One or two natives were also engaged to drive and to assist in packing the oxen.
As usual, I rode "Spring," and Mr. Schoneberg an ox lent to him by Mr. Rath; but, unfortunately, the latter animal turned very vicious, and before we had proceeded many hundred yards I saw my friend pitched head foremost into the moist bed of the Swakop. On rising from his uncomfortable berth, the reverend gentleman looked very blank and crestfallen, and nothing could again induce him to remount the brute. Being, however, anxious to prosecute the journey, I made him an offer of my own ox, which was gratefully accepted.
After this little mishap, all went on well for a while. Unfortunately, however, in an unguarded moment, I too was doomed to be "un-oxed," to the great delight and amusement of my companion. Confiding in his superior skill in managing a refractory ox, our guide now generously exchanged with me. Notwithstanding his boasting, he was as unfortunate as ourselves, for in the course of half an hour he had twice bitten the dust. Nothing daunted, however, he mounted a third time, and ultimately succeeded in convincing the animal that he was determined to be master.
In the course of the day we suddenly came upon a troop of zebras. Quickly dismounting, I took a running shot at them as they were disappearing in the brushwood, and had the good fortune to bring a fine male dead to the ground. Immediately "off-saddling," we helped ourselves to the best parts of the meat, leaving the rest to one of our Damaras, who thought a "tuck-out" of flesh—as Hans would have called it—preferable to a wearisome journey to Barmen.
The flesh of the zebra, or "wild horse," as the Dutch call it, is eatable, but by no means good; for, besides possessing a very strong odor and peculiar flavor, it has a very oily taste. With plenty of pepper and salt, however, a steak is not to be despised by the hungry traveler.