Shooting Expedition Diary Africa 1897

1897

Beira. Portuguese East Africa

Rawstrone, 7th Hussars, having nagged at me to go on a shooting expedition with him, at last with the assistance of V. Brooke persuaded me to do so.  This was on the evening of the 22nd Sept.  I wrote that night to the regt, [regiment] got the C.O.’s sanction for 6 weeks leave by telegram next day.  Saw Watts, [D.A.A.C.?], in afternoon, who got G.O.C.’s approval & then wired to the Cape for final sanction.

To my utter astonishment I got the reply next afternoon at 2.30.  R. wanted to catch the boat next day, which meant leaving by the night train.  Of course I had made no preparations not expecting to start till the week after; the bank was closed, but they very kindly made out a draft for me, & I spent the rest of the afternoon flying about getting various things.  I had a great deal of work to do, as I had to hand over my troop, write several important mail letters, get my battery together, & innumerable

other things.  It was the most awful scrummage I had ever had, & I will never do it again.  I naturally went as ‘light’ as possible – again, a great mistake.  However, I left that night in spite of everything.

25th. Sept.   Leave began today.  On arrival at Durban we found our boat the “Ifafa” left at 2.30, so we again had our work cut out as I had to get cartridges, & numerous other things that I had not time to get yesterday.

Norton had very kindly lent me his battery, so I was well off for rifles.  The unfortunate part was that on getting to Durban, I could not get 12 bore rifle cartridges anywhere, so had to leave it behind, I also left my gun, as R. had his Paradox with him.

I had got hold of a young Englishman, called Cook, at Durham, who is a very good hand at skinning & curing. He was very keen on coming, but I rather demurred. However, R. thought it would be a good plan to take him, & as he could talk the language I gave in, especially as

[Margin notes]
Battery
.303 magazine
.500 Express
.577 Express
12 bore rifle
16 bore (gun).

he said he would come for his expenses only when he saw I was not very keen about it.  If he only turns out well we shall be saved considerable expense, as otherwise we should have been bound to take a hunter as interpreter, if nothing else, & we ought to have our heads & skins properly looked after.

27th Sept.
29th Sept.   We sailed about 4p.m., & arrived off Delagoa Bay about mid-night Sunday, but did not anchor off the town of Lorenzo Marques till about 9 a.m. Monday.  Here to our disgust we were kept till about 2 p.m. on Wed. unloading cargo. The town is an awful hole, everything smelly, the whole country here lying very low.  It is a long straggling town with no points of interest, nothing to see or do.  The bay however is a very fine harbour, there being room for hundreds of vessels of all sizes.

We got to the signal station at Inambane [Ingwavuma]

[Margin notes]
Party
L. Rawstrone
7th Hussars
Self
Cook

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30th Sept.   next day about 2.30 pm.  Here our [missing word?] has to anchor & wait for a tug pilot the bar being a very nasty one.  This beast of a fellow did not turn up till 8.30 a.m. next morning, it was 10.30 before we anchored off the town itself.  It is an extraordinary place to get into, but the surroundings are picturesque & so is the village.  There is nothing in the way of sight seeing or  anything or of interest, but we went on shore to get away from the ship.  There is a great trade done here in coco-nuts & […]

2nd Oct.   Imagine our disgust when we were again delayed until daybreak this morning.

3rd Oct.   Arrive at Beira   We did not arrive at Beira till lunch time today, having been 8 days on the road instead of 4.

It is a most uninteresting voyage as the coast except at Inambane itself never varies, low sand hills & scrub the whole way.

It was by no means a comfortable voyage, & the less said about the passengers the better.

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As it was Sunday there was nothing to be done, so we left everything on board until next morning, only taking what we actually required for the night.  We thought we could not do better than call on Ross, the British Consul, to whom Norton had given us a letter of introduction.  He advised us to go to Glennie, one of the agents here, about the shooting, we fortunately found him at home, and he has undertaken to clear our guns, get the licenses, & fix us up about everything.

5th Oct.   Have been flying about ever since arrival fixing up everything.  We have decided not to take a hunter, they ask from £3 to £4 a day & all expenses, so we go up the Bush in a “lighter”.  This course has been decided on chiefly on account of our not being able to get a single boy.  A German, whom we met on the boat comes with us; by this means we lessen expenses and don’t damage each others prospects as regards

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boys.  Everybody has been most obliging in every way.  We dined with the Ross’ tonight.

