Henry M. Stanley.

How I Found Livingstone; travels, adventures, and discoveres in Central Africa, including an account of four months' residence with Dr. Livingstone, by Henry M. Stanley online

. (page 20 of 38)
Online LibraryHenry M. StanleyHow I Found Livingstone; travels, adventures, and discoveres in Central Africa, including an account of four months' residence with Dr. Livingstone, by Henry M. Stanley → online text (page 20 of 38)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

supplied to my own disadvantage. The men of this village were an idle
set, doing little but hunting, gaping, gossiping, and playing like great
boys. During the interval of my stay at Mrera I employed a large portion
of my time in mending my shoes, and patching up the great rents in my
clothes, which the thorn species, during the late marches, had almost
destroyed. Westward, beyond Mrera, was a wilderness, the transit of
which we were warned would occupy nine days hence arose the necessity
to purchase a large supply of grain, which, ere attempting the great
uninhabited void in our front, was to be ground and sifted.


Happy auspices, - Ant-hills. - The water-shed of the Tanganika
Lion. - The king of Kasera. - The home of the lion and the
leopard. - A donkey frightens a leopard - Sublime scenes in
Kawendi, - Starvation imminent. - Amenities of travel in
Africa. - Black-mailers. - The stormy children of Uhha. - News
of a white man. - Energetic marches - Mionvu, chief of
tribute-takers. - An escape at midnight. - Toiling through the
jungles. - The Lake Mountains. - First view of the Tanganika. -
Arrival at Ujiji, - The happy meeting with Livingstone.

We bade farewell to Mrera on the 17th of October, to continue our route
north-westward. All the men and I were firm friends now; all squabbling
had long ceased. Bombay and I had forgotten our quarrel; the kirangozi
and myself were ready to embrace, so loving and affectionate were the
terms upon which we stood towards one another. Confidence returned to
all hearts - for now, as Mabruk Unyanyembe said, "we could smell the fish
of the Tanganika." Unyanyembe, with all its disquietude, was far behind.
We could snap our fingers at that terrible Mirambo and his unscrupulous
followers, and by-and-by, perhaps, we may be able to laugh at the timid
seer who always prophesied portentous events - Sheikh, the son of Nasib.
We laughed joyously, as we glided in Indian file through the young
forest jungle beyond the clearing of Mrera, and boasted of our prowess.
Oh! we were truly brave that morning!

Emerging from the jungle, we entered a thin forest, where numerous
ant-hills were seen like so many sand-dunes. I imagine that these
ant-hills were formed during a remarkably wet season, when, possibly,
the forest-clad plain was inundated. I have seen the ants at work
by thousands, engaged in the work of erecting their hills in other
districts suffering from inundation. What a wonderful system of cells
these tiny insects construct! A perfect labyrinth - cell within cell,
room within room, hall within hall - an exhibition of engineering talents
and high architectural capacity - a model city, cunningly contrived for
safety and comfort!

Emerging after a short hour's march out of the forest, we welcome the
sight of a murmuring translucent stream, swiftly flowing towards the
north-west, which we regard with the pleasure which only men who have
for a long time sickened themselves with that potable liquid of the
foulest kind, found in salinas, mbugas, pools, and puddle holes, can
realize. Beyond this stream rises a rugged and steep ridge, from the
summit of which our eyes are gladdened with scenes that are romantic,
animated and picturesque. They form an unusual feast to eyes sated with
looking into the depths of forests, at towering stems of trees, and at
tufted crowns of foliage. We have now before us scores of cones, dotting
the surface of a plain which extends across Southern Ukonongo to the
territory of the Wafipa, and which reaches as far as the Rikwa Plain.
The immense prospect before which we are suddenly ushered is most
varied; exclusive of conical hills and ambitious flat-topped and
isolated mountains, we are in view of the watersheds of the Rungwa
River, which empties into the Tanganika south of where we stand, and of
the Malagarazi River, which the Tanganika receives, a degree or so north
of this position. A single but lengthy latitudinal ridge serves as a
dividing line to the watershed of the Rungwa and Malagarazi; and a score
of miles or so further west of this ridge rises another, which runs
north and south.

