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´╗┐Title: Twenty-Five Years in a Waggon in South Africa - Sport and Travel in South Africa
Author: Anderson, Andrew A.
Language: English
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Twenty-Five Years in a Waggon in South Africa, by Andrew A. Anderson.

________________________________________________________________________



________________________________________________________________________
TWENTY-FIVE YEARS IN A WAGGON IN SOUTH AFRICA, BY ANDREW A. ANDERSON.

PREFACE.

My object in writing this work is to add another page to the physical
geography of Africa.  That region selected for my explorations has
hitherto been a _terra incognita_ in all maps relating to this dark
continent.  The field of my labour has been South Central Africa, north
of the Cape Colony, up to the Congo region, comprising an area of
2,000,000 square miles; in length, from north to south, 1100 miles, and
from east to west--that is, from the Indian to the South Atlantic
Ocean--1800 miles, which includes the whole of Africa from sea to sea,
and from the 15 degree to the 30 degree south latitude.

It has been my desire to make physical geography a pleasant study to the
young, and in gaining this knowledge of a country, they may at the same
time become acquainted with its resources and capabilities for future
enterprise in commercial pursuits to all who may embark in such
undertakings, and this cannot be accomplished without having a full
knowledge of the people who inhabit the land; also its geological
features, natural history, botany, and other subjects of interest in
connection with it.  Such information is imperative to a commercial
nation like Great Britain, particularly when we look round and see such
immense competition in trade with our continental neighbours,
necessitates corresponding energy at home if we wish to hold our own in
the great markets of the world, and this cannot be done unless the
resources and capabilities of every quarter of the globe is thoroughly
known.  And for this purpose my endeavours have been directed, so far as
South Central Africa is concerned, and to fill up the blank in the
physical geography of that portion of the African Continent.

When I undertook this work in 1863 no information could be obtained as
to what was beyond our colonial frontier, except that a great part was
desert land uninhabited, except in parts by wild Bushmen, and the
remaining region beyond by lawless tribes of natives.  I at once saw
there was a great field open for explorations, and I undertook that duty
in that year, being strongly impressed with the importance, that
eventually it would become (connected as it is with our South African
possessions) of the highest value, if in our hands, for the preservation
of our African colonies, the extension of our trade, and a great field
for civilising and Christianising the native races, as also for
emigration, which would lead to most important results, in opening up
the great high road to Central Africa, thereby securing to the Cape
Colony and Natal a vast increase of trade and an immense opening for the
disposal of British merchandise that would otherwise flow into other
channels through foreign ports; and, at the same time, knowing how
closely connected native territories were to our border, which must
affect politically and socially the different nationalities that are so
widely spread over all the southern portion of Africa.  With these
advantages to be attained, it was necessary that some step should be
taken to explore these regions, open up the country, and correctly
delineate its physical features, and, if time permitted, its geological
formation also, and other information that could be collected from time
to time as I proceeded on my work.  Such a vast extent of country,
containing 2,000,000 square miles, cannot be thoroughly explored
single-handed under many years' labour, neither can so extensive an area
be properly or intelligibly described as a whole.  I have, therefore, in
the first place, before entering upon general subjects, deemed it
advisable to describe the several river systems and their basins in
connection with the watersheds, as it will greatly facilitate and make
more explicit the description given as to the locality of native
territories that occupy this interesting and valuable portion of the
African continent, in relation to our South African colonies.  And,
secondly, to describe separately each native state, the latitude and
longitude of places, distances, and altitudes above sea-level, including
those subjects above referred to.  All this may be considered dry
reading.  I have therefore introduced many incidents that occurred
during my travels through the country from time to time.  To have
enlarged on personal events, such as hunting expeditions, which were of
daily occurrence, would have extended this work to an unusual length,
therefore I have taken extracts from my journals to make the book, I
trust, more interesting, and at the same time make physical geography a
pleasant study to the young, who may wish to make themselves acquainted
with every part of the globe.  This is the first and most important duty
to all who are entering into commercial pursuits, for without this
knowledge little can be done in extending our commerce to regions at
present but little known.

My travels and dates are not given consecutively, but each region is
separately described, taken from journeys when passing through them in
different years.

CHAPTER ONE.

IN NATAL--PREPARING FOR MY LONG-PROMISED EXPLORATIONS INTO THE FAR
INTERIOR.


As a colonial, previous to 1860, I had long contemplated making an
expedition into the regions north of the Cape Colony and Natal, but not
until that year was I able to see my way clear to accomplish it.  At
that time, 1860, the Cape Colony was not so well known as it is now, and
Natal much less; more particularly beyond its northern boundary, over
the Drakensberg mountains, for few besides the Boers had ever penetrated
beyond the Free State and Transvaal; and when on their return journey to
Maritzburg, to sell their skins and other native produce, I had frequent
conversations with them, the result was that nothing was known of the
country beyond their limited journeys.  This naturally gave me a greater
desire to visit the native territories, and, being young and full of
energy, wishing for a more active life than farming, although that is
active during some part of the year, I arranged my plans and made up my
mind to visit these unknown regions, and avail myself of such
opportunities as I could spare from time to time to go and explore the
interior, and collect such information as might come within my reach,
not only for self-gratification, but to obtain a general knowledge of
the country that might eventually be of use to others, and so combine
pleasure with profit, to pay the necessary expenses of each journey.
Such were my thoughts at the time, and if I could make what little
knowledge I possessed available in pursuing this course, my journeys
would not be wasted.  My plans at first were very vague, but,
eventually, as I proceeded they became more matured, and having a
thorough knowledge of colonial life and what was necessary to be done to
carry out my wishes, I had little difficulty in getting my things in
order.  Geology was one of my weaknesses, also natural history, which
were not forgotten in my preparations.  The difficulty was, there were
no maps to guide me in the course to take over this wide and unknown
region; I therefore determined to add that work also to my duties, and
make this a book of reference on the Geography of South Central Africa,
and so complete as I went on such parts visited, as time and
opportunities permitted, as also a general description of the country,
the inhabitants, botany, and other subjects, and incidents that took
place on my travels through this interesting and important part of the
African continent, and so cool down a little of the superabundant Scotch
blood that would not let me settle down to a quiet life when there was
anything to be done that required action; for we know perfectly well
before we enter upon these explorations, that we shall not be living in
the lap of luxury, or escape from all the perils that beset a traveller
when first entering upon unknown ground--if any of these troubles should
enter his mind, he had better stay at home.  But, at the same time, it
will be necessary to give some idea what an explorer has to undergo in
penetrating these regions, and also the pleasures to be derived
therefrom.

  "There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
  There is a rapture by the lonely shore,
  There is society where none intrudes
  By the deep sea, and music in its roar."

  _Byron_.

It is a pleasure to be able to ramble unfettered by worldly ambition
over a wild and new country, far from civilisation, where the postman's
knock is never heard, or shrieking railway-whistles, startling the seven
senses out of your poor bewildered brain, and other so-called civilising
influences, keeping up a perpetual nervous excitement not conducive to
health.  A life in the desert is certainly most charming with all its
drawbacks, where the mind can have unlimited action.  To travel when you
please, eat and drink when so inclined, bunt, fish, sketch, explore,
read or sleep, as the case may be, without interruption; no laws to curb
your actions, or conventional habits to be studied.  This is freedom,
liberty, independence, in the full sense of the word.  With these dreamy
thoughts constantly before me, I determined to give such a life a trial;
consequently, without more ado, I set to work to provide myself with the
necessary means.  Having heard, when travelling through Natal, that the
country a few miles beyond the Drakensberg mountains was a _terra
incognita_, where game could be counted by the million, and the native
tribes beyond lived in primitive innocence, I was charmed with the
thought of being the first in the field to enjoy Nature in all its
forms, and bring before me, face to face, a people whose habits,
customs, and daily life were the same to-day they were five thousand
years ago.  What a lesson for man!  With what greed I looked upon my
probable isolation from the outer world; craving for this visit to the
happy hunting-ground.

The first thing to be done was to apply to an old friend, living a short
distance from Maritzburg on a farm, who had been on several hunting
expeditions, and returned a few weeks before, with his waggon-load of
skins of various animals he had shot with his and his sons' guns, which
he spread out before me--one hundred and five--six lions, four leopards,
seven otters, eight wolves, fourteen tiger-cats; the remainder made up
of gnu, springbok and blesbok, and a variety of other antelopes, all
shot within one hundred miles from the northern and western border of
Natal, over the Drakensberg mountains, besides a heap of ostrich
feathers of various kinds--a goodly bag of a seven months' trip.  The
result of my cogitations with him was the procuring of a waggon and
fourteen trek oxen, with the usual gear--a horse, saddle and bridle,
with all sorts of odds and ends for cooking, water-casks, food of all
kinds, flour, biscuits, bread, mealies for the Kaffirs, tea, coffee,
sugar, preserves, and other necessaries needed for the road.  A safe
driver and forelooper, and an extra boy to cook and look after the
horse, besides three rifles (not breechloaders, they were not known in
Natal in 1860) and a double-barrel Westley Richards, and any quantity of
ammunition.  These three boys were all Zulus, with good characters,
therefore could be depended on, which is a great thing.

Being a "Colonial" I was well up to African life and the Zulu language--
a great advantage in that country.  All things provided, I took several
trips round the country in my waggon, up to August 1863, when I started
north.

_Twenty-five years ago!--a quarter of a century_!  What changes have
come over South Africa in that time!  Natal was little-known and
scarcely heard of in England.  The white population did not exceed
one-half its present number of 30,000, and the greater part was overrun
by Kaffirs, who were Zulus, similar to those of Zululand.  Game of
various kinds in plenty, lions were common, elephants, buffaloes,
elands, wildebeests, quagga, and other antelopes, were numerous on the
plains and long flats; leopards--here called tigers--wolves, jackals,
and other beasts of prey, were heard nightly in the bush; and in the
open rolling plains, under the Drakensberg range of mountains, that
flank the western and northern boundary of the colony, springbok and
blesbok, quagga and the gnu could be counted in thousands.  Where are
they now?  Cleared from the face of the earth by the rifle, so that
scarcely one is left, and those preserved that they should not be
entirely exterminated.  Beyond that magnificent and grand mountain range
that rises in parts ten thousand feet above the sea-level, and extending
several hundred miles in length, rearing its noble head far up in the
clouds, and looking down as if guarding the beautiful and peaceful Natal
at its feet.  The scenery, especially on the western side, taking in the
Giant and Champagne Castle and the lofty peaks to the north, few
landscapes on earth can compare with it.  Here the wild Bushmen lived in
all their pristine glory; their home--the caves and kloofs in the gorges
of mountains--far away from any other tribe, living by their poisoned
arrows on game that comes within bowshot, and upon fruits and roots,
which will be more particularly described in another chapter.  Where are
they now?  Much like the game, exterminated by the rifle.  They were
then a great pest to the colonial people who kept stock near the foot of
the mountain, for they would come down, after watching for days, mounted
or on foot, and steal the cattle, killing all they could not carry off.

These Bushmen became such a pest that it was necessary to hunt them
down.  Two forces of a dozen men or more each were sent out under
Captains Allison and Giles, and they got on their spoor after they had
stolen a number of fine English-bred cattle and horses, many of which
when they first escaped to the hills were found killed, when unable to
keep up.

They tracked these Bushmen about on the hills in snow for some days, and
at last the two parties met, and just before dark saw the Bushmen's
fires in caves.  The parties slept on the ground, and in the morning saw
a Bushman come out with a bridle to catch a horse.  Suddenly, like
Robinson Crusoe, he stood aghast seeing their spoor, threw down his
bridle, and bolted to give the alarm.  The Bushmen fought with their
poisoned arrows, and as their sexes could not be distinguished in the
bush, as they dress alike, all were killed, except one old woman, shot
through the knee, who rode in as if nothing was wrong with her.  She was
cured, carried near to another tribe and turned out.  No other Bushmen
were ever seen after that in Natal.  Previously one lad was shot through
the shoulder and caught.  He was never of any service, not even as an
after-rider, though a splendid horseman, being quite unteachable.  He
never attempted to escape to his tribe, though he might easily have done
so; and when taken out to track them, and coming on their caves, he
broke their pots, a sign of displeasure among Kaffirs; and he said all
he wanted was, to catch and kill his mother.

Starting.

