A. Radclyffe (Arthur Radclyffe) Dugmore.

Camera adventures in the African wilds; being an account of a four months' expedition in British East Africa, for the purpose of securing photographs of the game from life online

. (page 16 of 18)
Online LibraryA. Radclyffe (Arthur Radclyffe) DugmoreCamera adventures in the African wilds; being an account of a four months' expedition in British East Africa, for the purpose of securing photographs of the game from life → online text (page 16 of 18)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

2 Ibs. Tea 8 Ibs. Patna Rice
i Bottle Chutney 5 gallons Kerosene

1 Packet Soap 5 dozen Sparklet Charges

2 i-lb. Tins Cocoa i Packet Candles

4 Ibs. Dried Fruit 8 Ibs. Cooking Salt

8 Tins Sardines 30 Ibs. Potatoes

8 Ibs. Bacon 7 Ibs. Sugar

2 Ibs. Oatmeal i lb. Mustard

4 Bottles Lime Juice 3 Tablets Toilet Soap

i dozen Soup Squares 2 i-lb. Tins Coffee

1 Packet Bromo Paper 4 Tins Preserved Fruit
15 Ibs. Onions 4 Tins Fish

6 i-lb. Tins Potted Meat 8 Ibs. Jam (assorted)

4 Tins Baking Powder i lb. Corn Flour

2 Ibs. Table Salt i Bottle Worcester Sauce
i Bottle Curry Powder 2 dozen Boxes Matches



2 Bars Blue Mottle Soap i Ib. Fresh Butter

8 i-lb. Tins Condensed Milk 4 2-lb. Tins Biscuits

4 tins Sausages i Ib. Pepper


i Long heavy river rope Porters' ropes, tents and suffurias

Taxidermine Sail needles

Askaris' rifles and ammunition Tickets to label skins, etc.

Hanks sail twine Scythe stone

Ground-sheet for loads Crushed mealies

Nails, file, pincers Horse tent

Mealie meal Saddle and bridle

Horse headstall Arsenical soap

Vaseline Alum

Laterine tent, seat and bucket Hammer

Chambers Horse blanket

i Bucket Turpentine

i Kibala Rangoon oil

Skinning knives Tow


Maps, native guide, banking facilities, stabling, trophy label,
tape measure.



I Ib. Tea. i load Posho.* i Tent and Fly. i Suffuria and Senia.


i Load Posho and Regulation Equipment.

i Load Posho and Regulation Equipment.

* Posho is the common name for the men's food.



i Load Posho and Regulation Equipment.

i Tent, I Suffuria, and Senia for Gunbearer, Cook and Boy.


30 Porters and 2 Askaris. 25 Loads Posho. 6 Tents. 6 Suffurias.
6 Senias and Regulation Equipment

For the man accustomed to the rough camping of North America,
where the sportsman takes a share of the outfit on his own back,
helps in paddling the canoe, and sits on a log (if he has the luck to
find one) while eating his crude meal from a tin plate balanced on
his knees, the idea of having from twenty-five to forty porters besides
a cook, headman, and a tent boy, to say nothing of a couple of
Askaris, sounds positively ridiculous. But camping in Africa is
not like camping in North America. Greater comfort is demanded,
and even many items which would be considered luxuries are regarded
as necessities. Yet to the man who has shot in India the East
African methods appear decidedly crude, not to say uncomfortable.
To those who have never been in the tropics the idea of carrying a
bath seems foolish. In the North one goes down to the river for
the necessary wash, but in East Africa such a proceeding would be,
to say the least of it, unwise, for no white man can expose his body
to the vertical rays of the equatorial sun without danger, and if he
bathes when the sun is setting the sudden change of the temperature
would probably produce a chill a thing which must at all costs
be avoided. Generally speaking, it is best to follow the example
of those who have had experience.


In taking a large number of porters it must be remembered that
trophies have to be carried out. Heads and skins are heavy, and in
a country like East Africa, where game is so abundant that one may
see several thousand head in a day, the ordinarily successful hunter
collects a great many trophies that is, if he hunts with the rifle.
The results of the chase, when the camera takes the place of the rifle,
are not so cumbersome, but it will probably be many years before
the sportsman realizes the fascination of the bloodless form of sport.
Perhaps the best way to give an idea of the various details connected
with a trip will be to start at the proper end, which is the beginning.