6th Oct.   We have now after many inquiries from all sorts of people decided to go up the P[…].  Got away about 2 p.m., but unfortunately without a single boy, as we could not afford to waste any more time.  With a splendid breeze we sailed across the bay to the mouth of the river in no time, going on till about 9 p.m. when we anchored for the night, & a most unpleasant one it turned out to be.

We rigged up an awning with a sail over the stern to sleep under, and just as well we did for the dew was about as bad as rain.  We went on very early, but the wind dropped when the tide turned, so we had to stop.  Unfortunately we let the crew go onshore to cook their food, and before we could say k[…] the boat had struck high & dry.  Under the circumstances we endeavoured to make good the time, so took a stroll on shore.

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The German and R. went together, Cook & myself.  We came on a herd of waterbuck & I dropped one on his knees but he got away.  On getting back to the boat I found there was no chance of getting away for some time so went off again alone.  I was again unlucky for I wounded a reed-buck, wh. got away.  We saw an enormous hippo at which the German fired, but did no damage although he hit him fair & square on the head.  However, he was too far off to make a certainty of the small vital spot.

Fontesvilla   7th Oct.   We eventually got off & made Fontesvilla about 7 p.m.

We stopped the night at the hotel, & I for one would never do it again if I got the chance.  A filthier hole I never put up in.  The river up to here is very wide & is pretty with mangrove swamps, bamboo jungle, grass, etc.  Bird life is plentiful & we saw some beautiful specimens, but I have come to the conclusion

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that it is no use shooting them, unless one is out for that special purpose, as the skins only get knocked about & are afterwards useless.  We started off very early but were somewhat delayed as we had to take down the mast in order to get under the bridge.  We only made some 5 or 6 miles before the tide turned & the wind went down, so we stopped.  R. & I went out & got on a large herd of water-buck, R. got a shot but failed.  After another long tramp, I got my first African buck, a bush-buck.  I could only see his head & neck & got him straight through the latter, dropping him dead.  We went on again & got on to fresh tracks of buffalo.  Then on to some reed-buck, one of which R. got, but only a small one.

R. had taken out his Paradox & got 3 duck, a welcome addition to the pot. We came on quite fresh spoor of buffalo, but had been out quite long enough & did not want to delay the boat. The others went out but were

[Margin note]
1 Bush-buck
horns 11in. & 11¼”

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unsuccessful.  The tide rose, soon after we got back, so we went on until dark, when we camped for the night, as sleeping on the boat was miserable work.

9th Oct.   The mosquitoes were too awful last night & we were not sorry when daylight came.  We got on to-day as far as it was safe to take the big boat, so decided to halt & pitch camp.  It is a very pretty river & just beyond us there is a bank with an enormous colony of birds of most lovely plumage.  They are nesting in holes in the bank.  In fact a great many of the birds here build in holes.

R & I went out & came on fresh spoor of buffalo & eventually spotted some 15 to 20 a long way off. Stalked them, but as we only had .303’s & no hard cast bullets with us thought it advisable not to fire at them, but separated & took up positions of safety from which we

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might get a shot.  R. fired a shot, and a sight came in view that is not often seen, & when seen, not easily forgotten, for in a second there was a herd of some 400 to 500 buffalo galloping away.  None were more impressed than ourselves for we had no idea they were there; they were lying down in the long grass.

10th Oct.   Went out alone & had a very long tramp to no purpose, which was all the more tantalizing as it was splendid jungle.  We have seen a good many crocodile, but have not yet had a chance with them.  R. got a water-buck.

