How to Make Salt from Grasses or Goat Dung in northern Uganda, 1860’s

Proceeding up the White Nile basin from Gondokro (current Juba, in southern Sudan) for about 100 miles, the Bakers entered the Latooka territory where they stayed for a short time. Samuel Baker thought the Latooka to be the most handsome people he’d yet seen in Africa, describing them as tall, fine featured and well built – the ideal ‘picture’ of a cattle raising people, of which they had many thousands.

Latooka, 1853. Source: U. of Texas

However, salt was not available in Latooka land, and Baker describes how the Latookas make it from goat dung and from grasses:

Samuel Baker, The Albert N’Yanza, Great Basin of the Nile. 1863f.

Salt is not procurable in Latooka; the natives seldom use it, as it is excessively difficult to make it in any quantity from the only two sources that will produce it; the best is made from goat’s dung; this is reduced ashes, and saturated; the water is then strained off, and evaporated by boiling.

Another quality is made of peculiar grass, with a thick fleshy stem, something like sugarcane; the ashes of this produce salt, but by no means pure.

Salt was also scarce in Burundi and was made in the same way. Even today, salt is a luxury for those who are quite poor and it is not unusual to see people with goitre.

Making salt in Burundi from grasses, in the manner described by Baker, c.1900. Source: Unknown

Baker continues:

The chief of Latooka would eat a handful of salt greedily that I gave him from my large supply, and I could purchase supplies with this article better than with beads.


About dianabuja

With a group of BaTwa (pygmy) women potters, with whom we've worked to enhance production and sales of their wonderful pots - fantastic for cooking and serving. To see the 2 blogs on this work enter 'batwa pots' into the search engine located just above this picture. Blog entries throughout this site are about Africa, as well as about the Middle East and life in general - reflecting over 35 years of work and research in Africa and the Middle East – Come and join me!
This entry was posted in Africa-Central, Colonialism, European explorers, Explorers & exploration, Indigenous crops & medicinal plants, Sourcd of the Nile, White Nile and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to How to Make Salt from Grasses or Goat Dung in northern Uganda, 1860’s

  1. Pingback: Wild Rice, Salt, and Navigation on Lake Tanganyika: 19th Century and Now | DIANABUJA'S BLOG: Africa, The Middle East, Agriculture, History and Culture

  2. Pingback: Discovering the Rusizi River – Did It flow IN or OUT?!, Pt. I « Dianabuja's Blog

  3. Hello Diana, I am enchanted your blog and the huge amount of information about Africa. Thank you for sharing with us.


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