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Taylob's Travels in Kurdistan. 21 

honesty of the African character, seem to have been displayed 
here to a greater degree than anywhere else during the journey, 
and eventually the Baron and his party were obliged to leave (after 
wasting a large amount of property in presents), without being 
able to effect the objects of the journey. The nearest they could 
get was about 15 miles from the summit, and an altitude of 4867 
feet : but they made numerous observations, sufficient to enable 
Mr. Thornton to sketch a tolerably accurate map of the group of 
mountains. The top of Kilima-ndjaro, from this side, appeared as 
a broad dome with a rugged, blunt peak on its north-west side of 
nearly the same height as the summit and sloping away gently for 
a long distance ; behind the eastern slope rose the very ragged 
peaked top of the east peak. The snow showed beautifully on all 
these summits. The principal top had a good thick, smooth, 
coating of snow, with patches and streaks lower down, lying in 
ravines. Mr. Thornton calculated the height to be 22,814 feet. 
The Jagga range of mountains on the southern slopes were covered 
with dense sombre forests ; their line of summits is somewhat 
regular and defined, but cut through by many deep ravines and 
narrow valleys. The Madjame side of the cone was very steep, 
and Mr. Thornton saw three snow-slips or avalanches gliding down 
the slope and creating clouds of snow-dust ; but he saw nothing 
like a glacier. The rocks observed on the lower hills were vesicular, 
semiporphyritic lavas and other lavas of a spongy nature, showing 
the volcanic nature of these elevations. 

The party left Madjame by stealth in the dead of the night of 
the 4th September, to escape being plundered by the chief, and, 
after a long detour to the south, arrived at Mombas on the 10th of 

III. — Travels in Kurdistan, toith Notices of the Sources of the 

Eastern and Western Tigris, and Ancient Ruins in their Neigh- 

bourhood. By J. G. Taylok, Esq., H.B.M.'s Consul at 


bead, Jan. 9, 1865. 

The information contained in the following paper is the result 
of three journeys which I made in 1861-63, with the sanction of 
Her Majesty's Government, in the consular district of Diarbekr, 
the capital of the modern Pashalik of Kurdistan, and the seat of its 
Mushir or Governor-General. Originally undertaken for the pur- 
pose of obtaining reliable commercial and statistical data, I did 
not, nevertheless, neglect to note everything of geographical or his- 
torical interest, which either the reports of the natives or ancient 
authors had brought to my notice. Such information could not 

Thoenton's Journey to Kilima-ndjaro. 15 

Nile problem" — so far from being "settled for ever" by the late 
exploration, are thrown farther from discovery than before. They 
are not, we have been told, in nubibus, but they elude our vision. 
The exploratory labours of years, perhaps of a whole generation, 
must be lavished before even a rough survey of the southern 
Nilotic basin can treat the subject with approximate correctness of 
detail. "Mais les sources du Nil, sont-elles decouvertes?" 
enquires our fellow-labourer in the field of geographical science, 
M. V. A. Malte-Brun. " Nous ne le croyons pas." No geographer 
does, no geographer can, believe in the actual "settlement" of the 
Nile sources. That the Tanganyika is the Western "top-head" — 
not source — of the Great Nile, and that the Bahari-Ngo, which 
supplies the Tubiri, is the Eastern, I have little doubt. But the 
Arcanum Magnum of Old- World Geography has not yet been 
solved. The old lines — • 

" Arcanum natura caput nonprodidit ulli ; 
Nee licuit populis parvum te, Nile, videre," 

have lost none of their force : it still remains to this generation, 
as to its forefathers, "Caput quserere Nili" — to close the Canon 
of Geographical Discovery. 

II. — Notes on a Journey to Kilima-ndjaro, made in Company of the 
Baron von der Decken. By the late Richard Thornton, 
Geologist to the Expedition ; compiled from the Journals of the 

Bead, November 14, 1864. 

The narrative of Mr. Thornton, the scientific companion of the 
Baron von der Decken on his first journey to the snow-clad peaks 
of Kilima-ndjaro in 1861, commences with the departure of the 
expedition from Mombas on the East African coast. The party 
consisted of fifty-eight men, including the Baron, Mr. Thornton, 
Coralli (the Baron's valet), three leaders, five servants, and forty- 
seven carriers. Seven of the men were armed and paid by 
Mr. Thornton himself ; one of them being a native of the Zambesi, 
named Sigwati, who had accompanied him since he had left the 
Livingstone expedition in that region. 