11th Oct.   R. & Cook went off on a long tramp to some water the farmer had discovered – I went off by myself.  Came on some water-buck & made a most successful stalk, but failed with my shot.  Took a turn around into the jungle & came across 3 pig, had a long shot which however failed.  I then cut one of my fingers right down to the bone

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with a piece of stiff grass, severing a vein clear through.  I bound it up, & then went a short distance when up sprang a solitary bull buffalo & galloped away.  I fired a couple of shots at him with my .303 & hit him I knew as he stumbled to my first shot.  On going on, to my astonishment, I saw him broadside on about 200 yds off, so taking my .500 I fired, but the pull off having been altered since I last used it, I released the trigger before I had got my aim.  He then went into the bush a short way but so slowly that I saw caution would be necessary.  After waiting a few moments & giving directions to my boy what to do, I went carefully forward & found him only about 50 yards off.  He was behind some scrub which prevented my seeing him properly, & in fact I had to take out my glasses to make certain

[Margin note]
1 Buffalo
spread of horns
39¼”

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that it was him.  I then looked for a convenient tree & having selected one crept up to it.  Still I could not make him out properly, so I climbed up & waited.  After a short time he turned around & I could then make out his shoulder.  I took a steady aim & to my joy a groan announced the success of my shot.  He staggered & after a few minutes lay down with difficulty.  Getting up again, he turned about, but I could not get a shot.  He again lay down, got up, tried to walk, but could not, except to shamble backwards.  At last his neck gave me a favorable shot, which was again successful.  After a few moment he lay down & began to groan.  I thought his end was near, but as the bushes prevented my seeing him I thought it advisable not to go in there as I had only two cartridges left.  Besides I should want help from camp to get his head in.  I climbed down

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& went to look for my boy, but to my disgust found the young blackguard has bolted taking with him my .303 & water bottle.

There was nothing else to do than but mark the place & start for home.  Just as I got out of the jungle I saw some water-buck & had a shot at about 200 galloping.  I brought him down.  I then heard another shot & found Paulsmein stalking the same herd.  He must have fired at a range of at least 500 yds.  I went on when up got my buck, which I bowled over again.

I then had to get a couple of cartridges from him to polish the beast off.  A very fair one horns 24¼ inches.  I was dying of thirst as my boy had my water bottle, so took a sip from P.’s & then came on to the canoe to get some boys to bring the head in.  On reaching the river[the river] I drank until I thought I should burst, then tramped back & brought the beast in.  It was passed 3 before

[Margin note]
1 Waterbuck
Horns – 24¼ ”

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we got back to the boat.  After having something to eat & drink, Cook & I with some boys started off to recover the buffalo.  We found him lying on his back – stiff.  It took some time getting his head skin off, & it took 2 boys to carry the head in.  It was 7 o/c before we got back, & I was pretty tired, it having been a very hot day.  My first shot had hit him far back through the lower regions but with a forward direction, which evidently made him feel pretty sick, my 2nd hit one of his horns, 3rd missed, 4th broken his shoulder, 5th a good one into the neck.  Thus ended a most successful day for me.

He was a fine old solitary bull with a spread of horns 39¼”

12th Oct.   R. & I had determined to go on up the river in canoes & to take Cook with us.  Last night was an awful one & the mosquitoes perfectly maddening.  Fix your

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curtains how you liked, it was impossible to keep them out. The result was that none of us had a wink of sleep & on top of yesterday’s hard work, everyone was dead beat.  We satisfied ourselves with skinning the heads, & it was just as well we did as it turned out a piping hot day.  Later in the day we prepared for our “light-order” voyage.  It is very much light order, in fact too much so especially in the way of stores, but R. is infernally impatient, so to keep the peace I have given way.  I am beginning to find him very pig-headed & “know-all”. He won’t listen to any advice I may give although I have had a good deal more experience than he has.  I know what it means, we shall run out of the most necessary stores in a very short time.  We left about 5 p.m. & poled on till about 7.30 when it was impossible to go any further, as it was so dark the boys could not see the sand-banks which are very

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numerous.  They had to get out continually & wade about to find the deeper water & on one occasion were jolly nearly nipped by a crocodile.  They jumped into the boat only just in time, but did not seem to mind at all for they were in the water again in a very short time.  The river simply swarms with them.  We camped onshore & had a frugal metal determined to go on early.

13th Oct.   Started before 6 a.m. & poled till about 10, when we stopped to have some breakfast.  R. was first ashore & no sooner up the bank then he saw a herd of waterbuck & some zebra amongst them.

