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Full text of "In the heart of Africa"

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CHAPTER VIII 

THROUGH THE SEMLIKI VALLEY TO THE KILO GOLDFIELDS 

ON the first day's march in the New Year, we were wandering 
through acacia forests and finding many fresh elephant tracks. 
We traversed steep, romantic, rocky regions up to Karimi on the 
Semliki, where we crossed. At this point we passed the equator 
for the sixth time on our travels, for, apart from our journey 
across the Indian Ocean, we were given the further opportunities 
of passing it on Lake Victoria, and again when near Kasindi. 

On the day following we set up camp at the mission station 
of St. Gustave, where we were most hospitably received by 
Father Superior Farinelli. This mission, which had only been 
established about a year, had been levelled to the ground by a 
hurricane, and they had recently been celebrating its restoration. 
The houses and the chapel, constructed of matete, gave a very 
trim and pleasing impression. This was still further enhanced 
by the kindly demeanour of the mission brethren, who are 
specially esteemed by the Congolese on account of their avoidance 
of political affairs. 

At our next camp, Sambia, after a hot, tedious march over 
somewhat flat country, we were agreeably surprised to meet 
Creydt, the Austrian cavalry captain, who, on hunting bent, 
had marched thither over Fort Portal. On the I3th of January 
we caught a glimpse in the distance of the spruce-looking houses 
of Beni, resting on the plateau of a hill of large circumference. 
Before reaching it, however, we had to pass in intense heat over 
many deep gullies which intersected a broad grass steppe. The 
latter presented a somewhat novel botanical aspect, as it was 
almost exclusively grown over with borassus palms. Many old 

195 



196 In the Heart of Africa 

and fresh buffalo and elephant paths gave evidence of an 
abundance of game. 

We were received at Beni by Derche, the chief commandant 
of the district, at the head of his forces, and accompanied by 
the officers of his staff, who had kindly protracted their visit 
of inspection until our arrival. 

Next to the German station, Kissenji, on Lake Kiwu, Beni 
is doubtless the most attractive of the inland stations which we 
visited. The choice of its position alone gives evidence of fore- 
thought and taste. The gently sloping hill rising from the level 
plain of the Central African rift-valley, on which Beni is erected, 
is brushed on its western edge by the Great African forest, which 
extends to Ubangi, whilst the south-eastern slope falls away 
steeply to the Semliki, which winds and bends around the foot 
of the station, its average breadth being about 100 metres. 
Pretty, white-washed houses present a friendly aspect, an im- 
pression which is increased by a broad, open space on which 
waves the blue flag with the yellow star. The houses are con- 
nected by trim paths, bordered with banana trees. 

The Belgian settlement in the Beni district is of quite recent 
date, and therefore capable of considerable development. Re- 
bellion amongst the natives is chiefly answerable for the delayed 
opening up of this fertile district. The fear of punishment for 
past misdeeds drove the natives into the mountains every time 
the Belgians appeared, and frustrated all pacific and conciliatory 
approaches. It was not until the year 1907 that some of the 
tribes could be induced to return to their villages and homes, 
where they were treated with all kindness and assured of the 
groundlessness of their fears. Their example brought others 
back, and whilst we were there we saw banana plantations 
flourishing again, and agriculture generally in a thriving con- 
dition. At the back of the mountain ranges there are still many 
chieftains, however, who refuse allegiance to all Europeans, and 
are looked upon, with reason, as dangerous. Even though these 
rebels may not openly attack, yet by their attitude they greatly 
impede the proper cultivation of the land. Apart from their 




BENI 




FERRY AT BENI 



Through the Semliki Valley 197 

endeavours to incite a peaceful people to disobedience, they de- 
prive the country of a considerable number of carriers and 
labourers. 

A broad caravan road connects Beni with the Mawambi 
station, on the Aruwimi, and opens into the Irumu-Stanleyville 
highway (on the Congo). This direct communication with the 
greatest waterway of Central Africa lends considerable import- 
ance to the settlements. The commercial traffic is extremely 
limited here, as is the case all over the Congo State, on account 
of the difficult conditions prevailing. Naturally, many traders, 
mainly Indians, take advantage of the neighbouring forest, with 
its immense tracts and inadequate control, for smuggling 
purposes. 

Beni is strongly garrisoned. During our visit the soldiers 
were most zealously drilled. At six o'clock in the morning the 
signal for parade resounded in the quiet air. Not only did the 
company itself respond to the call for daily duty, but also all 
the male and female hands on the station, about two hundred in 
number. Whilst the troops started their duties, the Chef de -paste 
allotted to the labourers their daily tasks. Strict discipline was 
exercised at the muster. The presence of every individual was 
carefully checked when his name was called. Absence without 
excuse was punished, but this occurred very seldom. At eight 
o'clock the soldiers rested, whilst the Europeans assembled for 
breakfast. This meal was suited to African conditions, and 
consisted of coffee or tea, bread and butter, cold meat, fruit 
and cheese. 

After breakfast was over, the military exercises, which I often 
attended, were continued till about 1 1 o'clock, when there was a 
noon-time interval. At I o'clock dinner was announced by two 
calls, and an hour later the signal for the afternoon muster was 
sounded, when the troops and the whole of the workers resumed 
duty. The afternoon's work finished at 4 o'clock. Very often 
there was a third muster in the evening, at which the people 
turned up in any rig they fancied, but generally with the charac- 
teristic Congo straw hat on their heads. Clothes, shoes, etc., 



I9 8 In the Heart of Africa 

were inspected, and wages and stores distributed. Before the 
signal for supper at 7 o'clock, the Europeans were in the habit 
of meeting in the house belonging to the Chef de paste to take 
a free and easy glass together. The evening often concluded 
with an excellent gramophone concert, which usually took place 
in glorious moonlight on the open square in front of the houses. 
The homely sound awakened many memories of the past, and 
caused our thoughts to wander away to those who were enjoying 
the conventional " pleasures " and festivities of the winter season 
in more or less stimulating society. How little I envied them! 
How much happier I was with the task I had imposed on myself! 
How rejoiced I felt at the thought of effecting something really 
definite, in filling in gaps of science, by opening up new fields, 
and by the investigations of my fellow-workers! I felt I was 
away from the vacuity of everyday life. 

Towering aloft to the east of Beni are the prodigious masses 
of the Ruwenzori chain of mountains. A view of the mighty 
glacier which covers the summit is, however, rarely enjoyed. I 
had only one opportunity to gaze at it. It occurred at daybreak, 
and as the sun rose above the horizon the glacial ice caught up 
its rays and broke them into a gorgeous and scintillating display 
of colour. As though Nature were ashamed, however, of this 
puckish play of its favourite, she softly drew down a covering 
veil again, making it even denser, until the contour of the moun- 
tains was mysteriously obscured from the gaze of the beholder. 
We owed it to the increasing downpours of rain that we occasion- 
ally caught glimpses of the mountain. Torrential showers had 
been the order of the day for the past week. 

As we sat at breakfast on the I7th of January, a hailstorm 
suddenly swept down with devastating force, upsetting the tents, 
bending the young trees almost to the ground, shaving the 
tops of the papaia* hurling boughs and branches to the earth 

* The papaia, or Melon tree, bears greenish, round-shaped fruit, about as large 
as a coco-nut, the palatable yellow inside of which is scooped out with a spoon and 
counts as a particular delicacy. 




IN THE BENI FOREST 




FOREST DWARFS' CAMP 





WAMBUTTI PYGMIES 



Through the Semliki Valley 199 

and breaking a large number of banana trees. These phenomenal 
displays of the African elements usually endure but for a short 
time, and in this instance within a quarter of an hour the sun 
was laughing at the ravages of the storm. 

Next day the entire expedition, accompanied by Veriter, 
started off on a fourteen days' excursion towards the eastern 
margin of the great forest. After a short march on the first day, 
we pitched a camp deep in the forest, close to the dwelling of 
the chief, Muera, who was, however, away. Breathless with 
expectation, we penetrated the mysterious, shadowy depths of 
this endless labyrinth of virgin forest. Our imagination was 
strongly stirred by the accounts of notable men, such as Stanley, 
Wissmann, and others, who had thrillingly described the delights 
and terrors of their journeyings through the leafy jungle. 
Since their time, however, the journey through the forest has 
doubtless been lessened of its terrors, but for the first few days 
of our stay there the full charm of its fascination was exercised 
upon us. All poetic fancies, however, were soon dispelled by 
the constantly increasing appeals to our scientific interest. 

The farther we penetrated its depths the greater grew the 
rapture of our botanist, for he discovered flora which differed 
essentially from any that we had hitherto encountered in the 
forests. We also constantly came across zoological novelties, 
more particularly smaller kinds of birds and lower forms of 
animal life. Nevertheless, Schubotz, strange to say, found 
species, particularly among the birds and the lepidoptera, which, 
in spite of their pronounced western character, he had already 
observed in the eastern forests and on the island of Kwidschwi, 
on Lake Kiwu. Great keenness in collecting was soon shown, 
which was evinced by the valuable spoils brought in from all 
directions. 

On the third day of our halt, Muera himself appeared. It 
was a matter of importance to us to get into contact with the 
Wambutti the true pygmies whose distributional area starts 
in this region. As the tribe which dwelt in the vicinity was 
under Muera's authority, we were dependent upon him for help. 



200 In the Heart of Africa 

He declared himself prepared to put us into touch with them, 
and, as a matter of fact, five of the tribe made their appearance 
on the following morning. As it was our first meeting with this 
exceedingly singular race, and their first meeting with white men, 
we regarded each other with undivided interest. 

I have already described the general characteristics of the 
pygmies, their dimensions, appearance, etc., when discussing 
the Batwa of the Bugoie forest, but will now supplement the 
information. One of their most striking features is their ex- 
tremely fair skin, and, apart from their diminutiveness, makes 
them stand out conspicuously from the Bugoie Batwa. The 
pygmies are compact and strong in build ; are very muscular ; 
have round heads and short, curly hair. Big, intelligent eyes 
gaze out from good-humoured faces, in which the broad nose- 
base is typical. Their clothing consists of an apron of grey, 
woolly beaten bark, which is obtained from the supa tree, and 
fastened round the loins with a belt of grass cord. Sometimes 
we saw belts made from the hide of the okapi (a giraffe-like 
ruminant). 

The weapons of the Wambutti consist of a bow and arrow 
and a short spear. According to their uses, whether for war or 
for hunting purposes, they are made of iron and wood respec- 
tively. The men forge or carve them themselves, and the arrows 
are all tipped with vegetable poison. From researches made by 
Dr. Max Krause, of the Berlin Hydro-Therapeutic Institute, it 
appears that the poison in these arrows is derived from a species 
of strophanthus, most probably his-pidus or kombe, not gratus. 
After removing the poisonous coating for the purpose of investi- 
gation, it was found that the arrow was notched about three 
centimetres from the point, so as to favour its breaking off in 
the wound. The poison works rapidly, and is fatal in its effect 
unless the arrow point is withdrawn very quickly and the wound 
sucked dry. Big game always succumb to its effects ; death 
follows more or less swiftly, according to the particular position 
of the wound. 

The women are most forbidding in their ugliness, and re- 





HEAD OF 
PYGMY 
ARROW 



A PYGMY OF THE 
CONGO 



PYGMY SPEARS 
(WITH POISONED POINTS) 




A PYGMY WOMAN OF THH CONGO 
FOREST 




WAMBUTTI WOMKN AT SAI.AMBONGO 



Through the Semliki Valley 201 

semble the men as regards stature and complexion. Occasionally 
they wear thin copper rings drawn through their lips, and cowrie- 
shell pendants as ornaments. Their apparel is yet more primitive 
than that of their lords and masters, their apron often dwindling 
down to a barely perceptible triangle. 

The children, who are quite naked, are carried on their 
mothers' hips, supported at times by a very thin cord running 
down from their mothers' shoulders, which occasionally cuts 
deeply into the infants' bodies and causes many a poor little 
creature to wail miserably. 

The Wambutti have no fixed abode. Their place of residence 
changes according to their whim or hunting conditions, but is 
never to be found outside the forest boundary. The huts are 
carefully built of liane, covered over with foliage, which is 
scarcely proof against beating rain. 

Those who do not live by pillage, theft and hunting 
favourite pursuits of the entire race spend their existence in and 
about these huts, occupying themselves, as mentioned, with smith- 
craft, carving, etc. 

At Muera's village the two biologists parted from us, as they 
were anxious to continue their task of collecting along the road, 
the small birds, butterflies, etc., being more frequently met with 
there than in the forest itself. Later on in our march through 
the mysterious forest, which lasted some weeks, we noticed that 
the feathered tribe was more in evidence on the borders of the 
roads and the clearings than in the villages. The observations 
and collections of the botanist, too, were facilitated by the clear 
survey which the open country afforded. 

Wiese, Veriter and I, with the dwarfs, pitched a camp right 
in the interior of the forest, far from all human traffic, and for 
eight days roamed through the jungles. Without the dwarfs' 
escort this would not have been practicable, as the only possible 
means of communication lay in the numerous elephant tracks, 
which would quickly have bewildered any white man. 

As we ascertained by inquiry, we were already within the 

zone of the okapi. The reader is, doubtless, no longer un- 
2 A 



202 In the Heart of Africa 

acquainted with the name of this singular mammal. It is only 
a few years back that a Scandinavian, Lieutenant Erikson, in 
the Belgian service, discovered the existence of an antelope-like 
animal, which was named "Okapi" by the forest dwellers. He 
was also fortunate enough to secure a skin. Through the 
mediation of Sir Harry Johnston, Governor of Uganda, the skin 
reached London, where it excited great comment amongst the 
savants on account of its unique quality and markings. Soon 
after it was acquired at a very high price for the Tring museum. 

Kuhnert's picture is more instructive than pages of description. 
The striking markings on the legs, the length of the neck, the 
high withers, and the colour of the head may be regarded as 
the main characteristics of the creature. The height of the 
withers corresponds to that of a large ox. 

The most remarkable part of it is how a mammal so con- 
spicuous in character could have remained concealed until com- 
paratively recently in a territory which has been under European 
administration for over twenty years, and in which over 1,000 
white men live. This circumstance may well lead to the con- 
clusion that the exploration of this vast forest region, which 
comprises an area several times the size of Germany, is by 
no means exhausted. 

The bagging of an okapi by a European can only occur by 
accident. A systematic pursuit of this excessively shy creature 
would be almost useless. The density of the forest, the tread 
of heavy boots, the rustling of the clothes against bushes, would 
invariably frustrate the attempts of any European hunter. The 
difficulties may best be illustrated by the fact that in 1905 Major 
Powell Cotton, at Makala, farther westward in the forest, de- 
voted six months to the chase of the okapi, and only obtained 
one animal and that through the pygmies. At least he had the 
satisfaction of viewing the much coveted game immediately after 
it was killed a privilege accorded to few. 

Our own hopes of getting a shot at an okapi sank very 
rapidly when we got a closer glimpse into the positively un- 
fathomable tangle of the forest. We soon discovered that the 












THE OKAPI 

'. r,iintin K hy If. Ku/i, 



Through the Semliki Valley 203 

sight of an animal slain by pygmies would have to satisfy our 
ambitions, and therefore left no stone unturned at least to attain 
this object. Dazzling promises of baksheesh spurred on the 
Wambutti to great zeal. All day long they roamed alone 
through the forest. Tracks were found, but nothing else. 

The Wambutti hunt the okapi chiefly in the rainy season. In 
the morning they search for a fresh trail left in the night. This 
they follow up through thick and thin, through all kinds of 
foliage and liane creepers. As the okapi ramble far and wide, 
the chase spins out for days. The incredibly keen scent and 
sagacity of these pygmies alone make it possible to keep on 
the trail of this strange species of game ; they can follow almost 
imperceptible indications which entirely escape the eyes of 
Europeans. As the okapi nervously avoids the sun's rays, the 
hunters have to seek it in the densest brushwood. They are 
nearly always successful in creeping noiselessly up to it within 
a few paces, when they slay the animal by hurling poisoned 
spears. 

The name by which this large antelope is known varies 
according to the district. " Okapi " and " kwapi " are mostly 
used, and we also heard " alabi " once. It was, too, very often 
called "kenge." At Mawambi, on the Aruwimi, I showed a 
coloured representation of the okapi Johnstonii to the Wambutti. 
They knew it at once, and unanimously said "kenge." The 
expressions "okapi" and "kwapi," as well as "alabi," were 
entirely unknown there. The pygmies at Beni, on the contrary, 
only used the designation " okapi " and " kwapi," and generally 
knew no other. 

At Sindano we were successful in acquiring a skin, in good 
preservation, with the skeleton complete ; also another at Songola, 
and three more at Irumu. These were the first brought home 
by any German expedition. I am not aware either of there being 
any other skull existent in Germany. 

Even to-day we know but little of the habits of the okapi. 
All that has been made known so far is limited to tracking 
methods. From this we know that the creature finds its way 



204 In the Heart of Africa 

by night to the watercourses, but remains concealed in shy 
seclusion during daylight. According to the experiences of 
Europeans familiar with the Congo, many tracks have been found 
quite close together, as though produced by the passing of a 
herd. Although we have not had an opportunity of proving 
the truth of this statement, it certainly seems that the okapi is 
not so rare as has been generally accepted, for, as already 
mentioned, one often comes across girdles made from its hide. 
Again, the animal is familiar to all the forest dwellers. 

The title "kenge" was often also applied to another variety 
of antelope, which equals the okapi in size. This is the great 
striped antelope (Booceros spec.}, which exists throughout the 
Congo forest. On the eastern edge of the forest it is called 
"soli," and "bongo" in the Middle and Lower Congo. The 
buttocks are far less striking than those of the okapi. A further 
mark of difference is that it bears horns about 50 centimetres in 
length, which undoubtedly betrays its kinship with the bush- 
buck. The horns have the same peculiar twist, and are quite of 
the bush-buck type. The skin is light and covered on the back 
with a number of uniform white stripes, similar to those of the 
elephant antelope. Fortune favoured us in this connection, for 
we managed to obtain a skin and a skeleton from the forest 
dwellers. 

Another pleasant surprise for us was the acquisition of a 
brown hide, showing a yellow stripe along the back which grows 
broader from withers to tail ; it comes from an animal named 
" lotzi " by the Wambuba, and " dotzi " by the Wambutti. We 
were further able to enrich our collections with the hide of a 
brownish-silver-grey sort of antelope called " sindo " in King- 
wana, " haissuku " in Kinande, and a light brown coloured one, 
the " munso." The two latter belong to the dwarf type. Both 
were dedicated to a German museum as the first examples of 
their kind. 

A three days' halt in a former pygmy camp resulted in a 
few specimens of monkeys after some real hard stalking and 
Wiese contributed an elephant which, to judge by its general 





OKAPI SKINS 
IN THE CENTRE (LEFT) TWO BELTS OF OKAPI HIDE 



Through the Semliki Valley 205 

appearance as well as its tusks, we took to be a dwarfed repre- 
sentative of its class. Dr. Schubotz and I unfortunately only 
found the spinal column next morning, together with the care- 
fully severed head, as the entire remainder had already found 
its way into the stomachs of the cunning Wambutti and carriers. 
The length from the spine to the pelvis was only 112 centimetres, 
that of the head from the start of the ivory to the occiput 
66 centimetres, with a height of 43 centimetres. The measure- 
ments of the longest tusk, inclusive of the portion contained in 
the skull, were 78 centimetres by 23 centimetres thickness at the 
egress from the skull. 

All forest folk differentiate between " small " and " big " 
elephants, a description on which one can certainly base no con- 
clusions as to age or race. The accuracy of the designation is, 
however, clearly confirmed by many small tracks found with the 
large ones. Our lack of time for the further elucidation of this 
interesting question was all the more regrettable. 