Before starting on my memorable expedition, I procured some sail-cloth,
to make a side-tent to my waggon, which formed a very comfortable
retreat for my boys on wet nights.  My driver, a fine young Zulu, could
handle an ox-whip and give the professional crack to perfection.  If not
able to accomplish this feat, they are not considered efficient drivers.
His name was Panda, after the great Zulu chief, and he was from all
accounts a descendant of that renowned warrior, his father having fled
into Natal some time before.  He was now working to collect a sufficient
number of heifers together to buy his first wife, a young Zulu maid
living in a large kraal half a mile from his master's farm.  The
forelooper, one who leads the two front oxen in dangerous places, and
looks after the span when in the Veldt feeding and assists in
inspanning, another fine young Zulu about eighteen, a handsome lad, was
named Shilling.  The other and third boy, younger, also a Zulu, I named
Jim, as his other name was too long to use or recollect.  After seeing
some of my friends and saying good-bye, we make the first afternoon trek
over the Town hill towards Howick, a very steep and stony road, full of
ruts made by the heavy rains, and out on the rising ground beyond; where
a magnificent view is obtained of the surrounding country and distant
hills, of which Table Mountain, some twenty miles on the east of the
city, stands out boldly in the landscape.  There are several table
mountains in Natal, so-called from their flat heads.  My object when I
commenced this journey was to push on with all speed to the foot of the
Drakensberg Mountains, a distance of over 100 miles, cross the Berg at
Van Reenen's Pass, and make for Harrysmith in the Orange Free State,
then determine where I should commence my journey of exploration.  But I
did not reach the foot of the mountain until the 12th of September,
1863, having deviated from the main transport road to visit some farmer
friends, and take up one of the sons of an old "Colonial," who had lived
many years in the country as a stock-farmer, and who offered me his son
as a guide, he being well acquainted with the country and people I
proposed visiting.  As he was a good driver and a good shot, as all
colonials are, I was pleased to have his company, and being young, only
seventeen, just the age to enjoy a rough and ready kind of life, it
suited me exactly, so John Talbot was added to my little family.  This
detained me six days; as his mother wished to bake some biscuits for the
road, also bread, and get some butter and other good things, I was quite
agreeable to stay and go out with the old man to look up some game also,
to supply my larder.  So whilst the mother and her pretty daughter of
true English blood, a year older than her brother John, were busy in the
house, we men were also busy outside with our guns; besides large game,
such as elands, koodoo, blesbok and springbok, we had excellent sport
with the shot-guns, there being plenty of hares, partridges, pheasants,
snipe, and ducks.  The farm is situated on the Tugela river, and being
some two miles from the foot of one of the spurs of the mountain, was
out of the way of all traffic, and was as pretty a locality as any one
could desire to live in; there was any quantity of fish, consequently
there was no lack of fish, flesh, or fowl in this beautiful and quiet
retreat.

The second morning of my arrival there, Mr. Talbot and I, after taking
coffee, saddled-up, as the sun was just peeping over the distant
mountain tops in a blaze of gold and crimson light, with an atmosphere
pure and clear, casting a brilliant reflection on all around,--a
glorious sight to behold.  This part of the world is famed for the
lovely and varied tints which the sun produces in the sky in rising and
setting, more particularly in the summer, forming celestial landscapes,
marvellous to look upon, and grand in the extreme.  On leaving the
farm-house for our ride into the open plains to see if we could discover
some elands, we met a Dutchman on horseback, with the usual companion
rifle.  After the morning greeting and shaking hands, he inquired if we
had seen any stray calves about; finding we had not, he suspected the
Bushmen had been down again from the mountains and had carried off two.
He informed us that a neighbour of his, another Dutch farmer, a week or
so before had lost some sheep, and he had traced them up into a deep
kloof of the mountain, and came upon a family of Bushmen in the act of
driving three of his sheep towards the hills, where he shot the two men
and took a woman and two children, and brought them to his farm, making
them drive the sheep back with them, and they were at his farm now.

Wishing to see them, we rode over, a distance of some seven miles, where
we found them confined in an outhouse, squatting on the floor, looking
anything but amiable; they were poor specimens of humanity.  We had them
brought out for a closer inspection.  The woman was not old or young, of
a yellowish-white colour, a few little tufts of wool on the head; eyes
she had, but the lids were so closed they were not to be seen, although
she could see between them perfectly; no nose, only two orifices,
through which she breathed, with thin projecting lips, and sharp chin,
with broad cheek-bones, her spine curved in the most extraordinary
manner, consequently the stomach protruded in the same proportion, with
thin, calfless legs, and with that wonderful formation peculiar to this
Bushmen tribe, and slightly developed in the Hottentot and Korannas.
The two little girls--the eldest did not seem more than ten or twelve--
were of the same type, the woman measured four feet one inch in height.
The old Boer wanted to shoot them, but his vrow wished to keep and make
servants of them.  Their language was a succession of clicks with no
guttural sound in the throat, like that of the Hottentot and Koranna
tribes, but both languages assimilated so closely that it is clear the
Hottentot and Koranna have partly descended from this pure breed, for a
pure breed they are, and may be the remnants of almost a distinct race
that lived on the face of this earth in prehistoric ages.

The quarter of the globe in which they are found, at the extreme end of
a large continent, in a rugged and mountainous country, a locality well
adapted to preserve them from utter extinction, may be the cause of
their preservation; at any rate, there are no other people in the world
like them, and their having a language almost without words except
clicks, is a most peculiar feature in connection with this entirely
distinct race, and for anthropological science, these people should be
preserved, that is the pure breed, unmixed by Hottentot or Koranna
blood.

Leaving the Boer farm, after the usual cup of coffee, we skirted the
hills which ran out in grand and lofty spurs, broken here and there by
perpendicular cliffs, many hundred feet deep, clothed with subtropical
plants and shrubs, with beautiful creepers climbing among the projecting
rocks, and hanging in festoons, with crimson and yellow pods,
contrasting so beautifully with the rich green around.

We reached the head of one of the Tugela branches, one of the most
picturesque and lovely landscapes I have ever seen in Africa.  The lofty
mountain range, 10,000 feet in altitude, forming the background, with
their peaked and rugged summits, fading away in the distance to a pale
bluish pink tint, with the nearer mountains, and a glimpse of a pretty
waterfall, with the richly-wooded foreground and placid stream at our
feet, completed a picture seldom to be seen.  My friend and host, Mr.
Talbot, proposed a halt at this spot, therefore, selecting a fine clump
of trees to be in the shade, for although early in the spring, the sun
shining down upon us from a cloudless sky was unusually warm; we were
therefore glad to seek the shelter of the trees, off-saddle and
knee-halter the horses to feed, whilst we stretched ourselves on the
soft young grass to view the scene around and take our lunch.

As it was early in the day, we gave the horses a good rest, and then
saddled-up for our return journey.  There were many small herds of
various kinds of antelopes, but too far away to follow.  Springboks we
could shoot, but being so many miles from the farm, we waited until we
got within a reasonable distance to carry them on the horses, which as
we approached home we had plenty of opportunities of doing, and secured
three, two of which I made into biltong for the road.  On arriving at
the farm, my boy Panda showed me a large snake, one of those cobra de
capello whose bite is very dangerous, sometimes causing death; it
measured five feet in length, and was killed in the house, which was
built with poles and reeds, called in the country a hartebeest house,
with several outbuildings on the same plan.  They are made very
comfortable and snug within, but will not keep out snakes; most of the
cooking is done out of doors, where a fire is constantly burning: early
coffee about six, breakfast at eight, dinner at one, and supper at
sundown.  This is the general custom on the farms.  After an outing of
nearly twenty miles, we enjoyed our dinner of baked venison of eland,
with stewed peaches to follow, and good home-baked bread.  As lions were
very plentiful, as also wolves and leopards, the farmers had to make
secure kraals for their cattle, sheep, and goats; the horses were kept
in sheds; and with these precautions it not unfrequently occurred that a
leopard, which out here is called a tiger, leaped the enclosure and
carried off a goat or sheep.  A few weeks before my arrival here, some
wolves and hyenas broke into the sheep-kraal, killing seven, carrying
three half a mile away, where their remains were found next morning.
They make these attacks mostly on dark and stormy nights, when it is
difficult to hear any noise when shut in the house.

The next day my host, his son John, and myself, after breakfast
saddled-up, and with our rifles, started for the native location, which
is an extensive tract of country under the foot of the Berg, occupied by
the Zulus, who have large kraals and plenty of cattle, in order to buy
some young bullocks to break in for trek oxen.  Visiting some on our
way, at one of which we off-saddled to rest, the Kaffirs coming out to
stare as usual, the young intombes (Kaffir maids), like their white
sisters, curious to see the strangers, came to look also.  John and his
father being well known to them, we were asked in to have some Kaffir
beer.  Some of the girls were very pretty, and we told them so, which
they took as a matter of course, and came forward that we might have a
better look at them, and seemed pleased to be admired.

Beautifully formed, with expressive countenances, tall, and carrying
themselves as well as if they had been drilled under a professional;
their constant habit of carrying heavy Kaffir pots of water, which can
only be done by walking erect, has produced this effect.  One young
Kaffir was very busy making a hut for himself, as he was going to be
married.  The care and attention he displayed on its erection, and the
ingenuity with which he interweaved each green stick, which was tied
with thin slips of skin, was most interesting, and he seemed quite proud
when praised for his good workmanship.  One of the girls was pointed out
to us as his wife that was to be, a fine good-looking girl about
seventeen, ornamented with plenty of brass bracelets and beads, the
present of her _fiance_.  They are not encumbered with much clothing,
being in a state of nature with the exception of an apology for an
apron, or frequently only a string of beads, two or three inches long.
Their huts and enclosures are kept clean and neat, and in every respect
as far as order and quietness are concerned, the Zulus may set an
example to many white towns.  After purchasing a few Kaffir sheep, we
returned to the farm.

The 3rd of September, a lovely bright morning, two beautiful
secretary-birds came walking close past the farm,--they are preserved
for the good they do in killing snakes, therefore a heavy fine is set
upon any one shooting them; they are similar in shape to the crane, but
much larger, with long and powerful legs.  It is strange to see them
kill a snake; one would think that with their strong horny legs and
beaks, they need only tread on and kill him with their beaks, but they
are evidently afraid to do this.  They dart into the air and pound down
violently upon him with their feet until he is dead.

Shortly after breakfast, a Zulu girl came for work; she had run away
from her father's kraal, to escape being married to an old Zulu Induna,
living on the Bushman river, and had walked nearly forty miles across
the country to Mrs. Talbot's to escape the match.  She told, when
pressed, that her father wanted to sell her for twenty heifers to the
old man, and she did not like it, as she liked a young Zulu, therefore
she fled from the kraal the previous day, and had walked that distance
without food, avoiding other kraals, fearing the people, if they saw
her, would send her back, and she begged the "misses" would let her stop
and work for her.  She was a very fine young girl, apparently about
seventeen, tall, and well-made, and very good-looking, without ornaments
or anything on her in the way of clothes.  The "misses" soon found an
old garment to cover her nakedness.  Poor girl, she is not devoid of
affection, as this action of hers shows.  I fear there are many
similarly situated, both white and black.  So Mrs. Talbot had compassion
and employed her, and she turned out a very good and useful help.  The
Zulu war was caused by a similar occurrence, two girls having taken
refuge in Natal, whence they were fetched out and killed by the Zulus,
who refused to give up the murderers.

Some few days after, we were all sitting under the shade of the trees
close to the house, taking coffee, when four young Zulu girls came, each
carrying a bowl on her head, full of maize, to exchange for beads and
brass wire to make bracelets, as all outlying farmers keep such things
for payment.  Their ages might be about fifteen.  One of them had her
woolly hair in long ringlets all over her head, and seemed to be a born
flirt, her manner was so coquettish; all of them were very good-looking,
as most of them are when young.

I told them if they would give us a dance, I would present each with a
kerchief.  This gave much satisfaction, and they commenced their Zulu
dances, singing, laughing, and playing tricks, in their native way.
When it was over the kerchiefs were given, which they fastened turban
fashion round their heads, then marched up and down, much pleased with
their appearance, showing they are not devoid of vanity.  Savage or
civilised, woman is woman all over the world.  Most of the Kaffirs
living in Natal belong to the Amalimga Zulus, those in Zululand to the
Amazulu family.  Sixty years ago there were cannibals in Natal, in the
mountains.  I was shown the spot and tree, by an old Zulu, where the
last man was cooked and eaten.  At that time the country was infested
with hordes of wild Bushmen, of the type before described, who had their
stronghold in those grand old mountains that skirt the northern and
western boundary of this fair and beautiful little colony--the cannibals
were not Bushmen; and also with wandering tribes of the Amagalekas,
Amabaces, Amapondas, many of them travelling west, and who settled on
the Unzimvobo river, and along the coast in Tambookie and other
districts, and remained in a wild and savage state up to within thirty
years of the present time; then it was a howling wilderness, swarming
with lions, leopards, wolves, and other beasts of prey; only a few years
ago lions were very numerous.  The landlord of the Royal Hotel at Durban
told me a lion came into his yard in the daytime, leaped into an open
window and seized upon a fine hot sirloin of beef that was on the table
with other good things prepared for a dinner-party, and quietly walked
off with it.  At the present time (1860) up in these parts they are to
be seen daily, and great care is required to preserve the oxen and other
animals from falling a prey to their nightly visits.  Only three weeks
back a farmer on the Tugela had one of his horses killed and partly
eaten before morning.  The horse was made fast in a shed, a short
distance from the house; it appears there were several lions from the
number of footprints to be seen in the morning.  The Kaffirs forgot to
fasten the door at night.  Almost every evening we hear them.

