Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/38

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30
SCENERY—HARBOR DESCRIBED.
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VIEW OF WALFISCH BAY.

about to penetrate into the interior. A desert of sand, bounded only by the horizon, meets the eye in every quarter, assuming, in one direction, the shape of dreary flats; in another, of shifting hillocks; while in some parts it rises almost to the height of mountains.

Walfisch Bay has been long known to Europeans, and was once hastily surveyed by Commodore Owen, of the Royal Navy. It is a very spacious, commodious, and comparatively safe harbor, being on three sides protected by a sandy shore. The only winds to which it is exposed are N. and N.W.; but these, fortunately, are not of frequent occurrence. Its situation is about N. and S. The anchorage is good. Large ships take shelter under the lee of a sandy peninsula, the extremity of which is known to navigators by the name of "Pelican Point." Smaller craft, however, ride safely within less than half a mile of the shore.

The great disadvantage of Walfisch Bay is that no fresh water can be found near the beach; but at a distance of three miles inland abundance may be obtained, as also good pasturage for cattle. I mention this circumstance as being essential to the establishment of any cattle-trade in future.

During the time the guano trade flourished on the west coast of Africa, Walfisch Bay was largely resorted to by vessels of every size, chiefly with a view of obtaining fresh provisions. At that period, certain parties from the Cape had an establishment here for the salting and curing of beef. They, moreover, furnished the guano-traders, as also Cape-