Hopefully as our excursion into the great forest had com- 
menced, and successfully as it had proceeded, it was to end 
sadly for us. Even at Muera, Weiss had complained of pains in 
his side. As his condition threatened to become worse, and as 
he was incapable of walking, he had to be carried back to Beni. 
He there claimed the help of Dr. Mortula, who quickly diagnosed 
an abscess on the liver. Weiss, therefore, instead of proceeding 
with his very successful topographical work, found himself com- 
pelled to lie in bed and undergo a severe course of treatment. 
A few days later I received a letter from Captain Creydt, who 
had attached himself to Raven's party, telling me that Raven 
was lying at Kasindi, after having been badly injured by a 
buffalo. Raven had followed a wounded buffalo into the dense 
matete within five paces, and had suffered such a sudden and 
surprising attack on the beast's part that it was impossible to 
avoid it. The enraged animal had got him on his horns and 
hurled him into the air ; then he had rushed at the unconscious 
man and broken several of his ribs, caused him various flesh 
wounds, and three tim^s pierced the muscles of his right arm. 



206 In the Heart of Africa 

His trusty Askari saved him from his critical position by firing 
a volley into the creature whilst it hung almost over his body. 
Under the skill and careful nursing of Dr. Mortula the two 
invalids gradually recovered, but it was quite impossible for 
them to participate further in the expedition. Accompanied by 
the doctor, they started on their return to Europe, taking short 
marches to Entebbe. In spite of his awkward position, lying 
in a hammock, Weiss contrived to carry out the survey of the 
road as far as Entebbe. 

We now returned by a circuitous route to Beni, where nearly 
all the Europeans were lying sick. Fever and other disorders 
had broken out. The non-appearance of the expected rain had 
a depressing effect, and made the temperature rise to 30 deg. C. 
in the shade. This heat enervated the patients still further. 

Rain was badly required, for its shortage in the previous year 
had brought about a failure of the harvest and resulted in a 
famine. The banana fields yielded no results and the potatoes 
dried up. At the finish the people had to suck bananas in order 
to alleviate the cravings of extreme thirst. A similar condition 
of affairs now menaced. 

We only stayed a few days at Beni, and then set out for 
the western slope of the mighty mountain chain of Ruwenzori. 
On the way we passed broad banana fields, where bird life was 
so plentiful that we hurriedly pitched camp, so as to seize such 
a favourable opportunity for collecting. Great hornbills be- 
stirred themselves close to tiny summer birds, weaver birds, 
" kasukus," and grey parrots, whilst innumerable gaily-feathered 
singers flitted through the air. Our zeal for collecting was, 
however, soon arrested by a pelting downpour of rain, which 
converted the ground almost immediately into torrential brooks 
or morasses. Although the natives greeted this with joy, we 
ourselves found it very disagreeable, as the loamy soil promised 
us an exceedingly arduous march on the slopes of Ruwenzori. 
Our fear that this downpour was the forerunner of the February 
rainy season proved correct, and the conditions of our march 
were essentially unpleasant. In addition to the slippery path, 



Through the Semliki Valley 207 

which was in evidence as soon as the ascent commenced, there 
was the matete 4 metres in height, which bent its stalks in 
such a fashion across the narrow way that it was only possible 
to advance as if crawling through a tunnel. Thus the chopping 
knives had in the first instance to hack a way for the loads 
which followed, a work which retarded us so long that we only 
traversed 10 kilometres in five hours. We went at it random 
fashion, hoping that the road taken would lead us to some 
favourable camping site. We had not been fortunate enough to 
secure a guide. All the plantations were deserted, the villages 
empty. 

Finally we accidentally surprised a man in a clearing, who, 
his face distorted with fear, was in the act of vanishing into the 
tall grass. Asked the reason of his fear and that of his fellows, 
he affirmed that our shots of the previous day had induced the 
belief in the people that the " whites " had come to do battle. 
The timidity of the population arose from the fact that this 
district had very rarely been visited by Europeans, as most of 
the expeditions to the mountains had started out from the east, 
with Fort Portal as their base. Thus the natives had had no 
opportunity of convincing themselves of the peaceable intentions 
of their European visitors. Stories circulated by the insubor- 
dinate and so far unsubjugated chiefs of the mountains had 
no doubt helped to increase their fears. Won over by a 
few presents, the man at last consented to act as our guide, 
and accompanied us some distance through the Butagu valley. 
We halted at an altitude of 1,500 metres. Splendid wine-palms, 
bearing enormous blossoms, with fronds 10 metres in length, 
waved in the air and shaded our tents. 

The ascent, which had been planned for the next morning, 
had to be postponed, as the whole neighbourhood was shrouded 
in mist, and streaming rain blotted out the landscape. I thus 
expressed our mood in my diary : 

"A rainy, hopeless-looking day, forbidding an ascent! 
Everyone in his tent, reading, writing, or trying somehow to 
while away the time. Torrents of rain pouring down the moun- 



2o8 In the Heart of Africa 

tain, furrowing deep channels in the ground, and turning the 
soil into ankle-deep mud which, of course, is carried by us in 
cakes into our tents. Nothing dries ; clothes and boots will need 
several days to get right again, and will even then have to be 
drawn on damp. The men are freezing. Our baggage is being 
damaged, the photographic apparatus especially. Our guns 
have to be submitted to a permanent oil bath, so as not to rust 
entirely, and to be ready for use. The zoological and botanical 
collections are in a bad way. As they cannot dry, they are 
easily exposed to the danger of rotting. With a heavy heart 
we have thrown away many a bird skin, many a plant specimen 
which have become worthless. The temperature is cool 15 deg. 
C. both yesterday and to-day. These are the afflictions of the 
rainy season, which, for the second time already, we are 
tasting." 

At Muera's village the two biologists parted from us, as they 
I will here set down some general remarks concerning the geology 
of Ruwenzori, which are culled almost verbatim from the Duke 
d'Abruzzi's book. Our geologist, Kirschstein, was not privileged 
to visit this mountain range. Ruwenzori stands, so to speak, like 
a mighty projecting corner tower in the wall of the eastern border 
of the Central African rift- valley. It is certain that Ruwen- 
zori is not a volcano, as was assumed by Stanley. It is a serrated 
range, consisting of gneiss as well as micaceous slate. Begin- 
ning at an altitude of some 4,000 metres, its highest summits 
are mostly formed of aphanite. In this respect it differs from 
all other mountains in Equatorial Africa, which tower up to 
Alpine heights. With the exception of the Aberdare Chain, 
which rises to a height of 4,270 metres, they are all volcanoes 
Kilimandscharo 6,010, Meru 4,730, Kenia 5,600, Elgon 4,230, 
the Kiwu volcanoes 4,500 metres, and the Cameroon mountains 
4,070 metres. As far as snowfields and glaciers are concerned, 
there is nothing in the whole of Africa which can compare with 
Ruwenzori. Six summits of the whole group, which have been 
named by the Duke d'Abruzzi after celebrated Central African 
explorers, are covered with perpetual snow. From north to south 



Through the Semliki Valley 209 

they run as follows: Gessi 4,769, Emin 4,815, Speke 4,901, 
Stanley 5,125, Baker 4,875, Ludwig of Savoy 4,663 metres. 
The Ruwenzori glaciers are included among the so-called 
equatorial type; that is to say, they form a kind of ice- 
cap, at times of great dimensions, and more or less entirely 
cover the summits of the mountains. From the caps, branches 
stretch out down below, which enter the valleys and only rarely 
extend beyond the lower boundary of the perpetual snow, which 
lies between 4,450 and 4,500 metres. In consequence of the 
position of the glaciers, the moraines at the sides are quite in- 
considerable, and even the ground moraines do not appear to 
possess any noteworthy development, at least, judging by the 
terminal moraines, which never exhibited any important feature. 

Another circumstance worthy of notice is that the water which 
spurts out from the fore part of the glacier never has that dull 
appearance which the melted snow of the Alpine glaciers exhibits 
under similar conditions. The water is perfectly clear, which 
proves that the progress of the glaciers, at the present time, at 
least, is quite inconsiderable. The erosion also must be very 
slight, which will account for the absence of ground moraines. 

The tremendous development which the glaciers of the Ruwen- 
zori group underwent during the glacial period is a geological 
phenomenon of great importance. We learned from the investi- 
gations of Dr. Roccati, the geologist to the Duke d'Abruzzi's 
expedition, that they have extended down to 1,500 metres on 
the eastern side in the Mobuku valley, whilst now they are no 
lower than 4,200 metres! 

I would particularly desire to emphasise these statements. If 
we really may accept such a glacial period for Equatorial Africa, 
which observations on the Kenia would tend to prove, many 
questions of a botanical and animal geographical nature would 
easily be solved. The almost bewildering conformity which is 
exhibited in the vegetation of mountains which are now divided 
by broad steppes or forest regions of purely tropical character, 
and in such types that their dissemination through birds or the 

air is not to be thought of, would then be explained. 
2 B 



2io In the Heart of Africa 

As we wished to commence the march to the Congo on the 
1st of April from Irumu, and had meanwhile to get through 
an extensive programme, time began to press. Lieutenant von 
Wiese and I, therefore, had to leave the further ascent of the 
mountain, as well as the biological investigations, to the botanist 
and the zoologist alone, or the unfavourable climatic conditions 
prevailing might have still further delayed us. After touching 
at Lake Albert, I was specially keen on visiting Kilo, the 
auriferous, so we bade good-bye to our fellow-travellers and 
settled to meet again at Irumu at the end of March. 

Mildbraed reports as follows on the advance through the 
valley of the Butagu : 

"On the morning of the nth of February, Schubotz and I 
separated from the Duke and Lieutenant von Wiese, accompanied 
by their best wishes, which savoured somewhat of sarcasm, con- 
sidering the atrocious weather of the past few days. Things 
looked far from encouraging when we set out ; it was a dismal, 
gloomy day, but, at least, it was not raining. We entered the 
valley of the Butagu, possibly the largest stream on the western 
side of the mountain, and which bears the glacial waters of the 
highest snow mountains in the group,* to the Semliki. We 
pursued almost the identical route that Stuhlmann took in June, 
1891. It leads along the Butagu valley at a considerable 
elevation above the brook, which can only now and then be 
descried, up and down over the small streams which pour from 
the sides of the mountains situated to the north of the main 
valley. 

" Elephant grass (Pennisetum cf. Benthamt), with stalks the 
thickness of a man's thumb, and four to five metres high, 
bordered the first stages of the narrow path. It is extremely 
unpleasant to march through matete of this description, for the 
massive stalks frequently choke the way and have to be hewn 

* The Duke d'Abruzzi assumes that the waters of the glaciers to the " west of the 
Ludwig of Savoy, the Baker, the Stanley, the main portion of the Speke glaciers and 
of the Emin " collect in the Butagu ; the two last mountains, however, do not come 
into consideration. The stream denoted in the plan of the Ruwenzori chain by a 
dotted line does not flow into the Butagu. 




SCENE AT THE BASE OF THE RUWENZORI MOUNTAINS 



Through the Semliki Valley 211 

away with choppers. Broad leaves with sharp edges cut into 
hands and face, and incessant endeavours to protect one's eyes 
finally produce a feeling of intense nervousness. In addition 
to this, there was the heavy, moist air under the tall, soaking 
trees. At times this grassy wilderness was broken by immense 
fronds of isolated wine-palms, resting on short stems, or by 
banana fields and small cultivated plots. Later on the elephant- 
grass was relieved by plots of brake-fern, as tall as a man, 
which certainly reminded one of home, but were not pleasant to 
negotiate. Strips of woodland, however, which interspersed the 
scenery here and there, and in which splendid tree-ferns spread 
their mighty yet graceful fronds across the murmuring waters 
afforded a welcome change. The steep, slippery path through 
these deeply-indented side valleys was torture at times for the 
carriers, and we were often very much concerned for our still 
more sensitive collections. 

"At last, at a bend of the way, we espied a small settle- 
ment in the distance, Kakalonge, set on the ridge of a hill which 
slopes gently from the higher mountains down to the Butagu, 
which, with its few round huts and cultivated plots, wore a 
friendly and inviting aspect. 

" Here, after a really exhausting day for the carriers, we 
pitched our camp at an altitude of about 2,200 metres. The 
landscape already exhibited the sublimity of Alpine regions, 
although, thus far, the loftiest splendours were still concealed 
from our view. Right before us, across the rushing Butagu in 
the depths below, we gazed on the Wawunga mountains rising 
aloft like a gigantic wall, which accompany the main valley to 
the south. Lower down, the steep slopes were still dotted with 
single huts and small cultivated spots, as well as numerous wild 
banana trees, whose light green colour formed a bright spot ; 
farther up woods covered the mountain sides. 

"The vegetation in the vicinity of our camp was in the 
main of a secondary character, a mixture of brake-fern and all 
kinds of shrubs, bushes and plants, amongst which the beautiful 
big vernonia, with large white or pale lilac corymbus, and the 



212 In the Heart of Africa 

tall Lobelia giberroa Hetnsl., were particularly noticeable. The 
Cynoglossum family, with their cerulean flowers, which were 
vividly reminiscent of forget-me-nots (they are so called in 
Stuhlmann's report), were very prevalent, and also yellow ever- 
lastings, with large and small heads, plants which are met with 
everywhere in the lower mountain region. A little farther up 
there was bamboo, amongst which the fine big sapotaceous tree of 
the Bugoie forest, the ' mutoie ' (Sideroxylon Adolfi Friederici 
Engl.}, was to be met with. 

" On the evening of this day we discussed the question of 
how we should continue the advance. The Congolese had first 
promised us as guide a white non-commissioned officer, who 
had once escorted a Belgian officer as far as the snow ; then 
it was to have been a black sergeant, who had made the same 
excursion, but they had left us beautifully in the lurch. As 
a whole, the route had been sketched out for us, but as to the 
details regarding favourable division of marches, possibilities 
of encampment and of finding water, etc., we knew nothing. 
In any case, we wished to establish a fixed camp, and as we 
had descried, at no great distance, a thick, finely-grown forest, 
we decided to march thither the next morning and pitch a camp 
to serve as a centre to our collecting expeditions. The path 
first led into a deep, cleft-like valley, through which a spring 
of cystal-clear, ice-cold water flowed. Then for a time we 
had to climb up again steeply, and came upon a clearing, 
luxuriant with plants and bushes, passably level, which appeared 
to be extremely suitable for our purpose. 

" We found ourselves now on the lower part of a long ridge- 
like stretch of mountain, which led up to great heights by a 
fairly regular gradient, and which Stuhlmann had also climbed. 
As it was still early in the day, Schubotz and I, in order to 
take our bearings, went up on the crest to which a very narrow 
but tolerably good path led us. Through mixed growths of 
thickly-foliaged timber and bamboo, at an altitude of about 
3,000 metres, we reached the ' sub-alpine ' region of the ericacea, 
which, similarly to the ' alpine ' formation of the tree-like 




BLOOM OF THE RAPHIA (WINE PALM) 
(DR. M1LDBRAED) 




MOUNT STANLEY OF THE RUWENZORI RANGE, FROM THE WEST 



Through the Semliki Valley 213 

senecio and stalk lobelia, nowhere in the African alps attains 
so prodigious a development as on Ruwenzori. 

" On our way the vegetation was formed chiefly of Erica arborea. 
The younger specimens are almost like juniper shrubs ; the older 
are tree-like, four metres or more high, with knotted stems and 
very bent and twisted boughs, which bear at their ends, in small, 
compact masses, the tiny-leafed, deep blue blooms. The stems 
and boughs are thickly covered with cushions of mosses and liver- 
wort, and big, flabby, jelly-like patches of tree-moss, also the 
l n g> grey beard-moss of the Usnea family. The whole effect, 
especially when mists are gathering, gives a very weird and 
unsubstantial impression, as of a home of spectral hobgoblins 
and mountain gnomes. The ground is covered with thick carpets 
of swamp-moss, numerous hepatica, and an exquisite feathered 
moss, the Breutelia Stuhlmanni. The masses of sphagnum are so 
wet that they look like fully-saturated sponges. Among the 
ericacea are the shrubs or small trees of Rapanea pellucidostriata 
Gilg., Olinia macrophylla Gilg., and the striking but somewhat 
rare Vaccinium Stanleyi Schwfh., an African bilberry, whose 
fruit is very similar to the European variety. I had already 
come across it on Sabinjo amongst the volcanoes. In addition 
to the splendid bushes of big, beautiful everlasting Helichrysum 
formosissimum, two orchids are especially noteworthy, Satyrium 
crassicaule, with pale pink, and Disa Stairsii, with dark rose 
red or purple blooms, fine plants which are met with on the 
volcanoes, and are reminiscent of many species of orchids of 
our meadows. 

" Climbing on in the ericacece region, we came upon an old 
camping place, which we thought of naming our 'lower Belgian 
camp.' We did not learn much by our advance, for we were 
unable that day to see the higher mountains ; we only discovered 
that we should have to progress along the same ridge over several 
summits, and learnt from natives that higher up there was 
supposed to be another 'Belgian camp.' 

" Should we shift our camp higher up ? It would have been 
simply impossible to wind our way through the dense ericacecs 



214 In the Heart of Africa 

scrub with the big caravan and bulky, heavy tent loads. We 
should also have been compelled to carry water with us, as none 
was to be had on the ridge, and, in addition, a halt of any 
duration at an elevation of 3,000 metres would have been nearly 
torture to the carriers, who are peculiarly sensitive to the damp 
cold and mist. We remained, therefore, where we were, and 
utilised one day to explore the near vicinity of the camp ; on 
the next we proposed to push forward again and see how far 
we could get with two natives and a few of our followers who 
always accompanied us on smaller excursions. We climbed up 
to a crest above the ' lower Belgian camp.' Then Schubotz 
turned back, as the weather had grown very murky. I now 
climbed on up a hill lying before us, which formed the most 
disagreeable part of the journey. It was manifestly the same 
spot at which Stuhlmann on his memorable climb had left his 
tents and all heavier loads under the charge of the famous Uledi. 
Here the ericacece formed a veritable forest. The trees attained 
an average height of 6 to 7 metres, and frequently 30 centimetres 
in diameter. The slope of the hill itself was pretty steep, but 
the worst was that everywhere fallen ericacea were lying around. 
The whole place was overrun with luxuriant flora (balsamines 
and mimulopsis), and mosses dripping with moisture, so that 
it was impossible to see where I was going, and I often sank up 
to my waist in some concealed hole or other. Even when this 
hill was surmounted, things did not go much better. The big 
trees and the steepness of the way ceased, but in their stead the 
vegetation consisted of ericacea shrubs of juniper-like growth 
(Philtppia longifolia Engl., n. sp.\ which were very dense, so 
that we had all we could do to push through it. The weather 
was so thick that we could only see a few metres ahead ; the 
path, however, could still be discerned. Here, too, we found 
the so-called ' upper Belgian camp.' Then we came to a small 
mountain stream in a light depression which divides the long 
mountain ridge on which we had climbed from Mount Ulimbi. 
The ericacecs shrub ended and the fine alpine flora of Ruwenzori 
commenced with the two tree-like senecio, 5. Johnstonii and 



Through the Semliki Valley 215 

S. adnivalis, the stalked lobelia of the lofty regions, Lobelia 
Wollastonii, and the splendid bushes of Helichrysum Stuhlmanii y 
with silver white or slightly yellow everlasting heads, whilst the 
ground was covered with a carpet of alchemilla, dwarf shrubs 
and mosses. Beautiful Nectarina fohnstonii, a colibri genus, 
the males of which are magnificently coloured, were flying round 
the lobelia stems in pairs. Their body colour is almost black, 
whilst their pinions and head are an iridescent emerald green. 
Their most conspicuous adornments, however, are two lengthened 
middle tail feathers, which flutter streamer-like in flight. It is 
charming to observe the doings of these devoted couples in these 
inhospitable heights ; how they fly in bow-like circuits from one 
plant to another, or flit about here and there on the big branches, 
digging their delicately bent beaks into flowers to obtain insects, 
whereby they effect pollenisation at the same time. 

" That day everything appeared grey and obscured through 
a misty veil of fog and rain ; the weather had been growing 
steadily worse, and such severe, damp cold prevailed that my 
hands had become quite numbed. Except for a leathern jacket, 
which only kept the upper portion of my body dry, I could not 
have advanced so far. As the fog prevented any view, and it was 
already two o'clock, I turned back, although the guide urged me 
on, addressing me vociferously ; but I only understood the words 
'chupa' (bottle) and 'matabisch' (for baksheesh). I learned 
later that he feared he would lose his baksheesh if he did not 
show me the bottle on Ulimbi which served as ' visitor's book.' 

