Moemba owns a rich island, called Mosanga, a mile in length, on which his village stands. He has the reputation of being a brave warrior, and is certainly a great talker; but he gave us strangers something better than a stream of words. We received a handsome present of corn, and the fattest goat we had ever seen; it resembled mutton. His people were as liberal as their chief. They brought two large baskets of corn, and a lot of tobacco, as a sort of general contribution to the travellers. One of Sinamane's canoe-men, after trying to get his pay, deserted here, and went back before the stipulated time, with the story, that the Englishman had stolen the canoes. Shortly after sunrise next morning, Sinamane came into the village with fifty of his "long spears," evidently determined to retake his property by force; he saw at a glance that his man had deceived him. Moemba rallied him for coming on a wildgoose chase. "Here are your canoes left with me, your men have all been paid, and the Englishmen are now asking me to sell my canoes." Sinamane said little to us; only observing that he had been deceived by his follower. A single remark of his chief's caused the foolish fellow to leave suddenly, evidently much frightened and crestfallen. Sinamane had been very kind to us, and, as he was looking on when we gave our present to Moemba, we made him also an additional offering of some beads, and parted good friends. Moemba, having heard that we had called the people of Sinamane together to tell them about our Saviour's mission to man, and to pray with them, associated the idea of Sunday with the meeting, and, before anything of the sort was proposed, came and asked that he and his people might be "sundayed" as well as his neighbours; and be given a little seed wheat, and fruit-tree seeds; with which request of course we very willingly complied. The idea of praying direct to the Supreme Being, though not quite new to all, seems to strike their minds so forcibly that it will not be forgotten. Sinamane said that he prayed to God, Morungo, and made drink-offerings to him. Though he had heard of us, he had never seen white men before.
Beautiful crowned cranes, named from their note "ma-wang," were seen daily, and were beginning to pair. Large flocks of spur-winged geese, or machikwe, were common. This goose is said to lay her eggs in March. We saw also pairs of Egyptian geese, as well as a few of the knob-nosed, or, as they are called in India, combed geese. When the Egyptian geese, as at the present time, have young, the goslings keep so steadily in the wake of their mother, that they look as if they were a part of her tail; and both parents, when on land, simulate lameness quite as well as our plovers, to draw off pursuers. The ostrich also adopts the lapwing fashion, but no quadrupeds do: they show fight to defend their young instead. In some places the steep banks were dotted with the holes which lead into the nests of bee-eaters. These birds came out in hundreds as we passed. When the red-breasted species settle on the trees, they give them the appearance of being covered with red foliage.
On the morning of the 12th October we passed through a wild, hilly country, with fine wooded scenery on both sides, but thinly inhabited. The largest trees were usually thorny acacias, of great size and beautiful forms. As we sailed by several villages without touching, the people became alarmed, and ran along the banks, spears in hand. We employed one to go forward and tell Mpande of our coming. This allayed their fears, and we went ashore, and took breakfast near the large island with two villages on it, opposite the mouth of the Zungwe, where we had left the Zambesi on our way up. Mpande was sorry that he had no canoes of his own to sell, but he would lend us two. He gave us cooked pumpkins and a water-melon. His servant had lateral curvature of the spine. We have often seen cases of humpback, but this was the only case of this kind of curvature we had met with. Mpande accompanied us himself in his own vessel, till we had an opportunity of purchasing a fine large canoe elsewhere. We paid what was considered a large price for it: twelve strings of blue cut glass neck beads, an equal number of large blue ones of the size of marbles, and two yards of grey calico. Had the beads been coarser, they would have been more valued, because such were in fashion. Before concluding the bargain the owner said "his bowels yearned for his canoe, and we must give a little more to stop their yearning." This was irresistible. The trading party of Sequasha, which we now met, had purchased ten large new canoes for six strings of cheap coarse white beads each, or their equivalent, four yards of calico, and had bought for the merest trifle ivory enough to load them all. They were driving a trade in slaves also, which was something new in this part of Africa, and likely soon to change the character of the inhabitants. These men had been living in clover, and were uncommonly fat and plump. When sent to trade, slaves wisely never stint themselves of beer or anything else, which their master's goods can buy.
The temperature of the Zambesi had increased 10 degrees since August, being now 80 degrees. The air was as high as 96 degrees after sunset; and, the vicinity of the water being the coolest part, we usually made our beds close by the river's brink, though there in danger of crocodiles. Africa differs from India in the air always becoming cool and refreshing long before the sun returns, and there can be no doubt that we can in this country bear exposure to the sun, which would be fatal in India. It is probably owing to the greater dryness of the African atmosphere that sunstroke is so rarely met with. In twenty-two years Dr. Livingstone never met or heard of a single case, though the protective head-dresses of India are rarely seen.
