Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/312

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we deemed it necessary to move slowly on toward the Cape Colony. Accordingly, on the 9th of July we left our camp on the Aamhoup, a place where we had experienced both misery and happiness.

Our course lay along and at the foot of a very picturesque range of table hills, averaging about one thousand feet in height. To the westward were also mountains of a similar nature, but less regular. They were of the trap formation, and consisted chiefly of limestone.

Water continued for a time to be tolerably abundant, but pasturage began soon to fail us. Two causes were to be assigned for this, namely, the devastation of the locusts, and the inferior quality of the soil, which became stony, interspersed here and there with ridges of sand.

Among the latter we encountered herds of gemsboks, and troops of lions following on their scent. The mere sight of the tracks of the latter frightened a friend with whom I was traveling almost out of his wits. We were riding in advance of our cattle at the time, and it was with difficulty that I could prevent him from returning with precipitation.

On the 4th of August we arrived in the neighborhood of another Rhenish missionary station, called Bethany. Here we met with the ebony-tree, of which I had only before seen a few stragglers in the Swakop River, near the Usab gorge. Hence on to the Orange River this tree became more or less abundant, but it was stunted and gnarled. Our bivouac fires usually consisted of its wood.

While Hans and the men were busy preparing our food and camp for the night, I strolled on to the station, which I found deserted by every living creature. Only a short time previously the Rev. Mr. Knudsen officiated here, but had been obliged to leave on account of some disagreement with the native tribe and its chief, David Christian. It had always been considered as inferior to most of the other missionary stations in this part of Africa; but, what with the absence