Kondoa

Name ID 1186

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Internet Web Pages
Extract Author: Robert S. Cragg
Page Number: 1

British Commonwealth Postmarks

Attached are lists of villages and other offices where you may find a circular date stamp. Well, most are circular and almost all are dated. The lists are loosely arranged as follows:

Name as it appears in an early cancel or in the majority of cancels. Many town names, especially in Africa and Asia, have a number of spellings in English. These are ignored. But, if the town name changed significantly, the newer name is in parentheses. Names often changed because of confusing same or similar names in the same colony.

Also, independence led to de-Anglicization, especially if the town name included words such as "fort". If the town is a post office outside of the colony but administered by the colony, that is indicated.

Next is the earliest date "known" of a dated cancel or, sometimes the date of opening. If not from literature, then from my collection. Sadly, most early dates from my collection are not that early.

Then there are letter or numeral killers used alone or in conjunction with a date stamp. Sometimes several different numbers were used, perhaps in different styles. This is a huge field, only touched on here.

Lastly, the location of the village is given (or will later be given) by latitude and longitude. Sometimes this is only approximate, variables including inaccurate old maps, inaccurate new maps, moving of towns, confusion over similar town names, quirky software and my own clerical errors.

The lists are a place to get started. They are incomplete, the degree depending on what literature is available to the author. Focus is on villages with post offices around the turn of the century without attempting to include newer offices. The cut-off date for each colony varies, depending on manageability of the number of offices.

Many of the village marks are rare. Occasionally, only a single example is known. Some offices were open only a few months and have disappeared from modern maps.

TANGANYIKA

[short list, with some names from Northern Tanzania]

Arusha 1922 3s22 36e41

Babati 1935 4s13 35e45

Kondoa 1920 4s54 35e47

Loliondo 1937 2s03 35e37

Mbulu 1920 sl 3s51 35e32

Monduli 1939 3s18 36e26

Moshi 1917 3s21 37e20

Ngare Nairobi 1928

Oldeani 1934 3s21 35e33

Singida 1926 4s49 34e45

Usa River 1929 3s22 36e50

Extract ID: 4302

See also

Gordon-Brown, G (Co-Editor) The Year Book and Guide to East Africa (1927)
Page Number: c

A road (light cars, dry weather only)

A road (light cars, dry weather only) leads to the S.W. from Arusha to Kondoa Irangi, 167m. and Dodoma, 209m. on the E.A. Central Rly., and thence to Mwaya on Lake Nyasa. 728m. total, and a road runs N. to Longido, 52m., Kajiado, 120m., and Nairobi, 180m. total to the N.

It is proposed to continue the road from Arusha to Kondoa Irangi and Dodoma and the East African Central Railway, i.e. a distance of about 280m. from Moshi.

The soil of the surrounding district is mainly volcanic ash, of great fertility, capable of producing magnificent crops of coffee, maize and cotton

Extract ID: 294

See also

Luhikula, Gratian Tourist Guide to Tanzania
Extract Date: 1937

Vines introduced into Tanzania

Vines were introduced into Tanzania by the Holy Ghost Fathers near Kondoa

Extract ID: 1081

See also

Amin, Mohamed; Willetts, Duncan and Marshall, Peter Journey Through Tanzania
Page Number: 110

Vines

Vines were first intoduced into Tanzania in 1938 by the Holy Ghost Fathers near Kondoa. In 1957 Passionist Father Irioneo Maggioni, of the Bihawana Mission, planted near Dodoma, three vine seedlings out of curiosity. They proved such a success that today [1984] some 2,980 acres of vineyards are under cultivation around the new capital.

Extract ID: 555

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Allen, John Richard Down Memory Lane in Tanganyika
Page Number: 39
Extract Date: 1939

Dodoma to Arusha

Driving north from Dodoma was all new country for me. After the first 10 miles out the cultivated areas ceased and the road then passed through broken country, well wooded with 'Miombo' trees (Latin name is Brachystegia, but which one of the 30 different species ????? ). After passing through that five mile belt of forest the landscape changed completely to dry scrub and thorn bush, uninhabited, to the passing motorist. (But 7 years later I was to discover otherwise?). At about 80 miles from Dodoma the large native settlement named Kelema was reached. Here, four or five native dukas (shops) sold a miscellaneous assortment of goods, mainly cloth and local foodstuffs, My only purchase was a hand of bananas to munch on the way. Judging by a few remarks, I gathered some of our vehicles had also stopped there, so the convoy was not wholly ‘in convoy’! So far, on the journey, only two stops had been made to sort out minor mechanical troubles on a couple of vehicles. From Kelema, for the next 30 miles, onwards, the area was thickly populated by the Irangi tribe. The land is fairly hilly and scarred with soil erosion gullies, some measuring hundreds of feet wide. Many 'sand rivers' crossed the road which could be a great hazard to motorists when the normally dry riverbeds are in full spate after a storm. At Kelema there is a very wide one, a quarter of a mile, which I know has claimed many vehicles driven by impatient motorists.

