Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/195

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187
A PARADISE—HOSPITABLE RECEPTION.

and pleasure experienced by us on that memorable occasion, or to give an idea of the enchanting panoramic scene that all at once opened on our view. Suffice it to say that, instead of the eternal jungles, where every moment we were in danger of being dragged out of our saddles by the merciless thorns, the landscape now presented an apparently boundless field of yellow corn, dotted with numerous peaceful homesteads, and bathed in the soft light of a declining tropical sun. Here and there, moreover, arose gigantic, wide-spreading, and dark-foliaged timber and fruit trees, while innumerable fan-like palms, either singly or in groups, completed the picture. To us it was a perfect elysium, and well rewarded us for every former toil and disappointment. My friend, who had traveled far and wide, confessed he had never seen any thing that could be compared to it. Often since have I conjured up to my imagination this scene, and have thought it might not inaptly be compared to stepping out of a hot, white, and shadowless road into a park fresh with verdure, and cool with the umbrage cast down by groups of reverend trees.

The first dwelling that lay in our path was that of old Naitjo, one of the chief men of our trading caravan, who, after having feasted us on such fare as the country produced (among which was a dish of hot dough steeped in melted butter), conducted us over his extensive establishment, comprising his harem, his children, granaries, and so forth. Timbo was in ecstasies with the country and its hospitable inhabitants, and declared that it was as like as two peas to his own native land.

Another hour's travel brought us to the residence of our guide Chikor'onkombè, where we remained two nights and a day to rest our weary animals. Poor creatures! they had had no water for two entire days, and the consequence was that during the first night they broke out of the inclosures and strayed far away in search of it.