Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/370

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for myself, I escaped with a violent twist of the neck, which inconvenienced me slightly for a few days.

Almost all the tribes of Southern Africa avail themselves of pitfalls (often on a most gigantic scale) for the capture of game. These traps, or rather these lines of pitfalls, are either constructed in the shape of very obtuse triangles, open at the base and gradually tapering to a point, where a single, double, or treble row of pits are dug, into which the game is driven by shouts or yells, or they are formed in the shape of a crescent—often miles in extent—usually shutting out a valley or defile, with pits at every fifty or a hundred paces apart, artfully concealed with grass, sand, &c., the intervening spaces being planted and filled up with stout palisades, closely interwoven with boughs and branches of thorn-trees.

The Hill-Damaras are remarkable for the perseverance and industry they exhibit in the construction of game-pits. From want of proper tools, the trees have first to be burnt down and then carried on men's shoulders to their destination, and when we add to this that the task is frequently executed in the most arid districts—the haunts of the gemsbok, the eland, the koodoo, and other tenants of the wilds, who are capable of existing more or less without water for long periods—it is easy to imagine the labor and fatigue of the process.

On counting over the different articles of my baggage, I found that at least nine or ten oxen would be required to carry them, in addition to those necessary for myself and men to ride upon. Almost all my cattle were young, and only half broken-in, and there was scarcely time for further training. To save all trouble, I felt inclined to push on with the old wagon; but, for more than one reason, the idea was quickly abandoned. I worked night and day, but was much harassed. Through carelessness, the hyænas were allowed to devour the skins intended for pack "riems" and divers minor articles. The men were lazy, stubborn, and ill-humor-