As the slave industry kept on booming, other valuable trade products greatly desired by international markets were discovered within the heart of central Africa and were thus brought onto the market scene. Further inland, the Kamba, of what is now Kenya, and the Nyamwezi of erstwhile Tanganyika, formed the trader’s networks that linked the ports of the Swahili Coast to the wealth of the heart of Africa. (Roberts, 1970; Cummings, 1975) Copper from Katanga vied with ivory and gold to pay for the textiles and metals. Caravan routes laid down in centuries past are reflected in the roads and rails of today.
The pioneers of all the major routes were African traders. Nyamwezi caravans from central Tanzania, reaching the coast about 1800, developed the most important route from their homeland to Bagamoyo on the mainland directly opposite Zanzibar. Kamba ivory traders from central Kenya opened a route that ended at Mombasa. Eventually, this route crossed Kamba and Maasai country, branching east towards Uganda and north to Lake Turkana. The oldest route stretched from Yao country to Kilwa.