A Lion in a Dog-cart.

As an instance of their boldness at times, for, generally speaking, they
are cowardly, the following was related by Mr. Botha, a respectable,
educated Boer farmer, and is quite true.  It happened to his uncle.

"_Journal_.--Apes river, between Pretoria and Waterborg.  Arrived at the
Outspan, remained until next night at twelve, then started the waggon
off on the springbok flats (twenty miles without water).  The party
consisted of L.  Botha, P.  Venter, and the servants, one waggon with
span of sixteen oxen, one cart and two horses.  Venter and Botha
remained at the Outspan place with the cart and horses and a bastard
Hottentot boy called Mark, twelve years old.

"The waggon had been gone half-an-hour when they heard the rattling of
wheels in a manner which made them think that the oxen must have had a
`scrick' (scare) from a lion, as that place is full of them.  Mark, who
was sleeping alongside the fire, was called up to bring the horses.  The
lazy fellows there won't do anything themselves, not even when there is
a `scrick' from a lion.  They were soon going to render assistance to
the waggon, going at a jog trot (even then they did not hurry), when
Mark, who was on the front seat, called out, `Baas, de esel byt de
paarde' (`The donkey bites the horse'), and immediately the cart
stopped, and a lion was seen clasped round the fore-quarters of the
favourite horse.  Before the gun was taken up, down went the horse;
meanwhile the gun was levelled at the lion, but the cap missed.  Another
was searched for, but it would not fit, as it was small and the nipple a
large military one (so like a Boer!).  The lion now was making his meal
off the horse, lying at his ease alongside the splash-board, eating the
hind-quarter, Botha trying to split a cap to make it fit in vain; so
Venter took the gun, and Botha made up powder with spittle to make it
stick, and Venter was to take aim and Botha to do the firing with a
match.  Just as it ignited, the lion sprang right into the cart between
them, and gave Venter a wound on the head and scratched his hand with
his claw, and bit off a piece of the railing, sending the gun and Mark
spinning out of the cart, and with that force that the lion fell down
behind the cart.  He then came round, as fast as he could, on to the
dead horse, and continued his feed; but, not in the same cool manner,
but making a growling, like a cat with meat when a dog is near, and now
and then giving an awful roar, which made the cart, men, and all shake
again.  The other horse, which is a miracle, stood quite still, never
attempting to budge an inch.  After the lion had fed he went away, and
Botha got out, intending to unharness the remaining horse, but no sooner
was he on the ground than he heard the lion coming on again at full
speed.  He threw himself into the cart, and the lion stopped in front of
the living horse, which tried to escape but was held fast by the
pole-chain after breaking the swingle-trees.  The lion gave one jump on
to the horse, and with one bite behind the ears killed him.  Botha was
lying on the front seat, with his legs hanging down alongside the
splash-board, when the lion came and licked the sweat of his horse off
his trousers, but did not bite, Botha remaining quite still, which was
the only chance, in the dog-cart from ten o'clock, when first attacked,
until near daybreak, when the lion left; you may imagine what Botha felt
as he looked at his two valuable hunters.  Soon a waggon came along and
took on the cart, when their driver told them that, soon after he left,
suddenly the oxen bolted for some distance, but luckily in the track, by
the driver cracking his whip on both sides of them, which, no doubt,
kept off the lion also, who was galloping alongside."  This is a most
remarkable case of boldness in a lion, when not wounded.

The South African lions are not nearly so fierce and plucky as the
Syrian, and they are often very cowardly.  A Hottentot relates that he
once came on a lion asleep, and put his elephant "roer" at his ear, when
before he fired, he heard klop! klop! and the bullet, which had been
secured only by a loose paper wad, rolled down and dropped into the
lion's ear, who jumped up and bolted!

There are a few herds of buffaloes in the Bush, but they are very wild
and dangerous to approach, having been so much hunted.  I have seen them
tamed and inspanned with oxen.  Elephants are seen no more in Natal.
The Berea, near Durban, which is an extensive Bush country, was a
favourite resort for them, and the hippopotamus is becoming extinct in
the rivers.  There are five preserved in the Umgeni river near Durban,
off a sugar estate; one had disappeared for some time, and then came
back with a calf.  This "Hero" must have swum 100 miles by sea into the
Zulu country after her Leander.  There are also a few in the Upper
Umgeni, near Maritzburg.  I have been told by many Zulus that they have
seen them leave a river, go out to sea and follow the coast down until
they arrive at another river and enter it, and some of the old settlers
have confirmed it.

The coast is much more tropical than the up-country.  Fruits, such as
guava, citron, lime, tamarind, loquat, lemon, orange, banana, pineapple,
figs, grow to perfection.  Also peaches, and apples, and every kind of
European vegetable.  The coast is favourable for sugar, tea, coffee,
tobacco, indigo, arrowroot, ginger, all kinds of spices, and the
cotton-plant has just been introduced on the coast, but it failed, owing
to the aphis fly; the castor-oil plant and the aloe grow to a great
size.  There is also some very fine timber, particularly in the kloofs
amongst the hills.  Coal, in seams eleven feet thick, exists in the
Newcastle district, as the name denotes.  Iron abounds all over the
colony.  Altogether, Natal is a very pleasant colony to settle in; the
climate is everything that can be wished.  The two principal drawbacks
are the annual grass-fires, destroying everything as they sweep over the
country, killing all young forest trees, and making the grass of a
coarser texture; and there are sometimes many months of drought.  But
these are not confined to Natal; the same drawbacks pervade every part
of South Africa, even up to the Zambese, and the long drought that lasts
for months is more common towards the western portion of the continent
than it is on the east coast.  The summer being the rainy season makes
it pleasant, though the lightning is terrible, and dangerous to a degree
which, perhaps, does not exist anywhere else.  The most dangerous are
the dry storms.

CHAPTER TWO.

MY FIRST START ACROSS THE DRAKENSBERG MOUNTAINS--VISIT HARRYSMITH,
WAKKERSTROOM, UTRICH, NEWCASTLE, HOME.

Early in the morning of the fourth found me ready for a start for a four
months' trip before plunging into the unknown land.  My little
expedition consisted of a waggon and fourteen trek oxen, a young
four-year-old Natal horse, my driver and two Zulu boys, myself and young
Talbot, well provisioned for my journey.  Leaving my kind friends, I
took the road to Ladysmith, but turned off to the left before reaching
that town, and took the Transport Road, leading to Harrysmith in the
Free State, over the mountain, passing up by Van Reenen's Pass, a very
steep and long hill, the altitude being 7250 feet above sea-level, and
arrived at Harrysmith on the 18th of September, 1863, where I outspanned
close to the town.  The country along the whole distance up to the berg
is very pretty and picturesque.  From the base of the berg to the summit
the distance is about five miles, with a rise of 2000 feet, that being
the difference in the altitude between the upper or northern part of
Natal and the Orange Free State, consequently being so much higher and
open, makes the winter much colder.  From this elevation, and looking
back upon Natal, a more lovely or extensive landscape can scarcely be
imagined.  To the right and left huge rocks stand out on the rugged
summits in those grotesque forms from which descend perpendicular cliffs
and deep kloofs clothed in subtropical vegetation, between which long
spurs of the mountain are thrown out, terminating in rolling plains and
beyond lofty hills and deep valleys.  Far away, on the right, continues
the Drakensberg, with its lofty and noble peaks rearing their heads far
into the clouds that hang on their summits in loving embrace, until they
are lost to view in the pale tints of the evening sky, leaving the
central view open to the sea, 120 miles to the coast, where the bluff at
Port Durban can be distinguished overlooking the intervening country
with its plains and hills.

It was here, at the Bushman's Pass, 9000 feet high, that the sad affair
with Langalibalele's tribe occurred.  A number of them had been at the
diamond-fields, where they had procured guns for wages.  No Kaffirs in
Natal are allowed to have guns, except a few hundred, by special
licence, and the sale of gunpowder is all in the hands of the
Government, white men even not being allowed more than ten pounds a
year, and they cannot import guns without a special permission from the
Government.

The entire immunity of Natal, from its first annexation, from Kaffir
wars, which have caused so much waste of blood and treasure at the Cape,
is owing chiefly to this wise law, which is so rigidly enforced that a
number of guns were seized which had been made in Natal, at a cost of 2
pounds 10 shillings each.  The barrels were gas-pipes, whilst good
muskets could have been imported at 5 shillings each.  All the Cape wars
have been caused by the omission of this simple precaution.

The Natal border Zulu chief Langalibalele had been a rebel from his
youth upwards.  He rebelled against Panda, the Zulu king, and barely
escaped into Natal with a few followers, leaving all his cattle behind.
Shortly after he returned, killed the keepers of the cattle, and took
them into Natal.  There he was given about the best "location" on the
beautiful spot here described in the Drakensberg.  Many refugees from
Zululand joined him, and his tribe became powerful.  But they were
always restless and contumacious.  At last about 250 of them brought
back from the diamond-fields the guns which they had received for wages,
and when called upon to give them up refused to do so, or even--as
subsequently allowed--to send them in to be registered, and they
insulted the messengers sent by the Government.  A force was
consequently marched into the location, and as the whole tribe was about
to depart into the Zulu country with the cattle, a proceeding which was
against all Kaffir law, the passes of the mountains were occupied, to
prevent their escape, by volunteers, and the soldiers were kept below.
To the Bushman's Pass a force of about twenty of the Natal carbineers
(cavalry) was sent up.  The pass, 9000 feet high, was so steep that they
could not ride, but had to lead their horses, in doing which Colonel
Durnford (killed at Isandhlwana), who commanded the party, was pulled
down a rock by his horse, and his shoulder dislocated.  It was pulled in
at once, but being a delicate man the pain and fatigue overcame him
entirely, and he was obliged to remain behind, while the rest went on
and bivouacked on the pass.  During the night, young Robert Erskine, son
of the Colonial Secretary, went down twice to his assistance, taking
brandy, etc., and eventually he got him on to his horse and up to his
men.  Early next morning a part of the tribe, with the cattle, came up,
the rest having passed before, and occupied the rocks around, being
armed with guns.

Unfortunately, the Governor of Natal had got it into his head that he
was a born soldier, and had accompanied the soldiers who were below.  As
the captain of the volunteers knew no drill, and could not move the men,
the Governor--who was weakly allowed by the colonel in command to
dictate--sent Major Durnford, an engineer--who knew no more than the
captain about manoeuvring men--in command, and to this folly added a mad
injunction "not to fire first!" in obedience to which Durnford allowed
the tribe to keep coming up.  Erskine, who had been private secretary to
the former governor, and who knew the tribe well, having lived among
them sketching, and having had twenty-five of them working for him at
the diamond-fields, offered to go down the pass and remonstrate with the
chiefs who were below.  Major Durnford would not allow it, saying that
he had saved his life, and it was certain death.  The tribe kept coming
up and lining the rocks, calling out, "You'll never see your mother
again!  That's my horse!  That's my saddle!" etc.

At last a cowardly fellow, a drill-sergeant, formerly in the Cape
Mounted Rifles, who had been allowed to join the force as dry-nurse,
persuaded the men that they would all be killed, and they sent their
captain to Durnford to say so, and that as he would not allow them to
fire they would not stay.  On which Durnford called out, "Will nobody
stand by me?" when Erskine said, "I will, major," and another, Bond,
said so, as also did one more.  Durnford then said, "If you will not
stand by me you must go;" and not knowing the cavalry word, the
drill-sergeant gave the word, "Fours right! right wheel!  Walk!  March!"
As they filed past the rocks, the Zulu in command called, "Don't fire
until they have passed," and they then fired and shot down the whole
rear section, and the rest galloped off, except Durnford, who was
drinking at the source of the Orange river.  His bridle was seized by
two Zulus, and one wounded him in the shoulder.  Although one arm was
disabled, with the other he shot them both, and escaped.