Early in the morning of the 29th of June they commenced their 
march, and proceeded for the first two days, in straggling order, 
over the rugged hills and valleys which lead from the coast into 
the interior. The country was peopled by the Wanika and 
Wakamba tribes, and their numerous villages were mostly sur- 

* See Map, Journal R. G. S., vol. xxxiv. p. 1. 

16 Thornton's Journey to Kilima-ndjaro. 

rounded by stockades, showing the unsettled state of the neighbour- 
hood. The huts of the Wakambas were of bee-hive shape, 
thatched with coarse grass, having the roots outwards. The men 
are slim in figure, and are accustomed to polish their naked skins 
with a mixture of red ochre and oil. They wear a great many 
ornaments, the most conspicuous of which is a broad coil of thick 
brass wire hung round the neck, nipping it tightly ; and similar 
small coils fixed in the lobes of the ear. The front part of the 
head is shorn, but the hair at the back is twisted into tails and 
decorated with beads. The women wear a cloth shirt, rather full 
from the waist to the knees, and are adorned with brass and iron 
rings round the ankles, besides the coil of brass wire round the 
neck similar to that which the men wear. 

After crossing the coast ranges, the party proceeded for five 
days over a gently undulating country, with tracts of grassy land 
and scattered patches of wood. Small herds of giraffes, antelopes, 
and ostriches now began to appear, but the march was continued 
without interruption until, after a long gentle ascent, they arrived 
at the country of the Wa-teita, a well-made but short and plump 
people, who occupy the healthy table-land from which the mountains 
named Killibassi and Kadiaro rear themselves. This district is 
not more than 60 miles, in a straight line, from the coast, and 
rather less than half way to Kilima-ndjaro. 

The Wa-teita were armed with slender bows and leather quivers 
full of poisoned arrows, besides wooden spiked javelins and small 
swords. The women and children were covered with ornaments, 
brass collars and strings of beads round neck, wrists, waist and 

The party remained amongst these savages for several days, it 
being a main object with the Baron to ascend Mount Kadiaro and 
take observations from the summit. Strong opposition, however, 
was offered to the project by the chiefs and people ; and it was only 
after expending much in presents that one of the head men was 
induced to give the necessary permission and serve as guide. A 
goat was killed, and a favourable augury being obtained on an 
examination of its entrails, the party commenced the journey ; 
Mr. Thornton taking with him the theodolite and boiling-point 
apparatus. The path at first was well trodden, and the soil of a 
bright red colour. After a short ascent they came to a nearly 
perpendicular face of bare rock, which they clambered up with 
difficulty, and then followed a very steep rugged path untd their 
progress was stopped by a chief who said he was the owner of the 
hill, and stationed himself with a party of men in the middle of 
the path to stop them. After a long and tedious palaver the 
scruples of the chief were allayed and the party moved on. Other 
obstacles were placed in their way by the two chiefs, and at one 

Thornton's Journey to Kilima-ndjaro. 17 

time they were near turning back altogether, but they finally 
reached the summit, the last part of the ascent being over highly- 
inclined surfaces of bare rock. A village of Wa-teita, governed 
by a third chief, and consisting of a few circular, half-rotten and 
dirty huts, was found perched in a nook a little below the highest 
peak. The summit was a very narrow, grassy ridge. The wind 
was cold and boisterous, and a heavy drizzling mist concealed from 
view all the surrounding country. According to observations taken, 
the height was 4130 feet, a much lower elevation than that 
estimated by the missionary traveller Rebmann, which was 6000 

