VOL. XLVI NOVEMBER, 1909 NO. 5
AFRICAN GAME TRAILS
AN ACCOUNT OF THE AFRICAN WANDERINGS OF AN AMERICAN HUNTER-NATURALIST
By Theodore Roosevelt
II. — ON AN EAST AFRICAN RANCH — LION-HUNTING ON THE KAPITI PLAINS
“The house at which we were staying stood on the beautiful Kitanga hills. They were so named after the Englishman, to whom the natives had given the name of Kitanga; some years ago, as we were told, he had been killed by a lion near where the ranch-house now stood; and we were shown his grave in the little Machakos graveyard. The house was one-story high, clean and comfortable, with a veranda running round three sides; and on the veranda were lion skins and the skull of a rhinoceros. From the house we looked over the hills and wide lonely plains; the green valley below, with its flat-topped acacias, was very lovely; and in the evening we could see, scores of miles away, the snowy summit of mighty Kilimanjaro turn crimson in the setting sun.”
… And so begins the second installment of the African wanderings of Roosevelt, to which Scribner’s alloted 27 pages including photographs. The African Game Trails were published monthly from October 1909 – through in September 1910, ending with the story of the “Great Rhinoceros of Lado.” In total, the Smithsonian East Africa Expedition amassed a collection of 23,151 natural history specimens. Today, a little over one hundred years later, the rare white rhino of Lado is the sole exhibit on public display at the National Museum of Natural History.
The expedition traveled throughout what is now southern and western Kenya, the Congo, Uganda, and southern Sudan by train, horse, camel, and a steamboat on the Nile—stopping for weeks at each destination to collect specimens. They ended the expedition in Khartoum, Sudan, on March 14, 1910.
The hunter who wanders through these lands sees sights which ever afterward remain fixed in his mind…. Apart from this, yet mingled with it, is the strong attraction of the silent places, of the large tropic moons, and the splendor of the new stars; where the wanderer sees the awful glory of sunrise and sunset in the wide waste spaces of the earth, unworn of man, and changed only by the slow change of the ages through time everlasting.
– Col. Theodore Roosevelt in Khartoum, March 15, 1910