At the same time the Kaffir interpreter, who fought gallantly, was
killed, and Erskine also, whose horse was shot down, was shot through
the head and heart, in the source of the Orange river.  One of the four,
whose horse had been shot down, caught Erskine's horse, which had got up
again, and escaped on him for a space.  The horse then fell dead, and
two of the men dismounted and covered him, shooting some of the Zulus
who were coming on.  He caught Durnford's spare horse running by, and
after some delay and danger from a shower of bullets, succeeded in
getting Erskine's saddle on to the horse, and escaped.  Durnford tried
in vain to rally the men, and they went helter-skelter down the pass,
the captain--afraid to ride down--being sledged down on his stern.

The bodies were allowed to remain there several days, although there was
not a Zulu near, and then they were buried by Durnford under a large
cairn, erected with rocks, interspersed with the beautiful heaths and
flora growing around.  Erskine's body was found in the source itself of
the Orange river.  The people erected a handsome monument to their
memory in the market-square at Maritzburg, and another to those who fell
at Isandhlwana--about thirty.  Thus, out of a troop of fifty,
thirty-three of the Natal volunteer carbineers fell in these two affairs
owing, on both occasions, to the grossest mismanagement.  _Ne sutor
ultra crepidam_!

The tribe was afterwards hunted for two months in these mountains by
volunteers only, and captured with their chief, Langalibalele, who was
sent to the Cape, and kept more comfortably than he ever was in his
life, in a nice house and grounds, with entire freedom to move about,
his only grievance being that he was not allowed more than three of his
wives, the cause of this distressing privation being simply that the
balance would not come.  An absurd proposition was sent out by the Home
Government lately that he should be allowed to return to Natal, but it
was promptly quashed by that Government.  _Coelum non animum mutant qui
trans mare currunt_, as was proved in the case of Cetewayo's
restoration, "who had learnt and forgotten nothing."

This, if it can be called one, is the only rebellion ever known, or
likely to be known, in Natal, where the Kaffirs are thoroughly loyal.
Shortly before this a little raid was made into Natal by one of
Moshesh's sons, when two natives were killed and some cattle lifted.  A
force was sent up, too late, and _en route_ the Colonial Secretary and
Secretary for Native Affairs, who were sitting in a waggon, were
watching a tribe, when they diverted, and forming regularly into line
their orator ran out, and running as they do up and down made an
oration, "There's the Government in the waggon!  What's the meaning of
this?  Why is this land invaded?  Why are our people killed and our
cattle stolen?  Why were we not called out sooner?  Was it that we are
not trusted?  Wow!!  There sit under that waggon Langalibalele's people!
Who are they?  Dogs! that we used to hunt down; and would again, if not
prevented by the Government."

Sir T.  Shepstone did not even condescend to address them himself, but
in a few words, through an interpreter, told them they were quite loyal,
had the approval of the great Queen, and could _pass on_, which they
did, moving off by companies from the right, like soldiers, and singing
a war song, making the earth tremble with their stamping.  [On such
occasions extraordinary licence of speech is allowed by the Zulus.]  All
these tribes would fight well for us _at first_ if there were to be a
rising outside, but after a bit they would join their own kind, as they
both feel and say that white and black blood can never mingle because we
despise them.

The great change in climate and vegetation is very perceptible on
leaving fair Natal for the cold, dreary, open, and inhospitable Free
State.  Harrysmith, in 1863, was a poor, dull, sleepy town, only
supported and kept alive by a few transport riders on their way to the
Transvaal and the small villages of the Free State.  But after the
annexation of the former State by the British Government in 1877, it
soon became a town of importance, and being on the main road from Natal,
large and well-built stores, houses, churches, and schools soon put life
into its inhabitants.  Thanks to British gold for turning a howling
wilderness into a land of promise!

I remained two days to gain news and information about the locality, and
the various roads to the north; game being plentiful in all directions,
principally blesbok and springbok, wildebeest or gnu, quaggas,
hartebeest, and others.  The ostrich was also plentiful.  I decided to
follow the game up, taking the advice of my Natal friend, who had
recently returned from his shooting excursion.  I took the road leading
east, and less frequented than the others, which eventually leads to the
newly-formed town of Wakkerstroom, on the eastern border of the
Transvaal, and also north from that town to Lydenburg, now the gold
centre.  Anxious to make the most of my time, as I had to return to
Natal before starting on my grand explorations to obtain a fresh driver
and two Kaffirs, I was constantly in the saddle after anything that
crossed my path, travelling slowly on, shooting as much game as we
required for the road.  To shoot more would be mere waste, although the
Boers make a practice of killing as many as they can for the sake of the
skins, leaving the dead animals to be devoured by lions, wolves, or any
other animal.

One night, as we were outspanned on the bank of a dry sluit, close to a
small but thickly wooded koppie (hill) and large blocks of stone, we
were disturbed by hearing the roar of two or more lions, within a very
short distance of our camp.  Not having made any preparation to receive
visitors of this kind, we were all soon on our feet with rifles.  The
fire had gone out, but the stars gave some little light, sufficient to
see all safe, particularly my horse.  We were all on the watch, peering
into the darkness, when we saw two lions cross over from the opposite
bank and enter the near koppie.  I was told before starting, by several
old hunters, never to shoot at a lion when near, if it can be avoided,
unless certain of killing; for if only wounded he would attack before
you could reload.

Our anxiety was for the safety of our oxen and horse, fearing they might
get away and be caught by the lions.  I made the two Kaffirs collect a
few sticks, and with what was left from last night made a fire, which
threw a light into the bushes, where we saw our two friends enter, and
shortly after I saw a pair of eyes shining like fire from out of the
wood within thirty yards.  If I could have depended on my Kaffirs, all
being armed, he would certainly have had the contents of my rifle, but
knowing them to be bad shots when cool, and that they would have been
worse than useless in time of danger, to my great disgust was I obliged
to stand and watch only.  As they left the koppie, they made a circuit
of my camp, but at a greater distance.  Taking the two rifles from the
young Kaffirs, placing them against the fore-wheel of the waggon, to be
ready at a moment's notice, I could not resist so fine a chance of a
shot in the open, only fifty yards distant; the light of the fire giving
out a good glare, I had a full view, and fired, and found I had wounded
one--the thud of the bullet is sufficient to know that.  My driver, a
fine Zulu, and young Talbot, had their rifles ready in case he charged,
which he did, in short bounds.  As he neared, they both fired and both
hit, but not sufficiently to kill him; but he was unable to move, as his
hind-quarters were rendered powerless.  Reloading, we walked up, and I
gave him a bullet as near the heart as I could, when he fell over; the
other we saw moving away into the darkness--a fine full-grown lion with
dark mane.  This was the third lion that had fallen by my rifle.  The
little affair detained us the following day, skinning and pegging out to
dry in the sun, in addition to several other skins of the game shot on
the road, eleven in all.  When a skin is taken from an animal, I
sprinkle a little salt over it, then roll it up, to be pegged out at a
convenient opportunity.

The next day we made a fresh move towards a lofty isolated hill in the
Free State, which we reached in two inspans, and crossing a stony sluit,
outspanned under a few trees, close to some very ancient stone walls
built without mortar.  They were square and some twelve feet high.  The
open plains were full of game of many kinds.  Wishing to explore this
hill, early in the morning after coffee I took my rifle to climb to the
topmost ridge, letting John have the horse to get a springbok.  After
rambling about the hill, scanning the country all round, I was coming
down when I nearly stumbled on a wolf (hyena), which must have been
asleep amongst the stones.  I was within twenty feet when I fired,
killing him at once.  Not far away were two large black eagles; the
report of the rifle seat them soaring away into space.  About half-way
down the hill I saw two stones that had evidently been cut into shape by
a mason; they looked like coping-stones, with well-marked lines, and
perfectly square.  I took their measure and a sketch of each, both of
them exactly a foot in length and six inches wide.  They evidently
belonged to some ancient building, but when? is a question not so easily
solved.  But other stone huts two days' trek beyond were clearly erected
by a race long since passed away; they were circular, with circular
stone roofs, and nearly two feet thick, of partly hewn stone,
beautifully made; a stone door with lintels, sills, and door-plates.
Kaffirs have never been known to build in this way.  Between each hut
there was a straight stone wall, five feet in height, with doorways and
lintels, communicating with each square enclosure, perfect specimens of
art.  They were, I believe, erected by the same people who worked the
gold-mines, the remains of which we frequently find in the Transvaal and
the Matabele, and beyond, where so many of their forts still remain.  In
the Marico district there are two extensive remains of these stone
towns, which must, from their extent, have occupied many years to
complete.  The outer wall that encloses the whole is six feet thick, and
at the present time five feet high.  Several large trees are growing out
and through the roof of some of them.  They are how the abode of the
leopard, jackal, and wolf, and so hidden by bush they, are not seen
until you are close upon them.  Broken pieces of pottery are the only
things I have discovered.  The present natives know nothing of them;
they are shrouded in mystery.  Many remains of old walls are standing,
showing that at one time this upper part of the Free State must have
been thickly populated.  At this outspan I killed a yellow snake, three
feet in length, with _four legs_, but not made for locomotion.  I heard
there were such in Natal, but this is the first I have seen.  When he
found he could not make his escape, he curled himself into a circle,
with his head raised to strike similar to other snakes.  I consigned him
to a bottle of spirits.  I also shot one of those beautiful blue jays,
as there were many in this district.

I pass over my shooting exploits, as there is nothing worth recording,
each daily trek being almost a repetition of the last, until we arrive
in sight of Wakkerstroom, a poor village, a few houses, flat roofs,
single floors, built in an open country near a lofty hill, which stands
on the main road from Natal to Lydenburg; we remained only a few days,
then went north, as far as Lake Crissie, an open piece of water, no
trees or bushes near; a solitary sea-cow is the only occupant of this
dismal-looking place.  In this district the Vaal river rises, and many
small branches meet, until the veritable river is formed.  The elevation
at the lake was 5613 feet, and on a hill a few miles north I found the
altitude above sea-level to be 6110 feet, an open grass undulating
country as far as the eye could see, except on the east, where the
mountain range that forms the Quathlamba is seen in the distance.  I
retraced part of the road, and turned south-east, over the hills leading
to where Lunenburg now stands, and on towards Swaziland, which is an
independent native territory, thickly populated and very mountainous;
there are rich gold-mines there now, and some of the mountains attain an
altitude of 8000 feet.

The greater part of the summer months, a mist envelops the hills, but it
is a very healthy part of Africa, and horse sickness is rarely known to
exist, consequently many horses are bred here.  Passing Kruger's post,
through Buffel forest, which is hilly, and splendid timber trees cover
the entire country, the scenery is grand and wild; quartz reefs crop out
in all directions, sandstone, shale, and in some places limestone
overlap the granite formation, which compose these lofty ridges of the
Drakensberg; shale, which indicates the existence of coal, is frequently
seen in the valleys, and along the Pongola river and its several
branches.

I left Harrysmith on the 20th September, 1863, arriving on the banks of
the Pongola river on the 16th October.  In that time I had treked 350
miles, being delayed on the road shooting and exploring.

