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 17 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 17 of 18)
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On the Uganda Railway you will find comfortable carriages,
cool and airy. They are a combined day coach and sleeper. You


must take your own rugs or blankets and pillow, also washing kit.
Water is supplied, but neither soap nor towel. There are three
classes. The first and second are practically the same, except in
point of price. Very little luggage is allowed free, so be prepared
once more to pay for excess. If you are in an agent's hands he
will attend to all this, including the buying of your ticket, in return
for which you are charged a small commission. Unless you have
specified to the contrary, your "safari" outfitter at Nairobi will have
arranged with the Mombasa agent to look after you. The train
stops at certain stations for meals, and these, particularly the dinner,
are very good. It is well, however, to provide yourself with some
refreshment, especially in the way of cold liquids. Do not try to
shoot from the train windows, it is not allowed; but the newcomer
feels a strong temptation to do so when he first sees the wonderful
amount of game through which the train passes.


On arriving at Nairobi you will be met by your "safari" agents.
They will see to your luggage, and to your being put up at the hotel,
where you will be very comfortable. Your outfit should be sent
to the agent's store. Nairobi is a fair-sized town, with good shops
and a splendid climate. Its elevation ensures coolness, but do not
be deceived by this low temperature. The sun is nearly vertical,
and has far more power than you imagine, so wear your helmet
whenever you go out during the day. In the evening an overcoat
will not be found amiss. The first thing to be done in the way of
getting ready for your expedition is the selection of your route. The
agents know the country very thoroughly, and will be able to advise


you as to the best region for what you particularly want. If you
have a map be sure it is the most recent obtainable, as the older
ones are very defective. Mark out the course you are supposed to
take, inserting the names of rivers, hills and plains, as they are known
to your headman. This precaution may save you much trouble, be-
cause the names given on the maps are very often different
from those by which the places are locally known. If you are
fortunate enough to have a good headman, you will not have to
bother much about the many little details, such as where water
is to be found on the marches, the distances between camps, and
so forth. If possible ascertain what game may be expected in
the different places.


Now comes the most important part of your outfit, the personnel.
Roughly speaking, a two-man expedition requires about fifty porters,
more or less according to the demand, beside the headman, two or
three askaris, cook, one or two tent boys, and two gunbearers. In
the order of their importance these may be described: First and
most important is the headman. Practically everything depends
on his efficiency. His duties are to look after the porters, see that
their loads are equally distributed and packed, select suitable camping
grounds, see that the tents are properly pitched, keep the porters
up to the necessary pace when marching, assign to them their various
odd jobs, and to know the country and the best trails. The wages
vary from Rs.zo to Rs_75 per month (the rupee is is. 4d., or 33 cents,
American). For the lower figure you would probably have a very
inefficient man one who had recently risen from the porters'


ranks, or had been an askari. In some ways a Somali is the best
headman, but be is likely to be tricky, and is very particular about
his food, requiring, as a rule, a special diet. He usually speaks
English, which is an advantage. The Swahili headman is not as
likely to have control over the Swahili porter as a headman of another
race. Whatever man you get be sure he is reliable.

The tent boy is your personal servant, whose duty it is to keep
the tent in proper order, serve the meals, look after your clothes,
prepare your baths, wash the clothes, and generally make himself
useful to you. His wages are from Rs.io to Rs.25 per month. I
should not advise a Somali for this position. -

The cook, to a large extent, controls your health, so he is a most
important person. The "safari" cooks are of every nationality or
tribe. As a rule, they are excellent, being able to turn out a first-rate
meal under the most unfavorable conditions. A good cook is an
economy, but the best of them need to be carefully watched, or they
will use up material so fast that your supply will run short. Each
chop box should contain a complete assortment of food for a given
number of days, and the others should be kept locked up until it
is time for them to be used. The cook's wages are from Rs.2O
upward, the best, who are Goanese, demanding as much as Rs.6o,
or even more.

