Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/192

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agreeable operation on ourselves. On seeing what was coming, Galton, held out both his hands, and exclaimed, "Oh! for goodness' sake, if the thing is necessary, be it at least moderate!" His request was granted, for he escaped with a brush or two across the face, but it created much jest and mirth among the company.

At Omutjamatunda there is a most copious fountain, situated on some rising ground, and commanding a splendid prospect of the surrounding country. It was a refreshing sight to stand on the borders of the fountain, which was luxuriantly overgrown with towering reeds, and sweep with the eye the extensive plain encircling the base of the hill, frequented as it was not only by vast herds of domesticated cattle, but with the lively springbok and troops of striped zebras. If the monotony of our dreary wanderings had not thus occasionally been relieved, I do not know how we should have borne up against our constant trials and difficulties.

In order to ascertain the proficiency of the Ovambo in archery, we had shooting-matches while at Omutjamatunda. The result proved that they were inferior in this respect even to the Damaras, who, as already said, are wretched marksmen. The poor despised Bushmen beat both tribes out and out in the use of the bow, which, however, is to be expected, since they subsist in a great measure by the chase.

During the two days we remained at Omutjamatunda we amused ourselves with shooting ducks and birds of the grouse kind. Both were abundant, but more especially the latter, which literally obscured the air with their number every morning and evening, when they came to quench their thirst. It is, however, only in the dry season, as in the present instance, that they are observed in such astonishing multitudes. They usually go far in search of food, and although a pair only may be seen at starting in quest of water, yet, as they draw nearer to the pool, they describe wide