Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/433

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SIZE AND FORM OF THE LAKE.

thus, perhaps, be accounted for. In the first instance, no person, to the best of my belief, has ever yet been quite round it; secondly, the shores—with the exception of the south and west sides—are low and sandy, and in hazy weather can not easily be distinguished; and, lastly, I am inclined to think that the discoverers mistook its length for its breadth, for, according to Cooly, "The travelers beheld with delight the fine river, and the Lake extending out of sight to the north and west." Again, my friend Mr. Frederick Green, who visited the Lake shortly after its discovery, thus states, in his manuscript journal, the impression he experienced on first viewing it.

"The day after reaching the town of Batoani, we took a ride to view the Lake. From the southern side, we could trace the opposite shore some ten or twelve miles, but beyond that distance, and to the westward, we could not, even with the aid of a telescope, discern any sign of land—only a blue horizon of water. In a subsequent journey, however, and when traveling along its southern shores, I found that the opposite strand could always be seen. When first viewing it, we were not, as we then thought, looking across, but lengthwise."

The whole circumference is probably about sixty or seventy geographical miles; its average breadth is seven miles, and not exceeding nine at its widest parts. Its shape, moreover, is narrow in the middle and bulging out at the two ends; and I may add, that the first reports received many years ago from the natives about the Lake, and which concurred in representing it of the shape of a pair of spectacles, are correct.

The northern shore of Ngami is low and sandy, without a tree or bush, or any other kind of vegetation within half a mile, and more commonly a mile. Beyond this distance (almost all round the lake) the country is very thickly wooded with various sorts of acacia indigenous to Southern Africa, the Damara "parent tree," a few species of wild fruit-trees,