Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/178

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164
PORTUGUESE EAST AFRICA


shape, being about 400 m. long by 360 m. broad. South of the Zambezi the province consists of a strip of land along the coast varying from 50 to zoo m. in depth. Along the Zambezi itself Portuguese territory extends west as far as the Loangwa confluence, some 600 m. by river.

Physical Features.—The coast-line extends from 26° 52' S. to 10° 40' S., and from south to north makes a double curve with a general trend outward, 'i.e. to the east. It has a length of 1430 m. Some 40 m. north of the Natal (Tongoland) frontier is the deep indentation of Delagoa Bay (q.v.). The land then turns outward to Cape Corrientes, a little north of which is Inhambane Bay. Bending westward again and passing several small islands, of which the chief is Bazaruto, Sofala Bay is reached. Northward the Zambezi with a wide delta pours its waters into the ocean. From this point onward the coast is studded with small islands, mainly of coral formation. On one of these islands is Mozambique, and immediately north of that port is Conducia Bay. Somewhat farther north are two large bays-Fernao Veloso and Memba. There is a great difference in the character of the coast north and south of Mozambique. To the north the coast is much indented, abounds in rocky headlands and rugged cliffs while, as already stated, there is an almost continuous fringe of islands. South of Mozambique the coast-line is low, sandy and lined with mangrove swamps. Harbours are few and poor. The difference in character of these two regions arises from the fact that in the northern half the ocean current which flows south between Madagascar and the mainland is close to the coast, and scours out all the softer material, while at the same time the coral animalcules are building in deep waters. But south of Mozambique the ocean current forsakes the coast, allowing the accumulation of sand and alluvial matter. North of Fernao Veloso and Memba the largest bays are Pemba (where there is commodious anchorage for heavy draught vessels), Montepuesi and Tunghi, the last named having for its northern arm Cape Delgado, the limit of Portuguese territory. Orographically the backbone of the province is the mountain chain which forms the eastern escarpment of the continental plateau. It does not present a uniformly abrupt descent to the plains, but in places-as in the lower Zambezi district—slopes gradually to the coast. The Lebombo Mountains, behind Delagoa Bay, nowhere exceed 2070 ft. in height; the Manica plateau, farther north, is higher. Mt Doe rises to 7875 ft. and Mt Panga to 7610 ft. The Gorongoza massif with Mt Miranga (6550 ft.), Enhatete (6050 ft.), and Gogogo (5900 ft.) lies north-east of the Manica plateau, and is, like it, of granitic formation. Gorongoza, rising isolated with precipitous outer slopes, has been likened in its aspect to a frowning citadel. The chief mountain range, however, lies north of the Zambezi, and east of Lake Chilwa, namely, the Namuli Mountains, in which Namuli Peak rises to 8860 ft., and Molisani, Mruli and Mresi attain altitudes of 6500 to 8000 ft. These mountains are covered with magnificent forests. Farther north the river basins are divided by well-marked ranges with heights of 3000 ft. and over. Near the south-east shore of Nyasa there is a high range (5000 to 6000 ft.) with an abrupt descent to the lake-some 3000 t. in six miles. The country between Nyasa and Ibo is remarkable for the number of fantastically shaped granite peaks which rise from the plateau. The plateau lands west of the escarpment are of moderate elevation-perhaps averaging 2000 to 2500 ft. It is, however, only along the Zambezi and north of that river that Portuguese territory reaches to the continental plateau.

Besides the Zambezi (q.v.) the most considerable river in Portuguese East Africa is the Limpopo (q.v.) which enters the Indian Ocean about 100 m. north of Delagoa Bay. The Komati (q.v.), Sabi, Busi and Pungwe south of the Zambezi; the Lukugu, Lurio, Montepuesi (Mtepwesi) and Msalu, with the Rovuma (q.v.) and its affiuent the Lujenda, to the north of it, are the other rivers of the province with considerable drainage areas. The Sabi rises in Mashonaland at an altitude of over 3000 ft., and after flowing south for over 200 m. turns east and pierces the mountains some 170 m. from the coast, being joined near the Anglo-Portuguese frontier by the Lundi. Cataracts entirely prevent navigation above this point. Below the Lundi confluence the bed of the Sabi becomes considerably broader, varying from half a mile to two miles. In the rainy season the Sabi is a large stream and even in the “dries” it can be navigated from its mouth by shallow draught steamers for over 150 m. Its general direction through Portuguese territory is east by north. At its mouth it forms a delta 60 ml in extent. The Busi (220 m.) and Pungwe (180 m.) are streams north of and similar in character to the Sabi. They both rise in the Manica plateau and enter the ocean in Pungwe Bay, their mouths but a mile or two apart. The lower reaches of both streams are navigable, the Busi for .25 m., the Pun e for about loo m. At the mouth of the Pungwe is the port of 'l?;ira. Of the north-Zambezi streams the Lukugu, rising in the hills south-east of Lake Chilwa, flows south and enters the ocean not far north of Quilimane. The Lurio, rising in the Namuli Mountains, flows north-east, having a course of some 200 m. The Montepuesi and the Msalu drain the country between the Lurio and Rovuma basins. Their banks are in general well defined and the wet season rise seems fairly constant.