In this case money is the first consideration. Calculate how
much you can afford to spend without making yourself miserable.
Having done that, write to one of the reliable "Safari" agents,
tell him what you want, and what amount you wish to spend after
allowing for the steamer journey to Mombasa, and the cost of having
your trophies taken care of at home. In doing this treat the agent
squarely, and be sure to let him know exactly what part of the expenses
you are allowing for, in order that he may know how to advise.
Specify also what particular game you want, and, if you are restricted
to certain months for the trip. I once knew a man who induced
the agent to agree to give him three months' shooting for a certain
flat sum. On arriving at Nairobi he informed the agent that he
only wanted certain animals, which necessitated much longer and
more expensive trips than could possibly be done at the price, and
the negotiations ended in a most unsatisfactory manner. Do not
forget that Nairobi is a long way off, so that if you write there make


proper allowance for the letters to go and come. Find out definitely
what your agent intends to furnish, so that you will not have the
expense of buying unnecessary things, and paying freight and duty
on them. This brings us to the important question of the outfit.


Before going into details let it be understood that when on the
field all your equipment must be arranged so that it can be carried
in sixty-pound loads. Things must be well packed, as the porters
do not handle their loads any too carefully, and there is always the
chance of a fall. Tin waterproof uniform cases are very heavy, and
therefore not suitable for anything but your personal kit, such as
clothing. I found fibre cases thoroughly satisfactory. Those I
had were made of leatheroid (a composition chiefly composed of
pressed paper). They are practically unbreakable, very light,
and are not affected by either heat or wet. They need a coat of spar
varnish occasionally to make them last indefinitely. Mine were
bought in New York, and were made to order at very short notice,
each case being designed to hold certain parts of my somewhat
elaborate photographic outfit.

Beginning with clothing, the most important item is the footwear.
Whatever kind of boot you take wear it for a week or two before
leaving home, so as to be sure it fits. Do not rely on breaking it
in after starting on your trip. On the whole, the country is not so
hard on boots as is generally supposed. A good pair should last
for at least four months. Personally, I prefer a flat sole (without
any heel) of chrome tanned leather, commonly, but erroneously,
called moose or elk hide. The uppers should be soft, yet strong,


with particularly heavy toecaps, for the toe has the most of wear
and tear, and the thorns are hard on the leather. On no account
should I advise using any oil, or oil-like preparation, on the uppers,
except on the toes, as the sun makes the oiled leather intensely hot, and
the pores of the leather being clogged the foot becomes uncomfortably
hot and damp. The sole may be greased in wet weather. Iron
caulks or hobnails are necessary in some places, especially where
there is much hill-climbing over dry, slippery grass or on wet clay
roads. Removable iron caulks, which screw into the sole, will
be found most convenient and satisfactory. They will, however,
occasionally fall out, so that spare ones should be provided. Exten-
sion or wide-welt soles are advisable, as they protect the feet. High
boots are too hot. The proper height should be one or two holes
higher than an ordinary walking boot, so as to allow the puttees
to thoroughly cover them. Gaiters or puttees must be worn. The
former are cooler, but more noisy. The latter I found thoroughly
satisfactory. Be sure to have the "spiral" kind, and do not wind
them too tight. In case of trouble with swollen or blistered feet
it is well to take some sort of good foot-powder, and some antiseptic
grease, cotton wool and waterproof bandage tape in case of blisters.
Stockings or socks must depend on the individual ideas. I prefer
wool, but do not forget that your tent boy, who does your washing,
will shrink any wool he gets hold of, so have enough stockings to
last for the trip. For underwear, wool is without doubt the best
and safest (here, again, remember it shrinks), and I should advise
it for vests, though linen-mesh drawers will be found cooler and much
more comfortable. Use fairly heavy woolen shirts, but they should
have detachable spine pads. Any light-weight outer garment will


do. Knickerbockers are far more comfortable than long trousers,
as they give greater freedom around the knees. I tried both drill
and a thin woolen material. The latter was the more satisfactory,
and was much less noisy an important consideration in stalking.
Any sort of jacket is good enough. It is seldom worn, except in
the early mornings and late evenings, or for night work. A sweater
is useful if you expect to visit the mountainous region, and a loose
waterproof of very light material is considered necessary. For
head-gear there is nothing much better than a cork helmet. It is
slightly heavier than one made of pith, but far more durable, and
is not affected by water. So much for the clothing.


