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Oliver Howard] [Wolfe.

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THE BIG GAME OF AFRICA



THE BIG GAME OF
AFRICA



BY
RICHARD TJADER




WITH MANT ILLUSTRATIONS FROM
PHOTOGRAPHS BY THE AUTHOR



D. APPLETON AND COMPANY

NEW YORK AND LONDON

1910



<b'^\^



Copyright, 1910, by
D. APPLETON AND COMPANY



Published November, 1910



Printed in the United States of America



©CLA^yg^ia



TO

MY DEVOTED WIFE

THIS VOLUME IS
DEDICATED



INTRODUCTION



Good books on hunting trips and adventures in the Dark Con-
tinent are plentiful. My only apology for offering to the public
The Big Game of Africa is my desire to comply with the wishes of
many friends, who, having heard my lectures on Africa, have
repeatedly asked me to issue something like them in book form.

This volume is not only a narrative of my own wanderings and
experiences in that continent, but is also intended to be a guide book
to those many who are interested in the life and habits of the African
game animals as well as in the best way of stalking these with either
camera or gun. For in the many good books on hunting in the Dark
Continent, little or nothing has been said that may help the would-be
African big game hunter in the selection of the proper outfit, guns,
cameras, curing materials, etc., nor do they give him any definite
information as to where, when and how to secure the game he wants,
and none of them contains the most necessary introduction to the
Ki-Swahili language, even a slight knowledge of which will prove
of immense help to the sportsman when hunting in British East
Africa, German East Africa and Uganda.

This book is the result of my own experiences and observations
during three different expeditions to British East Africa, and con-
tains the most reliable information I was able to obtain from other
sportsmen and professional hunters, as well as from the wild sons
of that wonderful game country who, themselves, spend most of
their lives roaming around among the Big Game of Africa.

vii



INTRODUCTION

If, therefore, through the following pages the reader will be
benefited to some extent, as well as derive pleasure from the photo-
graphs and simple accounts of big game hunting, which are related
without exaggeration or " stretching," my labor has indeed not been
in vain.

R. T.



CONTENTS



CHAPTER I
BRITISH EAST AFRICA

PAGES

General topography and climate — An enormous zoo — Bother-
some insects — The best shooting grounds — Different game
districts — The best hunting seasons — Present game laws —
The big-game reserves — Different shooting licenses . 1-19

CHAPTER H

THE CARAVAN OR "SAFARI"

The Safari — The Swahili language — Fitting out the caravan —
Average expenses of a The buffalo a very wary
beast — A great disappointment — A successful hunt — Why
the natives fear the buffalo — His great vitality — Recently
declared a " vermin " in Uganda — The courage ot the
buffalo — A lucky shot — The buffaloes increasing . 103-113

CHAPTER VIII

LEOPARDS AND CHEETAHS

Are there different species of leopards ? — The black leopard —
Powerful and destructive beasts — Much feared by the
natives — The leopard as man-eater and undertaker — A
plague to the natives — More cunning than the lion —
Native leopard traps — Catching the big cat — A long shot —
Using the Maxim gun-silencer — A dangerous antagonist
— Trained cheetahs for sport — The doglike animal not
destructive — Courageous when wounded or cornered — A
very keen-sighted animal — Asgar's cheetah chase — The
animal partially protected 1 14-129

CHAPTER IX

THE AFRICAN RHINOCEROS

Five different species of rhino — The white and the black Afri-
can rhino — Two different types of the black variety —

3d



CONTENTS

PAGES

Strangely shaped horns — A treacherous brute — The rhino
bird — Interfering with railroad building — Its remarkably
" fine nose " — Stalking rhinos with the camera — Their
much-discussed poor eyesight — A terrible antagonist —
On rhino trail in dense brush — An ugly charge — A lucky
shot — The rhino's " investigations " — Its different be-
havior — A curious charge — A successful hunt — Killed
by a female rhino — The destructiveness of the animal —
Nightly visits — A narrow escape — The protective " bo-
ma " — The rhino a most dangerous beast . . . 130-151