" Next day brought glorious weather with warm sunshine, so 
that in our encampment, about 2,400 metres above the sea-level, 
we were able to work at our collections in our shirt sleeves. Our 
drooping spirits revived, and I decided to make another attempt 
at an ascent on the following Sunday, the i6th of February. As 
my constant follower, Maneno, and another, had not proved 
good mountaineers on the I4th, and had been left wailing and 
freezing on the way under an erica bush, I gave up any hope of 
relying on my own people, and selected three quite wild natives, 
with whom it was only possible to carry on very imperfect com- 



216 In the Heart of Africa 

munication by signs and grunts, and when it came to the worst 
I used the magic word ' matabisch.' I equipped them with small 
rifles (for the nectarinnda), breakfast, and a case for the 
plants, and marched out at six o'clock. I really had intended 
to start earlier, but my three savages had not turned up. At 
five o'clock I watched the moon sinking over the Semliki plain, 
and, smoking a morning cigar, I gazed on the awakening of a 
new day, which broke in wonderful clearness. The sun was still 
below the horizon and it would take another good hour before 
it would be able to peep over Ruwenzori into our camps ; but 
the Wawunga mountains were already looming up like blue 
silhouettes against the clear sky, and opposite to them the 
bolder outline of the ridge which bounds the Butagu valley in 
the north. 

"We started out in the clear light of the dawn. On reach- 
ing the ' lower Belgian camp ' we could see, away over the ridges, 
the white, snow-capped heads which had appeared so gigantic in 
the fog previously, and from the upper camp I soon saw that all 
difficulties were overcome and that I had been quite close to the 
goal on the cold, misty day when I first attempted the climb. 
Ulimbi rose gently up covered with mosses and grey alchemilla, 
and at intervals grew senecio trees, stalk lobelias, helichrysum 
bushes, and shrubs of Hyfiericum keniense, radiant in the warm 
sunshine, although frost still lay in shady places. Up we went, 
leisurely ascending almost imperceptibly to the edge of the 
plateau ; and then a spectacle of such grandeur confronted us 
that words fail to picture it. The cliff fell down precipitously 
to the dark surface of a dammed lake, and opposite rose wild, 
black and jagged walls of rock, between which the glaciers 
glimmered blue, torrents rushed down from the dazzling snow 
lines of three kingly heads, where silence reigned supreme. 

" We proceeded along the edge of Ulimbi to the ' chupa,' the 
bottle which serves as visitors' book, an object which will doubt- 
less not long be wanting on any African alp (on Ninagongo 
there must have been a good dozen). Unfortunately I had to 
break it, as it was impossible to pull the paper out; Schubotz 



Through the Semliki Valley 217 

replaced it the next day with another. It proved, as we already 
were aware, that in 1906 a Belgian officer named Bogaerts and 
a non-commissioned officer, Joissan, had been there, and, what 
we did not know, that on the I4th of December, 1907, Mr. J. S. 
Coates, of the Anglo-Belgian Boundary Commission, had ' drunk 
to the health of his predecessors.' Now I understood why the 
so-called ' Belgian camp ' had looked so fresh. In passing, just 
a hint for those desiring to record their visit in bottle form at 
other spots : Take a slip of paper, not too large, and roll it so 
that the writing is on the outside, and place it in the neck of 
the bottle with the writing against the glass, so that it can be 
easily read by all who may come after. 

" It was time to return, but I had good reason to feel satisfied, 
for, favoured by a radiantly sunny day a great rarity on 
Ruwenzori I had seen everything that I could under such condi- 
tions. I had enjoyed a clear view of the mightiest peak of the 
group, Mount Stanley, and had at least obtained some conception 
of the snows and wildness of its glaciers. The huge sentinels 
crowning the highest ridges particularly attracted my attention, 
with their colossal icicles hanging down from jagged rocks and 
ice blocks, or leaning against them like columns. They are, 
doubtless, the result of powerful sun effects alternating with 
long, cold nights. Unfortunately I was not privileged to get 
as far as the glaciers, as the deep cleft in which the lake lay 
was unsurpassable from this direction. If I had decided to 
make a circuit, it would have necessitated my encamping on 
Ulimbi, and our equipment was not adequate for that. First 
and foremost we possessed no so-called ' patrol-tents ' and 
sleeping bags, not to mention any Alpine tourist kit, ice-axes, 
ropes, etc. 

" It appears to me that the route through the Butagu valley 
is very well adapted for attaining the highest summit of Mount 
Stanley. In the first place, it is not necessary to traverse any 
of the swampy valleys of which the Duke d'Abruzzi complains so 
much. Up to our fixed camp, direct north-east of the junction 

of the three great streams, there is still cultivated country, and 
2 c 



218 In the Heart of Africa 

thence with small loads and more carriers one can get on to 
the long ridge by a very gradual ascent, apart from the one 
awkward place mentioned, and on up to Ulimbi, although it 
certainly would mean a very strenuous day. Then one should 
not, as Stuhlmann proposes, descend to the lake, but make a 
detour of the deep breach to the north, arriving in due course 
at the snows of Mount Stanley. The great advantage of this 
route would lie particularly in the fact that, before the actual 
Alpine ascent, there would be no climbing and clambering of 
much account, and that in clear weather the way could be seen 
far ahead and the whole surroundings overlooked. Vivat 
sequens ! 

" Shortly after two o'clock I started on the return journey, 
and was back in camp soon after sunset. My inspired descrip- 
tion resulted in Schubotz ascending Ulimbi on the next day. 
He was successful, too, in obtaining a few photographs. In the 
meanwhile I busied myself with the collections and completed 
them in the forest in the vicinity of the camp. 

" This forest is not equal in beauty to the Rugege, and it 
lacks such immense tree giants as the podocarpus and 'mutoie,' 
found in the Bugoie district. Bamboo stocks of Arundinaria 
alpina are interspersed with foliates. The principal trees are: 
Dombeya leucoderma K. Schum., Sideroxylon Adolfi Friederici 
Engl., Olea chrysophylla Lam., and Olea Hochstetteri Bak., 
Mystroxylum aethiopicum (Thunbg.} Loes., Pygeum africanum 
Hook. /., Allophylus abyssinicus (Hochst.'} Radlk., Alanginum 
begoniifolium (Roxb.}, Harms., Pittosporum fragrantissimum 
Engl., Rkamnus prinoides UHerit., Maesa Mildbraedii Gilg., 
Persama spec. The Macaranga kilimandscharica and Polyscias 
polybotrya, so frequent in the Rugege and Bugoie forests, I only 
found in the rather denser forest ranges. 

" On the day following Schubotz's ascent we marched back 
through the Butagu valley, and on to Beni. Schubotz had 
originally intended to proceed along the foot of Ruwenzori like 
the Duke and Wiese, but abandoned the intention on receiving 
a letter from Wiese informing him that the road was so bad that 



Through the Semliki Valley 219 

he had much better proceed from Beni to Mboga. We arrived 
at Beni again on the 23rd of February. 

" From there Schubotz left for Lake Albert whilst I and our 
non-commissioned officer, Czeczatka, took the nearest way to 
Irumu. I selected that route as, except for a short distance 
before reaching Irumu, it leads through the easternmost portion 
of the great equatorial primeval forest, in the study of which I 
was deeply interested. Our march offered no further noteworthy 
episodes as we made our way along the broad barrabarra. 
Shortly before reaching Ngombe Njama we emerged from the 
stifling forest and breathed again as though freed from an 
oppressive weight, as our eyes swept once more across the free, 
beautiful, undulating steppe, resplendent in its garb of fresh 
green, and dotted at intervals with strips of woodland." 

I may speedily pass over the marches that led us through the 
country at the foot of the mountain chain, as it was devoid of 
charm and presented nothing of interest. Tall elephant grass, 
radiating terrible heat, again retarded our march. The chopping 
knife had to cut a path through for us every day. This painful 
method of progression was, however, relieved in the Butalinga 
district by innumerable ravines about a kilometre in width, on 
the bottom of which extensive banana plantations were found ; 
but climbing through these was a severe tax on the power of the 
carriers. 

The path we struck was the old Stanley route. It seemed to 
us as though very little could have altered since the time of the 
great traveller. After a night march in full moonlight we 
reached Lepenge on the Semliki, which we immediately crossed. 
The few variations from the general monotony at this time, and 
not particularly enjoyable ones either, were a wound on my hand 
from an axe-stroke, really intended for a liane, which necessi- 
tated my going with my arm in a sling for a week ; the falling 
of Veriter into an elephant pit, whereby he was somewhat 
severely hurt ; and finally the disappearance of our two guides, 
whom it had cost us considerable trouble to obtain. The terri- 



220 In the Heart of Africa 

tory to the west of Ruwenzori is reserved, and the capture and 
the killing of elephants forbidden. Thus the discovery of this 
nicely-arranged pit was a disagreeable incident for our two fine 
fellows. Anticipating certain punishment, they thought their 
best course would be to take French leave, and perhaps they 
were right. 

After another two days we reached the market-place of 
Mboga. This very lively station is situated in disputed territory, 
that is in a strip of country divided by the 30 meridian, the 
incorporation of which was not at that time definitely settled. 
The neutrality and commercial freedom which ruled in con- 
sequence had not escaped the attention of the Indians and 
Arabians, who conducted a large number of stores there. Every- 
thing the heart of man coveted could be obtained at these 
" stores," and we ourselves did not let the opportunity pass by 
without replenishing our stocks of barter goods, preserved fruits, 
etc. Our carriers were jubilant, and fancied themselves in spirit 
in the busy life of their native cities Muanza and Daressalam. 
These innocent-looking shops also supplied goods to the two 
Boundary Commissions which had their quarters near at hand ; 
but in reality they were the secret centres of a lively smuggling 
trade in ivory and rubber carried on in the most public manner. 
These two products were calmly borne along the street with the 
greatest audacity. Inquiries as to their place of origin were 
answered with a jerk of the chin in the direction of the vast 
primeval forest. The cunning dealer has his own private path, 
known only to himself, and hidden to the uninitated. These 
paths are found by the blazing of branches, the strewing of 
leaves, and a hundred other signs. Many thousands of pounds 
of rubber and thousands of valuable elephant tusks are lost 
annually to the Congo State, despite the strictest supervision 
possible in the circumstances. Every means at the disposal of 
the Government are pressed into service to get rid of the sharks 
who rob the State of thousands of pounds. 

Our arrival was announced by letter to the two commissions. 
Shortly afterwards Lieutenant Vangermais paid us a visit and 



Through the Semliki Valley 221 

invited us to Kiagode, the Belgian camp about one and a half 
hours' distant. On the next day we made the acquaintance of 
Lieutenant Weber and the courteous commander of the com- 
mission, M. Bastien, who had been staying at the English camp 
on the Semliki, but who had hurried back on hearing of our 
arrival. We stayed there for a few days in most agreeable com- 
pany, and had every attention lavished on us. All our desires 
were complied with immediately. 

The camp, which was situated at a high altitude and 
fanned by refreshing breezes, consisted of roomy matete 
dwellings, and was in the province of the young chief Tabaru. 
An opportunity of exchanging greetings with him occurred 
on the day that we arrived, for he met us on the boundary 
of his territory. 

As we intended to visit the British Commission working in 
British territory on the Semliki, we left the Congo State for a 
short period. The Russisi-Kiwu zone was the point of departure, 
and there we bade farewell to Veriter, who returned to Rutschuru. 
For four months he had shared the pleasures and difficulties of 
the expedition, unselfishly furthering our interests, and endear- 
ing himself to us all ; and his departure left a very considerable 
gap in our circle. 

We started early on the 23rd of February, accompanied by 
Commandant Bastien, and arrived in a few hours at the water- 
shed that divides the basins of the Nile and Congo. My amiable 
host left me there, and I rode forward alone with Wiese. We 
soon reached the edge of the mountains which bound the Semliki 
plain, and began to descend the steep road to the river. The 
difference between the oppressive heat there and the cool fresh- 
ness of Kiagode was most marked. 

The immense plain, which was very sparsely vegetated, was 
alive with game. Moor antelopes and reed-bucks, detached or in 
herds, gazed across at us. At noon of the 24th we espied the 
extensive British encampment, and only a short time elapsed 
before we were shaking hands with Colonel Bright and the officers 
of his staff, who received us at the head of their military force. 



222 In the Heart of Africa 

Here, likewise, every wish that we expressed was courteously 
acceded to, and valuable information of all kinds imparted. 

The sudden change from the oppressive heat to a cool tem- 
perature had affected Wiese's health. Consequently we claimed 
our hosts' hospitality for a day longer than we had intended, 
and then set out northwards towards Lake Albert, following the 
course of the Semliki. The river flows sluggishly, growing 
broader and then narrower again. Hippopotamus heads popped 
up here and there from the yellow waters, and on the sandy 
banks dozens of crocodiles sunned themselves ; motionless, with 
gaping jaws, they formed a typical picture of indolence. Iso- 
lated borassus palms raised their curled heads aloft, their 
slender stems being mirrored on the water's surface as though 
conscious of their beauty. With their sandy surroundings they 
conjured up pictures and memories of Egypt. Detached villages 
dotted on the landscape here and there lent animation to the 
scene, although they appeared to be sparsely inhabited. Our 
thermometer registered 40 degrees Celsius when we pitched our 
tents in the neighbourhood of the bed of the Ethengi. 

A few days later we reached the western marginal mountain 
of the rift-valley. On our right the plain gradually merged into 
a sea of reeds stretching on for an illimitable distance. With 
the aid of our glasses we descried in the distance the grey backs 
of elephants comfortably sunning themselves, although the 
shimmering waves of hot air rendered clear outlines almost im- 
possible. At length we chanced on a small wood that promised 
cool, refreshing shade. On entering its inviting retreat there was 
commotion in the foliage, and crowds of monkeys, including 
beautiful specimens of the colobus, with long white-haired 
backs, sprang from tree to tree reviling us. 

Our camp was erected at Boguma, close to crumbling, 
thatched huts which gave evidence of the activity of the British 
Boundary Commission. Unfortunately the trees around had been 
stripped of their leaves by the elephants to a height of many 
metres, and there was a struggle to reach those that held out 
the greatest promise of shade for our tents. 



Through the Semliki Valley 223 

I climbed on to a small plateau close to our camp, and from 
this coign of vantage my eyes roved over the incomparable 
panorama of an almost limitless plain. Expanses of reed-grass 
alternated with patches of elephant-grass, barren steppes and 
trees. The glistening waters of the Semliki completed a fine 
picture. In the far distance diminutive specks could be seen 
moving slowly hither and thither, and we knew them to be the 
slender bodies of antelopes. The sun poured down its fierce rays 
on us with terrible force. Standing there, lost in thought and 
gazing at the marvellous prospect, I heard sounds of lamenta- 
tion behind me. Turning round I beheld my boy executing a 
lively Indian dance and hopping about from one foot to the 
other. 

" What are you doing ? " I asked laughingly. 

" Master, the stones are so hot that my feet are being burnt," 
was the reply. 

Putting my own hand on the rocks to test the assertion, I 
was compelled to withdraw it immediately for pain. A blister 
that instantly formed convinced me that my boy had not com- 
plained without cause. 

In close proximity to our small camp we saw some dozen 
crocodiles basking on a sandbank. We made up our minds to 
kill some of these hated enemies of man which considerably 
heighten the mortality of the native races. First, however, I 
determined to utilise them as a welcome subject for my camera. 
Accompanied by Weidemann I crawled snake-like along the 
ground. At a distance of about 100 metres I raised the camera 
very carefully above the grass and "clicked." The slight sound., 
however, sufficed to create a certain uneasiness among some of 
the animals. So, lying on the ground, I hurriedly changed the 
plates and took a second snap-shot. The renewed sound caused 
one of the reptiles to draw near the water and others prepared 
to follow. Then I jumped up and shot six of them one after 
the other ; four remained dead on the banks, whilst the other 
two, bleeding badly, rolled over into the water. The scene was 
an animated one ; the animals tumbled over each other in their 



224 In the Heart of Africa 

hurry to hide their huge, ugly bodies in the water, which splashed 
and foamed as though it were boiling. We were able to repeat 
our adventure successfully on the next day, as Wiese's indisposi- 
tion made it necessary to halt at the spot for a little time. On 
opening the stomach of one of the reptiles we were surprised to 
find it filled with an immense quantity of stones. 

We reached the southern end of Lake Albert on the 1st of 
March, having espied the glittering surface of its waters in the 
distance on the previous day. On our way we passed an elephant 
standing isolated in the reed-grass, surrounded by a number of 
natives, who evidently thought of killing the beast. Our 
caravan was halted in order to watch the interesting spectacle, 
but as the hunters seemed unable to make up their minds to 
commence the attack, we approached with the camera and took 
a few photographs. 

The water of Lake Albert is clearer than that of the turbid, 
loamy Lake Albert Edward. At Kassenje, where we halted, the 
mountain ridges are some 10 kilometres distant from the banks 
and run parallel with it. The lake's banks at Kassenje are free 
of reeds and only covered with rushes. Here Schubotz found a 
mass of moss animalcula (bryozoon). Dredgings yielded spoils 
of snails and shells. The plankton consisted mainly of 
daphniadae and copepoda. The lake was notably rich in shad, 
whilst carp appeared to be entirely absent. 

This lake is far less rich, from the naturalist's point of view, 
than Lake Albert Edward. Hippopotami and crocodiles are 
encountered chiefly at the estuaries of the rivers that flow into 
it, and ornithology is but poorly represented. 

We made the acquaintance at Kassenje of the young chief, 
Dedoye, a son of Kawalli, at whose residence Stanley met Emm 
Pasha in 1884. Stanley's old camp was only two hours distant; 
the boundaries near Nsabe are stated to be still distinguishable. 
Dedoye remembered " Bulamatari " well. As a small boy he 
and his father had often spent days in company with Emin 
and Stanley. 

The name " Bulamatari," or " Rock-blaster," by which Stanley 




A HUT FRAME AT BAWIRA 




A HANGING BRIDGE 



Through the Semliki Valley 225 

was known amongst the natives, is still maintained to the present 
day throughout the Congo territory. Europeans who by their 
prominence specially impress the inhabitants are designated 
" Bulamatari." The governor and the heads of districts are 
frequently given this name ; I myself was honoured with it at 
times. 

As little could be done in the way of enriching our collections 
at this lake, we left again very shortly, taking a westerly direc- 
tion. After a march of two and a half hours we arrived at the 
foot of the mountains, having passed through a park-like, exten- 
sive steppe, thickly grown with euphorbia. The sun poured 
down unmercifully on the caravan, and thus made the ascent a 
torture. The stony parts were so hot that, if the carriers halted, 
the soles of their naked feet were burnt. At length we reached 
a mountain brook, clear and cool, and the entire caravan plunged 
into it without hesitation. Even the dogs jumped in with great 
eagerness. The camp was pitched without delay. As the sun 
sank, a beautifully refreshing breeze swept across the slopes, and 
our thermometer sank to 21 degrees Celsius. We breathed new 
life again. The heat had exercised a most enervating influence 
upon us, and our sleep had been of a broken nature, as we were 
continually waking bathed in perspiration. 

The next morning, which was cool and overcast, saw us on 
our way to the ridge. Before us lay a wide, extensive plain, 
whilst behind us the sun pierced its way gradually through the 
mist. Lake Albert disappeared by degrees behind the mountain 
tops, and we lost sight of the Central African rift-valley for 
ever. 

The strips of country we hurriedly traversed during the days 
following were reminiscent of Ruanda, and were populated by 
Bawira and Bawisha. The undulating land is poor in timber and 
sparsely sprinkled with mtama fields; game is entirely lacking. 
The nearer we approached the mountain dividing us from Kilo 
the more thickly inhabited became the country, and, naturally, 
the settlements increased too. The villages of the Bawira were 

striking in appearance and were erected in a circular form 
2 D 



226 In the Heart of Africa 

around an open space. In some of the villages I counted forty 
huts, in front of which the men and women were idly squatting. 
Their clothing is of a most primitive description, the men wear- 
ing an almost invisible loin cloth, whilst the women have only 
a narrow string of beads round their hips for adornment. Large, 
flat wooden discs pierce their upper lips, and give the women a 
most peculiar appearance. This extremely strange custom is said 
to date back to slave-driving times, when women who were thus 
disfigured were spared by the cruel Arabs as worthless for 
slaves. Plausible as this supposition may appear, it requires 
proof. For the present it can only be regarded as a mere asser- 
tion. The cultivation of bananas and bataten (sweet potatoes) 
was prodigous, and rich harvests lay in the villages. We received 
a whole armful of potatoes for an old bottle. 

