The Chittenden Family
IN THIS SECTION:
1. SUNPATH SAFARIS 2007 NEWS
2. "SOUTH AFRICA - A series of pencil sketches by William M Timlin" (Introduction written by GILBERT E. CHITTENDEN on 3rd
3. EULOGY TO ROLY BARKER, by his daughter Colleen.
4. ORIGINS OF THE CHITTENDEN NAME & CREST.
5. DOWN THE ZAMBEZI ON A RAFT - REG CHITTENDEN'S EPIC 1949 ADVENTURE
SUNPATH SAFARIS 2007 NEWS
The sun has set on the 2007 season in the Zambezi Valley and we toast the end of another year. It certainly has not been an easy year in Zimbabwe but we have managed to have some fantastic trips with really great guests from various parts of the world.
As you all have no doubt experienced first hand, or heard third hand, Zimbabweans have become expert foragers of late and we have managed to keep our guests well fed (contrary to the world's press).
Through October, as we watched the animals of Mana scrape away at the bare earth, desperately searching for a missed blade of grass or pod, we couldn?t help but see the parallel as we scraped around for the phone number of the bread or beer contact we just knew we had written somewhere!. We would much rather protect guests from charging elephants and lions than face another round of negotiations with the informal grocery sector that has sprung up. The new "Big 5" in Zim seems to be bread, fuel, cooking oil, toilet paper and beef!!
The dry months have indeed been hot and dry, but like everything else in life, nothing is forever and soon the rains will set in and bring fresh hope. The clouds build up each afternoon and we are confident the rains will fall soon. As always, Zimbabweans, whether two or four legged, leaf-bearing or child-bearing are resilient creatures and 2007 will definitely leave us with stories to one day bore our grandchildren with.
We look forward to a great 2008 and the new challenges it will no doubt bring. The very imperfections of Africa makes it the perfect habitat for those who thrive on a challenge or an adventure and one thing we do know for sure, is that next year will certainly bring plenty of both. This is why the adventurous continue to visit and it is why those of us living here are happy to continue taking on the challenges.
Camp Zambezi and Canoeing:-
On the floodplain there has been hive of lion activity going on and it is little wonder that the wild dogs have made themselves scarce this season and denned in the Mopane forest. ?White-back?, who is now the alpha female of the scraggly Nyamepi pack will have stored in her memory bank, a terrible windy and stormy night in October 2005 when the lions surprised the Vundu pack, killing five of her siblings. She is a survivor and knows that in a year like this and with the scraggly dogs she has chosen as her beaus, it is best to keep a low profile until she can build up the strength and numbers of her new pack. We are holding thumbs that on our return to the valley next year White-back and her family will be a common sight on the floodplain.
Elephant-wise, Mana Pools is still home to some of the grand old fathers of the valley. Mana, Slotted Ear , Severed Trunk, Grumpy and a host of other magnificent bulls are still regular visitors to the camp as they reach up to the topmost branches of the Albidas for the remaining few pods. An elephant bull weighing up to six tonnes, up on his back feet is a wondrous and Mana-specific sight. As the rains set in, these breeding bulls will follow the cow herds into the interior and it will be well into the dry season before the pods and pools of Mana lure them back.
Canoeing the Zambezi River has been fantastic this year with the hippos behaving themselves and not chewing any bits off the canoes!. We have had some great sightings and there is always something totally magical about paddling down the mighty Zambezi River.
On the birdfront, recent visitors have had some great sightings and our last visitors "ticked off" over 120 species and have became real twitchers! A late afternoon canoe trip always provides guests with wonderful opportunities to see special water-birds. The sighting of a Rufousbellied Heron, Ruff, Painted Snipe or an African Skimmer is enough to get us twitching too!.
A Camp Chitake Safari is quite unique - besides the diverse landscape and overnighting in tents incredibly close to the very well travelled and used spring that ensures you are dwelling right in the midst of the action, there have been some very interesting sightings in Chitake recently. Some of these include the rare and endangered cheetah, and a pack of 27 wild dog that seem to have made the spring their home. There have also been further investigations and excavations on a dinosaur fossil find on the Chitake River.
We recently visited the dinosaur site and have been in contact with Bruce Rubidge at Wits University . He advised that the fossil is "a small secretary bird-sized dinosaur which is known as Coelophysis".
Dr. Eric Roberts at Wits University has promised to supply more information on this subject.
The Chitake landscape is strewn with bones, mainly buffalo carcasses. The surrounding bush is harsh and dry at this time of the year, but has a beauty of its own and is quite different to other parts of Mana Pools National Park.
An old leopard's lair inside a large hollow baobab still has baboon bones inside and large enough for several people (and many bats) to fit inside the hollow centre together.
There is a plateau with many baobabs on it, which is the ancient burial ground of chiefs of long ago - an ideal spot for a gin and tonic as you watch the sunset and toast this special setting and great safari experience.
One can be right in the action, and yet still enjoy the luxury of warm showers, three course meals and a comfortable bed at night. A safari with everything from adrenalin and action, to baobabs and burial sites, to fossil remains and incredible wildlife sightings, but certainly not a destination for the faint hearted.
A few comments from my guest book:-
"This has been the most awesome week, surpassing all expectations. What incredible memories we will take home with us, the most significant of which has to be your friendly and so relaxed manner" - Peter Golding (RSA)
"Zimbabwe and Mana Pools are lucky to have guys like you. It has been an awesome experience" - Garry Sheard (RSA)
"An awesome, unique, memorable and most enjoyable 6 days in your competent and experienced hands. You are true professionals and role models to your profession. Zimbabwe and the rest of the world needs more guys like you" - Gary Bull (Hungary)
"Thanks for a wonderful time. The experiences were unbelievable. The contrast of River and bush was fantastic, both experiences the best I've ever seen - you guys are great at your job".
- Martin Bergh (RSA)
"What a wonderful time we had at Mana. All of us have been raving about our experience and have been waxing lyrical to anybody that will listen to our stories of our wonderful trip. Not knowing really what to expect, the trip contained everything I wished for plus more. Never in my wildest dreams did I anticipate having such close encounters with wild animals."
- Martin Sheard (RSA)
"Your excitement and enthusiasm for this beautiful place was very contagious and it helped my experience here to exceed my expectations. I feel cleaned out in a way that no amount of reading or meditation could do, there is something about mingling with the unspoilt wild that helps us get in touch with the parts of ourselves that are essential for our spiritual, emotional and mental health. Thanks for helping me to open my eyes to that" - John Allen (USA)
"Thank you for a magnificent journey into the heart of our heritage" - Bridget Woods (RSA)
"We will tell anyone that will listen what a wonderful experience it is in so many ways to spend time on that mighty stream!" - Eric von der Meden (RSA)
Sharon and I are heading back to Mana for our "off-duty" trip for 2 weeks in December to watch the amazing transformation of the Park during the rains. We just can't keep away even though we are expecting to get rather wet and give the Land Rover some good challenges on the dirt roads.