The people at Wakkerstroom wanted to know what I was doing in the
country, as I did not handel (trade), and was not a smouser, the term
applied to those who went about the country in waggons to sell and buy.
They would not believe I came into the country for pleasure and to
shoot, but I was set down as an English spy, as I took notes and made
sketches of the country.  When I showed them a small drawing of the town
with the hill at the backhand people walking about, they held it upside
down, and said it was _mooi_ (pretty).  Most of the Boers are very slow
in comprehending anything, the women are much quicker, and turned the
picture round, and knew it at once, as also some Kaffir girls, pointing
to the figures, naming whom they represented with expressions of
delight.  Some of the girls seem to have a natural gift for drawing and
the beauties of nature, pointing out with their finger various objects,
and explaining to those around what the drawing represented.  I have
often thought that many of these bright Kaffir girls might make good
artists with proper training.  Mrs. Colenso taught some to draw, paint,
and play and sing.  When they were about sixteen their father came for
them, and they, quite delighted, ran off, stripped off their clothes,
and went off naked, and never returned, just like some wild pigeons I
had once tamed.  They are also quite alive to the ridiculous: in the
sketch were two horses playing, one standing with his fore-feet in the
air; this caught their attention at once, causing great amusement, and
imitating their action.  They belonged to the Mantatees or Mahowas
tribe, which is divided into many kraals under various chiefs, all
subject to the head chief Secocoene, who lives on the north of
Lydenburg.  The Pongola skirts the Swazi, or, as it is sometimes called,
the Amaswasiland, a very mountainous country; the people are Zulus,
their habits and mode of fighting being the same.  Many of these people
came to my waggon with milk, which I took in exchange for tobacco and
beads.  The men are a fine manly race, and the women, many of them,
good-looking, but very scanty in their dress, which is only a little
strip of beads an inch wide.  The Swazi country is situated between the
eastern boundary of the Transvaal and the Amatonga, which is the
northern part of Zululand, up to the Portuguese settlement in Delagoa
Bay on the east side.  It is governed by an independent chief, their
laws and language being the same as the Zulus.  The country has every
indication of being rich in gold, some specimens of quartz I obtained
from reefs running through the country looked very promising.  The
Pongola Bush, as it is called, is a beautiful forest of fine timber
trees.  Some of the most valuable are the Bosch Gorrah, of a scarlet
colour, fine grain; Ebenhout, a sort of ebony; Borrie yellow,
Bockenhout, no regular grain; Assagaai, used for spear handles; Wild
Almond, Grelhout, Saffraan, Stinkwood, Speckerhout, Wild Fig, Umghu,
Witgatboom, Tambooti; White Ironwood, very hard, and many others of
great use for many purposes.  The Pongola river is very pretty; passing
down through a richly-wooded district, with its tributaries, flowing
east and then north it joins the beautiful river Usutu, which enters the
south side of Delagoa Bay.  The Usutu river drains the greater portion
of the Amaswasiland with its many branches; it rises on the east side of
the Veldt and Randsberg, that is the continuation of the watershed from
Natal, already described, which separates the waters of the South
Atlantic and the Indian Ocean, some of the springs of the Usutu rising
within a few miles of the upper springs of the Vaal, near Lake Crissie.
The principal tributaries of the former river are the Umtaloos, Lobombo,
Assagaai, Impeloose, Umkonto, and Umkompies, all uniting in the Swazi
country; then it flows east, through a beautiful break in the Lobombo
Mountains, and enters Delagoa Bay, as before described.  For beauty of
scenery and picturesque views, with the deep glens, ravines, and thickly
wooded kloofs of every variety of tint, few views in Africa will surpass
them, and some day, when the country is prospected, if the Swazis will
permit it, I believe it will be found to be a rich gold-bearing country,
both alluvial and in the quartz.  I went several times into the
river-beds to prospect, the natives following me, watching my actions,
but of course not knowing what I was looking for.  As the time was
drawing short I left the Pongola, and treked down to Eland's Neck, where
the country was more open, and on a small branch of that river, close to
a very pretty waterfall, are many fine tree-ferns, that grow to a great
size.  Here we were again in the clouds on the Elandsberg, at an
elevation of 6000 feet, and overlooking Zululand, with the distant
mountain in the background.  With my boys to feed--and no small quantity
satisfies them--the rifles were in constant use, and in an unknown
country it is never safe to go any distance from the waggon without one.
The Zulus have no other weapons than the assagai or knobkerrie.  Wolves
were nightly visitors; several we shot, but not a lion was to be seen or
heard.  There were many leopards and panthers in the mountains, but they
did not trouble us.  My driver being a Zulu as well as the other boys, I
got on very well with the people at the kraals I passed, and the girls
came without any fear.  In fact we always got on well with them, having
provided myself with brass wire and beads, the principal articles in
demand, as clothes they do not wear.  They are exceedingly clean in
their persons, and very fond of bathing.  One afternoon I saddled-up,
and started for the open to get a buck.  Passing through the bush to the
river, I came upon nearly fifty black women bathing in the stream.  Some
scampered out on the other side, then stood and looked at the white man;
the greater number kept in the water splashing about, for it was not
deep enough to swim, and laughing and cheering, showing their beautiful
white teeth, not in the least afraid.  It is true I had been nearly a
week outspanned near their two separate kraals, and they were daily at
my waggon with milk, so that I was to a certain extent known to them,
few white men being seen down so far in that part of Zululand.

_November 30th_.--It was time to make a move homewards.  I therefore
prepared for a start, and the following morning took the road towards
Natal, stopping at Deepkloof on my way, leaving on the right some very
picturesque and lofty hills; not a farm-house to be seen.  Having shot
plenty of game for the road to last many days, by turning it into
biltong, pushed on early the next morning, passing down one of the most
stony and difficult passes to be met with in Africa, running against
trees, which had to be cut down, breaking one of the oxen's horns, which
had got fixed in the branches of a tree, and with difficulty I saved the
waggon from being smashed.  The view from this hill, looking west, was
very fine, an open plain beneath us with lofty hills on the right and
left, open to the south and west, where a distant view of the lofty
peaks of the Drakensberg could be seen; the distance in a straight line
being over eighty miles; so clear is the atmosphere they did not seem
more than half that distance.

The next day about noon I came to a Boer farm, where we procured some
milk, a little butter, and some meal.  The comfortless manner in which
these people live is surprising, and the dirt displayed about the
premises would shock many a poor labourer at home.  The old Boer asked,
which is always the first question put after shaking hands, "What's your
name? where from? what have I up to handel (sell)?"  After replying,
"Then what's the news?"  This is the usual salutation at every Boer
farm, and considering their isolation, a very practical one.  Coffee is
then handed round, and the tobacco-bag produced, to fill your pipe, as a
matter of course.  The old Boer complained sadly of the heavy storms
that had passed over the country, and loss of cattle from lightning, the
old vrow putting in a word occasionally; their three buxom daughters sat
on boxes, looking at the stranger as if he were some unknown kind of
animal from a strange land.

We crossed a small branch of the Buffalo river, leaving the Belslaberg
mountains, covered with bush, on our right.  At the back of this range
is a mineral spring on the White river, which is a tributary of the
Pongola, the water being warm when it issues from the ground.

On the morning of the 4th of December, 1863, I started for Natal, on my
backward journey, and treked over an open country in two inspans, and
arrived in the evening on the banks of the Buffalo river, which divides
Natal from the Zulu country, and outspanned for the night, as I never
travel after dark for two reasons: the first, I cannot see the country,
and the second, that I always meet with some accident in travelling a
road not known--breaking desselboom, axle, or some part of the waggon,
sticking in mud-holes that would be avoided in daylight.  The Buffalo is
a fine stream, rising in the Drakensberg, passing the town of
Wakkerstroom, and falling into the Tugela twenty miles below the town of
Weenen, where it forms a broad stream to the sea, dividing Zululand from
Natal.  At the outspan there was a Boer with his waggon waiting to go
through, the water being too high to cross; but it was going down,
having risen from the heavy rains, and an accident having happened to
his waggon by the bullocks turning round when treking in the night, from
fright probably by a wild beast, and breaking the desselboom; but on my
arrival I found the young Boer and his vrow sitting by their camp-fire,
taking their evening coffee, and after the usual shaking of hands was
asked to sit, and a Bushman girl was told to give me a cup of coffee;
afterwards, of course, a smoke.

Having made my waggon ready for the night, and looked after the boys and
oxen, I took my evening meal with John; then walked over to the Boer
waggon for a chat, where we remained until bed-time, which was nine
o'clock.  Sitting listening to the Boer's various tales of Zulu
fighting, and hunting, and other anecdotes, I found he lived on a farm
some little distance beyond this outspan; his name was Uys, rather a
pleasant kind of man for his class.  Probably the father of Piet Uys,
the hero of the Zulu war.

The next morning at sunrise I had a look at the river, which was not
much lower; but an exciting scene was taking place; a flock of about 300
sheep was being swum through, which occupied all the first part of the
morning.  I was astonished to see how well they took to the water when
they were in, the difficulty lay in getting them in: some would turn
back, others go down the river; what with the bleating of the sheep, the
shouting of a dozen Kaffir boys and their two Boer masters making a
perfect din of sounds; however, with only the loss of two sheep, they
got them safely over, and as the water was falling fast, everything was
made ready to cross.  My friend Uys took the lead.  The banks on both
sides being very steep, the breaks had to be screwed home to bring the
waggons safely down to the water.  Each waggon had a forelooper, a
Kaffir, to take the fore-tow of the front oxen to keep them straight
towards the opposite drift, otherwise they might take it into their
heads to go down stream, and all would be lost.  On his return from one
of his expeditions on the east coast, Mr. St. Vincent Erskine, the
traveller, on reaching Natal bought a horse, and as he had to swim
several rivers he put his journal for safety into a waggon.  It was
carried down a river, the oxen and a white girl lost, and his journal.
Long searches were made for it by numbers of Kaffirs, when the river
went down, in vain.  _Two years_ afterwards it was found in its tin
case, quite legible, being in pencil.  It was in a bush so far above the
river that no one had thought of looking for it.

We reached the bank safely on the opposite side, which is Natal, and
treked on in a westerly course for a few miles, where we outspanned, and
then went on again for a long trek, as there was nothing further to
delay us, and the next day we continued on to a very pretty opening,
close to the river Ineandu; the lofty Drakensberg range on our right,
with its beautiful rugged outline, and deep kloofs, was grand to look
upon.  Game was more plentiful here than we had seen for some time, and
we also found lions were not wanting to keep up the excitement during
the night-watch.  As we arrived late, there was nothing to do but have
our fires, cook some tea and a slice of a young springbok over the red
embers, with a little salt, mustard, and pepper,--a supper not to be
cast on one side.  We were rightly informed, and cautioned not to let
the oxen and horse stray in the bush, but kept them near and in sight,
for lions had considerably increased of late and had done much damage in
carrying off oxen when out in the Veldt.  Mr. Evans, the merchant, once
saw forty all together.  We therefore made everything fast before going
to sleep, and collected wood for fires, if it were necessary to light
them during the night.  My horse would have been a great loss; he was
excellent when out after game, for, on dismounting and throwing the rein
over his head to hang on the ground, he would not move from the spot
until you returned from following up game where a horse could not go.
As there was no moon the night was getting dark, and while we were
sitting round the camp-fire, listening to the boys' tales of some
hunting expeditions they had been in, we were reminded that our friends
the lions were not far away.  In the stillness of night, when all is
silent, the sounds made by a lion close at hand in a thick bush
surrounding the camp, the deep tones of his growls, make every one
start, and look around to see if all is safe, and put more wood on the
fires, to throw light into the bush, and take our rifles which had been
left in the waggon.  Although we could not see them, we knew they were
close at hand; others were heard in the distance, and would no doubt
come nearer; sleep was out of the question, as a vigilant watch was
necessary, in case they might make an attack on our oxen.  Wolves also
began to enliven the night-air with their sounds, and occasionally a
jackal was heard.  With the exception of a few scares, when they came
too close to the waggon, the night passed off very well, and a lovely
bright morning succeeded.  We inyoked the oxen, and treked at daylight--
saddling up the horse, I rode into the bush, but could see nothing
except their footprints in the sand.

From this outspan to Ladysmith occupied five days.  The country over
which we travelled was very pretty, and in many places hilly.  Ladysmith
is another small town, where we remained the morning, and then started
for the farm, and arrived on the 20th of December, 1863, in time to
spend the Christmas with the old people.

Ladysmith is now the terminus of the railway, 180 miles from D'Urban.
It is to be continued at once to Newcastle, passing through a rich coal
district 100 miles, where it will be only about fifty miles from the
nearest gold-fields.  Natal only asks the Imperial Government to enable
it to borrow the money at three per cent, for this great strategical
work, which besides reaching the Transvaal, would afford the only
coaling-station in South Africa.

CHAPTER THREE.

FINAL DEPARTURE FOR THE UNKNOWN LAND--THE HAPPY HUNTING-GROUND.

Christmas day, 1863; on the banks of the Tugela river, Natal; 96 degrees
in the shade, 149 degrees in the sun; 9:30 a.m.; a cloudless sky, with
scarcely a puff of air to relieve the oppressive heat.  No greatcoats,
thick gloves, mufflers, or snow-boots are needed on Christmas Day in
these southern climes.  The thinnest of thin clothes, and those but few,
can be worn with comfort.  I envy the native tribes their freedom from
dress in such weather.  But so it must be, I suppose; we are but
children of circumstances, and must abide by the rules of society.  Not
always.  The celebrated Mr. Fynn went naked among the Kaffirs for years,
as also did Gordon Cumming.

But with all this glorious sunshine, sultry and Oppressive atmosphere,
Christmas is not Christmas as we know it in Old England, where friends
meet friends in all the warmth of overflowing love and hospitality round
the well-filled board, and the social gatherings round the hearth, with
song and dance, and Christmas-tree.  We live in its memory when it comes
upon us in this far-away land, hoping against hope that at its next
anniversary we may be united again with those dear to us, and join in
the festivities of merry Christmas in our native land.  Father Frost,
with his snow-white mantle, is a welcome guest at this season of the
year; without him we know not what real Christmas is.

In this warm clime we endeavour to realise that Christmas is upon us,
but how can we reconcile the fact with the thermometer at noon standing
106 degrees in the shade, flies, ants, mosquitoes, and countless other
insects buzzing round you, fighting after your food and filling the
dishes, until you can scarcely make out what is in them!  Such is
Christmas in a subtropical land.