At Bunya, a small military station, which, like all such 
places, consisted of a few huts and a store-house for Europeans, 
Lieutenant Boy ton reported himself. Boy ton, who was a 
Swedish officer, and afterwards in the Congolese service for some 
years, had been ordered to accompany us in place of Lieutenant 
Veriter, who had been recalled. 

We now wended our steps towards the heights through the 
Bawisha and Bakumu country, past the stations of Quadingo 
and Kitambala. Just before reaching the latter place the narrow 
path widened out into a small, well-kept barrabarra, which owes 
its existence to the skill of a Belgian engineer and had only been 
completed a few months. This road led from Kilo to Mahagi, 
the sole Belgian outpost on Lake Albert, and had been con- 
structed with a view to subsequent automobile traffic. It, how- 
ever, proved itself unserviceable, on account of sinking subsoil, 
and had to be abandoned. In its place the Congo Government 
has decided to construct a great automobile route from Kilo to 
Nsabe, on the western shores of Lake Albert. This road is to 
be made from a point lying opposite to Nsabe, on the eastern 
bank of the lake in British territory, on to Entebbe. As a matter 
of fact, the first 130 miles were finished in the spring of 1909. 
The Mombasa-Entebbe-Kilo stretch of road will be made negoti- 



Through the Semliki Valley 227 

able in fourteen days. The spirit of enterprise evinced in this 
great work is all the more admirable when the tremendous 
obstacles offered by the nature of the ground to be traversed are 
taken into consideration. The region between Kilo and Nsabe 
is an undulating country intersected by gullies, and its eleva- 
tions in the neighbourhood of Kilo attain a height of 1,600 
metres, whilst the western ridges descend steeply to the banks 
of the lake. From the long mountain ridges one can see the 
thatched houses of the town, the environs of which abound with 
unalloyed gold. 

The discovery of this rich and unsuspected treasure is of 
comparatively recent date. The Congo State is indebted for 
the find to Hannam, a prospector, who discovered many other 
copper and gold veins, and who, in consequence, enjoys great 
popularity and esteem. The workings were taken up on Han- 
nam's advice. Brisk activity soon developed itself, and in the 
brief space of one and a half years the silent valleys of the 
primeval forest became busy hives of industry. Engineers and 
prospectors flocked there, and made rich auriferous finds in the 
creeks and valleys around. A busy mining industry is now 
carried on, and in 1908 there were twenty-one engineers and 
prospectors hard at work near Kilo. The majority were Austra- 
lians, familiar with nearly all the important mines on the globe. 
Mr. Mertens, who bore the title " Representant de la fondation 
de la couronne," officiated as director, and had charge of all 
correspondence. At that time the pay-sheets showed a total of 
eight hundred workers. 

The chief wealth of the soil consists of alluvial gold, which 
is found all over the district at the very small depth of from 
1-50 metres on the bed of the creeks. This fact is of extreme 
value to the industry, as it saves the acquisition of costly 
machinery and permits the construction of sluices, which are 
worked by negro labour. These sluices consist of wooden 
troughs, similar to those in cottage mills, and are furnished with 
bottom boards. The auriferous soil is shovelled into these 
troughs, and a constant flow of water gradually washes away 



228 In the Heart of Africa 

the stones, sand, etc., whilst the gold sinks to the bottom, in 
consequence of its specific gravity, and settles in the clefts and 
crevices of the boards. Pieces are found of the size of a pea 
or bean intermingled with granular gold, whilst the lighter refined 
gold flows on with the sand and is caught on the table at the 
foot of the sluice (a square board in which a number of hollows 
have been made). The biggest nugget found up to the middle 
of 1909 had the very respectable weight of 300 grammes, and 
another weighed 150 grammes. 

When we visited the place five " champtiers " * were in 
operation, on each of which a sluice was kept going. Probably 
this number has been increased since then. The sluice gold is 
collected once a month, the amount, of course, varying accord- 
ing to the richness of the creek. 

The gross amount taken monthly at Kilo when we were there 
came to about 30-35 kilograms, valued at from 90-100,000 
francs. This, however, was only a small amount as compared 
with the wealth that the soil contained, and could easily have 
been quadrupled if the prospectors had been more energetic, if 
the negro labour had been better controlled, and if more sluices, 
etc., had been constructed. 

The gold collected is refined by a chemist in a laboratory 
at Kilo, and then re-melted into ingots the size of bricks, each 
worth 37,000 francs. The first large consignment of these ingots, 
valued at 1,000,000 francs, had been sent just before our arrival 
to Herr Schulz, the German Vice-Consul, the representative of 
the Victoria Nyanza Agency. From there it was transmitted to 
Brussels. 

So far it has not been possible to ascertain the precise limits 
of the gold region. As, however, the area is an enormous one, 
it is not to be wondered at that up to the present no creek has 
been worked without result. 

Reef gold must also be taken into consideration. No shaft 
had been sunk when I was there. The rivers Shari and Ituri 
carried, however, so much gold that the management, following 
* Workings on the creek. 




A BAWISHA LIP ORNAMENT 




THE ITURI AT SALAMBONGO 



Through the Semliki Valley 229 

a sudden impulse, had decided to have a dredge sent out at a 
great cost a somewhat premature purchase. In any case, the 
prospectors were not unanimous in their opinions regarding a 
suitable spot for it, as in places the rivers rush along over rocky 
ground, and sandy subsoil is rarely found. 

As the "champtiers" lie amidst beautiful forest scenery, an 
hour or so distant from Kilo proper, which is also a military 
post, the prospectors are lodged in camps. These consist of 
cleanly, matete huts, and lie along the wooded, hilly ridges in 
the neighbourhood of the workings. 

As is the case in every new undertaking, there were a great 
many defects and blunders in the administration of Kilo, which 
contributed to the trammelling of the workers ; these, however, 
will disappear during the course of time, and I have reason to 
believe that the industry is already being carried on in a con- 
siderably more energetic and practical manner. In any case, 
Kilo is a place capable of immense development. Undreamt-of 
treasures lie hoarded up there by Mother Earth, which, if 
experts can be believed, hold out the promise that the little place 
will become some day one of the most important gold centres 
in the world. 

We all had reason to be grateful for our interesting experi- 
ence at Kilo. Foreign visitors had never before been received 
there ; never had an outsider been privileged to obtain a glimpse 
into the Kilo gold workings. We left with a feeling of great 
satisfaction Wiese, Boyton and I and proceeded on our way 
to Irumu, through the territory of the Baniari. Skirting the edge 
of the forest, along a bad native path, and over the hill summits, 
we pushed on until the path widened out into the barrabarra in 
the vicinity of Salambongo. There we found a large Wambutti 
camp, whose chief had sent the hunters into the interior of the 
forest to kill a soli. In the hope that we might perhaps acquire 
an antelope of such immense zoological value, we halted for a 
day to await the results of the hunt. We made use of the leisure 
thus afforded us to photograph and take measurements of the 



230 In the Heart of Africa 

pygmy women and children who remained in the camp. We also 
had an opportunity of adding to our piscatorial collection, as 
the Ituri flowed direct through the settlements. We tried our 
trusty dynamite method again, but we had to fire one or two 
charges before we discovered a spot where the fish congregated. 
Then, however, the result obtained passed all expectation, for 
after having set aside in methylated spirit all the specimens 
required for our collection, such a surplus remained that almost 
every one of our carriers was able to enjoy a fish for his 
supper. 

In the afternoon the prospectors, Messrs. Crawlay and Giliot, 
arrived quite unexpectedly from Kilo with the intention of in- 
vestigating the auriferous contents of the river-bed and its 
vicinity. To accomplish this object they were forced to cut a 
path for themselves through the jungle on both banks of the 
river, as well as to dig up the soil and collect samples every 
5 kilometres. They reckoned that the return march would take 
them about three months. 

At nightfall the pygmies returned from the hunt. But, alas ! 
with no result. So, although our hopes were dashed, we tried to 
console ourselves by watching the dances of the natives before 
their camp fire. 

Wiese, in particular, had an exceptional opportunity of study- 
ing these. I had already settled to rest, and deep silence reigned 
in camp, when he heard singing and the beating of drums in 
the direction of the Wambutti huts. He went out in the moon- 
light, followed the sound of voices, and came on the dwarfs, 
male and female, standing in a circle. He thought him- 
self in the land of legends. His tale next morning was as 
follows : " Two men were squatting in the centre, with tam- 
bourines, beating them in measure, while those standing sang 
melodiously, sometimes in a slow and melancholy cadence, some- 
times very quickly and gaily. First their little legs would start 
dancing on the spot where they stood, then they would move 
round in a circle to the left or to the right. I was much struck 
with the motion of the upper part of their bodies. The little 




PYGMIES AT SALAMBONGO 



Through the Semliki Valley 231 

folk exhibited tremendous suppleness in their hips, and in danc- 
ing bent themselves so far backwards that I feared they would 
break their spines. The dance concluded with a somewhat 
affected pose that reminded one of the first awkward attempts of 
an amateur ballet troupe. Whilst the circle danced and sang, a 
man and woman leapt into the centre and played at catching 
one another. The way in which the one constantly eluded the 
efforts made by the other in the comparatively small space was 
a marvel of skill. Whether there was any deeper meaning under- 
lying the dance, I was unable to find out. I was amazed at the 
abandon that the small people threw into their dancing, neither 
were they disturbed in the slightest degree at my presence." 

On the 1 6th of March we saw the houses of Irumu in the 
distance. Soon after the head of the caravan arrived at the 
Shari River, which flows past below the outpost. Familiar faces 
welcomed us farther back, and a few moments later we were 
shaking hands with Mildbraed and Czeczatka, whom we were glad 
to find in the best of health and spirits. Chef de paste Tillemans 
and M. Bernstein, the only two officials connected with the 
administration at Irumu at that time, also came up to meet us. 

Irumu is an unusually large outpost, held officially by ten 
Europeans, all of whom, however, excepting the two mentioned 
above, were away on Government service. The place owes its 
importance to its favourable position, as it is the junction 
of the great military roads from Stanleyville to Fort Portal 
and Rutschuru to Beni and Kilo. Thus nearly all Belgian 
officials whose jurisdiction leads them to the northern districts 
of the Congo State are compelled to pass it. In consequence 
the traffic through Irumu is brisker than at any other outpost. 
This cheerful-looking place, which consists of a row of thatched 
brick houses, spacious messrooms and two great store-houses, 
is situated on a hilly plain three hours distant from the eastern 
margin of the great native forest. 

As elephants abound in the neighbourhood, the quantity of 
ivory brought in by the natives is very considerable. Eight 
to nine hundred kilograms leave for Boma every month, and are 



232 In the Heart of Africa 

placed to the credit of the Congo State. Irumu, however, has 
to be content with an inferior position as regards the yield in 
rubber, on account of its distance from the forest's edge. The 
monthly harvest amounts to only some 500 kilograms. This is 
an insignificant quantity when compared with that obtained in 
the main rubber centres the Aruwimi and Uelle basins, Nepoko, 
Avakubi, Bomili, etc. There, during the best years, 7,000, 
10,000, and even 14,000 kilograms are produced monthly. Yet 
the rubber-tree plantations are exposed to special peril, as 
refractory natives lop and pull down the biggest and most 
valuable trunks of the Funtumia elastica and the gum-yielding 
liane. The insubordination of the population in the districts 
lying between the Aruwimi and the Uelle assumed previously 
such a threatening character that a punitive military force was 
despatched there. The Chef de gone, resolute and trustworthy 
Commandant Engh, a Norwegian by birth, had to proceed to 
the scene to restore order ; and through his own wariness and 
discretion, as well as that of his officials, this was eventually 
accomplished. 

Rightly recognising the danger that threatened the rubber 
industry in consequence of the hostile attitude of the natives, 
the Congo State has for some years established great rubber 
plantations ; in fact, we came across them at all the more import- 
ant European stations. The plantations, however, being only of 
recent growth, it has so far not been possible to determine 
decisively which sorts are most suitable for cultivation. 

The nature of the ground has been taken into account 
generally, and those varieties selected which flourish best under 
similar conditions in the virgin forest. Commonly, the Funtumia 
elastica is given the preference, as it grows much more rapidly 
than the rubber vine. Whilst the tree can be tapped, without 
injury to its growth, after a period of six or seven years, the vine 
can only be turned to account after twenty years. The cultivation 
of the liane, therefore, is on the decline, and they are only grown 
where the funtumia will not flourish. 

At all European stations one plant must be put in the ground 




IRUMU 




THE ITURI AT IRUMU 



Through the Semliki Valley 233 

for every two kilograms of rubber delivered. This order, prac- 
tical as it may seem, is not feasible, the amount of rubber 
obtained being too great. In order to conform properly with 
the extremely prudent regulation, it would be necessary to employ 
an immense number of labourers in rooting, planting and clear- 
ing the plantations. As a matter of fact, most enterprises in the 
country suffer from an insufficiency of labour, as has also been 
the case in German East Africa. At Avakubi we saw a planta- 
tion of 742 acres, and another at Nambuya of 1,976 acres, where 
there were hardly sufficient labourers for planting alone. When 
the time taken in clearing is remembered, as well as the fact 
that any part of the plantation which has been cleared is choked 
with grass a metre in height about four to six weeks later, 
which threatens to kill the young plants, some little idea 
of the tremendous difficulties which beset the cultivator can be 
gathered. 

I must not omit to add that the coffee and cocoa plant is 
cultivated at most of the Congolese outposts. Whilst the latter 
product is used for the export trade, coffee (Liberia) is retained 
for home consumption only. 

We remained fourteen days at Irumu. I was awaiting the 
arrival of the other members of the expedition at the end of 
the month, having fixed this place as a rendezvous before our 
departure for the Congo on the 1st of April. The interval was 
employed in making excursions in the neighbourhood. Dr. 
Mildbraed went to Ngombe Njama, on the edge of the forest, 
for a few days, whilst Schubotz roamed about in the vicinity 
or fished in the Shari. We also attended to our mail, wrote to 
the firms at Lake Victoria and on the East Coast concerning our 
march to the west, drafted letters, drew up reports, and com- 
menced packing our latest collections for despatch. These were 
to be conveyed to Entebbe by our faithful carriers, who were 
there discharged and sent home. They were wretched and 
worrying days for Wiese, who, amongst other things, had to 

examine and revise the claims made by the men. Pay-sheets 
2 E 



234 In the Heart of Africa 

had to be carefully examined, disputes settled, and the men con- 
vinced that everything was just and in order ; further, each 
man had to receive his travelling " posho " (food-money) in ready- 
money, for the purchase of stores for the return journey to his 
native place. 

After having received a handshake as a farewell from each 
one of us, they marched away homeward bound in detachments, 
each under its particular head-man. It was with a feeling of 
regret that we saw them leave us, after having shared our 
pleasures and trials for nearly a year. Through good and bad 
days, in the heat of the steppes and in the icy breath of the 
snow-capped volcanoes, they had fulfilled their duty loyally, 
like tried and trusty men. We dismissed them here in order that 
they should be spared the long return journey from Avakubi, 
some thirty days' march farther ahead. Till then we contented 
ourselves with carriers from the Congo territory. The march was 
to terminate at Avakubi, as we intended continuing our journey 
from there to the Congo by native canoes upon the great tribu- 
tary, the Aruwimi. The troops of the expedition were to escort 
us through the forest until we reached the river. 

Czekanowski arrived on the 2/th, after his wanderings, which 
had led him as far as the Uelle. He had endured a good deal in 
consequence of the violent rains, from which we had, fortunately, 
been spared from the time that we quitted the neighbourhood of 
Ruwenzori. 

In Irumu, however, we prepared to encounter a third rainy 
period, the advent of which was expected daily ; and, in fact, in 
the evenings we saw the clouds gathering threateningly together, 
accompanied by sheet-lightning in the distance. A little later 
showers set in daily. They announced their arrivel by violent 
winds of sweeping force. On the afternoon of the 3Oth March 
the south-western heavens grew coal-black. The heavy rain 
advanced towards us in an opaque steel-blue mass, sharply 
defined at its sides. At one kilometre's distance from the station 
it was pouring down in torrents. Thus we were able to observe 
all the phases of this vivid spectacle of Nature without being 



Through the Semliki Valley 235 

drenched ; but the storm reached us before long. Setting in with 
suddenness, it burst on the buildings of Irumu, tore and tugged 
heavy trusses of straw from the roofs, and swept them far away. 
The rain rattled at the doors and poured through the crevices 
into the rooms, so that all our writing materials were whirled and 
swirled around. Outside it was almost impossible to stand erect. 
The hurricane, however, disappeared as suddenly as it had come, 
and a quarter of an hour later the debris lying around was 
all that remained to remind us of our unwelcome visitor. 

It is futile to attempt a description of tropical tornadoes at 
their full force. One must see these phenomena to conceive an 
accurate idea of them. Their grandeur is then printed indelibly 
on the memory. In two or three quarters of the heavens inky 
darkness gathers, then come flashing lightning and crashing 
thunder, with such crackling that it seems like Hell let loose. 
Lightning flashes along the horizon and the whole firmament 
seems to be illuminated at times as though by gigantic torches. 
Watch in hand, I have counted one or two such electric discharges 
to the second. 

Czekanowski had found such noteworthy material for investi- 
gation during the Uelle expeditions in the territory of the 
Mangbettu that he harboured the wish to return there. As 
he asked for a further three months for this purpose, he foresaw 
the necessity of returning home alone. We therefore said good- 
bye a few days before our departure, with a confident " auf 
wtedersehen in Europe." 

As the time fixed for the rest of us to leave was drawing very 
close, and as we had no news of Kirschstein, despite various 
letters and written instructions that I had despatched, his silence 
began to cause us uneasiness. We thought that we should be 
deprived of the company of our kind and jolly comrade. I will 
state here that, unfortunately, our fears were confirmed. Almost 
immediately after we commenced our peregrinations into the 
shady interior of the great African forest news reached us of the 
catastrophe at Karrissimbi, which cost Kirschstein half of his 



236 In the Heart of Africa 

followers. As we learned later, on our arrival in Europe, the 
aggressive attitude of the natives south-east of Mount Muha- 
wura, more particularly the attack by the chief Lukara, was 
responsible for the subsequent delay. This sultan and many of 
his warriors had lain in ambush for the geologist's caravan and 
barred its path. As soon as the first arrows came whizzing over 
Kirschstein's head he was forced to defend himself. A fight was 
quickly in progress, but, despite heavy firing, the enemy would 
not budge. Ever and again the enemy's bowmen were spurred 
on to fresh onslaughts by a fellow in a red toga, who danced 
before and around them with wild and furious gestures. Kirsch- 
stein aimed at this man. and succeeded in shooting him down. 
Then only did the savage hordes, deprived of their leader, begin 
to yield. In spite of this, Kirschstein was in a very critical 
position, for when the cartridges were counted after the fight 
their total for the whole caravan was eleven. In order, if 
possible, to stave off a further attack, he caused threats of 
terrible punishments, in case the onslaught should be renewed, 
to be proclaimed throughout the district by means of a crier. 
This intimidatory measure fulfilled its purpose ; Kirschstein was 
left in peace. 

As his stores were beginning to give out, he sent letters to 
me begging for provisions. At the same time he asked for in- 
structions and information as to the intentions of the main 
caravan. I never received these letters, nor did Kirschstein 
receive mine asking very urgently for an explanation of his 
absence. No doubt they were simply thrown aside by mail 
carriers, who were recruited from the natives, or stolen by 
force majeure. Thus, without any news and in a great state 
of uncertainty, further delay on our part would have been fruit- 
less. Beni and Rutschuru were communicated with by means 
of reliable messengers, and letters deposited there for Kirsch- 
stein. 