For tent equipment the following will be needed: Folding-bed
with cork mattress, warm light blankets, and enough of them, for
the nights are cold; woolen sheets (I can see no reason why cotton
or linen sheets should not be used, but it is the custom to avoid
them), and a pillow. For the washing outfit a folding bath and
washstand of canvas will be found better than one of metal, being
lighter, stronger and cheaper. Any sort of light, compact folding
table and chairs. A lamp either of the mechanical oil kind or one to
hold a candle. It is dark by about half-past six in the equatorial
country, so a good lamp is a rather important item. The tent can
be hired from the outfitters. If so, be sure that a good one is engaged
ahead for you. You may bring your own, and trust to selling it
when your trip is finished; there is not much difference in the expense.
If anything, I believe the former to be the cheaper. The best tent
is the wall pattern, with bathroom attached at the back, and a large


enough veranda in front; and above all be sure that the fly is arranged
to go entirely clear f the ridge of the tent, to allow free passage
of air, and to extend to within a foot or less of the ground on either
side. A ground cloth and sod cloth are necessary. Green rot-
proof canvas should be used, the fly being made of a heavier material
than the rest of the tent. At present the tents are made of canvas,
which is too light in color. A more intense and permanent green
would be far cooler and more comfortable. A tent large enough
for two men should not weigh more than one hundred and twenty
pounds, complete with ropes and poles. A porter's load is sixty
pounds, so the tent must be divisible into two equal parts. If possi-
ble the total weight should be rather less than the two loads to allow
for dampness, which greatly increases the weight. Mosquito doors
are so seldom necessary, and are such a nuisance, that I should not
advise their being used, but mosquito nets for the beds must be taken.
They may not be used more than once in a month, but remember
above all things malarial fever must be avoided, and the only way to
do so is to keep clear of mosquito bites. It is all very well to say
that the little pests cannot do any harm unless they have previously
attacked a fever subject, and that in the wilds there are no people
from whom they could receive inoculation. Such an argument
might hold good were you alone, but you must not forget that your
porters have more often than not some malarial germs in their system.
An ounce of prevention is worth many pounds of cure, especially when
the cure is quinine, though in most of the inland parts of East Africa
quinine is seldom necessary; in fact, probably more harm is done
by overusing it than by leaving it alone. We were four months on
"safari." Part of that time was spent in regions supposed to be


feverish, and during the entire time we did not use more than fifty
or sixty grains of quinine between us, and then it was only after
having being bitten by mosquitoes while we were doing night work.
As a matter of fact, mosquitoes are not common in any part of the
high region of East Africa, and at no time could we say they troubled
us, though once in a great while we heard one buzzing. These
statements do not apply to Uganda, where mosquitoes are sometimes
very troublesome. The net should be arranged so as to be easily
attached to the roof of the tent directly over the bed. Do not use
the kind that is weighted at the bottom, and hangs to the ground,
as it gives an excellent opportunity to the mosquito that has taken
refuge under the bed to annoy you as soon as the lights are out.
It may be thought that I have devoted an undue amount of space
to this subject, but it is really of the greatest importance. One bite
from a well-inoculated mosquito may be sufficient to put an end to
the whole trip, so avoid at all costs that one bite. I say this particu-
larly for the benefit of Americans, and those who have camped
in North America. There one becomes so accustomed to the pests
in myriads that an occasional mosquito would be likely to pass unno-
ticed, and the damage done before the danger is realized. A pair
of high, soft and very light boots, known as "mosquito boots,"
offer protection against bites at the ankles, and should therefore
be included in the outfit.

