Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/69

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
61
NUTRITIOUS GUM—ARRIVAL AT RICHTERFELDT.

or two species of thorn trees. The latter produced at this season an abundance of excellent and nutritious gum, which, though almost as sweet as sugar, might be partaken of in any quantity without the least inconvenience or disagreeable consequence.

In the afternoon of the third day we took our departure from "Tjobis Fountain," and at an early hour on the following morning found ourselves once more in the bed of the Swakop; but here, unfortunately, our mules came to a dead stand-still, and nothing could induce them to proceed any further. Indeed, they were completely knocked up, and we had entirely to thank Stewardson for this misfortune; for had we traveled by night, as we ought to have done, instead of during the hottest part of the day, the poor creatures might have been as fresh as when they left Scheppmansdorf, and we ourselves spared much suffering. It stands to reason that no animal, however hardy, will bear much work or fatigue in the day at this terribly hot season of the year. Fortunately, the missionary station of Kichterfeldt was now within two hours' ride, and Galton at once pushed on for the purpose of obtaining assistance. In a short time, six oxen, with attendants, yokes, &c., arrived, and we were able to prosecute our journey without further delay. On reaching the station, we were most kindly and hospitably received by the Rev. Mr. Rath, of the Rhenish Society.

Richterfeldt is prettily situated on the bank of the River Swakop, and at the junction of one of its tributaries, the Ommutenna. It is well supplied with fresh water, which is either obtained from a prolific mineral spring, or by digging a few inches in the bed of the rivers. There is an abundance of garden ground, which, when properly cultivated and irrigated, is exceedingly productive. Nearly all European vegetables thrive well; wheat grows to perfection, and is of excellent quality; but here, as at Scheppmansdorf, floods at times cause sad havoc. The pasturages are extensive and excellent.