We camped on this day in the jungle, close to a narrow ravine with a
marshy bottom, through the oozy, miry contents of which the waters from
the watershed of the Rungwa slowly trickled southward towards the Rikwa
Plain. This was only one of many ravines, however, some of which were
several hundred yards broad, others were but a few yards in width, the
bottoms of which were most dangerous quagmires, overgrown with dense
tall reeds and papyrus. Over the surface of these great depths of mud
were seen hundreds of thin threads of slimy ochre-coloured water, which
swarmed with animalculae. By-and-by, a few miles south of the base
of this ridge (which I call Kasera, from the country which it cuts in
halves), these several ravines converge and debouch into the
broad, [marshy?], oozy, spongy "river" of Usense, which trends in a
south-easterly direction; after which, gathering the contents of the
watercourses from the north and northeast into its own broader channel,
it soon becomes a stream of some breadth and consequence, and meets a
river flowing from the east, from the direction of Urori, with which it
conflows in the Rikwa Plain, and empties about sixty rectilineal miles
further west into the Tanganika Lake. The Rungwa River, I am informed,
is considered as a boundary line between the country of Usowa on the
north, and Ufipa on the south.

We had barely completed the construction of our camp defences when
some of the men were heard challenging a small party of natives which
advanced towards our camp, headed by a man who, from his garb and
head-dress, we knew was from Zanzibar. After interchanging the customary
salutations, I was informed that this party was an embassy from Simba
("Lion"), who ruled over Kasera, in Southern Unyamwezi. Simba, I was
told, was the son of Mkasiwa, King of Unyanyembe, and was carrying on
war with the Wazavira, of whom I was warned to beware. He had heard such
reports of my greatness that he was sorry I did not take his road to
Ukawendi, that he might have had the opportunity of seeing me, and
making friends with me; but in the absence of a personal visit Simba had
sent this embassy to overtake me, in the hope that I would present him
with a token of my friendship in the shape of cloth. Though I was rather
taken aback by the demand, still it was politic in me to make this
powerful chief my friend, lest on my return from the search after
Livingstone he and I might fall out. And since it was incumbent on me
to make a present, for the sake of peace, it was necessary to exhibit
my desire for peace by giving - if I gave at all - a royal present. The
ambassador conveyed from me to Simba, or the "Lion" of Kasera, two
gorgeous cloths, and two other doti consisting of Merikani and Kaniki;
and, if I might believe the ambassador, I had made Simba a friend for

On the 18th of October, breaking camp at the usual hour, we continued
our march north-westward by a road which zig-zagged along the base of
the Kasera mountains, and which took us into all kinds of difficulties.
We traversed at least a dozen marshy ravines, the depth of mire and
water in which caused the utmost anxiety. I sunk up to my neck in deep
holes in the Stygian ooze caused by elephants, and had to tramp through
the oozy beds of the Rungwa sources with any clothes wet and black with
mud and slime. Decency forbade that I should strip; and the hot sun
would also blister my body. Moreover, these morasses were too frequent
to lose time in undressing and dressing, and, as each man was weighted
with his own proper load, it would have been cruel to compel the men
to bear me across. Nothing remained, therefore, but to march on, all
encumbered as I was with my clothing and accoutrements, into these
several marshy watercourses, with all the philosophical stoicism that my
nature could muster for such emergencies. But it was very uncomfortable,
to say the least of it.

We soon entered the territory of the dreaded Wazavira, but no enemy was
in sight. Simba, in his wars, had made clean work of the northern
part of Uzavira, and we encountered nothing worse than a view of the
desolated country, which must have been once - judging from the number
of burnt huts and debris of ruined villages - extremely populous. A young
jungle was sprouting up vigorously in their fields, and was rapidly
becoming the home of wild denizens of the forest. In one of the deserted
and ruined villages, I found quarters for the Expedition, which were
by no means uncomfortable. I shot three brace of guinea-fowl in the
neighbourhood of Misonghi, the deserted village we occupied, and
Ulimengo, one of my hunters, bagged an antelope, called the "mbawala,"
for whose meat some of the Wanyamwezi have a superstitious aversion. I
take this species of antelope, which stands about three and a half
feet high, of a reddish hide, head long, horns short, to be the "Nzoe"
antelope discovered by Speke in Uganda, and whose Latin designation
is, according to Dr. Sclater, "Tragelaphus Spekii." It has a short bushy
tail, and long hair along the spine.

A long march in a west-by-north direction, lasting six hours, through
a forest where the sable antelope was seen, and which was otherwise
prolific with game, brought us to a stream which ran by the base of
a lofty conical hill, on whose slopes flourished quite a forest of
feathery bamboo.