In closing we would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your support this year. Your support, concern and encouragement have gladdened our hearts but also, most importantly, contributed to the continued upkeep and preservation of one of the last true wilderness areas in Africa. Mana Pools is the jewel of Zimbabwean National Parks and we owe it to future generations, both human and animal, to keep it in a pristine and unspoilt condition. We salute National Parks, our fellow operators and all the friends of Mana for their collective efforts in this direction and we look forward to working equally as closely with them again next season.
Do not hesitate to contact us with any enquiries and those of you who have already booked your safari for next season we thank you. As always, our season will run from the early May to the end of October. We can?t wait!
We wish you all a very happy Christmas and all good wishes for 2008.
SUNPATH SAFARIS P/L
PO Box WGT 416
Tel: (263-04) 304043
"SOUTH AFRICA - A series of pencil sketches by William M Timlin"
Introduction written by GILBERT E. CHITTENDEN on 3rd January, 1927
The Union of South Africa is the youngest Dominion in the British Commonwealth of Nations, but its connection with the history of Europe dates back to 1487, when the Portuguese mariner Bartholomew Diaz discovered the Cape of Good Hope. Ten years later another Portuguese voyager, Vasco da Gama, following up the discovery of Diaz, rounded the Southern littoral of the African Continent and pioneered the sea-way to the East.
The discovery of this route changed European history, and the romance of its trade, developed in turn by the Portuguese, French, Dutch, and British mercantile fleets of old, has never waned. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 reduced the nautical distance between Europe and the Orient, and diverted the flow of a large proportion of traffic which formerly followed the Southern route, but as a strategic and commercial passage to the East and the Antipodes it remains one of the greatest ocean highways of the world.
It was first traversed by British vessels under Sir Francis Drake, who made a dashing voyage round the world in 1580. Drake passed under the Cape of Good Hope and described it as the fairest Cape in the whole circumference of the Earth, but apparently he was not otherwise impressed by its possibilities. It remained unoccupied until 1652, when the Dutch East India Company, which was then building up a wealthy trade with the East, established a temporary port of call at Cape Town for the purpose of revictualling its mercantile fleets. This temporary settlement under Table Mountain marked the foundation of the present-day Union of South Africa.
The Cape of Good Hope was colonised by the Dutch up to the end of the Eighteenth Century. In 1814 it was ceded to Great Britain. With the advent of British rule large numbers of Dutch-speaking inhabitants, a body of Calvinistic pioneers who became known as the Voortrekkers (metaphorically, the advance guard) moved inland. In the course of their wanderings they subdued the Native races and carried the rule of the white man into the far Interior. During the same period British settlers and traders, overcoming the resistance of Native tribes, pioneered and settled the Eastern districts of the Cape of Good Hope, and the coastal areas of Natal.
Throughout the Nineteenth Century the Voortrekkers or Boers (literally, farmers) who had moved into the Interior built up the Republics of the Orange Free State and the Transvaal, while the British Colonists continued to develop Natal. In the interim the discoveries of diamonds at Kimberley in the " Sixties and of gold in the Transvaal during the "Seventies" were followed by rapid economic developments. The mining discoveries speeded up the settlement of the Interior and gave rise to a long succession of events which culminated in the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1901. By the Peace of Vereeniging which terminated the War, the Transvaal and Orange Free State Republics were taken over by Great Britain. Four years later Constitutions and Responsible Government were granted to the Transvaal and Orange Free State, and in 1910 these Colonies united their interests with those of the Cape of Good Hope and Natal to form the Union of South Africa under a centralised Government and Parliament with its Administrative capital at Pretoria and its Legislative capital at Cape Town.
In the reorganisation of Empire affairs after the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, Dominion status was conferred upon the Union of South Africa in common with the other Dominions within the British Commonwealth of Nations. At the same time the administration of the former German territory of South-West Africa, which had been conquered by the Union Forces in 1914, was vested in the Union Government as an integral part of its territory, under the Mandate conferred upon His Majesty the King by the Council of the League of Nations.
The Union of South Africa* to-day(* The Union of South Africa is frequently confused territorially with certain other British Possessions in the Continent of Africa, namely, Southern Rhodesia and the Eastern African Dependencies (including- Kenya, Uganda, Tanganyika, Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland). These Possessions are administered through the Colonial Office and are Colonies of the British Crown as distinct from the Dominion of South Africa), therefore, comprises the Provinces unified in 1910, namely, the Cape of Good Hope, the Orange Free State, the Transvaal and Natal (situated in the temperate zone between latitudes 22° and 35° south), and the Mandate territory of South-West Africa (located between-latitudes 17° and 28° south).
The total area of the Dominion is approximately 800,000 square miles, or more than six times the area of Great Britain and Ireland combined. It has a European population of 1,700,000, or roughly one-fourth of the population of larger London. The white inhabitants consist of English- and Dutch-speaking citizens in about equal proportions. The form of Dutch used is Afrikaans, a modified form of High Dutch, which has equal rights with English as an official language. As most of the inhabitants speak both languages, English will frank a newcomer through all parts of the country.
In addition to its European population, the Union has approximately seven million non-European inhabitants, including six million Bantus (aboriginal natives), 700,000 coloured persons of mixed races, and 180,000 Asiatics. Sociologically, of course, there is a clear line of demarcation between the European and coloured populations, and the functions of national Government are entirely directed by representatives of the white races.
The form of Government and legislature corresponds in essentials with that of Great Britain, a Governor-General in person representing the King. The British system of currency is in force, and social and commercial customs, religious observances, educational systems, and the general style and amenities of life are very similar to those of Europe.
For a developing country with a scattered white population, South Africa is well equipped with transportation facilities. It has no navigable rivers or canals, but possesses a comprehensive railway system and motor transport services, which are rapidly developing. The railways, with close upon 13,000 miles of open lines, are State-owned, and, by comparison with world practices, are very efficiently conducted. The system of operation is akin to that of British railway standards, but as a designed policy laid down by enactment the tariffs of rates and fares are kept to a minimum in order to provide cheap transport services for opening up the country. The general style of rail travel is up-to-date and comfortable, and the charges are probably lower than in any other country in the world.
Agriculture, Industry and Commerce are also in the care of State Departments administered with a fixed policy of encouraging private enterprise for purposes of development. The beneficial effects have been most noticeable perhaps in the rapid progress of farming. Although South Africa is regarded primarily as a mining country, the annual market value of its present agricultural production amounts to some eighty millions sterling. This exceeds the value of the mineral output and establishes the position of agriculture as the chief industry of the country, the mining industries coming next in order of magnitude and importance. The progress of South African agricultural production may also be observed to some extent to-day on the markets of Great Britain, where South African products such as wool, skins, hides, mohair, citrus, deciduous and dried fruits, wines, tobacco, grain, cotton, etc., are competing successfully with world products.
As a result of these varied internal developments, the trade of South Africa has increased progressively. Within the past ten years the value of its import trade has risen from forty to seventy millions sterling per annum and that of the export trade from sixty to ninety millions, making the total value of its existing trade approximately one hundred and sixty millions sterling per annum.
