Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/194

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for the agreeable feeling I had at first experienced. On the fire coming into contact with my body-linen, however, the lulling sensation was changed into one of torment. Hans had had a similar accident at Schmelen's Hope, on which occasion almost the whole of the skins, &c., spread beneath him were consumed before he was aware of what had happened. From that day forward, as may be supposed, I always made my bed far away from the fire.

On the last day of May we were again on the move. Messengers were started in advance to apprise King Nangoro of our approach, and to convey to him a few trifling presents. They would probably reach his capital in about two days.

In the course of the first day's journey we traversed an immense hollow, called Etosha, covered with saline incrustations, and having wooded and well-defined borders. Such places are in Africa designated "salt-pans." The surface consisted of a soft, greenish-yellow clay soil, strewed with fragments of small sandstone of a purple tint. Strange to relate, we had scarcely been ten minutes on this ground when the lower extremities of ourselves and cattle became of the same purple color. In some rainy seasons, the Ovambo informed us, the locality was flooded, and had all the appearance of a lake; but now it was quite dry, and the soil strongly impregnated with salt. Indeed, close in shore, this commodity was to be had of a very pure quality.

At night we bivouacked on the southern extremity of a boundless savanna, called Otjihako-tja-Muteya, totally destitute of trees, and even bushes. The natives were unable to give us an idea of its real extent; but, as far as we could learn, it reached to the sea on the west. Like Etosha, it had distinct and wooded borders.

The second of June will ever be remembered by us. On the afternoon of that day we first set eye on the beautiful and fertile plains of Ondonga, the country of the Ovambo. Vain would be any attempt to describe the sensations of delight