The African Game Hunter Arthur H. Neumann

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    The African Game Hunter Arthur H. Neumann
    (l850 - l907)

    Arthur H. Neumann in 1897

    Arthur H. Neumann (l850 - l907) achieved an almost legendary status in his lifetime, certainly amongst the ranks of the big game hunters, with the publication by Rowland Ward in l898 of his aclaimed book, "Elephant Hunting in East Equatorial Africa". He is chiefly known for his occupation as a sucessful hunter of elephants in this region, but what is not generally considered is the fact that this phase of his career only took up a relatively short period of his life.

    Elephant Hunting in East Equatorial Africa by Arthur H. Neumann 1898

    The African game hunter Arthur H. Neumann was born in 1850, son of an English rector, Neumann sailed for Natal at eighteen and with his brother engaged in growing cotton and tobacco on the Umvoti, dug gold in the Transvaal and traded in Swaziland and in 1879 served in the Zulu War. He then travelled and hunted extensively around the Limpopo and Sabi rivers. His ambition to hunt elephants professionally was fired when, as a employee of Sir William Mackinnon's chartered company in 1890, he reconnoitered a proposed railway to Lake Victoria, a region that was a hunter's paradise. The years 1893 to 1896 took him from Mombasa, across Mount Kenya to Lake Rudolf and back, shooting on the way, elephant, rhinoceros, hippopotamus and many types of thin skinned game animals. Neumann purchased donkeys and hired porters for his long trekk to the Seya valley, El Bogoi, the Leroghi mountains and the Omo river at the northern end of Lake Rudolf, now Lake Turkana. Here, his cook, Shebane, was taken by a crocodile and Neumann himself was gored by a cow elephant. Miraculously, he survived thanks to three months of virtual incapacitation and careful nursing by his staff and Ndorobo girlfriend. The accumulated ivory was then loaded on to the donkeys and the caravan proceeded back to his ivory depot base camp at El Bogoi. In Neumann's day, throughout his travels he did not see one camel between Mombasa and the Omo river! So hence his use of the traditional donkey and panniers for the long distance transport of elephant tusks. Then followed an interlude of service in the Anglo-Boer War when he took part in the relief of Ladysmith. The war over, he returned to the Mount Kenya area, and in 1903 and 1904 he ranged through the Lorian Swamp, Turkana, and northern Gwaso Nyiro. He dies in l907.

    He could not claim to be an explorer in the full sense, although he was, undisputably, the first white man to reach into many remote corners of East Africa, including the first recorded sighting of Lake Kisima at the foot of the Leroghi Mountains through which we trek today.

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