Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/243

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235
ENORMOUS QUANTITIES OF GAME.

the thorns so tormenting, that I found it necessary to make immense détours, and even then all our clothes, pack-saddles, &c., were literally torn to ribbons.

The few days that we remained at Tunobis were spent profitably and pleasantly. Besides much interesting information of the country, derived from the Bushmen, part of which has since been substantiated, we had abundant shooting. From the absence of water within a distance of two or three days' journey of the place, the number of animals that nightly congregated here to quench their thirst was truly astonishing.

To give the reader an idea of the immense quantity of game hereabouts, I may mention that, in the course of the few days we remained at Tunobis, our party shot, among other animals, upward of thirty rhinoceroses. One night, indeed, when quite alone, I killed, in the space of five hours (independently of other game), no less than eight of those beasts, among which were three distinct species; and it is my belief that if I had persevered I might have destroyed double the number.[1] But I never took delight in useless slaughter. In our case, and I think I may say in all cases where I have been concerned in killing a great number of wild beasts, not a pound of flesh was ever wasted, for what we did not require for our own use was devoured by the natives.

As another evidence of the enormous quantity of game in this region, I may state that the fountain in question, which was a copious one—nay, apparently inexhaustible—was almost nightly drunk dry.

On several occasions I had narrow escapes from being gored by the horns of these ugly monsters. Thus one an-

  1. When we thus shot at night, we generally ensconced ourselves in a "skärm," that is, a small circular inclosure six or eight feet in diameter, the walls (usually consisting of loose stones) being about two feet in height.