Leaving the natives to get breakfast ready we sallied forth.  R. & C. got shots, but were unsuccessful.  We then spread out C. & I going round them.  I got onto some first & bagged a waterbuck.  They take a lot of killing.  I hit him twice in the neck & broke a leg.  Set to work to get his head off, but my knife was so blunt.  I left it, & went back to the

[Margin note]
1 Waterbuck

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canoes.  I had some breakfast & then went back with Cook.  I certainly had not been away 1½ hours & on arrival could not find the buck anywhere, although I left him in the open.  I then found him in some long ground grass some little distance off.  I came to a halt, knowing this meant a lion, & called out to C. to warm him.  We then carefully explored the surrounding long grass, but master leo had decamped, probably having slunk into the jungle on our approach as he had not eaten much.

As we could not get on with the spoor we returned.  C. got a shot at some pig, but missed them badly, also a water-buck.  I am afraid he is not much of a shot, & shoots far too quickly at everything.  However, he is very useful & understands curing the skins which few of the hunters either know or want to take the trouble.

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I & boys had a great hunt after a beast they call the jungle rat, which we got.  Went about 3.30 & stopped at 6 as one of the boys spotted some buffalo.  We went after them, but darkness soon stopped us.  The mosquitoes were awful in this place.

14th Oct.   Did not leave till about 7.30 as C. had to take off the skins.  We went steadily on arriving at [Gorimedu] (Kraal) about 10.  Here we were afraid the […] game was going to upset us.  We had some breakfast & then a long palaver with the villagers.  It was passed 3 before we came to satisfactory terms & 4 before we had settled up everything.  It was too late to go on so we decided on a spot for the camp & took a stroll to try & pick up a buck for meat as much as for anything else.  I missed a very easy one much to my disgust.  I then had a long stalk after zebra, but could not get near enough.

[Margin note]
Jungle-rat

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15th   Started off again at 7 a.m., & I hope our troubles are at an end, & that we shall finally arrive at the good place this evening, as I have only about 12 days left, so shall have to work hard.  Thank goodness it was fairly cool last night & the mosquitoes not so bad, so we were able to get a little sleep!  We had some pahu-wine last night, the first I have ever seen or tasted.  It was not at all bad.  We ran on till 11 when was stopped to let the boys have something to eat.  On going ashore we found the place pretty well alive with game on either side.  Off we went R. & I on one side, C. on the other.  R. was lucky enough to get 2 Black Wildebeest & C. a good reed-buck.  I only had a galloping shot at an Oribi, not much of a target.  We saw in a short time, Oribi, reed-buck, waterbuck, zebra & any quantity of

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wildebeest, we started off again soon after 3.30 & stopped at 5.30.

16th Oct.   I went out on the left bank this morning & soon came on an enormous herd of zebra & wildebeest, I eventually got a shot at a fine bull, which I am certain I hit, but he got away. Then I wounded another & had an awful stern chase, but got what unfortunately turned out to be a cow with a fine head.  I put no less than 8 bullets into her, but as she was dodging about in very long grass, there was a little excuse for not getting in a telling shot.  I took a photo of her, as it shows what an animal can down[do] with its entrails hanging out.  I only hope it will be a success, but as it is my first “time” exposure, it probably will not be.

I then went on & got a zebra with a beautiful shot (.303) straight through the shoulder.  He galloped on a short distance

[Margin notes]
1 B. Wildebeest
(Cow)
1 Zebra

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& then turned a somersault, kicking like a fiend, up again to go through the same performance & then he dropped dead. On my way back I found a young Cow evidently wounded by one of my first shots at the bull.  I had to kill the poor brute.  Then a long tramp home reaching Camp about 11.30.

Out again about 3.30, got onto the wildebeest, broke one’s leg unfortunately & was never able to get up with him again.

Then on way back to camp I came on a small herd of buffalo & wounded one badly, knocking him down, but he got up and made good some very long grass.  As it was nearly dark it would have been folly to have followed him.  I came on quite fresh spoor of a lion to-day.

I don’t know what is coming over my shooting or else my distance judging is getting very bad.  I am hitting a lot of

[Margin note]
1 Wildebeest
(Young Cow)

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animals which are unfortunately getting away.

17th Oct.   I saw no trace of the buffalo I hit last night, went on & found their haunt of which I took a photo.  It was a beautiful piece of jungle, – swamp, with bamboo thickets & long grass in the centre of a forest.