In Irumu packing proceeded apace. The day for departure 
dawned. How we missed our faithful Wassukuma and Manjema, 
who knew their individual loads even at a distance! Things 




VIRGIN FOREST SCENERY 



Through the Semliki Valley 237 

were changed, for each man had to have his load apportioned 
to him before the start. We knew, moreover, that in the days to 
follow frequent changes of carriers would take place. Thus we 
resigned ourselves as well as we could to the petty bothers that 
were in store for us. Despite all this, however, and despite 
torrents of rain, the Europeans' faces lit up. From now our 
course was directed homewards. 



CHAPTER IX 

IN THE SHADE OF THE VIRGIN FOREST 

WE started on our journey to the west on the 1st of April, 1908, 
by a route which has gained sad notoriety in the history of 
African exploration. We followed a path almost identical with 
that which Stanley traversed and on which he experienced the 
greatest hardships and privations in coming from the Congo to 
the succour of Emin Pasha, who, cut off by the Mahdi revolt, 
lived practically a prisoner in his equatorial province. The same 
vast forest, so gloomily described in the pages of "In Darkest 
Africa," lay before us. This darksome forest, indeed, with its 
storms and rains, famine, disease and deadly attacks, nearly 
proved fatal to the whole caravan and reduced it to a condition 
of utter desperation and madness. The first patch of green 
grass appeared to us as a token and promise, as the olive branch 
in the mouth of the dove did to Noah of old. 

We were travelling along paths which had already been 
made ; we knew in advance where we should lay our heads to 
rest from day to day ; we were well supplied with stores ; we 
journeyed more comfortably here than we did at first in the steppe 
country, or in the volcanic region, and yet we experienced that 
oppressiveness which is always felt in this gigantic forest. The 
conditions of travelling alone were different ; the forest remained 
the same in its immeasurable and inexorable lonesomeness. 

The departure took place under inauspicious conditions in 
streaming rain, which had set in violently during the night, 
though unaccompanied by lightning, and had compelled many 
of us to wander about with our beds as the water penetrated the 
houses. The confusion usually in evidence when quarters occu- 

238 




A FALLEN GIANT : CONGO VIRGIN FOREST 



The Shade of the Virgin Forest 239 

pied for a considerable time have to be abandoned was still 
further increased by the breaking-in of two hundred unpractised 
Congolese auxiliary carriers. Then there was the rain! But the 
weather was in accordance with our general condition of depres- 
sion as we set out at last, accompanied by our escort, under 
Lieutenant Boyton. It cleared up before long, and after three 
and a half hours of marching through pleasant, hilly and un- 
dulating steppe land we reached the boundary of the dense West 
African forest, from which we were not to emerge for a period 
of two months. An hour later we reached the Ituri, a hundred 
and twenty metres broad at that spot. We crossed it in a dug- 
out, the transit of our riding animals causing a good deal of 
trouble, and went into camp at Kifuku, the old Irumu, and the 
first of the fixed camping quarters which have been erected 
throughout the whole Irumu-Stanleyville route at intervals of 
fifteen to thirty kilometres. They serve for the convenience of 
passing Europeans and the officials of the Congo State, who, 
coming from the Congo, wish to reach the upper Ituri district 
or Beni. 

The serai in these encampments nearly always presents the 
same appearance ; a clay hut, usually thatched with phrynium 
leaves, and consisting of two almost cubiform " rooms," divided 
in the middle by a broad corridor. A raised gallery, called the 
barasa, runs under the wide, projecting roof. The little brick 
houses, often very pretty ones, at the stations are for the most 
part built on the same pattern. In the serai the floor is usually 
formed of stamped clay, and a primitive form of table is often 
placed in the hall close to the barasa. I have been reckless enough 
to repose in these barasas, although aware that the roofs are by 
no means always watertight and fever relapses are sometimes 
brought on from resting in such places. As a protection from 
the rain, I used to draw a wrapping of balloon material over 
the roof, a stuff that has often rendered excellent service as 
a covering for the loads and as a rain-tent for the carriers ; 
then I felt safe. These houses, however, are always pleasant 
to spend a halt in, especially the "hall," which is used as a 



240 In the Heart of Africa 

mess-room. It is much cooler inside them than in the tents, 
and the heat and blinding glare of the sun are never felt so keenly 
as, when at the end of a march, one emerges from the shade of 
the native forest and enters the clearing around the serai and 
its village. 

At all these stations one meets " Arabises," as they are called 
by the Congolese, or " Wangwana " (the Educated Ones), as they 
call themselves in the Kisuaheli tongue. Ethnographical ly they 
represent a quite inextricable mixtum com-positum of Arabs, 
east coast and inland negroes, Manjema from west of Tan- 
ganjika, and natives from the eastern districts of the Congo 
State. They are offspring and descendants of those slave and 
ivory hunters with whom the Belgians had to wage such fierce 
battle, remains of Tippoo Tib's hordes of the Aruwimi-Ituri 
district, the Ngarruwas and Kilonga-Longas the oldest of 
whom still remember Stanley well. Of course there are others, 
too, who have come to the Congo in later years in the train 
of the Arabian dealers. They speak Kisuaheli, richly inter- 
spersed with native and Arab expressions, sometimes called 
" Kingwana " the language of the Wangwana. In any case, 
the designation Arabises is a fitting one. They wear long 
Arabian garments and turbans. Many of them show the strong 
admixture of Arabian blood very plainly, though one seldom 
meets pure Arabs. There are, doubtless, some shady customers 
amongst them, and it is certain that, besides their lawful business, 
they carry on extensive smuggling in rubber and ivory over the 
German and English boundaries after all, a peaceful and 
innocent occupation compared to that of the days of their youth, 
when, before the establishment of European rule, the Congo 
was a land full of horrors. Their official activity is limited to 
keeping the stations and the roads in order, and in providing 
the Europeans and carriers passing through with provisions and 
stores. Manioc and sweet potatoes are principally cultivated in 
the clearings, also rice and maize. The Wangwana did not grow 
bananas to any extent ; they complained that the elephants made 
too much havoc amongst them. 




THE ITURI AT MAWAMBI 




A FOREST FERRY ON THE ITURI 




A BRIDGED OBSTACLE ON A CONGO VIRGIN FOREST PATH 



The Shade of the Virgin Forest 241 

The road which connects the stations, the barrabarra, may 
best be compared to a woodland path or lane. It winds through 
the great African forest, about four metres in breadth, unbroken 
by any glade, the smaller trees and the undergrowth simply 
having been cut away. The larger trees remain, and create no 
obstacles, as the only part which is used is a well-trodden footway 
in the centre. The negro always marches in single file. Should 
one of the giants of the forest crash down and block the road- 
way, it is usually left lying, as to clear it away would necessi- 
tate a good deal of trouble, hardly proportionate to the benefit 
accruing to the roadway. A short detour is usually made around 
the obstacle by cutting a small bypath in the interior of the 
forest or by building an extempore bridge across it or by making 
steps. The bridges over the numerous small brooks and through 
swampy dips are the vulnerable points of the route. In parts 
they are simply corduroy roads, though often sturdier trunks are 
laid lengthways, with round logs and boughs lying across them, 
the gaps being stopped with clay and earth. These construc- 
tions are deserving of all praise and are quite practicable for 
pedestrians and, if of recent construction, even for horsemen. 
Unfortunately, however, they are also used by passengers for 
whom they are absolutely not intended, namely, by elephants. 
The constructions, which, after all, are only primitive negro 
handwork, are naturally not adapted for such weights, and thus 
the older bridges and dams sometimes seem to consist of " a 
number of holes joined together." 

Our marches proceeded monotonously from station to station, 
and the longer we travelled without incidents worthy of remark 
the deeper was the impression made upon us by the great forest. 
I believe a long stay in this forest would lead to heavy mental 
depression in sensitive men. The unutterable feeling of oppres- 
sion which makes itself felt in the course of time lies in the 
absence of any free view, the impossibility of permitting the eye 
to rove freely across a wide space, or of once catching a glimpse 
of sky and earth merging in the far horizon. Only a short 

stretch of road can be seen ahead ; you are hemmed in by 
2 F 



242 In the Heart of Africa 

thickets which prevent you from penetrating the green depths 
on either side, and, on gazing upwards, the dense canopy of 
foliage overhead forbids an untrammelled view of the heavens 
to the eyes so wearied with eternal green. On coming to a glade, 
the green walls rise implacably up to a height of forty metres, 
and the traveller can only be compared to a prisoner who has 
exchanged the narrow confines of his cell for the prison court- 
yard. The forest is oppressive in its monstrous hugeness and 
density, filling up all the space from the ground to the highest 
tree-tops. Thus we could understand how it was that the Belgian 
officials found their foret vierge deadening and soul-killing, and 
often spoke with mild horror of the march through the forest 
from Stanleyville to their stations on the eastern boundary. 

To those coming from the open plains, animal life here appears 
to be extinct. Just as the ocean voyager can see little of the 
wealth of life concealed in the sea, so we could discern nothing 
of the rich animal world hidden in the depths of the interior 
of the forest. It is true that we came across many tracks of 
elephants and buffalo, but we never saw the beasts themselves ; 
the birds were silent, and not even monkeys enlivened the motion- 
less trees. It was not until we were a little way from Mawambi 
that we saw somewhat more of the fauna. At the start monkeys 
abounded, but they were scared away by Mildbraed. He was 
the first of us to arrive in Irumu from Beni, and as he found his 
hands idle there he marched off in advance, so as to have more 
leisure for collecting ; he was to await our coming at Mawambi. 
When he shot down the boughs from the tree-tops he did not 
spare their four-legged inhabitants ; he showed us some colobus 
species, black mangabeys (which look like devils), and a green 
monkey. At night we often heard elephants in the darkness 
amongst the banana fields around the station, breaking down the 
shrubs and generally creating havoc. 

Until we reached Mawambi we had thunderstorms almost 
daily, but fortunately they did not break out till the afternoon or 
during the night. The loamy ground was in a state which did 
not conduce to pleasant travelling. The air was so saturated 




A STREAM IN THE CONGO FOREST 



The Shade of the Virgin Forest 243 

with moisture that the forest was filled with a hot-house atmo- 
sphere and a disagreeable smell of dank decay and mouldiness. 
Sometimes the rain helped to vary the deadly monotony of the 
day. At the station on the Epulu, which flows into the Ituru 
from the north-east, I sat in my tent on the 6th of April, in- 
different to the rain, with my attention riveted by a perfectly 
" new " newspaper article written early in February. Suddenly 
I became aware that I, my table, and my chair were resting upon 
a solitary island. My tent had been carelessly erected in a small 
hollow, and all the rain-water in the place was flowing into the 
depression. Great dams and skilfully constructed sluices 
eventually diverted the flood water away. On another occasion 
Schubotz was caught. The heavy rains had made his tent-ropes 
shrink to such an extent that they tore the tent-pegs out of the 
ground, and the whole structure fell in, burying the sleeping 
proprietor beneath it. 

Our route took a curved direction from Irumu, through 
Kifuku, Cambi ja Wambutti, Mokoto, Mamulambi on the Epulu, 
Songolo and Agwama, to Mawambi on the Ituri. The river 
bends to the south, and Stanley's road runs between. At 
Mawambi we were met by the Chef de -paste, M. Athanasoff, a 
Bulgarian, and by Mildbraed, who was smiling contentedly. He 
had evidently had the best of it on this march. He had 
gathered rich booty amongst the exuberant green vegetation, 
and, with the botanist's trained eye, had found much interest- 
ing material which would naturally lie hidden from the layman, 
however great a lover of nature and keen observer he might be. 

Mawambi is only a small post, possessing a Commis d'etat 
M. Athanasoff already mentioned, the only representative of his 
nation in the somewhat motley assortment of Congo State official- 
dom and a non-commissioned officer, a Swede, the commanders 
of the small troop of Askari. The station yields about a 
ton of rubber monthly, the natives being pledged to bring in 
three kilogrammes per head in that time. About eight hundred 
kilogrammes of ivory are also sent from this place to Boma 
yearly for the State. 



244 In the Heart of Africa 

The station is prettily situated on a hill above the banks 
of the Ituri, which flows very broad and strong at this point, 
but is not very deep ; and we could enjoy a beautiful view of 
it from the barasa of the mess-hut. As we were able to see not 
only across the river, but also had an uninterrupted view over a 
considerable portion of the forest, we felt we could breathe 
freely again. 

After a halt of three days at this pleasant little station, we 
started off again for Avakubi, in a southerly direction from the 
river. 

Animal life revealed itself more abundantly as we proceeded. 
In the proximity of Mawambi there is a species of dwarf antelope 
which appears to be very plentiful. They are caught in gins and 
traps by the natives, and brought in to the station alive but 
cruelly bound, where they make a valuable addition to the menu. 
We hoped to have been able to bring one or two of these charm- 
ing creatures back to Europe with us alive. At first I let them 
run about freely in my room at Mawambi, and they soon gained 
such confidence that I could feed them. Unfortunately, these 
exceedingly delicate beasties, of which we obtained five, 
succumbed in spite of the most attentive care. Two baboons 
bagged by Wiese formed a remarkable capture, remarkable on 
account of their being met with at two hundred kilometres in the 
interior, for it had always been assumed that the margins of the 
forest, with the natives' fields, to the fruits of which they are 
very partial, formed their particular reserves and hunting 
grounds. At one camp we got a young long-tailed monkey from 
the Wangwana, an attractive creature, with dark fur and a white 
triangular spot on the nose. She was perfectly tame, but nothing 
on the dining table was safe with her. Owing to her amazing 
Semitic-like physiognomy she was called Rebecca. At Avakubi 
we procured a husband for her, and we saw there a young chim- 
panzee, who looked like a patriarch, and patiently permitted all 
kinds of pranks to be played with him. 

The feathered inhabitants of the forest are far less in evidence 
than one would be inclined to believe, as the height of the trees 




"REBECCA" 
(Cercopithecus Schmidt!) 




WANGIUMA (ARUWIMI) 



The Shade of the Virgin Forest 245 

and the dense undergrowth conceal the majority of the species 
from the eye of the observer. The birds most easily discerned 
are the great white and black hornbill, the immense turacus and 
a shrike, first discovered to us by its sweet song, the only really 
good forest singer. The insect world is very strongly repre- 
sented. There is a species of cicada, almost imperceptible to 
the eye of the traveller on account of its protective grey colour, 
which matches the bark of the trees ; it is about four centimetres 
in length, and its exceedingly shrill, almost metallic, chirp fills 
the woods with a noise which, as Stanley said, surpasses thp 
" warbling " of the Manjema women. There are gorgeous diurnal 
butterflies, the West African nymphalidce predominating, which 
flutter in crowds at the brooks and moist places on the way, or 
on the ordure of mammalia, and fly up in clouds in front of the 
caravans. The beetles are less noticeable, but at times goliath- 
beetles are to be found, something like colossal editions of the 
rhinoceros-beetles, which belong to the very largest of their order. 
Little black wasps become a great source of annoyance at times ; 
they build their nests, which look as though they were made of 
coarse grey-brown paper and resemble wind-sails, in the boughs 
of trees. They are often the cause of serious confusion in the 
caravan through their very painful stings. The ants, however, 
play the chief role among the representatives of the lower animal 
world in this forest. The termites, or white ants, erect strange 
structures propped up against the trunks of trees which make one 
think of pileated mushrooms ; the house-ants hump the earth 
high up into the tree-tops, where among the boughs they construct 
habitations which bear such a striking resemblance to monkeys 
sitting quietly that we sometimes grasped our rifles and very 
nearly pulled the triggers. Small ants cement up all the gaps in 
the leaves of the underwood with earth and refuse, and fall 
fiercely upon any invader who attempts to cut his way through. 
Then there are reddish-brown ants, about the size of our wood 
ants, which march in thousands along the road in close forma- 
tion, a respectful way always being made for them by all who 
cross their path, as they bite fearfully. The most interesting of 



246 In the Heart of Africa 

the ants is a fairly big, very slender and perfectly black ant, 
which inhabits the hollow, horizontally projecting branches of a 
small tree, Barteria fistulosa; they present everyone who, through 
ignorance or carelessness, touches their tree with a very memor- 
able souvenir, as their bite is so painful that one feels it for 
twenty-four hours at least. 

It rained somewhat less now and it was considerably warmer 
(31-32 degrees Celsius, atmospheric temperature). When we 
stepped into a clearing after a march we were forced to recoil 
from the glowing heat and the blinding glare. We also learned 
the full significance of tropical storms. They had a more 
thrilling and terrifying effect here than in the open plains. It 
made an overpowering impression upon one to watch the tornado 
seize the giants of the forest in its mighty grasp, bending and 
tossing them hither and thither, while the green sea of tree-tops 
surged and roared like the wild waves of the ocean. I never 
saw this forest look so beautiful as when lashed up to conflict 
from its habitual calm serenity. 

On arriving at the third station after Mawambi we found 
Commandant Engh, Chef of the Ituri district, awaiting us. As 
he was to escort us from this point, Lieutenant Boyton returned 
to Irumu. We were all very sorry to part from him. A very 
agreeable companion and an excellent adviser, he had been of 
inestimable service to us during the six weeks of his escort. 

On the 22nd of April we entered Avakubi by a broad, well- 
kept road, and came on an enormous open space of ground, 
where the Congo flag was waving from a tall mast. The garrison 
and all the station hands were paraded, no fewer than seven 
Europeans being on the right flank. Avakubi is a large station, 
with splendid avenues of oil palms, straight roads, with pretty 
brick-built houses, and shady mango trees. A large Wangwana 
settlement lies at a little distance from the station, in which a 
few Arabs have established themselves as dealers. An official 
dinner took place on the evening of our arrival ; the " official " 
part of it, so far as 1 was concerned, consisting in the fact that 
I wore a starched shirt and a black tie, for the first time since 



The Shade of the Virgin Forest 247 

June, 1907. Father Superior Wulfers,* of the neighbouring 
mission, was also present. The next day I paid a visit there 
alone. The mission is very prettily situated in a glade, and 
makes a cheerful as well as a very imposing impression, with its 
new brick-built houses, which, especially the large church, bear 
a resemblance to the Romanesque style. 

On the 25th of April we sent our trusty Askari home. As 
they paraded before me for the last time with all their old 
habitual discipline, I thanked them for the loyal services which 
they had rendered during the past twelve months. I can give 
them an excellent testimonial. Faithful, and more than faithful, 
in their duties, they never, with very few exceptions, gave any 
cause for serious complaint. Some of them had to look after the 
safe conduct of the scientific collection loads to the coast, and so 
were separated for months from the expedition ; others had to 
hasten with mail matter from one safari to another on journeys 
lasting for weeks at a time. In spite of all, excesses were never 
committed. The conduct of these soldiers bears eloquent witness 
to the excellence of the German methods of drill and instruction, 
which even in the absence of superiors shows no relaxation of 
discipline. 

As a conclusion to this chapter I should like to attach a 
few general statements made by Dr. Mildbraed concerning the 
forest, in which he briefly sketches one of the most important 
results of our botanical collections: 

" One often comes across conceptions, even in recent works, 
regarding the extent and character of the African tropical forest 
and the so-called Equatorial forest, which do not correspond to 
the reality. I will quote a few such instances: 

"' ... Its extent alone is smaller, compared with the Malayan 
and Brazilian forests ; it is limited to a relatively narrow strip on 
the Guinea coast to the Cameroons, and farther south to the 
Gaboon and central Angola. Thence eastwards it extends, 

* Father Wulfers met with a fatal accident whilst travelling on duty in the 
spring of 1909. 



2 48 In the Heart of Africa 

impoverished and alternating with savannahs in the Congo region, 
to the great lakes,' etc. Or again, ' The great, gloomy, Equatorial 
forest, which has no connection with the coastal forests, and 
which was traversed by Stanley, Emin Pasha, Count Gotzen 
and a few other travellers, stretches deep into the interior of the 
Congo territory. It cannot in any way compare, however, with 
the virgin forests of Brazil or of the Sunda Islands.' 

