The Man-Eaters of Tsavo/Appendix

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search



SPORTSMEN who think of visiting British East Africa on a shooting trip may be glad of a few general hints on points of interest and importance.

The battery, to be sufficient for all needs, should consist of a .450 express, a .303 sporting rifle, and a 12-bore shot gun; and I should consider 250 rounds of .450 (50 hard and 200 soft), 300 rounds of .303 (100 hard and 200 soft), and 500 12-bore shot cartridges of say, the 6 and 8 sizes, sufficient for a three months' trip. Leather bandoliers to carry 50 each of these different cartridges would also prove very useful.

A couple of hundred rockets of various colours should certainly be taken, as they are invaluable for signalling to and from camp after dark. These can be obtained so as to fire from a 12-bore shot gun or from a short pistol, and some should always be left with the camp neopara (Headman) for use as occasion requires.

The rifles, cartridges, and rockets should be consigned to an agent in Mombasa, and sent off from London in tin-lined cases at least a month before the sportsman himself intends to start. It must be remembered that the Customs House at Mombasa charges a 10 per cent duty on the value of all articles imported, so that the invoices should be preserved and produced for inspection.

The hunter's kit should include a good pith sunhat, a couple of suits of khaki, leather gaiters or a couple of pairs of puttees, wash-leather gloves to protect the hands from the sun, and two pairs of boots with hemp soles; long Norwegian boots will also be found very useful. The usual underclothing worn in England is all that is required if the shooting is to be done in the highlands. A good warm overcoat will be much appreciated up-country in the cool of the evenings, and a light mackintosh for wet weather ought also to be included. For use in rocky or thorny country, a pair of knee and elbow pads will be found invaluable, and those who feel the sun should also provide themselves with a spine-protector. The latter is a most useful article of kit, for although the air may be pretty cool, the sun strikes down very fiercely towards midday. A well-filled medicine chest should of course not be forgotten.

A good field glass, a hunting and skinning knife or two, and a Kodak with about 200 films should also be carried. With regard to the last item, I should strongly advise all who intend to take photographs on their trip to pay a visit to Mr. W.D. Young on arriving at Nairobi. He is an enthusiastic photographer, and will gladly give advice to all as to light and time of exposure; and as these are the two points which require most attention, hints from some one of experience in the country are most useful. I myself am much indebted to Mr. Young's kindly advice, and I am sure I should not have achieved much success in my pictures without it. I made it a practice on my last visit to the country to send him the exposed films for development whenever I reached a postal station, and I should recommend others to do the same, as films deteriorate rapidly on the voyage home; indeed I had nearly four hundred spoiled in this way, taken when I was in the country in 1898-99.

As regards camp equipment, all that need be taken out from England are a small double-fly tent, three Jaeger blankets, a collapsible bath, a Wolseley valise, and a good filter; and even these can be obtained just as good locally. Chop boxes (food) and other necessary camp gear should be obtained at Mombasa or Nairobi, where the agents will put up just what is necessary. About a month before sailing from England a letter should be sent to the agents, stating the date of arrival and what porters, etc., will be required. The sportsman will then find everything ready for him, so that an immediate start may be made.

Unless money is no object, I should not advise anyone to engage porters at Mombasa, as equally good men can be obtained at Nairobi, thus saving 20 rupees per head in return railway fares. It must be remembered that for transport work men are infinitely preferable to donkeys, as the latter are exasperatingly slow and troublesome, especially on rough ground or on crossing streams, where every load has to be unpacked, carried over, and then reloaded on the animal's back. The caravan for one sportsman -- if he intends going far from the railway -- is usually made up as follows, though the exact numbers depend upon many considerations:

1 Headman ................ 50 rupees[1] per month.
1 Cook ................... 35    "         "
1 Gun-bearer ............. 20    "         "
1 "Boy" (personal servant) 20    "         "
2 Askaris (armed porters). 12    "         "      each.