At exactly 100 miles from Dodoma I stopped, in the shade of a large baobab tree, to eat a few biscuits washed down with a bottle of warm 'pop'. Here, a road branched off, almost due west, down a slope for two miles into the small township of Kondoa Irangi. The District HQ for the Kondoa District. On the opposite side of the road there was a small lake with a fair population of wildfowl. By now the time had crept round to about 15.30 hours, so off we went continuing our journey, The countryside for the next 18 miles along the road was rather barren , over-populated, over-grazed, hilly, eroded and the only trees were baobabs. After passing through the Minor Settlement of Kolo, the road began to ascend into the hills known as Pienaar's Heights, so-named after a South African General who, during the 1914/18 war routed the enemy forcing them to retreat to Kondoa and beyond, However, history apart: Half way up the short escarpment was one stationary 'ambulance' or, in reality, a 2 ton Ford V8 lorry converted for passenger carrying, but on this occasion it had a load of medical equipment on board weighing less than a ton. I wondered how the contents in the boxes would survive after being bounced over miles of a 'corrugated' road surface? After struggling with various engine components for over an hour the thing eventualy started but firing on only 7 cylinders. As for the 8th, to hell with it. (my feverish cold taking over!). Off on the road again ascending to an altitude of 6,000 ft. above sea level and with darkness approaching rather quickly. There was a definite chill in the air and, to my sorrow, my British ‘warm' army great¬coat was, by now, in Bereko! There were more stops en route, but we eventually made it to the camp by 9.30 pm. The Mess cook had put aside a plateful of dinner for me, no doubt on Ali's instructions. Some kind soul gave me a stiff whisky. The tent was up and my campbed all ready to flop into. The CO came over to ask where I'd been, so told him! Whereupon, he withdrew. By the time I had swallowed my drink, eaten my dinner, performed my ablutions, my colleagues had retired to their respective nests so I did likewise, under three blankets in this cold spot, We were at an altitude of about 6,500 ft, asl.

Morning came round much too early but the cup of tea brought in by Ali at 6,15 am was most welcome, A busy morning began with breakfast at 7.30 am and a departure for Arusha at 8.30 am, about 130 miles away. My departure time, anybody’s guess! I scrounged as many spanners, screwdrivers etc. I could lay my hands on to deal with that wretched Ford lorry. One point I insisted on, the Bedford lorry, with its driver, would follow me, since I would be driving the 'wreck.', with the inexperienced driver sitting alongside. After cleaning all the fuel pipes, carburettor, the ignition system, petrol pump and anything else I could find, within reason, the engine actually fired on the fourth attempt. Like me, it coughed a lot and then picked up, sometimes on 7 cylinders, sometimes 8!

It was just after 11.00 am when I set forth. After nine miles, or so, the road descended to a much lower altitude and the area was flat apart from a few distant hills. The next minor settlement of note, was a place called Babati, with an extensive African population and about six Asian owned dukas - so I stopped close by to a large 'tin' (corrugated iron) duka and was welcomed in by its Asian owner. I was amazed at the variety of tinned provisions he stocked, also beer and soft drinks galore! So I treated myself to a Coca Cola straight from the fridge and a packet of savory biscuits. I also gave the two drivers shgs.2.00 each to buy themselves a meal as the chances of reaching Arusha in time for their evening meal with the mob was rather remote.

Arusha was still 110 miles away so as soon as possible after that short break, we were off, into a very warm afternoon. The Indian duka-wallah told me the main convoy had gone through about 10 am so, with luck, it should be 'home and dry' by 16,00 hours.