After a while saw fresh tracks of them & soon afterwards came on the herd, but it was a long time before I got a shot on account of the fractiousness of the Wildebeest & Zebra.  My luck seems out and I did not get one; I followed them into their den, but although I heard one quite close I was not going to follow them into dense bamboo as I did not know whether I had wounded one or not, besides you could not see a yard, & it would have been impossible to get a rifle up to your shoulder.

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I came across some on my way back again, but could not get a shot.

I did not get back till 11.30, fairly roasted, it having been one of the hottest days we have had.  We [missing word?] out in the afternoon to try & get an Oribi or reed-buck, as I have not got one yet.  I had a shot at the former, but they are such tiny things I missed it.  However, I wound up the day by getting a good Wildebeest.

I took several photos to-day.

18th Oct.   I had determined to make a long day of it, and go far afield, so C. & I started at an early hour.  Of course we saw the ‘home’ herds & C. had a shot at a water-buck with his usual success of a miss.  It is very curious – he cannot even hit this buck, much less get one.  On we went; curiously enough not seeing an

[Margin note]
1 Wildebeest

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animal.  At last I saw some water-buck & as one looked as if he had a fine head I stalked him.  I wanted to try my .303 as I cannot get into it.  He was breast on so did not offer much of a target.  However, I took a very steady aim & got him on his left side of it, breaking his elbow all to pieces.  I went after him & not wishing to lose him, now took my .500 & got him just behind the shoulder.

He went on about 40 yards & then dropped dead.  A very fair head but damaged by fighting.  On we tramped only seeing a few doe Oribi.  We then stopped, had our frugal meal & then a short sleep.  We made our way home through the buffalo haunt; but unfortunately they have not returned again.  C. missed a zebra very badly & then hit one but lost it.  We were now pretty tired, so made our way straight for home.  We had a

[Margin note]
1 Water-buck

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delightful dip in the river, which was most refreshing, although perhaps not the wisest thing to do.  We picked up a very fine waterbuck head & 2 cow wildebeest which C. brought home.  As he is a professional taxidermist he can make some money on them.  We were very disappointed with our days’ labour, as we went through magnificent jungle all the way.

19th Oct.   As I knew perfectly well would happen we are running short of flour & other necessary provisions, so we have had to send C. back to Fontesvilla for more.  He is making a “lightening” journey as we want him if possible to catch the German.  Our old friend the lion was on the roar last night & only came within a very short distance of the Camp judging by the noise.  Feeling a bit fagged.  I took an easy

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morning & strolled out today and try and get a reed buck, but failed and only managed to wound an Oribi, which I lost.  Saw a very fine wort-hog, but could not get a shot at him.  In the afternoon went out chiefly with the object of getting some meat & of looking for a reed-buck.  I came on the latter, but C. has been peppering them so, I could not get near them.

Eventually got a Wildebeest, but unfortunately a Cow.  I have never come across an animal whose sex is so difficult to distinguish.  They are always frolicking about, continually changing places, & so forming a regular Kaleidoscope.

20th Oct.   Today turned out to be a misfortune all round.  Took a long round in the morning practically seeing nothing, then came on a herd of Wildebeest,

[Margin note]
1 Wildebeest

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which I left alone.  Shortly afterwards I spotted some Lichtenstein Hartebeest, the first I had seen.  Had an awful crawl until I was so sore I had to go along in a sitting posture.  Unfortunately a solitary Wildebeest spoilt the whole show, & I returned home in disgust.  In the afternoon again went out to try and find a reed-buck, but without success.  It is most extraordinary that I can’t get a shot at them.  More ill luck today as while cleaning my .303 the pull-through broke, & R. has lost his cleaning rod.

21st   R. & I went out after buffalo, had a long walk passing a herd of Water-buck.  Several had fine heads & the wretches let us pass in the open well within 200 yards.  They seem to know instinctively when one does not mean to touch them.  Soon afterwards came

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on some hartebeest.  I won the toss & so stalked them, but did not get into a very good position for a shot & did not like to go any nearer.  A miss was the result.  Soon after this we came on the buffalo, which we had almost passed when I spotted them.  R. got up to them first & let drive before I could get into position, which was rather inconsistent of him & was unfortunately rewarded by killing a cow.  Both my barrels went off together, probably because I fired in such a hurry – in fact I ought not to have done so at all – with the result that I missed the one I aimed at, & dropped a young cow.  We followed them for a long way but I could never get within shot.  Thought I was going to once, but one of the men with me spoilt the whole show.