CHAPTER X

THE LARGER EAST AFRICAN ANTELOPES

The characteristics of antelopes — Vast herds on the plains —
The stately eland — Its favorite grazing grounds — A very
wary animal, difficult to stalk — Combined meekness and
strength of the eland — A prey unconscious of its power —
Eland meat a delicacy — The beautiful roan — A courageous
beast — The sable antelope, a much-coveted trophy — Rare
in British East Africa — Fierce and dangerous when cor-
nered — The curious gnu — Herds of countless wildebeests
— A long shot — The gnu possesses great vitality — A
tremendous surprise — The intelligence of the wildebeests

152-172

CHAPTER XI

THE LARGER EAST AFRICAN ANTELOPES (Continued)

The magnificent greater kudu — Hard to secure in British East
Africa — Stalking the kudu with camera — The water
buck — A new subspecies, the " Cobus defassa tjaderi " —
The beautiful impalla — Its marvelous leaps and great
vitality — Impalla meat not fit for the table — The lovely
oryx — An interesting hunt — The oryx one of the most
courageous antelopes — The beautiful Grant's gazelle — Its
meat very palatable — The splendid little antelopes too
much pursued 173-191

xii



CONTENTS

CHAPTER XII
THE HARTEBEEST AND ZEBRA

PAGES

The hartebeest a very ugly-looking animal — Different species —
A fine Jackson's hartebeest — The inquisitive kongoni — •
A nuisance to the hunter — Common lion food — A very
keen-sighted and wary animal — Caravan lost and found
— The beautiful zebra — Three varieties existing — The
Grevy's and Burchell's zebra — The latter the most com-
mon wild animal in British East Africa — Enormous zebra
herds — They are stupid and forgetful — Very fond of
water — Stampeding zebras — The animal's commercial
value — Is now purposely being exterminated for its de-
structiveness 192-210

CHAPTER XIII

HYENAS, MONKEYS, AND PIGS

The repulsive hyena — Spotted and striped varieties — Hyenas
not exclusively scavengers — The beasts as man-eaters —
They often hunt in broad daylight — Hyenas as under-
takers — Their hideous howl — A cornered hyena — The
monkey family — Their destructiveness to crops and gar-
dens — The beautiful colobus — Performing monkeys — An
all-white colobus — This species never seen in menageries —
The ugly baboons — Easily tamed — The giant pig — The
hideous wart hog — The mischievous bush pig . . 211-226

CHAPTER XIV

AFRICAN REPTILES AND BIRDS

The deadly puflf adder — Curious way of attacking its enemies
or prey — Puff-adder poison for savages' arrow points —
The powerful python — A monarch among snakes — Step-
ping on a python — The big reptile a good tree climber —

xiii



CONTENTS

PAGES

Other poisonous snakes — The dangerous crocodile — ^A
crocodile killing a rhino — ^When they turn man-eaters —
The monster fond of birds — The danger of crossing rivers
where there are many crocodiles — How to cross in safety
• — The giant bustard — The now protected ostrich — Mil-
lions of guinea fowl — Great numbers of geese, ducks,
flamingoes and other birds 227-244

CHAPTER XV

THE NATIVES OF BRITISH EAST AFRICA

The Bantu negro — The Swahili tribe — How they build their
houses — The coast people's dress — " Lazy, lying thieves "
— The intoxicating palm wine — Buying wives on the
installment plan — The Wanika — The Wateita — Scaring
away the " rain gods " — Wonderful deliverance — The
Wakamba — Their deadly arrow poison — The promising
Kikuju tribe — Extremely fond of all kinds of ornaments —
A Kikuju romance — The powerful Masai — Their uncer-
tain origin — Their strange houses — The El-Moran — The
wild Wanderobo — The best native animal trackers — The
industrious Kavirondo — Their nude but chaste women —
People with " tails " — ^A superstitious people in a rich
country . ' 245-261

