Diary of trip to Kenya and Uganda, June – September 1928
Diaries of Henry BALFOUR (1863-1939), anthropologist and museum curator
Kenya and Uganda, 1928
Diary of trip
to Kenya and Uganda,
[Inserted into the pages of the diary is a letter addressed to Balfour, from the Provincial Commissioner’s Office in Mombasa, dated 26thApril 1928, arranging practical details of Balfour’s trip to Kenya and Uganda, such as accommodation, suitable clothing, itinerary. The letter is typed, but notes are added by hand.]
[Inserted into the pages of the diary is a page of stationery headed ‘Union-Castle Line S.S “Llandaff Castle”’ with a list of dates and distances.]
[Inserted into the pages of the diary is a large folded ground plan of the decks of the S.S. “Llandaff Castle”, sailing 21/6/28 and list of cabin numbers attached.]
[Inserted into the pages of the diary is a booklet containing the list of passengers of the S.S. “Llandaff Castle”, information for passengers, tables of distances etc.]
[Inserted into the pages of the diary is a small bundle of S.S. “Llandaff Castle” stationary on which Balfour has sketched birds and taken note of which birds he spotted on particular days or in particular locations.]
[Inserted into the pages of the diary are further lists of bird names.]
[Inserted into the pages of the diary is a sheet of S.S. “Llandaff Castle” stationery with an address written on it.]
[Inserted into the pages of the diary is a sheet of stationery headed “Langley Lodge, Headington Hill, Oxford” on which are written further names of contacts, and their addresses.]
[Inserted into the pages of the diary is a sheet with lists of bird names, and a sketch of a crocodile.]
[Inserted into the pages of the diary is a sheet of stationery headed “Rift Valley Sports Club. Nakuru. Kenya” on which Balfour has written a list of bird names, a list of items to pack, and sketched two musical instruments with strings. On the reverse are sketches of what looks like a wig, labelled.]
[Inserted into the pages of the diary is a newspaper cutting about “MOUNT KENYA: THE SECOND HIGHEST PEAK IN AFRICA.”]
[Inserted into the pages of the diary is an itinerary with details of hotels and miles travelled by road (train).]
[Inserted into the pages of the diary is a list of distances from Marseilles.]
[Inserted into the pages of the diary is a large folded ground plan of the decks of the S.S. “Llandovery Castle”, labelled with cabin numbers.]
[Inserted into the pages of the diary is an Outline Map showing the main and branch line of the Kenya and Uganda Railway.]
[Inserted into the pages of the diary is a postcard showing the Intermediate Steamer “Llandaff Castle”.]
Thurs. June 21st. After a night at the Midland Hotel, I took the 10.15 a.m boat-train from St. Pancras to Tilbury. Went on board the “Llandaff Castle” which was lying off in the river, + settled into No. 1 cabin on C-deck, starboard side (Promenade deck). Ship weighed anchor at 1.15 pm., with about 1/3rd of her full complement of first-class passengers. Passed fairly close along the Kentish Coast, + inside the Goodwins, to drop pilot at Dover. For meals I booked a seat at the Doctor’s table (the others at same table being – Mrs. Jennings, Mrs. Philips, Miss Twining, Miss Gallant, Hewlett + Morris). Very calm in Channel.
Friday, 22. Smooth with slight pitching later in the day. Off Ushant at about 3.30 pm. Too misty to make it out. Very few birds (Maux Shearwaters, Herring-gulls, an immature Gannet).
Saturday, 23. Ship rolling slightly. Fine + getting warmer. Off Finisterre at about 6 p.m. [Ushant – Finisterre = 365 miles]. Several immature Gannets, showing little white in plumage.
Sunday 24 The Berlings abeam at 9 a.m., smooth, hazy, inclined to rain. Many Stormy Petrels + large Shearwaters (white below)
[---FACING PAGE: Newspaper cutting about “EXPEDITIONS TO KENYA”.---]
Cape St. Vincent abeam c. 7.0 p.m. Many Black-backed-gulls + one large all-dark Skua (Bowxie). Passed Cape Trafalgar a little later. Very calm all day, wind dropping completely at night.
Monday 25 Entering Straits of Gibraltar early in morning. Sea dead smooth. Rather hazy + Tangier not seen. Vast numbers of dolphins. Herring-gulls + shearwaters. Passing Tarifa at about 7.45 am. Dropped anchor off Gib. at 9.15 a.m. Discharged a draft of soldiers (under command of Capt. G.R.P. Roupell V.C.). I went ashore with Hewlett, Morris + the Misses Sandale, as far as the gardens. Only a short time available. Ship weighed anchor at about 12.30 pm. Many dolphins, a few turtles, Stormy Petrels (with very conspicuous white rumps, + rather larger than ours, tails not forked), many following the ship. Passed a school of Pilot-whales (Globiocephalus melas).
Tuesday 26 At sea. Absolutely calm. Very little life. A few turtles + sharks + dolphins. Wind freshened in evening.
Wednesday 27 Overcast; strong mistral breeze; ship rolling + pitching all any how. Gulf of Lyons acting up to reputation.
Very few at breakfast + fewer still stuck it out. Sun came out later, but breeze still strong. Sighted Marseilles after lunch. Tied up to quay (Japanese Quay) at about 4.30 pm. Got letters from home (E.B. + Mo), then went ashore + walked from the ship to the end of the Cannebière. Very crowded, horribly dusty + hot, so took tram back to the quay + stayed on board.
Thursday 28. Did not go ashore. A Bremen ship passed out of harbour with 10 elephants + their fodder as deck cargo. We cast off at 4.45 pm. + put to sea by the E. entrance, passing close to the Chateau d’If. Perfectly fine + smooth. Course due East.
Friday 29. Arrived at Genoa in perfect weather at 9.30 a.m. + tied up to a quay. Went ashore with Hewlett + Morris + looked around the town. Feast day + most things closed. Several of the passengers went off to Rapallo + others to Pisa. Very hot ashore, so I did not leave the ship again till nearly 5, when I had a stroll round by myself as far as the end of the Via XX Septembre + the station. Genoa developing fast. An Italian caricaturist came + sketched a lot of us in the evening + caused huge merriment.
Saturday 30. At Genoa. Went ashore by myself in morning + after lunch took Miss Gallant (a miniature painter) to see the picture gallery in the Palazzo Bianco (Via Garibaldi). Not very intriguing, but a few really good paintings + a marvellous modern group in marble of Jermer vaccinating his own child (by Monteverde), extremely clever + full of close detail. Came on board before 6 pm. when ship was due to sail, but she was still loading Fiat cars + did not sail till 9 pm. Genoa brilliantly lip up + looking very pretty. A search light was playing at the entrance.
Sunday, July 1 At sea. Glassy calm + hot. Hardly any life seen except a few gulls. Met Mons. Honoré (who had joined at Genoa – for S. Africa) + found that one of his sons had been my pupil at Oxford.
Monday 2nd. Got up at 4.30 a.m to see Stromboli. Still a glassy sea. Stromboli not specially active, but smoking moderately. We passed on the N. side of the island. A few dolphins were seen but nothing else. Entering Straights [sic] of Messina at about 8 am. Gloriously fine. Messina seems to have recovered completely from the earthquake. Etna at first invisible, but showed up later, some snow
still lying near the top. After passing Cape Spartivento a nice cool breeze sprang up + freshened toward evening. Very refreshing. Hardly a trace of life seen since early morning. A shearwater, very dark above + sharply defined white below.
Tuesday 3rd. At sea. A bit rough in morning with breeze from Adriatic. Then a calm spell under the lee of Crete + again a breeze in the evening after passing the E. end of Crete. Bad effect upon many of the passengers. A few Herring-Gulls + many Shearwaters or large Petrels seen, but otherwise nothing. A very amusing lecture was given in the evening by Carveth Wells (one of the American party), on the Malay States.
Wednesday 4 At sea. Very fine + dead calm.
Thursday 5 Entering Port Said harbour at 5.30 a.m. Very still + fine. The fishing fleet was just putting out to sea. Many sails painted + a pair of huge ‘eyes’ on the bow of each boat. We anchored + started coaling, so I went ashore + strolled down to the bathing-place + around the town, partly with Hewlett. On board again by 11 am. but we did not weight anchor till nearly 3.0 pm. A few dolphins playing about in the harbour. Great dearth of bird life along the canal. A few Herring-gulls, many
Lesser Terns, some Pied Kingfishers (Ceryle rudis), large black Ravens (C. umbrinus umbrinus), 3 Flamingoes (Ph. orruber roseus) on East side of Canal, many small Sandpipers + a few Grey Shrikes. Cool breeze held during night.
Friday, 6 Up at 5.30 am. Passed the War Memorial at Port Tewfik at 6.30 am + dropped anchor off Suez at 6.50. At the lower end of the Canal there were numbers of Gulls with black heads, conspicuous white collars + white round the eyes; bills maroon, yellow legs (white-eyed gull, L. leucophthalmus). A few Black-backed Gulls + 2 or 3 species of Terns (including one Caspian Tern), but no Lesser Terns. On the flats off Port Tewfik, some Curlew (? N. tenuirostris), Oyster-catchers + waders (about Redshank size), + a crested lark (Galerida), a few Kites, not many vultures. The “Jervis Bay” (late of mutiny fame) anchored close to us, + seemed pretty crowded. We left Suez at 8 a.m. A fresh, following wind made it bearable. Passing Sinai during afternoon. Black-headed gulls numerous all through the Gulf of Suez. Coolish breeze from W. during night. Passed Id. Of Sheduân at about 8 p.m. (alternate red + yellow light) + entered the Red Sea.
[---FACING PAGE: Sketch of a bird, labelled: “Larus leucophthalmus – Suez Canal / Head blackish with white round eye, bill maroon; back + wings dark slate-grey; white collar, tail + underparts + rump; legs + feet yellow.”---]
Saturday 7th Following wind, but just overtaking the ship. Pretty sultry. Small flying-fish abundant early in morning. Passing the “Daedalus” Rock + lighthouse at 9 a.m.
Sunday 8th Arrived at Port Sudan + tied up to quay at 10 a.m. A large Humpbacked Whale was playing about near the entrance + I made sure of the species, as I had the glasses on it several times. Egyptian Vultures, Kites + Ravens were about the quays. Hemprich’s and White-eyed Gulls were abundant round the ship + with them other gulls very similar but with lighter heads + no conspicuous collar. These had dark tips to rectrices + fanned out their tails frequently, unlike the others. This suggests that they belong to a different species + are not merely immature white-eyed gulls. A good many terns, some apparently the Common Tern (St. hirundo) A Curlew was at entrance to the harbour + some Pelicans (Pelecanus rufesceus, or onocrotalus) on the coral reef. There is a regular fringing-reef of coral with a still, shallow lagoon inside it.
At the suggestion of Mr. Evans, Col. Tucker, the American party + I arranged for a train to take us to Suakin. The Harringtons also joined in the trip. The train had been ordered by Marconigram. We went in a launch to the town side of the harbour + by cars to the station.
We boarded a comfortable restaurant car + the train left at 11.10 a.m. + crawled at about 8 miles an hour uphill to Sallom junction (where the Atbara + Khartoum line branches off. From there it was downhill to Shata station (42 miles from Port Sudan), which was reached at 2pm. The route was over scrub-covered desert, covered largely with loose stones. Some dry river-beds were passed. Milk-wort growing in small bushes was abundant, the rest of the scrub consisting mainly of very low rounded or flat-topped bushes separated from one another like the hair-tufts on a Bushman’s head. Camels in great abundance, goats + sheep plentiful, but only a few cattle. We had to shut the windows on the windward side of the train, as the air blowing in seemed to come straight from a furnace. Egyptian Vultures (adult + immature) were frequent. Some plovers (either Egyptian Plover, Pluvianus aegyptius) or spur-winged Plover) were seen at intervals. Shata station is quite close to Suakin + we walked through the gateway in “Kitchener’s Wall” into the town. Grilling hot. The town is now nearly derelict + seems to be fast going under, having been cut out by the development of Port Sudan with its superior harbour. Europeans have deserted it + there seem to be
[---FACING PAGE: Two photographs, labelled: “Gateway in outer wall, SUAKIN (AL-KAFF)”; “Street in SUAKIN (AL-KAFF)”.---]
comparatively few native inhabitants + little trade. Only dhows + dug-out canoes in the harbour; large houses many of which are falling to pieces. Very silent + dead, but for the small boys who pester visitors who are fools enough to encourage them. Col. Tucker, Goodrich + I wandered around unmolested, the rest of the party serving as a fly-paper by attracting the crowd of boys + touts. Some of the houses have carved doors, suggestive of Portuguese influence. Latticed balconies project from the upper stories. I saw garfish in the very clear water of the harbour + some big + small fish. Coral formations fringe the coast + the houses are mainly built of coral blocks (brain-corals + other kinds). The native shops are small + have little of interest + the industries appear to be of a very minor kind. We got back to the station at 3.30 pm but our engine having run off the rails further down the line, there was a delay of 2 hours or so. I spent the time strolling about the neighbourhood + watching a number of ? Desert larks mingled with Finch-larks (Pyrrulanda frontalis) whose very thick bills are most un-lark-like. There were also crested larks (Galerida, Palm doves, Grey Shrikes (L. excubitor elegans, probably), + Kites (M. aegyptius). The train came in at 5.30 + we started back. Before it
[Inserted into the pages of the diary is a photograph of “ARAB HOUSES AT SUAKIN.”]
[---FACING PAGE: Three photographs, labelled: “Old houses, SUAKIN.”; “Harbour, SUAKIN.”; “SHATA station, SUAKIN.”; and a sketch of a bird, labelled: “Finch-lark (Pyrrulanda frontalis) / Black head, collar, chin + underparts, buff back + wings, pale hawfinch-like beak”.---]
got dark, I spotted a small herd of Gazelles (probably Dorcas Gazelles), some black-+-white plover (? Spurwings), many Grey shrikes, a few hoopoes. It was dark by 7 + we reached Port Sudan at 8 pm, after a very interesting day. The trip only cost 30/- or thereabouts + was very well organized by the Sudan Government railway. We consumed vast quantities of shandy gaff en route (6/- worth each), but it came straight through the pores of our skins + required perpetual renewal. I introduced this drink to the Americans who were most enthusiastic about it. We got back to the ship by car + launch, + had supper on board. After that I took a turn round the docks. When I got back I found some of the party were going off to bathe on the other side of the harbour, so I chipped in + went with them, intending to bathe also, but not having a bathing-suit, I was done out of it, as Miss Abrahams joined the party. So I looked on while the rest had a midnight bathe in water at a temperature of 88° or 90°. The water was full of noctiluca + very phosphorescent. We were rowed back to the ship at about 1 a.m. Very hot night. Temperature during the day well over 100°. + in the cabins 95°-98°, dropping very slightly at night, never below 92°. Difficult to sleep, even with fan going.