We made good progress for the next 50 miles through an area known as the Mbugwe 'flats' but when the undulating country was reached, more trouble. Being a hot afternoon the engine had been running at a higher temperature than usual but now, crawling up slight inclines in second gear the water boiled which made me suspect either the cylinder head was cracked or a 'blown' cylinder head gasket. Either way, I could do nothing about that, full stop! At the top of the slopes a halt was necessary to allow the engine cool down sufficiently before replenishing the water, which all took time. Bouncing along a flat stretch of road, in the dark, with the wooden bodywork and medical boxes creating a dreadful din there was almost an 'Incident on the Highway'? Unbeknown to me a car following in my wake of dust had been trying to pass but with all the noise I hadn't heard his dual car horns blaring forth. The first indication I got was from a bush on the roadside reflecting a strong light beam so I immediately pulled over to let the car pass. A few yards further along the road the car pulled up and out stepped a European male who beckoned me to stop. He strode over and, when he was a couple of feet away I wound down the window to be greeted with, in an Australian accent, a mouthful of abuse ending with " – you bastard"? Just what I needed! Momentarily, I was taken aback and just when I was about to give him a well directed punch in the face he stepped back realising that he wasn't speaking to an African lorry driver. I saw him later that evening in the hotel but he did not recognise me. Apparently, he was a high ranking official in the Govt. the Director of Lands and Mines! A pity he stepped away at the wrong moment before I could teach him a lesson in manners. However, the CO dealt with him on my behalf,

Extract ID: 5711

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All Africa.com
Extract Author: Daniel Benno Msangya, Dar es Salaam
Page Number: 02
Extract Date: 1940

Catholic Missionary Fathers introduce the crop

Copyright © 2001 African Church Information Service. Distributed by allAfrica.com. For information about the content or for permission to redistribute, publish or use for broadcast, contact the publisher.

Since 1940 after the pioneers, the Catholic Missionary Fathers (Passionist Fathers from Italy), introduced the crop by planting the grapevine at Bustani Roman Catholic Mission in Kondoa District (Dodoma Region) residents of Dodoma and around saw the potential of a lucrative business as the crop proved to be doing very well in the semi-arid areas.

Available records of the time show that Rev Father Andrea Krieger, the Passionist Father from Italy, made a successful experiment to introduce the crop in Dodoma, now Tanzania's administrative capital.

Extract ID: 3895

See also

Allen, John Richard Down Memory Lane in Tanganyika
Page Number: 57
Extract Date: 1940 Oct

On Leave - retuning north

There was the question of petrol too, a commodity strictly rationed, However, that did not impose too great a problem! The dear lady behind the desk in the Rationing Office, whom I knew, very kindly allowed me 12 gallons for the holiday, and, since I would be traveling back to Nairobi, passing through Dodoma at an unsociable hour, issued me with coupons for enough fuel to reach Arusha where I could collect more for the final leg to Nairobi.

The few days relaxation soon petered out but it was a change from army routine, although that couldn't be ruled out completely as there was a constant flow of Army personnel calling in at the hotel enroute North or South , whose requirements had to be catered for with the emphasis on food and drink. The latter other than tea or coffee having to be dispensed by me at times. Who's grumbling.¬

Departure day came along too quickly as there were two jobs I had to complete which would take about four hours. That lot finished I got away soon after 1.00 pm making for Kondoa Irangi, 324 miles away to the north, where there was a Rest House (of sorts) to spend the night? With the intention of driving the 360 miles to Nairobi the following day: But the best made plans go wrong! I reached Dodoma 6.00 pm-ish, filled up the car with petrol and, feeling rather thirsty, went along to the Hickson-Wood house to scrounge a cup of tea. That was where the itinery went wrong? Staying with the H-Ws was a Sao Hill neighbour Esme Creswell, and young son aged 5 - 6 yrs, looking for a lift to Nairobi to join her husband, a Captain in one of the KAR. Battalions stationed there.

With an almost empty car I agreed to take them, with the proviso that they would have to be prepared to travel another 100 miles on to Kondoa and spend the night in an awful four-roomed Government Rest House containing a bed with a terrible mattress, a table and couple of chairs! That information had been passed on to me by someone who knew the place, and I found I was not wrong! Poor Esme was in a bit of a quandary as she didn’t have any bedding, only two cases full of clothes. I had my bedding roll and whilst at home I'd knocked up a 'chop' box and stocked it with the bare necessities of life to last a day or two. So that didn't pose any great problem. Kathy H-W. offered to lend Esme two blankets which were gratefully accepted. After tea and a snack we set off on the two hour drive to Kondoa. After covering something like 25 miles it was all too obvious the young lad suffered from car-sickness! Mopping up operations took time and thereafter I had to adjust my driving accordingly hoping it would prevent further mishaps, but there were two more. So instead of the journey taking two hours it was more like three.