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It was nearly 12 when we got back.  This is partly the result of the boys being so infernally lazy in the mornings.  I turned out at 5.30 & found them chattering away & making no attempt to get anything ready & C’s boy sound asleep.  R. is far too casual about starting early & I can’t get Cook to instruct the boys into early habits.  It is absolute rot missing the early hours as it only means twice as hard work later on.

We were both rather sick of things in general & were inclined not to go out in the afternoon.  However, I strolled out with .500 & Paradox, just on the chance of the buffalo having wandered on.  My surprise was great at finding them lying down about ½ mile from Camp.  It was ticklish work as the wind was against me.  However,

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there was nothing for it but to go on & I managed to get behind a small clump of grass.  Here I surveyed them carefully & got in a shot, which I knew went home.  I was delighted to see them only go a short distance & stop, when I managed to creep up behind another patch of grass.  I got in a left & right here & the herd went off.  To my joy I saw two turn off short into the long grass at a walk.

This meant business.  I followed them carefully as I could now only see one.  I found one dead with a bullet through his neck; the other went off again, but I soon got on to him again & gave him one straight through the shoulder.  They are both fairly large heads, but I am afraid not quite old enough, which will mean losing part of the horn at the base.

[Margin note]
2 Buffalo

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Great was my astonishment to now hear a shot behind me.  R. was still in camp & looking out on hearing my shots saw a few of the herd quite close – these had broken back, & were not visible to me on account of the grass.  R. crept up & got a fine bull, & as luck will have it with hard horns.  The rejoicing amongst the boys was great, at the prospect of so much “skoff” & so close to camp.  Thus ended most successfully what promised to be a disastrous day.

22nd Oct.   Out this morning to see if we could get on the hartebeest.  We saw no signs of them & I had a terribly long walk without seeing anything worth mentioning until I came on a large herd of waterbuck just as I was turning for home.  I made a good stalk & dropped a fine buck with a shot through its

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neck.  Unfortunately I left my measuring tape in the big boat, so have not been able to measure any of my heads, but it is quite the largest any of us have as yet shot. This appeased me somewhat for my long tramp.

Took a stroll in the afternoon to try & get another bull wildebeest.  Made a most successful stalk followed by the worst shot I ever fired.  Unfortunately broke a poor brutes leg with my second shot, but could never get up with him, & as he was taking me away from Camp I had to give up the chase.  We had the first threatening of rain today.

23rd Oct.   Last night the mosquitoes were awful, result was that I felt my limp this morning.  Found some wildebeest close to the bank across the water.  Succeeded in crawling up to within

[Margin note]
1 Waterbuck

about 70 yards, sat down & watched them carefully with my glasses for 15 or 20 minutes, determined not to make any mistake this time.  At last I made up my mind & took a steady shot, which was successful.

To my disgust it turned out to be a cow!  I shall give these brutes up as a bad job.  I then went on, seeing zebra, a few ?? hill oribi, wart-hog, the latter unfortunately out of shot.  Then I came unawares on a couple of oribi lying in the long grass, I watched them for some time from only about 20 yards off, but did not fire at them as the buck had such very small horns.  They are beautiful little creatures & I wished I could have got my camera on them.

I then saw a couple of much coveted reed-buck, so stalked them, but could not get within shot.

[Margin note]
1 Wildebeest

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on coming home through the buffalo ground had a flying shot at an animal I had not seen before & have not the faintest idea what it was, quite a reddish colour, long, sheep-like body & short legs with it seemed straight ringed horns about 12” long.

I took a stroll in the evening and somewhat eased my disappointment of the morning by getting my first Wart-hog.  I came on him quite unexpectedly & could not make out what it was, as its head, legs, & tail were invisible.  He was evidently waiting for us to pass him, but I got my shot in before he could get away – straight through the shoulder & dropped him dead.  They are most extraordinary looking brutes, and when on the move look very funny as they

[Margin note]
1 Wart-hog

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carry their long tailed [tails]  sticking straight up in the air.

