Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/361

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353
ITS EFFECTS—GAME BONES—NOSOP RIVER.

slopes of the hills, swept over our camping-ground. The poor dogs howled from fear and suffering. Every moment I expected to see the wagon capsized by the blast, or, what was worse, struck by lightning, as we had somewhat incautiously encamped under a kameel-doorn boom, which is one of the most certain of conductors. Indeed, nearly two thirds of the full-grown trees of this kind are found splintered by the electric fluid.

So completely did this deluge saturate and swamp the locality, that for two days after the rains had ceased we were unable to move; yet such is the partial operation even of such thunder-storms as we had just endured, that, after traveling a day or two farther to the eastward, we all but perished from thirst, and the vegetation was parched and sun-burnt!

Our route lay through a country similar in character to that traveled over by Mr. Galton and myself about a year and a half previously in our journey to the eastward, namely, large sandy plains, richly covered with fine grass and brushwood, with occasional clusters of kameel-thorn-trees. Water was very scarce.

From the number of bleached bones of rhinoceroses, giraffes, and other wild beasts scattered about, it was evident that game had at one time been abundant in these parts; but the introduction of fire-arms among the Namaquas had either put an end to the animals, or scared them away to less peopled haunts. With the exception of hyænas and jackals, beasts of any size were scarce.

In about a fortnight we reached the Nosop River, near to its junction with the Black Nosop. The two streams, when united, flow under the common name of Nosop; and, though nothing is known of the course of this river three days south of Wesley Vale, it is believed ultimately to make its way to the Orange River. Indeed, the fact of fish having been found in the pools at Elephant Fountain of similar kind to