If the sportsman is bound for North-Eastern Rhodesia, he can get there via Chinde and Blantyre ; and, if he does not intend to shoot in Nyasaland on the way, his dutiable articles could be sealed and passed through " in transit" ; but the shooting in the central and northern parts of Nyasaland is as good as it is North-Eastern Rhodesia, and all game found in the latter place exists in Nyasaland, except a few species, such as situtunga, lechwe, and sassaby ; and these need a long journey in North-Eastern Rhodesia to reach their haunts.
Another way into North-Eastern Rhodesia is via Tete, on the Zambesi; but although this is an interesting journey, it is slower and more expensive.
For North-Western Rhodesia the sportsman's best route is via Cape Town, and on by rail to Livingstone or Broken Hill, at either of which places he could find boys and carriers. Shooting in North-Western Rhodesia is much more expensive than it is in the other two territories mentioned, and, as I have not spent much time there, I will say little about it. I have entered or left Nyasaland and North-Eastern Rhodesia by all the routes I have mentioned, some on several occasions, and I once went all the way from Tete to Chinde in a large houseboat, and though it was not as comfortable travelling as by river steamer, it was more interesting, as I could stop for shooting when I felt inclined. In the dry season, especially towards the end of it, and during September, October, and November, the rivers get very low, and the steamers find it impossible to get far up them, and so the traveller is obliged to travel by houseboat. These have a small cabin or house, fitted aft, and some of these shelters are large enough to hold a box or two, and a deck chair, but a considerable amount of manoeuvring has to be exercised if one's head is to. escape many a hard bump. I always think the river travelling delightful, either by river-steamer or houseboat; many small villages will be passed, and a good deal of bird life will be seen. There is plenty of game within a short distance of the river, but it must be remembered that most of the journey is through Portuguese territory, so it is best to ask permission to shoot there from some commandant.
On the Zambesi river there are several official stations, and although the officials seldom care anything about the game, it is a matter of courtesy not to break the game laws.
Twice I was asked by a Portuguese official to shoot as many hippo as I could, as they had been upsetting native canoes, and on one occasion had attacked and sunk a houseboat. The Portuguese soldiers often amuse themselves by shooting at them with old Sniders, and, the bullets of these rifles being made of very soft lead, and having a low velocity, they wound many more than they kill; and the poor hippos try to get some of their own back on the first craft they see, which is usually an old man and a boy in a leaky dugout. The dugout goes to the bottom in deep water, and the old native and his son are left lamenting. The canoe may not be worth more than a few shillings, but its loss is a great disaster to a poor native, who probably does not possess much more than the yard of calico round his loins and a few pots at home.
Considering the fine quality of the sport obtainable in Nyasaland and North-Eastern Rhodesia, and the great expense of shooting in British East Africa, it will not be many years until sportsmen pay more attention to these fine countries, which in some places are hardly known to Europeans.
No Crown land is now sold in Nyasaland, and it can only be had on lease of seven, fourteen, and twenty-one years. When I last lived in North-Eastern Rhodesia, land could be purchased from 6d. per acre; but I do not know the price at present, although I have not heard that any change has taken place. There are many points to be considered when leasing or buying land for planting or farming projects, and, as regards Nyasaland, the following sentences, which appeared in my " Nyasaland for the Hunter and Settler," are well worth consideration by the intending settler. They are these :
1. Cost of transport to nearest railway or steamer landing.
2. Quality of soil for the purpose it is required for.
3. Cost of land, or lease of same.
4. Water supply (running water essential).
5. Elevation above sea level.
6. Prospects of labour supply.
7. Whether there is plenty of food for the labourers.
8. Grazing facilities for stock.
9. Rainfall in district.
10. Extent of cleared land (native gardens).
11. Quantity of bamboos (for building purposes).
12. Amount of good timber (for sawing and big posts).
13. Firewood (for personal and natives' use and for tobacco-curing, etc.).
14. Freedom from insect pests (especially tsetse fly).
15. For cotton (distance from a public ginnery).
16. Distance from a township.
Perhaps the greatest incentive to young men is the reading of accounts of travel and adventure in far-off lands, and there is no doubt that if we Britons did not possess a very large and interesting collection of such literature, not nearly so many young fellows would leave comfortable homes and go to wild countries, where they often have to suffer hardship and discomfort.
Mr. F. C. Selous has mentioned how the reading of Gordon Cumming's and Baldwin's books fired his imagination long ago, and the reading of the same books and those written by Mr. Selous himself, did the same to me.
How well I remember the long winter evenings on the East Coast of Scotland, when it used to get dark about four o'clock in the afternoon, and how I used to sit near a roaring fir-log fire, with a red-shaded lamp near me, and pore over such books.
One of the earliest books I remember was a volume entitled "Ungava," all about the fur traders on Hudson Bay, in Canada. This story appealed to me so much that, with the help of my brothers and sisters, I built a little log cabin in a plantation of fir trees not far from the house. An old iron pipe served for a chimney, and my bed was made of fir needles covered with two blankets. Then I used to sally out, first with an air gun, and then with a rook rifle, shoot blackbirds and thrushes, and roast them on a spit. In the way of big game, many is the fine torn cat that fell to my '220, and I have often wondered if the owners had any suspicion as to where their pets got to. Later on, I shot much wildfowl on the estuary of the River Tay, and sometimes I would cross over to the Fife coast and shoot there.