Through Jade's Eyes

This blog is about the fictional character, Jade del Cameron (www.suzannearruda.com), and the historical time period in which she lives.

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Location: www.suzannearruda.com, United States

I'm the author of the Jade del Cameron historical mystery series set in 1920's Africa. Lots of action, intrigue, mystery and a dash of romance. Follow me at www.twitter.com/SuzanneArruda *The audio link (view complete profile) is an interview by Baron Ron Herron (9/17/2009, Santa Barbara {CA} News-Press Radio, KZSB, AM 1290

Monday, May 17, 2010

1921-22 – “AFRICAN GUIDEBOOKS -PART 4 – ALTERNATIVE TRANSPORTATION ”

This blog made the short list for Best Author's Blog as awarded by www.completelynovel.com Thank you everyone who voted for me.


Last week we investigated travel by rail courtesy of the Uganda Railway with ran from Mombasa to Nairobi and on to Lake Victoria with sidelines west to Moshi and Mt. Kilimanjaro as well as east to Thika. But what if you were traveling elsewhere in East Africa? What were the options?

The South and East African Yearbook & Guide with Atlas and diagrams published annually for the Union-Castle Mail Steamship Company, Ltd. offers suggestions on page 607 in the section titled: “Means of Locomotion other than railways.”

Topping the list were “Ox Waggons” followed by the advice that they “can only be used in those parts of East Africa where there are no tsetse fly.” In other words, they were suitable for the “highlands of Kenya Colony (where) they form the most luxurious method of travelling the country.” That is, unless the ground was soft after a rain. Since the cost of hiring oxen, wagon, and driver (often a Boer) ran 2 pounds per day, the guidebook advises that “it might therefore be cheaper to buy a wagon and oxen outright and re-sell.” Of course, that infers that the purchaser knows how to drive a team on oxen. Still “a loaded wagon will carry as much as 50 or 60 porters.”

Mules and Donkeys were handy but also had their limitations as they both fell victim to the tsetse fly. Mules cost about 30 pounds apiece in British East Africa. Horses, on the other hoof, were “regarded as a luxury.” Nonetheless, they were of “great service in riding down lions.” A horse sold for about 35 pounds.

The guidebook recommends bicycles (“push and motor”) to be “most useful in dry weather along the native tracks or earth roads almost all over Africa.” Finally, the book mentions “motor traction” with a note to pages within the guidebook advertising motorcars for sale. The guidebook states that they are “likely to extend more and more as time goes on.” It notes that, in Uganda, “motor transport is rapidly replacing all other systems.” As has been noted in previous blogs, Nairobi was keen on motorcars, even having automobile clubs. Jade del Cameron, in her adventures, certainly preferred a motorcar or her own Indian Power Plus motorcycle for getting around.


Next week: More from the African manuals: Education


NOTE: These blogs are meant to give some insight into the life and times of my fictional character, Jade del Cameron. Jade’s mystery adventures take place in post WWI Africa. To date they are: Mark of the Lion, Stalking Ivory, and The Serpent’s Daughter, and The Leopard’s Prey, all available in trade paperback. TREASURE OF THE GOLDEN CHEETAH is available in hardcover. THE CROCODILE’S LAST EMBRACE will be released Sept. 7, 2010. An excerpt and information on ordering signed copies is available at the website: www.suzannearruda.com. Follow short updates on http://twitter.com/SuzanneArruda

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