Monday 9. We cast of at 8 am. I was up at 6 + had a stroll round the quays. A fair number of sharks were in the harbour. On clearing the harbour entrance, some pelicans were seen again on the coral reef. Stormy petrels followed the ship in numbers during the afternoon. Saw some Bonito jumping out of the water, Gulls + terns fishing from above. Common Terns + also some very pale-coloured grey + white terns with pinkish-yellow beaks.
Tuesday 10th. Torrid night. Never below 93° in cabin + mostly much higher. Grilling, sweaty day. Passing the “Twelve Apostles” during the late morning. Only two Brown Gannets (S. leucogaster) seen, a few gulls (white-eyed Gulls, L, Leucophthalmus) + Terns. Later the Hanish Ids. + Hell Gate produced more life – Brown Gannets, two or three kinds of tern, including some Sooty Terns, white-eyed Gulls + Lesser Black-backed Gulls. The volcanic islands were interesting. Very little vegetation seen on them. Flying-fish rather scarce. We passed Str. Of Bab-el-Mandeb at night.
Wednesday 11 First part of night again torrid, but it cooled down very considerably towards morning. We were close to Aden at 7 a.m. + dropped anchor there soon after 7.30 am.
Hazy at first but sun came out strongly later. Went ashore at about 9.30 + went in a car with Barrett, Groome + Perkins, to the Tanks (which were quite dry) + then through the tunnels + out past the salt factory with its pumping windmills + large evaporating tanks + huge mounds of salt like those near Port Said. Saw some pelicans on the salt tanks, also some stilt-plovers on the shore. Kites + sparrows numerous everywhere. Many Crested Larks (Galerida sp.), some Buzzards. We passed the aerodrome + Golf-links + drove on to the Settlement Gardens close to the British boundary + the transfrontier palace of the Sultan. A large number of Bedouins from the hinterland had come in with their camels, goats, sheep etc, to sell fire wood + other products, + formed a very picturesque scene. In the gardens there were some weaver-birds’ nests, Orioles + Bulbuls. We drove back the same way + went on board about noon (the time given for sailing). But we did not get away till 2.45 pm. Nice cool breeze at first, but it became stiflingly hot again towards night.
Thursday 12 Good breeze from S.W. in early morning + some motion. Wind dropped before midday as we neared Cape Guardafui.
Temp. 92° in top-deck cabins. A Barbary Dove flew on board very tired + perched for a good while on the ship. Before rounding the Cape, black dolphins with long snouts were exceedingly numerous. Saw a few sharks + stormy Petrels. A fair number of White Gannets with very dark primaries + secondaries + black tails + slate blue bills + facial patch. Very boldly marked (? Sula Capensis). Also there were some medium-sized Petrels (white underneath) + Sooty Terns off the Cape. One gannet, not quite adult, had a dark-mottled rump. I saw a large, slim fish (c. 3-4 feet long), shoot vertically into the air to a great height + fall vertically back tail first, quite close to the ship. At night it was rough + we had wet decks. Nice + cool.
Friday 13th. Cool night. Blowing hard all day. S.W. Monsoon being a strong one + in good form. Heavy pitching and rolling. I was the only one down to breakfast at the Doctor’s table; the other tables also very sparsely occupied. Only one lady (Mrs. Payser) faced the meal in the saloon. Most of the passengers were engaged in “rendering into the sea, sire, the things that are Caesar’s”. Saw one dark, medium-sized petrel. Flying fish abundant but not large. A very tiny one was picked up alive on board. Weather fine
but overcast slightly. Very few down to lunch; fewer still to dinner. General depression. I managed to enjoy the day thoroughly + was able to keep my pipe going all the time. The clear decks were also good for walking. Still blowing hard at night. One of the bandsmen (double-base) fractured his pelvis (or, rather, the neck of his femur, the others were mostly prostrate, so we were spared ‘music’ for the time being.
Saturday 14 When I woke up the wind had lessened quite a lot though still from the S.W.. There was far less motion during the day.
Sunday 15 Conditions about the same as yesterday, + the ship is fairly steady. Many clouds about + evidently rain to the west. General resurrection of passengers. Flying-fish still seen, but nothing else. Our course is far away from the coast, to avoid the strong current from the S.. Rather lame with touch of gout.
Monday 16th. Conditions not altered. No birds seen. Had to judge fancy dresses in evening. Thankless job. Did some packing.
[Inserted into the pages of the diary is a THE UNION CASTLE MAIL STEAMSHIP CO. LTD. PROGRAMME of Derby races on Monday 16thJuly 1928.]
Tuesday 17. Approaching Mombasa in morning. Entrance to harbour very beautiful. A small wrecked steamer lay on the fringing coral reef outside the entrance to Mombasa harbour which we passed on the way to Kilindini harbour. Red-tiled roofed houses, mostly white, amid coconut palms, mango trees, frangipani, hibiscus, bougainvilleas + general greenery. No trace of burning up though very hot. Looks very different to when I last saw the place – some 20 years ago. A stone wharf has been built at Kilindini + many improvements to the harbour. We tied up at the wharf. Oscar Watkins was there to meet me + came on board. He took me straight away in his car to lunch at his house, where I found Mrs. Watkins + their three small daughters + had a warm welcome. After lunch we returned to the Custom House + cleared + collected my luggage. I introduced Watkins to Mrs. Payser (a schoolfellow of Mrs. Watkin’s at Godolphius) + he invited the Paysers to dinner. We motored back to the house via the native town + bazaars. After tea Mrs. Watkins motored me to Tudor House (Hotel) for the view over the harbour + past the Camel park, where coconut oil is squeezed out by camel-power from copra. Very beautiful drive through palms, mangoes + flowering shrubs. Collared Ravens with
thick bills very abundant, fork-tailed Drongos also common. On returning to the house we walked to Government House, which is next door, built by Baker + a very beautiful white building with magnificent view over the sea and coral reef. Most attractive. The Governor was away in Nairobi, so we walked about the house + premises. The Paysers came to dinner + spent the evening with us.
Wednesday 18th After breakfast Watkins + I went down to the shore just below the house. Coral rock all deeply weathered + numberless small pools. Tridacnas abundant + on the exposed coral rocks numberless crabs scurrying about, Periophthalmus skipping over the sand + rocks + climbing up the vertical rock face in great numbers. Sea urchins + brittle stars everywhere in the pools etc. etc. Chitons clinging to the exposed rocks. Later on I sent a 20 word radio home (7/6) + posted home letter. After lunch I walked to the B.I. Co.’s office + booked cabin in the “Madura” for homeward voyage on Sept. 1. I then taxied back to Watkins’ office + went to the Club with him + stayed there till 3.30 or so. After tea the whole family + I went to the native bazaars – Interesting
[---FACING PAGE: Sketch of a bird, labelled: “Collared Raven (Corvultur _____ [left blank])”; and two photographs, labelled: “Oscar Watkins house, Mombasa.”; “Coral-rock cove below the house.”---]
mixed native types there. Arabs, Somabis, Suahelis, Kambas, Kavirondos etc. Then Watkins + I motored to Tudor House to see the colony of weaver-birds there with nests in a bamboo patch. The entrances of these nests are plaited so as to form a kind of strengthened selvedge.
Thursday 19th. Spent some time in + around Watkins’ garden. Many small finches with pale brown upper + pale-blue under-parts, blue cheeks, blood red patch on hinder cheek; tails fanned out + blue + brownish rectrices; pale-buff beaks. Collared Ravens circling round high overhead, very like buzzards or vultures (Corvultur). Fork-tailed Drongos common. Flocks of light greyish-brown, long-tailed + crested colies. Black-headed Bulbuls. Repacked my luggage for safari. Went over the Jesus Fort with Watkins. Fifteenth century, Portuguese building, now used as a prison. Great variety of native types among the prisoners. We also visited the native fish-market, where among other kinds of fish were some Chirocentrotus (‘Parang fish’ of the Malays) + some very fine prawns. In afternoon Watkins + I took the 4.30 train for Nairobi. The Government had given me a free ticket for self + boy (Ali ben Mzee, whom I had engaged as a travelling boy, at £5 a month).
First part of the journey very pretty; across the bridge at Kilindini + thence rising steadily with fine views over the harbours, + through coconut groves, + banana plantations maize etc. Passed extensive rubber plantations which have proved a failure, as the trees die when their roots reach the shale subsoil. It was dark by 6.30. Cold night.
Friday 20th— I got up well before dawn so as not to miss any of the Game Reserve. When it became light game was plentiful becoming more so as the nearer we approached Nairobi. Kongoni, Impala, Wildebeeste, Thomson’s + Grant’s Gazelles, ? Roan antelope + Zebras, seen from the train. Also many wild ostriches, spur-fowl (francolins), Elanoid Kites Elanus caeruleus, Red-tailed Buzzards, Secretary-birds, white egrets etc.
On reaching Nairobi I motored to Juxon Barton’s house at the back of the Club, to stay. Found Mrs. Barton there. Barton came in from the Secretariat for lunch. After lunch I had a stroll around looking at birds (Fiscal shrikes extremely abundant + very tame, many not mature; weaver birds + sun-birds, Bee-eaters + colies abundant.
After tea I went with Barton down onto the Athi Plains (Game Reserve) + watched a herd of 50 or 60 Wildebeeste (White-bearded Gnu, at very close quarters. 4 or 5 Sentinel bulls stood
[---FACING PAGE: Photograph, labelled: “Juxon Barton’s house, Nairobi.”---]
well away from the herd, + one came up to investigate us and the dogs with us. Further away there were other herds of Wildebeestes, zebras, Kongoni (Bubahs Cokei), + Thomson’s Gazelles. Beautiful sight of massed game-animals. We went + sat in the Club afterwards + I met several of the residents, including Harrison (late of Trinity, Oxford), now a very successful Kenya lawyer.
Saturday 21st. In the morning Major Munn motored me to the prison + I was taken round by Mr. Spencer, the head of the prison. Saw many native types + watched their training in various industries (carpentry, joinery, rope-making, tailoring etc.). I lunched at the Club with Watkins + Mr. Hussey, the Director of Education at Kampala, who invited me to stay with him in Kampala. We then went to the Museum to meet Dr. V.G.L. van Someren (the well-known naturalist + dentist), a friend of Paulton’s. He took us round the Museum, which badly requires + is to have a new building. Afterwards Watkins motored me to Mrs. Watkins’ farm, “Whispers”, about 5 miles from Nairobi – a charmingly situated coffee farm of about 100 acres. Saw a Centropus cuckoo there. The main house was let, + we had tea with Miss K. Napier (manager of the farm) in her cottage. Got back to the
[---FACING PAGE: Sketch, labelled: “Thomson’s Gazelle.”---]
Bartons’ for dinner. Found that my boy, Ali, had been doing some of my washing + I had a turn as I saw my dress clothes pegged out on the line amongst the linen. I thought at first that he had washed them also, but luckily he was only airing them!
Sunday 22nd. Watkins came to fetch me to run me out to “Whispers” farm for the night. We motored through the Town + native bazaars, + stopped to inspect the native Maternity Hospital (run under Lady Grigg’s name). Saw all over it with the matron. It seemed very practical. Was rather intrigued by a black native nurse in nurse’s uniforn, + decorated with a very neat double row of small conical keloids across her forehead – each keloid about [sketch]-size. We next went to the Seager Club, some way outside the Town – an excellently appointed Sporting Club, with Squash Courts, Tennis, Golf etc etc. We reached “Whispers” in time for a late lunch in Miss Napier’s cottage. The roads were mostly awfully bad + often deeply cut up by ant-bears, porcupines etc which had dug deep pits in the roads. Part of the way was mere track through forest. After looking around the farm + after tea, we motored to Kiambu + tried to
[---FACING PAGE: Sketch, labelled: “Native nurse at Maternity Hospital, Nairobi.”; and a photograph, labelled: “Guest-room, “Whispers Farm”.”---]
see the perforated stone on which the Kikuyu take oath in the native court. The court itself is quaintly simple + has no walls, being open all round to the air + fitted with stone benches + a kind of moveable wooden cage for prisoner’s dock. Two large disinfectant spraying machines were conspicuous, the A. Kikuyu natives being a very smelly crowd, coated all over with grease + red-ochre. At about sunset we called on Mr. Galton Fenzi + consulted him about routes for my tour. He suggested various alternatives, e.g. the overland journey to the Cape, or a journey into the Belgian Congo + back by Rejaf + Mougala. But these were not practicable for me in the time available. On the way back to “Whispers” over appalling ‘roads’, we saw several Mongooses. After a bath + a late dinner I turned in at 11 pm. In the little one roomed guest-house which stands well away by itself. Hurricane lantern required to find it + to undress by. Very jolly + the night not too cold.
Monday 23rd It was cold + hazy in the early morning. After breakfast Watkins + I motored back, by the forest tract to Nairobi. I was taken all over the Native Registration Depmt. + saw the very practical working of the card-registration
[---FACING PAGE: Newspaper clipping of “EAST AFRICAN MEMORIAL” to soldiers and porters who fell in the East African campaign.---]
system + finger-print classification, which I put to the test with successful results. I also visited the Police Registration Depmt. In the same building. Then I went to see Mr. Galton Fenzi in his office + got a map from him. Walked back to Barton’s house for lunch. In afternoon I went to the Native Civil Hospital at the back of the K.A.R. barracks. Was shown all over it by Dr. Wallington + the Matron. Many different native types in the hospital – chiefly Ja-Luo, Kamba, Kikuyu, Nandi, Meru + Masai – Pneumonia frequent + tropical ulcers. A very intelligent Kikuyu youth served as dispenser + was given a free hand. Some striking head-forms, especially among the Ja-Luo, who show extreme forms of scapho-cephaly. Many extreme forms of ear-lobe dilatation (especially among Masai, Kikuyu + Nandi). Some nowadays ask the surgeons to stitch up their ear-lobes so as to obliterate the huge hole!! I saw several good instances of filed teeth, extraction of the lower incisors etc, + also of cicatrigation of the skin. Later I went shopping with Watkins + fitted out a ‘scoff-box + bought sheets for safari. We then motored through the Civil Park (partly natural forest) to the Game Warden’s house. He was away but Mrs. Ritchie was at home + showed us the animals which they had in the garden – a tame Serval, a very fine Civet cat, mongooses,
[---FACING PAGE: Sketch, labelled: “Scaphoid head (Ja-Luo)”.---]
a rare black Genet, some Giant Rats, a tame vulture, Helmeted Guinea-fowls, a large monitor lizard etc. I helped to transfer some Mongooses from one cage to another. I got back to the Bartons rather late for dinner, but this does not matter in Kenya, as dinner is not a very fixed meal + is usually served when everyone is ready.