The Rest House was rather grotty, but did boast of a caretaker who managed to provide water, both hot and cold! The building contained four rooms with cement floors. The walls were constructed with sun-dried mud bricks and a corrugated iron roof over the lot. A coat of whitewash, inside and out, would have made a great improvement. However, we had to sort ourselves out. One room contained a bed and mattress, another room a table and three rickety chairs and the other two empty. So, into one of them went the mattress, dumped on the floor for Esme and son with the two borrowed blankets (I often wondered whether they were returned?). My bedding roll went on the bedstead, not quite as hard as the floor, and since I had a pair of pillows the lady was in luck. She had one of them. Lighting was by torchlight! A good lesson in 'How to be uncomfortable on safari'. For supper a Cream Cracker or two washed down with 'pop', and so to bed.

Next morning the caretaker produced a wash basin, a most useful piece of equipment, and better still, hot water for washing ourselves in, which also gave Esme a chance to clean up the young lad after the previous night's ordeal.

The idea of driving through to Nairobi in the one day had to be abandoned due to 'junior' (I cannot remember his name) being such a poor traveler, so there was no violent rush to leave Kondoa as our next night stop would be Arusha, a distance of 175 miles, which, on this occasion, would take about five hours.

We arrived there mid afternoon, clocked in at the hotel, and after a few cups of tea we retired to our respective rooms where I enjoyed a long soak in the bath followed by a useful nap before climbing into a clean uniform etc. and making my way to see what the Bar had to offer. But not before going to a nearby shop to invest in a large Thermos flask! Esme eventually appeared for a 'quickie' before dinner, after having spent most of her time attending to the domestic chores involved when traveling around with a young child. Incidentally, he survived the day's journey without any trouble. Thank heaven.

Nairobi next. 184 miles, which would take five hours. By the time I'd collected my petrol coupons, filled up the tank, and Esme had sent a telegram off to her husband, Richard, saying that she would, hopefully, be at the New Stanley Hotel anytime after 3.00 pm it was 10 am.

The journey to Nairobi was uneventful. A stop enroute to look at a few giraffe browsing happily on the roadside trees and time to devour our sandwiches the Arusha Hotel had prepared for us. The Thermos flask I bought yesterday was duly christened too, and poured a very refreshing cup of tea!

Extract ID: 5713

See also

Allen, John Richard Down Memory Lane in Tanganyika
Page Number: 92
Extract Date: 1942

More leave. South to Sao Hill

My leave date eventually came round and since I was going to the ancestral home, Sao Hill, 680 miles away in a southerly direction, it was necessary to plan the pick up points for petrol ration coupons en route. To complicate the problem even more I would be traveling over the weekend when Petrol Ration Offices would be closed from 12.30pm Saturday until 08.00am Monday. On the Friday afternoon I called at the Nairobi Office and after explaining to the pleasant young lady behind the desk that I wanted sufficient fuel to reach Kondoa Irangi, 360 miles away. This was to insure against the Arusha Office being closed. So she gave me 16 gallons worth of coupons. I offered to take her out for a dinner on my return but She declined.

Our Sgt. Maurice Tyrant was in luck in more ways than one. Since he was spending his leave in Dodoma his transport worries were over as I had to pass through the town to reach my destination, another 220 miles further on. Also, by giving him a lift instead of taking the usual route by train and bus he gained two extra days holiday, plus saving expenses on food and accomnmodation en route. For my part I was thankful tor his company since it is not advisable to make long car journeys solo in Africa.

It was my intention to leave Nairobi at 7.30am on the Saturday but like all well made plans there is always a hitch, which delayed us for 30 minutes. Time was an important factor since I wanted to reach Arusha by 12.30 pm, a distance of 184 miles. That meant averaging a speed of 41 miles per hour over an indifferent earth road. A tall order. For the first 60 miles the road surface was corrugated and there is only one way to tackle such a surface to avoid rattling the car to pieces - speed! Consequently, after one hour that came to an end and from there onwards the road wasn't too bad and we carried on non-stop, except for a very brief halt at the Customs Post on the Kenya/Tanganyika Border.

And on to Arusha in time to collect some petrol coupons, by which time our dry throats were in need of a gargle. So along to hotel where the cold beer tasted like ¬nectar. Entirely the wrong liquid to drink knowing there is a hot afternoons driving ahead, By the time we had quenched our thirst, partaken of a good lunch followed by coffee and taken fifteen minutes shut eye in a comfortable chair the hour of departure was upon us and I had yet to make a decision whether to spend the night in Kondoa or carry on another 100 miles beyond to Dodoma, From Arusha that would entail a total ot 280 miles or six hours driving. A tiring thought after the morning's rush, Maurice, who is in the Transport Section of the Service Corps was not, in my estimation, a very good driver so that left me to do all the work!