Three days after the ascent the Wa-teita showed signs of 
violent hostility to the party. The strife began by a body of 
natives seizing one of the men amidst furious demonstrations, 
yelling and brandishing their swords. The Baron and Mr. 
Thornton rushed out of the camp, rifles in hand, and rescued 
the man. This had the effect of bringing a larger number of the 
savages to the spot, armed with their poisoned arrows. They came 
down in bodies from the mountain, and on facing the Baron's party 
began chanting a war-song, pacing backwards and forwards in 
circles about the grassy undulating ground in front of the camp, 
and waving their swords in accompaniment to the chant. As more 
arrived they formed into three companies, each of which, in turn, 
advanced towards the camp in measured tread, made a hostile 
demonstration, and then wheeled round to the rear to repeat the 
manoeuvre. Things now began to look serious, for some 200 of 
these enraged warriors were assembled ; the Baron, Coralli, and 
Thornton were obliged to put themselves on guard outside the 
camp with their loaded rifles and revolvers, ready to fire if a single 
arrow should be discharged. As to their servants and carriers, they 
kept perfect neutrality, lying beside the fires inside the camp. 
Each company of natives was headed by a fighting chief, who led 
the chant which regulated their motions, and from the flanks a 
number of skirmishers rushed about, yelling, leaping and flinging 
themselves on the ground in great fury. After this had continued 
for a long time a parley was proposed, and it turned out that all 
this rage had been excited by the Baron and Thornton having made 
" uganga," or magic, on the top of the mountain. The " Waganga " 
(magicians) of the tribe were the most furious, and, on the Baron's 
refusing to pay a fine for his misdemeanor, again excited the 
warriors to threaten the party. One of them pretended to throw 
himself into a frenzy, foaming at the mouth and rushing on the 
party with his sword ; but he was seized by his companions and 
dragged back. Finally the whole affair was 'arranged by a heavy 
payment and an exchange of presents. The warriors afterwards 
had a general fight amongst themselves. 


18 Thobnton's Journey to Kilima-ndjaro. 

On the 11th of July the party left this inhospitable country, 
and travelled for two days over a dry tract, destitute of water, to 
the S.s.w. of Mount Kadiaro. At twelve minutes past seven, on 
the morning of the 14th, Mr. Thornton had his first glimpse of 
Kilima-ndjaro, its cap of snow shining brightly about 2° above the 
horizon. After four days' march they arrived again at an inhabited 
district, the neighbourhood of the Pare Mountains. The natives 
here received them kindly and led them to a good camping-ground, 
selling them provisions in abundance. 

The ceremony of blood-drinking was gone through with the 
chief, to seal the mutual friendship between the tribe and the 
strangers. The people were very different from the Teitas : they 
were lighter coloured, and did not shave the front of the head. 
Their swords and bows were longer, and their arrows had barbed 
heads. Each man carried a small black clay pipe, and many had 
leather bottles to contain snuff. The lobes of the ears were hung 
with large circular disks of ornamented wood. The women wore 
petticoats made of the skins of animals, and some were tattooed on 
the breast. 

On the 19th they turned towards the north, passing over 
grassy plains and several dry watercourses. On the 20th they 
discovered a large sheet of water, called Lake Jipe. The southern 
margins formed a long grassy slope covered with bleached shells, 
both land and fresh-water. The waters were for a long distance 
concealed by a thick belt of reeds growing from a muddy soil, and 
swarming with waterfowl. After marching for several miles along 
the Eastern side they came to a place where the lake was visible, 
its waters rippled by a gentle breeze, and about three and a half 
miles wide. The total length of the water is about 20 miles, 
and the northern shores are fringed with gigantic papyrus, some of 
the plants 15 feet high. Herds of zebra and white rhinoceroses 
were occasionally seen, and the lower slopes of Kilima-ndjaro were 
in full view to the north-west. 

On the 22nd of July they arrived at Daffeta, and were well 
received by the chief. The shields of the Daffeta people are made 
of buffalo-hide, and are 3 feet long by 18 inches wide, strengthened 
inside by a broad rib of wood, shaped to a neat handle in the 
middle. The Daffetas are great bee-masters ; their bee-hives are 
hollow logs, about 4 or 5 feet long and 16 inches diameter, but 
thicker in the middle. They are planed smooth ; a circular block 
of wood is fitted into each end, with a number of small notches cut 
round its edge for the entrance and exit of the bees, a projecting 
piece of wood being fixed outside for the bees to alight on. 

On the 24th of July, Mr. Thornton, accompanied by guides 
given him by the chief of Daffeta, ascended a hill in the neighbour- 
hood, 2118 feet high, and took a series of observations. The top 

Thornton's Journey to Kilima-ndjaro. 19 

of Kilima-ndjaro, now 40 miles distant, shone out beautifully for a 
few minutes, showing streaks of snow along its ravines to nearly 
the base of its upper cone. Two days afterwards the party left 
for the village of Kilema, on the south-eastern slope of the great 
mountain. On the first day's march Mr. Thornton obtained another 
and still better view of Kilima-ndjaro, the whole of the snow-capped 
upper cone being distinctly visible. Many herds of elands and 
zebras were passed on the grassy plain which slopes up,to the foot 
of the mountains. 

