but all heads, skins, "577 rifle, and bed were lost! Gross care-
lessness on part of both Tembo and Baraka ; told them I cut all
their pay to pay for losses. Would sooner have lost almost
anything than this rifle and heads and skins. Only did about
ten miles in consequence.
All afternoon drying things, as every box was full of
\Qth October, Tuesday. ā (1) Manyole district. Slept on ground,
bed being lost ; good many insects crawling over me. Started
5.45, river broader, clearer, straighter, but current getting pretty
Passed a few patches of cultivation on either side, and a larger
one at 12.30 on left bank, when some Gallas told me we were
one day from Malululu, and that this was Manj'ole. The two
statements hardly reconcile themselves. Thick wood both sides
nearly all the way. Camped at 2 on sand-bank.
Went out at 4, to see if I could reach open country, but only
found dense bush and dry swamp and elephant paths. Heavy
rain came on, and I got soaked through. Shot on road three
11 fh October, Wednesday. ā Between Manyole and Kidori.
Started 5.45. River very winding ; went N.E., E., W., and N.W.
on its way south, but not many snags. At 11.45 passed Kidori,
a collection of small shambas and villages all along left bank.
At 2 reached Tuni, on right bank, and camped. Hutchisson's
canoe swamped ; he lost boots, bedding, and horns and shields.
Good deal of cultivation on both banks, chiefly Indian corn and
12th October, Thursday. ā Tuni. Started 5.45. River winding;
for an hour still in Tuni district. Then from 7.30 to 10 in
Bura. From 10 to 12.15 in Massa. At 12.30 entered Malululu;
camped on right bank in fairly open grass and scrub at 1.30; canoes
MALULULU DISTRICT 297
not all in till 2.30. Plenty of natives. Villages passed to-day
a good deal larger than farther up.
Went out shooting; in a quarter of an hour got to dry and fairly
open thorn scrub, hopelessly barren and dry; saw two waterbuck
and shot two Kirkii. No tracks or signs of much game anywhere.
13th October, Friday. ā Above Malabati, in Malululu. Started
5.30. Found we were much farther back than had thought ;
progress slow, river very winding, and one or two difficult places
with many sunken trees. Strong head wind blowing from S.
At 8 passed Malabati. At 10.20 Sisini. Camped at 1 on right
bank, above Marumbini, which natives say is close ā how far
that means is doubtful.
Self very seedy; in great pain in canoes and most of afternoon
from internal chill, probably from sleeping on ground. Natives
full of praise of Chanler and Hohnel. Natives say no game near;
have to go day's march in for it.
1 ith October, Saturday. ā Wachakoni, above Marumbini.
Started 5.30. Passed Namoni (R.) 7.45. Passed Gallo (right
bank) 8 ; Gorami 8.30 ; Korori 8.45, all left bank. Villages on
right bank mostly deserted. Ndura, large village on right bank,
10.30 ; saw here one or two Arabs (Kiroboto).
Camped in Kinakombe district in open place on left bank at
2.15 ; most of caravan not in till 3 and 3.30. Natives friendly
and confident ; spoke well of Chanler.
"Went shooting ; open dry thorn country, and farther in very
thick ; saw nothing but some waterbuck late in evening. Shot
buck who fell on his back, then suddenly recovered, went into
bush, and was lost ; getting too late and dark to follow.
Hutchisson sick and in pain from stomach.
Sultan of Kinakombe ā Gulu.
Saw several Borassus palms on either bank, getting more
plentiful as we go down.
15th October, Sunday. ā Kinakombe. Started 5.30. Made
good progress for four hours ; passed Guano at 10 ; river
straighter and broader. Saw one cocoa-nut tree, young one ā
looked ill. Also some pineapples, and, near Ndura, mango-
trees. From 10 to 1 strong head wind; got very wet and
shipped a lot of water ; delayed progress badly. At 2 reached
large village of Ndura, right bank; full of Gallas. High wind all
THE .MISSION TO UGANDA
afternoon. Heard here of severe fighting at Witu, one English
officer said to he killed. Witu people all run out into Barra,
and Witu now occupied hy "Nubians" from Zanzibar, with
Sultan of Zanzibar's flag. 1
Sultan of Ndura ā Comorodudo, or Nife.
Much bothered here by people crowding round my tent,
mostly drunk !
4 P.M. Sultan sent to say he was drunk ; would come later
to see me ! Didn't come.