Tuesday 24th. Two zebras were killed, no doubt by lions, during the night, within 200 yards of Barton’s house. Hyaenas had finished them off + little was left except bones + bits of skin. Zebras often come up to the house at night from the Plains below, + hyaenas can be heard every night round the house + in the garden. After breakfast I went for a walk by myself over the Athi Plains. There were hundreds of Wildebeestes and Zebras (Grant’s), + I tried photographing them. I could get within about 70 yards of them while walking, but they moved slowly away if I stopped. The Wildebeeste sentries were posted around + at some distance from the herds, four or five to each herd. Many Thomson’s Gazelles singly + in herds were scattered around. Kongoni were grouped some way off (Bubalis cokei) in small groups. Hyaena holes and wart-hog holes were around. I also saw at Hammerkop (Scopus umbretta), many sociable Plovers,
[---FACING PAGE: Three photographs, labelled: “Grant’s Zebras, Athi Plains, 24 July.”; “Brindled Gnus + zebras, Athi Plains.”; “Brindled Gnus + sentinel, Athi Plains.”; and three sketches, labelled: “Brindled Gnu sentinel”; “(Connochoetes albojubatus)”; “Hammerkop (Scopus umbretta)”.---]
some Francolins (? Francolinus africanus uluensis), Secretary-bird, some Red-tailed Buzzards, vultures, pale grey + black falcons (black eye- + wing-markings, short tails; Fiscal shrikes, red-tailed finches, larks + weaver-birds. I photo’d a tree which was covered with weaver-birds’ nests. On the Plains skeletons of zebras + wildebeestes were frequent, probably the work of lions. Altogether I walked about 3 miles out over the Plains + came back nearly the same way. Along the small stream were abundant obsidian flakes, showing early occupation of the area. Got back to the Barton’s for lunch Bought two skins of Syke’s monkey from a Kikuyu native (3/- each).
In the afternoon Mr. S.F. Deck fetched me in his car to stay the night at his house on the Ngong Hills, 15 miles from Nairobi. We stopped on the way to look at a house which he had built in a very beautiful clearing in the forest; he had sold the house to Mr. Patherson. Very attractive house, with peacocks wandering about, + numbers of dogs. We met there Mr. + Mrs. F.M. Lamb, of Nyeri, who invited me to stay with them in Nyeri. Deck + I then motored on, running out of petrol after a while, but luckily being able to borrow some from a passing car. We got to Deck’s house (“Ngong Boma”, Ngong), a little before dusk. Delightful country house, c. 7200 ft elevation, with splendid views, + on the slopes of the Ngong Mountains. Very cold at night
[---FACING PAGE: Four photographs, labelled: “Athi Plains, with Gnus + Zebras”; “ditto”; “Thorn trees with Weaver-birds’ nests, Athi Plains.”; “S.F. Deck’s house, Ngong Hills.”---]
necessitating a large fire in the sitting-room, + blankets on the bed.
Wednesday 25th After breakfast I went down to Deck’s office + saw a number of Masai, some of whom I photo’d. Some were playing mancala. There were some very good types with fine features, others showing Kikuyu admixture. The types varied greatly; some had pronouncedly aquiline noses. Saw some vultures, Red-tailed Buzzards, white-winged Spreuces, Collared ravens, glossy starlings, Wheatear, etc. Returning to the house, I met Hugo Lambert (a former student of mine), now D.C. at Kajiado in the Masai Reserve. I went with him to the Veterinary station nearby + there saw some Turkana + Samburu natives. The slit-like eyes of the former very noticeable, less so among the Samburu. A Meru youth was wearing through the left ear-lobe a cylindrical cigarette tin (for 50 cigarettes). We looked round the Veterinary equipment + buildings for the training of natives + then went back to the Decks for lunch. Afterwards Lambert motored me back to Nairobi, to Barton’s house, where I met Mrs. Lambert. I was next fetched by Mr. Weller (a friend of Soddy’s) in his car + taken to see over the Native Industrial Training School (wood-working, iron-working, building, tailoring etc). Taken round by Mr. Brough + had tea
[---FACING PAGE: Five photographs, labelled: “Two MASAI men, Ngong Hills, 25 July.” (for the first two photographs); “MASAI playing en-geshei (maneala), Ngong Hills”; “TURKANA at Veterinary Station, Ngong”; “SAMBURU men”; and a sketch, labelled: “Meru youth wearing cigarette-tin in his ear-lobe.”---]
[Inserted into the pages of the diary is a more elaborate sketch of the same subject, labelled: “MERU man wearing cigarette-tin through his ear-lobe.”]
with Mrs. Brough. We motored back to the Club where I found Watkins, who ran me up to Government House (recently built by Baker) to sign the book + leave letter of introduction from Sir A. Willert. H.E. was out, but I saw the A.D.Cs. We then went to the Government Arboretum, a very interesting botanical garden of good size. Then we called on Mr. + Mrs. Wade, to see some models of nearly obsolete Lamu dhows (see “Field”, 25 Sept., 1925). Then back to Barton’s. Packed till 2 in the morning, so as to leave heavy baggage etc at Barton’s house.
Thursday 26th. Up at 7.30 + finished my packing. In the morning the Governor sent telephone message to say that he would like to see me at 11.30 a.m., but as I was catching the 12.30 train for Nakuru, I could not possibly go + I asked Barton to make my apologies to H.E.. Unable to say goodbye to Mrs. Barton, who had been taken ill last evening, Watkins fetched me + took me + Ali to the station (was given free tickets for self + Ali to Kisumu). A compartment (coupé) had been reserved for me. Met Izard (D.C. at Nakuru) on the train + travelled with him. Wonderfully interesting scenery, the line mounting steadily to Uplands (over 7000 ft) on the edge of the Kikuyu escarpment. Close to Uplands is a small pool around + on which were wild ducks, egrets, Kavirondo Cranes etc. A large
[---FACING PAGE: Photograph, labelled: “MASAI men, Ngong Hills.”---]
bacon factory has been established at Uplands. Shortly after leaving the station a magnificent view over the Rift Valley was obtained, looking down onto the plains 2000 ft below + across to the Mau Escarpment + the crater of Menengai. It was hazy but the views was superb nevertheless. The train then dropped down the side of the escarpment, a finely engineered drop, to Lake Naivasha. Mr. + Mrs. Will Evans had boarded the train at Uplands, so I went to look them up + travelled with them for a good while, Evans pointing out the chief points of interest. A herd of Kongoni (Jackson’s), many ostriches + Thomson’s gazelles were sighted. The train travelled over the huge plains forming the bottom of the Rift Valley, past some very fine sisal plantations in which wild ostriches were roaming to L. Naivasha, which looked very beautiful, but which has evidently shrunk a great deal in recent times, the papyrus-beds extending a very long way from the lake edge. Naivasha station reached at 5 pm. When nearing Gilgil the train passed herds of Thomson’s Gazelles, Impala and zebras + ostriches. Also passed through a large swarm of locusts, which have been causing much anxiety in the colony. Huge flocks of Glossy Starlings, grey Elanus Kites (like those on the Athi Plains) Red-tailed Buzzards, Vultures, Fiscal shrikes + plovers. Near Gilgil many natural volcanic steam-jets issue from the
hill-sides. A local company obtains its water by condensing steam from these jets, water being otherwise scarce. I had a glimpse of Lake Elmenteita in the distance, as it was getting dusk. Shortly after L. Nakuru hove in sight, but it took a good time to reach Nakuru Station, which we reached at 7.45 pm. Some rain had fallen before we reached the lake. It was quite dark. I proposed to go to the hotel near the station, but Izard insisted on my going to the Club (Rift Valley Sports Club) + putting up there instead. I was made an hon. member + given a room. After a bath, I dined with 5 others (including the Secretary (R. Allsopp), Izard, Mr. Murphy + Colonel Griffith), + had a jolly evening.
Friday 27th Up at 6.15 a.m. Breakfast at Club. Allsopp very kindly motored me to the station to catch the 7.54 train to Kisumu. Train of an early type, but I had a very large compartment to myself. Hazy morning. From several miles away I could see the pink line round L. Nakuru, due to countless flamingoes. At Njoro I saw a native playing on a flat rectangular zither of parallel reeds. Whydah birds very common, the males overburdened with their long tails + flying uneasily; sometimes two would execute a kind of dance, flying upwards from the long grass + dropping suddenly alternately. Numerous ox-waggons, just
[---FACING PAGE: labels: “Nakuru, 6397 ft.”; “Njoro, 7113 ft.”; “Elburgon, 7941 ft”; “Molo 8064 ft”.---]
like those in S. Africa, of 12 to 18 pairs of oxen; the drivers with the very long lashes of their whips looped up, S. African fashion. Huge fields of maize; bright red soil. Flocks of Glossy Starlings. Climbing steadily up the Mau escarpment, the train reached Mau Summit at the top of the Mau Escarpment. Two Kavirondo Cranes with 2 young ones were seen from the train. At Londiani were some Lumbwa women wearing large spiral plaques of brass wire on their breasts. Their shoulders were cicatrized + they worn [sic]in their ear-lobes strap-like bead-work ornaments. At Lumbwa (1.30 pm) lunch was served in the station restaurant (quite good). There were quantities of weaver-birds’ nests hanging from the umbrella-like trees. On the platform there was a Lumbwa girl, who, as she was undergoing initiation, was hooded; two eye-holes in the oiled skin hood for her to see through. No man might see her face. She was led about by an older woman. Another Lumbwa (?) woman had a double row of small keloids across her forehead. Near Chemelil Lark-heeled Cuckoos (Centropus) were very common + I saw a Hammerkop (Scopus umbretta) and a smallish Hornbill. Candelabra euphorbias very abundant amid thorn trees. Round Miwami were plantations of sugar-cane + millet. Near Kibos were many white Egrets + a grey heron.
[---FACING PAGE: Label, “Mau Summit, 8321 ft. / Londiani, ? 7500 / Kedowa, 7090 / Fort Terman 5104 / Koru 4609 / Muhoroni, 4265 / Kibigori, 3936 / Miwami, 3905”; and sketches, labelled: “Lumbwa woman’s ear-ornament.”; “?LUMBWA woman”; “Lumbwa girl undergoing initiation” with individual elements labelled: “soiquet hood”; “motolik sticks”; nyorkit dress”.---]
Ja-Luo (Nilotic Kavirondo) women were wearing neat bead-work chaplets round their heads + decorated skin aprons. Just before reaching Kisumu there were some Kavirondo Cranes + Egrets on the edge of the Gulf of Kavirondo. On arriving at Kisumu I was met by B.V. Shaw (D.C. Kisumu), a relative of Canon Shaw of Ch.Ch., met me + took me to his house. After a bath we went to the Club + met Dr. Neunan + other residents. Back to dinner at 8.30. The house completely surrounded by mosquito-proof gauze. Geckos running about the gauze + walls of the verandah.
Saturday, 28th. Went with Ali to the steamer pier to book accommodation in the “Clement Hill” for Entebbe, + had a walk round the little town, which is growing, though not in beauty. Buildings mostly roofed with corrugated iron + anything but pretty. Went to the native market where I bought some Kavirondo pipe-bowls (3 cents each). Near the Public Garden I saw a chief from a Ja-Luo village on the other side of the Kavirondo Gulf, who was wearing a most elaborate head-dress of cut-down hippopotamus tusks. In + around Kisumu were beautiful ruby-throated Sun-birds with metallic-black general colouring + slender curved beaks. Egrets were everywhere, + weaver-birds were abundant. A Darter (Anhinga)
[---FACING PAGE: Sketch, labelled: “Ja-Luo chief.”---]
flew over the head of the Gulf + settled on the water. Round Shaw’s house numbers of swallows with red heads + rumps were flying, two having a nest with young under the house which was raised on piles about 2 ft. from the ground. Large brown colies were numerous, also Fiscal Shrikes + gorgeous small all-metallic Sun-birds. Had a walk down to the shore of the Gulf of Kavirondo, + saw a lot of Cormorants (some all dark, others white underneath). Large White Egrets with dark beak + legs, + buff-breasted Egrets with light beak + legs. Ceryle rudis Kingfishers were diving in the Gulf. Yellow-+-black + scarlet-+-black weaver-birds were in the papyrus beds. A very small Kingfisher, with red-brown breast, dark head with white ear-tufts, deep-blue back + red bill (? Malachite Kingfisher) sat on a papyrus stem. A great deal of Hippo spoor showed up in the muddy banks. When I got back to Shaw’s house for lunch, I saw an Impala about 300 yards away, so went off to look. I found a herd of 17 (all horned) just beyond the houses, a beautiful sight. The herd is protected + no one may shoot them, so they are very fearless + hang about the town outskirts, coming into the gardens at night. Pied Crows (Corvus scapulatus) very abundant. I went back to the Impala herd after lunch + tried to photograph them. I got very close to them, all rams. Some of them had
[---FACING PAGE: Four photographs, labelled in pairs: “Cormorants, Kavirondo Gulf, near Kisumu, 28 July”; “Herd of Impala on outskirts of Kisumu, 28 July.”; and a sketch, labelled: “Impala [male], (Aepyceros melampus suara)”.---]
red-billed Tick-birds on their backs. In the afternoon Shaw + I went to see some Americans (Dr. + Mrs. Smith + Mr. Baker) who are doing research-work upon Lung-fishes (Protopterus _____ [left blank]) Dr. Smith was away collecting Polypterus in Lake Albert, but Mrs. Smith + Baker showed me their protopterus, of which they had hundreds alive, taken from the papyrus mud-beds of the Gulf. They had all sizes up to four feet long. I was given some very young ones with gills, preserved in formalin, + also two larger alive in mud.
Shaw + I then motored up the Escarpment of the Nandi Hills, + had a very fine view. It came on to rain + we turned back as it got quite dark. On the way back Nightjar were sitting on the road every 20 or 30 yards. I counted nearly 3 dozen which got up just in front of the car at intervals. A hare ran in front of the car in the light of the head-lamps. Mrs. Smith, Baker + Dr. Neunan came to dinner. When it was well past midnight the suggestion was made that we should all drive round in the doctor’s car + look for “Horace”, the hippopotamus who very frequently comes out of the Lake at night, walks up to the town + rearranges the gardens, by walking about in them or sometimes rolling on some particularly choice bed of flowers. Owing to the constant use which he makes
[---FACING PAGE: Label: “Lung-fish of the Kavirondo Gulf; kamongo (Swahili, mamba) Protopterus aethiopicus. Lives in papyrus-swamps; utters a grunting noise when caught; bites severely. The natives like it as food, but it is not eaten by Mahomedans.”---]
of the Club, he was elected a member; this being changed to Honorary Member, when it was realized that he never would pay a subscription. We drove all round the coast road past likely spots but failed to find him; his horticultural labours beings in abeyance that night. Then we went inland to see if any hyaenas or other things were about, but only saw a number of hares. When passing the ‘Coronation Garden’, gleams of eyes were seen in the garden + when the spot-light was turned on we saw part of the Impala herd (both [male] + [female]) in the garden. The spot-light did not scare them in the least, though the car was very close to them. We all returned to the house + talked till 2 a.m, when the guests finally departed. I got to bed by 2.30.