This brief review of South African development covers in reality a crowded and romantic record of achievement in settlement. In many respects South Africa is a country still awaiting discovery. It is well known to the "Big World of Finance," but not to the overseas public in general, except, perhaps, by distant association with the Anglo-Boer War and by reputed dividends on mining shares. With its wealth of natural possessions in diamonds, gold and platinum it may almost be said to have suffered under the disadvantage of an embarrassment of riches which has tended hitherto to dazzle the eyes of the world to its other manifold resources and its inherent attractions.
The discoveries of diamonds and gold in the stirring "Sixties" and "Seventies" certainly exerted magic influences upon development, and the country continues to owe a large measure of its prosperity to the vigour of its mining industries. While diamonds, gold and platinum may appear to be South Africa's peculiar riches, it also possesses enormous resources of coal and iron ores, with extensive deposits of other base minerals and metals, all of which await fuller exploitation. Above its mineral wealth, however, it has the climate and the soils which, combined with a commanding geographical position in relation to the markets of the world, favour it as a great agricultural country in the making.
At the present time it has reached a very interesting stage of progress. The adjusting influences of more than a quarter of a century of time have been at work since the Anglo-Boer War, and the Act of Union in 1910 happily symbolized the fusion of the two races in South Africa. Since that date they have passed through periods of strain, but they have also advanced a long way upon the difficult road of final reconciliation, and to-day, for the first time in the history of South Africa, it seems reasonable to predict that the country, with the two virile races which have settled it, is moving towards the splendid destiny that awaits it.
Within the past few years it has experienced its first real spell of intensive development under comparatively pacific conditions, and it has responded wonderfully. Strong consolidating influences are now at work, and no one familiar with the varied resources of the Dominion can doubt its future. It is still faced with formidable sociological and economic problems, but its people have inherited the strength of character, reliance and courage to meet those problems with equity and to right purpose. The whole story of European settlement in Southern Africa has been a stirring drama of endeavour which should be more widely known than it is, particularly in Great Britain, where youth is faced with so many closed professions and overcrowded occupations.
Of the country itself and its varied attractions it is difficult to write in so small a compass. In exterior characteristics, its climate probably makes the most universal and spontaneous appeal, and the climate of South Africa really means its sunshine. It is the all pervading quality, imparting health and brightness to its cities and towns as well as its open spaces.
Every land has its distinctive climatic charm. The grey weather of Britain, subduing all things into soft colourings and restful outlines, can be as refreshing and delightful as any climate in the world, and it is often through the medium of climatic phases that cities and countries are glimpsed in a certain fleetingness of perfection. To look across Trafalgar Square towards the spires of Westminster and massive outlines of Whitehall through the grey veil of a winter evening is to sense the true spirit of London, and, in it, of England.
In the same way something of the elusive charm of South Africa may be caught, and held for an instant, in the chance sight of a swift light of gold gleaming through the translucent green of a bursting breaker on the Cape or Natal coasts; in the glow of morning sunlight on the white walls and gables of the old Dutch homesteads set among the vineyard valleys and mountains of the Cape; in the far-away purpling of inland mountain ranges seen through the hot shimmer of the midday mirage of the Veld; in the last crimson glow of the Southern sunset deepening to quick dark above a gaunt headgear or a looming white sand dump on a gold mine of the Rand; or in the pale yellow of dawn rays caught up and thrown from peak to peak in the towering summits of the Drakensberg mountains.
All these swift phases, though differing widely, are innately characteristic of a country of varied climate, from the humid conditions of the picturesque coastal areas to the invigorating dryness and clear spaces of the hushed Karroo lands; the rarefied champagne air of the High Veld attaining altitudes of 6,000 feet or more, and the slumbrous warmth of the winterless Low Veld and the sub-tropical regions of Natal. Through all these climatic variations sunshine is the constant concomitant, both in winter and summer, even in the lofty areas of the High Veld with their brief periods of intense cold accompanied by heavy frosts and occasional falls of snow.
The scenic attractions of South Africa are no less varied than its climatic conditions, but even as sunshine and warmth are the prevailing elements in the climate, so grandeur and ruggedness are the dominating features of the landscapes. In many parts of the Cape Province, the Transvaal and Natal, there are pleasant regions of woodland and river scenery, while the fascinating Karroo lands and the wide plains of the Orange Free State are characterised by vast open vistas. But over the greater part of the country bigness and boldness of scene prevail, backed by ranges of mountains and hills, far and near-the element of bigness always intensified by the extreme clarity of the atmosphere and the harsh brightness of the sunshine.
The culminating point of grandeur in the mountain scenery of South Africa is the Drakensberg range at its maximum altitudes (11,500 feet) in and about Cathkin's Peak and the Mont-aux-Sources abutting the borders of Basutoland, Natal, and the Orange Free State.
The coastal scenery is equally varied by ruggedness, particularly the Cape Coast, and notably the Cape Peninsula, which from Table Mountain down to Cape Point is veritably a chain of mountains set in the sea. Historic Cape Point, round which Diaz and Gama sailed in 1487, and which Drake sighted on his world voyage in 1580, rises in the form of a giant headland, almost a sheer thousand feet above the sea.
In pleasing contrast with these rugged features there are many secluded bays and indentations with glorious beaches, the most famous being the sands of Muizenburg at the head of False Bay, the pearly white foreshore stretching unbroken for many miles. The Natal coast, with its picturesque beaches and river lagoons, flanked by luxuriant tropical verdure and blooms, is distantly reminiscent of the South Seas.
Inseparable from the scenic attractions and yet unique in the extent of their preservation are the Flora and Fauna of the country. South Africa is justly famous for its wild flowers, from the bulky Proteas, variegated Heaths and Heather, and the glowing Nerina of the Cape to the flamboyant blossom of the Kaffirboom of the Transvaal and the beautiful Strelitzia of Natal. Between these varieties there are literally hundreds more which in their seasons grace the mountain sides, the valleys and the plains. Even the arid Karroo, which in the dry season is apparently devoid of the gentility and perfume of flowers, blossoms like a garden and is fragrant after rain. The beauty and variety of the wild flowers have been a joy and a revelation to many travellers, and they have endeared South Africa as a home to many a homesick settler new to the country.
The Fauna, or wild game animals, generally large and small buck, as they are termed in the country, are still to be seen and hunted in fair numbers on some of the larger farms in various parts of South Africa, but, compared with the original herds in the pioneer days, they have been sadly decimated. Fortunately, wise and timely action has been taken by the Union Government, in co-operation with public bodies, to enforce a rigid protection of the Fauna and Flora in certain demarcated regions such as the Kruger National Park in the Eastern Transvaal, the South African National Park near the Mont-aux-Sources in Natal, and the Addo Bush in the Cape Province. The Kruger National Park, the largest of these Reserves and a considerable territory in itself, harbours practically every form of South African wild game life, the lion not least of them. This great Reserve is served by a line of railway, and is readily accessible to visitors, with facilities by arrangement to penetrate the thick bush country under the guidance of rangers for the study of wild life under natural conditions.