16th Oct., Monday. ā Ndura. Under weigh by 5.30, so
Sultan had no chance of coming for his presents to-day. At
10.30 and 11.10 passed two villages, both on right bank, both
calling themselves Mwina, both fairly large. Then numerous
very sharp bends in river to N., S.E., and W. Strong wind
from S. dehoyed us much, and wetted everything ; went on till
2.15, making slow progress, and seeing no villages or people
for the last two hours. Camped 2.15, under trees in deserted
village on left bank, probably above Gaylwa. Saw shamba of
cocoa-nuts, young trees not looking healthy. Native in canoe
came in, said this had been Mitobe, and a big village, but all
people bolted from this and neighbouring villages on account of
Witu people's raids.
17 th Oct., Tuesday. ā Mitobe. Woke camp 4.30, and under
weigh by 5.20, in order to get through as much work as possible
before high S. Avind which gets up at 1 1 every day. Made good
progress past several deserted villages, including Mgatana. Lot
of cultivation (chiefly plantains) up to there, then but little on
to Merifano. At 11.30 river became very rough in places from
high S. wind ; one canoe of Zanzibar soldiers swamped, and
Uganda boy drowned.
Very difficult to find camping-place, but eventually camped in
dried swamp on left bank above Yunda. Sent on W. Baraka in
canoe with letter to missionary at Golbanti to announce arrival
to-morrow. Gave out posho, one hand amerikani for two days.
Mosquitoes simply awful, in thousands.
1 The second "Witu expedition, July and August 1S93, against the brigand
forest population in Witu, in which the Naval Brigade and the Sultan of
Zanzibar's troops took part. No English officer was killed, but two were
wounded at Punwani.
END OF THE JOURNEY
8.30 P.M. W. Baraka returned with note from Mr. Bird
Thompson, 1 who had opened my letter to Golbanti ; sent us tea,
beer, etc., and mails.
18th Oct., Wednesday. ā Yunda. Started 5.25, and reading
mails in canoe. Mosquitoes in thousands all round us. At
6.15 met Bird Thompson coming to meet us in canoe. Got into
his, a very good large one, with three Wapokomo men ; went
great pace down stream past Ngao, where is German Mission on
right bank, past Golbanti, to village 1 h hours below, where camp-
ing place prepared. Village, Fitina.
Thompson greeted everywhere by Wapokomo, who all seem
to know and like him very much. Many fine muscular men came
into camp. We arrived about 11.30, the caravan at 1.
Reading letters, etc., all afternoon. Heard Rodd very ill.
and about fighting at Witu, etc.
19^/i Oct., Thursday. ā Fitina, on Tana. Started with
Thompson to go ahead to Witu, H hours by canoe to mouth of
Beledzoni Canal, 2 then lh hours' walk along bad and slippery
path alongside canal while canoes are poled through. Canal
very winding and not more than four to six feet wide, high
grass on both sides. Then f hour down Ozi river, and 1 J hours'
walk across island of Kau to village of Kau, where Akida
received us ; crossed ferry and walked about seven miles across
hot plain to Witu.
Station is open, undefended collection of huts and sheds and
stores. Twelve Soudanese there and some fifty Swahilis.
Wali Omar Amadi seems good fellow, said to be trustworthy.
Caravan arrived at 5 P.M.
Talked through telephone to Rogers 3 and Hatch i at Lamu ;
sent telegrams by telephone to Rodd and J. ā
20th Oct., Friday. ā Up at 4 ; gave over all spare stores to
Thompson; got his receipt. Started at 5.30, marched to 8.45,
halt at Pumwani, a collection of sheds built for blue-jackets
1 Assistant Administrator in the British Protectorate embracing the
2 Connecting the rivers Tana and Ozi.
3 Administrator of the British Protectorate N". of the Tana.
4 Brigadier-General Hatch is in command of the Sultan of Zanzibar's
3 o2 THE MISSION TO UGANDA
in late row ; 1 on to Mkiunumbe, arrived 2 P.M. ā twenty-one
Met by Rogers and Hatch. Lunch and dinner in small shed
built for them. Embarked all men on three dhows at 8 P.M.
Selves in steam - launch ; tide out, could not start till 1 2
midnight. Slept well on board, and few mosquitoes. Em-
barkation of men done quickly, and no trouble. Much talk with
Hatch and Rogers about whole Witu business.
21st Oct., Saturday. ā Embarked on H.M.S. Swallow from
launch 6 A.M. Told they could not get up steam and start till
11, and could not reach Zanzibar till Monday. Said I wanted
particularly to reach Sunday evening. Captain Sampson promised
to try, went full speed trial for four hours, shook and rolled a
fair amount ; F. R. and self both rather uneasy and delicate.
