Manyoni

Name ID 2295

See also

Tanganyika Guide
Page Number: 49
Extract Date: 1953

Section III—Dodoma to Tabora

Dodoma is situated near the watershed of the Indian Ocean and the Rift Valley. The great trough of the Rift, with its salt lakes and its large and small volcanoes, intersects the East African granite-plateau from latitude 6 deg. South, and then continues northwards through the Red Sea into the valley of the Dead Sea and the River Jordan, right to the foot of the Lebanon. The Central Railway cuts this rift near its southern end and, as the train crawls up the steep western scarp, a grand view unfolds itself, and like a gigantic map the valley lies below with the glittering surface of a great salt swamp in its southernmost corner. In the vicinity of Manyoni, on the top of the scarp, is the grave of the explorer James Elton, one of the first Englishmen to cross the interior. He died in 1877. Manyoni was the junction for the Singida railway line, which has how been taken up and replaced by a road from Itigi.

From near the upper edge of the scarp to Tabora and again for a long distance west of that town, the track passes through miles of wilderness into fine agricultural country. At kilometre 634 is a stone monument indicating the highest point of the line (4,350 ft.), and at kilometre 785 in flat country comes the Continental Divide, to the west of which water flows into Lake Tanganyika and thus, through the Congo, into the Atlantic.

At last there is a welcome change from thicket and wood into the open country surrounding Tabora, and soon the town itself, surrounded by granite hills and mango groves, is reached. It is the capital of the Nyamwezi country and, as the place where one of the largest and most industrious Bantu tribes is administered, continues the part it has for long played in East African history. Founded as an Arab colony for securing the long line of communication from the coast to the great lakes, the town is full of links with the past, and the tourist can see here the old " tembe " at Kwihara where Livingstone and Stanley lived together in 1872, the pass between two hills where they parted, or again the battle grounds where first Nyamwezi chiefs and Arabs, then Germans and Belgians have fought for the possession of this country. At Tabora is situated the leading Government school for Africans in the Territory.

As Tabora is at the junction of the Mwanza Line, it is on one of the through routes from Kenya and Uganda to the Congo and Northern Rhodesia ; it is also on one of the trunk air routes to South Africa, and travellers stop the night at the spacious German-built hotel which has recently been modernised.

Extract ID: 5539

See also

Ondaatje, Christopher Journey to the Source of the Nile
Page Number: 125b
Extract Date: 1996

West of Dodoma

West of Dodoma, we took yet another rough, sandy road, this time headed towards Manyoni, a railway town and the centre of a tobacco-growing region, about 140 kilometres away. Wagogo herdsmen struggled to make a living in this desolate land, sometimes, according to Burton, resorting to extortion from the caravans: "In Ugogo," he wrote, "the merest pretext — the loosing a hot word, touching a woman, offending a boy, or taking in vain the name of the sultan — infallibly leads to being mulcted in cloth."

We stopped to camp at 5:00 p.m., and were asleep that night by 8:30.

We were up at 5:45 a.m. the next day, to the by now familiar sound of doves cooing and hornbills drumming. It was light early on the plains, and we roused ourselves as soon as the world started moving around us. In this early part of our journey, my mind was always on Burton and his struggling train of reluctant porters with all their complaints and mutinies. We were now entering Burton's Third Region, which he described as the flat table-land from the Wasagara Mountains to Tura in Unyamwezi, rising gently to the west.

We broke camp at 8:00 a.m. and set off westward towards Manyoni and Tabora. We passed numerous villages, and along the way were reminded that the Swahili word for "white man" is Mzungu, which comes from Mzungu kati, Meaning "wandering around in circles, going nowhere." I was beginning to understand why. Manyoni, when we reached it, appeared to be little more than a dusty strip of small hotels: Manyoni Inn, Royal Hotel and Inn, Caribuni Hotel, Central Line Hotel, Video Inn, Dara Inn. These "hotels" were really small restaurants or tea houses. We looked in the market for a hengo, a unique, long-handled knife used by the Wagogo. No luck.

Extract ID: 5753
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