Sunday 29th. Up at 7.30 a.m. + packed my luggage. Shaw drove me down to the steamer jetty + we boarded the “Clement Hill”, which was due to sail at 10 a.m. But the train from Mombasa was nearly 7 hours late, the engine having run off the line beyond Nairobi. So we motored off round the head of the Gulf of Kavirondo to visit some Ja-Luo bomas. These are each enclosed in a dense twelve-foot hedge of euphorbia, inside which 3-5 circular huts are erected + also several grain-stones
of wattle-+-daub, circular with thatched roofs + raised on piles. The roof of the huts come very low, the hut entrances being exceedingly low. There seemed to be a very good supply of millet (of two kinds) in the granaries. Small cattle + goats roam about or are tethered inside the boma, the goats going in + out of the huts. I saw a boy playing on a zither of parallel reed-stems, with the strings formed by splitting away strips of cortex. Hoes with iron blades hafted upon angular branches. Several very large buffalo-hide shields of peculiar folded-angular form, lay about. I was shown a huge busby-like head-dress (chief man’s) made of black ostrich feathers attached to a large shield-like support of white ox-hide, with lacings of rawhide thongs. One of the Luo men put it on. A small cap fixed underneath fitted onto the head. It resembled a huge Grenadier’s busby with flattened back. These head-dresses are a sign of rank + there is great variety of ceremonial head-gear among the Ja-Luo. Around the bomas were large trees with large gourd-like seed vessels hanging from long, thin, cord-like stalks. [sketch] The pods are used as receptacles + the contents for brewing a drink. We also visited a small ghi factory. We drove back, passing many Ja-Luo natives. Very fine physique, the women very erect + tall. Several women wore bead-work chaplets round their heads. One head-man
[---FACING PAGE: Sketches of the headdress, labelled: “Back of busby showing cowhide support laced with rawhide thongs.”; “Ja-Luo shield.”.---]
was wearing a conical grass-woven hat, with pairs of boar’s tusks + wart-hog tusks hanging down over the face. The women wear fringe tails of grass behind + an apron of decorated hide in front.
When we got back to Kisumu, as the train was still not likely to arrive for some time, we went to the Nyanza Club for a while, + then went down to the jetty + went on board the “Clement Hill”, at about 12.30 pm. Shaw lunched with me on board. I found Colonel Tucker on board, bound for Entebbe. The boat did not start till nearly 3.30 pm (5 1/2 hours late). Steaming down the Gulf of Kavirondo we passed a great many Darters (Anhinga rufa) + Cormorants (Phalacrocorax lucidus + Ph. Africanus) flying low + heavily over the lake. Ceryle rudis Kingfishers were fairly common; a few Pelicans, terns + gulls (? L. cirrhocephalus) were also seen. Very fine volcanic mountain scenery on both sides of the Gulf. Reached the end of the Gulf at 7.30 pm, when it was dark, + turned into the main Victoria Nyanza. Lake quite calm + a fine night. I had a nice single-berth cabin.
Monday 30th. Drenching tropical rain. Could see little of the island scenery near Entebbe. Sometimes we could not see anything 20 yards from the ship, which had to anchor outside Entebbe as the position of the pier could not be located. Eventually it cleared slightly +
[Inserted into the pages of the diary is a sketch of a figure standing, labelled: “Nilotic Kavirondo (Jaluo) woman, wearing the grass ‘tail’. Near Kisumu.”.]
[---FACING PAGE: Two photographs, labelled: “Victoria Nyanza looking from Kavirondo Gulf”; “E. coast of Victoria Nganza, nearing Kavirondo Gulf.” – additional labels on the reverse of the photographs.---]
we ran alongside the wooden pier + tied up at 9.30 a.m (instead of 6, the scheduled time). Scott (secretariat) came on board + took me off to his house, a very delightful one, fronting onto the Botanical Gardens which are not fenced off but are open all round. Some fine Flamboyant trees were in full flower against the house. Mrs. Scott was there to receive us. It rained most of the morning, but I managed to stroll about a bit. After lunch I had a walk in the Botanical Gardens + along the shore of the lake. Great numbers of large black + white hornbills (Bycanistes subcylindricus) were in the trees + flying around making a lot of noise. Glossy starlings were everywhere. Pied Kingfishers (Ceryle rudis) were fishing in great numbers in the lake. Large Kingfishers (Halcyon senegalensis) with sky-blue back + wings, grey underparts, were perched on trees away from the water + seemed to live on grasshoppers etc. Very small Kingfishers (Ispidina) with deep-blue back, orange-buff underparts + red beak, were also among the trees. On the lake, Cormorants (Ph. lucidus + Ph. africanus) and Darters (A. rufa) abounded. A few Kavirondo Crowned Cranes, slate-grey herons, large white egrets (Herodias alba), Buff-backed Cattle Egrets, White headed fish-eagles (Haliaetus rocifer), Gulls (L. cirrhocephalus) + terns, + Hagedash Ibises were on the lake or on the shores. Brown colies, sun-birds (Nectariniidae) small plum-coloured finches (“Animated Plums”), black-+-yellow weaver-birds, all-black fly-catchers,
[---FACING PAGE: Photograph of “ENTEBBE: ON THE EDGE OF LAKE VICTORIA NYANZA” with a short article, and a sketch of a bird, labelled: “Kavirondo Crane (Balearica regulorum gibbericeps)”.---]
swallows of 2 or 3 kinds + swifts etc, were seen. I came across a herd of Ankole cattle, some with colossal horns, with scores of cattle-egrets among them, picking up grasshoppers etc disturbed by them. The Gardens themselves are most beautiful with fine forest trees, shrubs, aloes, bamboos etc; well laid out.
After tea on the Botanical Gardens lawn in front of the house, Scott motored me to the Biological Experimental Laboratory, where many scores of monkeys + baboons are kept for sleeping-sickness experiment etc. We then went through some native banana + manioc shambas with circular thatched huts scattered about (as usual in Uganda where huts are rarely grouped together in ‘villages’). The head-men, gonbololas, have largely adopted the rectangular Suaheli type of hut. We next went to the Club + talked to Lady Griffin + other members. Geoffrey + Mrs. Carpenter came to dine with the Scotts. Was very glad to see them again.
Tuesday 31. Mrs. Scott motored me to a place on the lake shores where were several of the typical Victoria Nyanza (or ‘Sesse Islands) canoes and dug-outs. I took some photos. We then drove past a Nubi village, into which we went, but the occupants seemed to resent our intrusion + hid themselves away in
[---FACING PAGE: Four photographs, labelled in pairs: “Sesse Ids. canoe ferry, Victoria Nyanza, near Entebbe.”; “Sesse Ids. canoes near Entebbe, Uganda.”---]
their huts, + why, we could not make out. So we drove on, passing many BaGanda women wearing bark-cloth as clothing, voluminously bunched up behind. We got back for lunch. After lunch I had another walk through + around the Botanical Gardens seeing quantities of Hornbills of two species (the large, Bycanistes subcylindricus + the smaller, Lophoceros melanoleucus). Kavirondo Cranes, Egrets (H. alba), herons (dark slate with white throats), Hagedash Ibises; a red-breasted Barbet with large pale coloured beak (looking like a small Toucan), Ispidina Kingfishers, etc. I walked past the Isolation Hospital along a sandy shore of the lake, where great numbers of Ceryle rudis were busy fishing. Haliaetus rocifer plentiful, also dark brown Eagles or buzzards. Cormorants + Darters abounded + a few Jacanas (actophilus africanus, “Lily trotter”, brown, yellow + black) were seen on the lilies. At tea Mrs. Carpenter joined us, + we went afterwards motoring to Debe (?) about 12 miles along the Kampala road + off to the right through banana shambas + forest down to the lake shore to try + see the famous semi-tame crocodile, who comes out of the water when called by the natives + accepts fish presented to it. Unfortunately, the croc. was not there just then, +
[Inserted into the pages of the diary is an article from Country Life, Dec. 5th, 1931 about “A CROCODILE WHICH COMES WHEN IT IS CALLED”]
[---FACING PAGE: Sketches of birds, labelled: “Bycanistes / above / tail / below”; “Lophocerus”; and a photograph taken from Country Life, 10.8.1935 of “LUTEMBE, THE TAME CROCODILE OF LAKE VICTORIA”.---]
is said now only to appear early in the morning for his fish. He is in rather bad odour just now, having recently bitten off a man’s arm, though under rather suspicious circumstances. It is suggested that the man may have had to submit himself to the ordeal for theft, + have met with an adverse verdict from the ‘criminal court’!. A fish-eagle (Haliaetus) + some Jacunas were hanging about the spot, also a large brown eagle. On the way back through the shambas we met another car going down on the same mission. The car was crowded + the contents waved violently to us, so we stopped + found that the newcomers were Mr. Saville (of Kampala) with whom were Mr. + Mrs. Ouseley + their daughter, June, with whom I had travelled out in the Llandaff Castle, + some other children. We stayed a while + talked with them. On the way back along the Kampala road I saw some Plantain-eaters (Musophagidae or Schizorhis) and some Hornbills (Bycanistes). Scott + I went to the Club afterwards + I was introduced to Mr. Rankin (the Acting Governor of Uganda, the Governor being away). Mr. Rankin has a son at Exeter + formerly served in the Fiji Ids. under Sir E. im Thurn. Mr. Pitman (Game Warden of Uganda) + his wife + another man came to
dinner with the Scotts. Pitman (a friend of Poulton’s) had brought a lot of photos of white rhinoceros + other game and natives to show me, a very interesting lot.
Wednesday Aug.1. I went up to the Rankins’ house (Chief Secretary’s house to see the garden. Rankin asked me in to meet Mrs. Rankin, + afterwards motored me to Government House which was undergoing extensive alteration + extension, in view of the Prince of Wales’ coming visit. We went all over the house + also the garden. After lunch at Scott’s house I went for a walk. Saw three crocodiles basking on rocks near the landing jetty. Many Ceryle Kingfishers were fishing in the lake, + I watched a number of green bee-eaters, several of which repeatedly plunged onto the lake surface (without going right under) This habit of feeding was new to me. In reeds on the lake edge I saw a splendid Goliath Heron + stalked him so as to get close. He flew away eventually, looking huge on the wing. (The last I had seen were on the Kafue River in 1910). Hagedash Ibises were noisily calling, ‘aa-aa-aa’ with a gull-like sound. A great many hornbills (Bycanistes) were flying from tree to tree + trumpeting, + I saw some barbets, a black-headed Flycatcher with brilliant chestnut underparts, etc.
[---FACING PAGE: Four photographs, labelled: “In the Botanical Gardens, Entebbe.”; “Do – Heron on [arrow] lawn in centre.”; “In the Botanical Gardens, Entebbe.”; “White-ant’s mound near Entebbe, Victoria Nyanza in background.”---]
At tea I met Perryman (a former student of mine) + now in the Secretariat. He married one of the daughters of Hardy of Jesus Coll. He had been at Broadbent with Lewis + asked after him. After tea I went with Scott round some native shambas on the far side of the inlet opposite to Entebbe. Bananas, manioc, sweet potatoes + ground-nuts were the chief crops together with millet. The Scotts + I dined with the Rankins. Very pleasant evening, though mosquitos were biting my ankles viciously + I had a job to keep still. After leaving the Scotts, I motored through the Botanical Gardens by full-moonlight, + walked about, keeping a good look out for snakes (as Puff-adders + mambas are unpleasantly numerous there). We saw, + watched under the spot-light, a family of 4 large mongooses playing about on one of the grassy lawns (two old + two young ones). We saw no sign of the hippopotami which often wander about the gardens at night + may frequently be heard or seen. We got back just before midnight. When I turned in a Fruit-bat was ‘tonk-tonk-tonking’ in a tree just outside my room, the note sounding like large drops of water falling from a height into an empty tin bucket.
Thursday 2nd. Raining steadily in the morning. I called on Mrs. Payser during the morning + found her at home though not fully settled in + still short of most household appliances etc. Saw some Crowned Cranes + gray white-throated herons on the Golf-links. At 3 p.m. a Government car came for me to run me to Kampala. Mr. Rankin having lent it to me very kindly. Said goodbye to the Scotts, who had been kindness itself to me during my stay in Entebbe. Lovely 25 mile drive to Kampala, along a perfect road, bright red in colour (like nearly all roads in Uganda + Kenya); through forest + shamba scenery. We passed the ‘King’s Lake’ where victims used to be thrown to the crocodiles; past the entrance to the Kabaka’s (Paramount Chief) palace + past a market-place where hundreds of big-horned Ankole cattle were grouped; up a hill to Makerere College + on to the house of Mr. E.R.J. Hussey (late of Hertford Coll., Oxford) and a former president of the O.U.A.C. having got his blue for hurdles), the Director of Education, Kampala. I was received by Mr. + Mrs. Hussey in a most friendly manner + was given the detached guest house near their house. After tea I had a talk with 4 of the native
[---FACING PAGE: Photograph, labelled: “Mr. Hussey’s guest-house, Kampala.”---]
students of Makerere College (Mu-Hima, Mu-Kwezi, Mu-Toro etc), who seemed very intelligent, one or two speaking English quite well. At tea I met Morris (one of my former students, of about 20 years ago), now on the staff of Makerere College. I dined alone with the Husseys.
Friday 3rd In the morning I met with Hussey over Makerere College buildings, which are being extended. They seem practical + well-designed. Natives of Uganda finish their education there + can learn languages, mathematics, elementary science etc, as well as mecanical industries + other trades. I met Mr. Saville again. He directs the Arts + Crafts department. The College was just breaking up for the holidays. Afterwards Mrs. Hussey motored me to the Protestant + R.C. Cathedrals each built on top of a hill with very steep ascent. The former is a fine brick + tiled building, massive and domed, with little internal decoration. The R.C. cathedral has twin towers + is spoilt by finicking decoration + tawdry emblems. We then went into the town, which is rapidly developing with good shops. I got some picture post-cards in the book-shop. After lunch a native (of Ankole) came to the house to talk to me + we walked to the little museum
[Inserted into the pages of the diary is a sheet of paper with the “Signatures of 3 of the students of Makerere College.”]
about 1 1/2 miles away. It is poorly organized + very short of funds, but contains several interesting specimens, mostly from Uganda. On the way back from the Museum I photo’d some Ankole cattle, also a white-throated slate-grey heron and a tree upon which many of these herons were nesting + making a goodly noise over it. Some apparently had young. Many weaver-birds’ nests were in the same tree.
Mr. Tombling (Principal of the College) came to the house in the afternoon.