However, with all these drawbacks, my friends on the farm, who were
colonists of eight years standing, did their best to keep up the old
customs; their two daughters and one son--all born in England--with
myself, and the old people, comprised our little family party.
Plum-pudding, mince pies, venison, and fowls were served up in the old
style, with good English bottled ale, and sundry fruits afterwards.  We
managed to pass away Christmas Day with many pledges of good luck and
success to all absent friends in glasses of some real old whisky which I
had in my waggon.  Two Zulu girls attended, with a bunch of long ostrich
feathers each, to keep off the flies during meals, otherwise flies as
well as food would have passed into the mouth.

But the day was not to terminate as brightly as it commenced.  Soon
after four p.m. dense clouds were rising over the lofty Drakensberg
mountains in heavy massive folds, rising one after the other in quick
succession, spreading out, expanding over the clear sky above,
enveloping the mountain tops, blending together earth and sky, a grand
and beautiful sight, with the quick flashes of lightning and the distant
rumble of the thunder.  We watched with intense interest and admiration
its rapid approach until we were warned by the hurricane that preceded
it that the house was the safest place.  Having made everything fast
without, we waited its arrival.  Those who have never witnessed a
tropical thunderstorm can have but a faint idea of its violence, and in
no place in Africa is it more so than in Natal.  They are renowned for
their rapid appearance and destructive effects.

[Fourteen soldiers were struck in one room in Natal, some men and two
officers on parade another time; whole spans of oxen are often struck,
the lightning running along the trek-chain.  A woman woke up one
morning, and found that her husband had been struck dead by her side
without her knowing it.]

At half-past five it was at its height; the lightning was incessant and
thunder continuous; the rain falling not in drops but in sheets,
flooding everything.  Shortly after six it was passing away to the east,
the rumbling of the thunder growing fainter, until a calm succeeded, and
the sun shone again in all its brightness, and the evening passed away
as serenely and calm as if there were no such things as storms, the only
evidence left being broken branches of trees, and every hollow full of
water.  However, this did not prevent our finishing up our Christmas
amusements.  I arranged to remain here until after the New Year, and
prepare for my long journey to regions unknown.  A driver and two boys
had to be looked up.

On the farm was a middle-aged Hottentot, who had been a driver to a
transport rider.  Mr. Talbot told me I could have him if he would go,
being trustworthy as far as blacks can be trusted.  When spoken to on
the subject he was all eagerness to be engaged, as driving was his
legitimate work.  Consequently John was engaged forthwith, and told to
look out two boys to go with us.  He said he knew two good boys in
Ladysmith if I would let him go and get them, which I agreed to, and in
five days he returned with two very likely lads who were used to waggons
and anxious to be engaged--ten shillings a month and food.  So far all
was settled.  The next step was to get my things from Maritzburg; this
entailed a waggon journey.

Nearly every day we had thunderstorms, coming on in the afternoon,
lasting nearly two hours, but not quite so violent as the one described,
though severe enough, in their passage over, to make us glad when they
had left us, as the lightning is most destructive and dangerous.  We had
a very narrow escape on our return journey from Maritzburg.  We were
treking past Doornkop, a lofty hill on the left of the road.  A
thunderstorm was gathering; consequently, anxious to outspan before it
burst upon us, we were whipping up the oxen to reach an open space, when
a flash descended perpendicularly, striking the road not twenty feet
behind the waggon, where a few seconds before we were passing over.  If
our pace had been the slightest slackened, our lives would have been
lost; as it was we felt the effect of the electricity for some days
afterwards.  When storms are prevalent, never outspan near trees or
stony koptjies; the latter seem to attract lightning more frequently;
where it strikes on the stones it splits them into several pieces.

A slight description of my travelling-house may give greater insight
into African travelling.  My waggon measured seventeen feet in length
and five feet in width.  In front is a waggon-box for holding such
things as are required for immediate use, and also for the driver and
another to sit on.  Six feet of the front I reserve for my own special
use; boxes arranged on the bed-plant, full of grocery and other things,
upon which, a thick mattress and bed-clothes.  On one side boxes are
arranged to form tables for writing or drawing.  Around the sides of the
tent are side-pockets for holding all kinds of useful articles--
powder-flasks, shot, caps, brushes, books, tools, and other things
required at a moment's notice.  On each side of the waggon my rifles,
shot-guns, and revolvers are conveniently slung, that in a moment either
of them can be in the hand, three on each side.  The back part of the
waggon is kept for bags of flour, meal, bread, water-casks, and
everything needed for the road.  My driver and boys sleep under the
waggon or in the tent, as they may think fit.  Such is my
travelling-house.  Therefore, when on the trek, I am independent, asking
no favours of any one, and far from civilisation I am at home and want
for nothing, a grand thing for one who is going to explore unknown
regions, on the dark continent of Africa, where the white man's foot has
never trod.  What a field is before me!

On the 18th of March, 1864, having everything prepared, I started from
the farm, after many farewells and good wishes for my success.  I left
with regret, feeling I had departed from true and valued friends, who
had, to their utmost ability, helped me in my undertaking.

My oxen well rested, and horse fat and saucy, I had nothing to wish for
but health and fair weather.  The first part of my journey was back to
Ladysmith, then on to Newcastle, crossing the Biggarsberg range of
hills, going over the same ground I had recently travelled, and I
arrived there on the 28th.  My object was to make for the upper source
of the Vaal river and commence my work at that point, but I found so
much opposition with the Boers against my taking drawings on this second
trip, that I changed my plans and settled to proceed to the westward and
commence my surveys beyond their boundary, and finish the upper portion
of the Vaal at some future time.  Therefore I retraced my steps back
from the upper Vaal by the road.  I took the former route to Harrysmith;
from thence treked across the Free State, a most desolate and
uninteresting country, and reached the Vaal river, which I crossed below
Potchefstroom, where I began my work, arriving on its banks on the 25th
of July 1864.  I have therefore omitted any reference to the country
through the Orange Free State because I have nothing to relate, except
that a more bleak, cheerless region could not be found; always excepting
Walwich Bay, Angra Pequina, and the back of them.  Every day's trek like
the other, shooting game, inspanning and outspanning; most monotonous to
one wanting to arrive at the unknown region.

At the Boer farms I came to the people were very civil, and supplied me
with milk, eggs, and butter _if they had any_; but few made any; if they
did, it was only sufficient for a meal, the churn being an ordinary
glass bottle, which is bumped on the thigh until the butter comes.

At one Boer farm in Natal, very early in the morning, the old man was
turning out of bed when he opened the door which led into their
principal sitting-room; the family, sons and daughters, were still what
may be termed in bed, if sleeping on skins on the floor with old
blankets and skins covering them, and in thin day dresses, can be called
so, except the boys minus their coats, and the girls their frocks,
without shoes or stockings, because they never wear them, except they go
a-visiting.  The old man asked me in and to take a seat.  After the
usual questions put and answered, a tall, well-grown Zulu girl brought
in a wooden bowl with some water, and placed it on the table, with a
small rag beside it.  The old Boer got up from his chair, went to the
bowl, and began to rub his hands, then his face, wiping them with this
rag, which I afterwards found out was called a feod-hook.  After the
Boer, his three sons went through the same operation, and then I was
invited to do the same, from which I politely excused myself, stating I
had washed at the waggon.  The four girls and the rugs had disappeared
into the inner room.  I was then about going to my waggon, when the old
man told me to "sit," coffee was coming, and presently the same Zulu
girl brought in a cup of coffee for each.  She was as black as she well
could be, and without a particle of covering of any sort.  The Zulu
girls, as a general rule, wear some little bit of rag at their kraals,
but this one had nothing.  I found the Boers do this on purpose to show
them they are an inferior race, and to keep them under.  At many of the
Boer houses I found their female servants were in the same way, as they
have a wonderful prejudice against the black races, and treat them as
dogs; and I found out afterwards that all Boers' servants were slaves,
and received no pay, their food being mealie, Indian corn, and milk.
And as the boys and girls grew old enough to marry, any number of
children would be seen on a farm.

On the whole, the Boers are kind to the Kaffirs, and are liked by them,
because, though strict and sometimes cruel, they treat them more
familiarly than we do.  There is not such a gulf fixed between them as
with us.  Then, as to slavery, the work is light, and they have enough
food, all they care about.  In short, it is very much the same as in
America formerly; there are good and bad masters, and the Kaffirs who
work are really happier than those who are idle.  Slavery is really
extinct in Natal and the Cape, and rapidly becoming so in the Boer
States.

CHAPTER FOUR.

THE NATIVE COUNTRY NORTH OF THE VAAL RIVER.

26th July, 1864.--On the banks of the Vaal, north of the river, I
outspanned at a very pretty open piece of ground; not a house, hut, or
living thing to be seen, except geese and ducks in the river, very tame
and easily shot.  The banks are very steep and covered with fine timber
and bush.  The water might rise forty feet and not overflow its banks.
There are many deep sluits along the banks, where waggons cannot cross,
therefore we have to go a long way round.

After travelling down the river for two days, we came to an old drift on
one of the small rivers which rises in the north, and nearly overturned
the waggon in getting through.  There are some beautiful stones mixed in
the gravel on the banks, some of the agates are very perfect.  On the
opposite bank was a small Koranna village, consisting of seven huts; the
men came out to stare, the women and children kept hid in their huts;
here my driver John became an important individual, for being of the
same tribe, although calling himself a Hottentot, he could speak the
same language, which was a succession of clicks with guttural sounds in
the throat, quite unique in the world's languages.  From these people I
got my bearings, and found I was on the spruit called Scoon Spruit; here
I took my first observation in the Vaal below the upper sources of the
river.

The weather was very cold, sufficiently to wear great-coat.  The
Korannas informed me through my John that the grass was scarce lower
down the river.  How these poor miserable-looking people existed was a
puzzle to me, a few goats was all they possessed; half-naked, and what
covering they had was nothing but rags and skins.

The third day after my arrival I inspanned, and took a little exploring
expedition to the north of the river, crossing several small streams
where I could find a safe crossing, as there was no water in any of
them, except here and there in pools; the country open and uninviting.
In some places there were bushes and thorn trees, where I made a point
of outspanning for the night to shelter the oxen, and procure wood for
our fires; fortunately there were no cold winds, a perfect calm, and
sometimes the days were warm, but the nights cold.  I spent some weeks
in going over the country, but as I proceeded westerly I found great
difficulty in crossing the many spruits and small watercourses, causing
much delay.  At one of these where I was outspanned near a Kaffir kraal,
my driver, by accident, had, in making a fire, ignited the grass, the
only portion left from recent fires that had destroyed nearly every
blade in the district, which gave a cheerless and desolate appearance to
the country; but, before it had spread any distance, we managed to
extinguish it.  The Kaffirs came running down from their huts, shouting,
but before they arrived the fire was out, otherwise it would have been a
serious matter with me, as it was the only grass they had for their oxen
and cattle; I might have lost all I had.  When they came they saw it was
an accident, as it had destroyed several ox-reims that were lying on the
ground.  To make all right, a present of tobacco and the purchase of
some brayed skins made us friends; money is not known to them; barter is
the medium of exchange.

[There are dreadful accidents at times from these fires, and, strange to
say, loss of life, although you can pass unscathed through the fire
anywhere, even on horseback, as the horses will face it.  But in
attempting to beat out the fire people become asphyxiated, and so fall
and are burnt.]

Again I visit the Vaal, where I follow it down, keeping to good grass
until the spring grass comes, taking long rides over the country with my
rifle, as game was plentiful--blesboks and springboks, wildebeests, and
steenbok, which is a small antelope, with horns six inches in length,
very good eating when baked in an iron pot.

The country I have now treked over leads up to two very fine springs and
large vleis, which I find is the source of the Hart river, where
Lichtenburg now stands.  I soon found lions and wolves were numerous; we
could hear them in the evening and at night, but had not seen any.  Our
outspan on the Vaal is in a snug nook of the river, with plenty of trees
and bush, below where Bloomhof is now built.  Wild ducks and geese were
so plentiful, that of the former I frequently at one shot brought down
six and eight, on the islands, for there are several, covered with trees
and bush, as also are both banks; the river is very pretty.

In the evening, after fishing a short time, I would return to the waggon
with six or seven large barbel, the tails reaching the ground when
carried over the shoulder on a stick; they are fat, with few bones; the
white or yellow fish is better eating but full of bones; much as I like
fish, I do not care for these.  The Boers are very fond of them.  They
are soft and tasteless; the eels are better.  They grow to forty or
fifty pounds.

