Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/57

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49
TRACKS OF RHINOCEROS SEEN.

Usab, sloping rapidly toward the bed of a periodical river. Here, under the shade of a stunted acacia, Stewardson recommended us to "outspan;" and, leaving our cook in charge of the cart, we proceeded with the animals at once in search of water.

For more than two miles we continued to follow the gorge, which, as we approached the river, assumed a more gloomy, though perhaps more striking appearance, being overhung with towering and fantastically-shaped granite rocks. Notwithstanding this, the river—to which the natives give the name of Schwackaup, or Swakop, as Europeans call it—presented a most cheerful and pleasant aspect; for, though not flowing at the time, its moist bed was luxuriantly overgrown with grass, creepers, and pretty ice-plants. The banks on either side were also more or less lined with gigantic reeds, of a most refreshing color; and above the reeds rose several beautiful trees, such as the acacia, the black ebony, &c.

Under a projecting rock, a few hundred paces from the spot where we struck upon the river, we discovered a pool of excellent water, where man and beast, in long and copious drafts, soon quenched a burning thirst. This being done, we indulged in a delicious bath, which highly refreshed our fatigued and dusty limbs.

On a lofty and inaccessible rock overhanging the river-bed I again saw some of those beautiful flowers which in the early morning had caused me so much delight, and, with a well-directed ball, I brought down one almost to my feet.

In the sand we discovered the broad footprints of a rhinoceros. From their freshness it was apparent that the monster had visited the river-bed during the preceding night, but all our endeavors to rouse him proved ineffectual.

While still talking about the prospect of soon seeing this singular animal in his native haunts, I remembered a story Mr. Bam had told us of a wonderful escape he once had

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