Calmer in evening.
22nd Oct., Sunday. ā H.M.S. Swallow at sea, calmer and
well. Heavy current against us. Could not save the daylight,
but arrived in Zanzibar at 8.30 P.M.
The staff of the Agency and the members of the Zanzibar
Government came to meet us.
Went ashore 9. Saw Rodd for a moment, in bed, looked
dreadfully weak and ill. Saw Doctor 0' Sullivan, who strongly
urged getting him away at first possible moment.
Letter from Sir Gerald Portal to Lady Alice Portal
lith Sqrtembcr 1893,
Mbe" Country on Tana River,
S.W. of Mt. Kenia.
I don't suppose you will get this much before we
ourselves arrive in England, but as I have got a blank day
to-day, I may as well write a few lines which may tell you
some things which will be forgotten before we reach the coast.
We left Kikuyu on the 26th of August, so that this is our
twentieth day out, and we have had decidedly a rough time
1 This is a mistake ; Pumwani was the chief town of the rebel Fumo Omazi,
and was taken and destroyed in the second Witu expedition. "What Sir
Gerald saw was the temporary bivouac erected by the Expedition in a clearing
some five or six miles from Pumwani.
ACCOUNT OF THE JOURNEY
The first day from Kikuyu we descended into the grassy
plains of the Athi II., as if we were going to Machakos, but
on arriving at a little river called the "Mgong" we turned
sharply northwards, following this stream. There was no path,
and the grass was usually about three feet high, very dry and
tangled, which made marching in front of the caravan very tiring
work ; for those behind it was easier, as the front ones beat
down a smooth path. The grass was also full of millions of
ticks, Avhich drove Rhodes and myself almost to desperation.
They got into our clothes and on to our legs by dozens, and
caused more irritation than double their number of fleas or other
crawlers ā in fact, we became really anxious lest we should be
laid up with bad legs, or given fever by being kept awake at
night by the irritation.
Our party consisted of about eighty porters, servants, and
headmen, and thirty of the Zanzibar askaris. On these plains
we had excellent shooting, and regretted that we had not more
mouths to feed, as we only shot what Avas wanted for food. We
could have got any number of hartebeest, zebra, wildebeest, gnu,
and so forth, and could also have shot at least eight or ten
rhino if we had wished. After three days of this we came
across the very worst swamp that I have ever seen even in this
journey. It was all full of tall papyrus twelve or sixteen feet
high, and so thick and tangled that we couldn't see three yards
ahead of us, while the mud and water was usually up to our
middles. Every step of the way through this had to be cut by
knives and choppers ; and occasionally in the middle, where
we couldn't see dry land or anything, we had to cut a long-
way out of our direction in order to avoid deep water and
bottomless mud. We entered this swamp at 9 A.M., and didn't
reach the other side till 3 P.M., the men not being all out till
4. In this beastly place we lost our pony, who stuck in the mud
and was drowned, and two calves which belonged to cows on
which we relied for milk. The calves being dead, the mothers
at once ceased to give any more milk. After the swamp I
pushed on, and at 5 the same evening we crossed a torrent
boiling over great rocks, in which the water came up nearly
to my shoulders. Here again we very nearly had some of the
men carried off their legs and drowned ā but not cpiite.
304 THE MISSION TO UGANDA
Still going northwards towards Mt. Kenia, we crossed
five rivers in five days, and the 31st came suddenly on a
sixth, ninety feet wide and twelve feet deep, running like a
torrent. This was rather a thumper. It seemed impossible
that it should be the Tana, though it might be a big tributary ;
so for a day and a half I marched along its right bank, hoping
it would turn northwards to join the Tana, but the obstinate
beast went S.E., and finally due south or even south-west, heading
straight for the Athi river, so we decided that somehow we must
cross it. After much hunting we found a place where it divided
into four branches, forming islands ; here it foamed, or boiled,
or tumbled in a series of cataracts with a deafening noise.
With tremendous work and difficulty we at last made four
bridges, and got across and canrped.
Next day we had to cross a mountain range, and all day
were clambering and slipping on hills like the sides of houses,
through long grass and huge boulders. This was a very tiring,
long march, and awfully hard on the loaded men coming down on
the northern side into deep valleys. We had some difficulty in
finding any water ā having had far too much of it before. Also
Hutchisson was seriously ill ā had got a chill in the liver crossing
the big swamp ; was in very great pain, and with a good deal of
fever. We couldn't stop for any sick men, as our food supply
was getting short, and there was now hardly any game to be seen
in the stony, hilly, rocky country which we had entered.
