like reason; and his jealousy increased
the more that I found it necessary to censure the timidity of
this otherwise worthy little man. Baraka thought, in his
conceit, that he could have done all things better, and gained
signal fame, had he been created chief. Perhaps he thought he
had gained the first step towards this exalted rank, and hence
his appearing very happy for this time. I could not see through
so deep a scheme and only hoped that he would shortly forget, in
the changes of the marching life, those beautiful wives he had
left behind him, which Bombay in his generosity tried to persuade
me was the cause of his mental distraction.

Our halt at the ford here was cut short by the increasing
sickness of the Hottentots, and the painful fact that Captain
Grant was seized with fever.[FN#6] We had to change camp to the
little village of Kiruru, where, as rice was grown--an article
not to be procured again on this side of Unyamuezi--we stopped a
day to lay in supplies of this most valuable of all travelling
food. Here I obtained the most consistent accounts of the river
system which, within five days' journey, trends through Uzegura;
and I concluded, from what I heard, that there is no doubt of the
Mukondokua and Wami rivers being one and the same stream. My
informants were the natives of the settlement, and they all
concurred in saying that the Kingani above the junction is called
the Rufu, meaning the parent stream. Beyond it, following under
the line of the hills, at one day's journey distant, there is a
smaller river called Msonge. At an equal distance beyond it,
another of the same size is known as Lungerengeri; and a fourth
river is the Wami, which mouths in the sea at Utondue, between
the ports of Whindi and Saadami. In former years, the ivory-
merchants, ever seeking for an easy road for their trade, and
knowing they would have no hills to climb if they could only gain
a clear passage by this river from the interior plateau to the
sea, made friends with the native chiefs of Uzegura, and
succeeded in establishing it as a thoroughfare. Avarice,
however, that fatal enemy to the negro chiefs, made them
overreach themselves by exorbitant demands of taxes. Then
followed contests for the right of appropriating the taxes, and
the whole ended in the closing of the road, which both parties
were equally anxious to keep open for their mutual gain. This
foolish disruption having at first only lasted for a while, the
road was again opened and again closed, for the merchants wanted
an easy passage, and the native chiefs desired cloths. But it
was shut again; and now we heard of its being for a third time
opened, with what success the future only can determine--for
experience WILL not teach the negro, who thinks only for the
moment. Had they only sense to see, and patience to wait, the
whole trade of the interior would inevitably pass through their
country instead of Uzaramo; and instead of being poor in cloths,
they would be rich and well dressed like their neighbours. But
the curse of Noah sticks to these his grandchildren by Ham, and
no remedy that has yet been found will relieve them. They
require a government like ours in India; and without it, the
slave trade will wipe them off the face of the earth.

Now leaving the open parks of pretty acacias, we followed up the
Mgazi branch of the Mgeta, traversed large tree-jungles, where
the tall palm is conspicuous, and drew up under the lumpy
Mkambaku, to find a residence for the day. Here an Arab
merchant, Khamis, bound for Zanzibar, obliged us by agreeing for
a few dollars to convey our recent spoils in natural history to
the coast.

My plans for the present were to reach Zungomero as soon as
possible, as a few days' halt would be required there to fix the
longitude of the eastern flank of the East Coast Range by
astronomical observation; but on ordering the morning's march,
the porters--too well fed and lazy--thought our marching-rate
much too severe, and resolutely refused to move. They ought to
have made ten miles a-day, but preferred doing five. Argument
was useless, and I was reluctant to apply the stick, as the Arabs
would have done when they saw their porters trifling with their
pockets. Determining, however, not to be frustrated in this
puerile manner, I ordered the bugler to sound the march, and
started with the mules and coast-men, trusting to Sheikh and
Baraka to bring on the Wanyamuezi as soon as they could move
them. The same day we crossed the Mgazi where we found several
Wakhutu spearing fish in the muddy hovers of its banks.

We slept under a tree, and this morning found a comfortable
residence under the eaves of a capacious hut. The Wanyamuezi
porters next came in at their own time, and proved to us how
little worth are orders in a land where every man, in his own
opinion, is a lord, and no laws prevail. Zungomero, bisected by
the Mgeta, lies on flat ground, in a very pretty amphitheatre of
hills, S. lat. 7 26' 53", and E. long. 37 36' 45". It is
extremely fertile, and very populous, affording everything that
man can wish, even to the cocoa and papwa fruits; but the slave-
trade has almost depopulated it, and turned its once flourishing
gardens into jungles. As I have already said, the people who
possess these lands are cowardly by nature, and that is the
reason why they are so much oppressed. The Wasuahili, taking
advantage of their timidity, flock here in numbers to live upon
the fruits of their labours. The merchants on the coast, too,
though prohibited by their Sultan from interfering with the
natural course of trade, send their hungry slaves, as touters, to
entice all approaching caravans to trade with their particular
ports, authorising the touters to pay such premiums as may be
necessary for the purpose. Where they came from we could not
ascertain; but during our residence, a large party of the
Wasuahili marched past, bound for the coast, with one hundred
head of cattle, fifty slaves in chains, and as many goats. Halts
always end disastrously in Africa, giving men time for mischief;-
-and here was an example of it. During the target-practice,
which was always instituted on such occasions to give confidence
to our men, the little pepper-box Rahan, my head valet,
challenged a comrade to a duel with carbines. Being stopped by
those around him, he vented his wrath in terrible oaths, and
swung about his arms, until his gun accidentally went off, and
blew his middle finger off.