CHAPTER XVI

MISSIONARIES, SETTLERS, AND GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS

Characteristics of the natives — Cruel customs — Degraded
womanhood — Africa's need of mission work — Globe trot-
ters' criticism of foreign missions — The settlers' attitude —
Unscrupulous whites — Mission work as seen by rulers
and statesmen — Inefficient missionaries — Sir Harry John-
ston's testimony about Uganda — Offensive settlers — High-
class officials — The truth about " mission boys " — The
hope of Africa 262-274

xiv



CONTENTS



CHAPTER XVII

HINTS ON AFRICAN PHOTOGRAPHY AND THE PRESERVING

OF TROPHIES

PAGES

The importance and pleasure of wild-animal photography —
Great patience and skill required — A rather dangerous
undertaking — What cameras to take — The telephoto ap-
paratus — American or foreign makes? — Underexposing
general in the beginning — The advisability of taking films
or plates — The developing machines — How to skin an
animal properly — The most necessary measurements —
Different ways of curing the skins — Various kinds of
trophies — Our obligations to science and coming genera-
tions 275-286

CHAPTER XVIII

GENERAL OUTFIT AND ROUTE OF TRAVEL

A sufficient yet not too bulky outfit — The all-important tent —
Necessary provisions — Practical hunting clothes — Boots
and leggings — Underclothes and stockings — Camp furni-
ture — Cooking utensils — The emergency tent — The best
armament — Small or big bore guns? — The telescope and
the gun silencer — The shotgun — Ways of reaching
Mombasa . 287-298

CHAPTER XIX

RETROSPECT AND CONCLUSION

Ex-President Roosevelt on big game hunting in British East
Africa — Is the big game threatened with extermination? —
The native as big game hunter — Firearms and natives —
Many hunting parties — Three good rules for sportsmen —
The characteristic game of plains, bush, and forest — The
probable future of East Africa as a big game country —
The charm of the chase 299-305

XV



CONTENTS



APPENDIX



PAGES

I The Ki-Swahili Language 307-333

II Key to the Exercises 334-342

III SwahiH-English Vocabulary 343-356

INDEX . 357-364



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS



FACING
PAGE

Richard Tjader Frontispiece ^

Map of the hunting district, drawn by the author ... i

Camp of the Tjader East African expedition, 1906, at Solai,

B. E. A 24 ^'

Photograph by H. Lang.

The advance guard of a caravan crossing a river on the way to

Sotik 24

Photograph by R. Tjader.

Young lion walking toward the camera . . , . . 32 •'

Courtesy of Mrs. Caveth.

Lioness killed on the Athi Plains 32

Photograph by R. Tjader.

Large, black-maned lion killed on the Sotik Plain, May, 1909 38 ^'
Photograph by R. Tjader.

Large, black-maned lion killed on the Sotik Plain, May, 1909 38
Photograph by R. Tjader.

The lioness which almost killed the author . . . . 46 -
Photograph by R. Tjader.

A fine specimen 46

Elephants coming through high bush and elephant grass . 64 •
Photograph by R. Tjader.

A splendid trophy: a big bull elephant killed near the Gojito

Mountains, 1906 64

Photograph by R. Tjader.

Large bull giraffe, shot through the heart near Maungu R.R.

station 78 *^

Photograph by H. Lang.

2 xvii



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS



FACING
PAGE



Bull giraffe in the Mimosa Jungle on Laikipia .... 78
Photograph by R. Tjader.

Hippo heads showing above the surface of the water in the

Sondo River 94

Photograph by R. Tjader.

Sleeping hippos in the Tana River not far from Fort Hall . 94

Sleeping hippo photographed close to the Sondo River, 1909 . 96^

Photograph by R. Tjader.
Hunting leopard killed by a shotgun with No. B. B. . . 96

Photograph by H. Lang.