On the 20th, leaving our camp, which lay between the stream and the
conical hill above mentioned, and surmounting a low ridge which sloped
from the base of the hill-cone, we were greeted with another picturesque
view, of cones and scarped mountains, which heaved upward in all
directions. A march of nearly five hours through this picturesque
country brought us to the Mpokwa River, one of the tributaries of the
Rungwa, and to a village lately deserted by the Wazavira. The huts
were almost all intact, precisely as they were left by their former
inhabitants. In the gardens were yet found vegetables, which, after
living so long on meat, were most grateful to us. On the branches of
trees still rested the Lares and Penates of the Wazavira, in the shape
of large and exceedingly well-made earthen pots.

In the neighbouring river one of my men succeeded, in few minutes, in
catching sixty fish of the silurus species the hand alone. A number of
birds hovered about stream, such as the white-headed fish-eagle and the
kingfisher, enormous, snowy spoonbills, ibis, martins, &c. This river
issued from a mountain clump eight miles or so north of the village
of Mpokwa, and comes flowing down a narrow thread of water, sinuously
winding amongst tall reeds and dense brakes on either side-the home
of hundreds of antelopes and buffaloes. South of Mpokwa, the valley
broadens, and the mountains deflect eastward and westward, and beyond
this point commences the plain known as the Rikwa, which, during the
Masika is inundated, but which, in the dry season, presents the same
bleached aspect that plains in Africa generally do when the grass has

Travelling up along the right bank of the Mpokwa, on the 21st we came
to the head of the stream, and the sources of the Mpokwa, issuing out of
deep defiles enclosed by lofty ranges. The mbawala and the buffalo were

On the 22nd, after a march of four hours and a half, we came to the
beautiful stream of Mtambu - the water of which was sweet, and clear as
crystal, and flowed northward. We saw for the first time the home of the
lion and the leopard. Hear what Freiligrath says of the place:

Where the thorny brake and thicket
Densely fill the interspace
Of the trees, through whose thick branches
Never sunshine lights the place,
There the lion dwells, a monarch,
Mightiest among the brutes;
There his right to reign supremest
Never one his claim disputes.
There he layeth down to slumber,
Having slain and ta'en his fill;
There he roameth, there be croucheth,
As it suits his lordly will.

We camped but a few yards from just such a place as the poet describes.
The herd-keeper who attended the goats and donkeys, soon after our
arrival in camp, drove the animals to water, and in order to obtain it
they travelled through a tunnel in the brake, caused by elephants and
rhinoceros. They had barely entered the dark cavernous passage, when a
black-spotted leopard sprang, and fastened its fangs in the neck of
one of the donkeys, causing it, from the pain, to bray hideously. Its
companions set up such a frightful chorus, and so lashed their heels in
the air at the feline marauder, that the leopard bounded away through
the brake, as if in sheer dismay at the noisy cries which the attack
had provoked. The donkey's neck exhibited some frightful wounds, but the
animal was not dangerously hurt.

Thinking that possibly I might meet with an adventure with a lion or a
leopard in that dark belt of tall trees, under whose impenetrable
shade grew the dense thicket that formed such admirable coverts for the
carnivorous species, I took a stroll along the awesome place with
the gunbearer, Kalulu, carrying an extra gun, and a further supply of
ammunition. We crept cautiously along, looking keenly into the deep
dark dens, the entrances of which were revealed to us, as we journeyed,
expectant every moment to behold the reputed monarch of the brake and
thicket, bound forward to meet us, and I took a special delight in
picturing, in my imagination, the splendor and majesty of the wrathful
brute, as he might stand before me. I peered closely into every dark
opening, hoping to see the deadly glitter of the great angry eyes, and
the glowering menacing front of the lion as he would regard me. But,
alas! after an hour's search for adventure, I had encountered nothing,
and I accordingly waxed courageous, and crept into one of these leafy,
thorny caverns, and found myself shortly standing under a canopy of
foliage that was held above my head fully a hundred feet by the shapely
and towering stems of the royal mvule. Who can imagine the position? A
smooth lawn-like glade; a dense and awful growth of impenetrable jungle
around us; those stately natural pillars - a glorious phalanx of royal
trees, bearing at such sublime heights vivid green masses of foliage,
through which no single sun-ray penetrated, while at our feet babbled
the primeval brook, over smooth pebbles, in soft tones befitting the
sacred quiet of the scene! Who could have desecrated this solemn, holy
harmony of nature? But just as I was thinking it impossible that any man
could be tempted to disturb the serene solitude of the place, I saw
a monkey perched high on a branch over my head, contemplating, with
something of an awe-struck look, the strange intruders beneath. Well, I
could not help it, I laughed - laughed loud and long, until I was hushed
by the chaos of cries and strange noises which seemed to respond to my
laughing. A troop of monkeys, hidden in the leafy depths above, had been
rudely awakened, and, startled by the noise I made, were hurrying away
from the scene with a dreadful clamor of cries and shrieks.