The river is about 150 yards broad when it is flooded, the water rises
in the narrow parts from thirty and sometimes fifty feet in height,
entirely submerging the tall trees growing on the banks; at these times
the water is composed of one-third mud, but when low, as it is now, it
is very clear; so much so, that I have frequently seen the iguana
walking on its bed at a depth of five feet; some of them grow to a great
size.  I found three kinds, the very dark brown, the largest, measuring
from head to end of tail five feet; they are very destructive in the
farm-yards, visiting the fowl-roosts at night.  I shot one a few nights
ago, with legs a foot in length.  Otters are also plentiful but
difficult to find, their spoor was everywhere to be seen on the banks.
Ant-bears and spring-hares which resemble very much the kangaroo.
Meercats abound all over the Veldt; they are grey, some have very bushy
tails, others long and smooth, but along the river-banks they are red
with black tails.  The armadillo is also found covered with large
scales, and when disturbed curls up similar to our hedgehogs.  Snakes
are not visible yet, the weather is too cold.  I have shot three
varieties of kingfishers, one very large and of a light grey colour.
There are many beautiful birds along the river-banks, also Guinea-fowl,
partridges and pheasants, consequently I vary my dishes.  And with such
a variety of small game, such as jackals and tiger-cats, we find plenty
of sport.

_October 21st_.--I made a move down the river in the afternoon.  A
thunderstorm came on in evening, and we had to outspan near a large
Koranna station, the nights closing in so quickly, and the road being
unsafe to travel in the dark.  We made everything right before the storm
broke over us.  We were close on the high banks of the river, thick with
trees and bush all round, not a safe place in a storm, but well
protected from the wind.  The night was fearfully dark and rough, and I
had little sleep; the oxen breaking loose from the trektow, I had to
wake the boys to secure them.  Soon after breakfast the whole Koranna
kraal turned out to come and stare at the white man; men, women, and
children, about seventy in all, as motley a group as could well be
found; some of a dark dirty drab, light-yellow, and blackish-brown, many
of the younger ones almost white and with rather pleasing countenances;
all of them in a half-nude state, the children entirely so.  The
grown-up females had old and dirty Kaffir sheets thrown over their
shoulders and held in front; the men wear parts of what once were
trousers, but are now in rags, made of skin.  I began to think I had
fallen into about as fine a nest of unwashed and half-starved rascals as
I could meet with in my travels; my driver, John, knowing their
language, could talk to them.  My waggon was soon surrounded, each one
begging for a piece of machuku (tobacco), the women and children forming
a half-circle in front of the waggon, sitting down two and three deep,
all asking for tobacco.  I gave some to the men, who commenced smoking
through bone pipes made out of the leg-bone of blesbok, about four
inches in length, in which they put the weed at one end and drew from
the other.  One old shrivelled-up woman was persistent in her demand,
and got quite cross because I took no notice, and abused me in her
tongue, which I knew from her manner; I therefore would not give her
any.  Sitting on my waggon-box in front, I looked at her, and putting my
thumb to my nose and extending my fingers in her direction, called forth
a yell from all the women and young ones; every one imitating my action
returned the compliment to me.  Their action looked so ludicrous, I
could not resist bursting out into a hearty laugh; this exasperated them
the more; taking no notice of all this noise, they began to see it was
no use, therefore one by one came holding out her hand asking quietly
for a piece.  I told John to tell them I would not give them any because
they abused me; they then came and wanted to kiss my hand.  Finding they
could not do that, they kissed my coat, boots, anything they could touch
of my clothes; at last, to get rid of them, each had a piece given them;
then I was _everything_ that was good, and blessings came tumbling down
upon me wholesale.  A large circle of the women was soon formed round
the fire in a sitting position, smoking away, about thirty, old and
young, the old Kaffir rags thrown on one side careless of results,
modesty being unknown.  The men standing round or sitting beyond the
circle completed a group worthy a better artist than I am to give it
full effect, and in the evening the bright glare of a large fire,
bringing prominently into view the figures against the background
beyond, and many of the large stems of the trees and branches showing
out brightly, completed the picture.  But the charm was broken by the
din and noise of the people, all talking, laughing, singing, and some
dancing.  A happy people! no cares for the present or the future.  This
sort of amusement went on until ten o'clock, then I gave my John orders
to clear them all off, for I wanted to sleep; any that remained behind
were to have no tobacco to-morrow; this had a magical effect, they
cleared at once, and silence reigned supreme, and the night passed away
in peace.

I outspanned at a sharp bend of the Vaal, on the fifth day from the
Koranna station, where there is a stony drift crossing the river to the
missionary station at Pniel, where Bloom and his people lived.  In 1869,
extensive diamond-diggings were worked here, and many thousand people
were employed at Pniel and Klip Drift; both were very extensive camps,
the latter being the headquarters of the Provisional Government,
previous to the annexation of Griqualand West, when it received the name
of Barkly, and continued to be the headquarters up to 1875, when all the
departments were transferred to Kimberley.

_October 30th_.--I went down early in the morning to the drift, with my
span of oxen, to help a Boer, whose waggon had stuck in the middle of
the river, and his small and poor span could not move it.  Fortunately
the water was very low, otherwise the great boulders that blocked the
wheels could not have been removed.  His vrow and kinder (children) were
sitting in the waggon with their faces wrapped up, only their eyes
visible, a common practice with them when on the road.  They are always
getting what they call sinkings (neuralgia).  Having hooked on my
trektow with my span of fourteen, the waggon was brought out and up the
steep bank in safety, and outspanned a short distance from my camp.  He
informed me he had come from the Free State, and was on his way
up-country for skins from the Kaffirs.  The vrow was handed out of the
waggon, a camp-stool put for her, a fire made, the kettle put on for
coffee, and things made comfortable.  We had some difficulty in landing
the vrow, she being rather stout and short, quite a genteel figure,
measuring, as correctly as my eye could judge, about five feet round her
waist; rather "off-coloured" complexion.  Her principal occupation
seemed to be sitting on her camp-stool; she was not fit for active work.
The whole family was suffering from inflamed eyes, a common complaint
caused by dirt.  So far as I have seen of the Boers, there is scarcely a
family without one of its members being so afflicted.  This is purely
from never washing themselves; they have a natural horror of water
touching their persons.

There are many Hottentot, Koranna, and Bushmen living along the
river-banks; they have so intermixed by marriage that there is little
difference between them.  Some are of opinion that the Koranna is the
true Hottentot, but the people, as a general rule, are taller and of a
lighter colour than the real Cape Hottentot, but as I have stated, from
their intermarriages it is difficult to draw the line.  The Bushmen of
the north are much more distinct from those in the south.  There are
also many of the Bechuana tribe living in small detached kraals, and
Bastards, so-called from being born of Dutch fathers and Hottentot women
in the early occupation of the Cape colony, and from the great increase
in their number they have become an important tribe, and are found in
all parts of South Africa.  They do not differ from the Boers in habits
and customs, and when able build their houses similar to those of the
Boer.  In fact there is but a slight difference between them,
particularly those who are living in the Transvaal.  It is interesting
to study how the blood of a tribe or different nationality will show
itself after many generations; as an instance, in one family I am well
acquainted with, the grandfather is an old Boer, whose mother was a
bushwoman; his son married a Boer girl, and their daughter married a
German; the eldest son of this marriage was a half black; the second son
very fair, with light hair and blue eyes; the eldest daughter very dark,
black hair and eyes, quite half black; the second daughter very fair,
light flaxen hair and light blue eyes; the third daughter and third son
were both half black, black eyes and crisp black hair; the fourth son
again was fair.  This family was the fourth generation from the black
and white marriage.  I know of several other similar cases, and most of
the Transvaal Boers are of this breed.

_November 10th_.--I returned from a five days' trek down the river,
where the junction of the Hart river falls into the Vaal, and close to a
large Kaffir kraal, under the chief Jantze of the Bechuana tribe, and
found the old Boer outspanned at the same place; he was afraid to
proceed, having heard the Boers of the Transvaal were still fighting
amongst themselves, which had been going on for a long time, and which
was the reason of my leaving the country last October, causing me to
alter my plans, and on the 29th of November, 1864, I left the Vaal at
high drift for the north.  Two days' trek over a stony road, between low
hills covered with vaal bush, which is in full bloom at this season of
the year, giving out a pleasant perfume, the leaves also being strongly
scented, and when boiled in water are sometimes used for tea.

Towards the Hart river the veldt is level, with several isolated ranges
of hills.  At the west end of one there is a conical hill, formed
entirely of limestone and fossil bones, so blended together that it is
impossible to separate them--teeth, jawbones, and other parts of
animals, large and small, are found.  The surrounding hills are of
sandstone formation, with large boulders of a bluish colour that overlap
them.  I think there can be no doubt as to the origin of the formation
of this chalk hill, viz. by the action of the water when submerged in
the ocean.  The bones and chalk, the latter being held in solution,
would be brought together and deposited in comparative still water by
the eddy formed by the current rounding the end of the adjacent hill,
but from whence the immense mass of bones comes is a question not so
easily solved; being of the same specific gravity they may have been
deposited in the eddy.  I visited the hill several times in passing, and
spent many hours on its side and summit with my hammer breaking off
pieces to ascertain if any human remains could be found, but not being
an anatomist my labour was partly in vain.  Of every piece of rock I
detached from the hill nearly one-half was composed of bones, all
perfectly white, the same as the limestone, and exceedingly hard.  In
many other localities I have found masses of bones imbedded in
limestone; the former have been white, the latter of a dark greyish
colour, forming extensive caves, from which beautiful springs of
delicious water flow, showing that animal life existed prior to the
general configuration of the present earth's surface.

During my two days' journey from the Vaal river large herds of game were
seen in all directions, keeping me in the saddle all day to provide food
for the road.  Lions, wolves, and jackals were heard nightly, and came
prowling round our camp at no great distance, but never came
sufficiently close to be seen.  A few miles beyond the bone hill, if I
may so call it, we crossed the Harts river, a bad and muddy drift, where
there were many Kaffir huts.  Ascending the hill beyond, I came to
"Great Boetsass," where the chief would not allow me to outspan, as he
said I had come for no good, being sent by the Boers of the Transvaal to
take down on paper all the watering-places; therefore I was detained
whilst he and his head-men held a kind of "raad" over me, to decide what
they should do.  Finally they decided to send me out of the country in
the direction of Mahura's kraal at Taungs, the head chief of the
Bechuanas, with a guard of six men to see me clear, and put me in the
road, following me up for several miles; they then left me in the middle
of the veldt, without a road or anything to guide me.  The chief would
not believe my statement.  To have resisted would have been folly, as I
could do very little against a hundred Kaffirs.  All the women and
children kept to their huts, the men assembled quite in a nude state,
except a small cloth in front, and were armed with assagais and
knobkerries.  When I was leaving, they came demanding some tobacco; I
told them they should have none; if they had behaved well, I would have
given them plenty.

Finding these Kaffirs had been so badly used by the Boers, and not
knowing the English, they insulted every white man that came into their
country; and having heard very bad accounts of the people at Taung and
the villages around from the same cause, I determined, when the guard
left me, to strike across the country and give them a wide berth,
otherwise I might be detained again.  Two years after, when visiting
this kraal, the chief, when he found out who I was, told me he was very
sorry he had turned me away.

After proceeding several miles we came to a single hut where a Bushman
lived, looking after a few goats, who directed me what course to take.
Giving him a little tobacco I proceeded a few miles to a thick forest of
trees, close to a pan of water, where I outspanned for the night.  At
many of these pans, and when travelling over the country, I would pick
up flint implements that were lying exposed on the surface.  On some of
the large rocks in out-of-the-way places, carvings of a variety of
animals, snakes, and men are occasionally stumbled upon in the stone
"koptjies," quite artistic in execution.  The instrument must have been
of good steel to make any impression on the hard stone.  I do not think
they are the work of Bushmen, as some suppose, but those who once
occupied this country in search of gold many hundred years ago, as there
is such extensive evidence in this country, in the old pits remaining,
of former workings.

_December 4th_.--Shot a fine hartebeest early in the morning from the
saddle, and after breakfast started with waggon, following a track
partly overgrown with bush, over an undulating country, sometimes
through a thorn country and Kameel-doorn trees, where thousands of game
were literally covering the open plains in every direction as far as the
eye could see.  Blue wildebeest, blesbok and springbok, quaggas and many
other kinds; there was one drove of quaggas, at least a thousand,
crossing the path I was travelling, only a few hundred yards in front,
going at full speed, a beautiful sight.

Outspanning in the evening near a large pond, we disturbed, as we
approached, several hundred ducks, which kept us employed until dark in
adding to our larder.  In the morning the Namaqua partridge in coveys of
twenty to a hundred came to water.  They are the size of a dove; the
time to shoot them is when they are settling at the edge of the water
and when they rise; in two shots I killed fifty-four; they are called
also sand-grouse.