Early in the morning thick mists filled the valleys, but gradually evaporated, + the day was fine + hot, but with heavy thunder-clouds about. Cold after sundown.
Saturday 4th Wrote to Mr. Rankin (acting Governor) + a postcard to E.S. Thomas. At 9.45 Mr. J.W.F. Marriott (late of Merton Coll., + a friend of Prof. Dixon, Allen of Corpus + of Miss Paynter) fetched Mrs. Hussey + myself, with a Muganda boy as guide, + we went in search of a bark-cloth factory. After a long search we found a hut where bark-cloth is made, though, unluckily, the makers were not there + no work was in progress. There were several Muvuga trees (a kind of Ficus) round about, whose bark had been stripped off, + these were being left for the bark to re-form. In the hut were many pieces of
[---FACING PAGE: Four photographs, labelled: “Tree near Kampala with many nesting herons and weaver-birds”; “One of the herons on the ground”; “Ankole cattle near Kampala.”; “Bark-cloth-makers hut, near Kampala.”---]
bark-cloth of different qualities + all the appliances used in making it. Broad + narrow lengths of wood on the floor, upon which the bark is hammered with [sketch]-shaped mallets of varying weight + with variously grooved heads (coarse + fine, according to quality of cloth). Proceeding upon our search, we came across a man who was engaged in making pottery, + we watched while he made a pot by the spiral process. A small, rough saucer of clay was pinched into shape from a lump + was laid upon a piece of banana leaf on a large piece of broken pot, which rested upon a pad + could be rotated when necessary. Then long ‘sausages’ of clay were rolled out on a board + laid around the rim of the saucer-base, spirally one after the other, the edges being well pinched together. When the pot was large enough, the walls were thinned + smoothed with a piece of gourd held in the hand outside the pot, the other hand supplying resistance inside. A coil was then added for the rim, + the whole was carefully smoothed with the gourd piece, a rough wooden knife + a piece of banana skin. A band of decoration was then formed round the pot below the rim by rolling with the open hand a short knotted string, leaving a impression in the form of a continuous band-like imprint. The pot would then be
[---FACING PAGE: Label: “Pottery-making by a Muganda potter near Kampala”; and five photographs, labelled: “Some of the finished pots.”; “Shaping the bowl”; “Finishing the shaping after adding the thickened rim.”; “Making a decorative band round the bowl below the rim, by rolling a short knotted cord over the clay.”; “The finished clay shape, reading for air-drying +, later, baking.”---]
placed inside the hut to dry, later in the sun + finally it would be baked into pottery in an open wood fire on the ground. On the way back, I bought some bark-cloth, native soap, native-made needles + tobacco in the native bazaar. In the afternoon Marriott + I went to the Museum + discussed the possibility of making it more interesting. Later I went with Mr. + Mrs. Saville to their house to see the very fine view from it. Hussey had arranged for an Abyssinian owner* of a car to come + arrange price for hire of car to Eldoret. I arranged to hire his car for £27 inclusive charge to Eldoret + return of car empty to Kampala. (The Abyssinians full rate is 80 cents per mile outward + 60 c.p.m. for the return journey. Much cheaper than the charge for a European car + driver, which is 1.25 per mile).
Tombling + Marriott came to dinner.
Sunday 5th After some rain yesterday the weather was gloriously fine + hot. Early in the morning numbers of white egrets were flying down to the lake; brown vultures (Necrosyrtes monachus) were soaring high overhead. Pied crows croaked hoarsely. A large + very brilliant blue, green + yellow lizard was running about the Guest-house walls. In the morning Hussey + I went to see M’tesa’s tomb, situated on a hill-top.
[---FACING PAGE: Label: “*M.H. Juma, Abyssinian of Addis Ababa (P.O. box 211, Kampala)”; sketch of a bird, label: “Pied Crow.”---]
The tomb is surrounded by a large compound, circular + neatly fenced round with elephant-grass. The entrance are very well + ornamentally constructed of the same material, skillfully thatched. Some dwelling-huts stand inside the enclosure. The tomb itself (M’tesas original dwelling) is circular, beautifully thatched + has decoratively constructed entrance of elephant-grass. Inside is a perfect forest of plain wooden supporting-pillars, with narrow central aisle leading to M’tesa’s grave, in front of which a number of iron-, brass- + copper-bladed spears form a kind of fence or railing. Shields of early type hung upon the wooden pillars, and a copper emblem [sketch] of this shape stood among the spears. The walls + pillars round the grave are painted in bold black, white + red chequer patterns. Very large sheets of fine brown bark-cloth hang from the walls. The tomb is impressive + very well kept. Some of ‘M’tesa’s widows are still alive + live in the compound. The grave of Mwanga is immediately to the left of that of M’tesa, + his widow is still living.
At 2.15 I said goodbye to the Husseys + started in my hired car with the Abyssinian driver + Ali. The car was quite a good one, a ‘Nash’ car. Beautiful road, smooth surfaced + bright red; alternately passing through banana shambas, large + beautiful forest tracts, sugar-
[---FACING PAGE: Two photographs, labelled: “M’tesa’s tomb, Kampala.”; “Fence of spears in front of M’tesa’s grave.”---]
plantations, papyrus swamps +, towards Jinja, more open bush-country. Reached Jinja ferry (for crossing an arm of the Victoria Nyanza, at 4.0 pm. We had to wait a good while for the ferry to come over, + I watched some Sesse Id. boats which lay on the shore or were pushing off with passengers. The ferry, a large lighter with smaller steam barge tied alongside, came over + my car + a lorry went onto the lighter, another car going onto the steam barge. A lot of natives also boarded the lighter, so there was a pretty fair crowd. It took more than 1/2 hour to cross to the Jinja landing. The P.C., A.E. Weatherhead, had come to the landing to meet me. In getting ashore I ruptured some muscle fibres in my left thigh + landed in a very lame + painful state. Weatherhead motored me to his house where Mrs. Weatherhead gave me tea + a delightful room. The house, a very well-designed one, has a splendid view over an arm of the Victoria Nyanza, not far from the Ripon Falls (source of the Nile). Towards evening many smallish Fruit-bats were flying around + suddenly hitching themselves upon branches, upside down, the process of inverted perching was extraordinarily rapid.
[Inserted into the pages of the diary is an elaborate profile sketch, unlabelled.]
[---FACING PAGE: Profile sketch, labelled: “Eastern Province man on board the Jinja ferry, with rows of small keloids on brow.”; two photographs, labelled: “Sesse Ids canoe, Victoria Nyanza, opposite Jinja.”; “Mr. A.E. Weatherhead’s house, Jinja.”---]
Monday 6th. Up at 6.15 am, + I went with Weatherhead to the Owen Falls a beautiful series of rapids + low falls, seen far down in a gorge. It was very misty when we got there + at first we hardly saw the river, but gradually the mist lifted as the sun gained strength + revealed a really beautiful scene. There were numbers of Cormorants, Darters + Egrets flying or stationary. Ceryle Kingfishers also in great numbers and a Night Heron + some Fish-eagles (Haliaetus rocifer). The Cormorants were of two species, a larger one with much white on neck + throat, Phalacrocorax lucidus; + a smaller all dark with longish tail, Ph. africanus. We afterwards went up stream + had a distant view of the Ripon Falls, the actual source of the Nile, as it issued from the Victoria Nyanza. After breakfast, Mrs. Weatherhead motored me down to the Ripon Falls + we stood close to the brink of the Falls, a very beautiful sight. The Falls are not very high, but a good body of water comes over them. They are broken by small islands on the edge. Below the nearest island was what at first I took to be large, seaweed-like river vegetation agitated by the rush of water, but under the glasses I found it to be thousands of very large *barbel-like fish, literally shoulder to shoulder in the water, heading towards the Fall. Many were trying to
[---FACING PAGE: Four photographs, labelled: “Looking from the Ripon Falls towards the Owen Falls, the Nile near Jinja.”; “The same, including the Speke commemorative slab.”; “Top of the Ripon Falls.”; “(Inverted)”; and a coloured sketch of a fish, labelled: “* Fwani, Barbus radcliffi, a true Barbel. Yellowish with large scales; bony + poor to eat. Jinja Falls, lakes and large rivers.”---]
leap up the Fall into the lake above, just like salmon. I did not see any succeed, but they are said to get up into the lake. It was a marvelous sight of close-packed moving fins + backs. These fish were also jumping out of the water. There must have been scores of thousands of them some running up to 3 ft. or so in length. Hundreds of Cormorants + many Darters were flying about singly or in small flocks, or were fishing, often in the heaviest rush of water just below the Fall. A nesting-colony of Cormorants was on small islands (covered with low bushes) a short way below the Falls, where a series of rapids leads on to the Owen Falls below. In the still waters of the Lake above the Ripon Falls were several Hippopotamuses + a number of large crocodiles were basking on rocks. Mrs. Weatherhead went back to the house, but I stayed on for a good while, too fascinated to come away, + the car was sent back for me as I was horribly lame. When I got back to the house, Weatherhead took me to see the ‘Sacrificial tree + stones’, where formerly undesirable natives were executed by orders of the chiefs. The tree is a large Ficus with large rounded rocks under it. We also went to see the D.C., Adams, late of Lincoln Coll., Oxford, a very nice man. I had an early lunch + left in my car at 1pm. For Tororo (on the Uganda-Kenya border).
[---FACING PAGE: Photograph of “THE RIPON FALLS, UGANDA” and another of the “RIPON FALLS: A BEAUTY SPOT IN UGANDA”.---]
Lovely road nearly all the way, with smooth, bright-red surface. Only one stretch of bad road. We passed Ganga at 2 and left the Mumias-Kisumu road at 3.30, turning a bit north. The road led through shambas, stretches of forest + papyrus-swamps + later over plains of loose thorn-scrub with rocky hills rising abruptly + boldly. Along the route mongooses + squirrels frequently crossed the road in front of the car. We ran over a black Mamba on the road. Some Grey monkeys crossed the road + took to the trees. At one part of the road in a forested area, herds of elephants + buffalos recently held up traffic from about 6.30 pm to 9 a.m., between which times it was risky to be on the road. My Abyssinian driver had himself been held up. Arrived at Tororo at about 4 pm, + went to the hotel, a small low building. Above the hotel towers the very striking Tororo Rock, rising abruptly from the plain by itself. It is wooden at its base + is the home of a family of hyaenas. Tied to the hotel verandah was a Patas monkey, which I found to be quite friendly. I went for a walk for 2 hours or so, slow + painful, though my leg was slightly easier. I got back just as it got dark, the country immediately round Tororo is not specially interesting.
[---FACING PAGE: Two photographs, labelled: “Tororo Rock.”; “Patas monkey at Tororo Hotel.”; and a sketch of a figure, labelled: “Old man wearing bark-cloth, Tororo. “The simple Savage, whose untutored mind clothes him in front, but…….””.---]
Tuesday 7th. Rather an eventful day. I left Tororo in the car a little before 10 a.m. for Kapsabet (Kenya colony), + went along the Malikisi Road which became a mere track across the grassy plain, extremely rough in places. When we reached the river near Malikisi about 19 miles from Tororo, we found that the bridge had collapsed + the river impassible, so we had to retrace our tracks for 15 miles – almost back to Tororo, + then changed to another road which lead [sic] directly to Malikisi itself (20 miles from Tororo). We found that the bridge there had also collapsed completely. With the help of a local boy who guided us cross-country we found a drift, which in spite of the exceedingly steep banks of the river was just negociable + we got across + eventually rejoined the road after a long detour. The car had previously (on the other road) crashed badly over a rock + had damaged the crank-shaft, but still ran pretty well. The country here was very open, undulating plains covered with loose scrub. We passed though Mumias (a very unhealthy spot) without stopping + reached Kakamega a little before 4 p.m. I went into the office to see the D.C. (Thompson) + was given a rough pencil-sketch map of the best road to Kapsabet, avoiding the more direct but almost impassable forest-road.
[Inserted into the pages of the diary is a sketched map, including rivers, roads and place names.]
This meant making a wide circuit. The road at first was not too bad – as Kenya roads go – After crossing the Yala river by a good stone bridge we ran into a very severe thunderstorm. The road – bad enough in dry weather – was at once converted into a torrent of rushing red mud, which masked the upstanding rocks and foot-deep ruts. The mud was fearfully greasy + extremely deep. The car could get no grip at all on the road + perpetually skidded completely across the road to crash into the bank or ditch, as the case might be, + then crash into the other side, sometimes turning almost completely round. After a long delay the Abyssinian managed to get chains onto the hind-wheels, but these had no effect whatsoever, + the car went on skidding + slithering + yawing about all over the road. At 5.30 we got completely bogged in a ditch + had to get some natives to help get the car out. Then we crashed very badly over an upstanding rock + broke the crank-shaft completely, the oil all running out. It gave us a bad shaking up. After the driver had tried to make temporary repairs, lying on his back in several inches of red mud, we got along again, though very lamely. A most magnificent double rainbow was showing,
the finest I have ever seen – giving entirely false promise of better things to come. We passed a small pool with herons + moorhens upon it. Gorgeous large lizards with azure heads + dark blue bodies were enjoying the rain. We hadn’t gone far before we got another bad shaking up, as the car crashed through a culvert which gave way, but still the engine just managed to work + we crawled on at about 3 miles an hour. It got quite dark. Fire-flies were numerous + flashed intermittently + we got the glint of eyes of various beasts from time to time as they reflected the lights of the car. We ran over one or two snakes which were trying to cross the road. Not long afterwards, when it was pitch-dark + still raining with lightning playing, the car stopped + could not be induced to go another yard. The crank-shaft was completely broken down + the timing was thrown out. After a long trial to get the thing to go, I elected to abandon the car + all the luggage, leaving the Abyssinian in charge. We estimated, that it could not be more than a mile or thereabouts to Kapsabet. Ali + I started to walk. It was inky-dark, raining, + it was difficult even to stand on the ‘road’ + far more difficult to walk along it, with the help of a very
dim electric torch which barely sufficed to show what was road + what wasn’t. We often got off the road, in fact, + into deep mud ditches. Every time I skidded, + that was every other step, it wrenched my torn muscle + gave me Hades. Ali with his bare feet got on much better + did not slip about so much. The road ran through very dense forest – incidentally teeming with leopards + containing some buffalos, so that the rather frequent gleam of eyes in the dark made one wonder what the next move in the game would be + a snort near the road made one wish to hurry a bit. The lightning served no useful purpose. The walk seemed interminable + after 2 hours of struggling along I really thought that we must be on the wrong track. After another 1/4 hour, however, we saw a light in the distance + made for it; it was a little off the road. We blundered upon a building of some sort + hailed it + a response came from a couple of yards away, when I recognized that an Askari was challenging us with a rifle trained full onto me. I was too tired to argue + told Ali to ask if anyone could show us where the D.C.’s house was. Another Askari was found + he took us to the house, which, as it was getting on for midnight, was
all shut up, everyone being in bed. What with the dogs on the verandah barking furiously at us + our own S.O.S. signals, we eventually roused the D.C. (C. Tomkinson) who came out to see what the disturbance was. With profuse apologies I explained who I was + why I was arriving smothered in mud + without a stick of luggage. He was most nice about it + took me in, gave me a room + some food [I hadn’t had a morsel of any kind since 8 a.m. breakfast]. I was pretty tired, though the walk had not been more than 5 miles, + was very glad to turn in in borrowed pyjamas.