Emerging again into the broad sunlight, I strolled further in search
of something to shoot. Presently, I saw, feeding quietly in the
forest which bounded the valley of the Mtambu on the left, a huge,
reddish-coloured wild boar, armed with most horrid tusks. Leaving Kalulu
crouched down behind a tree, and my solar helmet behind another close
by - that I might more safely stalk the animal - I advanced towards him
some forty yards, and after taking a deliberate aim, fired at his fore
shoulder. As if nothing had hurt him whatever, the animal made a furious
bound, and then stood with his bristles erected, and tufted tail, curved
over the back - a most formidable brute in appearance. While he was thus
listening, and searching the neighbourhood with his keen, small eyes,
I planted another shot in his chest, which ploughed its way through his
body. Instead of falling, however, as I expected he would, he charged
furiously in the direction the bullet had come, and as he rushed past
me, another ball was fired, which went right through him; but still he
kept on, until, within six or seven yards from the trees behind which
Kalulu was crouching down on one side, and the helmet was resting behind
another, he suddenly halted, and then dropped. But as I was about to
advance on him with my knife to cut his throat, he suddenly started
up; his eyes had caught sight of the little boy Kalulu, and were then,
almost immediately afterwards, attracted by the sight of the snowy
helmet. These strange objects on either side of him proved too much for
the boar, for, with a terrific grunt, he darted on one side into a
thick brake, from which it was impossible to oust him, and as it was now
getting late, and the camp was about three miles away, I was reluctantly
obliged to return without the meat.

On our way to camp we were accompanied by a large animal which
persistently followed us on our left. It was too dark to see plainly,
but a large form was visible, if not very clearly defined. It must have
been a lion, unless it was the ghost of the dead boar.

That night, about 11 P.M., we were startled by the roar of a lion, in
close proximity to the camp. Soon it was joined by another, and another
still, and the novelty of the thing kept me awake. I peered through
the gate of the camp, and endeavoured to sight a rifle - my little
Winchester, in the accuracy of which I had perfect confidence; but,
alas! for the cartridges, they might have been as well filled with
sawdust for all the benefit I derived from them. Disgusted with the
miserable ammunition, I left the lions alone, and turned in, with their
roaring as a lullaby.

That terrestrial paradise for the hunter, the valley of the pellucid
Mtambu, was deserted by us the next morning for the settlement commonly
known to the Wakawendi as Imrera's, with as much unconcern as though
it were a howling desert. The village near which we encamped was called
Itaga, in the district of Rusawa. As soon as we had crossed the River
Mtambu we had entered Ukawendi, commonly called "Kawendi" by the natives
of the country.

The district of Rusawa is thickly populated. The people are quiet and
well-disposed to strangers, though few ever come to this region from
afar. One or two Wasawahili traders visit it every year or so from
Pumburu and Usowa; but very little ivory being obtained from the people,
the long distance between the settlements serves to deter the regular
trader from venturing hither.

If caravans arrive here, the objective point to them is the district
of Pumburu, situated south-westerly one day's good marching, or,
say, thirty statute miles from Imrera; or they make for Usowa, on the
Tanganika, via Pumburu, Katuma, Uyombeh, and Ugarawah. Usowa is quite an
important district on the Tanganika, populous and flourishing. This was
the road we had intended to adopt after leaving Imrera, but the reports
received at the latter place forbade such a venture. For Mapunda, the
Sultan of Usowa, though a great friend to Arab traders, was at war with
the colony of the Wazavira, who we must remember were driven from
Mpokwa and vicinity in Utanda, and who were said to have settled between
Pumburu and Usowa.