It is not a very far call from the wild game regions to the cities of the country, and the vividness of the contrast is one of the fascinations of South African travel. Barely a night's journey by train separates the lair of the lion in the Kruger National Park from the fashionable emporiums of Johannesburg, with its bustling life and crowded thoroughfares. Johannesburg is in all respects the metropolis, the London of South Africa set in the Veld, with the greatest gold industry in the world as its pulsating heart. It has grown into one of the gayest and most up-to-date cities in scarcely more than fifty years. In all its characteristics it has no counterpart in South Africa, and it takes a prominent place as one of the most romantic cities of the world.
Pretoria, the Administrative capital, close at hand, is completely different. The spirit of the Voortrekkers lingers there. Its atmosphere is calm and detached compared with the fever of Johannesburg. In and about Church Square, for all its modern buildings and the obvious newness of its green lawns, playing fountains and masoned terraces, there is still a delightful old-time air that recalls the days when the ox wagons were outspanned round the church, which at one time formed the centre of the square.
Maritzburg, the capital of Natal, and Bloemfontein, the capital of the Orange Free State, find a certain counterpart in Pretoria, but Durban, on the east coast, differs from them all. It is one of the wealthiest and most progressive cities in the country, as well as its busiest seaport, and a rapidly developing industrial centre. Durban has a romantic sub-tropical setting with picturesque asides in the life of its Oriental quarter and the splendid Zulu natives still feathered, painted and horned, like warriors, but now in the more peaceful guise of riskshaw pullers.
Port Elizabeth, East London and Grahamstown are all modern cities in their atmosphere and civic institutions. They each possess distinctive attractions and are imperishably linked with the history of the five thousand British settlers who landed at Port Elizabeth in 1820 and colonised the Eastern areas of the Cape Province. Material signs of the past, particularly the native wars and risings of the pioneer days, are to be found in old structures such as the Fort at Grahamstown, which has been preserved as a national monument.
In exterior, Kimberley, of magic fame and so intimately associated with Cecil Rhodes and his great works, is frankly a disappointing city, and rather belies its reputation as the centre of the richest diamond mines in the world.
Of all the cities of South Africa, Cape Town, the Mother City, under Table Mountain, makes the deepest and widest appeal. European civilisation in South Africa was cradled here, and few races are able to trace the origin of their settlement to a starting point at once more beautiful and yet so strong and inspiriting as the people of South Africa can do to this superb old city under the Mountain. For the first hundred and fifty years of its growth, from 1652, it was under Dutch rule, and the influence of that period remains in the splendid homesteads and farm houses built in the early Dutch and French styles of architecture. They are among the richest possessions of South Africa -classic dwellings with heavy white walls, beautiful old gables and thatched roofs, embodying the very spirit of the romantic days when the Cape was in the hey-day of its fashion as the " Half Way House " or the " Tavern of the Seas " for the white-winged fleets plying between Europe and the rich East.
Cape Town to-day is a delightful blend of the old and the new, with the latter rapidly gaining the ascendancy in keeping with the remarkable growth of the city in recent years. As one of the great ports of call it is inevitably cosmopolitan in character, but its main characteristic is one of restfulness. The old Dutch gardens, the superb avenue of oaks planted two hundred years ago by former Governors, the Castle, and many of the plain-fronted, time-worn dwellings with quaint raised stoeps, situated in various quarters of the city, remain interesting and enduring links. The suburban areas of the modern city have extended all round the base of Table Mountain and along the beautiful coast line of the Cape Peninsula, and these resorts are coming into growing favour each year as sunshine playgrounds for European visitors during the Northern winter. But in spite of modern changes, the inherent attraction of the Cape is its retention of an atmosphere of old-world charm blended with its rich historical associations and the unusual beauty of its situation.
A noteworthy feature of the growth of the cities and towns of South Africa within the past twenty years has been the rapid developments of its educational institutions and Universities. They have given a great impetus to culture, research, and the practice of the arts, and this is an important factor in a Dominion where Youth has played, and must continue to play, such a vital part in development. South Africa is essentially a country of Youth. The temperate climate, favouring every form of outdoor life both in pastimes and occupations, has a natural tendency to keep men and women young, and in its experience hitherto, both in times of peace and war and in the world of labour and sport, the country has had no cause to doubt the capacity and virility of its younger generations for carrying on the great work that awaits them in building up the heritage bequeathed to them by the pioneers.
EULOGY TO ROLY BARKER, by his daughter Colleen.
I have no idea how to summarise our Dad's life. Where to begin, what could possibly be said to do him justice? So, I'm just going to speak about a few things, and let your memories of him fill in the spaces.
I remember how my parent's romance began. One day more than 38 years ago a tall, handsome man entered a lift in Harare, Zimbabwe - turned to the attractive blonde already in the lift and declared that one day she would be his wife! And so it was - for 38 years. Dad had a steely determination when he saw what he wanted.
I remember learning what marriage was about by watching my parents. We learnt about friendship, compromise, compassion and devotion - and we learnt how essential a good sense of humour is.
I remember the larger than life character that my father was - how he would enter a room and the space got smaller. I remember a booming voice and how he stomped through life. I remember how he loved people, how he felt empty without a whole gaggle of people with whom he could hold forth. His friends enriched his life beyond measure, gave him space to be, to let off steam, to laugh and share life's burdens. We will never be able to thank his friends enough for all that they were to Dad, and for their support at this terribly sad time.
I remember not seeing a lot of Dad when we were little. He travelled the world breaking sanctions for the then Rhodesian government, and later quite legally on other business.
I remember the depth of our father's faith, which was his rock. His family were for generations very involved with the salvation army. From his family and through his faith emerged his enormous generosity of spirit. Our dad believed in practicing random acts of kindness, and was deeply moved by the plight of others. Dad has literally given others the shirt off his own back, and countless other acts of charity whether it was paying for the schooling of a promising but needy student; paying someone's debt; or simply buying sweets for a child looking longingly at the sweet counter. I remember his kindness, and how he tried anonymously to soothe the pain of others.
I remember our dad's love for sport. He'd always been a sportsman - a good one. But his true passion was for hockey. Dad had been the president of the Mashonaland Men's Hockey Association in Rhodesia, and was one of the few A-grade umpires available there and later in South Africa. Most recently Dad had been a selector for the national women's hockey side.
I'm quite sure that dad is clutching his head in despair over the cricket and is thundering advice from above. Watching sport with Dad was an education in itself!
I remember that Dad could be stubborn, occasionally arrogant and was the originator of road rage. But he was also unbelievably kind, gregarious and vulnerable.
I remember how very proud Dad was of my brother and I, and I know that he loved us more than he could say. I know that he admired my brother very much for the quiet and principled way he walks his path. He had an especially soft spot for his daughter-in-law, Robyn, whom he adored and his son-in-law, Steven, who made him laugh and gave him great solace. He loved them most especially because they loved his children and kept them safe.
I remember the delight Dad took in his three grandchildren: Gabriel, Timothy and Megan. They ushered in enormous joy to his life. Dad loved to smuggle them illicit chocolates and wonder at their antics. They miss him terribly and speak of losing their friend, Grandpa Ro.