After filling up with petrol, and purchasing a few groceries to top up my 'chop' box - in case of emergency, the hour had moved round to 1430hrs. So, without further delay - off. Glancing sky-wards in our general direction the clouds were rather black and heavy and it was the' rainy' season. After a few more miles the heavens opened and remained 'open' for miles which reduced our speed. An army convoy of about 50 vehicles that he would be along to see her in the very near future - and Dodoma had its fair share of licentious soldiery (to be continued later!). The last 60 miles to Kondoa Irangi - to give the place its full name, took more time than anticipated due to the wet conditions prevailing over a 35 mile section of road commonly known as 'Pienaars Heights", with plenty of bends and hills to contend with. By the time the sun had long disappeared over the horizon, and with no lamp available in the Rest House, we had to grope around with a torch and the car lights shining through the doorway. With regard to beds etc. I was self-contained with campbed, bedding, food and drink. Maurice had no choice, He had a couple of blankets in his kitbag to put on the rickety old iron bedstead and mattress, too dreadful to describe!travelling in the opposite direction had churned-up a few muddy stretches of road. By this time it became obvious that the Kondoa Rest House would be our sleeping quarters for the night. Perhaps just as well because Maurice hadn't informed his wife, an attractive, young, 'white' Seychellois lady, who enjoyed life to the full,

Our greatest priority was a cup of tea so calling on the services of the RH attendant a kettle full of boiling water was soon on the table. With the torchlight becoming dimmer by the minute we didn't waste much time sitting around drinkiing tea. To quell that empty feeling the edibles purchased in Arusha, biscuits, butter, ham and cheese went down very well. And so to bed, rather earlier than usual. Breakfast on that Sunday morning was a repeat of last night's 'dinner'. At 8.30am I plucked up courage to call on the Asst District Officer to enquire about the possibility of petrol coupons, eight gallons worth. He was very pleasant and co-operative, so along to the Boma (District Office) which was not far from the ADO’s house, for the important piece of paper. I now had on board sufficient petrol for the 324 miles to Sao Hill with a drop or three to spare! By the time we arrived at the Dodoma Hotel, 11.00am, I felt the need for a cup of coffee so, after Maurice had unloaded his kit, we went into the so-called hotel lounge where Mrs Maurice just happened to be with six army chaps in tow! Safety in numbers, but the look of surprise on her face was worth being photographed! The menfolk disappeared into thin air.

Maurice had told me she was forever running into debt in spite of collecting practically all his monthly pay in the form of family allowance and he, rather foolishly, was accepting more pay over the table in excess of the amount he had elected to receive, due to the lack of an endorsement in his Pay Book. When the Army Pay Records discovered the anomaly his wife's allowance was cancelled until the over-payments had been paid off. Result - a broken marriage. After his leave he transferred to another unit and I didn't see him again until the mid 1950s. But a few months after their separation - or divorce, the young lady made the headlines rather tragically. Her demise being recorded as murder, a mystery which I do not think was ever solved.

After that digression, back to Dodoma. I left at 11.30am and after an uneventful 222 miles, or 5 hours of driving, I arrived at my destination to enjoy many cups of excellent tea and good food, etc, etc; But I couldn't get away from the army! Every day members of the Forces travelling from Nairobi and South Africa and in the opposite direction would call in at the hotel for refreshments and acommodation. This was all good for trade, but acting as barman, to give the 0M a rest, made a slight hole in my pocket. But it was enjoyable. I visited a few friends and aquaintances to catch up on the local news. Mother had been invited to attend a wedding in Iringa so I had to act as chauffeur. In uniform, and 'gatecrashed' the party, but that was no problem since I knew the bride and her two sisters well enough not to worry about being the uninvited guest and their father couldn't care less. Anyway, a good time was enjoyed by all and the party was still in full swing when 'Mama' and I left at 5.00 pm.

Extract ID: 5714

See also

Dente, Jenny Mary Douglas Nicol Leakey 1913-1996
Page Number: 09
Extract Date: 1950's

Africa's Vanishing Art

In the 1950s, the Leakeys' excavation plans were once again interrupted-this time by political turmoil in Kenya. Mary saw this as a chance to return to a site she had once visited in Tanzania, and record the detailed Stone Age paintings that abounded there. The change from stone and bone surroundings delighted her; in her own words, "here were scenes of life of men and women hunting, dancing, singing and playing music." She traced, redrew and painted some 1600 figures, which she later published in a book called Africa's Vanishing Art. Unfortunately, when the population density in this area of Tanzania increased, reverence for the sites decreased and as a result many paintings were badly defaced or damaged, picked at by bored, unthinking herd-boys. This adds an even greater documentary importance to Mary's beautiful reproductions.