Next comes the gunbearer. He carries your extra rifle, is supposed
to know something about the game, keeps your weapons in good
order, attends to the skinning and looking after the animals you shoot
and stands by you in any emergency. The Somalis, who are the
most expensive, have the reputation for the greatest courage and
keenness, but there are plenty of excellent gunbearers among the


native East African tribes. Even among the porters there are usually
some who can easily be trained to the work, and they thoroughly
enjoy it, especially if a little extra pay is promised. If ever your
gunbearer shows himself to be a coward discharge him without
more ado, for your life may depend on his standing by you at a critical
time. The pay for a gunbearer ranges from Rs.i5 to Rs-75.

Askaris, who consider themselves very important, are the armed
sentries. They are supposed to be reliable men, who assist the
headman in keeping order. At night they keep up the fires and do
sentry work. On arriving at the camping ground they assist in
pitching your tent. In the event of sending porters for provisions
or letters the askari accompanies them, and is responsible for their
behavior and safe return. Their wages are from Rs.i2 to Rs.2O.

The porters for a long expedition must be very carefully selected.
Only those who are strong and in good health should be employed.
It is even worth having them examined by a doctor before they are
signed on. Their duties are the carrying of loads (none of the other
men carry anything), which are limited to sixty pounds (some natives,
such as the Kikuyu, will usually not carry quite so much), supplying
the camp with sufficient water and firewood, and the doing of any
job that may be assigned to them. On the whole, they are a first-
rate lot when properly handled, but severe discipline is absolutely
necessary. They must never forget that you are their master, and
that the headman, acting under you, has complete control. Legally
the headman may not use his kiboko (whip), nor may you punish
them by fines, without an order from the Court. It is not a bad plan
to promise a small present at the end of the trip to each porter who
does well, and let them understand that any one who causes trouble


will forfeit this present. The wage for Swahili porters is Rs.io.
Some natives can be had for less than half that amount, but they
are not so apt to stay by you for the trip.

Food for the outfit is a serious problem. The porters receive one
and a half pounds of flour, rice, corn, or corn and beans per day,
but all the others are allowed more. This sounds unfair, but the
extra allowance goes to their "boys," and you will be surprised to
see how many they take with them. These extra boys, however,
are not on your pay list. When meat is supplied the amount of
"posho" (food) is reduced. When considering the porters of
different tribes it is well to find out their food requirements.
Some will not eat game, some will not eat meat of any kind, some
will eat beans and whole maize (the cheapest "posho"), so arrange
accordingly. Besides the food there is a certain equipment which by
custom and Government regulations must be furnished, such as
tents, blankets, jerseys, cooking utensils, and water bottles, and
clothes and boots for gunbearers, etc. Every man has to be given
a blanket, and a tent is allowed for each five porters. It is well
to have a list of your whole caravan, so that when any of the men
wish an advance on their wages you can check it off against their
name and number (each porter has a number, which he keeps
most carefully). As they will usually dispute the accuracy of your
accounts, some system of signature should be adopted in order
that misunderstandings may be avoided. Sufficient money, in
small amounts of one rupee or less, should always be carried to
supply their advances. Although porters are the load-carriers for
most of the country, there are times and places where donkeys
or ox-wagons may be used to advantage. The donkey carries


about one hundred and twenty pounds, or two "loads," requires
no food other than what can be picked up even in scrubbiest parts,
but he has the disadvantage of extreme slowness, and is troublesome
when deep rivers have to be forded. The ox-wagon costs about
Rs.ao per day, including driver and full span of oxen, and carries
nearly six thousand pounds, or one hundred loads. Before arranging
for this method of transport ascertain what the cattle quarantine
regulations are, as these are so strict, owing to East Coast fever,
that no oxen may even pass through the proscribed districts. As
soon as your men have been selected and engaged, arrange all your
outfit in convenient order. Have a list of everything you consider
necessary, but do not take the amount of utterly useless stuff which
so often accompanies the sportsman. Check off each item as it is
packed, and have a complete list of the contents of each case. Do
not put all your eggs in one basket, but try so far as possible to
divide things so that should one case be lost, as might easily happen
in crossing swift rivers, you would not be badly crippled. Let
the cook examine his part of the outfit, to see that he has everything
that is necessary. He must understand definitely that nothing
more will be obtained after you have left Nairobi. Check off each
chop box, and see that its contents are as ordered and in good condi-
tion. It is well to have one of the chop boxes fitted with such articles
as do not divide into amounts in keeping with the week's or two weeks'
supply outfits. A few spare blankets, some Americano (cloth), beads
and wire, may be added to your list if you are going into an inhabited
part of the country. All these things may be obtained at Nairobi,
where they are cheap and entirely in keeping with the demands of
the natives. Do not imagine these peculiar people like any sort of


