Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/190

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some of the latter, which I saw clinging to the rocks, I found, to my surprise, that they were dead, and had probably been so for many years; at least they had all the appearance of mummies.

Otjikoto contained an abundance of fish somewhat resembling perch, but those we caught were not much larger than one's finger. One day we had several scores of these little creatures for dinner, and very palatable they proved.

In the morning and evening Otjikoto was visited by an incredible number of doves, some of which were most delicately and beautifully marked. On such occasions the wood resounded with their cooing; but when disturbed, as they frequently were, by the invasion of a hawk, the noise caused by their precipitate flight was like that of a sudden rush of wind.

Many Bushmen resided near Otjikoto, and, as every where else in these regions, they lived on excellent terms with the Ovambo, to whom they brought copper ore for sale, which they obtained from the neighboring hills. Indeed, as our acquaintance with the Ovambo increased, we were more and more favorably impressed with their character. They treated all men equally well, and even the so much despised Hottentots ate out of the same dish and smoked out of the same pipe as themselves.

We only staid a day at Otjikoto. The next morning, after a few hours' travel, we lost sight of all landmarks, and were now making our way through dense thorn coppices, which harassed and delayed us exceedingly. To say nothing of tearing our clothes to rags, they now and then extracted some article from the saddle-bags. Of the regular Ovambo caravan route all traces had been obliterated, and we now first began to understand and appreciate the difficulties that would have beset us had we tried to prosecute the journey alone. Indeed, without the most experienced guides, it would have been an utterly hopeless task. The watering-places, moreover, were very few, and scattered over an immense extent of country, which was dreary in the extreme.