30 Porters ................ 10 " " each.

[1] The rupee in British East Africa is on the basis of 15 to the pound sterling.

The porters are all registered, the Government taking a small fee for the registration; and according to custom half the wages due for the whole trip are advanced to the men before a start is made. The sportsman is obliged to provide each porter with a jersey, blanket and water-bottle, while the gun-bearer and "boy" get a pair of boots in addition. A cotton shelter-tent and a cooking pot must also be furnished for every five men.

The food for the caravan is mostly rice, of which the Headman gets two kibabas (a kibaba is about 1-1/2 lb.) per day; the cook, gun-bearer, "boy" and askaris one and a half kibabas, and the ordinary porters, one kibaba, each per day.

It is the duty of the Headman to keep discipline on the safari (caravan journey), both in camp and on the march, and to see to the distribution and safety of the loads, the pitching and striking of camp, the issue of posho (food) to the porters, etc. He always brings up the rear of the caravan, and on him depends greatly the general comfort of the sportsman. For our trip at the beginning of 1906, we managed to secure a splendid neapara, and never had the least trouble with the porters all the time. His only drawback was that he could not speak English, but he told me when he left us that he was going to learn. Anybody securing him as Headman will be lucky; his name is Munyaki bin Dewani, and he can easily be found at Mombasa.

The cook is also an important member of the caravan, and a good one should be procured if possible. It is wonderful what an experienced native mpishi (cook) can turn out in the way of a meal in a few minutes after camp is pitched.

As gun-bearer, most hunters prefer a Somali. I have never tried one, but am told that they are inclined to be troublesome; they certainly rate themselves very highly, and demand about four times as much wages as an equally good Swahili.

In camp, the duties of the askaris are to keep up the fire and watch at night, and to pitch and strike the Bwana's (Master's) tent. On the march one leads the caravan, the other brings up the rear; they give assistance in the event of any trouble with the loads, see that no desertions take place, allow no straggling and generally do what they can to protect the caravan. They are each armed with an old snider rifle and 10 rounds of ball cartridge, and are generally very dangerous men to their friends when they take it into their heads to fire their weapons.

The ordinary porters will carry their 60-lb. loads day in and day out without complaint, so long as they are, well fed; but stint them of their rice, and they at once become sulky mutineers. In addition to carrying the loads, they pitch and strike camp, procure firewood and water, and build grass huts if a stay of more than a day is intended to be made at one place. On the whole, the Swahili porter is one of the jolliest and most willing fellows in the world, and I have nothing but praise for him.

It may be that our sportsman intends to confine his shooting trip to the neighbourhood of the railway; in this case, the best plan is to hire one of the special carriages from the Traffic Manager of the Uganda Railway. These carriages, which have good sleeping, cooking, and bath accommodation, can be attached to almost any train, and moved from station to station or left standing in a siding at the directions of the hunter. This is the cheapest and most comfortable way of spending a short time in the country, as no tent, camp equipment, or regular porters are required; and some quite good sport can be obtained into the bargain.

Again, if the hunter intends shooting, say, in the Kenya Province, as many porters as he requires may be obtained from the official in charge at Fort Hall. The pay of the Kikuyu porter in such circumstances is only two annas a day, while he provides his own food; neither is the sportsman asked to furnish him with a blanket, jersey, and water-bottle so long as he is not taken out of his own Province. Each Province is, in fact, governed as regards porters by its own special conditions, which can easily be ascertained on arrival in the country.

There are three lines of steamers which have direct sailings to Mombasa about once a month. Two of these (the Union-Castle and the German East African Lines) sail from Southampton, calling at Marseilles, while the third (the Messageries-Maritimes) starts from the latter port. As a rule travellers to East Africa journey by the overland route to Marseilles and thence on by steamer to Mombasa -- the whole journey from London averaging about eighteen days.

The present fares for the best accommodation from London to Mombasa by the Union-Castle Line (including railway ticket to Marseilles) are as follows First-Class Single, about 48 pounds; Return (available for one year) about 93 pounds.

