Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/161

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153
ASCEND ESHUAMENO MOUNTAIN.

guage it is called Onguirira, and would, as far as I could see, have answered the description of a puma. As it was going straight away from me, I did not think it prudent to fire.

Immense quantities of game were now observed, but the country was open and ill adapted for stalking, and, having no horses, it was difficult to get within range. A few springboks, however, were killed. I also shot a hartebeest; but, having been obliged to leave it for about an hour, I found, on my return, that it had been entirely devoured by vultures; but as they could not manage to eat the bones, our men consoled themselves by sucking them. The flesh of the hartebeest is considered extremely palatable.

The next day we rounded the cones of Omatako; but, to my great astonishment, the river of that name, although running breast-high on my visit to it about a fortnight previously, was now perfectly dry. Fortunately, a pool still remained on its left bank.

The estimate of the Damaras as to the distance between the mountains Omatako and Omuvereoom, of which mention was recently made, was now reduced from ten to three long days' journey. These men still said that the intervening country was destitute of water. We dared no longer trust to their conflicting and unsatisfactory accounts; but, in order to enable us to judge in a measure for ourselves, Galton rode to the neighboring mountain, Eshuameno, whence, from its advanced and isolated position, a good view of the country was likely to be obtained. After the absence of a day and a night, he returned with favorable news. By means of a rough triangulation, he had ascertained that Omuvereoom could not possibly be distant above twelve or fourteen hours' traveling. To the north and west of Omuvereoom the country appeared as one unbounded plain, only covered by brushwood. Eastward grass and trees were abundant. This, together with a timely fall of rain, at once determined us to make the attempt.