bead or gewgaw. They have their own fashions in beads and wire

just as we have in clothing. They like small mirrors and knives,

however, often preferring such articles to money. Before leaving

Nairobi ask your agents to give you a letter to the various merchants

with whom you are likely to have dealings. Arrange about your

letters, bearing in mind that the postal service is shockingly bad in most

places outside of Nairobi. I regret to have to say this, but it is a

word of warning which may save the sportsman a great amount of

annoyance. The postmasters at some of the outposts frequently

pay not the slightest attention to instructions as to forwarding letters,

and even when you call personally for your mail you will be old

there is none, or be given only a part of what is there, so if you have

important letters take precautions against their being lost or mislaid.

In case it might be of interest to the new hand, the description of

a day's "safari" will perhaps give an idea of how things are managed.

We will say that it is the hour to break camp. The askaris having

already ordered the men to get up, you are called at five o'clock.

The boy has your water ready, and you lose no time in getting dressed.

Breakfast is served outside the tent, and while you eat it the tent

is struck and packed, beds are rolled, and all your effects are put in

order. The men may or may not breakfast before starting, according

to their and the headman's ideas on the subject. If a long march

is to be made, with no stop at noon, they will require something

before they leave. If you propose stopping for a long noon rest

they will eat then instead. We found it best to let them have their

meal in the morning, then march without any long rest until our

night's camping ground was reached. By this method camp was

usually made about two or three o'clock, so that there was plenty


of time to have everything made comfortable before dark. By
the time your breakfast is finished the porters should all have their
loads ready and placed in a line. As soon as the breakfast things
are packed you should be ready to start. Do not load yourself
down with any unnecessary weight, but I strongly advise you to
carry a rifle, for it is impossible to tell at what unexpected moment
it may be needed. You head the "safari," with your gunbearer
close behind; then the tent boys, who have your water bottles and
waterproof (if it be the rainy season), then the cook and one askari;
following him come the porters, one who is a steady walker being
chosen as pacemaker. The rear is brought up by the headman
and one askari. Thus you march. Unless the trail is very well
defined it is best not to go too far in advance of the porters, for fear
of a misunderstanding as to the way, and a consequent long separa-
tion between you and your supplies. The men who carry the
loads on their heads should travel at the rate of two and three-
quarter miles per hour, and require a rest of ten minutes or so every
hour or two, according to the condition of the walking. The camping
ground is selected with due regard to water, fuel, and in the rainy
season, drainage. You will find that your men will always want
to select an old camp site. On no account should this be allowed,
no matter how much additional work it entails. The camp should
be on new ground, otherwise you run some risk of disease, and
almost a certainty of jiggers. These little pests cause no end of
annoyance by burrowing into the feet and laying their eggs in the
flesh, frequently with serious results. They live on the ground,
and are particularly numerous in dusty places, old camping grounds,
deserted villages and unclean houses. Never go barefooted, even