The fares by the German East African Line (including railway ticket to Marseilles) are:-- First-Class; Single, about 48 pounds. The Return fare (available for one; year) is double the Single fare, less 10 per cent, of ocean part of journey.

By the Messageries-Maritimes Line the through First-Class Single fare from London to Mombasa (including railway ticket to Marseilles) is about 48 pounds. The Return fare (available for two years) is about 72 pounds.

Fairly good hotel accommodation can be had at both Mombasa and Nairobi.

Before any shooting can be done it is necessary to take out a Game License, which may be obtained without difficulty at either of these two centres. This license (which costs 50 pounds) imposes an obligation on the sportsman to make a return before he leaves the country of every animal shot by him. By obtaining a special license two elephants, a giraffe, greater kudu, buffalo and eland may be shot; but there are various stipulations and fees attaching to this license which alter from time to time.

Fairly good maps of the country may be obtained at Stanford's, Long Acre, W.C., while the Game Laws and Regulations can be procured from the Colonial Office in Downing Street.

Passenger trains leave Mombasa at 11 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and are timed to arrive at Nairobi at 11:15 next morning and at Kisumu (the railway terminus on Lake Victoria Nyanza) at 9 o'clock on the morning following. The First-Class Return fares from Mombasa to Nairobi, Kisumu, and Entebbe are 5 pounds 17s. 9d., 10 pounds 10s. 3d., and 13 pounds 13s. 3d. respectively.

It is unnecessary to specify district by district when particular species of game are to be found, for the sportsman can easily learn this for himself and get the latest news of game movements on his arrival at Mombasa. As a matter of fact, the whole country abounds in game, and there cannot be lack of sport and trophies for the keen shikari. The heads and skins should be very carefully sun-dried and packed in tin-lined cases with plenty of moth-killer for shipment home. For mounting his trophies the sportsman cannot do better, I think, than go to Rowland Ward of Piccadilly. I have had mine set up by this firm for years past, and have always found their work excellent.

I consider that 400 pounds should cover the entire cost of a three months' shooting trip to East Africa, including passage both ways. The frugal sportsman will doubtless do it on less, while the extravagant man will probably spend very much more.

Should time be available, a trip to the Victoria Nyanza should certainly be made. The voyage round the Lake in one of the comfortable railway steamers takes about eight days, but the crossing to Entebbe, the official capital of Uganda, can be done in seventeen hours, though it usually takes twenty-seven, as at night the boats anchor for shelter under the lee of an island. The steamer remains long enough in Entebbe harbour to enable the energetic traveller to pay a flying visit in a rickshaw to Kampala, the native capital, some twenty-one miles off. I spent a most interesting day last year in this way, and had a chat with the boy King of Uganda, Daudi Chwa, at Mengo. He was then about nine years old, and very bright and intelligent. He made no objection to my taking his photograph, but it unfortunately turned out a failure.

It is curious to find the Baganda (i.e., people of Uganda) highly civilised -- the majority are Christians -- surrounded as they are on all sides by nations of practically naked savages; and it is a very interesting, sight to watch them in the "bazaar" at Kampala, clad in long flowing cotton garments, and busily engaged in bartering the products of the country under the shade of tattered umbrellas. Unfortunately the great scourge of the district round the shores of the Lake is the sleeping sickness, which in the past few years has carried off thousands of the natives, and has quite depopulated the islands, which were once densely inhabited. The disease is communicated by the bite of an infected fly, but happily this pest is only found in certain well-defined regions, so that if the traveller avoids these he is quite as safe, as regards sleeping sickness, as if he had remained in England.

On the return journey from Entebbe, Jinja, a port on the north side of the Victoria Nyanza, is usually called at. This place is of great interest, as it is here that the Lake narrows into a breadth of only a few hundred yards, and, rushing over the Ripon Falls, forms the long-sought-for source of the Nile. The magnificent view of the mighty river stretching away to the north amid enchanting scenery is most inspiring and one can well imagine how elated Speke must have felt when after enduring countless hardships, he at last looked upon it and thus solved one of the great problems the ancients.