Extract ID: 3313

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Symington, Martin Game for anything
Extract Author: Martin Symington
Extract Date: 1997 November

Game for anything

On an unusual safari in Tanzania, Martin Symington finds the cultural sites of ancient Africa as thrilling as the wild animals

'THESE are the Pneumatic Rocks of Moru. Billions of years ago, as the Earth's surface cooled, bubbles of air got trapped inside. The Maasai people believe this air has mystical, magical properties.' Dr Cornelius Mollel tapped a boulder with his acacia staff, to demonstrate the point. A strange, hollow sound rang out. My companions and I were soon tapping and listening, in wonder.

We had just scrambled up a kopje - one of the majestic granite outcrops which rise like rugged islands out of the sunbaked savannah of the Serengeti Plain in northern Tanzania. Our guides had gone ahead to check for lurking leopards but the creature we should have been looking for was the Cornelius Leg-Pull. It had put in one or two appearances already on our safari; 'pneumatic rocks' was a classic.

The night before we had camped out in the Serengeti, kept awake by the low, growling roars of a pride of lions just a few hundred yards away. At daybreak we were driving across grasslands dancing with antelope, heading for the western corridor where wildebeest and zebra in staggering numbers were drifting northwards in their ceaseless migration in search of pasture. We had stopped at Moru Kopje for a picnic, and to explore some Maasai cave paintings which, joke now over and in serious mode, Cornelius was interpreting for us.

'The shields, elephants and abstract lines were drawn in clay, ash and ochre during the 18th and 19th centuries, when nomadic Maasai tribesmen roamed the plain. Young warriors would periodically retreat from the world and live on the kopje in a semi-meditative state, eating meat and observing and painting the world in its raw state,' explained Cornelius. The last Maasai from this area were 'resettled' in the 1950s, when the Serengeti National Park, a game reserve not far off the size of Wales, was established.

Cornelius is a Maasai himself. Born in an adobe homestead near Arusha, he was destined for the life of a herdsman and warrior. At the onset of manhood, he had been ritually circumcised, scarred and taught to wield a spear. However, exceptional intellectual gifts earned him scholarships to mission schools and eventually a doctorate from University College London. Now he has returned to Arusha where he has a veterinary practice and a guest-house. As a sideline, he also leads specialised safaris, like the one I was on, which blend traditional game viewing, with exploring the cultural sites of ancient Africa.

'Safari' in Swahili means a journey and ours began at Arusha, the tourist town in the shadow of mist-shrouded Mount Kilimanjaro, from where herds of Land Rovers disperse for the game parks and lodges. We took a more obscure route, heading south across plains flushed with green from recent rains, and dotted with thorn trees and the occasional fat baobab. Against a jagged backdrop of exploded and collapsed crater cones, lone Maasai tribesmen draped in red broadcloth shukas were grazing cattle.

Eventually scrub gave way to patches of swaying millet. The bumpy, beaten-earth road led us through the tin-roofed villages of Magugu and Babati where traders sat patiently on palm mats, trying to sell their piles of mangoes, grain, dried tilapia fish or flip-flops cut from car tyres. All the while, Cornelius answered our questions about life in modern Tanzania, the years under ex-President Nyerere, corruption, poaching, conservation, justice, attitudes to sex and different tribal practice. Sometimes he referred in Swahili to Mtili, our cheerful young Manchester United-supporting driver, before giving an answer.

We drove along the floor of the Great Rift Valley, the fissure which slices through the Earth's crust from Asia Minor to southern Africa, and eventually turned off the main road at Kolo village. Engaging four-wheel drive, we lurched along a track to strike camp on a glade next to the dried-up Kolo river. This was the site where Mary Leakey (wife of anthropologist Louis and mother of Kenyan politician Richard) set up camp at various times in the 1950s. She was studying some Stone Age rock paintings she had chanced upon, and which we had come to explore.

Next morning we were joined by a grave-looking, elderly gentleman called Juma Mpore. He clutched a weathered copy of Mrs Leakey's coffee-table book, Visiting Africa's Vanishing Art - The Rock Paintings of Tanzania, autographed with a message of thanks to himself, as one of her most trusted assistants. With Cornelius translating from Swahili, Mr Mpore was to be our guide to the Kondoa Irangi rock paintings.