When I see Dad in my mind's eye, I see that wonderful grin, see the sparkle in his eyes. I hear him say "I'm all the better for seeing you!" And I know that all is well.
Hamba kahle, Dad.
We love you.
ORIGINS OF THE CHITTENDEN NAME & CREST
Early documents were written in Latin in many European countries; however this is not the case for the earliest written records in England which tend to be written in Norman French or a combination of that language with Old English.
The use of Norman French as due to the fact that in 1066 the Normans, under William the Conqueror, conquered England and brought it under a Norman French administration. Indeed, it is believed that the use of hereditary surnames begins in England with the Conquest, and it may be set down as one of its results. In fact, there is no ascertained case of a strictly English surname before the Norman Conquest. As a result of the Norman invasion, English surnames may be generally classified as being of Norman French or Old English origin.
The English surname Chittenden and its variant Chittinge are of local origin, that is, belonging to the category of surnames derived from the place where the initial bearer once lived or held land. In this instance the name denotes "one who came from Chittenden", meaning "Citta's Valley" in Kent.
Now the plot thickens! In researching the family name history, I've unearthed now three family crests, all of them different. Not being remotely familiar with heraldry, I have no idea whether a crest should be different to a blazon of arms.
The first is a description from one of those computerized stalls at a UK shopping centre:
Blazon of Arms: Quarterly, argent and azure on a bend gules between two talbot's heads erased of the first, three quatrefoils of the same.
Translation: The Talbot (a hunting dog) is significant of Courage, Vigilance and Loyal Fidelity. The quatrefoils are symbolic of Fertility and Abundance, while the bend denotes Protection and Defense. Argent (white) indicates Peace and Sincerity and azure (blue) signifies Truth and Loyalty. Gules (red) denotes Military Fortitude and Magnanimity. A quatrefoil is an ornamental form which has four lobes or foils. It may resemble a four-petaled flower.
Crest: A talbot's head erased argent.
The second is from an American genealogical website, which gives us a sheep instead of a hunting dog, and what looks like starfish instead of four-petaled flowers.
Now for the third, and something completely different! It which was obtained from a UK-based heraldic company that conducts research and requires the recent family origins (in this case the "Darlington" Chittenden line) before producing the goods several days later. Now we have a preponderance of red with not a hint of blue, and yellow oranges rather than starfish!
The description is as follows:
England. A branch of this family was living in Highgate, Vermont in the early 18th century and another branch was in the African Cape in the 19th century.
Arms: Argent, on a chevron gules, five bezants all within a bordure engrailed of the second.
The oranges (bezants) are actually Roman gold coins, introduced by the Emperor Constantine, of 65 to 70 troy grains in weight. It was the basis of trade in the western world from the fourth to the twelfth century AD, and also known as a Solidus.
A bordure is a border around a shield, and engrailed means indented along the edge with small curves.
DOWN THE ZAMBEZI ON A RAFT
REG CHITTENDEN'S EPIC 1949 ADVENTURE
The idea of a trip into the unknown parts of the mighty Zambesi River Valley has haunted me since my early school days. As I have grown older and watched this Colony's rapid and incontrollable growth, the desire to snatch a memory of the real Rhodesia as discovered by our early pioneers, has become an ever-pressing ambition. It was this haunting fear that soon our land will have none of its present vast areas of bush and game untouched by the march of development, so apparent in every town, city and village, that brought my longing to explore the Zambesi Valley to a definite determination to spend my next vacation there. It was a simple matter to find three lads amongst my pals with similar views, and in no time the idea of traveling down that adventure-packed river was born.
Right from the start we met with opposition, both parental and official, but the more obstacles that were thrown in our path, the more determined we became to go through with our scheme. When at last we had convinced everybody that our minds were set, this opposition turned to co-operation and assistance, without which our adventure might never have materialized.
Our route and proposed starting point on the Zambesi was governed largely by consideration of distance and accessibility, and we finally chose Chirundu Bridge as our most practicable point from which to set off. Our route would then be down stream, crossing the Rhodesian-Portuguese border at Zumbo and so into Portuguese East Africa. Our early ambitions of pressing on to Tete and beyond, perhaps even to the sea, were forcibly curtailed owing to many reasons, notable lack of sufficient time and due to unsurmountable difficulties created by the laws and requirements of our Portuguese neighbours. However, our destination was eventually fixed at a kraal about 110 miles inside Portuguese East Africa, giving us an overall estimated distance of 250 miles from start to finish.
The next major consideration was the type of craft we would utilize, and here, to escape from the conventional canoe or native dugout, we hit on the novel scheme of building a raft. Many days and hours were spent before our final design embodying strength, sufficient size, buoyancy and cheapness was decided upon. Day by day and little by little the various iron struts and sections were cut and welded, until our final craft was ready some three months later.
To provide our buoyancy, we utlised 8 x 44 gallon oil drums which were arranged to form two torpedoes of four drums each, mounted end to end. Two end drums in each of these floats had a cone of sixteen gauge iron welded onto its periphery and these were to form the nose of our craft, thus reducing the resistance as a whole of each float when being propelled through the water. An arrangement of arced flat iron "saddles" with snap-on securing cables to fasten the drums to the deck framework was evolved, the underlying principles being one of readily dismantlable sections to facilitate easy transport, both by road to Chirundu and as an answer to the possibility of having to perform portages on the actual river journey. Our deck, of area fourteen feet by ten feet, was provided from old packing case timbers, whilst our purchases of angle iron were kept to a minimum by utilizing odd scrap iron and pieces so readily unearthed in most engineering shops and yards. The finished craft, painted a neat green, with all under-water sections black, cost us less than £15, although the value in hard work and weary hours was considerably more to us than this monetary value.
Those months of preparation entailed hours of careful planning and scheming, but as our D-day for Operation ZAM, July 9th 1949, drew nearer and nearer, so the terrifying list of "Things to Do" became systematically reduced. We - it is surely time to introduce our crew as John, Les, Jimmy and Reg (myself) - held two week-end trials at a local picnic resort a few weeks before our departure for Chirundu, and from these we were able to make slight adjustments to our "ship" and also familiarize ourselves with the assembly and transportation of the "Alda-Mae".
At last the Big Day dawned, and with a three-ton truck loaded to capacity with our raft sections, camp kit, gear and provisions we set off from Salisbury on Saturday afternoon, 9th July 1949. Our departure coincided with the commencement of the long Rhodesian holiday week-end of Rhodes and Founders, so that we were happy to include a mixed party of friends to spend the four days camping at Chirundu Bridge whilst we assembled our craft and prepared for our adventure. The road journey was slow and tiring, necessitating an over-night stop on the roadside, but interest and excitement was aroused as soon as our lorry commenced the picturesque descent into the great Zambesi escarpment.
