Author : OSCAR NEUMANN.
Year : 1902
In the spring of 1899 Baron Carlo von Erlanger asked me to join an
expedition to Somaliland, which he intended to undertake for the
sake of sport and ornithological research. I agreed on condition that
the journey should not be confined to Somaliland, but should also
extend to the countries of Southern Ethiopia. The preparations took
nearly half a year. Meanwhile the revolt of the mad Mulla had broken
out, and the western route proposed by myself proved to be the only
one possible, as the Foreign Office was forced to recall its permission
to penetrate the hinterland of Berbera, and we were therefore obliged
to set out from Zeila by the old caravan route to Harar. The members
of the expedition were Baron Carlo von Erlanger, Dr. Hans Ellenbeck as
physician, Mr. Johann Holtermuller as cartographer, Mr. Carl Hilgert
as taxidermist, and myself.
We started from Zeila on January 12, 1900, but an accident to
Mr. Carl Hilgert, who nearly killed himself with a small flaubert gun,
stopped us at the wells of Dadab, only three marches from the coast,
so that we did not arrive at Harar until the beginning of March.
In the desert Baron Erlanger and myself preceded the caravan in
order to meet Mr. Alfred Ilg, the foreign minister of the Emperor
Menelik, who was on his way to the coast, and to whose valuable help
a great part of the success of our expedition is due. But in the first
place we have to thank the Emperor Menelik, that intelligent ruler
and restorer of an ancient and great empire, for his help and permission
to pass through his country.