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Lieut. Cameron in Central Africa

    Naturevolume 13page202 (1876) | Download Citation



    THE first detailed news of the latter half of Lieut. Cameron's trans-African expedition was read at the Geographical Society on Monday night, in the form of extracts from letters of the explorer, who intends to remain at Loando until he has a chance of finding a genial climate here. We do not yet possess details sufficient to authorise us in drawing final conclusions as to the results so far as the great problem of Central African drainage is concerned; though we are quite justified in concluding that Lieut. Cameron has proved himself to be possessed of the qualifications of an explorer of the first rank, and that means ought to be found of making still further use of his valuable services. He has not been able to accomplish all he intended when he set out from Ujiji in March 1874, but he has certainly added very largely to our accurate knowledge of Central Africa. He was not able, owing to the hostility of the natives, and the want of pluck in his followers, to follow the course of the Lualaba in order to ascertain whether or not it joins the Congo. He has, however, obtained data which render it very improbable that the Lualaba and Tanganyika contribute to the Nile system; the only known outlet of the lake, the Lukuga, he has ascertained, flows into the Lualaba. This latter river at Nyangwè is only 1,400 feet above the sea, or 500 feet below the Nile at Gondokoro, and lies in the centre of an enormously wide valley, “which receives the drainage of all this part of Africa, and is the continuation of the valleys of the Luapula and Lualaba.” Cameron found that the river, contrary to Livingstone's report, really turns to the west below Nyangwè, and the Arabs report that further down it flows W.S.W. A river, the Lowa, said to be as large as the Lualaba, at Nyangwè, joins it from the northward a short way farther down, besides other important rivers from the same direction. Cameron failed to make his way to Sankorra, a lake into which the Lualaba falls, and to which “trowser-wearing traders are reported to come in large sailing-boats to buy palm-oil and dust (probably gold) packed in quills.”

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