It remained for us, like wise, prudent men, having charge of a large and
valuable Expedition on our hands, to decide what to do, and what route
to adopt, now that we had approached much nearer to Ujiji than we were
to Unyanyembe. I suggested that we should make direct for the Tanganika
by compass, trusting to no road or guide, but to march direct west until
we came to the Tanganika, and then follow the lake shore on foot until
we came to Ujiji. For it ever haunted my mind, that, if Dr. Livingstone
should hear of my coming, which he might possibly do if I travelled
along any known road, he would leave, and that my search for him would
consequently be a "stern chase." But my principal men thought it better
that we should now boldly turn our faces north, and march for the
Malagarazi, which was said to be a large river flowing from the east
to the Tanganika. But none of my men knew the road to the Malagarazi,
neither could guides be hired from Sultan Imrera. We were, however,
informed that the Malagarazi was but two days' march from Imrera. I
thought it safe, in such a case, to provision my men with three days'
rations. The village of Itaga is situated in a deep mountain hollow,
finely overlooking a large extent of cultivation. The people grow sweet
potatoes, manioc - out of which tapioca is made - beans, and the holcus.
Not one chicken could be purchased for love or money, and, besides
grain, only a lean, scraggy specimen of a goat, a long time ago imported
form Uvinza, was procurable.

October the 25th will be remembered by me as a day of great troubles; in
fact, a series of troubles began from this date. We struck an easterly
road in order to obtain a passage to the lofty plateau which bounded the
valley of Imrera on the west and on the north. We camped, after a two
and a half hours' march, at its foot. The defile promised a feasible
means of ascent to the summit of the plateau, which rose upward in a
series of scarps a thousand feet above the valley of Imrera.

While ascending that lofty arc of mountains which bounded westerly
and northerly the basin of Imrera, extensive prospects southward and
eastward were revealed. The character of the scenery at Ukawendi is
always animated and picturesque, but never sublime. The folds of this
ridge contained several ruins of bomas, which seemed to have been
erected during war time.

The mbemba fruit was plentiful along this march, and every few minutes I
could see from the rear one or two men hastening to secure a treasure of
it which they discovered on the ground.

A little before reaching the camp I had a shot at a leopard, but failed
to bring him down as he bounded away. At night the lions roared as at
the Mtambu River.

A lengthy march under the deep twilight shadows of a great forest, which
protected us from the hot sunbeams, brought us, on the next day, to a
camp newly constructed by a party of Arabs from Ujiji, who had advanced
thus far on their road to Unyanyembe, but, alarmed at the reports of the
war between Mirambo and the Arabs, had returned. Our route was along the
right bank of the Rugufu, a broad sluggish stream, well choked with
the matete reeds and the papyrus. The tracks and the bois de vaches
of buffaloes were numerous, and there were several indications of
rhinoceros being near. In a deep clump of timber near this river we
discovered a colony of bearded and leonine-looking monkeys.

As we were about leaving our camp on the morning of the 28th a herd of
buffalo walked deliberately into view. Silence was quickly restored,
but not before the animals, to their great surprise, had discovered the
danger which confronted them. We commenced stalking them, but we soon
heard the thundering sound of their gallop, after which it becomes a
useless task to follow them, with a long march in a wilderness before

The road led on this day over immense sheets of sandstone and iron ore.
The water was abominable, and scarce, and famine began to stare us
in the face. We travelled for six hours, and had yet seen no sign of
cultivation anywhere. According to my map we were yet two long marches
from the Malagarazi - if Captain Burton had correctly laid down the
position of the river; according to the natives' account, we should have
arrived at the Malagarazi on this day.

On the 29th we left our camp, and after a few minutes, we were in view
of the sublimest, but ruggedest, scenes we had yet beheld in Africa. The
country was cut up in all directions by deep, wild, and narrow ravines
trending in all directions, but generally toward the north-west, while
on either side rose enormous square masses of naked rock (sandstone),
sometimes towering, and rounded, sometimes pyramidal, sometimes in
truncated cones, sometimes in circular ridges, with sharp, rugged, naked
backs, with but little vegetation anywhere visible, except it obtained
a precarious tenure in the fissured crown of some gigantic hill-top,
whither some soil had fallen, or at the base of the reddish ochre scarps
which everywhere lifted their fronts to our view.

A long series of descents down rocky gullies, wherein we were environed
by threatening masses of disintegrated rock, brought us to a dry, stony

Online LibraryHenry M. StanleyHow I Found Livingstone; travels, adventures, and discoveres in Central Africa, including an account of four months' residence with Dr. Livingstone, by Henry M. Stanley → online text (page 20 of 38)