The next four days was cramped with a mixture of fun and serious preparations for our sailing date. The raft was carefully and methodically assembled on the river's edge with the magnificent Chirundu Bridge stretched above us, linking the South to the North. As soon as the "Alda-Mae" was river-worthy we held a jolly "official" launching ceremony with the aid of a bottle of beer which had been hoarded away from pre-war days. Our effort was given a thorough testing in the swift and powerful current, and we were happy to prove that our 7½ HP outboard motor was capable of propelling us, very slowly admittedly, upstream against the force of the Zambesi. We had a lot of good fishing on those trials and many fine fish were hooked, notably an eight and three quarter pound tiger fish.
With the holidays at an end we bid farewell to our party of friends on the Tuesday, and the four of us settled down to the more serious preparations for the long and unknown miles ahead of us. We fixed box compartments in the space between the tops of each drum and the deck, and with corresponding trap-doors arranged in the deck itself, we had an ideal set of food storage tanks. Our provisions were carefully checked and sorted, then all tinned and water-tight foodstuffs stored away in the 'holds'. This not only provided an ideal cool-safe, but insured maximum deck-space for our personal kit and bedrolls, whilst leaving ample area for our free movement whilst afloat. Having ascertained from both trial and calculation that our ships was capable of supporting a load of over 2,000lbs "cargo", we carried a very extensive but intelligent range of foodstuffs to ensure a wide and varied diet. Items such as meal, sugar, flour, salt (for native barter), rusks, etc., were neatly stored in tin containers arranged in two rows on either side of our canopy space. This tent covered the central portion of our desk and was designed purely as a protection from the sun, as we did not anticipate rain at that time of the year.
At last all was ready, and on Saturday, July 16th, we pushed our heavily laden craft out into the turbulent waters, watched by the silent and incredulous eyes of scores of local nature river dwellers. As the last of us sprang aboard, we were struck by an alarming and heart-rendering fact - we were overloaded. Our deck, instead of being the calculated twelve inches above water was almost awash and the slightest movement on anyone's part caused a rush of water to swamp our kit. The cause of our troubles was soon discovered - in all the careful calculations no allowance had been made for the weight of motor fuel, both petrol and oil, and as totaled well over three hundred pounds, it proved to be have been a grave error of omission. However this fuel was all in watertight four gallon drums and with them all lashed together it was a simple matter to heave them overboard and allow them to float alongside. We breathed a sigh of relief at the resulting improved buoyancy and had a good laugh at what might have a tragic beginning to our adventure.
With a limited supply of petrol we planned to conserve it as much as possible, and agreed to drift whenever practicable on the fast current. However, with the river often two or three miles wide, we were soon to learn that the bulk of the water flow was confined to deep channels and with a strong wind continually throwing is off our course, we were early initiated into the discouraging experiences of being stuck on under-water sand banks. Our experience in navigating and locating the deep water improved daily with every hold-up and our delays were thus reduced to a minimum. We took shifts in keeping a constant lookout from the 'bridge', a seat arranged on top of a heap of boxes to ensure maximum visibility of the river ahead. Whenever possible necessary alterations to our course were effected by the use of the oars fitted on the rear portion of the raft, but if these proved ineffective of the danger of sandbanks, rocks or other hazards too imminent, the motor was brought into use and the safest channel quickly reached.
Life on board soon settled down to an organized routine and we made steady progress further and further into the wilds. An extensive supply of books and periodicals, excellent fishing, ample space to relax and sunbathe, and the ever entrancing beauty and interest on every hand kept boredom and dullness ever at bay. Daily exercise was provided by spells of rowing and the exertions following a sandbank hold-up. As soon as we heard the familiar grating noise under our drums, we would jump overboard and push our floating home back into the deep channels which we located by using a system of wading out in widening arcs until a sudden ducking heralded a deep channel. By prompt action we usually avoided drifting too far onto these sandbanks, but there were times when we became firmly stuck with the water a little more than ankle deep. These occasions proved very tiring, our only way out of our difficulties being to ascertain the shortest distance to a deep channel, then with the use of our oars as levers, lift and shove our craft inch by inch. There were days when we even had to resort to wading ashore with the heaviest items in our kit in order to lighten the load, but although these battles often lasted for four or five hours at a time, we eventually won through. One particular such hold-up took us from three o'clock in the afternoon until well after 7pm, and even then we had to dig away the sand for nearly two hundred yards with pots and pans in order to provide two channels to take our floats. It was an eerie and cheerless experience with hippo grunting and snorting all around us in the falling darkness, and the ever uncomfortable knowledge that the river was infested with crocodiles. I found that these sandbank hazards took on a new role in that they taught me a useful lesson in life. There are times when we meet snags and hold-ups in our progress through our daily lives when we are inclined to sit back and wait for assistance to come along without exerting too much effort on our own. We all came to learn in this practicable lesson that there are times when only one's own hard work and all-out determination will carry one through.
Although our aim was to avoid any strict adherence to the clock and calendar, we found that our traveling times became regular and our day's routine fairly steady. By the aid of primus stoves we were able to cook our breakfasts and prepare light lunches whilst still afloat, so that meal-time stops were unnecessary. We usually started looking out for suitable overnight camping sites at about 4pm, thus giving ourselves ample time to settle down comfortably and prepare the main meal of the day. There are a few occasions when owing to exceptionally steep banks or masses of reeds we had to rig out camp beds on the deck, but we usually found shady, lawn covered banks and the sheltered bays upon which to set up our over-night camps. By having our meals on deck with all the provisions at hand, the amount of kit to be off-loaded was confined to our bedding and kit bags, our 'kitchen' being situated right on the waters edge.
We usually rose with the sun after a healthy sleep. Dawn in the Valley come quickly, like the development of a photograph. Suddenly, out of the blank nothingness you become aware of vague outlines, and a moment later the hills, the ever talkative river, and the trees are all about you. Those awakenings will rank amongst my pleasant memories, as here indeed was the natural peace and soothing beauty I had come to find. Depending on the mood and the type of country, we sometimes went for early morning hikes into the jungle-like wilds and were always rewarded by the sight of innumerable game of every specie. Elephant, buffalo, pig and buck of every kind, but we only shot when the larder became empty, and then confined ourselves to the smaller antelope.
After three or four days of continuous travel we would select a particularly attractive site and camp for a day or so. At one particular spot situated on a horse-shoe bend in the river, we lazed and enjoyed ourselves for a full week. It was a perfect camp site with scenery reminiscent of typical advertising posters depicting the river and mountain scenes of Canada. Here too incidentally was situated our worst set of rapids, but having safely negotiated them with the aid of ropes, the angry swirls of roaring white waters took on a new role of beauty against the refreshing background of tree covered hills and distant blue mountains. The fishing here was good, whilst the presence of flocks of duck and geese kept us well supplied with food.
Our early fears of crocodiles were not entirely unfounded, as the repulsive reptiles were ever present in their hundreds. However, as we became accustomed to their cowardice and frightened dashed from water even when we were still hundreds of yards away, we became contemptuous and even fool-hardy in our lack of caution. Luckily no unhappy incidents occurred, even though we daily swam and bathed as we drifted along. Our accuracy with our rifles became more and more improved and we killed dozens of crocs of all sizes, sometimes at incredible ranges as we approached sand banks literally covered in basking reptiles.