Wednesday 8th A transport-lorry had been sent at dawn to find + tow in the car, in which the Abyssinian had slept, + my luggage arrived as I was getting up + trying to make the best of my muddy clothes + no toilet appliances. The car was an awful sight, smothered in thick mud all over + was a popular sight in Kapsabet for two days – until it was towed away to undergo repair in Eldoret (30 miles away). I received a very cordial welcome from Mrs. Tomkinson, whom I had not seen overnight. After breakfast I went to the D.C.’s office + saw a number of Nandi men + women. I bought a large wooden cylinder
[---FACING PAGE: Five photographs, four of them labelled: “M.H. Juma – Abyssinian car-driver.”; “Juma’s car after the breakdown”; “Ali & Juma”; “The car being towed off to Eldoret.”---]
which one man was wearing in his ear-lobe, after photographing the wearer (50 cents), + also a locally-made iron armlet which took a long time to remove from the man’s upper arm. One Nandi man was wearing a head-dress of lion’s mane, a very fine thick + long mane. I photod two Nandi women, a boy + some native humped cattle. A Nandi murderer (rather half-witted) was being examined by the D.C. with his brother and “the woman in the case”. The two men were of rather peculiar type facially.
A thunderstorm broke in the afternoon + I spent the time at the D.C.s office looking at the very variable Nandi types; some very Hamitic in features. Some had their hair rolled into narrow ringlets artistically arranged. Tomkinson showed me a huge ear-pendant of soap-stone, weighing 2 lbs 6oz., which he had taken from a Nandi man’s ear! He gave me another not so heavy, but more definitely shaped.
After tea I went round the Tomkinson’s garden with them. There were tracks of Duikers on the rose-beds + the roses had been nibbled by these tiny antelopes. Later we went to the Bungay’s house (Mr. Bungay being instructor in industrial arts). He showed us his brick-kiln, or clamp, in which 14,000 home-made bricks were being baked with wood furnaces. Cold night.
[Inserted into the pages of the diary is a sketch of a sitting man, unlabelled, on British India Steam Navigation Company stationery.]
[---FACING PAGE: Seven sketches, labelled: “Nandi murderer. KAPSABET.”; “Nandi [male] ear-pendant of tin or spelter. KAPSABET.”; “Nandi man’s distended ear-lobe hitched over the ear, when off-duty.”; “Nandi youth with cicatrized marks on forehead & cheeks. The marks showing whiteish on the dark skin. KAPSABET.” With “bead-work fillet” labelled within this sketch; “Nandi man wearing a large roll of foolscap paper in his ear-lobe, in addition to his ordinary metal ear-pendant. KAPSABET.”; “NANDI ear-lobe pendants” with additional labels of “very fine copper wire” and “-lead”.---]
Thursday 9th In the morning I photod some hooded girls who were undergoing the initiation ceremonies. Their heads were completely covered with goat-skin hoods with eye-holes, just like the girl I had seen at Lumbwa. I also photo’d some Nandi women, etc. I paid off the Abyssinian, giving him £22-16-0 at 60 for a mileage of 320 miles (at 80 cents per mile) and 320 at 60 cents p.m., = 448 shillings = £22-8-0 + added 8/- as a tip.
I went with the Tomkinsons to see some Nandi huts. They are circular with very low wattle-+-daub wall, grass-thatch reaching to very near the ground (c.2ft). Entrance extremely low necessitating an ‘all-fours’ entry, with a rolling slab of wood as a door. Inside is a platform on which the males sleep; women being on the floor. At the back is an entrance for the goats, which occupy nearly half the hut + are said to be beneficial as they trample on the jiggers. Bee-barrels hung on the trees around [sketch], split for hollowing out, instead of being hollowed out of the solid. Some hooded Nandi girls were on the road + with great difficulty Mrs. Tomkinson persuaded them to lift their hoods for an instant + show their faces, which were hideously smeared with yellowish-white earth in a rough pattern. Their arms + bodies were also smeared over. They were very shy + anxious lest a native man might see them exposing their faces, as that could have led to serious trouble.
[Inserted into the pages of the diary is a photograph from Felix Dryk “Neger Eros”, labelled: “Fig. 67. Vier Nandimädchen nach der Bescheidung.”]
[---FACING PAGE: Photographs, labelled: “NANDI warrior wearing head-dress of lion’s mane, with spear, sword + club, Kapsabet.”; “Hooded NANDI girls who have not completed the initiation rites. Kapsabet, 9 Aug. Wearing the soiyuet hood + the long nyorkit garment, carrying the motolik sticks.”; “Girl with difficulty persuaded to raise her hood.”; “NANDI women with elaborate brass ornaments, Kapsabet.”---]
There is a lot of malaria among the natives of the district + I saw some bad cases among the women + children. Dr. + Mrs. McFiggans arrived from Kakamega during lunch to stay the night. I tried to go for a walk in the afternoon, but the usual thunderstorm broke + sent me back. I went into the Indian store, to get out of the heavy rain, + sat talking to the Indian storekeepers + watching the crowd of natives in the store. I bought a few native ornaments for 7/-. I photo’d a girl who was passing along the road who had just completed her initiation + cast off the hood. She was wearing a cattle-bell in the small of her back which tinkled as the walked along. After tea we all went to visit a swampy lake, motoring down into the valley + then walking over some swamps to the more open water. It was not too easy with a game leg, but Tomkinson, McFiggans + I reached the lake. On the open water there were a few ducks, some little Grebes, and a Darter (Anhinga) + on trees or flying around were many Hagedash Ibises + Egrets. Also Pied Wagtails, of larger size than ours + striking in plumage, were abundant. Nearby were 3 Kavirondo Cranes. The ladies who had gone back to the car had seen a lot of monkeys.
[---FACING PAGE: Five photographs, labelled: “NANDI girl who had just completed the initiation rites. Kapsabet, 9 Aug. (Wearing a married woman’s dress + the nariet head-ornament)”; “The same girl (showing cattle-bell worn at back.”; “NANDI women, near Kapsabet, 9 Aug.”; “NANDI youth wearing large wooden cylinder in left ear-lobe, Kapsabet. (The ear-ornament is now in the Pitt Rivers Museum).”---]
Friday 10th. While I was shaving in the morning Tomkinson came in + reported Ground Hornbills near the house, so I hastily dressed + went out with him. We soon located the birds, one of which continually emitted a low hoo-hoo-hoo [superscript] hoo-hoo-hoo [subscript] sound on two notes. They were a pair of Bucorvus Cafer hornbills, as large as turkeys, feeding in the grass on grasshoppers etc. They were pretty tame, being protected on account of a snake-eating reputation, + I got very close to them. I could see their bristly eye-lashes distinctly with the naked eye. Plumage all black except for the white primaries, which do not show unless the wing is expanded. Bright red bag-like wattle on throat + red naked skin round the eye, which is large + heavy-lidded with coarse bristle-like eye-lashes. One had a patch of slatey-blue on the naked skin of the throat. Insects etc were tossed down the throat, the head being jerked upwards. One of them flew into a tree+ preened its feathers as we passed underneath. This pair sometimes comes + feeds with a Muscovy drake quite close to the house.
Arrangements had been made with an Indian to drive me in his lorry to Eldoret (30 miles) for 20/-. The lorry was loaded up with my things at 11. Just before starting off I photo’d two Kamasia men who had come in. Their hair was arranged in tightly-rolled ringlets gathered at the back into a wrapped
[Inserted into the pages of the diary is a photograph of “The Ground Hornbill” “From the Fardens of the Zoological Society of London, Regent’s Park, N.W.”.]
[---FACING PAGE: Coloured sketch, labelled: “Ground Hornbills (Bucorvus cafer)”; and two photographs, labelled: “NANDI humped cattle, Kapsabet.”; “Bullock-cart, Kapsabet.”---]
pigtail, + they were covered all over with red-ochre + oil. I much regretted leaving the Tomkinsons, who had been charming hosts + most anxious for me to see as much as possible. Mrs. T. is French + her home is near Calais. I started in the lorry soon after 11 am. Road at first through very beautiful forest after crossing the small river. Later it ran over open grass plains, + cattle grazing grounds, with fine views. The road-surface was very fair in parts but abominable in others, with ruts 12-15 inches deep + an exceedingly rough-+-tumble surface. White-winged Spreuces and larks (of large size) were abundant, + large swifts (or swallows), Bronze-winged + other doves very common, as also were wagtails, Glossy Starlings + Slender-billed rooks*. A female oribi crossed the road in front of the car. Arrived at Eldoret, on the Uasin-Gishu Plateau, before 1 pm. + went to the office of the chief Commissioner (G.H. Osborne). I found him there + he took me to his house to stay. Mrs. Osborne + two small daughters were there. They have a very pretty garden full of roses etc in bloom. After lunch I walked around Eldoret, which is a developing but unattractive town. After tea I arranged for a car to take me next day to Kamorin + Tembach. Mr. Beresford (late of Hertford Coll.) came round for a chat.
[---FACING PAGE: Two photographs, labelled: “Kamasia men, who came in to Kapsabet, 10 Aug.”; and separate label: “*Slender-billed Crow, Rhinocorax affinis, at the Nandi Plateau.”---]
Saturday 11th A box-bodied 4-cylinder Buick car with English driver came for me at 9 a.m. + we drove to the D.C.’s office to pick up a native interpreter. The road, mostly over grass-plains was in an awful state after heavy rain + I was terribly jolted + shaken about. Great pits in the road, dug by ant-bears, were frequent. We saw no game, though oribi, steinbok, giraffes + ostriches are fairly common. Many bronze-winged doves, Ring-doves, Whydah-birds, large + small larks + glossy starlings were seen, also some eagles. Two Knob-billed Geese flew over to a swampy patch. We go to Kamorin (about 22 miles from Eldoret), where a few natives are camped with cattle. The D.C.’s former residence had been taken down + only foundations remained. Kamorin is on the edge of the very bold escarpment + from it a very magnificent view is seen. First there is a sheer drop down to the plateau-ledge upon which Tembach lies; this is largely forested though partly cultivated, + holds elephants, buffalo + other game. Beyond this is another tremendous drop to the bottom of the Kerio Valley, bounded by the Elgeyo escarpment. The top of Kamorin is 7800 ft + the Valley bottom about 3500 ft. over sea level. In the middle of the valley Lake Kamnarok could be clearly seen – a shallow lake,
but holding hippos+ crocodiles. In spite of clouds passing along the valley, the view was very extensive both N. + S. the valley being largely covered with sparse forest + thin bush. Beyond it rise the Kamasia Hills, behind which lie lakes Baringo + Hannington (not visible because of the intervening hills). Rhinos, elephants, giraffes + buffaloes frequent the valley. The elephants are of a dwarf breed, but sometimes elephants from Turkana migrate there. Some baboons (Papio anubis) were about the rocks just below us. Eagles, vultures (black + white Egyptian vultures) + Red-tailed Buzzards + numerous swifts were flying around. I sat for a long time gloating over the view. We started back at 11.30 + reached Eldoret at 12.30 pm. A thunderstorm breaking over us just before reaching the town. The rain turned to hail for a time. I paid £2 for the trip to Kamorin. It rained most of the afternoon but I had a walk with Osborne after tea, along the Kitale road. Elgon was not visible owing to mist + rain. I saw several red-billed tick-birds attending a cow.
Sunday 12th. Rained hard most of the day. Wrote home + other letters. In late afternoon the Osbornes + I motored out along the
Kitale road to see if we could get a sight of Mt. Elgon, but Elgon was indulging in a private thunderstorm + the base alone was visible. On getting back I packed up my things + Osborne ran me to the station to catch the 11.8 p.m. train for Nakuru. It was raining hard + the train was reported late, so Osborne went home. I had the giddy treat of walking up + down the small + very unattractive railway station till 1.45 a.m, when the train from Tororo at last came in, having been delayed 2 3/4 hours by bad wood-fuel. Very cold night on the plateau.
Monday 13th. Was up early as the train was due at Nakuru at 6.22a.m. + I did not know if any time had been made up since Eldoret. It hadn’t. Scenery very fine, largely forest with bamboos at an elevation of 8000-9000 ft. In parts the country was open grass-land, where wydah-birds abounded. Spreuces + ‘Meadow-larks’ also seen. Had breakfast at Maji Mazuri (7647 ft). The cold was considerable at Equator station (8706 ft) + at Timboroa (9000 ft), the two stations before Maji Mazuri. After Equator the line for a long way runs in spirals, descending rapidly towards Nakuru (6071 ft), + is a veritable ‘scenic railway’
[---FACING PAGE: clipping from “Country Life”, Aug. 10th, 1935, showing “A PINK CLOUD OF FLAMINGOS ON LAKE NAKURU”.---]
when Lake Nakuru the pink-edge of the lake was distinctly visible from far away, though the flamingoes causing it were not recognizable as such. Arrived at Nakuru Station at 11.30 am (more than 5 hours late). Ali got boys to carry my things to the Club, where I found that Allsopp had given me up, having sent boys to meet the train at 6.22. After lunch with some of the members, including Izard, Mr. + Miss Barclay (who farm at Menengai) etc, I went for a stroll round the little town + outskirts. The Principal Commissioner (Crewe Reid) came round to see me at tea-time + we had a talk. At 5 Allsopp motored me down to the lake (c. 3 1/2 miles) to see the flamingoes. They were there in scores of thousands, in large + small groups nearly all round the lake, some of the aggregations comprised some thousands. They stood in the shallow water round the lake-edge, feeding in the mud. Great numbers were flying about. Most of them were bright rosy pink + black, but there were also a lot of duller, grayish flamingoes, probably young birds, which kept together for the most part. It was a wonderful sight of massed birds + bright colour. I got pretty close to the birds + tried photographing them. Besides the flamingoes I saw many dark-coloured ducks (African
[---FACING PAGE: Four photographs, labelled: “Flamingoes on Lake Nakuru”; “do.”; “do,, + hippopotamus tracks”; “do.”; and sketches of flamingoes, labelled: “Phoenicopterus minor, L. NAKURU.”---]
Pochard, Nyroca erythrophthalma) + Yellow-billed Duck (Anas undulata), + other unidentified ducks; Several large herons + Black-winged Stilts (with white heads, necks + underparts, red legs, + black back + wings); several curlews, many spur-winged Plovers (? Vanellus spinosus, small sandpipers (like dunlins). A dark buzzard was eating a dead flamingo. We went some way along the caked mud surface (rather treacherous) of the dry bed of the shrunk lake. Hippopotamus tracks were everywhere, leading from the lake to the road + far beyond. The lake is brackish + soda deposits form around it especially at the S. end, where clouds of fine soda dust are raised by winds. Behind Nakuru the Menengai volcano forms a background.