24th Oct.   Wild dogs visited the camp last night, & rather disturbed us.  Went out to the buffalo ground this morning, but they have evidently gone off for good.  I learnt a lesson this morning which I shall not forget.  My boy had my rifle, half-cock of course, & on crossing the buffalo haunt, up jumped a couple of beautiful bush-buck within 20 yards & stood looking at us.  My boy instead of at once giving me the rifle, kept pointing at them, so that before I could cock the rifle, down went his head and he dived into the long reeds.  On going round I got a snap shot as he went away at full gallop, but missed.  On the way home I got a running shot at a pig, but was just too far in front.  Cook turned up about

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one o/c today, & the canoe ought to be here very soon.  It is a good performance of his.

The boats were later than expected so we spent the afternoon cleaning guns, sorting the heads & tidying up generally.  We have decided to send all the heads to a Kraal a few miles down the river where some of our boys live & go a bit further up the river tomorrow.

25th.   It clouded up terribly last evening & came on to rain slightly in the middle of the night – I fear the prelude to the heavy rains, although it would be early for them from all accounts.  As it is still looking very bad we have decided not to make a move yet.  I spotted a hartebeest from the dried up river, & as the wind was unfavourable & he was walking on

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down wind I had to peg along to try & head him. In the meantime some zebra on the other side offered me a tempting shot, & as I wanted another I shot one.  We then went on after the hartebeest, but he gave us a long walk, & we finally lost him in the long grass & reeds.  I fired at a red-buck passing the camp last night, it was almost dark, but my first two shots went very near him & I thought my third hit.  Some boys have just brought him in, but it is a poor one.

Started off with C. on a long tramp after buffalo, and it was a tramp with a vengeance.  Fortunately it was a dullish day or we should have been pretty well cooked; we certainly were not up to much when we arrived home, for we had been on the go for 11 hours.

[Margin notes]
1 Zebra
26th.
1 reed-buck

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It was too much really without a rest in the middle of the day & with only a light breakfast.  We went on until we struck a river running out of the Pungwe, we went through the most perfect jungle & the home of a large herd of buffalo, as the place was freshly trampled in every direction.  It is most annoying to think that these ‘boys’ have never told us of this place, which the people in the Kraals ought to have known about.  We had turned for home & it was about 12 o/c when we spotted the herd.  We got up & I marked a buck lying down.  Up they got with a rush, but unfortunately some palms got in my way & I only saw one animal that rushed out, which I took to be the bull I had spotted.  I fired quickly & brought him down – paralyzed.  To my disgust – when I got up I found it was

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a cow. On we went and a terrible chase we had.  We got separated, but eventually met.  I went on until I was done, & then turned towards my fallen Cow.  On the way I came suddenly on a small number, & missed a splendid bull.  I then went on to the cow, took her head off, but we were miles from home & I was so disappointed that would not bring it in.  C. soon after joined me.  When halfway home we came on some harte-beest at which we had a shot, but I was so done I could not shoot a bit, & missed. C. got a very fine buffalo.

27th.   My last day, so I went out in the morning to try if I could get a hartebeest, but failed.  Just missed getting a shot at a very fine reed-buck.  Spent the rest of the day trimming my beard, cleaning guns

[Margin note]
1 Buffalo (Cow)

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thoroughly, & getting ready generally for an early start on the morrow.  I go back by myself in a canoe to Fontesvilla as I have to catch the boat on the 1st.

28th.   Made a start at 7 a.m. with one Canoe & got opposite ‘crocodile’ creek at 8; stuck fast at 8.20 & had to cut two channels across the river.  Struggled on till 9.10 when I passed the Kraal on the right bank at 11.  Here I stopped so as to give the boys an easy & let them cook their food.  The whole of this distance was a mass of sand banks, the boys having to incessantly get out & shove the boat, while I handled the pole.  It was most tedious work.  Made a start again at 12.30 & went on fairly well reaching ‘cleaning rod’ tree at 3.10, strong wind against us here.