Hippo too became a daily spectacle, but after our first excited attempts to obtain photographs we came to ignore them and took no more notice than as if they were heaps of rocks protruding from the water. This familiarity had its just result just before we entered the spectacular M'pata Gorge and provided us with an exciting few moments. We were drifting along very peacefully at the time and were all busy with our rods as the tiger fish were particularly active in that stretch of the river. One of us happened to remark on the presence of a large herd of hippo cows, bulls and calves ahead of us, but as we were so accustomed to their routine of submerging at our approach to resurface well our of our line of travel, nobody took any particular notice. Then, as suddenly as it was unexpected we were thrown in a heap on the deck, as with a shattering crash the whole rear section of the "Alda-Mae" was lifted a good four feet into the air. As soon as we realized no apparent disastrous damage had been inflicted we bust into laughter at our various positions and astonished expressions, but we took the precaution of warding off any further attack by heaving into the water one of our anti-hippo bombs, consisting of a stick of dynamite and time fuse. It had the desired effect and we were left severely alone. A detailed check-up of our craft revealed that we hadn't escaped entirely damage free, as the mounting bracket for our outboard engine had been sheared off, and a cross-brace between our floats considerably bent, but luckily the drums, although dented, were still water tight. We managed to repair our engine with mail splints and odd pieces of cord and rope and although we had to nurse it considerably after that, it succeeded in carrying us through to the end of our trip.
Although our attitude towards hippo became far more cautious after this, we were due for yet another encounter in the last stage of our trip. It occurred in Portuguese territory where the numbers of hippo far exceeded those we had seen in Rhodesia. We had just rounded a bend in the river when we surprised a lone hippo standing in a few inches of water alongside the bank. We were taken completely by surprise when, instead of dashing off away from us, it gave a contemptuous, angry snort and charged straight towards us, hitting the deep water with a mighty splash. Action Station on Board. We delayed our counter attack until the proverbial whites of its eyes were showing, convincing us that the big beast most certainly had evil intentions. It was only a matter of feet away when our hippo-bomb burst right under it. All was confusion for a moment with an incredible amount of upheaval and churning up of the water and then all was quiet. After an interval we were all relieved to see our attacker surface again, obviously very shaken, but otherwise sound in body and limb. We proceeded on our way with no further disputes over our right of way.
Even after those two incidents, we still came to look upon the hippopotami as harmless hulks of flesh and later even came to welcome their appearance, as their presence always indicated deep water amongst the treacherous sand banks and shallows.
We were daily treated to the sight of small buck and other game on the wooded banks, but our most frequent audiences were the endless troops of baboons. Many an amusing incident was witnessed as these apes reacted to the strange spectacle we must have presented. Our biggest thrill, however, occurred one day whilst we were anxiously picking our way past some angry rapids. The current was swiftly sweeping us round a bend when we glanced up to observe a heard of eleven adult elephants busy wading the might Zambesi to a reed-covered island. Their cautious progress was a thrilling spectacle and we were struck by their team spirit of assisting each other with their trunks and huge bodies. One huge tusker was obviously the recognized leader and the rest of the big beats followed his progress without question. To magnify the excitement of the occasion we found a particularly frisky hippo alongside our craft, showing far too much interest in our presence for our peace of mind, and to cap all, a swarm of bees attempted without success to hive under our canopy. We pulled in to the steep bank without mishap and continued to watch the elephant until they disappeared into the reeds.
Elephant were encountered everywhere on the Rhodesian side of the border and we saw several large herds as well as the occasional lone tusker. On one occasion when we were still but a mere twenty miles below Chirundu, a large herd passed within 100 yards of our camp as we lay in our beds. It was an eerie experience in the pitch darkness to hear the big brutes lumbering past, making a fearful noise as they tore leaves and branches from the nearby trees.
As our journey progressed and we came to encounter further herds, our initial fears were soon dispelled. On two subsequent shooting walks make to replenish our larder, we found ourselves right in the middle of large herds, but by cautiously withdrawing down wind we never betrayed our presence. It was these incidents that brought home to me the comparative ease an elephant hunter has in selecting his kill and making so certain of his target. However, to we inexperienced adventurers, retreat was our foremost and sole thought.
We were surprised at the comparative lack of native kraals, especially as we drew away from the more civilized atmosphere of the Chirundu Bridge area. It was later explained to us that most of the able-bodied male natives had been recruited for labour, leaving their homes in the hands of old men and wrinkled womenfolk. These poor wretches were obviously having a lean time, judging from their meager crops and pitiful food supplies. Nevertheless, we were struck by the fact that they displayed little initiative in the planning of their futures, as borned out by their crude agricultural methods. Crops, such as they were, were planted at random on the river banks, little or no effort being made to remove or combat the presence of grass, reeds and shrub. Those males we did come across appeared to lead a contented lazy life, their main interest being food, which they either left to their womenfolk to tend or else leisurely obtained from the river, either as trapped fish or large water rats. We found too that in many villages the civilized world had stretched forth tiny arteries even into those wild parts. Natives talking English, or at least having a working knowledge of the kitchen-kaffir of the towns; factory made garments, and a thorough knowledge and appreciation of the value of money. For all that, we gained a strong impression that the native was far happier, more respectful and far more trustworthy than his kind from the cities and towns.
The most picturesque and impressive section of our trip was undoubtedly the M'pata Gorge, whose entrance lies some eighty miles below Chirundu. Here the river narrows almost alarmingly and we gained the impression of heading for certain disaster as the mighty river seemed to converge on a range of hills with no visible outlet. And then, almost at the last minute it seems, the hills open out to form a narrow channel between a parallel set of steep tree covered hills. This channel continues for about thirty miles, and presents a picture of rugged beauty from start to finish.
We were amazed at the sluggishness of the current, particularly as we had expected a severe buffeting whilst passing through the Gorge. The water must be extremely deep for such a bottle-neck on the normally wide river to have so little noticeable effect. However there were moments at particularly narrow spots where the actual drop in water level was bery marked and we shot forward at alarming speed, and experienced anxious moments on the gigantic whirlpools and swirls of leaping water. As we drifted further into this strange gigantic cutting, the hills on either hand towered right above us, whilst numerous age-old jet black rocks and crags peered solemnly above the surface of the water. These hills, clad in their scanty winter cloaks, had an unfriendly air about them. Numerous baobabs with their clutching fingers of leafless limbs, grasped at the very heavens, which, as if realizing the danger, had hidden every little cloud in a clear blue roof. Bare, black pinnacles of rock stood silent and cold as we drifted by, objecting to our intrusion of their domain. The absence of cross and delaying sand banks were, however, a big consolation and we made steady progress in spite of a strong prevailing wind which blew upstream.