in the tent, and let your boys, who are adepts at the work, examine
your feet very frequently. With proper precautions you should never
be troubled. As soon as you arrive select the site for your tent and
say how you wish it to face. The tent is then pitched, and you will
be surprised at the number of men the job seems to require. While
it is being done your boys put the beds up, and these, after a thorough
airing, are put into the tent. In the meantime some porters have
been sent for water, and others for fuel, while the cook has begun
preparations for the next meal. The porters, headman, askaris
and gunbearer have all pitched their little tents, and within about
an hour the whole camp is completed. All the stores are stacked
near your tent; if in the rainy season, they are placed on stones or logs
and covered with waterproof canvas. Before afternoon tea is served
you enjoy the luxury of a hot bath, but you are strongly advised
against taking a cold bath in the tropics. As night comes on, large
fires are built to ward off lions and other dangerous animals; the men
gather round these fires, and sing or otherwise amuse themselves,
for they are a good-natured lot. When the camp is hushed in sleep,
an askari stands sentry; watch and watch they take, and keep the
fires burning brightly till the glow in the eastern sky heralds the
birth of another day.


In collecting trophies the greatest care must be exercised if you
would save the skins of the animals. To begin with, do not shoot
any animal unless you are sure there is time to attend to the proper
preservation of its skin if you intend to keep it. Always skin an
animal as soon as possible after it is dead. This is especially advisable


in the case of lions and other carnivora, for the hair slips very quickly.
Be very careful that the skinning is thorough about the ears, mouth,
tail and feet. All skins should be thoroughly dry before being put
away. Salt may be used with advantage, especially in damp weather.
It should be rubbed in freely and very thoroughly while the skin
is wet. A fresh skin may be carried with comparative safety all
day under the scorching sun if properly salted. It is better, however,
to dry it as soon as possible. Pegging out injures a skin for mounting,
but is well enough for flat rugs, and it has the advantage of allowing
of very rapid drying. Alum may be used as an astringent either
alone or with salt. Keep a sharp lookout for a small, brownish
beetle, which plays havoc with unpoisoned skins. Get the skins
back to your outfitters as soon as you conveniently can, so that they
may be properly cared for. Keep an accurate list of all animals
shot, and of all that are sent to Nairobi for storage. On your return
you will find little to do except to pay the bills and attend to the task
of packing. Your trophies will be packed and shipped by the
outfitters, but you must be sure to fill out the necessary documents
for use of the Customs and game records.


It is not necessary to take everything given on this list, but by
going over it carefully some suggestions may be received.


Boots, 2, with extra laces and Slippers, i

hobnails Stockings, 6

Mosquito boots, i Drawers, linen-mesh, or wool, 4


Vests (wool), 4 Pajamas, 2

Flannel shirt with spine pad, 2 Handkerchiefs

Spiral puttees, 2 Sweater

Helmet and cap or felt hat Jacket

Knickers, 2 Steel uniform case

Waterproof Soap, carbolic and face

Towels, i bath, 2 face Tooth powder

Extra toothbrush Nail brush, Mirror

Brush and comb Toilet powder

Pens, writing paper, pencils, note-books, etc. Extra spectacles if used.


Tent (9 ft. x 9 ft. will do for two persons), with fly and sod and
ground cloth, all of green rot-proof and ant-proof canvas. Extra
canvas for covering stores.

Folding camp bed (must be strong), cork mattress, 4 blankets,
pillow and pillow cases, sheets (thin wool ?), mosquito net, canvas
case for this bedding outfit, chair (compact folding), table and table-
cloth, folding canvas bag and washstand, rope for use in crossing
rivers, cord for tying loads of heads and skins, labels for trophies,
3 canvas water buckets, 2 canvas water coolers, axe, 2 lamps (i for
cook), repair outfit of screws, nails, wire, glue, screw-driver, awl,
file, etc., tape measure, 6 skinning knives, sharpening stone, sewing kit,
alum( ?), arsenical soap( ?), water bottle (felt covered), thermos flask,
varnish and brush if leatheroid or other fibre cases are used, boot
grease for soles and toe caps (Viscol I found most satisfactory),
D. B. cordite rifle, .450; magazine rifle, about .275; shotgun ( ?),
strong sling cases for these, extra sights, cleaning rods, gun oil,
tow, ammunition, field glasses, night glasses, pocket knife, hunting
knife, revolver ( ?), salt for skins, corkscrew.