We found the paintings four miles further up the valley wall just as they have been for more than 30,000 years, unrestored and protected by nothing more than an overhang of rock.

And yet they are extraordinarily well preserved. The elongated pin-figures, graceful as Giacometti sculptures, depict hunting scenes, merry-making, beautifully fluid dancing and swimming, and even a bit of frolicsome soft porn cunningly disguised as a fertility rite.

Mary Leakey meticulously recorded and photographed all these paintings and many more in the area. She discovered that the paint, mainly red but also some white and yellow, was made from ochre pigments, latex from trees and animal fat. For brushes, the artists used the tail-hair of giraffes.

It was then that everything began to fit in with other theories of the Leakeys: that man evolved in the Rift Valley, and that the Rift itself was a funnel for early human migration into Europe, Asia and the rest of the world. Cornelius proved to be a walking encyclopaedia of every theory and counter-theory of evolution and pre-history going.

As our safari continued through the relatively small Tarangire National Park, our pondering on these subjects continued. We observed pairs of giraffes, necking rhythmically as if to music. In a reedy pool shaded by fever trees, hippo were sinking, rising, yawning and blowing like tubas. Trails of ugly warthogs stopped to gawp at us, as we did at them. A shy, gaunt cheetah slipped across the path in front of us.

Northwards, by Lake Manyara, the Rift narrows drastically and its walls become precipitous. High above, on the very escarpment lip is Kirurumu, a luxurious safari lodge where we broke our journey to unwind for a day. The lodge has just four bungalows of explorer-style tents raised on stilts under thatched roofs, and a restaurant and bar with awesome views over Lake Manyara National Park in the valley far below.

I breakfasted on papaya, pork sausages and rich, strong local coffee as a silver sun dispersed the morning mist to reveal the white soda flats of the lake a few miles up the valley. Then the horizon began to shimmer as thousands and thousands of flamingos took to the air. The day's main activity was a walk through a nearby, plant-rich gorge with Temindia Milunga, a tall, aristocratic-featured Maasai in a tartan shuka. Milunga is a botanist and expert in tribal medicine, retained by the lodge as a part-time guide.

In a few leisurely hours with us, he picked and crushed numerous leaves, barks and berries, explaining how the Maasai Oloiboni - medicine men - use these to counter diseases such as malaria and sleeping sickness. He found a Sodom Apple, a natural anaesthetic used to treat toothache, and taught us the traditional etiquette surrounding the Tirimu Engiti or 'wait a bit' bush, strands of which crossed our trail. The shrub bristles with razor-sharp spines, and failure to shout its name in warning when someone is close behind you is likely to elicit the traditional Maasai insult: 'May the hyenas kiss you!'

The final leg of our safari took us east to the Serengeti, crossing the undulating hills of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area where Maasai homesteads of adobe and thatch are huddled within protective wooden stockades. Their herds of cattle were grazing alongside nonchalant wildebeest and zebras.

We skirted the Ngorongoro Crater rim to gaze down into the collapsed volcano floor, 12 miles across and teeming with wildlife. Next we paused at the Olduvai Gorge, where Louis and Mary spent years excavating fossils, animal remains and primitive tools from different eras, preserved in stratified layers of ash from the periodic eruptions of the (now extinct) Sadiman volcano. In 1959 Mary found the skull of a early hominid, posing evolutionary puzzles about which debate still rages. Fascinating though all this is, the gorge and excavation sites are out of bounds to tourists, and there is little to see, bar a small museum.

We rounded off the safari with some serious wildlife viewing in the Olduvai Gorge, on the edge of the Serengeti, before flying out from the Seronera airstrip at the park's heart. It was a glorious end to the journey. The endless, flat savannah under huge skies conjured up all the romance of Africa as gazelles fled to the horizons and big-bearded wildebeest bucked and stamped up clouds of dust. But our safari had been so much richer than simply a game-viewing journey. So thanks, Cornelius. And as for your pneumatic rocks - may the hyenas kiss you!

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Factfile

Martin Symington travelled with Tanzania-based tour operator Hoopoe Adventure Tours, which puts together tailor-made itineraries. For example, a week's journey split between Kirurumu Lodge, the Mary Leakey camp-site at Kolo and camping in the Serengeti, costs in the region of £1,200 per person based on four people sharing. The price includes all meals (drinks extra), transport, park fees, staff and the services of a local guide, but not flights.

