6 – Stanley Finds Livingstone

On October 22, the caravan came to a small  stream of water called Mtambu.  They had now reached the home of the lion, leopard, and wild boar.  They made camp about 100 yards from the river.  The herd-keeper drove the donkeys and goats down to the stream of water.  To get there, they had to pass through a road that the elephants and rhinoceros had made for themselves to get water to drink.  They had barely entered the passage when a black-spotted leopard sprang out and fastened its fangs into the neck of one of the donkeys, causing it to holler loudly.  The other donkeys joined him in braying, and all of them commenced kicking their heels at the same time.  The leopard was so frightened at all the noise that he released his victim and fled into the jungle.  The donkey was badly bitten, but recovered soon.

This incident led Stanley to take a look all around the camp to see what game he could discover there.  He took Kalulu with him to have an extra gun.  They walked for some time without seeing any kind of an animal, and were starting to return to the camp when a troop of monkeys high in a tree chattered and grimaced so vigorously that Stanley start laughing hilariously.  They had probably never seen a white man before and it must have scared them.

As he turned from the monkeys, he saw a reddish-colored wild boar that bore really large tusks standing not too far from him.  He took a minute to gain his composure, walked to within 40 yards of the beast and fired at its fore-shoulder.  This mostly made the boar mad and he started to get up.  Stanley planted another shot in his chest, but instead of falling, he started to charge towards him.  Finally after one more bullet, the boar finally dropped.  As Stanley stooped to cut its throat, it sprang up and darted off into the jungle.

On the 2nd of November they reached the Malagazazi river.  While the donkeys were swimming over it, a huge crocodile seized one of them by the neck and carried it under and devoured it.  This happened in spite of the men trying to tug on the rope to get him free, and the donkey itself fighting and braying wildly.

Livingstone Heard From

The following day Stanley meta caravan of eighty Waguhba, a tribe that lived in a district on the southwestern side of Lake Tanganika.  They had come directly from Ujiji.  They reported the presence of a white man there who was very sick, having marched from a far country in the west and had been deserted by his carriers.   After questioning them closely, he became convinced that this had to be David Livingstone.

He was beside himself with joy over this news and promised his men extra rewards and pay if they would march rapidly and start marching immediately to Ujiji.  He hoped to reach Ujiji without any trouble, but they were soon detained by a warlike chief, who demanded much tribute for passage through his country.  Fifty of his warriors arrived to enforce the demand.  Stanley decided to camp there for the night and try to reach a compromise with the chief.  He also learned that there were several other chiefs between him and Ujiji who would demand a heavy toll.  The problem was that his goods were beginning to run extremely low  and he didn’t feel that he could spare giving away much more. 

He consulted with his men and found that it would be possible to reach their destination by turning aside from the traveled road and using some paths through the jungle until they had passed the properties of the toll-demanding chiefs.  Stanley decided to do this at once and procured a native guide.  They imposed the strictest silence upon every member of the expedition, and about midnight they quietly left the camp in squads of four.  They followed the new guide through the intricate paths of the jungle and successfully evaded the unfriendly chiefs.  After they had passed the trouble spots, they again turned into the traveled road and pushed on with  much lighter hearts to Ujiji. 

They were finally able to camp and take a much needed rest.  Stanley heard a noise in the west that sounded like a distant thunder.  He inquired at to its cause, and one of the guides told him that it was Kabogo.  It turned out that it was a great mountain on the other side of the Tanganika that was full of deep holes into which water would roll.  Then when there was wind on the Tanganika, it would cause a sound like mvuha (thunder).  There had been many boats that had been lost there, and it was a custom with the Arabs and native to throw cloth and white beads to appease the mulungu (god) of the lake.  Those who threw beads into the lake would usually get past without trouble.  Those who did not got lost and drowned.  The people there were afraid of it and felt that it was a dreadful place.  The distance from their camp to Kabogo was at least 100 miles, but they could still hear the sound of the thundering waves dashing into the caves along the mountain side. 

