Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/431

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
423
ANXIOUS TO VISIT LIBÈBÉ—LECHOLÈTÉBÈ CONSENTS.

pel them to go on. The parts that I should have to pass through are infected with fevers fatal to human life; and then, again, the tsetse fly abounds, which, from the ravages it causes among cattle, renders traveling by land almost impossible.

The only way left was to penetrate northward by water, if practicable; but here again I found serious impediments. I had no boat of my own, and Lecholètébè (like all native chiefs) was known to be particularly hostile to any attempt to pass, beyond his territory. Not the most alluring promises of presents and rewards had yet succeeded in inducing him to assist any one in this matter. Consequently, I could not expect that he would treat me differently, the rather as I was really not in a position to offer him a bribe of any value. It being a darling scheme of mine, however, to penetrate to Libèbé, I was determined on carrying it out, if possible.

Accordingly, I seized the first favorable opportunity of broaching the subject to the chief, and requested he would furnish me with men and canoes. To my great astonishment, but no less delight, and without the slightest objection, he agreed to my proposal. As, however, I could not flatter myself that I had produced a more favorable impression than any other traveler, I suspected deceit of some kind, and the sequel proved I was not mistaken in my conjecture.

 

 

CHAPTER XXXIV.

The Ngami.—When discovered.—Its various Names.—Its Size and Form.—Great Changes in its Waters.—Singular Phenomenon.—The Teoge River.—The Zouga River.—The Mukuru-Mukovanja River.—Animals.—Birds.—Crocodiles.—Serpents.—Fish.

At an early period of the present century rumors had reached Europeans of a vast lake in the interior of South Africa, but for a very long time its existence continued to be involved in mystery, and travelers and hunters were unavail-