" Regarding the first quotation, the point at issue is not that 
of a vast uninterrupted forest in the Congo basin ; it is an 
accepted fact that broader or narrower strips alternate with 
savannahs there ; in the second quotation the existence of an 
Equatorial forest is recognised, but the character of tropical 
virgin forest and any connection with the woods near the West 
African coast is not allowed. 

" In contrast to these statements I would like to quote a sen- 
tence from Stanley : ' Visions of Brazil may be conjured up in 
the Congo basin ; the river itself is reminiscent of the Amazon, 
and the Central African forests of the immense forests of 
Brazil.' 

" From the Cameroons and Gaboon coasts of the Atlantic 
Ocean, the waves of an African virgin forest surge uninter- 
ruptedly up to the foot of the Ruwenzori Mountains in the far 
east ; it is only laced in by savannahs like a narrow strait be- 
tween the most south-easterly point of the Cameroons and the 
Ubangi. Now, if we take only the eastern portion of this 
hemmed in part, the actual Equatorial forest, we perceive an 
immense mass of forest bounded by the curve of the Congo- 
Lualaba from Coquilhatville, on the Equator, to Nyangwe; 
farther by a line from Nyangwe to the Burton Gulf of Lake Tan- 
ganjika ; in the east approximately by the western edge of the 
Central African rift-valley ; in the north by the Uelle-Ubangi ; 
and in the west by the Ubangi in its lower course. Then comes 
a junction with the forests of the south Cameroons. This forms 
a territory in round figures of 600,000 square kilometres, whose 
connection with the genuine tropical forest is unbroken, either 
by mountains worthy of the name, or by any strips of pasture 




A GLADE IN THE VIRGIN FOREST 



The Shade of the Virgin Forest 249 

land ; a forest reserve which, as a compact whole, cannot be 
equalled save in the basin of the Amazon. 

"The question remains: Is this forest genuine virgin forest, 
tropical forest of typical formation? Surely the greater part 
must be. I will fall back again on Stanley. He says : ' Imagine 
the whole of France and the Iberian Peninsula densely covered 
with trees 6 to 60 metres in height, with smooth trunks, 
whose leafy tops are so close to one another that they inter- 
mingle and obscure the sun and the heavens, each tree over a 
metre in thickness. Then ropes stretching across from one tree 
to another in the shape of creepers and festoons, or curling round 
the trunks in thick, heavy coils, like endless anacondas, till they 
reach the highest point. Imagine them in full bloom, their 
luxuriant foliage combining with that of the trees to obscure 
the sunlight, and their hundreds of long festoons covered with 
slender tendrils hanging down from the highest branches till they 
touch the ground, interlacing one another in a complete tangle.' 
That sounds highly fantastic, but making every allowance for 
Stanley's journalistic heroics and extracting the kernel of fact, 
his description is fairly accurate. 

" This forest possesses the distinctive characteristics of the 
tropical virgin forest in the great height of its trees, its numerous 
liane the most striking amongst them being the Rotan palm 
and the many orchids and other parasites. 

" There are many other biological peculiarities which prove its 
typical tropical character. 

" There is yet another question : How does the flora of the 
Equatorial Forest compare with that of the forests in the vicinity 
of the west coast ? Are we to accept the widespread opinion, 
viz., that it is inferior in species, especially of the endemic order ? 
This question may be decidedly answered in the negative, and I 
look upon this fact as one of the most important botanical results 
of the expedition. This forest, with which we became familiar 
in its most eastern portions, is in no way inferior to the forest 
of the Cameroons and Gaboon so far as wealth of interesting 

types is concerned. Bipinde in the Cameroons, distant about 
2 G 



250 In the Heart of Africa 

2,000 kilometres from the collecting centre of our expedition 
in the Ituri forest, is a district particularly rich in endemics, 
i.e., species which characterise that place. I was therefore 
all the more surprised on one of my botanical excursions to 
come across the Bipinde flora en masse at the foot of Mount 
Ruwenzori. It may therefore well be assumed that the forests 
of the West African Coast and the Equatorial forest are con- 
nected, not only geographically, but that botanically they also 
form one homogeneous whole." 





WANGILIMA VILLAGES ON THE ARUWIMI 



CHAPTER X 

HOMEWARD BOUND 

WE left Avakubi on the 2/th of April. We had looked forward 
to the day with pleasurable anticipation as a relief from hot 
marches through tangled foliage, and a pleasanter mode of 
travel in large native canoes. The Ituri, foaming over the 
jagged rocks, rushes wildly through the centre of the village, 
which is picturesquely built up on the river banks. It loses its 
tempestuous character further below and flows along sluggishly, 
under the name Aruwimi, its dark waters forming falls as it 
nears the valley. There its navigability begins anew, and we 
found twenty canoes waiting to carry us to the Congo. 

After three-quarters of an hour's ride we arrived at Kifuku, 
our point of embarkation. The rocks there jut far out into the 
river, and with the dark waters swirling around them form a 
picturesque feature. The oarsmen bustled about briskly here and 
there, picking up tents and provisions and stowing them in the 
boats. A crowd of folk who had followed us out of curiosity 
loitered round. A few Arabs, the last representatives of that 
arrogant race which once held sway in Africa, greeted us and 
handed us gifts of carved ivory. The terrace-shaped banks 
swarmed with throngs of people, gossiping, chattering, and 
generally making a bedlam of the place with their hubbub as 
the flotilla at length set out. The wildest confusion and most 
deafening din prevailed. All the boats were trying to leave 
at the same moment, and this caused them to jamb against each 
other and crush the occupants, who started yelling. Some of 
the oarsmen who arrived late swung themselves into the first 
canoe that came handy, and jumped from boat to boat wildly 

25 1 



252 In the Heart of Africa 

gesticulating till they found their own. We endeavoured to 
bring order into the chaos, but our efforts only had a contrary 
effect. As everyone was shouting at once, nobody could make 
himself heard. At last the coil was disentangled bit by bit ; 
we were given our course, and, accompanied by the lusty singing 
of the entire crews, our little fleet sailed out on its voyage. 
Signalling brief farewells to our friends on the receding shore, 
we turned our eyes to the front and started on the last stretch 
of our journey. 

The type of boat we used was the common dug-out canoe. 
The craft were of greater length than usual, however, and in 
addition to Europeans, boys and Askaris, they bore twenty 
loads and as many oarsmen, who were posted in the yacht- 
shaped, cut-away bows. These men were recruited from the 
Wabudu and Wangilima tribes fine men, whose splendid dis- 
play of muscle afforded evidence of perfect training. Their 
naked bodies shone with grease. They wore caps on their heads 
made from the long-haired skins of apes, or tightly-fitting 
bonnets smeared with grease and camwood something like those 
used by our ladies at home when bathing. 

Bending down low, the baharia (rowers) dipped their finely- 
carved, copper-decorated paddles deep into the water, pulling 
them out again with a peculiar rapid jerk which made the canoe 
vibrate a little. The men are excellent, hardy river boatmen, 
who, with some encouragement, will persevere untiringly for 
hours at their work. Whilst paddling they usually sing melodi- 
ously and with a purity and harmony of tone that I have seldom 
met with elsewhere. 

We all found this agreeable mode of travelling an indescrib- 
able relief after our exhausting marches through the primeval 
forest. Lounging in dolce far niente style, stretched on a com- 
fortable chair under the protecting awning, we saw most luxuriant 
sylvan scenery pass before us in an ever-changing panorama. 
One might have characterised this kind of voyaging as quite 
ideal had not the troublesome rapids ever and anon broken the 
sweet enchantment. Where the river is wide in some places 




WANGILIMA OARSMEN (1ST POSITION) 




WANGILIMA OARSMEN (2ND POSITION) 



Homeward Bound 253 

it has a width of 1,000 metres it flows along quietly and 
lazily, but where its waters are straitened and narrowly confined 
by islands it shoots impetuously in foaming cataracts. 

We ended our first day's trip, which lasted nine hours, at 
Bosobangi, where there is one of these rapids. At this spot 
the river has a fall of three metres and becomes a cascade. As 
the boats had, of course, to pass this, they were emptied, and the 
natives of Bosobangi, who were familiar with this kind of work, 
carried the goods, which were heaped up on the bank, round 
the waterfall by a narrow path. We then took up our stand 
on a projecting slab of rock and trained our cinematograph on 
the foaming froth of waters. At a given signal each boat, 
manned by two men only, approached the chute in turn, and with 
the speed of an arrow shot down the seething waters. 

Thrilling as the spectacle may be, the shooting of the cataracts 
itself is far from being the most agreeable of sensations, as 
there is always a danger of capsizing. A slight miscalculation 
of direction, or a cross-course taken by the boat, may result 
in catastrophe. 

We experienced this on the second day. I was sitting in 
my canoe at the head of the flotilla, the other boats following 
at irregular intervals, when we came to another rapid, which 
we could discern from afar by the white froth on the crests of 
the waves. On approaching dangerous spots the Wangilima 
were in the habit of taking an experienced pilot on board from 
one or other of the many neighbouring villages. As this course 
was not pursued in the present instance although the river was 
at high-water mark it was a quieting indication that the passage 
offered no difficulty. We approached nearer and nearer the 
rapids, and soon heard the rushing of the waters. The singing 
ceased, the men shipped their oars ; their whole duty now con- 
sisted in keeping the boat in the fairway. Involuntarily we sat 
erect and grasped the gunwale with our hands. A slight feeling 
of uneasiness made itself felt in the epigastric region. We 
reached the brink of the cascade, the canoe tipped lightly up 
at the stem and shot with a mad rush through the raging torrent. 



254 In the Heart of Africa 

Foam and spray splashed up and besprinkled the occupants of 
the "fragile craft. A few moments more and we were through, 
gliding forward with increased speed for a time, and the danger, 
of which we only had a vague appreciation, was over. Yet the 
jabbering of the rowers, which immediately increased in anima- 
tion, and the sudden lightening up and smiling expression of 
their faces warned us that their previous apparent tranquillity 
had only been assumed. 

Turning our heads we observed that the second boat had 
sailed smoothly over the rocky river bed. The third one 
Czeczatka's "pirogue" was just coming up. Its bows had 
barely touched the line of foam when it suddenly turned 
obstinately athwart the channel. Recognising the danger, a 
Congolese Askari sprang up quickly, but a sudden side-jolt of 
the canoe and he vanished to rise no more. The next moment 
the boat had capsized and thrown all its occupants into the water. 
We were horror-stricken! Any idea of rendering assistance was 
out of the question, for boat after boat came swishing into the 
current quite unstably, and each one had quite enough to do in 
endeavouring to avoid the fate of the luckless craft. It was 
lying, bottom upwards, jammed in between the rocks, and one 
boy who emerged from the flood succeeded in grasping its sides 
and clambering on to the keel. A hand rose up from the water 
close by it was that of the non-commissioned officer. The boy, 
reaching out, grasped it, and on the head following, the brave 
boy, with a great effort, managed to pull his master up into 
a place of security. The pressure of the water, however, had 
loosened the canoe and it went floating down the stream with 
both of them hanging on to it. One by one the rest of the 
unfortunates appeared on the surface, some being borne away 
by the current, others, who had already passed the rocks, making 
for the banks, whilst some succeeded in saving themselves by 
clinging on to great stones, where, dripping with water, they 
awaited their release. 

The work of rescue was not an easy one, as the canoes 
were constantly driven away by the current. At length, how- 




A MOBAI.I (ARUWIMI) 



Homeward Bound 255 

ever, we contrived to throw a line to the poor fellows and 
managed to draw them into shelter. Five men, alas! were 
not seen again. The Askari, three Wangilima and a man of 
the Wabudu tribe had met with their fate. In addition, a 
great many articles had been lost, amongst them Czeczatka's 
service rifle and side-arms, his tent, cartridges, and a tin box 
of writing materials. 

After having convinced ourselves that there was nothing 
further to be done in the way of succouring the victims of the 
accident, we prepared to continue our journey. Czeczatka was 
given one of the other boats and I gave him two of my people 
to help make up the gap in his crew. Another did the same. 
Then the episode was over and forgotten ; the men started 
chanting their melodious native canoe-songs once more as they 
paddled tranquilly along the wide expanse of the river, their 
voices echoing and re-echoing against the dense walls of foliage 
on the banks. 

The singing ceased abruptly. " Tembo, bana " " elephants, 
master " shouted the man in the bows as he turned round to 
me. I jumped up and saw the enormous forms of five elephants 
bulging out of the water, in which the colossal creatures were 
standing about half -covered and besplashing themselves in lazy 
serenity. I seized my rifle and my camera, uncertain what to 
do. The paddles were dipped very gently, so that no noise 
might betray our presence. The river was about 600 metres 
broad at the spot. The approach of the boats appeared to 
arouse a certain amount of uneasiness amongst the elephants, 
which was evinced by the raising of their trunks and the flapping 
of their ears. Creating a tremendous ripple in the stream, they 
returned to the bank, where there was a young animal who 
appeared to be in a very aggressive mood, and who was venting 
his spleen on the boughs of the trees, whilst the others stepped 
out of their bath and crashed into the forest. The youngster 
raged around for a time trumpeting, and then, turning in circles 
in the shallow water near the bank, sucked up the water in his 
trunk and spurted it into the air. As no danger appeared to 



256 In the Heart of Africa 

threaten our boat, I dropped my rifle and picked up my camera. 
Just then the ill-natured beast took his departure! 

Our river journey had been very poor in respect of fauna. 
Besides the few elephants we had only seen one or two crocodiles. 
Flights of grey parrots had frequently passed over our heads, 
but the trees seemed almost lifeless. The interior of the forest 
is alive with animal life during the daytime ; it is only at night 
and in the early morning hours that the river banks show signs 
of life, and after the animals have drunk their fill they retire 
again into the shady shelter of the thickets. 

We reached the " Awake " rapids at three o'clock in the 
afternoon. This place certainly has a name, but possesses no 
houses, so we set up our tents in the forest close to the water's 
edge, whence we could enjoy a splendid view of the rapids, 
which stretched the whole width of the river. We were very 
glad to finish the day's journey, as the air on the water was 
most sultry and oppressive. 

In the evening immense hosts of flying foxes flew circling 
over our camp. Uncertain as to whether they were identical 
with the Kwidschwi species, we brought down a few with our 
rifles. We were very much surprised to see that generally two 
fell to the ground together, instead of the one hit only, and on 
falling became detached. They were love pairs, who were 
probably whispering tender caresses into each other's big ears 
during their aerial flight. We found them to be identical with 
the Kwidschwi species. 

At Bomili we learned what a well-kept European station of 
considerable dimensions was like. Pretty, whitewashed houses 
stretched out invitingly along the gently sloping river banks 
before the eyes of the weary traveller. Just opposite to them 
the Nepoko flows out from the green forest and joins the 
Aruwimi, which here forms a rushing cataract. As we were 
emerging from the Zone de 1'Haut Ituri to enter the Zone de 
Falls, our amiable travelling companion, Commandant Engh, 
turned back for Avakubi with his rowers. A Norwegian by 
birth, Engh is one of the most striking personalities in the whole 




FALLS OF THE ARUWIMI AT PANGA 




WAR AND SIGNALLING DRUM OF THK ARUWIMI NATIVKS 



Homeward Bound 257 

Congo State. His expressive face and the narrow lips betray 
that his lean person is dominated by a power of will out of the 
common, which, in conjunction with tact and shrewd diplomacy, 
has had a most beneficial effect on the natives. The Belgian 
Government has placed the right man in the right place. For 
the Zone de 1'Haut Ituri comprises the great rubber reserve, where, 
as I have elsewhere mentioned, the native question is a specially 
difficult one, and the administration therefore carries with it 
great responsibility. 

Our new crews showed themselves equally as experienced 
as the previous oarsmen, and knew how to navigate skilfully the 
long-drawn rapids at Kalagwa, which we had to pass on the 
1st of May. As the river winds between islands abounding in 
craggy rocks at this spot, the current was more than usually 
strong and was considered very dangerous. Every boat there- 
fore took one or two pilots from the neighbouring Mobali 
villages, who were intimately acquainted with the peculiarities 
of the stream. Sitting in the bows, these men would indicate 
the exact course with their hands, and the trusty crew en- 
deavoured to guide the canoe into the sole navigable channel 
with their long poles. Most of the boats negotiated the three 
hours' passage through the seething froth in safety, but Wiese's, 
Schubotz's, and Mildbraed's barks were in considerable peril. 
Although the prophecy that we should have to anticipate losing 
at least one boat at this spot was happily left unfulfilled, it was 
only after a long and severe struggle that we were enabled to 
free the canoes from danger. 

When we arrived at Djambi we had to elude the cataracts 
by making a detour on land. We came upon huts for the first 
time which differed entirely from the usual kind. The Wan- 
gilima, the ruling tribe in these parts, cover their rough huts 
with pointed, pyramidal roofs of broad leaves and brushwood. 
The natives told us that this covering is the only protection they 
are afforded against the driving rains in the wet season. This 
style of architecture appears only at intervals, and after another 

two days' journey the ordinary form of hut resumed sway. On 
2H 



258 In the Heart of Africa 

entering the village we were startled by the appearance of an 
ape in human form, or vice versa. This apparition resolved 
itself before long into the headman of the village. In order 
to increase his charms, the fellow had daubed the whole of his 
body a fiery scarlet with powdered camwood. 

We came to the most imposing cataract when we reached 
Panga. These falls have a huge drop, and the roar of the 
boiling waters may be heard from afar. The cascades, divided 
only by detached, brush-covered rocky masses, extend the whole 
breadth of the river and present a magnificently picturesque 
subject for a painter's brush when seen in the light of the setting 
sun. We did our best to secure a photographic souvenir. As 
these cataracts are said to be impassable we changed our boats 
and our crews. Having bidden farewell to my beautiful canoe, 
which had borne me safely in spite of a leak, I was all the 
more pleasantly surprised to see it again, and in good con- 
dition, amongst the new craft. The men had succeeded in 
taking it through the raging torrent on long liane from the 
bank. 

There is an island which lies in front of the waterfalls on 
which Mr. Hannam, the discoverer of nearly all the valuable 
mines in the Congo State, lives. This famous prospector had 
also found conglomerate gold in that spot, which justified the 
highest hopes and indicated a possibility of profitable working. 
Two of his agents were prospecting farther down the river, and 
apparently were equally successful. These finds gave further 
witness of the wealth which was lying around in the soil and 
not being turned to account. Mr. Hannam, whose frank and 
simple manner charms everyone, is, as may be easily understood, 
one of the most popular men in the State. Equipped with a 
very considerable amount of expert knowledge, gained in the 
most important mining centres of the globe, the Congo State 
has taken him into its service, and certainly not to its own 
detriment. For it was due to him that the abundant wealth 
of copper and gold at Katanga was discovered, and it was on 
his advice that the active and prosperous industry at Kilo was 





A MOBALI (ARL'WIMI) 



A VILLAGE HEAD MAN OF DJAMMI 
(ARUWIMI) 



Homeward Bound 259 

initiated. Thanks to his shrewdness, a whole number of smaller 
metal deposits have also been turned to advantage. The State 
shows its gratitude by giving him a salary which should satisfy 
the highest demands, as well as his full maintenance whilst in 
Africa. As this is over and above adequate for the upkeep of 
a whole family, a visit to Mr. Hannam is much prized, for no 
one ever leaves his small island without having gifts bestowed 
upon him. We, too, experienced his noted hospitality, and when 
we reached Mupele, after another seven hours' journey, our 
glasses, filled with Hannam's champagne, toasted the health of 
the genial donor. 

Yet another incident heightened our pleasure in tasting the 
exhilarating beverage we had not seen for months, and that 
was our first meeting with a European lady for a twelvemonth! 
We met five boats in the centre of the stream, which flowed along 
almost imperceptibly. Under the awning of the first we saw the 
fresh young face of the wife of the Chef de secteur, Madame 
Milies, who for years has shared life and fate with her spouse 
in the interior of Africa. Although the animated conversation 
carried on from boat to boat was only of short duration, we were 
strangely moved at the chance meeting. It was like a greeting 
from far-off civilisation. 