The following, is a literal translation of the Hindustani poem referred to on p. 104:--


First must I speak to the praise and glory of God, who is infinite and incomprehensible,

Who is without fault or error, who is the Life, though without body or breath.

He has no relatives, nor father nor son, being himself incomparable and passionless.

His is the knowledge of the known and of the unknown, and although without a tongue, yet does he speak in mighty tones.

I, Roshan, came to this country of Africa, and did find it indeed a strange land;

Many rocks, mountains, and dense forests abounding in lions and leopards;

Also buffaloes, wolves, deer, rhinoceroses, elephants, camels, and all enemies of man;

Gorillas, ferocious monkeys that attack men, black baboons of giant size, spirits, and thousands of varieties of birds;

Wild horses, wild dogs, black snakes, and all animals that a hunter or sportsman could desire.

The forests are so dark and dreadful that even the boldest warriors shrink from their awful depths.

Now from the town of Mombasa, a railway line extends unto Uganda;

In the forests bordering on this line, there are found those lions called "man-eaters," and moreover these forests are full of thorns and prickly shrubs.

Portions of this railway from Mombasa to Uganda are still being made, and here these lions fell on the workmen and destroyed them.

Such was their habit, day and night, and hundreds of men fell victims to these savage creatures, whose very jaws were steeped in blood.

Bones, flesh, skin and blood, they devoured all, and left not a trace behind them.

Because of the fear of these demons some seven or eight hundred of the labourers deserted, and remained idle;

Some two or three hundred still remained, but they were haunted by this terrible dread,

And because of fear for their lives, would sit in their huts, their hearts full of foreboding and terror.

Every one of them kept a fire burning at night, and none dared to close his eyes in sleep; yet would some of them be carried away to destruction.

The lion's roar was such that the very earth would tremble at the sound, and where was the man who did not feel afraid?

On all sides arose weeping and wailing, and the people would sit and cry like cranes, complaining of the deeds of the lions.

I, Roshan, chief of my people, also complained and prayed to God, the Prophet, and to our spiritual adviser.

And now will I relate the story of the Engineer in charge of the line.

He kept some ten or twenty goats, for the sake of their milk;

But one night a wild beast came, and destroyed them all, not one being left.

And in the morning it was reported by the watchman, who also stated that the man-eater was daily destroying the labourers and workmen, and doing great injury;

And they took the Engineer with them and showed him the footprints of the animal.

And after seeing what the animal had done, the Englishman spoke, and said,

"For this damage the lion shall pay his life." And when night came he took his gun and in very truth destroyed the beast.

Patterson Sahib is indeed a brave and valiant man, like unto those Persian heroes of old -- Rustem, Zal, Sohrab and Berzoor;

So brave is he, that the greatest warriors stood aghast at his action;

Tall in stature, young, most brave and of great strength is he.

From the other side of the line came the noise and cries of those who complained that these savage beasts were eating and destroying men,

For such has been the habit of lions from time immemorial, and groups of people have fallen victims to their fury.

Those who were proud or boastful, have but sacrificed their lives uselessly;

But to-day Patterson Sahib will watch for the lion himself!

For the people have complained loudly, and the valiant one has gone forth with his gun into the forest.

Soon after the people had retired at night to their tents, the fearless lion made his appearance;

Patterson Sahib loaded both barrels of his gun and went forth against him.

He fired many times in succession and totally paralysed the animal.

The lion roared like thunder as the bullets found their way to his heart.

This Englishman, Patterson, is most brave, and is indeed the very essence of valour;

Lions do not fear lions, yet one glance from Patterson Sahib cowed the bravest of them.

He fled, making for the forest, while the bullets followed hard after him;

So was this man-eater rendered helpless; he lay down in despair,

And after he had covered a chain's distance, the savage beast fell down, a corpse.