Geology.—The central plateau consists of gneisses, granites and schists of the usual East African type which in part or in whole are to be referred to the Archaean system. The next oldest rocks belong to the Karroo period. Their principal occurrence is in the Zambezi basin, where at Tete they contain workable seams of coal, and have yielded plant remains indicating a Lower Karroo or Upper Carboniferous age. Sandstones and shales, possibly of Upper Karroo age, form a narrow belt at the edge of the foot-plateau. Upper Cretaceous rocks crop out from beneath the superficial deposits along the coast belt between Delagoa Bay and Mozambique. The Cenomanian period is represented in Conducia by the beds with Puzosia and Acanthoceras, and in Sofala and Busi by the beds with Alectryonia ungulata and Exogyra columba. The highest Cretaceous strata occur in Conducia, where they contain the huge ammonite Pachydiscus cohduciensis. The. Eocene formation is well represented in Gamland by the nummuiitic limestones which have been found to extend for a considerable distance inland. Basalts occur at several localities in the Zambezi basin. On the flanks of Mount Milanje there are two volcanic cones which would appear to be of comparatively recent date; but the most interesting igneous rocks are the rhyolitic lavas of the Lebombo range.

Climate.—The climate is unhealthy on the coast and along the banks of the Zambezi, where malaria is endemic. With moderate care, however, Europeans are able to enjoy tolerably good health. On the uplands and the plateaus the climate is temperate and healthy. At Tete, on the lower Zambezi, the annual mean temperature is 77⋅9° F., the hottest month being November, 83⋅3°, and the coldest July, 72⋅5°. At Quilimane, on the coast, the mean temperature is 85⋅1°, maximum 106⋅7° and minimum 49⋅1°. The cool season is from April to August. The rainy season lasts from December to March, and the dry season from May to the end of September. November is a month of light rains. During the monsoons the districts bordering the Mozambique Channel enjoy a fairly even mean temperature of 76⋅1°, maximum mean 88⋅7°, and minimum mean 65⋅3°.

Fauna.—The fauna is rich, game in immense variety being plentiful in most districts. The carnivore include the lion, both of the yellow and black-maned varieties, leopard, spotted hyena, jackal, serval, civet cat, genet, hunting dog (Lycaon pictus) in the Mozambique district, mongoose and spotted otter, the last-named rare. Of ungulata the elephant is plentiful, though large tuskers are not often shot. The black rhinoceros is also common, and south of the Zambezi are a few specimens of white rhinoceros (R. simus). The rivers and marshes are the home of numerous hippopotami, which have, however, deserted the lower Zambezi. The wart-hog and the smaller red hog are common. A species of zebra is plentiful, and herds of buffalo (Bos cajer)are numerous in the plains and in open woods. Of antelopes the finest are the eland and sable antelope. The kudu is rare. Waterbuck, hartebeeste (Bubalislichtensleini), brindled gnu and tsesebe (south of the Zambezi, replaced north of that river by the lechwe and puku), reedbuck, bushbuck, impala, duiker, klipspringer and oribi are all common. The giraffe is not found within the province. Of edentata the scaly ant-eater and porcupine are numerous. Among rodentia hares and rabbits are abundant. There are several kinds of monkeys and lemuroids, but the anthropoids are absent. Crocodiles, lizards, chameleons, land and river tortoises are all very numerous, as are pythons (some 18 ft. long), cobras, puff-adders and vipers. Centipedes and scorpions and insects are innumerable. Among insects mosquito's, locusts, the tsetse fly, the hippo-fly, cockroaches, phylloxera, termites, soldier ants and flying ants are common plagues. As has been indicated, the Zambezi forms a dividing line not crossed by certain animals, so that the fauna north of that river presents some marked contrasts with that to the south. 1

Bird-life is abundant. Among the larger birds flamingo es are especially common in the Mozambique district. Cranes, herons, storks, pelicans and ibises are numerous, including the beautiful crested crane and the saddle-billed stork (Mycteria senegalensfis), the last-named comparatively rare. The eagle, vulture, kite, buzzard and crow are well represented, though the crested eagle is not found. Of game birds the guinea fowl, partridge, bustard, quail, wild goose, teal, widgeon, mallard and other kinds of duck are all common. Other birds numerously represented are parrots (chiefly a smallish green bird—the grey parrot is not found), ravens, horn bills, buntings, finches, doves, a variety of cuckoo, small wagtails, a starling with a beautiful burnished bronze-green plumage, spur-winged plovers, stilt birds, ruffs and kingfishers.

Flora.—The flora is varied and abundant, though the custom of the natives to burn the grass during the dry season gives to large areas for nearly half the ear a blackened, desolate appearance. Six varieties of palms are found-the Coco-nut, raphia, wild date, borassus (or fan palm), hyphaene and Phoenix spinosa. The coconut is common in the coast regions and often attains 100 ft.; the date palm, found mostly in marshy ground and by the banks of small rivers, is seldom more than 20 ft. in height. Of the many timber trees a kind of cedar is found in the lower forests; ironwood and ebony are common, and other trees resemble satin and rosewood. The Khaya senegalensis, a very large tree found in ravines and by

river banks, affords durable and easily-worked timber; there are