A magnificent bull buffalo killed in the Kedong Valley . . 106''

Courtesy of Mrs. N. Carveth.
Large head of the ordinary water buck, Cobus defassa . . 106

Photograph by H. Lang.
Wounded leopard on the Sotik Plains 120

Photograph by R. Tjader.
Young male leopard 120

Courtesy of W. P. Ingall,
Two rhinos asleep on the plains to the northwest of Guaso

Narok, distance about forty yards 132

Photograph by R. Tjader.

The same animals. Note the tick birds on the backs of the

beasts 132

Photograph by R. Tjader.

The same animals. The one facing the camera is about to

charge at full speed 134

At about ten yards he fell, killed instantly by a bullet from the

big -577 Express rifle 134

Two different types of rhinos; the upper one represents the

bush rhino, the lower one the rhino of the plains . . 146
Photograph by H. Lang.
Another splendid trophy 146

Ordinary bush buck, shot on Aberdare Mountains . . .154
Photograph by R. Tjader.

Head of new variety of bush buck called " Tragelaphus

tjaderi" 154

Photograph by H. Lang.

xviii



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

FACING
PAGE

Head of a large bull eland i6o

Photograph by H. Lang.

Wounded roan antelope just before the last charge. Shot

near Muhoroni R.R. station i6o

Photograph by R. Tjader.

Wounded sable antelope i66.

Courtesy of IV. P. Ingall.

Small herd of wildebeests, the white-bearded gnu, Sotik, 1909 166
Photograph by R. Tjader.

Male water buck, killed on Laikipia. Found to be a new sub-
species of the defassa . family and subsequently called

" Cobus defassa tjaderi " 178

Camera snapped by the author's gun bearer.

3emi-tame female water buck near the Sotik Plains . . 178
Photograph by R. Tjader.

Splendid impalla from Laikipia 182

Photograph by R. Tjader.

Head of large bull oryx 182

Photograph by H. Lang.

Fine head of the graceful Grant's gazelle 188

Photograph by H. Lang.

iVounded Grant's gazelle fighting Mabruki, the gun bearer . 188
Photograph by R. Tjader.

Beautiful head of the Grant's gazelle 194

Photograph by H. Lang.

\n exceptionally fine head of Jackson's hartebeest, shot near

Lake Hannington 194

Photograph by H. Lang.

^erd of zebra, just entering a forest on Kenia . . . 204
Photograph by R. Tjader.

Wounded zebra 204

Photograph by R. Tjader.

Hyena at bay 216

Photograph by R. Tjader.

Flead of large wart hog shot in the Kedong Valley . . . 216
Courtesy of Mrs. Caveth.

xix



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

FACING
PAGE

Ordinary colobus monkeys 220

Two white colobus monkeys. Both secured on Kenia . . 220
Photograph by R. Tjader.

The deadly puff adder 230

Photograph by R. Tjader.

Iguana, the largest of African lizards 230

Photograph by H. Lang.

Chameleon, which certainly possesses protective coloration . 234
Photograph by H. Lang.

A three-horned, small, tree lizard 234

Photograph by H. Lang.

Crocodile shot at Lake Hannington 238

Photograph by H. Lang.

Buzzards in the act of getting on the remains of a hartebeest . 238
Photograph by R. Tjader.

Five ostriches running away at high speed at some three hun-
dred yards 240

Photograph by R. Tjader.

Huge marabou stork 240

Photograph by R. Tjader.

A pair of flamingoes 242

Photograph by R. Tjader.

Photographing a charging animal 242

Photograph snapped by the gun bearer.

Typical SwahiH house on the coast 248

Hut of the Njamus-Masai near Baringo 248

A young Wanderobo ready to shoot his poisoned arrow . . 258
Photograph by R. Tjader.

Masai El-Moran warriors 258

Photograph by R. Tjader.

Some of the author's trophies at Kijabi R.R. station in 1906 282
Photograph by H. Lang.

Author's " lion camp " on the Sotik 282

Photograph by R. Tjader.