Book through Hoopoe's London office (0181 428 8221), or through the following UK tour operators: Art of Travel (0171 738 2038), Casenove & Lloyd (0181 875 9666), Okavango Tours and Safaris (0181 343 3283), Wild Africa Safaris (0171 259 9909), World Archipelago (0181 780 5838), or Worldwide Journeys and Expeditions (0171 381 8638), all of whom offer Hoopoe's safaris as part of flight-inclusive packages.

Martin Symington flew with Alliance Air (0181 944 5012), which flies from Heathrow to Dar es Salaam twice a week, and to Kilimanjaro (near Arusha) once a week; return fare from £507.

When to go: There are two rainy seasons : Nov-Dec and Mar-May - best times for seeing migrating herds. The cooler, dry months are better for walking.

Reading: Tanzania by Philip Briggs (Bradt, £11.95), East Africa handbook by Michael Hodd (Footprint, £14.99) and Lonely Planet's East Africa (£13.99). The 'must read' travel book is The Tree Where Man was Born by Peter Matthiessen (Harvill, £7.99).

Extract ID: 1489

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Africa News Online
Extract Author: Morice Maunya
Extract Date: 1999 November 14

Two Ethnic Groups Clash In Tanzania

Panafrican News Agency

Police and officials rushed Saturday to quell a fresh outbreak of fighting between the Maasai and Warangi ethnic of groups in northern Tanzania.

At least 30 dwellings belonging to the Maasai were burnt and an undisclosed number of their cattle and goats went missing during a recent attack by the Warangi, officials said.

District Commissioner Moses Sanga of Kondoa, a predominantly Warangi area, has confirmed the incident. He said the Warangi burnt Maasai huts to avenge the beating of Warangi women by a group of young Maasai warriors on 4 November.

In retaliation, the Maasai re-grouped and attacked again last week. The Maasai in question live in Kiteto district of Arusha region, which which is next to Kondoa district.

The extend of casualties was not immediately known.

Alarmed that the situation might get nastier, the police and administration officials rushed to the scene over the weekend to sort out the problem.

The officials included the chief government administrator of Dodoma region, Isidori Shirima and his Arusha counterpart, Daniel Ole Njoolay.

The government was trying to bring together Warangi and Maasai elders to pacify their followers, Shirima said after a tour of the area Friday.

However, sources told PANA that the real cause of bad blood between the Maasai and their neighbours is a scramble for scare land and water resources.

While the Warangi are mainly subsistence farmers, the Maasai are nomad pastoralists who want their extended livestock to be given free access to grazing land and water resources.

Kondoa-Kiteto area lies on a dry belt with scarce arable land and water resources. The Warangi accuse the Maasai of encroaching their little farmland with impunity.

Extract ID: 1455

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Internet Web Pages
Extract Author: PST Correspondent, Arusha
Extract Date: January 24, 2003

Clashes leave several injured

Several people have been seriously injured following clashes between Masai and Rangi tribes over land at Katikati Village, Kiteto District in Manyara region.

The Arusha Regional Police Commander, James Kombe, said yesterday that the incident occurred on Wednesday when a group of Rangi tribesmen from Isolwa Village in Kondoa district, Dodoma Region armed with clubs, machetes and other traditional weapons attacked four households of the Masai and burned their houses.

The affected Masai cried for help from their colleagues who gathered together within no time clashes ensued that left several people injured.

Police from Kiteto heard about the clashes and rushed to scene to bring the situation to normal.

Kombe said the Masai wanted to use the area for grazing their animals whereas the Rangi want it for crop cultivation, hence the fight.

He said the loss resulting from the burnt out households was estimated to be 4.9m/- and police are holding four persons in connection with the incident.

As a result of the incident, district commissioners of Kiteto and Kondoa would meet to discuss the situation with residents of the area in order to get a solution.

It is the second time that clashes have erupted between pastoralists and farmers in the area. Two years ago, two people were killed in similar clashes.

Extract ID: 3903

See also

Map and Guide to Tanzania
Page Number: 02b

Rock Paintings

Numerous archaeological finds around Tanzania prove that vast immigration movements occurred around the 1st and 2nd centuries AD with agriculturist tribes from Cameroon and Nigeria emerging into East Africa and Tanzania and absorbing or expelling the local Bushmen and Hottentots into the Kalahari desert.

More than a thousand places with Rock Paintings, especially around Kondoa at Kolo, Cheke and Kisese, testify that there was an intensely active Stone Age civilisation in the area.

The Hadzapi and Sandawe tribes who lived in that region kept their khoisan click language and, numbering only a few thousand, still live in such primitive conditions that they can rightly be considered as today's only survivors, throughout Africa, of the Stone Age civilisation.

Extract ID: 3989
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