The next day was very cool, and a dense mist obscured all 
view. We had a trip of eight hours, during which the sun finally 
conquered the fog and began to shoot down its scorching rays 
in a fashion that made us welcome the sight of the Banalia en- 
campment. On the journey we had come across several elephants 
standing in the stream, and one of them swam the whole breadth 
of the river in front of our boats. On a similar occasion I was 
successful in killing an elephant from the boat. 

It was delightful to be able to stretch our stiff limbs again 
after sitting so long on the inflexible seats. There are rapids 
in front of the station, but they have not much volume of water, 
and there are shell banks on the bed of the river. Plenty of 
young women go in for fishing there ; they remain under water 
for several minutes, scraping the shells from the banks. The 



260 In the Heart of Africa 

shells are made into ornaments ; the fish are similar to oysters, 
and form a favourite article of food. 

We reached Yambuya by way of Bakanga and the Bogbodet 
rapids on the afternoon of the 8th of May, and were at the 
end of our " romantic " journey by native boat. There we learnt 
that an early steamer was coming to pick us up and carry us 
to Basoko. 

But our last day in the canoes was not destined to pass without 
accident. The boat occupied by my servant Weidemann (our 
general factotum in every sense of the word) filled with water 
in consequence of the stern striking a submerged rock, and lay 
on its beam ends. The occupants were thrown into the rushing 
stream, and as this boat happened to be the last of the proces- 
sion the catastrophe remained unobserved, and it was a long time 
before the natives of the neighbouring village decided to as- 
sist the unfortunates, who were shouting and wildly signalling 
for help. The canoe was got to the bank, fortunately un- 
damaged, but, sad to say, a number of stores, cartridges 
and letters, as well as a thousand photographic plates, were 

irrevocably lost. 

***** 

Yambuya, as well as Basoko, played an important part as 
a base on Stanley's memorable expedition to Emin Pasha's relief, 
and the boundaries of the old encampment are still recognisable. 
Directly opposite was the anchorage berth of the Delivrance, 
which we were anxiously expecting. When her shrill whistle at 
length broke the stillness of the river valley, we all rushed to 
the shore in eager excitement to feast our eyes on the sight of 
a regular steamer. 

The Delivrance belongs to the smallest type of Congo 
steamer. She is furnished with a large stern-wheel, a deck lying 
almost level with the surface of the water, and an upper deck. 
The latter would be a splendid domicile were it not for the 
wood ashes which escape from the funnel and rain down to 
burn holes in your clothes. So we joined our Danish captain 
and made ourselves comfortable on the bridge, which was one 




A MAN OF BASOKO 



Homeward Bound 261 

and a half metres wide and three metres long. The captain's 
is the only cabin. 

I paid a visit to the great liane plantation of Patalongo, 
in company with Dr. Mildbraed and M. Lemoine, Chef de 
paste, a very droll, sociable fellow. So far as I am aware, 
it is the only settlement where liane alone are cultivated. When 
I was there there were as many as 320,000 Landolphia and 
200,000 Clitandra seedlings on 800 ha of ground. The planta- 
tions are partly situated in the clearings of the forest itself, and 
partly in places which have been specially grubbed out ; the 
latter, which admit the full influence of the sun, appear to be the 
better adapted to the purpose. It is to be regretted that here, 
too, the full development of the plantation is hindered in con- 
sequence of the lack of permanent labour. Only the most 
skilful hands can be utilised for the work, and the State engages 
each man in most cases for a period of twelve months. 

The slow growth of the liane which permit of no tapping 
till they have been planted for twenty years deals a death-blow 
even to such a fine plantation as the one mentioned. In conse- 
quence of the huge pecuniary outlay and lack of advantageous 
return, the State has been forced to cease further attempts in this 
direction, and to content itself with the cultivation of the rubber 
tree. 

Meanwhile, all our loads had been stowed on board the 
Deltvrance, and we weighed anchor in the afternoon of the 
loth of May. Soon the revolutions of the great stern-wheel were 
driving us along the Aruwimi with an easy celerity to which 
we had long been strangers. After a few hours of rapid journey- 
ing, in the course of which we had to steer a very zig-zag course 
in consequence of the frequent sandbanks, we anchored at 
Mogandju and passed the night there, after a very entertaining 
evening in the society of some very pleasant Belgian gentle- 
men. 

Mogandju is the best-kept station on the whole length of the 
Aruwimi. It is surrounded by extensive coffee and cocoa plan- 
tations, and rubber trees are also cultivated. Attempts have 



262 In the Heart of Africa 

been made to grow cotton plants. It would be premature to pass 
any final judgment as to their ultimate chance of prospering, 
but the healthy appearance of the plantation indicated that the 
soil, at least, was promising. 

After hearty farewells we proceeded on our course, accom- 
panied by the retiring Chef de paste at Mogandju, M. Bisteau, 
who was going home on furlough on finishing his " terme." The 
whole village, with all the head-men, had hurried up to view 
his departure, and one read genuine sorrow in their faces at 
having to lose their kind and honoured master. They pressed 
around him, stretching out their hands and entreating him to 
return to them, and as long as we could see them from the 
steamer they kept on waving adieux. The feeling they exhibited 
was really genuine and a sign of the firmly cemented mutual 
interest existing between superior and subordinates. 

Tranquil and unconcerned, we enjoyed the beautiful passage, 
until a violent shock made the ship tremble and took us for a 
moment out of our course. We had run with full force against 
a sunken reef falsely marked on the chart, or not marked at 
all, and the water was pouring with irresistible force through a 
great leak on the port side into the hold where our baggage 
was lying. Although the crew bailed continuously they could 
not keep pace with the constant stream of water ; the bow sank 
deeper and deeper and the vessel threatened to sink. Nothing 
remained but to beach the ship. We steamed with full power 
against the brushwood on the northern bank. In vain! The 
Delivrance recoiled like a ball from the boughs, oscillating 
violently. " Full steam astern, hard a-port, and full steam 
ahead across the river ! " came the orders, which were executed 
with admirable coolness. Then we saw the flat shore of a village 
on the further bank. To lessen the top-weight we all descended 
to the lower deck, which was nearly submerged. We exerted 
the engines to their uttermost and steered straight for the bank 
still fifty yards, thirty, ten, and then a terrible crash! The 
steamer lurched heavily over, righted herself and rode firm. A 
hurrah of relief escaped our throats. Our brave boys, however, 




A CONGO STERN-WHEEL STEAMER 




A PLANTATION AT BARUMBU, CONGO 



Homeward Bound 263 

had not waited for the usual style of landing, but had sprung 
overboard pell-mell. 

After the vessel had been emptied of all goods and luggage, 
the necessary repairs were begun. Not until sunset were we able 
to continue our interrupted voyage. We did not regret the 
halt, however, for dusk was just settling down in the virgin 
forest and stillness reigned, uplifting our spirits in an atmo- 
sphere of calm serenity. From behind the clouds the gleaming 
disc of the moon emerged in all its silvery splendour and dis- 
seminated that indescribable tropical charm over the surrounding 
scenery which calls up such an unconquerable yearning in the 
heart of a lover of nature. That feeling, which, in spite of all 
dangers and hardships, always draws him again to the vast 
mysterious territory of unexplored Africa. We sat mute on the 
deck, deeply stirred by the fairy-like scene. 

After some hours a glimmer of light appeared in the far 
distance, then a second, then several. We were nearing our 
destination. Lying alongside the quay close to the outer wall 
of Basoko, we could discern the outlines of a large steamer. 
It was the Flandre, which was going to bear us down the Congo. 
We approached at half-speed. Orders were given. "Stop her! 
Back her ! " and we made fast alongside. The officials of the 
station were waiting to greet us with the Commissaire general, 
Commandant van Vert, at their head. When, accompanied by 
him, we trod the wide streets of Basoko, we almost fancied we 
had returned to European civilisation again. And when later, 
for the first time for a twelvemonth, we lay in comfortable 
European beds and ran over the events of the past year in our 
minds, we were able to close our eyes in slumber with a feeling of 
perfect contentment. All troubles and dangers had been happily 
surmounted. The voyage in front of us on the Congo was only 
child's play. The work of the expedition was finished. 

* * * * 

Basoko is one of the largest and most important stations 
on the Upper Congo. It is an old fortified encampment of 
Stanley's, which has played a considerable part in the history 



264 In the Heart of Africa 

of the Congo State, especially at the time of the Arab rising. 
The fort consists of towers and walls provided with loopholes, 
extending along the Aruwimi. This extensive post comprises a 
considerable number of European dwelling-houses, magazines, 
barracks, a hospital and a prison. Broad, shady avenues of 
well-kept mango trees give the place a pleasant, homely look. 
The Commissaire general, who commanded the Aruwimi district 
at the time, escorted us round and pointed out the fruits of his 
and his predecessors' work. 

We took the opportunity to examine one of the larger store- 
sheds. It was filled with cases of all sizes containing the multi- 
farious articles with which the State pays its workers. Whole 
shiploads of stuffs, wire and beads, lay heaped up together with 
mountains of straw hats, leather belts and other European 
articles in bulk, which probably sprang from some Brussels or 
Antwerp bazaar. Ready money is not used in the Upper Congo. 
The State pays for its labour in kind, fixing the value itself, 
and in this way satisfies at the same time all civilised wants 
felt by the natives. 

Basoko bears a bad reputation on account of its climate. 
Malaria, black-water fever, and dysentery have been fatal to 
many Europeans. They found a last quiet resting-place in the 
cemetery on the western side of the station under the shadow 
of the palms and the mango trees. A long row of cairns, con- 
structed of bricks and lime, bear the name and date of death of 
those buried there. Formerly hardly a year went by without one 
or two names being added to the list of those who had passed 
away. Matters are improved to-day. The progress made in 
tropical medicine, the most brilliant success of which has been 
prophylactic quinine, has robbed malaria, and with it black-water 
fever, of a good many of its terrors, and dysentery has decreased 
with a more accurate knowledge of its causes. Yet, in spite 
of all, these illnesses are always the greatest dangers connected 
with a sojourn in the tropics. 

I may, perhaps, in this space be permitted a brief word as 
to the state of health of the members of the expedition. Ex- 




A MAN OF BASOKO 




CONGO STEAM KRS 



Homeward Bound 265 

cepting the misfortunes that overtook Raven and Weiss, scarcely 
one fell seriously ill that is, sufficiently so to be confined to bed 
for any time. Slight attacks of malaria, dysentery and fever 
occurred at times, but were of an entirely harmless nature. I, 
personally, escaped all sickness. The only one who suffered a 
violent malarial crisis was Sergeant Czeczatka. In his case the 
fever assumed a very threatening character. He, however, was 
also the only one who, as he himself confessed, did not keep 
strictly to the Koch malaria prophylactic, as we had done, viz., 
one gramme every seventh and eighth day. 

We had to devote our two days' stay at Basoko entirely to 
the wearisome work of packing. Our special investigation work 
was concluded, and all our apparatus and the latest collections 
we had acquired during the journey down the Aruwimi had to be 
packed in such a way that they could be confided with an easy 
mind to the hold of the Flandre, and then consigned to a for- 
warding agent at Leopoldville for transhipment to Europe. 
When the last chest had been securely nailed down and duly 
marked, and had vanished into the bowels of the Flandre we all 
breathed freely once more, and had a feeling of holiday gaiety 
when we stepped aboard the ship, which awaited our departure 
on the 1 4th of May. 

The Flandre is not a particularly fine vessel externally, any 
more than the other steamers which navigate the upper Congo. 
She is similar in type to the Delivrance, but is far larger, and 
is driven by two stern-wheels. Suitability for the work required 
was made the sole consideration in constructing all the steamers. 
The difficult conditions ruling the waters of the Congo, the 
numerous shoals which shift from time to time, etc., have to be 
taken into account, so that the boats are given the smallest 
draught possible. Thus in order that the cubic space may not 
be diminished, a proportionate breadth and a high superstructure 
have to be allowed. The resultant structure has not anything 
very shiplike about it. The comfort and convenience of the 
interior arrangements, however, soon reconciled us to a lack of 
mere external finish. These vessels have two superposed decks, 

2 I 



266 In the Heart of Africa 

the lower serving partly as a cargo hold and partly as quarters 
for the black passengers and crew. On the upper level there is 
accommodation for Europeans. There are about sixteen cabins 
amidships, arranged in two rows, with their doors and ports 
opening on to the promenade deck, a passage way of about one 
and a half metres width encircling the whole vessel. We took 
our meals in a spacious part of the foreship, behind the captain's 
cabin, where there was a full passage for the air, and protection 
from the rain in the shape of curtains which could be let down. 
Taken all in all, the Flandre greatly surpassed our expectations 
with regard to the comfort of a Congo steamer. Our feeling of 
gratitude was still further increased by the kindness of the 
Government in having placed the steamer exclusively at our dis- 
posal. Thus, excepting ourselves, there were only four Belgians 
who had accepted my offer of a passage and had come aboard 
with us. 

Basoko is one kilometre distant from the confluence of the 
Congo and the Aruwimi. So we still awaited the great moment 
when we should gaze on the mightiest river of the continent, 
yet the actual sight of it was far less impressive to us than it 
seemed to have been to the earlier trans-African travellers 
Stanley and Count Gotzen. Our fourteen days' passage down 
the Aruwimi had accustomed us to the sight of huge expanses 
of water, so that, naturally, we could scarcely be seized with 
the same feelings that filled our predecessors at the sight of the 
Congo after their long years of hardship, privation, famine and 
danger. Thus, we hardly noticed the Congo, or any particular 
difference between the familiar picture of the lower Aruwimi and 
this new stream, which did not appear much broader. The reason 
of this lies mainly in the fact that during our entire Congo 
passage we never received the full impression of its immense 
breadth and might, although at its widest spot it exceeds thirty 
kilometres, for countless islands, sometimes a mile in length, 
succeed one another in an almost unbroken chain and obstruct the 
view. 

The district chief at Basoko had recommended us to inspect 



Homeward Bound 267 

the Barumbu plantation, which lay only an hour away by 
steamer, and very kindly escorted us. This big plantation lies 
close to the river bank, and on it are grown cocoa, coffee, rubber, 
and cotton. The cultivation of the two last-named is in its 
infancy, but the other two are already producing excellent results. 
The cocoa harvest, for instance, amounted to thirty-four tons 
for the four months preceding our arrival. The higher officials 
of Basoko possess a kind of Tusculanum in Barumbu, a stately, 
spacious house beautifully situated on a hill in the centre of 
palm groves and blooming gardens, from which a wonderful view 
of the river framed by the primeval forest is obtained. 

Without doubt there are more interesting journeys in Africa 
than a voyage on the Congo. For instance, it is not so full of 
diversity or so absorbing as travelling on the Uganda Railway. 
Yet it would be unjust to condemn it as being devoid of charm, 
as the Congo officials do. We enjoyed the agreeable and new 
experience of sitting at table and having the forests and villages 
passing before our eyes as if we were present at a panoramic 
performance. Considerable demands are made upon the captain 
during this trip. With straining eyes he has to " read " the water, 
that is to say he has to look out for the least curling or roughen- 
ing of the surface which betray the presence of shoals, and avoid 
them by constant zigzagging. He dare not leave his post forward 
on the upper deck during the course of the voyage. Behind him 
a reliable black takes the helm, and on the lower deck, under the 
incessant scrutiny of the captain are two other darkies who 
measure the varying depth of the water with two long poles. It 
is no uncommon event, however, for a steamer to run aground, in 
which case it may have days or weeks to wait until it can be 
floated with the assistance of another vessel. We were mercifully 
spared that misfortune, thanks to the captain and the high level 
of the water. Of course we only steamed by daylight ; at night 
we anchored anywhere, if possible at some village. These halt- 
ing places serve at the same time as depots for wood, which is 
used exclusively for firing in consequence of the lack of coal. 
The supplementing of these wood stores is a business which is 



268 In the Heart of Africa 

left entirely in the hands of the natives. One load does not 
suffice for the daily consumption of a i5O-ton steamer of the 
Flandre type. Our fuel had to be replenished more than once 
during the course of the day. Fortunately the banks of the 
Congo are well timbered, and there is wood in abundance. The 
forest region ceases just before the Kasai estuary and steppe 
country takes its place. We often peered through our glasses in 
the hope of espying game of some sort, and in fact we occasion- 
ally discerned medium sized red antelopes, and once the great 
head of an elephant who was dreamily flapping his enormous 
ears. The river fauna, too, grew more abundant. Thus far we 
had not met with any crocodiles or hippopotami on the Congo. 
We met them now in rich abundance. The river was animated 
with pelicans, flamingoes, and screaming sea-eagles ; it was quite 
amusing to see the crocodiles lying lazily stretched on the bare 
yellow bank apparently in happy family union with the long- 
shanked flamingoes and pelicans. They appeared entirely in- 
different to the passing steamer. 

Up to the present, traffic on the upper Congo and on the lower 
reaches of its great tributaries has been maintained exclusively 
by the Congo Free State steamers. Any private vessels belonging 
to privileged trading companies, or the scattered mission stations, 
cannot at present be taken into consideration. There are about 
forty-five steamers in the fleet, varying from about thirty-five to 
five hundred tons each. Three of the largest are used for cargo 
traffic entirely. The second larger type, like our Flandre and 
two sister ships, have a tonnage of one hundred and fifty tons, 
and are intended mainly for passenger traffic. There are other 
types and sizes also down to thirty-five tons. The steamers 
leave Stanleyville and Leopoldville every fourteen days, the 
larger type alternating with the smaller. The journey from 
Leopoldville to Stanleyville is accomplished in about three weeks 
according to time-table. In the reverse direction, down stream, 
about fourteen days are requisite. We took only eleven days, 
having no cargo to load at any point. 

During the course of our trip we frequently passed boats which 



Homeward Bound 269 

were not so well equipped as the Flandre. As the State looks 
upon economy as of more importance than celerity in the despatch 
of its goods and its agents, and there is not much room to spare 
in the small steamers, a small craft in the shape of a lighter or 
barge is sometimes attached alongside the vessels. We saw one 
of these a few days out from Basoko. There were twelve passen- 
gers, agents d'Etat, on board, and only nine available berths. 
Three of them had to camp on the deck, which was not any too 
spacious. 

Military stations on the upper Congo are so numerous that we 
arrived at one daily, and we always met with a most cordial 
reception. One day we anchored at Lisala, one of the great 
depots for troops of which I have made mention in another place. 
This large encampment occupies an elevated position on the right 
bank of the Congo and commands a beautiful view of the broad 
river and its maze of islands. 

Soon after leaving Lisala we passed the spot where, only a short 
time previously, the Ville de Bruges, a thirty-five-ton steamer, 
had been thrown on her beam ends by a hurricane which had 
swept up the stream with terrific force. Nearly all on board lost 
their lives, including six whites. Some of the Europeans suc- 
ceeded in swimming to the banks, but were killed by the natives 
who had flocked to the scene in the hopes of wreckage, and fell 
victims to cannibalism. Only one white escaped, a Finn, and, 
clinging to a plank, he was swept down the stream. Two days 
later he was found on an uninhabited island, half crazy with 
hunger and the perils through which he had passed. Unfor- 
tunately the poor wretch understood no language but his own. 
Thus the sole living witness of the catastrophe was unable to 
give any account of it whatever. The wheel-house of this ill- 
fated vessel still projected from the water, a dumb token of the 
sad accident and a forcible reminder that even a harmless- 
seeming trip on the Congo has its dangers. 

We, too, had our share of bad weather during the voyage. 
It vented itself in torrential rains and tropical thunderstorms, 
which burst down upon us from a serene sky with such force 



270 In the Heart of Africa 

that the banks of the river were completely obscured by the rain. 
At these times the captain had no means of keeping his course, 
and we had to anchor immediately. Where a strong wind 
accompanied these downpours we endeavoured to find some 
tolerably sheltered spot near the banks, where we often stayed 
for hours until the weather cleared. Heavy morning mists, too, 
frequently delayed us in starting. 

