Commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War in #Africa


(Posted 22nd December 2017)


When James Willson Esq. wrote his book ‘Guerillas of Tsavo‘ was, unbeknown at the time, this correspondent also publishing a series of articles ahead of the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, titled ‘Battlefield East Africa‘.
Site visits to the Taita Hills and the lesser known sites near Kisii followed and when the war started in Europe was it only a matter of time before the first shots were fired in East Africa between the European foes.
German controlled Tanganyika and British ruled Kenya and Uganda – joined by the Belgian Congo – were quickly at each others throats, despite an earlier agreement to keep the colonies out of the war.
Much was said here about events and links, also to James Willson’s book, will be shown further below.
Meanwhile, as the 100th anniversary of the end of the war in the African theatre is approaching in November 2018, has James Willson put together a tour to commemorate the signing of the armistice in Africa between von Lettow Vorbeck for the Germans and Jacob van Deventer for the Allied forces.

Here is the proposed itinerary of a tour which will startin Dar es Salaam and end at the surrender site at Mbala / Zambia, to where von Lettow Vorbeck marched his remaining troops to, two weeks after the Armistice had been signed in Europe, bring World War I to an end.

WW1 Commemorative Patrol to Mbala
(Abercorn) Zambia
November 2018

Commencing Tanzania Dar es Salaam Friday 16th November 2018
Concluding Zambia Mbala/Kasama Wednesday 28th November 2018
with an optional extension to include two famous Zambian National Parks and Victoria falls

This is an 12 day patrol of Zambia’s historical WW1 sites, culminating at Mbala for the centenary commemoration of the ‘laying down of arms’ by the German Schutztruppe forces, on 25th November 1918, ending the East African Campaign of WW1, 14 days after the cease fire in Europe.

Starting in Dar es Salaam, the former capitol of German East Africa, now Tanzania, Patrol members will meet in the Best Weston Hotel for a briefing luncheon. This hotel is convenient to the Julius Nyerere International Airport and the Tazara Railway Station.

It is from here at 15.50 hrs that we shall start our journey on the Makuba Express Train to Kasama in Northern Zambia. Arriving late on Saturday, transfer to over-night in hotel in Kasama (TBA). Transport will be arranged depending on Patrol participant numbers.

Using Mpulungu area as our base we shall radiate out to various sites, highlighted in the attached literary.

Mbala centenary commemoration, on Sunday 25th November 2018, is the ‘penultimate, worldwide centenary commemoration of the WWI’, so will be a huge event in this little known area of Zambia, with limited infrastructure. Early bookings/arrangements are therefore essential so that we can co-ordinate with the organisers of the commemorative event in Mbala

So we are request an early indication by interested persons wishing to join this Patrol, certainly by 15th January 2018, following which booking forms shall be dispatched. Since accommodation in the Patrol area is extremely limited, reservations will be on a ‘first come first serve’ basis. Also due to the remoteness of the Patrol area itinerary flexibility can be expected.

Guerrillas of Tsavo WW1 Commemorative Patrol to Mbala


James & Eileen Willson in Diani Beach, Kenya, East Africa

james +254 (0) 733811757 Eileen +254 (0) 733746281

WW1 Commemorative Patrol to Mbala
(Abercorn) Zambia
November 2018

Proposed Itinerary

Day 1 Friday 16th Nov 2018
WW1 Commemorative Patrol to Mbala commences with Lunch in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania before departing on the Makuba Express Train for Kasama in Zambia.
Overnight: Makuba Express Train (Meals/bedding available on train)

Day 2 Saturday 17th Nov 2018
Continue on the Makuba Express Train crossing the Tanzania border into Zambia. Immigration clearance on board train. Arrive in Kasama 22.30hrs and meet pre arranged ground transport for the next 13 days
Overnight: Hotel Kasama TBA.

Day 3 Sunday 18th Nov 2018

Drive to Mpulungu on Lake Tanganyika via Mbala. Sitting in the heart of the rift valley, about 40km north from Mbala, Mpulungu is Zambia’s largest port. The atmosphere is very international, a mix of various Southern, Central and East African influences all stirred together by the ferries which circle the lake.
Overnight: Great Lakes Hotel Mpulungu

Days 4,5,6, Monday 19th to Thursday 22nd Nov 2018

Travel by ferry (6 hours) westwards, following the beautiful mountainous shore line to Ndole Bay Lodge on the shores of Lake Tanganyika and adjoining Sumbu National Park. Possible activities include world class angling, sunset dhow cruises, kayaking, walks, village and cultural visits, and Zambia’s only SCUBA diving and snorkeling destination. The shoreline of Sumbu National Park offers a haven to wildlife, while the crystal clear blue waters

teem with an unparalleled diversity of life. Ndole Bay is a gateway to a true wilderness areas in Africa.

