Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/320

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few words of this country, its inhabitants, their manners and customs, &c.

The portion of Africa known as Namaqua-land is divided into two distinct parts, viz., Little and Great Namaqua-land. By the former is understood the territory (now British) between the Orange River and about the 31st degree of latitude on the south; by the latter, the country between the last-named river and Damara-land, its eastern boundary being the Kalahari desert, while on the west it is washed by the billows of the Atlantic Ocean.

Great Namaqua-land covers a surface of no less than one hundred and twelve thousand geographical square miles,[1] with probably a population of scarcely thirty thousand souls, or less than four persons to the square mile. Excepting the great Sahara itself, there is, perhaps, not a country in the world, of equal extent, so scantily peopled, so destitute of water, so dismal, and so generally barren and useless. It is truly a "region of curses."

The coast-line of Great Namaqua-land, like that of Damara-land, consists of a dreary sandy waste, extending in places from thirty to forty miles into the interior—in others to a hundred or more—and is, with very few exceptions, uninhabitable.

Some of the rivers, such as the Kuisip, and others of little importance, empty themselves into the Atlantic; but the larger portion run in an easterly direction, and are chiefly tributaries to the Fish River. This remarkable water-course, which takes its rise in the most northerly limit of Great Namaqua-land, finally joins the Orange River about three or four days' journey from where the latter finds an outlet into the sea, thus intersecting the country throughout its entire length.

Great Namaqua-land is characterized by immense sandy

  1. Or about 148,000 English square miles. The area of Damara-land is about 29,000 English square miles.