Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/374

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As for ourselves, though much fatigued, we took the precaution to provide security from all skulking night-prowlers. By a roaring fire, and over a hearty supper, we forgot the miseries of the day, and, in the firm anticipation of success, cheerfully resigned our weary limbs to sleep.

At an early hour the next morning we were on the move. The air being cool, we proceeded briskly. About noon some Bushmen were observed digging roots; but they only allowed us to approach within shouting distance. We managed, however, to hold some little conversation with them, and learned that water was not far off. They warned us to proceed with caution, as the whole river-bed in advance was undermined with pitfalls. And true enough; for, before being aware of it, we found ourselves entrapped in a maze of yawning chasms, down some of which bipeds and quadrupeds went together in the most amicable confusion. However, being partially prepared for the event, and traveling at a slow pace, we escaped with a few bruises. To prevent a recurrence of the mischief, a man or two proceeded in advance, and unmasked the remainder. They were constructed on the same principle as the one into which I had a short time previously been so unceremoniously precipitated.

At two o'clock P.M. we came to a halt by a well of clear, good water. Within gunshot of this place was a "salt-lick," much frequented by wild animals, such as rhinoceroses, giraffes, gemsboks, koodoos, elands, gnoos, &c.; but I preferred to devote the ensuing night to rest and astronomical observations rather than lying in ambush for game.

At an after period I had some good sport in this locality, as also some spirited chases after elands. But space prevents me from entering into details.

The Otjombindè, without materially taking us out of our direct route, had thus far befriended us; but, if I wished to reach the Lake, it was now out of the question any longer to follow this river, as hence it pursued too southerly a course.