Quinine, some purgative, enough for men who call for it very
frequently, bromide potass., antiseptic in dr. or crystal form, such
as carbolic acid or bicloride mercury, permanganate potass, for
cleansing utensils, bandages of various kinds, fine forceps (for
removing thorns), scalpel, scissors, foot powder, antiseptic grease,
some lotion to allay the irritation caused by tick bites, and any
other articles recommended by a doctor who knows the country.


Flour Biscuits

Rice Sauces

Yeast or hops Butter (see that it is good)

Baking powder Potatoes

Oatmeal Onions

Sugar Bacon

Cornflour Jam

Currants and raisins Mustard

Lard (called marrowfat in East Salt, Pepper

Africa) Curry powder

Tea Chutney

Coffee (cocoa if liked) Dry beans or peas

Dried fruits (these are important, allow for at least i Ibs. per
week for each person. Apple rings are by far the best; see that they
are good).

Tinned fruit in syrup, lime juice (this is the best beverage for the
hot weather), dry chocolate for eating, sardines, a few tins of vege-
tables ( ?), condensed milk (unsweetened, this keeps from two to four
days after being opened) ; candles kerosene, matches, washing soap,
tinned meats if you care for such food just as well to leave it alone


where there is so much fresh meat. Everything must be in tins, or the
insects will cause trouble. The question of liquor must be left to the
individual. The less that is used the better. A little brandy may be
carried in case of illness, and some whiskey for the regular "sun-
downer." All provisions are packed in chop boxes which hold one load.


White enamel table ware is best. The full list is given in the list
of supplies under Monthly Contract.



UNQUESTIONABLY the time has come when the photographing of
wild animals must be recognized as a sport. Unfortunately, few are
willing to go into the work with enough perseverance to ensure a
chance of success, for the difficulties are great, and it requires a large
amount of patience and application. Not only must there be a
considerable knowledge of the animals and their habits, but the
photographic sportsman must be far more proficient in the difficult
art of stalking than he who hunts with the rifle. Shooting animals
is so much easier than photographing them that there is no possible
comparison. For years I was as enthusiastic about shooting as any
man could be; to-day, after ten years of hunting with the camera,
I have lost all desire to shoot. It is not sufficiently exciting, usually
too easy to be really interesting. Every animal that is near enough
to be successfully photographed is near enough to be shot without
the least difficulty, but every animal that can be shot cannot be photo-
graphed. Of course it requires a special outfit for wild-animal
photography. The ordinary little hand camera with its short focus
lens is practically useless. Only once in a great while can one
approach near enough to an animal to use it. I met a man in East
Africa who, after seeing my attempts, which were the result of the
best outfit obtainable and a lot of experience, remarked that he had
had thousands of opportunities of photographing wild animals. If





he had only thought of it sooner he would have had a splendid col-
lection of pictures, and anyhow, he was going to get at it immediately,
as he had a fine camera. This camera proved to be a small hand
one, with a lens of six- or seven-inch focus. In order to make
a picture of an animal the size of a hartebeest he would have to be
within fifteen or twenty yards of it, and that was no easy task. The
sort of camera necessary for the work is one of the long-focus reflex
type, equipped with convertible lens of high speed, and a telephoto
lens of the greatest speed. The camera must be rigid enough to
allow of the telephoto being used without danger of shaking. Plates
or films may be used. The former are better, and rather more reli-
able. Both keep well in inland East Africa (not Uganda), but should
be kept in sealed tin cases, and developed as soon as possible after
being exposed. With tanks the task of developing in the field is
easy enough, and the water for the purpose will be found quite cool
enough if used early in the morning. Developing powders ready
mixed and weighed, acid hypo, a fixing box and a developing tank
complete the outfit. In my work every plate and film was developed
within a day or two after being exposed, and prints on self-toning
paper were made immediately, so that in case of breakage or loss I
should have had at least a print of the subject. All your photographic
outfit should be kept in water-tight cases, and chemicals of any kind

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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 17 of 18)