Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/165

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157
REMAINS OF DAMARA VILLAGES.

At the foot of the mountain we discovered the remains of a large Hill-Damara kraal. A considerable extent of land had at one time been carefully cultivated, and a few young calabashes and pumpkins were still seen springing up from the parent stock of the preceding season. The day after our arrival one or two natives came to visit us, and no doubt, also, for the purpose of ascertaining who and what we were. We of course entertained them well, and at parting gave them a few trifling presents, with a request that they would soon return with the remainder of their tribe, in order that we might buy from them some goats, which, from the surrounding evidences, they must have possessed in great numbers. The fresh tracks of a few horned cattle were also to be seen. However, our friends never came back, nor did we encounter any more of the natives.

While sauntering about the place we stumbled upon several deserted Damara villages, and our native servants now told us that, after the late attack on Schmelen's Hope by Jonker, Kahichenè and his tribe had fled with the remainder of their cattle to this secluded spot; and yet, a short time previously, they had positively asserted that the country was impassable for man and beast! They, moreover, informed us that several bloody fights, or rather massacres, had at that time taken place between the contending parties; and that whenever a man, woman, or child was met, and the deed could be perpetrated with impunity, they were cruelly murdered. These sanguinary outrages were sometimes inflicted, they said, by the Damaras, and at others by the Hill-Damaras.

I climbed to the top of the Omuvereoom, whence I had a very extensive view of the country to the eastward; but, excepting a few periodical water-courses which originated in the sides of the mountain, nothing but an immense unbroken bush was to be seen. It was in vain that I strained my eyes to catch a glimpse of Omanbondè, which we were told lay