At last, on the 2nd of September, we really struck the Tana
itself flowing east, a fine swift river, 120 feet wide, and literally
full of hippos, whose heads were popping up and snorting every
five or ten yards in the smooth reaches. There were no signs of
any sort of inhabitants, and, unfortunately, the banks were fringed
with a belt several miles thick of dense, almost impenetrable
thorn bush, while the mountainous nature of the country and
the innumerable gorges in every direction made it impossible to
tell with certainty the course of the river if we kept outside the
skirts of the bush. However, having come across a fairly good
native path, apparently following the course of the stream, we
determined to follow it, with the result that after a long march
of fifteen miles, on rising a hill after emerging from gullies, we
found to our horror that while we had been complacently tramp-
CROSSING THE TANA 305
ing S.E., thinking we were going parallel with the river, the
Tana, hidden behind mountains, had suddenly turned due north,
and was about fifteen miles away from us, while we could see
absolutely no signs of water anywhere. All stream beds were
dry and dusty, the whole country parched and baked, the men
exhausted, and not a drop of water in the caravan. The
situation was serious, but, providentially, at 2 P.M. Ave found
some green plants growing in a dry torrent bed, and by digging
a little came upon beautiful water. This was a most merciful
escape from a very awkward predicament. Next day we
tramped back to the Tana, cutting our way through hideous and
obstinate thorns, torn to ribbons, scratched and bleeding, halting
every moment as the men in front with knives and choppers
were stopped by a tangled thicket, so that our progress was
dismal and wearisome.
After some days of this terrible thorn work, we arrived at a
place Avhere we decided to cross to the north side in hopes of
finding people and food. Luckily we had shot some hippos, but
all the grain and flour was finished, and the porters cannot go
on for long on meat alone, with nothing to help it. On the 7th
we set to work on the crossing, at a place where the Tana had
divided into six branches, all of them roaring cataracts.
The first was up to our waists, and the men had to cling two
or three together to prevent themselves from being carried away.
The second branch was about the same ā each some twenty-five
yards wide. The third was a narrow but sheer fall between
two high precipitous rocks, where the water rushed with a noise
that made it almost impossible to hear one's neighbour shouting
at the top of his voice.
Over this very jumpy place we at last made a fairly strong
bridge of poles tied together, and over this the men passed
safety, but very slowly. We tried to get the cattle across, but
one cow fell over and was at once smashed against rocks and
drowned, so we killed the other on the spot. By extraordinary
luck, and almost carrying the beast, Ehodes's donkey came safely
We then all thought we were safely across, but to our horror
we found three more branches of the river in front of us, all
cataracts, or foaming over huge boulders. At last, however, we
306 THE MISSION TO UGANDA
all got safely across, and on the other side found more intermin-
able thorn forests and dense bush. About this time, too, Ave
were made very anxious as a party of twenty-one of the Zanzibar
soldiers (who were always doing the wrong thing) didn't turn
up. We lit fires, fired guns, sent out scouting parties, but to no
purpose ; for five days they were lost ! ā idiots ! They have
turned up again now, I am thankful to say.
To cut a long story short, we went on slowly carving our
way through these hateful thorns till the 1 1 th, occasionally see-
ing traces of where natives had been, and at last on that
morning I suddenly came across three natives sitting by the
river. They were frightened out of their wits, but we soon
reassured them, and got them to guide us by some paths
which we should never have found ourselves out of the thorn
forest to some big clearings where we are now, and where there
is abundance of Indian corn, beans, and sweet potatoes. Most
of the men had had nothing to eat for twenty-four hours, and
have consequently now all over -eaten themselves, and are
incapable of moving, with stomachs swollen out and as tight as
drums ! I meant to march forward to-day, but a most serious
thing has happened : the man carrying our whole stock of beads
ā the currency of all these countries ā has disappeared with his
load. I have sent out search parties in every direction, and
have offered rewards to the native chiefs if they will bring him
in, so I trust he will be found, but if he is really lost it puts us
in a serious hole, ā 300 miles from the coast and no means of
buying food ! It is true we have some cloth, but that we
shall want for buying canoes 100 miles lower down, where the
river becomes less full of rapids, and also cloth is not good for
buying grain, which has to be bought up in very small quan-
tities by different natives.