Overnights: Ndole Bay Lodge

Day 7 Thursday 22nd Nov 2018

Ferry back to Mpulungu. Overnight: Great Lakes Hotel Mpulungu

Day 8, Friday 23th Nov 2018

Day patrol to Kalambo Falls, (the second highest waterfall in Africa), German trenches and archaeological excavations upstream of the Falls; Niamkolo Church – the oldest European building in Zambia; Mimi & Toutou activities; Local Dhow trips. Overnight: Great Lakes Hotel Mpulungu

Day 9 Saturday 24th Nov 2018

Drive to Lake Chila/Mbala (50kms). Using Lake Chila as our base, day patrols to Pioneer Cemetery overlooking Lake Chila; the Trench system on Cemetery Hill; War Memorial; Saisi battlefield at head Siaisi Valley (may be too far away depending on road conditions); Mount Sunzu; Moto Moto Museum; TVMI (Tanganyika & Victoria Memorial Institute) building & propeller of SS “Good News”.

Overnight: TBA Lake Chila Lodge OR Great Lakes Hotel Mpulungu

Day 10 Sunday 25th Nov 2018

Mbala WW1 penultimate worldwide
Centenary Commemoration

Attend official program of the event.
To include wreath laying by Guerrillas of Tsavo WW1 Commemorative Patrol
Overnight: Lake Chila Lodge OR Great Lakes Hotel Mpulungu

Day 11 Monday 26th Nov 2018

Those terminating their patrol here can connect by domestic flights from Mbala and /or Kasama to Lusaka or Livingston for onwards travel

For those continuing the patrol

From Mbala drive to Shiwa Ngandu via Kasama and the Chambeshi River Monument where General von Lettow-Vorbeck received the news of the armistice in Europe but refused to believe it. Visit the historic Africa House and environs. ‘A little bit of England in the heart of Africa’ the home of Sir Stewart Gore-Brown built 19/20century and still run by his family.

Overnight: Kapishya Hot Springs Lodge.

Day 12 Tuesday 27th Nov 2018

An early start for Kasanka National Park. Kasanka is a beautiful wilderness of woodland, plains, lakes, rivers and swamps; a valuable protected area for many endangered speciesand exceptional birdlife. Kasanka is Zambia’s first national park under private management and is entirely reliant on tourism revenue and charitable funding. Highlights in November include a migration of 10 million bats and Sitatunga antelope…

Overnight: Luwombwa Lodge and/or Wasa Lodge

Day 13 Wednesday 28th Nov 2018

Early departure for the lake side town of Samfya on Lake Bangweulu, visiting the Livingstone Memorial enroute The Bangweulu wetlands, ‘where the water meets the sky’ — is one of the world’s great wetland systems, comprising Lake Bangweulu, the Bangweulu Swamps and the Bangweulu Flats or floodplain. A birding paradise, with special interest to locate the spectacular, rare and elusive Shoe Bill Stork.

Overnight: Chita Lodge

Day 14 Thursday 29th Nov 2018.

Spend the day in/on around Lake Bangweulu. The Great Bangweulu Basin, incorporating the vast Bangweulu Lake and a massive Wetland area, lies in a shallow depression in the centre of the North Zambian Plateau. The basin is fed by 17 principle rivers from a catchment area of 190 000 kms2, but is drained by only one river, the Luapula. The area floods in the wet season between November and March and receives an average annual rainfall of about 1200mm, but 90% of the water entering the system is lost to evapo-transpiration. The resultant effect is that the water level in the centre of the basin varies between one and two meters, causing the flood line to advance and retreat by as much as 45 kilometers at the periphery. It is this seasonal rising and falling of the flood waters that dictates life in the swamps, but the area is so incredibly vast, it is largely left to the abundant wildlife that live off the rich resources.

Overnight: Chita Lodge

Day 15 Friday 30th Nov 2018

From Samfya we back track down the D234 skirting the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to join the T2 Great North Road and head for the Mkushi River; stay at the Forest Inn situated within 160 hectares of protected indigenous forest.

Overnight: Forest Inn

Day 16 Saturday 1st December 2018

Continue on to Ndola in the Zambian Copper Belt to say good bye to our Coach and driver before we catch an afternoon flight for Mfuwe Airport, South Luangwa National Park. Concentrations of game along the meandering Luangwa River and its lagoons are amongst the most intense in Africa. The river provides a lifeline for one of the greatest diversities of habitat and wildlife, supporting more than 60 species of mammals and over 400 species of birds. It supports large populations of Thornicroft’s giraffe, herds of elephants and Cape buffalo. South Luangwa became a national park in 1972 and now covers 9,050 km2. The Park is unfenced and bordered to the west by a steep escarpment and to the east by the Luangwa River.

Overnight: Bush Camps Mfuwe Lodge.

Day 17 & 18 Sunday 2nd Dec 2018

Full day exploring the National Park using custom built safari transport

Overnight: Bush Camps Mfuwe Lodge

Day 19 Tuesday 4th Dec 2018

Morning flight to Livingstone International Airport/ or Lusaka Kenneth Kaunda International Airport for onward flights home

OR Overnight in Livingstone and enjoy the spectacular Victoria Falls

End of Patrol