The British and French vie for control of the three great rivers of Africa
Sometime early in the spring of 1888, towards the end of the monsoon season, an African Lakes Company steamer arrived at the head of navigation on the Shiré River. The place was Chikwawa, a bustling river port a few miles upstream of the old Chigunda’s village, and lying at a distance of perhaps thirty miles from Blantyre. The route followed the old missionary trail blazed two decades earlier by Livingstone and Mackenzie, and typically it took two full days to complete the journey on foot. The trail was serviced by rest camps for white travellers and numerous villages that profited from the steady traffic of porters and carriers moving goods between the Highlands and the River.