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At 6.15 got to a place where C. bivouacked on the right bank & where we camped going up.  Here I decided to spend the night.  About half an hour before this I saw my first lion in its natural haunt.  He stalked out of some reeds to come down to the water & looked a beauty.  Unfortunately I had given all my spare cartridges to the others as I did not want to delay by sporting on the way down, otherwise I might have got a beautiful shot at about 80 yards.

29th   Off again at 5.40 a.m.  A lovely early morning, which made one delight in the wild life.  We got along swimmingly till about 8.30 when we met the incoming tide.  At 9.15 I called a halt as we were making very slow progress & it would give the boys time to cook their food while the tide was against

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us. I saw some wonderfully beautiful birds that I had not noticed before. In fact, while on the river was about the only time one had to notice bird-life as at other times ones eyes were only for the larger game.

We went on again at 10.45 & soon afterwards the tide turned in our favour & we must have sped on rapidly for I did not notice the final anchorage of the “lighter” & could not make out why we were taking such a time.  I was beginning to get annoyed & was just going to round on the boys – for I foresaw missing my train, when to my astonishment they called out “Fontesvilla la-pa” & sure enough there was the Portuguese flag.  This was about 1 p.m. but it took us another hour to get around the final large bend of the river,

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which is fully 2 miles & there was a strong wind against us & the river quite rough.

We arrived at 2.  I had a change & wash, & then got all my things up to the station.  The train was to start at 3.20, then it was delayed until 4 & finally I had to wait until 5.25 before it started.  This was most sickening as I was famished & might have got something to eat after all.  Just before starting I got a box of biscuits – off which I had to make my dinner.  The train turned out to be a “goods”, with no carriage attached.  We ought to have done the journey in about 3 hours, but it was 10 before we got in, having had to wait for ¾ hour at a siding for a passing train.  I was dead beat from the canoe & railway journey, & absolutely suffered from not being able to

[Margin note]
Fontesvilla

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sit down & sleep.  On reaching the Hotel there was not a bed to be had; went on to the Beach – none there.

Fortunately met Glennie at the former & he kindly gave me a shake-down in a long chair, & I slept like a top.  Found Little, Bestwick, & Beale at the Hotel, the latter very seedy.  They had splendid sport.

30th.   All busy at Glennie’s getting heads put right.  Find one boat does not sail till the 3rd, a most awful nuisance, as this is a beastly hole, expensive & everything nasty. Called on Ross (Consul) for letters & found quite a ?.  Dined with them.

31st.   Sent Beale up to Ross’ until we sail.  They are most hospitable & will look after him well.

Nov. 5th.   Here we are still, having kicked

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our heels about in this vile hole for a week.  It is very sickening as we could have had another 4 or 5 days shooting if the agents would only have given us some idea as to when the boat would sail.

If it had not been for the hospitality of the Blands it would have been an awful week to put in.

They insisted upon our making their house our home, & we were nothing loathe as the living at the hotel was disgusting.

We came on board the “Hertzog” this afternoon & found her a most comfortable boat, everything very clean & all the latest appliances, & the feeding very good.  I only hope she does not intend stopping very long at Delagoa Bay, as it is an awful nuisance transhipping for such a short time.

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Nov. 6th   Sailed at noon, & not sorry to be off.  We managed to get Beale off all right, so hope he will soon pick up.

Nov 8th   Arrived off Inyack Island about 9.30 a.m. where we anchored, not getting in till 12.30.

Nov 10th   Arrived off Durban just before dinner, but could not get in.

Nov 11th   Came in early in the morning and went on to Maritzburg by the 10.30 a.m. train.

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Bag got by myself.

Buffalo – bulls 3
Buffalo – cows 2
Wildebeest – bulls 2
Wildebeest – cows 3
Waterbuck – 4
Bush-buck – 1
Reed-buck – 1
Zebra – 2
Wart-hog – 1
19
Miscellaneous – Bush-rat – 1.

Other animals seen, but not procured.
Hippopotamus
Crocodile
Lichtenstein hartebeest
Oribi
Lion
and a fair variety of birds.

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Cost of trip

The whole trip from start to finish cost in round figures £90.

This included railway journey to & from Durban.  Voyage to & from Beira; cartridges, stores, boys, [?], duty on rifles, hotel Bills, agents fees, and various miscellaneous.

Notes on the trip.

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Date published

1897

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Handwritten diary

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510402

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