Everything that may be injured by the dampness should be carried
in thoroughly waterproof cases. For the clothes and other personal
effects a strong tin uniform case is best, but have it painted white
rather than black, as it does not become so hot when in the sun.
The bedding may be carried in a strong waterproof green canvas


bag. I advise green because it is safer against the attacks of white
ants. As your boy looks after the clothes, and therefore has access
to the tin box, I should advise having a small tin cash-box, with a good
lock, so that money and other valuables may be safe. Honesty is
not the besetting virtue of the Negro boys, so it is well to guard against
theft. A list of the contents of the case should be pasted inside the
lid, and checked off with the boy, before he is made responsible.
The cooking outfit may be hired from the outfitter, or purchased at
home. I see no use in buying an expensive fancy set, as the native
cook will not keep it in decent order, and will probably not be able
to cook half as well with it as with the rough kind to which he is
accustomed. If you hire the outfit be sure that everything is in good
condition. Iron kettles with holes in them cannot be mended, and
they do not boil water very well. A large kettle is necessary, as
your drinking water must be boiled. This is very important; and
unless your cook is thoroughly reliable, it is well to see personally
to its being done. Give the cook and boys to understand that a
white man is made ill by drinking unboiled water, and that if you
become ill it will mean giving up the "safari." Never relax the rule,
even in a place where the water is absolutely safe. A filter is scarcely
ever necessary. If the water is somewhat muddy it will do no harm,
and will generally settle within a few hours. In boiling water that
contains lime use a very small piece of powdered alum. For cooling
drinking water there is nothing better than the canvas bucket made
specially for that purpose, but it will need thorough washing occa-
sionally with boiling water, and a little permanganate of potash and
a scrubbing brush. Two buckets should be kept in use, in order
that there shall always be one with cold water. A thermos flask


will be found convenient for use on the march, but the felt-covered
water bottle is good enough under ordinary conditions, provided the
felt is kept wet. A very useful addition to the outfit is a bag made
of cheese cloth or mosquito netting, with which to protect the meat
from flies. This precaution will add greatly to the length of time
that meat may be kept. The canteen, containing the necessary
supply of table utensils, had better be bought at home, unless you
are prepared to put up with a rough-and-ready set of second-hand
articles. Do not forget tablecloths and napkins if you want such
luxuries. They are light, and add to one's comfort and self-respect.
A compact lunch-basket may not be amiss for use when on the march.
It will save unpacking a lot of things, and enable you to enjoy a
comfortable lunch when you feel hungry.


The question of battery is one that must be decided by the ideas
of the individual. By way of suggestion, I should advise a heavy
.450 cordite double barrel. On no account take a single-barrel
weapon of this bore, as it is for use chiefly in case of emergency,
such as a charging rhinoceros, or perhaps a pair of them, in which
event two shots fired in rapid succession would very likely be found
necessary. A small-bore magazine rifle will be used for most of the
hunting. I used a .275 Rigby Mauser, and nothing could have been
more satisfactory. Soft-nosed and solid bullets should be carried
for both weapons. For ordinary work the soft-pointed will be the
more often used, therefore more of them should be carried. It is
better to bring with you all the ammunition you expect to use, as,
though most of the ordinary sizes and patterns may be procured in


Nairobi, it is not wise to rely on the supply unless you make definite
arrangements with a dealer. When ordering your supply regardless
of how reliable you think your dealer, see personally that he packs
the kind which is made for your rifle. Do not trust any one to do this
for you. The number of people who have arrived at Nairobi with
wrong ammunition is great, so take the hint, and be sure before you
leave your base of supplies. As a matter of fact this advice applies
to everything. It is always better to take the time to check off each
detail and to see that it is as ordered. Bear in mind that the clerk
in the New York or London house is not nearly so much interested
or concerned in your comfort as you are. It is scarcely necessary
to carry duplicate weapons for an ordinary expedition, as should
a mishap occur it can usually be remedied at Nairobi, or another
rifle can be bought there. Ten per cent, duty is charged on all
firearms coming into the country, so if expense has to be considered
it is well to think twice before bringing in more than is really needed,
as the duty is not refunded when you leave. Do not bring in an
unnecessary amount of ammunition, as most people do. Remember
that you cannot use more than a certain number of shots each day.
An average of five to seven shots ought to satisfy any one. I knew
of a man who for a two-months' trip carried two thousand five hundred
rounds over forty shots a day, or about thirteen shots each for
every animal, except lions, that he could kill even if he shot the extreme
total allowed by the law, which was then about one hundred and
ninety head. A shotgun may be added to your battery. It is not,
however, necessary, for after all it is only used for such birds as
ducks, geese, snipe, bustard, grouse and guinea-fowl, and if you
are after big game the less shooting that is done the better. This


is especially true where there are giraffe, elephants and buffalo.
A shotgun with buckshot is rather useful for stopping a lion or other
soft animal at close quarters. The same may be said of a revolver,
which is so often carried and so seldom used. If one is carried it
must be of large enough bore to be of real service. A small one is
worse than useless.