Now the people, bearing lights in their hands, all ran to look at their dead enemy.

But the Sahib said "Return, my children; the night is dark, do not rush into danger."

And in the morning all the people saw the lion lying dead.

And then the Sahib said, "Do not think of work to-day -- make holiday, enjoy and be merry."

So the people had holiday and made merry with friends from whom they had been long parted, on account of the lion:

And the absence of those who had run away was forgiven, and their money allowed them -- A generous action, comparable to the forgiveness of God and the Prophet to sinners and criminals on the day of judgment.

Oh! poet, leave this kind of simile, it is too deep for thee;

We mortals have the Devil, like unto a fierce lion, ever after us;

Oh! Roshan, may God, the Prophet, and your spiritual adviser, safeguard you day and night!

One lion, however, remained, and for fear of him all went in dread;

Sixteen days passed, all being well, and everyone enjoyed a peaceful mind;

But again, on the seventeenth day, the lion appeared and remained from sunset to sunrise.

He kept on roaming about in the neighbourhood like a general reconnoitring the enemy's position.

On the following day the Sahib sent for the people and warned them all to be careful of their lives;

"Do not go out from the afternoon even until the following morning," he said.

Now this was the night of Shab-i-Kadr, a Muslim festival:

And at night when all had retired to rest, the lion came in a rage,

And Patterson Sahib went forth into the field to meet him.

And when he saw the beast, he fired quickly, bullet after bullet.

The lion made a great uproar, and fled for his life, but the bullets nevertheless found a resting-place in his heart.

And everyone began to shriek and groan in their uneasy sleep, jumping up in fear, when unexpectedly the roaring of the lion was heard.

All thought of sleep was banished, and fear came in its place:

And the Sahib gave emphatic orders that no one should go out, or roam about.

And in the morning we followed the marks of blood that had flowed from the wounded animal,

And some five or seven chains away, we found the lion, lying wounded and in great pain.

And when the Sahib saw the animal he fired bullets incessantly;

But when the lion saw the Sahib, the savage animal, burning with rage, and pain,

Came by leaps and bounds close to the Sahib; But here he was to meet his match in a brave Sahib who loaded his gun calmly, and fired again and again, killing the beast.

All the Punjaubis assembled together and agreed that the Sahib was a man who appreciated and cared for others, so much so that he roamed about in the forests for our sake, in order to protect us.

Previously, many Englishmen had come here to shoot but had been disappointed,

Because the lion was very courageous and ferocious, and the Sahibs were afraid;

But for the sake of our lives, Patterson Sahib took all this trouble, risking his own life in the forest.

So they collected many hundreds of rupees, and offered it as a present to the Sahib, because he had undergone such peril, in order to save our lives.

Oh! Roshan, all the people appeared before the Sahib saying, "You are our benefactor";

But the Sahib declined to accept the present, not taking a pice of it.

So then again the Punjaubis assembled, and consulted as to how the service that the Sahib had done them could most suitably he rewarded.

And it was agreed to send all the money to England, in order that it might be converted into some suitable present,

Which should bear an engraving of the two lions, and the name of the mistari[1], head of the workmen.

The present should be such, and so suitably decorated, as to be acceptable to Patterson Sahib;

In colour it should resemble moon and sun; and that would indeed be a fit present, so that the Sahib would be pleased to accept it.

Oh! Roshan, I hope that he will accept this present for shooting the lions, as some small reward for his action.

My native home is at Chajanlat, in the thana of Domli, which is in the district of Jhelum, and I have related this story as it actually occurred.

Patterson Sahib has left me, and I shall miss him as long as I live, and now

Roshan must roam about in Africa, sad and regretful.

[1] Foreman-mason.

Composed by Roshan mistari, son of Kadur mistari Bakhsh, native of the village of Chajanlat, Dakhli, Post Office Domli, district of Jhelum. Dated 29th January, 1899.