We spent three nights in the Gorge, our camping sites being situated on the uncomfortable steep slopes. It was here we were initiated to the M'pata gales which we found to be a regular feature of our waking hours. In the early hours a strong wind would commence blowing, increasing in intensity every minute until a powerful, tearing gale threatened to deposit us and all our belongings in the now angry waters. The overhanging cliffs formed a natural wind tunnel and those were periods of extreme discomfort to us as were lashed with stinging sand. The sun only became visible at about 11am and disappeared as early as 3pm, so shut in were we by the Gorge walls. Owing to the impossible wind we restricted our sailing times to the calmer mid-day period, but even then we had much excitement in riding white topped waves three or four feet high, which swept up the Gorge and often submerged our deck and kit. The "Alda-Mae" weathered it all with no apparent strain and we never harboured doubts as to our safety in those churning waters.
The Gorge provided us with our biggest and most exciting fishing catches, for it was in those dark, mysterious depths we hooked specimens of the famous Zambesi Vundu. The biggest monster, five foot in length, topped our scales at sixty pounds and gave Jim a thrilling fight before it was eventually hauled aboard. The runner-up was a mere thirty-five pounds, which considerably dwarfed the other catches ranging around twenty pounds.
An entertaining and useful item of excess kit was a small portable radio transmitter and receiver which we had constructed during our months of preparation. By their use we were able to contact relatives and friends regularly each week to report our progress. Our main problem was locating suitable sites for the erection of our rather lengthy aerials, and was usually governed by the presence of tall trees. Our power output was a mere 1 watt, so that the boxed in nature of the M'pata Gorge presented technical as well as practical difficulties. However we did manage to sling our aerials between two protruding rocky crags and were amazed at the remarkable quality of both transmission and reception. The receiver, of course, was often employed as a means of keeping in touch with major events, notably the All Blacks vs. Rhodesia commentary, which we received in full, much to our delight.
We had much satisfaction in climbing to the crest of one particularly steep precipitous hill, which rose almost perpendicular from the waters edge. Our efforts were more than rewarded by the magnificent views on every hand as we sat awestruck on the very crest of this mysterious but magnetic Zambesi Valley. The glistening ribbon of the winding river was laid out below us, to disappear into the hazy nothingless of the misty horizon. We were able to observe the course we had come over and also to obtain a promise of the picturesque country which still lay ahead of us.
Stage one of our adventure came to a close as we drifted into sight of the Northern Rhodesia border station of Feira, situated on the neck of land formed by the junction of the Luangwa River and the Zambesi. Beyond this tiny outpost of the Empire we caught a glimpse of the white buildings and orderly trees of Zumbo, the Portuguese port of entry.
We were afforded a grand welcome at Feira by the entire European population of three, and several score of incredulous natives. Every comfort was put at our disposal and after hot baths, a change to clean clothes and a very appetizing meal and sundowner party we readily forgot that we were still in the heart of the bush.
The work of those three grand fellows is summed up simply as a dedication of service to medical sciences and the stricken African, for it is here that the problems and sorrows of sleeping sickness are being studied and combated. We were extremely interested in all we were shown at the station hospital and laboratory, but I was far more impressed with the evidence of patience and perseverance that must have been displayed to succeeded in impressing on the primitive native that the white man's strange apparatus and interest were there for his benefit. Imagine the difficulties after a long trek through wild bush country to a remote native village to not only succeed in getting every native there to surrender a blood slide specimen, but to impress on any suspected case that he should return to the station hospital for confinement.
We left Feira and our new-found friends the following morning and headed for the Portuguese border post of Zumbo. We met with an unexpected set back here to find the historic mud fort and tiny township deserted by the Portuguese officials who were apparently away collecting taxes in the surrounding district. We found the current far too strong on attempting to return upstream to Feira, so that there was nothing for it but to await the return of the Portuguese in order to obtain the necessary permission to proceed with our journey. We spent three boring days in the uncomfortable heat moored on a wide sand bank before we eventually interviewed the "Administratdo", and presented our passports and papers. An amusing, but interesting incident took place on the second night of our forced delay when we made the acquaintance of the Portuguese Doctor on his return to Zumbo. He was unable to speak a word of English, whilst we were ignorant of his native tongue, but we found a happy solution through the medium of his native servant who could speak both Portuguese and the Rhodesian native dialect 'Chishona' in which we were fairly well versed. We were entertained to a royal feast at the Doctor's house and maintained an interesting conversation through our interpreter, throughout the evening.
The following morning, after considerable difficulty, we succeeded in convincing the Fort Commandante that our intentions were honourable and that the purpose of our journey was in no way connected with customs evasion, illicit native labour recruiting, or illegal hunting of big game. They were on the whole as considerate as possible and even granted us permission to shoot for the pot en route through their territory.
Our journey through Portuguese East Africa rapidly took on the role of "the battle of the sand banks" as it was on this portion of our trip that we encountered the most hold-ups. On leaving behind the hills and undulating country of the Rhodesian side of the border, the Zambesi seemed to spread out to correspond with the flatter nature of the country and we daily encountered groups of large islands presenting many choices of possible routes. Decisions, backed by careful scrutiny and past experiences, were always necessary in selecting the best channels, but we considered ourselves extremely lucky in avoiding dead ends on more than one occasion. The engine was utilized daily and we rarely found the opportunity to drift with any sense of security. Our route, from necessity, twisted and turned so that we covered many more river miles than were indicated on the map. As we were more often than not kept to the center of the river we had little opportunity of seeing game, although crocs and hippos were always at hand. We were kept well supplied with food with the many ducks and geese, which we became expert in picking off with our rifles. Fish too were plentiful although no spectacular catches were made.
Our progress through PEA became rather rushed, as we were concerned at the number and frequency of sand bank hold-ups, and not knowing what lay ahead we dared not spend too much time in relaxation or sight seeing. And so it was we suddenly found ourselves at our destination, well within our scheduled time. Nsusa's Kraal, although a major Ulere native labour camp, is but a collection of native huts with the addition of a "boma" build for the European staff of the Ulere Organisation. It was with mixed feelings of regret and elation at having reached our journey's end that we off loaded our kit for the last time.
We had a three day wait at Nsusa during which time we stripped the "Alda-Mae" of the tent, engine and fittings and generally sorted out and packed our remaining food and equipment for the journey home. We were all very heartsore and reluctant to desert our faithful craft, but we decided it was impossible for us to take her back to Salisbury with us. And so we dragged her high and dry on the banks of the river she had just conquered and there she lies now with a fate as undeserved as it is uncertain.
We departed from the Zambesi and all its thrilling magnetism on the native passenger bus which runs between Mt. Darwin and Nsusa's Kraal carrying immigrant labour to Southern Rhodesia. The journey was tiring and rather uncomfortable, but we were nevertheless grateful to the Ulere Organisation for their co-operation and assistance in carrying us back to civilization.
From Mt. Darwin we proceeded to Bindura by railway bus, completing our final hop to Salisbury by train. We caused considerable interest as we stepped off the train at our home town, no doubt looking very out of place in our bush clothes and bushy beards.
It was grand to be home again and to be able to report "mission accomplished", but each of us carrys within our hearts a yearning to return and relive our wonderful adventure in that fascinating Zambesi River. I know I for one will not rest until I return.