Field glasses are a necessary part of the outfit, but they must be
carefully selected with reference to the country. In East Africa,
as in all tropical countries, there is a great deal of haze, caused by
the surface of the earth becoming heated. No glass can penetrate
this peculiar blurr, and on the plains it is difficult to distinguish
objects clearly over three or four hundred yards away after the sun
is high. Then in the early morning there is frequently mist, which
again renders the glasses more or less useless. It will be seen that
high-power glasses are not as useful as those of moderate power,
+8 giving about as great a degree of magnification as is desirable. The
prism pattern of extra bright illumination is better than the old
Galilean type, on account of the smaller size, but they often become
"smoky" from some cause. For your night work regular night-
glasses should be used, so if you expect to do any watching over
lion kills provide yourself with a pair.


Your ticket should be booked well in advance on either of the two
lines which go to Mombasa. These lines (at present) are the German
East African, which stops at Southampton, Marseilles, Naples and
Port Said, and the French, which sails from Marseilles. The


German boats go either by way of the Suez Canal or by South Africa.
When engaging berth specify the former route. Having your ticket
and your kit, the next thing is to see that every piece of luggage is
clearly marked with name and destination, and an identification
number by which you may know the contents. This is important on
account of Customs. For the same reason keep bills of all articles
purchased. Ammunition will be carried on the steamer if properly
packed. Have all packing cases with screw-on lids, so that they
may be easily opened. See that every piece is put on board the
steamer, or have some one whom you can trust do it for you. Obtain
a receipt if you can. If you have much luggage be prepared to pay
the excess, which is no very modest sum. You may amuse yourself
on the journey, which occupies about sixteen days from Naples to
Mombasa, by studying the Swahili language. This is the common
tongue among your porters and many of the natives, and it is just
as well to have some knowledge of it. You will not find it necessary
to master the rather complicated verbs. The infinitive will see you
through in most cases, for the people are wonderfully quick at under-
standing, even when grammar and pronunciation are faulty.


On arriving at Kilindini, the port of Mombasa, you yourself may
attend to the landing of your outfit, including going through Customs
and entraining, but if you are wise let an agent do it for you. It is
well worth all it costs, and more too. But even with an agent I
strongly advise you personally to see that everything gets off the
steamer. There is such a wonderful lack of system on some of the
boats that even properly marked baggage is sometimes carried past


the port for which it is intended. The Customs, like all Customs,
except those in Great Britain, will probably try your patience. Do
not get excited, for it will do no good. Remember that the trains
go at least three times a week. Among other things there is delay
in having your firearms duly stamped and registered, and in pro-
curing the license, which costs 50 ($250) this year, though I under-
stand there is some chance of this being changed slightly under the
new Game Laws. The accommodation at Mombasa I must pass
over. You might wish to do likewise, unless you are put up at the
very hospitable and comfortable club. It is customary as soon
as you land to engage a "boy" to be your personal servant during
your stay in the country. Better let your agent secure one, and
have him ready for you on your arrival at Mombasa. The native
boys are often very good, and look after you well. Some of them
are honest, some are not, some are not lazy, but many of them are.
If you get a good one do not spoil him; he will not like you any better
for it. Keep him to his work, and make him do it properly. Once
they become slack there is nothing to do but discharge them. Never
under any circumstances pamper them, or you will lose their respect,
but give them fair treatment. That they expect, and they carry
their idea on the subject to peculiar lengths. For instance, if one
of them does anything really wrong, he expects punishment, and
thinks there must be something wrong if he does not receive it.
If you promise punishment, carry it out.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 16 18

Online LibraryA. Radclyffe (Arthur Radclyffe) DugmoreCamera adventures in the African wilds; being an account of a four months' expedition in British East Africa, for the purpose of securing photographs of the game from life → online text (page 16 of 18)