National Geographic : 1897 Mar
90 RECENT EXPLORATIONS IN EQUATORIAL AFRICA According to Stanley, there is a high peak, which he named Gordon Ben nett, to the north of this lake, but the travelers were unable to discover it. Mount Ruwenzori is about 5,000 meters high, and at night numerous lights were seen on its slopes. On April 11 the explorers were at Kasa gama, whence they started for Katone, to the north of Lake Albert Ed ward, and on the frontier between British territory and the Kongo Free State. During this march they noticed that Lake Ruherou is not con nected with Lake Albert Edward by a large bay, as Stanley says, but by a small stream. The two lakes are 40 kilometers apart and have a differ ence of 200 meters in elevation. On April 17 Katone was left behind, the thirtieth meridian was crossed, and the caravan camped right under the equator for the third time since leaving Mombasa. Continuing westward, they entered the Kongo Free State and crossed the foothills of the Ruwenzori, visited by Captain Lu gard a few years ago, and entered the Semliki valley. The Semliki river is about 200 meters wide and has a very swift current. The next halt was made at the village of Mbene, where Stokes was captured. From this place to Leopoldville the country is covered with an almost impene trable forest, on the edge of which is the Arab village of Kissangue, an auxiliary post of the Kongo State. It is the duty of the chief of the vil lage to warn the Kongolese authorities of the presence of strangers on their territory. After a ten days' march through the forest Kuamkubi was reached. In this part of the country traces of Arab civilization are everywhere apparent; these Arabs speak the Zanzibar dialect. Leaving this post, the Kongo basin was next entered. The march through the forest was exceedingly difficult, compass and ax being alike indispensable. Finally the Ibina, a branch of the Ituri river, was reached. Twenty days more along the banks of the Ibina brought the travelers to the Ituri itself, which they crossed in canoes, and then took a guide, who con ducted them to the Kongolese military post of Kilongalonga. They were well received by the Belgian officers, the first Europeans they had met for several weeks, and after a short rest and the laying in of supplies they left for the next post. Recrossing the Ituri, they followed its left bank as far as Moussa, a small village opposite the mouth of the Ipulo. Here the Ituri is swift and narrow. Eight days more through the forest brought the travelers to Avakubi, where for the fourth time the Ituri had to be crossed. Avakubi is a post and market of some importance. Here the travelers saw a few specimens of the race of pygmies whose ex istence has by many writers been doubted. The stature of these pygmies is about 1 m. 20, they are absolutely naked, their noses are very flat, and their looks somewhat ferocious. Their weapons are spears and arrows, which are proportionate to their stature. They hunt a great deal and attack even the elephant. They build no huts, but live scattered about the forest, and their habitations are holes. Their suspicious nature ren ders them very difficult to meet, and it is only once in a while that a few of the least wild among them venture to go to the nearest post to ex change the products of their hunt for bananas or sweet potatoes. From Avakubi the travelers proceeded in canoes as far as Stanley Falls.