Meeting with Livingstone

They reached Ujiji on the 16th of November and marched into the village with flags flying, drums beating, and guns firing.  There were crowds of Arabs and natives who came running out to meet them.  Within a short distance of the huts of the village Stanley was startled to hear a pleasant voice say “Good morning, sir” in English.  He looked around and saw a  man with an animated and joyous face.  This man was Susi, Dr. Livingstone’s faithful servant for many years.  Susi told Stanley that his boss was at his house in the village only a short distance from them. 

In a moment, Chuma, another one of the servants appeared, and Stanley told them to run and tell their master that he was coming.  Pushing through the crowd, he saw a white man with a gray beard.  He had finally found Livingstone after all these many months of trekking through the jungle.  He was very elated to  finally be able to talk to him face to face. 

Stanley wrote that he had expected to find a haughty, reserved man who would probably resent his visit as an unnecessary intrusion.  It had been his intention to simply interview him as he would any other distinguished stranger, and then return to America.  He was most surprised to find that the Doctor was a very congenial and pleasant person. 

Stanley gave him the package of letters that he had brought from Zanzibar.  They were now a year old.  Livingstone opened the bag, took them out and read one from his children.  Then he laid the rest aside so that Stanley could tell him the news of the world.  For two years he had not had any outside news at all.  It was a very animated conversation on both sides, and both of them ate heartily.  Livingstone kept telling him over and over again “You have brought me new life – you have brought me new life.”

Suddenly Stanley interrupted him and brought forth a bottle of Sillery champagne and two silver goblets that he had saved for this momentous occasion.  He told him that many times he had been very unsure if he would ever find him or even live to tell about the trip.  He handed the Doctor a silver goblet full of the champagne and poured one for himself.  They each drank to the other’s good health and best wishes. 

Stanley remained with Livingstone in Ujiji for about a week, interviewing him for hours each day just as any reporter would do.  He was anxious to obtain the incidents of his explorations and adventures for the Herald.  In these daily interviews he learned to really admire the great Englishman.  He considered his character to be as near angelic as any mortal could ever come. 

Livingstone had reached Ujiji sick and so destitute for money that he was dependent upon the generosity of Sayd bin Majid, an Arab trader who had proved to be a most generous and true friend.  Livingstone was so impoverished that he could not renew his travels, and had to sit idle until he received supplies from Zanzibar. 

Stanley perceived the Doctor’s predicament and suggested that they make a joint exploration of the north end of Tanganika lake and settle the question of the Rusizi river.  Then they would return to Unyanyembe, and Stanley would buy adequate supplies to keep Livingstone supplied for at least another year.  He agreed to the proposal, and they procured a large canoe from Sayd in Majid that was capable of carrying 16 men with their necessary provisions.  Then the two set sail.  (This trip is already written down in Livingstone’s Diary, so go to the  Home Page above and then the Archives Page to read about it.)

The two returned to Ujiji on the 13th of December, 1871.  They had intended to start at once for Unyanyembe, but Stanley was taken sick and confined to his bed until Christmas.  Even then, he didn’t have the appetite to enjoy the great feast as he had planned.

The day after Christmas, they began their preparations for the journey to Unyanyembe, by planning to follow the lake south to a village called Urimba.  Then they would march overland from that point to avoid the tribute-gatherers that lived on the regular route.  They obtained two canoes from the Arabs.  Some of the men were put in the canoes, while others followed along the shores of the lake to the starting point. 

They set sail on the 27th of December with Stanley in the larger canoe with the American flag flying at the stern, and Livingstone in the smaller one, under the British flag.  They were greatly delighted that they had totally evaded all the tribute-gatherers. 

On the 5th of January, 1872, they reached Urimba and made a camp for two days.  They spent the time hunting zebras and buffaloes, and killed and dried enough meat to last them several days.  This way they could save the goats and sheep for as long as possible.

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About Cathy Deaton


My name is Cathy Deaton, Owner of Fan the Flame Ministries. God has radically changed my life, and He has shown me that I am to share the awesome things I am learning especially with the Millennial Generation (1981 – 1996), but I love connecting with Christians of all ages. I have found that the Holy Spirit is an awesome teacher when I listen to, obey, and apply what He teaches to my life. You truly can make a difference for God in an uncertain world.