Tuesday 14th. In the morning I went to Hughes’ Garage for a car to run me to the top of Menengai. Hughes himself drove me in one of the new Ford cards, a very nice car. The run to the top (c. 4 miles) was chiefly over a track which became all but obliterated by the grass which was 4-5 feet high. I did not keep the car, but when I offered to pay the fare, Hughes refused to take it, as he had found in the course of conversation that I knew the G.B. Grundys in Oxford, whose son, Leslie Grundy, was a friend of his.
[---FACING PAGE: Sketch of a bird, labelled: “Black-winged Stilt, Himantopus melanopterus.” And with added note: “Also, probably the Long-toed Lapwing (Vanellus crassirostris)”; and a photograph labelled “Semi-dry shore of the shrunken Lake Nakuru.”---]
I spent a long time on the crater-rim of Menengai, looking down into the enormous crater, the interior of which is densely forested + is said to contain much game. The sight was splendid. In one direction one looks across the Rift Valley to the Kikuyu Escarpment, + in another direction over Lake Nakuru to Elmenteita etc. In Menengai I saw a great many flocks of Whydah birds, stone-chats, swifts, quails (probably Smith’s Hemipode, locally called ‘Button-quail’, Turnix lepurana); buff-headed dull-green bee-eaters. Down in the Crater were Collared Ravens, an eagle, a vulture etc. I walked down the mountain back to Nakuru disturbing many huge locusts in the long grass, but luckily no snakes. I had lunch at the Club with Izard + afterwards walked by myself down to the lake + watched the vast concourse of flamingoes. In addition to the birds seen yesterday there were some gulls (? L. cirrhocephalus), several Haliaetus rocifer eagles, some Kavirondo Cranes, many Dunlins + stints (?). At least 6 Hippopotamuses were in the water, yawning at intervals, + I watched them for some time. A bleached buffalo’s skull lay upon the shore. On the way back I saw a grey monkey (greeny-grey with black face) quite close, but it bolted off. There were many Spreuces + large larks along the road.
At tea with Izard I met Mr. + Mrs. Guthrie, who have a farm some miles away. Afterwards I motored with Izard to Major Macdonald’s farm, a few miles out along the Elmenteita road. We found the Major + Mrs. Macdonald, 2 daughters, the Major’s father + brother + some others. The Major motored us over the grass to the top of a low hill, where remains of stone-walling showed ancient habitations. There were many mancala boards cut in the smooth exposed rock surfaces, with double rows of shallow pits up to twenty or more. A well-graded road of ancient date could be clearly distinguished leading up the hill-side. We went on to the site excavated by Leakey situated at the end of a low knoll, where is an over-hanging rock in the recesses in which were found stone mortars etc. Some skeletons were found buried below. We nearly trod on a viperine snake (? Puff adder) which escaped. Scattered around are several large depressions with stone walling, resembling the ‘serikwa’ hut + boma sites on Kamorin + at Soy. When we got back to the house I was asked to stay to dinner, which I gladly did, Izard going back to Nakuru. Very delightful Scotch household + a very united family. Had quite a jolly evening + was motored back to the Club by Major Macdonald.
Wednesday 15th. In the morning a [sic] hired a taxi + motored out to Elmenteita and on to Leakey’s archaeological camp some miles beyond. On the way out we saw many Thomson’s Gazelles, some Kongoni (hartebeestes), a herd of zebras, an oribi, secretary birds, vultures, wheatears, large larks, Spreuces, Red-tailed Buzzards, etc. The game animals were mostly on Lord Delamere’s farm. On reaching the Leakey’s camp, I was lucky enough to find Leakey’s brother there + he took me to see the first excavation site a rock-shelter by a small stream, where several skeletons were dug out of rock recesses. Rather difficult of access to me as I was still very lame. Crossing the stream on boulders was rather trying + painful. We next motored to Gambles farm + walked on to a couple of shallow caves in a hill side a mile or two beyond the farm, picking up quantities of worked obsidian (including a very small typical ‘lunate’ of Tardenoisian type) on the way. Of the twin caves only the right-hand one contained relics + skeletons. The skeletons (very friable) had been reburied for future excavation, as the work could not be completed in the previous year. We returned to the camp + lunched off Thomson’s Gazelle steaks + potatoes (excellent). I then motored back to Elmenteita station
[---FACING PAGE: Photograph, labelled: “Cave near Gamble’s farm, Elmenteita, excavated by Leakey. Native foreman in mouth of recess.”---]
where I picked up Mrs. Gamble to give her a lift into Nakuru, her own car having broken down. I deposited her at the Government School. When I got back to the Club I found Leslie Grundy waiting for me + he whisked me off in his transport lorry to Njoro (c.8 miles) where I saw over his engineering works, which are quite interesting. Then went to his house where were Mrs. Grundy + two small children. After tea we drove around the company’s property + Lord Egerton’s estate, which is being developed. Back to the house for dinner with the Grundys, after which Grundy ran me back to Nakuru in his car. Had a chat with Allsopp in his little hut in the Club grounds – + so to bed.
Thursday 16th. Up at 6 a.m. + packed hurriedly. Just before starting I got a wire from Juxon Barton asking me to stay with him in Nairobi. Allsopp motored me to the station – Ali + the luggage having gone on before – Caught the 7.15 am train for Nairobi. Very few people travelling. The country round Elmenteita + Eburru was teeming with game in the early morning, + I saw hundreds of zebras, Kongoni + Thomson’s Gazelles + many ostriches, a few Impala + other buck. Also many Kavirondo Cranes, + Red-tailed Buzzards. Near Gilgil (6581 ft) I saw a white stork [Great numbers appeared during
[---FACING PAGE: Label: “I paid £6 for the taxi to Leakeys Camp – the run having been about 70 miles in all.”---]
a locust plague, and one which had been ringed in Holland, was taken near Nakuru]. Around Naivasha were many white egrets, Fish-eagles (Haliaetus), a grey-heron, Egyptian ? Vultures (both brown + black-+-white) + a falcon. Just beyond the very beautiful lake are huge sisal plantations admirably kept. After climbing the Escarpment, the train passed Uplands (7688 ft) + Limuru (7463) + dropped gradually down to Nairobi (5452) which was reached at 2.30 pm. I taxied to Barton’s house, + found Mrs. Barton much better, + Augusta with two fat new-laid puppies. I walked to the town + collected letters + weekly Timess from the Native Registration Depmt., sent a wire home, + went to the Museum to identify some birds; then back to Barton’s.
Friday 17th. Went to the town + drew £50 from the N.B.I., bought some photos, + arranged with Gethin for a car for the trip round Mt. Kenya. Had a walk down to the Athi Plains, and then went in a ricksha to Dr. van Someren + spent the afternoon with him + had a very interesting talk. He gave me several pamphlets dealing with birds etc.
Saturday 18th. Left the Bartons’ house in a car with Gethin (driving) Ali + Gethin’s boy, at 9 a.m. We filled up with petrol in
Nairobi and started from there at 9.30 a.m. for Nyeri. Road mostly good. We passed Thika and Fort Hall. Beautiful scenery especially among the foothills of Mt. Kenya. The mountain itself was covered with mist + not visible. Arrived at the P.C.’s (Mr. Lamb) house at 1.30 pm. Distance covered about 110 miles. After tea, Mr. + Mrs. Lamb + I motored to see a Kikuyu blacksmith at work in a tiny temporary hut. The fire was blown up with a pair of goatskin bellows of the bag-type [sketch] with clay fire-proof nozzle. The smith used an anvil of stone and a native-made hammer with iron head, [sketch] of this shape. I bought a bell from him. We also visited a Kikuyu village, where I bought a horn snuff-box with native-made chain.
The top of Kenya was clear for a short while during the evening + looked fine with its snow-capped rocky summit + glaciers.
Sunday 19th. Ali had fever, so I dosed him with quinine + left him behind at the Lambs’ house, + I went off in the car with Gethin + his boy to go to Meru (c.100 miles). Road good at first over undulating bush-country, which gradually merged into open grass-plains.
[---FACING PAGE: unlabelled sketch of a bell.---]
We passed several Ground Hornbills (Bucorvus caffer) feeding in the grass near the road. Very fine view over the Laikipia Plains, extending to a great distance away. Herds of zebras, Kongoni + Thomson’s Gazelles were passed, and a single steinbok. After passing Nanyuki we passed through an immense swarm of locusts; the ground was brown with them + there were myriads in the air. At one spot 8 or 9 greyish eagles (? Aquila rapax) were attending to the locusts on the ground. Later we passed some very fine wheat fields of great extent + looking extremely promising. Views towards N. + E. were magnificent over low plains to high mountains, extending towards the N.E. frontier. We lunched in the car, while watching a kite or buzzard flying off with a dead snake. Secretary-birds were quite numerous, mostly in pairs. The road deteriorated badly + often it was necessary to leave the road + make a detour, as the road ruts were too deep + the hummock between them too high for the car to clear. Later on we reached a densely forested area + passed through it. In this part elephant spoor + droppings were in great abundance along the road. [Elephants, rhinos + leopards are plentiful around here, the forest holding a big herd of elephants]. We reached Meru at 3.30 pm. + went to the D.C.’s (J.M. Mostyn Silvester) house,
where I was cordially received by the D.C. + Mrs. Silvester. From the house there is one of the finest views over the plains + mountains that I have ever seen. After tea Mr. + Mrs. Silvester, their small daughter, ‘Pat’, + I motored along the Embu road, which runs in + out of small valleys, with hair-pin turns. We came back along another road through native shambas (Millet, maize, manioc, banana etc), visiting some Meru villages, the huts built inside bomas of solid construction. The dwelling-huts have a platform in them on which stand huge circular grain- [sketch] stores of wicker + daub, perhaps 4'6" to 5" in diameter. Bows + arrows were stuck in the rafters. Around the huts were granaries on piles. I photo’d a group of Meru natives, + some of the granaries, + also some women. Meru women carry loads from the chest + not from the head like the Kikuyu women.
The P.C.. (Helmstead) came in before dinner for a talk.
Monday 20 Up at 7 a.m for 7.30 breakfast. Silvester + I motored to Isiola down on the plains (c.25 miles from Meru). The road was at first through the forest + fresh elephant-tracks + droppings were very abundant all along this part of the road, but we did not come across any elephants. Then the country
[---FACING PAGE: Four photographs, labelled: “Meru youths.”; “Meru woman & men.”; “Meru granary.”.---]
became of the open thorn-bush type with a few Kopjes. We passed some herd of Grant’s Zebras, Grant’s and Thomson’s Gazelles, some Steinbuck, some Northern Kori Bustards (Choriotis Kori struthiunculus), many small hornbills of greyish colour, multitudes of pigeons + doves, wheatears, stonechats, Francolins (? Francolinus sephaena grantio), Fiscal Shrikes, Glossy Starlings with red abdomens, Sociable Plovers, Vultures, a large nighjar [sic] etc. I also spotted 3 Patas monkeys (Erythrocebus patas) on the ground below a small Kopje. These are only rarely met with. A large jackal (Canis mesomelas) was seen. On reaching Isiola, after calling at the Transport Depot, we went on a few miles to Mr. Rattray’s boma, where we were shown his Grevy’s Zebras, which have been trained to harness. Rattray also showed us two tame young Oryx, a cheetah + a small long-eared fox. He gave me a skin of the Vulturine Guinea-fowl (Acryllium vulturinum) of which many skins hung on his verandah. We looked for giraffes, which are plentiful around Rattray’s place, but could not see any. Rattray catches animals alive for export to Zoos etc. + lives by himself on the very hot, dusty plains near Isiola, where game is plentiful. A very interesting man.
[---FACING PAGE: Photograph, labelled: “One of Rattray’s Grevy’s Zebras, broken to harness.”---]
On our way back we stopped in the open not far from Isiola, for a council of chiefs who were waiting to discuss a boundary question with the D.C. Many chiefs were gathered there + formed a most picturesque group very variously attired + armed with spears or bows. Some wore large round ‘busbies’ of black cocks’ feathers, some had head-gear of Colobus monkey skin. Several were coated from head to foot with bright red earth + oil. Game was scarcer on our way back, as it was getting very hot towards midday, but zebras, Grant’s Gazelles + Steinbuck were seen. We got back in time for lunch, after a 58 mile run.
After lunch I went to see a huge mass of magical + ceremonial apparatus which had been confiscated from Meru witch-doctors + was piled up at the D.C’s office. I brought away some specimens connected with the initiation ceremonies.
We all went to tea with Mrs. Eyres (wife of Eyres the well-known hunter, who was then away with the Milwawkie Museum party in S. Kavirondo). We then went on to the Sawmills on the edge of the forest, where Mr. + Mrs. Young showed us round the saw-mills + Young took Silvester + me into the forest to see some varieties of trees.
[---FACING PAGE: Two sketches, labelled: “Meru chief wearing Colobus head-dress.”; “Busby of cocks’ feathers”.---]
He showed us some “Hollow-trees”, with network like bark which can be stripped off in layers (like W. Indian lace-bark). Elephants prod the trees with their tusks, to get the saccharine juice + often knock over quite large trees, whose trunks are completely hollow throughout. There were plenty of marks of elephants’ work on these trees. We also saw ‘Stink-wood’ trees, the odour of whose sap is extremely offensive. The forest here is very fine, with splendid trees, llianas + strangling parasitic fig-trees, many of the timber-trees of great height. Elephants have been visiting the Sawmills most nights of late + have devastated the shambas. Their fresh spoor was visible all round, + the shambas were a sorry sight. A leopard had just been shot close to the house + was being skinned. We next motored to the old polo-ground to look for elephants but they did not appear. We passed the burnt remains of one which had been shot some time before + had had to be cremated on account of the stench. Then we went down to a rush-edged pool, on which were some black duck (? Anas sparsa, or possibly Pochard, Nyroca erythrophthalma), Moorhens with young, Dabchicks, Water-rails, little Egrets, golden orioles + a coucal (Centropus). Altogether
[---FACING PAGE: Sketch, labelled: “Armlet of buffalo-horn, with long spurs wound with brass wire, worn by a MERU man (Now in the Pitt Rivers Museum)”.---]
a very interesting day. In the early morning Mt. Kenya had been quite clear to the summit, the mountain spreads out at its base, covering an enormous area, but the snow-covered summit is abrupt + rocky, a series of jagged peaks.
