Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/152

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Kabaka, and Omuvereoom, stood out in bold relief. Some of these were similar to that of Erongo, and, like it, inhabited by Hill-Damaras, as also a few Bushmen.

I was particularly anxious to learn something of the country toward the north, in which direction—as before said—our route to Omanbondè lay; but it was in vain that I endeavored to get any thing like correct information from the natives, notwithstanding some had actually been living there. I was excessively annoyed, and imagined that their conflicting accounts were purposely invented to deceive and frighten me; but, as I became more intimate with the Damara character, I found that they lied more from habit than for the mere sake of lying. Indeed, a Damara would believe his own lies, however glaring and startling they might be. Thus, for instance, they informed me that the mountain Omuvereoom, which was distinctly visible, lay ten long days' journey off, and was inhabited by Hill-Damaras and Bushmen, whom they represented as perfect devils; moreover, that the intervening space was entirely destitute of water, and that any one attempting to traverse it would be sure to perish. At a subsequent period, we not only reached this mountain after fourteen hours' traveling, but found an abundance of water; and the natives, instead of being monsters, were the most timid and harmless of human beings.

This, however, is only one of the hundred instances that might be mentioned of the difficulty of eliciting truth from the Damaras. The missionaries had been living for several years at Barmen and Schmelen's Hope before they were aware of the existence of either "Buxton" or Okandu fountain, and yet these places were within a very short distance of the stations, and they had made repeated inquiries after springs.

With regard to the distance and situation of Omanbondè, the chief object of our journey, they could not say whether one or ten weeks would be required in order to reach it.