The nature of the country began to change on the following day, 
when they reached the streams which flow from the southern slopes 
of Kilima-ndjaro. The ascent was steep and rocky, through dense 
woods, the river Goni flowing to the right of their line of inarch, 
through a deep valley. 

On reaching the village of Kilema, which was surrounded by 
a moat 15 feet deep, fenced with a thick hedge, they were met by 
the leading men, each carrying a bunch of fresh grass in token of 
friendship. The people were in some instances of light-coloured 
skin : the young girls especially had a very pleasing appearance, 
many being lighter than half-castes, and having the hair shaved off 
on each side of their foreheads, which heightened the effect of their 
really fine, expressive features. 

They were very scantily dressed, and some of the elder women 
wore thick pewter bracelets weighing ljlb. each, besides strings 
and belts of variously-coloured beads on different parts of their 
bodies. The boys and girls had, in some cases, iron rattles attached 
to their knees or ankles. 

The chief of Kilema was at first profuse in his promises of 
assistance in the project of ascending Kilima-ndjaro, the highest 
peak of which was 20 miles distant from the village, over a 
mountainous country. He tried to dissuade the Baron from pro- 
ceeding to Madjame, on the south-western slope, whence the ascent 
was as practicable as from Kilema, representing that the chief there 
had no power. The Baron promised a large present, and it was 
arranged that two guides should conduct them to the peak two 
days after the new moon, when the weather would be favourable. 
Several days were occupied in palavers and exchanges of presents, 
and Mr. Thornton profited by the time to take observations and 
study the customs of the people. One day he visited a native 
blacksmith, and watched the process of making an iron chain. 
The workmen drew out a fine wire and wound it round a thicker 
piece like a knitting-needle, afterwards cutting through the coils 
along the length of the needle with a small chisel, so that each 
separate coil made a little link when flattened. His forge was in 
a low shed, and his anvils consisted of blocks of smooth hard stone. 
The bellows were two long conical bags of leather sewn up on one 

c 2 

20 Thornton's Journey to Kilima-ndjaro. 

side, the air being collected into one stream by a hollowed forked 
branch of wood. One of his tools was a simple and ingenious kind 
of hand-vice, used for grasping the end of a wire when drawing it 
through the plates. 

Another day he ascended a hill behind the village, an altitude 
of 4744 feet, the road to which led through plantations of bananas, 
which are very extensive over all the well-peopled lower slopes of 
Kilima-ndjaro. The upper part of the hill was covered with short 
fine grass. The view on the north and west was obscured by low 
clouds, but a fine sweep of country was beheld to the south, over a 
great plain through which flows the river Pangani between the 
Arusha and Ugono ranges. On the following day, ascending 
another hill, the atmosphere was much clearer to the west, and a 
huge plain was seen extending from the south-western foot of 
Kilima-ndjaro to a very high conical mountain, evidently a volcano, 
but without snow on its summit. This is called Mount Meru, 
and its elevation is upwards of 13,000 feet : it lies about 60 miles 
from the main peak of Kilima-ndjaro. 

The Sultan of Kilema failed in all his promises, and the Baron, 
finding it impossible to ascend from this place, resolved to march 
to Madjame. The route taken was a detour through the un- 
inhabited plain to the south of the mountains ; this being chosen 
in order to avoid the numerous villages and chiefs which crowd the 
southern slopes. 

On the second day of the march they passed through a rugged 
country clothed with dense forest, amidst frequent rains (although 
this was the height of the dry season) ; the undergrowth was of 
grass and ferns, and the trunks and branches of the trees were 
overgrown with parasitic plants dripping with moisture. Beautiful 
flowers peeped through the thick coating of greenery, and the path 
was encumbered with fallen and rotting trees. The country 
became more open in the plain through which they afterwards 
travelled until they again turned towards the hilly region on 
approaching Madjame. Kilima-ndjaro now became again visible, 
the first time was by moonlight on the 20th of August. The full- 
moon rose as the sun set, and a large snow-covered conical peak 
was seen to the w.n.w., nearly as high as the real top. Between 
the party and the snow-clad peaks rose a high, even range, cut 
through by several precipitous ravines ; the snow was seen here 
descending much lower than on the eastern side. 

The chief of Madjame turned out to be quite as ill-disposed to 
forward the views of the travellers as he of Kilema, and in addition 
to the usual difficulties the party had to contend with the trickery 
and evil influence of a sorcerer named Nassoro, who imputed 
" uganga " to the instruments which Mr. Thornton used on the tops 
of the hills. The greediness, caprice, superstitiousness and dis-