XX



THE BIG GAME OF AFRICA



CHAPTER I

BRITISH EAST AFRICA

British East Africa being not only the best country
in the world for big game hunting, the size of the animals,
and the multitude of the different species considered, but
also of all big game countries by far the healthiest and
most easily reached, I shall in the following chapters deal
exclusively with that country, its climate, topography, sea-
sons, game, and natives.

Barring the low and unhealthy coast belt on the Indian
Ocean, where no game worth shooting exists (with the
exception of elephants, having small tusks of comparatively
poor quality, buffaloes, with not nearly as fine heads as
their upland kinsfolk, and the beautiful sable antelope), the
greater part of the Protectorate has a healthful climate.
But the sable antelope, which many hunters class as the
finest of the antelopes, exists in British East Africa, alas!
only on and around the Shimba Hills, not very far from
Mombasa. Yet even this stately antelope develops here
horns that cannot be compared with those from other
inland places, as, for instance, German East Africa and
farther south.

From the narrow coast belt the Uganda Railroad be-
gins to climb the inland plateaus and soon reaches an alti-
tude of 1,830 feet at Voi, 5,250 feet at Matchakos, and

I



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anda Railros
r^and soon reaches ai
5,250 feet at Matchako;



THE BIG GAME OF AFRICA

5,450 feet above the level of the sea at Nairobi, the gov-
ernment headquarters, and now, in spite of its youth, the
most important town in the Protectorate. From Nairobi
the climb continues, and at beautiful Lake Naivasha the
station lies at an altitude of 6,230 feet, while at a place
on top of the Mau escarpment the railroad reaches its high-
est point. A large signboard is placed here on the north
side of the railway with the inscription : " Summit ; alti-
tude 8,320 feet." From here the country gradually falls
away toward the great Victoria Nyanza, where the
Kisumu railway station lies at an altitude of only 3,650
feet.

The rainfall of British East Africa naturally varies
considerably, as the country differs so widely in altitude
and general aspect. The latest statistics show an average
rainfall of 14.78 inches at Kismayu, on the coast, 73.93
inches at Molo railroad station, from over 80 inches at
Kericho down to 38.86 at Nairobi; but on the big moun-
tains, like the Aberdare range. Mount Elgon, and the
magnificent, snowclad Kenia, the rainfall sometimes even
exceeds 100 inches a year. j

The best and most popular hunting grounds lie to the
northeast, north, northwest, and southwest of Nairobi at
altitudes varying from 4,500 to 7,000 feet, and can, there-
fore, with ordinary precautions, be said to be perfectly
healthy. Take, for instance, the great Athi plains, north-
east of Nairobi. There large herds of zebra, hartebeest,
Grant's and Thomson's gazelles may still be seen even
from the railroad, with occasional glimpses of the lion,
rhino, eland, and giraffe. Here the hunter seldom sees a
mosquito, and if he always has the water boiled before

2



BRITISH EAST AFRICA

drinking it, and is careful not to sit around in wet clothes
in the evening, he has no reason to fear any attack of
malarial fever.

The only insects that are bothersome on these plains
are the ticks, with which the sportsman becomes literally
covered from morning to night. Fortunately these ticks,
although extremely disagreeable, do not seem to cause
any " tick fever," as the dangerous Uganda ticks do.
Another very unpleasant experience that many have had
on these plains is to be attacked by the hardly noticeable
little sand fly, or " funza," the special trick of which is to
work its way in under some toe nail, and there, without
the knowledge of the toe's owner, deposit a great number
of eggs. As soon as this is done, itching generally sets in,
and a slight inflammation becomes noticeable, which in-
stantly should be followed by an " operation," generally
performed to perfection by the Swahili " boys," who, with
a needle, dig out the flea and scoop out the eggs, which
otherwise, if hatched, would cause serious trouble, and
sometimes even loss of the toe.

