After passing several towns at the distance of short stages, the travellers, on the fourth day from Zaria, entered, at the town of Dunchow, the province of Kano. A highly cultivated and populous country extends from this place to Baebaejie, the next stage. This town stands in an extensive plain, stretching towards the north till lost in the horizon. The two mounts inside the walls of Kano are just distinguishable above the horizontal line, bearing north-east by north. The hills of Nora are seen about ten miles east; to the south are the mountains of Surem, distant about twenty-five miles, while to the westward appear the tops of the hills of Aushin, in Zeg Zeg, over which the route had passed. Small towns and villages are scattered over the plain, and herds of fine white cattle were seen grazing on the fallow ground. The inhabitants of Baebaejie, amounting to about twenty or twenty-five thousand, are chiefly refugees from Bornou and Waday, and their descendants, all engaged in trade. They appeared cleanly, civil, and industrious. A broad and good road thronged with passengers and loaded animals, led in another day’s journey to Kano.
The travellers found the city of Kano in a state of dreadful agitation. There was war on every side. Hostilities had been declared between the king of Bornou and the Fellatas; the provinces of Zamfra and Goober were in open insurrection; the Tuaricks threatened an inroad; in short, there was not a quarter to which the merchants durst send a caravan. Kano being nearly mid-way between Bornou and Sockatoo, Clapperton left his baggage there, to be conveyed to the former place on his return, and set out for the capital of the sultan Bello, bearing only the presents destined for that prince. On his way he found numerous bands mustering to form an army for the attack of Coonia, the rebel metropolis of Ghoober. The appearance of these troops was very striking, as they passed along the borders of some beautiful little lakes, formed by the river Zirmie.
The appearance of the country at this season was very beautiful; all the acacia trees were in blossom, some with white flowers, others with yellow, forming a contrast with the small dusky leaves, like gold and silver tassels on a cloak of dark green velvet. Some of the troops were bathing; others watering their horses, bullocks, camels, and asses; the lake Gondamee as smooth as glass, and flowing around the roots of the trees. The sun, in its approach to the horizon, threw the shadows of the flowering acacias along its surface, like sheets of burnished gold and silver. The smoking fires on its banks, the sounding of horns, the beating of their gongs and drums, the blowing of their brass and tin trumpets; the rude huts of grass or branches of trees, rising as if by magic, everywhere the calls on the names Mahomed, Abdo, Mustafa, &c., with the neighing of horses, and the braying of asses, gave animation to the beautiful scenery of the lake, and its sloping, green, and woody banks. The only regulation that appears in these rude feudal armies is, that they take up their ground according to the situation of the provinces, east, west, north, or south; but all are otherwise huddled together, without the least regularity.