A camping safari in 1923

13 Jan

This week I’ve started to read some extracts from Maurice’s diaries. I’m hoping to spread the load and get through a small section each week whilst continuing with my secondary reading. This way I can break up all the dull library reading with exciting trips back in time with Maurice.

What I’ve seen from the first little segment I’ve read is that Maurice wasn’t the isolated, single figure I’d imagined him to be. In the early 1920’s at least he was part of a thriving network of British settlers in Kenya and motored about (somewhat unsuccessfully- lots of his diaries are descriptions of his car troubles) with them discussing agriculture and hunting.

I’ve always known that Maurice was an organised list-maker, and thought I’d share one with you. So, these are his supplies for a two day safari trip for two men in 1923:

-tin opener

-bread 4lbs

-butter 2lbs

-lard 1lbs


-marmalade 1lb

-jam 1lb

-dried apricots 2lbs

-tea 1 tin

-sugar 3lbs

-salt for skins 10lbs


-pepper 1 tin


-quaker oats 1 tin

-potatoes 10lbs

-onions 5lbs

-bacon 3lbs

-eggs 1 dozen

-rice 2lbs

-matches 1 packet

-kibaba (Swahili container)

-posho (Swahili dish of maize flour)

-tent, water

-dish, pan

-dish cloths


-pangos (not sure what this is yet, Swahili dictionaries say cave, den, hole)

-2 lamps

-2 bottles of paraffin

-sufurias (Swahili cooking pot)

-frying pan

-6 plates

-1 teapot

-1 kettle

-3 cups and saucers

-6 knives, forks, spoons

-(tea and dessert spoons)




-toilet paper

-guns and cartridges

-beds and blankets


-soap and towels

-table and chairs


-whiskey, vermouth, gin


-condensed milk


No wonder it took 11 porters to carry that lot!


2 Responses to “A camping safari in 1923”

  1. Liz Mitchell January 14, 2013 at 5:43 pm #

    What a great list. I love the entry that just reads ‘meat’. Any particular kind?!

    I love lists! A fantastic way of telling a story without imposing too much control. Got quite carried away with them before Christmas – you can see the results on the http://www.marymaryquitecontrary.org website..

    • sarahandherphd January 14, 2013 at 7:14 pm #

      I’ve read accounts of his shooting antelope and other African game for meat for his ‘boys’. I’ve also read lists of his livestock on his land so perhaps he preferred a traditional bit of beef or lamb!

      As for lists, I love reading how his lists develop. Comparing this list with similar ones a decade or so later, he cuts down on luxury and quantity, and seems much more experienced. I’m surprised at how many Swahili terms he uses. I wonder if the things listed first are his priorities (in that case I would have put chocolate first!). It’s also comical reading his opinions on the best products- like pros and cons of different types of shoes for sneaking up on animals.

      Your thoughts on lists are very thorough, and I like what you say about making the ordinary precious. I am definitely fond of Maurice’s lists, no matter how mundane.

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