By being careful to wash my feet every evening, never
to walk around, even on the tent's ground cloth, with bare
feet, and using pajamas with " stocking extensions," I
fortunately escaped this unpleasant experience. But some
people I met, who had been hunting on these plains, had
tales of misery to tell about their contact with the " funza."
An American hunter, whom I saw in Nairobi, late in 1909,
told me that he had not been able to walk properly for
several weeks after such an " attack," as the " opera-
tion " had been performed rather late, and perhaps not as
thoroughly as necessary.

3



THE BIG GAME OF AFRICA

As there is nothing in the way of game on these plains
that the hunter may not secure more easily, and that with
better horns and finer manes in other, much healthier
places, there is no necessity to hunt here, where the ani-
mals are much more shy than almost anywhere else in
the Protectorate, because so often molested by people from
near-by Nairobi. Besides this, there is very little genuine
" sport " in such hunting, or, let me say, killing of game
on the Athi plains, for hunting in its true sense includes
skillful and difficult tracking and stalking, of which there
can be ho question here. Let me explain without exagger-
ation how most men " hunt " on these plains.

With a couple of gun bearers and a few porters to carry
the meat and trophies back to camp, the newcomer starts
out from his camp generally not very early in the morning.
Soon he sees in front of him a herd of zebra and harte-
beest, often feeding together. They are calmly grazing
at a distance of six to seven hundred yards. As there are
no trees for cover, not even an ant-hill to stalk behind, he
simply marches on, making straight for the animals. Sud-
denly, one of the more watchful hartebeests notices him
and, as at a word of command, the whole herd swings
around and faces him for a moment, the zebra looking par-
ticularly pretty, as their shining black and white stripes
alternately appear in the sunlight or the shadow.

There are still over five hundred yards to the herd,
and carefully the hunter pushes on. The next moment,
however, the herd turns with jumps and all kinds of queer
antics, and off they go at a gallop for a couple of hundred
yards or more. Then they stop, some begin to graze again,
while one or two seem to be keeping a sharp lookout for



BRITISH EAST AFRICA

the queer-looking, two-legged intruders. After this ma-
neuver has been repeated a few times, the " sportsman "
may succeed in getting up to within two or three hundred
yards and, being disgusted with the chase, begin to empty
his magazine at the herd in the attempt to bring down some
of the animals. A young German lieutenant with whom
I traveled back from Africa in 19 lo told me unblushingly
that he in such a way, and by firing not less than one hun-
dred and ten shots, had one day on the Athi plains killed
only three animals — one zebra, one hartebeest, and one
Grant's gazelle ! But he did not tell me how many unfor-
tunate animals he may have wounded more or less se-
verely ! This he was naive enough to call " great sport."

One of the most interesting hunting trips is the Kenia-
Laikipia tour. Laikipia is a high plateau at about 7,000
feet altitude, mostly well watered from lovely streams, run-
ning down from Kenia and the Aberdare Mountains, and
having a climate as nearly perfect for a hunting trip as
it is possible to imagine. Only during the noon hours,
from eleven to two, the sun is rather hot, the plateau
lying exactly on the line of the equator, but the heat is not
strong enough to prevent a healthy man from enjoying the
following up of his prey even during that time. The rest
of the day, both mornings and afternoons, is ideal.

The tour to this plateau can from Nairobi be com-
fortably made in from four to six weeks, but there is game
enough, as to quantity as well as to the value of the tro-
phies, to warrant the spending of two months or more in
these beautiful regions. The mosquito is practically un-
known, there are no ticks of any kind, the " funza " is
nonexistent, and the water of the very best.

5



THE BIG GAME OF AFRICA

If the hunter starts out from Nairobi, going by way of
the government station Fort Hall, he can begin his shoot-
ing within an hour after he has left the hotel in Nairobi
with his " safari," for all along the route are seen the
zebra, Coke's hartebeest. Grant's and Thomson's gazelles,



Online LibraryOliver Howard] [WolfeBack log and pine knot; a chronicle of the Minnisink hunting and fishing club → online text (page 1 of 26)