Baraka next, with a kind of natural influence of affinity when a
row is commenced, made himself so offensive to Bombay, as to send
him running to me so agitated with excitement that I thought him
drunk. He seized my hands, cried, and implored me to turn him
off. What could this mean? I could not divine; neither could he
explain, further than that he had come to a determination that I
must send either him or Baraka to the right-about; and his first
idea was that he, and not Baraka, should be the victim. Baraka's
jealousy about his position had not struck me yet. I called them
both together and asked what quarrel they had, but could not
extract the truth. Baraka protested that he had never given,
either by word or deed, the slightest cause of rupture; he only
desired the prosperity of the march, and that peace should reign
throughout the camp; but Bombay was suspicious of him, and
malignantly abused him, for what reason Baraka could not tell.
When I spoke of this to Bombay, like a bird fascinated by the eye
of a viper, he shrank before the slippery tongue of his opponent,
and could only say, "No, Sahib--oh no, that is not it; you had
better turn me off, for his tongue is so long, and mine so short,
you never will believe me." I tried to make them friends, hoping
it was merely a passing ill-wind which would soon blow over; but
before long the two disputants were tonguing it again, and I
distinctly heard Bombay ordering Baraka out of camp as he could
not keep from intermeddling, saying, which was true, he had
invited him to join the expedition, that his knowledge of
Hindustani might be useful to us; he was not wanted for any other
purpose, and unless he was satisfied with doing that alone, we
would get on much better without him. To this provocation Baraka
mildly made the retort, "Pray don't put yourself in a passion,
nobody is hurting you, it is all in your own heart, which is full
of suspicions and jealousy without the slightest cause."

This complicated matters more than ever. I knew Bombay to be a
generous, honest man, entitled by his former services to be in
the position he was now holding as fundi, or supervisor in the
camp. Baraka, who never would have joined the expedition
excepting through his invitation, was indebted to him for the
rank he now enjoyed-- a command over seventy men, a duty in which
he might have distinguished himself as a most useful accessory to
the camp. Again I called the two together, and begged them to act
in harmony like brothers, noticing that there was no cause for
entertaining jealousy on either side, as every order rested with
myself to reward for merit or to punish. The relative position
in the camp was like that of the senior officers in India, Bombay
representing the Mulki lord, or Governor-General, and Baraka the
Jungi lord, or Commander- in-Chief. To the influence of this
distinguished comparison they both gave way, acknowledging myself
their judge, and both protesting that they wished to serve in
peace and quietness for the benefit of the march.

Zungomero is a terminus or junction of two roads leading to the
interior--one, the northern, crossing over the Goma Pass, and
trenching on the Mukondokua river, and the other crossing over
the Mabruki Pass, and edging on the Ruaha river. They both unite
again at Ugogi, the western terminus on the present great
Unyamuezi line. On the former expedition I went by the northern
line and returned by the southern, finding both equally easy,
and, indeed, neither is worthy of special and permanent
preference. In fact, every season makes a difference in the
supply of water and provisions; and with every year, owing to
incessant wars, or rather slave-hunts, the habitations of the
wretched inhabitants become constantly changed--generally
speaking, for the worse. Our first and last object, therefore,
as might be supposed, from knowing these circumstances, was to
ascertain, before mounting the hill-range, which route would
afford us the best facilities for a speedy march now. No one,
however, could or would advise us. The whole country on ahead,
especially Ugogo, was oppressed by drought and famine. To avoid
this latter country, then, we selected the southern route, as by
doing so it was hoped we might follow the course of the Ruaha
river from Maroro to Usenga and Usanga, and thence strike across
to Unyanyembe, sweeping clear of Ugogo.

With this determination, after despatching a third set of
specimens, consisting of large game animals, birds, snakes,
insects, land and freshwater shells, and a few rock specimens, of
which one was fossiliferous, we turned southwards, penetrating
the forests which lie between the greater range and the little
outlying one. At the foot of this is the Maji ya Wheta, a hot,


Back to Full Books