We arrived at Nouvelle Anvers, which is one of the largest 
stations of the interior, and officered by fifteen white men, on 
the 1 7th of May. Its numerous substantially built structures 
give an excellent impression. The mission church really amazes 
one by its size and its dignified beauty, and is an excellent 
example of the building powers possessed by the negroes when 
under proper European control. The station is situated in the 
centre of a district that is visited heavily by sleeping sickness. 
This is a fact borne witness to by a hundred patients who were 
lying in the local hospital undergoing the atoxyl treatment. 
The State, as I have previously mentioned, is fully alive to 
the terrible danger of this plague, which is spreading more 
and more in the Upper Congo, and spares no efforts in combating 
it. In the big hospital laboratory at Leopoldville the origin 
and treatment of this dire disease forms a subject of most serious 
scientific study, but, so far, no positive and lasting success has 
resulted. 

Coquilhatville, our next stopping place, is the terminus of 
the telegraphic connection with the coast. It is a very attractive 
looking spot and lies in the midst of beautiful horticultural 
gardens. The Commissaire Royal, M. Henry, a special ambas- 
sador from the sovereign, was stopping there. He was travelling 
under supreme commission of State to examine into the conditions 
of the stations and the state of the natives, and was to report 
later direct to His Majesty. These visits, which are repeated 
at intervals, prove beyond doubt that the Government is actuated 
by the best of motives, and does all in its power to protect the 
natives from any injustices. 

Twenty minutes' steaming sufficed to bring us to Eala, the 



Homeward Bound 271 

botanical experimental garden, which we had the pleasure of 
inspecting in the company of its director. It serves scientific 
and practical aims jointly. Amongst its numerous products may 
be mentioned rubber, gutta-percha, cocoa, tea, vanilla, coca, 
patchouli, and other articles. It was a visit of especial interest 
for our botanist, and a pleasure to us laymen to see amongst 
the thousands of plants the producers of such old and familiar 
articles of common household use as tea, vanilla, and, if you 
like, patchouli. 

Next day we reached Irebu, a great military depot. Eight 
hundred black soldiers were being drilled into shape at the 
time of our visit. We had the pleasure there, long denied us, 
of dining in the company of a lady, Madame Jeauniaux, wife 
of the Commander of the military depot. After dinner we 
had a regular concert songs with harmonium accompaniment. 
It quite stirred us to hear German songs sung in a very pretty 
voice by a lady, especially after having had nothing better in 
the way of music than our hoarse old gramophone for a year. 

On the following morning we left on our four days' voyage 
to Leopoldville, the terminus of our steamer journey. These 
passed quickly, as the scenery was always changing. We only 
passed small posts at this part of the Congo, the duty of whose 
occupants is to look after the maintenance of the telegraphic 
connection. This duty is a very severe one, for the lines to be 
controlled are of great length and extend over many miles of 
fever-laden swamps. The officials are constantly compelled to 
take exhausting journeys in order to repair the damages inflicted 
by the elephants, or otherwise. 

After passing the mouth of the Kasai, one of the largest 
tributaries of the Congo, we crossed Stanley Pool on the 24th, 
a great water basin of two hundred square kilometres. Heavy 
fog lay on the water and forced us to anchor again. When the 
sun's rays at last pierced the vapour, the white houses of Brazza- 
ville were gleaming in the distance from the northern shore, and 
those of Leopoldville from the southern. Not wishing to miss 
the opportunity of seeing the capital of a French colony, I had 



272 In the Heart of Africa 

communicated the day before with the Governor of the French 
Congo, who resides at Brazzaville. As seen from the river, the 
town lies prettily situated on the high banks, which are thickly 
covered with trees and gardens. A trim, winding road leads up 
from the river to the fine Government residence, which is sur- 
rounded by beautiful verdant grounds, and whither we were 
conducted by two officials, who had been specially sent to receive 
us. After having been presented to the various assembled 
officials, we set out on a brief tour of inspection of the hospitals, 
schools, barracks, and other buildings, which made a very 
favourable impression on us as regards French colonial work. 
As time pressed, we departed from Brazzaville after a three 
hours' stay, and a quick trip across the pool landed us in 
Leopoldville at noon. 

The importance of this point as the starting port of the 
shipping to the Upper Congo, as the central trading place for 
the interior and the seat of the higher administrative authorities, 
is indicated by its immense extension along the southern bank of 
the Pool. The quay was alive with traffic and the harbour was 
crowded with Congo steamers of all sizes. Some were laid up 
for cleaning and repairs. Steamers are put together here from 
iron plates made in Europe, and then launched. Close to the 
quay lies the railway terminus of the Matadi-Leopoldville Rail- 
way. The district chief and the commandant of the garrison 
came along to welcome the Flandre, and handed us letters and 
newspapers from Europe, an event which always gave us pleasure. 
In the afternoon we went for a walk through the town, and were 
very much struck by the large number of factories, which 
appeared to be in a flourishing condition. During our journey 
through the Congo State we had, so far, not come into contact 
with any private enterprises. The State is the only commercial 
agency in so far as the native demand is concerned, which deals 
with the bartering in stuffs, beads, etc. The streets and houses 
in Leopoldville are clean and attractive in every way. Sleeping 
sickness forms a subject of the most vital interest ; only a short 
time ago cases of trypanosomiasis were almost unknown amongst 




ATMOSPHERIC ACTION ON QUARTZ ROCKS 




MATADI 



Homeward Bound 273 

the white men. Unfortunately, they have increased, and the 
chief physician of Leopoldville assured me that very few months 
pass without some European, smitten with the fell disease, being 
brought into hospital. 

We were most courteously treated by the authorities, who 
had kindly placed an express train consisting of three carriages 
at our disposal to take us from Leopoldville to Matadi. In 
order to break the journey of 480 kilometres, we spent 
the night at Thysville, about half-way, in an excellent 
hotel belonging to the railway company. The port lies 740 
metres above sea level and nearly 500 metres higher than Leo- 
poldville, and the pleasant, cool climate it enjoys makes it a 
favourite resting place for weary travellers coming from both 
directions. Leaving early next morning, we travelled along a 
track of railway which is admirably and skilfully laid out. 
Although no tunnels have had to be made, and very few bridges 
were necessary, many other difficult obstacles have had to be 
surmounted. The embankment all along the line is in first-class 
order. All the employees, including engine-drivers, inspectors, 
and repairers of the line, are blacks, who carry out their duties 
with all the skill and adroitness of Europeans. The track has 
a pretty sharp descending gradient a little way before reaching 
Matadi. It crosses several rushing mountain streams and deep 
ravines, and winds around steep slopes. Three or four serpen- 
tine tracks followed close on each other and reminded us of 
certain venturesome Alpine mountain railways. 

At the last station before reaching Matadi the line bridges 
the Mposo, an important confluent of the Congo, which rushes 
past deep down in the valley, and immediately after passing it 
we caught sight of the latter majestic river once more, which we 
had not seen since leaving Leopoldville. Framed in by lofty 
mountains, the broad and mighty stream tears onward to the sea. 
On arriving at 5.30 in the afternoon, we found a considerable 
number of Europeans waiting on the station platform, partly to 
greet us and partly for the ordinary scheduled train, due shortly 

after ours. We were received by the Vice-Consul, Herr Schmidt, 
2 J 



274 In the Heart of Africa 

and by the Commandant at Matadi, and shown to our quarters, 
enjoying some very pretty views of the town and harbour on the 
way. Matadi is a place of considerable importance, as it is 
virtually the seaport town for the whole of the Congo State. 
Ocean-going steamers are able to navigate the stream up to 
this point. Numerous Government and private buildings reach 
from the harbour to fairly high up on the hills. All the build- 
ings are constructed of iron and corrugated iron, and conse- 
quently lacked the cheerful appearance of the stations we had 
been accustomed to meet on the Upper Congo. The town does 
not bear a very good reputation on account of the great heat 
which prevails, the mountains around shutting out all fresh 
breezes. The place seemed better than its repute to us, probably 
because we had grown accustomed to high temperatures. Two 
vessels were lying in the harbour the Albertville, a 4,ooo-ton 
steamer belonging to the Compagnie Beige Maritime du Congo, 
which plies every week between Antwerp and Matadi, and the 
Governor-General's yacht Hirondelle, which was to carry us to 
Boma next day. During our rest at Vice-Consul Schmidt's 
hospitable house we learned that within a few days' time we 
should be able to leave Boma by the English steamer Mandingo t 
of the Elder Dempster line, which runs to the Cameroons. 

Next morning the smart little Hirondelle took us to Boma 
in two and a half hours. The Governor, M. Fuchs, was un- 
fortunately confined to his room by indisposition, but he had 
asked his secretary and the Commandant de force publique 
kindly to meet us at the landing jetty. We forgathered later 
at the Governor's residence. He has lived for fifteen years on 
the Congo, and, having traversed the whole territory through 
and through in the course of years, has become one of the 
foremost living authorities on the subject. In consequence 
of his excellent personal qualities, his courtesy, kindness, 
and great experience, he is held in very high esteem, and 
we shall not soon forget the pleasant hours we passed in his 
house. 

Boma lies in the midst of green gardens and shady avenues. 



Homeward Bound 275 

The hospital, the official and the private buildings lie a little 
distance away from the river ; the city proper, the commercial 
part, the factories and the negro quarters extend along the bank. 
A steam tramway, on which officials are allowed a free pass, 
connects both parts. An experienced guide accompanied us on 
a tour of inspection of the chief buildings and their internal 
arrangements : the native hospital, which is built in conformity 
with all modern hygienic ideas, the barracks, the school, the 
prison, etc. The latter contains a separate part intended for 
white men, which consists of thirty single cells of equal size and 
a common mess-room. This arrangement has proved to be 
necessary in case it should happen that twenty Europeans should 
be simultaneously expiating their offences, which for the most 
part consist in the oppression of the natives. Everything we 
saw in Boma pointed to practical experience and exemplary 
method. As we promenaded through the jardtn publique next 
day (Ascension Day) at the hour when the ilite of Boma was 
wont to air itself, we listened to the strains of a negro band 
and enjoyed hearing many a familiar tune again. 

In the meantime the captain of the Mandingo had telegraphed 
from Loanda announcing that he would arrive at the mouth of 
the Congo at noon on the 2pth of May. We were to be taken 
there by the Wall, a small Congo State steamer which plies 
between Boma and Matadi. The Governor and other gentlemen 
courteously saw us aboard the Wall, and in glorious weather, 
with hearts rejoicing, we steamed to the open sea, which we had 
not seen for a year. 

Sunk in thought, we gradually approached the mouth of the 
Congo, hardly observing the gradual receding of the river banks 
and the slowly changing colour of the water, till our attention 
was aroused to the proximity of the ocean by freshening breezes 
and an increased pitching of the boat. Then, having drawn 
abreast of the large islands which lie in the channel and obstruct 
the view, we saw the ocean at last, stretching blue and limitless 
before us. The waves were glittering in the sunlight as if 
they were spangled with gold, and their crests were curling with 



276 In the Heart of Africa 

foam. A small black cloud on the horizon indicated the 
approach of the Mandingo. x 

We were soon alongside the fine vessel, just as she was letting 
her anchor drop. In a rolling sea the Mandingo took us and 
our impedimenta aboard, and, weighing anchor again, stood 
out towards the north. The Wall dipped her flag in a farewell 
salute whilst the flag of my native country was hoisted at our 
peak. 

We stayed a brief period at the Cameroons, and paid a day's 
visit to Lome, the capital of Togo, but the expedition's explora- 
tion work was completed. Time will never efface the impressions 
we had received. We had roamed over sun-scorched steppes 
and through boundless primeval forests ; passed over four 
immense lakes and snow-capped mountains, and had gathered 
a rich store of memorable experiences indeed. We were return- 
ing home buoyed up with the knowledge of having done our 
duty, and having assisted, as far as in us lay, in the unravelling 
of many important scientific problems. , 



CHAPTER XI 

RESULTS OF THE EXPEDITION 

IN the spring of 1909, at the opening of the exhibition in the 
Zoological Gardens at Berlin, which was intended to afford 
all those interested in colonial and scientific matters a preliminary 
survey of the results of the expedition, exclamations of surprise 
could frequently be heard escaping the lips of learned men in 
respect of the great extent and remarkable variety of the exhibits. 
Few of those present had, up to that moment, harboured the 
remotest idea that our expedition would bring back such a 
notable mass of interesting scientific material as a result of its 
twelve months' exploration work. Yet the exhibition building 
only contained a comparatively insignificant proportion of the 
collections sent from Africa. The limited space at our disposal 
had to be taken into consideration, and it was also adjudged 
wise to present merely a characteristic selection to the public, 
which would not fatigue the eye. 

In any case, the interesting botanical specimens, the maps 
and charts carefully drawn up by the aid of the photo-theodolite, 
the geognostic samples, the innumerable exhibits in spirits, the 
hides and skulls, and, certainly not least, the rich ethnographical 
collections, with the numerous pictures of peoples and places, 
all served to convince expert and experienced judges that every 
member of the expedition had done all in his power to fulfil 
his own particular duty. In one word, the expedition had 
worked. 

I will now give a brief summary of the main outcome of 
our labours, more especially for the benefit of those who may 
not have an opportunity of perusing the scientific volumes which 

277 



278 In the Heart of Africa 

are to follow this narrative. Any final judgment concerning the 
value of the scientific results attained by the expedition will not 
be possible yet for a considerable time. 

As regards topography: the so-called "white spot," i.e. the 
territory north of Mpororo, between the Kagera and the Kaki- 
tumbe, was thoroughly surveyed in two plane table surveys on 
a scale of 1 : 100,000, with an area of 2,700 square kilometres. 
Further, the volcanic region beginning at the northern point of 
Lake Kiwu, nearly up to the 3Oth degree of longitude, was 
surveyed on a scale of I : 100,000, with an area of 2,500 square 
kilometres. One hundred and thirty stereographic views were 
taken of fifty-one theodolite stations, which were computed later 
by the stereo-comparator, and which have yielded a positive 
groundwork for the survey of the country. Observations of 
altitude were taken at three hundred and fifty various points by 
means of the barometer and the thermomenter. After finishing 
the plane table surveys, attention was devoted to the road 
surveys, which were revised and amplified by means of the photo- 
theodolite and by astronomical observations. This work went 
on without intermission ; when our topographer fell ill it was 
still supervised by him from his invalid hammock. Longi- 
tudinal, latitudinal and time computations were made with the 
assistance of eight chronometers. Magnetic observations were 
taken at fourteen stations with deviation, magnometer and 
standard compass. Two maps covering an area of 8,670 square 
kilometres have now been completed and are ready for the 
printer. 

Our geological investigations in the north-western part of 
German East Africa, especially the geological cartographical 
survey of the "white spot," went hand in hand with the topo- 
graphical work. Working conjointly, our geologist and topo- 
grapher succeeded in making a geological profile chart of Bukoba 
right through Karagwe and Ruanda to Kissenji on Lake Kiwu. 
Close attention was given to the contingent possibility of useful 
minerals being discovered. Search made in this direction led to 
the finding of veins of iron ore in the quartzites. Further, 



Results of the Expedition 279 

valuable material was gained for the observation and diffusion 
of ferruginous conglomerates, which up till then had been 
erroneously termed bog-iron-ore. Bornhardt in his fundamental 
work on the surface configuration and the geology of German 
East Africa had already suggested that this mineral species 
is by no means identical with our swamp-ore, but he wrongly 
connected its origin with the underground water. Time was also 
devoted to the study of the various forms of atmospheric dis- 
integration which were encountered ; also to the hot springs of 
Mtagata in Karagwe, Irungatscho and Maji ja moto. During 
Kirschstein's stay of half a year in the volcanic and lake 
territory he explored the Virunga volcanoes to the north 
of Lake Kiwu with regard to their formation, the erup- 
tive effects of their magma, their subsoil and their tectonic 
relations. Investigations which were made respecting the 
earlier water-level and extent of Lake Kiwu and Lake Albert 
Edward, and especially as to their origin and mutual relations, 
finally led to the conclusion, supported by geological and 
palaeontological remains, that these two lakes formed a common 
water-basin before the birth of the volcanoes, which stretched 
out 45 kilometres northward beyond the present-day northern 
shores of Lake Albert Edward. Altogether twenty-eight 
loads of stone and rock were collected. Seventeen of these 
fall to the share of the volcanic territory ; the north-western 
portion of German East Africa accounts for five (west shore of 
Lake Victoria, Karagwe, North and East Ruanda); the fos- 
silised molluscous fauna of Lake Kiwu yielded two, and four 
loads came from the western margin of the Central African 
rift-valley and from the Congo basin. A preliminary report of 
the geologist's researches will be found in the Mitteilung a. d 
Deutsch. Schutzgeb., Jahrgang, 1908, page 168. 

The expedition's botanical spoils comprise 3,466 specimens. 
The larger part has already been arranged and classified at the 
Royal Botanical Museum at Berlin. So far forty-nine new liver- 
worts have been found, and a cursory inspection of the feather- 
mosses leads one to believe that this figure may be increased ; 



280 In the Heart of Africa 

233 new species and four new families of phanerogamous plants 
were also found. Particular interest attaches to the collections 
from the Rugege forest and from the volcanic region, which 
fill up a considerable gap in our knowledge of African alpine 
flora. A scientific treatise dealing with these collections has 
already appeared in the proceedings of the Royal Prussian 
Academy of Science, Berlin, for the year 1909, entitled : 
"Die Vegetationsverhdltnisse der zentralafrikanischen Seen-zone 
vom Viktoria-See bis zu den Kiwu-Vulkanen. B eric ht iiber die 
botanischen Ergebnisse der Expedition des Herzogs Adolf 
Friedrich zu Mecklenburg, 1907-1908." (J. Mildbraed.) The 
most important result obtained, however, is the establishment of 
the fact that a large number of botanical families and species 
which had hitherto been believed to be limited exclusively to the 
forests in the neighbourhood of the west coast, really reach as 
far as to the region of the upper Ituri, almost to the foot of the 
Ruwenzori chain, and that therefore the great African hylaea 
forms one homogeneous botanical whole. 

Schubotz throws light on the zoological work done in a 
preliminary report published by him in the proceedings of the 
Berlin Society of Naturalists, year 1909, No. 7 (Vorldufiger 
Bericht uber die Reise und die zoologischen Ergebnisse der 
deutschen Zentralafrika-Expedition, 1907-1908, von Hermann 
Schubotz). The collection, which was transferred to the Berlin 
Zoological Museum, comprised all sections of the animal king- 
dom, and consisted numerically as follows: 834 mammals (hides, 
skeletons, skulls, specimens in methylated spirits), 800 bird- 
skins, 173 reptiles, 204 amphibious animals, 708 fish, 1,452 
decapods, 686 molluscs, 7,603 insects and several hundreds of 
smaller forms, 1,181 arachnidae, 167 myriopoda, 637 worms 
(oligochaeta, hirudinidae, nematoidea, cestoidea, and turbellaria), 
40 glasses of plankton, 4 glasses of bryozoa, 27 spongiae, and 
various swamp and moss specimens. The classification of this 
material by learned experts, which unquestionably contains a 
great number of new forms, especially among the lower animals, 
will be a labour of some years. There are a considerable number 



Results of the Expedition 281 

of new vertebrates too. Twenty-five new species of birds were 
discovered, the classification of which was greatly facilitated with 
the aid of Reichenow's great work on African ornithology. 

The ethnographical-anthropological results were as follows: 
1,017 skulls and about 4,000 ethnographica were collected, 4,500 
people measured, 700 photographs and thirty-six plaster of paris 
masks taken (eight Batwa and five Wambutti amongst them), and 
87 phonograms and 37 languages recorded. A preliminary 
report from Czekanowski's pen on the anthropological-ethno- 
graphical labours of the expedition during the period from the 
ist of June, 1907, to the ist of August, 1908 (including an ethno- 
graphical chart of the Nile-Congo-Intermediate territory), is to 
be found in the Zeitschrift fiir Ethnologie, Jahrgang, 1909, 
volume V. 

Such, in broad outlines, are the scientific results of our ex- 
pedition into the heart of Africa in so far as they can be summed 
up at present. They have not been left without recognition by 
the critical experts of the Royal Berlin Museums, and should 
they on closer investigation prove to be a valuable contribution to 
our knowledge of Equatorial Africa, as is confidently expected, 
we shall think ourselves fully rewarded for our labours and 
hardships. 



2 K 



I