Hutchisson is better, but still suffers a great deal of pain in
his right side, and, as a last misfortune, the Colonel's invaluable
donkey, which has always carried the invalids, has been stung by
a fly which the natives say is fatal, ā the poor beast certainly
looks like dying.
I sincerely hope that we are now through the worst part of
the journey, and that the rest will be easier work. One good
thing is that we have now reached the part to which Capt. Dundas
THE GRAND FALLS 309
came in 1891, and of which he made a rough map, so that we
have now something to guide us from Hameye (150 miles ahead
of us) down to the coast. I hope to be able to get canoes,
which will be a great relief, as, even if I can't get enough for the
whole part} ? , we shall be able to embark most of the loads and
rest the men. All these casualties and misfortunes will make us
a fortnight later on the coast than I had calculated.
2nd October 1893,
Near Balarti, a little below Hameye.
To continue from where I left off a fortnight ago : the
Colonel's donkey died next day from the fly -bite, but the man
with the beads turned up all right. From the Mbe country we
came pretty easily in two days to the country of the Wathaka
people, where we had to buy sufficient food to take us through
the 120 miles of uninhabited country which lay between them
and Korokoro. We had a good deal of trouble in getting this
food, although there were plenty of signs of a good harvest
having been gathered, because we could not get into touch with
the people. They all ran away and would not come near the
camp. I sent into their villages, but again they ran away.
When at last we managed to inspire a little confidence, the
people complained that they had been ill-treated by a white man
who had been there before, who had beaten them and taken all
their corn and cattle by force.
Our last day in Wathaka we camped in a beautiful spot on
the river bank under giant trees, and just where the Tana goes
over its " Grand Falls," about sixty feet high, with a tremendous
roar and excitement, and boiling and foam. The falls are quite
lovely, in four or five branches, each overhung by great trees and
palms and huge rocks. At last I had managed, on the 19th
September, to collect enough food for ten days for the party, ā
all Indian corn and small beans, and we left the Wathaka and
started again down the north bank of the Tana through
uninhabited, desolate country.
We had confidently hoped that now we should find it much
easier travelling, but were bitterly and very completely dis-
appointed to find ourselves at once again in thick, impenetrable
sharp thorns, and rocky hills and gorges. For days we had to
3io THE MISSION TO UGANDA
chop and cut every step of the way, and it is no joke to cut
through such thorns as these, which tear the men's hands and
faces as they work, and run into their feet. Sometimes it took
us an hour to get over half a mile. Sometimes we scrambled
over rocks and huge boulders, or else deep soft sand in the river
bed itself, as the water was fortunately low.
All this time, ever since we first struck the Tana, we had
seen no game, and we were greatly exercised about getting meat
for ourselves and the men. For the latter we shot hippos, and
about one in every three got caught up in rocks or near the
bank, where the men by swimming and wading could make
them fast with a rope, or tow them ashore. For ourselves, we
depended entirely on my shot gun; and, fortunately, I was able,
by much struggling through thorns in the afternoons, to keep
us supplied /with guinea-fowl, of which there Avere a fair number
in most places. Very good they were, too, so we lived on
nothing but guinea-fowl and an occasional partridge for about
three weeks. As we got nearer Hamej^e the country became
less mountainous and a little less thorny, and sometimes we
strode along for quite a mile at a time without having to stop
and cut. This was really luxury ; and here, too, there were a
lot of little gazelle, about as big as hares, which were quite
excellent, and a change from the old guinea-hen. If I had not
brought a shot gun I don't know what we should have done,
as Rhodes has only rifles for heavy game. To cut a long story
short, we arrived at last on 29th September at Hameye, where
thirty canoes had been sent from the coast to meet us (above
Hameye the river is one long succession of rapids and cataracts,
and no canoe could live in it).
We arrived with sighs of relief and hope, to find nothing ā
and nobody ! The canoes had waited, and had all gone back to
the coast just fifteen days ago! This was real bad luck; no
inhabitants could be found, and the old food difficulty was
beginning again ! The men all wanted a rest, as they had had
very hard work for many days, and were all getting knocked
up, and Hutchisson was again really seedy.
Now the character of the river changed, and instead of
forest of thorn, the banks were fringed with swamps and
impenetrable green jungles, sometimes extending for several
BUYING CANOES 311
miles back. But Ave had to push on at all costs, and after
three more heart-breaking marches through swamp and jungle,
here we are camped on a sand-bank in the river-bed, but in an
inhabited country, and with the camp now full of Indian corn
and naked niggers. These people all live on islands, and as
the only means of communication are by river and canoes, there