Name ID 2456

See also

Ondaatje, Christopher Journey to the Source of the Nile
Page Number: 141
Extract Date: 1996

Beautiful country, but a very bad road

At sunrise (just before 7:00 a.m.), I realized that it was twelve days since I had arrived in Africa. We had travelled more than 2,100 kilometres since leaving Arusha, and had spent two nights in Bagamoyo and two nights in Zanzibar before starting our cross-country journey west to Lake Tanganyika.

Leaving camp at 8:30 a.m., we passed Usinde (Burton might have been a little north of here.), Ushokola, and Kaliva, a railway town. We did not seem to be running into any of the place names Burton mentioned, and I wondered whether we were still on the old caravan route.

Kaliva was a fair-sized town, and quite an old settlement. It seemed strange that it was not mentioned by Burton. We stopped and asked an elder in the village about some of Burton's names and he recognized some of them. Wilyankuru (in Burton's Region Four) was north of Urambo, where we had bought the wanzuki. The elder also knew of Usinge, possibly Burton's "Masenge."

The next town was Kasisi. The fields around it were more heavily cultivated than in other areas, and the land was cleared for almost a kilometre on either side of the road. Two-storey tobacco-drying kilns called bani dotted the land'scape. The villagers here recognized more names from the Burton itinerary: Sengatti (Burton's "Songati") and Sorora. An elder also recognized Usagozi and Uganza. All these names were on Burton's list of stations in the Fourth Region, so we took this as confirmation that we were where we thought we were, even though the elder told us that Usagozi was north of our route.

Soon we left this settled area and re-entered miombo. It was beautiful country, but a very bad road. At one point, we ran over a black-necked spitting cobra. At Uganza, all signs of former settlements had disappeared. We picked up a woodcutter of the Mha tribe, and he recognized more names from the Burton itinerary: Mukozimo, Usenye, Rukunda, Wanyika, Unyanguruwwe, Ugaga.

Extract ID: 5768