When the water is nearly at its lowest, we occasionally meet with small rapids which are probably not in existence during the rest of the year. Having slept opposite the rivulet Bume, which comes from the south, we passed the island of Nakansalo, and went down the rapids of the same name on the 17th, and came on the morning of the 19th to the more serious ones of Nakabele, at the entrance to Kariba. The Makololo guided the canoes admirably through the opening in the dyke. When we entered the gorge we came on upwards of thirty hippopotami: a bank near the entrance stretches two-thirds across the narrowed river, and in the still place behind it they were swimming about. Several were in the channel, and our canoe-men were afraid to venture down among them, because, as they affirm, there is commonly an ill-natured one in a herd, which takes a malignant pleasure in upsetting canoes. Two or three boys on the rocks opposite amused themselves by throwing stones at the frightened animals, and hit several on the head. It would have been no difficult matter to have shot the whole herd. We fired a few shots to drive them off; the balls often glance off the skull, and no more harm is done than when a schoolboy gets a bloody nose; we killed one, which floated away down the rapid current, followed by a number of men on the bank. A native called to us from the left bank, and said that a man on his side knew how to pray to the Kariba gods, and advised us to hire him to pray for our safety, while we were going down the rapids, or we should certainly all be drowned. No one ever risked his life in Kariba without first paying the river-doctor, or priest, for his prayers. Our men asked if there was a cataract in front, but he declined giving any information; they were not on his side of the river; if they would come over, then he might be able to tell them. We crossed, but he went off to the village. We then landed and walked over the hills to have a look at Karaba before trusting our canoes in it. The current was strong, and there was broken water in some places, but the channel was nearly straight, and had no cataract, so we determined to risk it. Our men visited the village while we were gone, and were treated to beer and tobacco. The priest who knows how to pray to the god that rules the rapids followed us with several of his friends, and they were rather surprised to see us pass down in safety, without the aid of his intercession. The natives who followed the dead hippopotamus caught it a couple of miles below, and, having made it fast to a rock, were sitting waiting for us on the bank beside the dead animal. As there was a considerable current there, and the rocky banks were unfit for our beds, we took the hippopotamus in tow, telling the villagers to follow, and we would give them most of the meat. The crocodiles tugged so hard at the carcass, that we were soon obliged to cast it adrift, to float down in the current, to avoid upsetting the canoe. We had to go on so far before finding a suitable spot to spend the night in, that the natives concluded we did not intend to share the meat with them, and returned to the village. We slept two nights at the place where the hippopotamus was cut up. The crocodiles had a busy time of it in the dark, tearing away at what was left in the river, and thrashing the water furiously with their powerful tails. The hills on both sides of Kariba are much like those of Kebrabasa, the strata tilted and twisted in every direction, with no level ground.
Although the hills confine the Zambesi within a narrow channel for a number of miles, there are no rapids beyond those near the entrance. The river is smooth and apparently very deep. Only one single human being was seen in the gorge, the country being too rough for culture. Some rocks in the water, near the outlet of Kariba, at a distance look like a fort; and such large masses dislocated, bent, and even twisted to a remarkable degree, at once attest some tremendous upheaving and convulsive action of nature, which probably caused Kebrabasa, Kariba, and the Victoria Falls to assume their present forms; it took place after the formation of the coal, that mineral having then been tilted up. We have probably nothing equal to it in the present quiet operations of nature.
On emerging we pitched our camp by a small stream, the Pendele, a few miles below the gorge. The Palabi mountain stands on the western side of the lower end of the Kariba strait; the range to which it belongs crosses the river, and runs to the south-east. Chikumbula, a hospitable old headman, under Nchomokela, the paramount chief of a large district, whom we did not see, brought us next morning a great basket of meal, and four fowls, with some beer, and a cake of salt, "to make it taste good." Chikumbula said that the elephants plagued them, by eating up the cotton-plants; but his people seem to be well off.
A few days before we came, they caught three buffaloes in pitfalls in one night, and, unable to eat them all, left one to rot. During the night the wind changed and blew from the dead buffalo to our sleeping-place; and a hungry lion, not at all dainty in his food, stirred up the putrid mass, and growled and gloated over his feast, to the disturbance of our slumbers. Game of all kinds is in most extraordinary abundance, especially from this point to below the Kafue, and so it is on Moselekatso's side, where there are no inhabitants. The drought drives all the game to the river to drink. An hour's walk on the right bank, morning or evening, reveals a country swarming with wild animals: vast herds of pallahs, many waterbucks, koodoos, buffaloes, wild pigs, elands, zebras, and monkeys appear; francolins, guinea-fowls, and myriads of turtledoves attract the eye in the covers, with the fresh spoor of elephants and rhinoceroses, which had been at the river during the night. Every few miles we came upon a school of hippopotami, asleep on some shallow sandbank; their bodies, nearly all out of the water, appeared like masses of black rock in the river. When these animals are hunted much, they become proportionably wary, but here no hunter ever troubles them, and they repose in security, always however taking the precaution of sleeping just above the deep channel, into which they can plunge when alarmed. When a shot is fired into a sleeping herd, all start up on their feet, and stare with peculiar stolid looks of hippopotamic surprise, and wait for another shot before dashing into deep water. A few miles below Chikumbula's we saw a white hippopotamus in a herd. Our men had never seen one like it before. It was of a pinkish white, exactly like the colour of the Albino. It seemed to be the father of a number of others, for there were many marked with large light patches. The so-called WHITE elephant is just such a pinkish Albino as this hippopotamus. A few miles above Kariba we observed that, in two small hamlets, many of the inhabitants had a similar affection of the skin. The same influence appeared to have affected man and beast. A dark coloured hippopotamus stood alone, as if expelled from the herd, and bit the water, shaking his head from side to side in a most frantic manner. When the female has twins, she is said to kill one of them.