Lake Chaya

Name ID 2448

See also

Ondaatje, Christopher Journey to the Source of the Nile
Page Number: 130a
Extract Date: 1996

Looking for Lake Chaya

Fifty-five kilometres beyond Itigi, we turned off the dirt road to look for Lake Chaya, where I had calculated our route would again join Burton's. However, the lake was totally dry" just a dry, cracked mud pan. This was disappointing, as sight of a body of water in this semi-arid region would have been a welcome relief. We decided to console ourselves with lunch, but no sooner had we set up our picnic on the bonnets of the Land Rovers when a swarm of bees descended on us. No stings, but they crowded around the food, and particularly the water. I immediately covered myself with Muskol" which seemed to do the trick.

I was aware that Burton had stopped somewhere here at a place he called Jiwe, which can mean "lake." We must have been on the north-eastern edge of the lake. Burton probably approached it from the south.

After lunch, and less than twenty kilometres farther on, we reached Karagasi. At the sight of date palms, I knew this was the old caravan route, and I felt sure we were on the actual Burton-Speke route to Tabora. From time to time I would see topographical features that matched Burton's descriptions. And there were familiar place names once in a while, such as Tura. Burton specifically named Tura as the last station of his Third Region and the first station of his Fourth Region, which he called the region of hilly tableland.

Extract ID: 5757