Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/494

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Bayeye, either for hunting purposes or for descending the Teoge and other rivers, is exceedingly simple in its construction. All one has to do is to cut the reeds (the different species of palmyra, from their buoyancy, are peculiarly well adapted to the purpose) just above the surface of the water, and to throw them in layers, crosswise, until the heap is of sufficient size to support the party. No binding of any kind is requisite; but fresh layers of reeds must occasionally be added to the raft, as, from the constant pressure at the top, the reeds get soaked, and the air contained in them displaced by water. A stout pole is placed upright in the centre of the mass, to which is attached a strong and long rope. When the voyagers wish to land, this rope is taken ashore by one of the men in the canoe that is always in tow or on board the raft, and secured to a tree or other firm object.

No small recommendation to the reed-raft is the extreme facility and ease with which it can be constructed. In the course of an hour, three or four men can put one together of sufficiently large dimensions to support themselves and baggage.

This mode of conveyance, though inconvenient enough, is well worthy the traveler's attention, and more especially in localities where suitable wood for the construction of a common raft is difficult to procure—any where, in short, where boats or canoes are not obtainable. It must be borne in mind, however, that the reed-raft is only available where the current is in one's favor.

Though I was at first much disconcerted at the appearance of our very primitive looking craft, I soon got accustomed to it, and it proved far more comfortable than might have been supposed. It was much safer, moreover, than our own canoes, one or two of which we obtained shortly after our departure. No efforts were made to steer or propel the raft, which was left entirely to the stream. As soon as we were caught by some projecting reed-bed—and this was of