Tuesday, 21st. Up at 5.45 a.m. Still pitch dark. Finished packing + had breakfast in my room. Silvester + Mrs. S. saw me start in the car at 6.30 am. just as the sun was rising. Lovely morning. Very sorry to leave Meru + my exceedingly kind host + hostess. Going through the forest belt we kept a very sharp look-out for elephants on the road. Their droppings were still steaming, so that some had only just passed along, + we expected to run into them at every turn. But, no luck, + we did not sight them. Nor were any rhinos visible. In the open country towards Nanyuki we passed many herds of zebras (some less than 75 yards from the road), we also saw some Bushbuck (Tragelaphus seriptus), Steinbuck (Rhaphiceros campestris), Thomson’s Gazelles, Kongoni (Jackson’s Hartebeeste, Bubalis lelwel jacksoni) + a small herd of Eland (Taurotragus oryx pattersonianus) Also two saddle-back Jackals (Canis mesomelas).
There were also several Ground Hornbills, many Secretary birds, vultures + Red-tailed Buzzards (Angur Buzzards), Spur-fowl (Francolins) + a Lesser Bustard (Black-bellied Florican, Lissotis melanogaster). On the high ground grass-plains we again rain into the locust swarm which had moved rather nearer towards the wheat-fields. Some jackals (Canis mesomelas) were snapping at the locusts + apparently eating them. Reached Nanyuki at 9.45 a.m. Kenya was perfectly clear to the snow-capped top, but became obscured later. We reached Nyeri at 11.15 am. just in time to catch Mr. + Mrs. Lamb before they started off for Meru. Mrs. Lamb had very kindly had lunch prepared for Gethin + me + Judge _____ [left blank] who was staying in the house. The Lambs went off in their car leaving us in possession. At 12.30 we started off again in the car for Nairobi. Ali had recovered + I took him along. The road was very dusty but otherwise passable (good, for a Kenya road!). We stopped at the “Blue Posts” at Thika for tea, + I had a look at the Chania Falls of the Thika R., which are quite pretty + close to the hotel. We arrived at Barton’s house, Nairobi, at 5.30 pm, having driven 202 miles during the day. It was much warmer in Nairobi than
when I had started off a few days before. Amongst other things seen along the road were a dead ratel (Mellivora ratel) on the road near Thika, several Mongooses of small size, some squirrels, Spreuces, Fiscal Shrikes, Wydah birds, some Black shouldered Kites (Elanus caerulens, a very pale grey).
Wednesday 22nd. Most the day spent in packing curios etc. Went into the town + wired to Hewlett at Voi to stay I was coming to stay with him. Got a letter from the Nairobi Club, saying that I had been elected an honorary member for duration of my stay there. The letter had been sent to Entebbe, thence to Mombasa + so to Nairobi, + thus reached me the day before I finally left Nairobi!. Got some Hessian + packing-needle for doing up curios. In afternoon I went to the Club + wrote to Dr. Barrett (of the Milwawkie Expedition) + to Mrs. Silvester (Meru) + Mrs. Lamb (Nyeri).
Thursday 23rd. Finished packing + had a walk down to the Plains + saw lots of Wildebeestes + zebras. L.S.B. Leakey + his wife came to see me at Barton’s house, + I had a talk about the archaeological finds. At 2.30 pm I walked down to the town, + arranged with Smith MacKenzie + Co.
to undertake transport of ethnological material from Meru to Oxford, + to write to Mr. Lamb about it. I then took a ricksha to the station. Was given a free ticket for self + boy to Mombasa. Had a coupé reserved for me. Train started at 4 pm. While the light lasted I saw quantities of game on both sides of the line, especially in the Game Reserve. Many large herds of Kongoni, Thomson’s Gazelles, Wildebeestes, Impala, Waterbuck (1), Reedbuck, Eland, zebras + ostriches, some in large numbers, Kori Bustards, Black-bellied Floricans, Red-tailed Buzzards etc. A very jolty + shaky journey over badly-laid line. Also very dusty.
Friday 24th Arrived at Voi at 3.15 a.m. Pitch dark, + a job to find all my luggage. Hewlett met me + after I had left some of my things in the cloak-room, he motored me to his house. I got to bed soon after 4 a.m. After breakfast with Hewlett + Eyre, I went down to the Sisal works with them + looked round at the decorticating + baling machinery, drying-grounds etc. + the various stages of preparing the fibre. Then I went with Eyre in a tiny trolley pushed in front of the little motor which takes the trucks up the plantations
[---FACING PAGE: Labels: “Embukasi, 5377 ft. / Athi River, 4949 “ / Stony Athi 4290 “ / Kapiti Plains, 5352 “ / Magadi Junct., 5426 “ / Ulu 5251 “ / Voi 1533 ft.”.---]
to load up the cut sisal leaves. Saw the sisal growing + in all stages. Three modes of reproduction (1) by suckers (2) by bulbels on the ‘pole’ (3) by seed. Got back for lunch. I slept for an hour after lunch, having had practically no sleep during the night. After tea I went for a walk by myself + went up a rock-kopje where there are many ‘Rock-rabbits’ (Hyrax). I could watch these on a Kopje just at the back of the house when I was getting up in the morning. Fine view from the Kopje. Saw some Rollers, Sun-birds Bulbuls etc. Also a grey monkey close to the house. Great numbers of Thick-billed collared Ravens (Corvultur) act as scavengers around Voi, + are protected by law on hygienic grounds. Large Buzzards or Eagles are also common. Around Voi leopards + lions are common. The dried up state of the country had driven away the hyaenas which usually are numerous. Mambas, Puff-adder + ‘Spitting Cobras’ (Ruighals) are plentiful + necessitate vigilance.
Saturday 25th. I went down to the Sisal-works before breakfast, running myself down the rails on the little trolly, which actually kept the rails + did not jump the points. Quite good fun. I went back with Hewlett for breakfast + afterwards went
[---FACING PAGE: Five photographs, labelled: “Feeding the decorticator with sisal leaves.”; “Sisal-fibre & waste from the decorticator.”; “Drying the sisal fibre.”; “Compressing sisal-fibre + wiring the bale.”---]
back to the works + took some photos, + then walked down to the Voi River, whose bed was dry, though water was reached about 18 inches below the bed. Saw some Grey Hornbills (? Lophoceros), Sun-birds, small bee-eaters, + many Collared Ravens (Corvultur). Was motored back to the house by Dr. _____ [left blank], + had an anthropological talk with him. He lives on a hill (one of the Teita Hills) facing Voi, about 35 miles away. His house just visible from Hewlett’s. Very hot morning. Sent a wire to Watkins. In the late afternoon I motored with Eyre along a bush-road, to see what game was about. We saw several Dik-dik (Nesotragus moschatus) antelopes + Eyre shot one for the pot, but nothing else was seen + it got dark very soon. Two Germans, interested in sisal, came to dine + did not leave till nearly midnight.
Sunday, 26th. Got up at 5.30 a.m. to motor with Eyre over the Serengati Plains. We were to have started at 6, but Eyre did not turn up till 6.45. After breakfast we got off at about 7.15. The road was a very lively one + we jolted along chiefly through bush-country, fairly dense in places, with some areas of dense forest where there is water. We also passed some extensive swamps, whose chief
product is pythons. The road followed the Moshi line, which we crossed repeatedly. We stopped for a few minutes at Mwatate, where we had beer at the little station. The plains undulate with ridges which are apparently concentric with Mt. Kilimanjaro. From one ridge there was a view of Kilimanjaro whose top was clear for a short while. The snow-capped summit was soon covered with cloud again. We passed over the battlefield of the Serengati Plains + saw many remains of British + German Earthworks, gun-emplacements etc. Passed the site of a War-cemetery (now moved to Taveita. I photo’d the great baobab tree covered with initials cut in the bark during the war. A patch of sisal, specially planted, marks the site of the cemetery. We went on to a hill about 62 miles from Voi and 15 from Taveita, which was held by the Germans. A frontal attack failed disastrously. The Teita Hills near Voi showed up clearly, very steep + rugged. Far to the S.E, the Usambara Mountains showed splendidly + we could see Lake Jipe in the distance. On the run out we had seen Waterbuck + Imapala in the sisal
[---FACING PAGE: Photograph of a baobab tree, unlabelled.---]
plantations at Voi, + on the Serengati Plains many Dik-dik and Waller’s Gazelles (Gerenuk), Kongoni, some ostriches very close to the road, numerous Floricans (probably white-bellied Floricans, Eupodotis canicollis canicollis, Bateleur Eagles, large Harriers, Vultures, Fiscal-shrikes, Grey hornbills, Great Plantain-eaters, Drongos, wire-tailed Swallows, Sun-birds, Collared Ravens etc etc. On the return journey we stopped for lunch, + after going about 15 miles towards Voi, we met Hewlett with his car, to which I transferred. He had been following up some Grant’s Gazelles. With him we saw some Duiker, an Oryx, which we stalked + watched for some time, some Kongoni, a fine Wart-hog (Phacochaerus delamerei) which passed very close to me; Also some Spur-fowl (Francolins), ‘Partridges’, sand-grouse (probably Pterocles Eremialector decoratus). + doves. Several Mongooses (large + small, squirrels were seen during the day + I saw one dark monkey with long tail in the forest belt. Along the road one saw innumerable scrafflings made by rhinoceroses and plenty of fresh droppings. Rhino, elephants, giraffes, lions + leopards, also cheetahs, hyaenas + Civet cats + buffaloes are all
[---FACING PAGE: Sketch, labelled: “Waller’s Gazelle (Gerenuk), Serengeti Plains, 26 Aug.”; and photographs, labelled: “Eyre / Hewlett / Serengeti Plains, Aug. 26”.---]
plentiful in the district where there are extensive areas of thorn-bush + forest. Ticks are a scourge in the grass, but, luckily, I escaped their attentions. During the day Hewlett + Eyre bagged 3 Floricans, 6 Guinea fowls, one or two Sand-grouse, some spur-fowl + a ‘partridge’. Shots at Gerenuk, Oryx, Grant’s Gazelle + Wart-hog were unsuccessful. It was quite dark for the last 25 miles of the way home + the jolting was accentuated. It was past 8 pm. when we reached Voi station, to pick up Mr. + Mrs. Bibby, who had motored from Mombasa. They came to stay the night with Hewlett. We all dined together + I did not turn in till midnight, though rather tied after 124 miles of motoring along an exceedingly rough road.
Monday 27 I was up again at 2 a.m. + dressed hurriedly so as to leave at 2.30 to catch the 3.16 a.m train to Mombasa. I roused Hewlett + we motored to the station. It was pitch dark, of course. I shared a compartment with Mr. Napier (of the P.W.D.), who had a bad touch of malaria + was much off colour. Hewlett had given me some Floricans + spur-fowls to take along to Watkins. I lay down till 6.30 am. for a bit of a rest,
breakfasted on the train + arrived at Mombasa at 8 a.m. Watkins met me + took me to his house. Mr. + Mrs. Logan + Mr. Roome (son of the famous missionary-traveller), who with his father had lately climbed Mt. Kilima-Njaro, to deposit a bible on the summit – were staying in the house, but there was a room for me, as Roome slept in his car. I bought some photos in the town + after tea went with Watkins + Mrs. Watkins round the Indian bazaars.
Tuesday, 28th In the morning I went with Watkins to Government House. Had an interview with the Governor (Sir E. Grigg), met Lady Grigg, the Game Warden (Ritchie, late of Magdalen, who took the Comparative Anat. degree at Oxford), and Mrs. Ritchie + others. I sat for some time in the Legislative Council listening to debates, with H.E. in the chair. In the afternoon, at about 2.15, I started with Roome in his safari-car for Kilife. We picked up Miss McKinnon Wood (palaeontologist) + took her along. The road skirts the coast north of Mombasa. We crossed in the ferry above Kilindini (a lighter with motor-boat alongside) + ran through beautiful coconut groves with banana shambas, mango trees and
Dan palms. We reached a wide creek where there was another ferry (pulled across with a rope). The [sic] on through stretches of long grass + forest alternately to Takaungu, where there is a causeway across the creek, which was reached at 4 pm. The tide was still up + the causeway submerged. We had two hours to wait + were entertained by the Mudir, a very courteous Arab, who entertained us with tea and very refreshing green coconuts. The view over the creek from the top of the office building is beautiful. An old Portuguese fort dominates the creek. A huge conical pile of coral rock had been erected for burning into lime. The interpreter’s description of this pile led to an amusing confusion, as we thought he was referring to some sacrificial ceremony in which a lamb was burned on the pile. It eventually dawned upon me that it was lime and not lamb which was burned, + that the pile was concerned with prosaic industry not with religious ceremony. At about 6 pm. the causeway, though not fully clear, was sufficiently exposed to warrant our crossing by it + we crossed in the car. The central deeper channel is bridged by two iron flanged girders
on which the wheels can run, or off which they can run if steering is not exceedingly careful. It rapidly got dark + when Kilife Creek was reached we found that the ferry was moored a good way from the shore. This meant more delay while a dug-out canoe was dispatched to the ferry to bring it in. It was a more primitive ferry than the others + was rowed by two men, who sang a lilting, dirge-like song all the way across. It was quite dark when we reached the other side + we had some difficulty in finding the way to the D.C.’s house at Kilife. The D.C. (G.M. Castle-Smith) was expecting us, though very much earlier, + he arranged for putting us up. Not having a spare room himself, he gave Roome at tent, dispatched Miss McKinnon Wood to put up with Mrs. Lowe (wife of the A.D.C.), + gave me a camp-bed on his verandah. After a late supper, he showed us some of his art work, wood-carving + metal-work, in which he is extremely expert. A beautifully executed wooden statuette of a Nyika Girl was particularly attractive. The others went off to bed + I talked with Castle-Smith till nearly midnight.
Wednesday 29th. After a very good night on the open verandah, I went out to look at the shambas which had recently been visited by elephants, much to the disadvantage of the bananas. One clear footprint of elephant was of remarkable size, 25"x20"; the ground was heavily trampled + bananas + pawpaws had been uprooted + thrown aside. At about 10 am. Castle-Smith, Mrs. Lowe, Miss McKinnon Wood + I started in Castle-Smith’s car for Malindi + to stop at Gedi on the way. Shortly before we reached the turning to the right which leads to Gedi, a very fine leopard lopped across the road just in front of the car, giving us an excellent view of it. We turned off to Gedi and, leaving the car at the forest edge, went into the jungle to examine the collection of ruined buildings which lie buried in jungle within a surrounding wall said to be about 6 miles long. The wall is traceable most of the way round. There is an inner surrounding wall also. The buildings, of dry masonry, cemented in places, show two periods of erection, as some of the cut + moulded stones of the earlier period are built into the walls of rough coral blocks erected at later date. There are large buildings + small, all of coral rock. Some walls are faced with a hard cement of lime,