The next day I passed through a pretty country, well-wooded and low
hills, noted as the lion veldt; therefore I treked on to get clear of
the bush before night, and came to a very large brak pan, at least four
miles in circumference, called Great Chue Pan.  On the bank was a small
spring of good water, and an open country, where we remained the night.
The oxen were let loose, and the horse knee-haltered to feed, before
making them fast for the night to the trektow, my invariable custom, to
prevent their straying; the loss of your oxen is almost death to the
traveller.  They were feeding some distance from my camp, when they were
seen in full gallop coming to the waggon, and did not stop until close
home; we knew they were frightened by lions.  At night, soon after dark,
we heard the roar of several, in the direction where the oxen had been
feeding.  We made them fast round the waggon, and close in front
collected wood for fires, which we kept up all night; and all of us on
the watch with rifles, for they never ceased their roar, sometimes very
near, but being very dark and cloudy I could not see them.

As a book of reference, describing the physical geography of South
Central Africa, it is necessary in the first instance to give the
several river systems or basins comprised within this region; and,
secondly, to give the results of my explorations, not in consecutive
journeys, but in a detailed description of each separate region visited
from time to time, as I had frequent occasion to travel over the same
ground for the purpose of completing my labours, so that no portion of
any region should be left unexplored.  For when such an immense area of
nearly 2,000,000 square miles has to be visited, to survey the whole
necessitates frequent visits to the same district, to be able to reach
those parts beyond.  Consequently I have passed through all this region
many times.

CHAPTER FIVE.

ON GRIQUALAND WEST, THE GRIQUAS, KORANNAS, BUSHMEN, AND DIAMOND-FIELDS.

Previous to the annexation of this country by the British Government, it
was occupied by various tribes under petty chiefs, ruling each their
separate kraals, the banks of the Vaal and Orange rivers being the most
thickly populated districts.  So far back as 1820 there were mission
stations established at Griqua Town and Campbell, by the Rev.--Campbell,
and Anderson and others.  The country at that time was peopled by
Korannas, Bushmen, Bechuanas, and Griquas, under the chiefs Choodeep,
Keidebio, Siffonel, and Sebedare; the two latter were Bechuanas of the
Baralong family, who had large kraals and many people.  Soon after the
country was overrun by hordes of Kaffirs living more to the east of what
is now the Transvaal, of various tribes, some of the chiefs being the
Bapedi, Makatee or Mantatees, afterwards called Basutu or Musutu, under
Moshesh, whose habits and customs in war were similar to the Zulus--
their weapons, the assagai and long oval shield, the shield of the
Bechuana being square, hollowed out on the four sides.

[These Mantatees are so-called from the name of their queen, who was the
widow of a petty chief and elected queen.  The Kaffirs had a fancy for a
queen, and the tribe became very powerful.  At last she was deposed by
her prime minister, Moshesh.  She fled to Natal, and died there in
obscurity.  Moshesh had 20,000 horsemen, and gave us more trouble than
any other chief.  At last the Boers of the Orange River Free State wore
him down.]

Soon after, the Rev.  Robert Moffat and the Rev.--Campbell established
the mission station at Kuruman, which was made the headquarters of the
London Missionary Society in Bechuanaland, forty miles beyond the
northern boundary of Griqualand West; and, at the same time, two other
stations on the north and north-west of the latter station, Baclairis
and Matelong; and, subsequently, the German mission was established at
Pniel, on the banks of the Vaal, about fourteen miles to the north,
where Kimberley now stands, and a missionary is now doing duty there.

At Griqua Town the mission house is in ruins, the church is still kept
up, and the missionary from Kuruman goes over and holds service.  At
Campbell the mission house and church are both in ruins.  Upper
Campbell, which is a mile to the north of Lower Campbell, on the top of
a range of hills called Campbell Randt, has only a few houses occupied
by Griquas; a Mr. Bartlett occupies the farm.  Another mission station,
established after Lower Campbell, was at Lekatlong, near the junction of
the Harts and Vaal rivers, by the same London Society, under the Rev.
Mr. Ashton, but the church and house are in ruins.  Mr. Ashton lives now
at Barkly, and goes over occasionally to hold service.  It was a large
Bechuana station under the chief Jantje, who has now removed with his
people to Masupa, beyond the northern boundary of Griqualand West.

The Griquas many years ago settled down on both sides of the Vaal.  Adam
Kok settled at Normansland, on the borders of Natal, with his people.
Andries Waterboer settled with his people at Griqua Town, occupying the
whole of the western division of Griqualand West, dividing it into
farms; and at the death of Andries, his son, Nicholas Waterboer, became
chief, and it was with him the British Government arranged to annex the
country to the British Empire in 1871.

Waterboer lived in a nice house, well furnished, and the family live as
respectably as any Boer family.  I was invited to a dance one evening by
Waterboer, when the _elite_ of the families were invited.  All the
fashionable dances were correctly and well performed to the music of the
harmonium, which one of his sons played; his daughters were
well-behaved, and I was much pleased to see such refinement in this
out-of-the-way corner of the world among the natives.  Since that time
he has been made a prisoner, deprived of his chieftainship, and is now
living in Hope Town, the principal portion of his people being driven
from their lands.  The Griquas are a religious and well-conducted
people, kind and hospitable, but lazy, and they will only work when
obliged.  They plough and cultivate their lands, are fond of coffee and
visiting; like their Boer brothers in habits and customs, being
descended from Dutch and Bushmen, they retain the habits of the former.
Many of the Boers of the Transvaal are descended from these people.  In
this province they are found in less numbers than formerly, but some are
living along the Orange river and the western district.

The Korannas had large kraals along the Vaal and Orange before diamonds
were found; since then they have gone more to the west into the Kalahara
desert.  They are, as I have before stated, a dirty and dishonest tribe,
not to be trusted in any way; their main stronghold is at Maamuosa, on
the Harts river, under the chief Moshoen.  The Bushmen also have
considerably decreased.  When I first knew them, in 1864, these two
tribes lived together with scarcely anything to cover them.  At the
present time they all wear clothes of some sort, and are in a better
position in consequence of the Diamond-Fields bringing money into the
country.  I have had several of them for my servants at different times,
but could make nothing of them.  Speaking to my Koranna boys about their
marriages, they tell me when a man and woman agree to be man and wife,
as soon as that is settled between them, without asking any one's
permission or going through any ceremony, they are then and there
married, so long as it suits them; if either wish to break off the
engagement, they tell the other party that he or she can go and get
another wife or husband, as the case may be; the children, if any, are
divided by agreement.  In 1867 I had a Koranna boy, about twenty, who
got married when in my service; seven months after they got tired of
each other, so he took another girl, and his old wife married the other
boy I had.  In 1877 I had another Koranna, who changed his wife three
times when in my service.  The Hottentots and Bushmen do the same; they
never have more than one wife at a time.

All the other tribes can have as many wives as they are able to keep.
They belong to the Bechuana family, and live more in the northern part
of Griqualand West, near the Harts river, as all the lower parts are
occupied by English, Dutch, and others in farms, allowing small native
kraals to remain on them, that the occupiers may have the use of their
labour when required, and they are allowed a piece of ground to
cultivate and grazing for their cattle.

Diamond-digging first commenced in the latter end of 1869 at Hebron, on
the Vaal river; then at Klip Drift early in 1870, now called Barkly, and
on the opposite side of the river Pniel, where large camps were formed
employing many thousand people at each place, all living under canvas.
Then prospecting parties went down the river, forming large camps at
Delporthope, Esterhanger, Blue Jacket, Forlorn Hope, Keisikamma, Union
Coppie, Gong Gong, Webster's Kops, Waldeck, Plant, and down the river
from Barkly fifty-five miles to Siffonel.  These composed the principal
river diggings.  Diamonds have been found much lower down in the Orange
river at Priska, and 100 miles above Barkly, and at Bloemhofbut; no
claims have been worked beyond those named.  All these river diggings
are now abandoned, with the exception of a few hundred, where thousands
once occupied the ground.  The discovery of diamonds at New Rush, now
Kimberley, Old De Beers, Du Toit's Pan, and Bultfontein, and from the
great quantity of diamonds found, drew all the diggers from the river to
take claims in those four rich and valuable mines, which are now being
worked with expensive machinery at an enormous expense.  The Kimberley
mine is the largest, being nearly half a mile in diameter and 360 feet
deep, with engine and hauling-gear round the whole distance.  It is the
same with the other mines; the population, including whites and blacks,
must exceed 30,000.  Kimberley is twenty-five miles south-east from
Barkly, and is the great diamond centre, where the government of the
province is carried on.  These four principal mines cover an area of
over six square miles, and are situated in a part of the country the
most wretched, barren, and exposed I have ever been in; no trees, but
open dreary plains, surround the mines in all directions.  Up to 1884,
the people and machinery were supplied with water from wells, which did
not give sufficient for their wants.  A company was established to draw
the water from the Vaal river, distant some twelve miles, by an engine
pumping the water into reservoirs and by pipes.

Kimberley is the great mining centre and the important town in
Griqualand West, and in all this part of Africa roads branch off in all
directions.  It is the terminus of the Cape railway.  From Bloemfontein,
the capital of the Orange Free State, the distance is about 100 miles;
from Kimberley to Bloemhof 90 miles, and from the latter to Pretoria, in
the Transvaal, 210 miles.  To Barkly it is 25 miles, and from that town
to Taungs, in Bechuanaland, 80 miles, and to Kuruman, north-north-west
from Barkly, 120 miles.

There is also a direct road from Kimberley, through the Free State to
Maritzburg, in Natal; the distance is about 400 miles; besides many
others to all parts of the country.

Barkly, up to 1875, was the seat of the government, when it was removed
to Kimberley.  It was then a busy and thriving town, several hotels,
clubhouses, bank, high court, and other offices.  The town, since this
change, has fallen off considerably.  It stands on the lofty bank of the
Vaal, 100 feet above the river, with stone koppies surrounding it bare
almost of vegetation, not an inviting locality to settle in.  It has
become now the frontier-town for the interior trade; the river being 500
feet broad, there is plenty of room for boating.  Many of the
inhabitants enjoy, in the summer, a sail on its waters, which is in many
parts deep.  The banks are well clothed with trees that add greatly to
the beauty of the river.  Two passenger-carts run daily between this
town and Kimberley, passing over the pont, which is capable of taking a
waggon and span of sixteen oxen on at one time.  Since then a bridge has
been erected.

The geological formation has many varieties of rocks:--The siliceous and
crystalline limestone of the Campbell Rands, a range of hills that runs
through the northern portion of this province, from the chief
Monkuruan's town at Taung, in a south-west direction, on the north side
of the Harts river, down past Campbell Town to the Orange river, where
it breaks up into many spurs, where are amygdaloidal and ancient
conglomerates, and schistose rocks, with shale and sand, form the lofty
hills along the Vaal, which is the same throughout the whole course of
this river in Griqualand; and on the opposite side, at Puiel, Backhouse,
Hebron, and the koppies on its banks, is jasper with magnetite along the
Kuruman range which passes Griqua Town, and quartzite sandstone at the
Langberg range of mountains, which runs north for several hundred miles
into the Kalahara desert, and forms part of the western boundary of
Griqualand West.  Plumbago, shale, sandstone, and ferruginous breccia at
these peculiar hills at Blauw Klip and Matsap.  Limestone on the
northern boundary and at Danielkuil.  Felspathic rocks, olive shales,
and gravels are seen in the hills on the river near Langberor mountain.
The boundary of this province commences at Kheis on the Orange river,
the extreme western point, opposite Scheurberg mountain, following the
river up to Hope Town on to Ramah, the Cape Colony being on the south
side, then in a north-north-east direction to Platberg, near the Vaal
river; the Free State boundary also; thence in a north-north-west
direction, crossing the Vaal, and Harts river, the joint boundary of the
Transvaal by the last convention, and also the boundary of Monkuruan's
territory, then turns west-south-west to a tree, north of Nelson's
Fountain on to a point in Langberg, thence to Kheis on the Orange.  This
part of Griqualand West is wild and grand, lofty mountains broken up
into isolated and perpendicular masses, a thousand feet high, with lofty
projecting rocks jutting out from their sides; the dark colour of the
stone gives additional grandeur to the landscape.  This kind of scenery
continues up and down the river from Kheis for nearly 100 miles.


From Griqua Town to Bultfontein, over sixty miles, the country is of the
same character, the road passing along from that town to Wittwater,
Reedfontein, Modderfontein, Bluebush Kalk, to Bultfontein, on the Orange
river, a pretty site for a town.  It is a Kaffir station of several
tribes.

At Modderfontein, nearly on the summit of one of the lofty hills, are
several Bushmen's caves.  The largest is capable of holding 200 people;
the rocks within show evidence of fire by their smoked appearance, and
many years ago were occupied by that bloodthirsty tribe mentioned in my
description of the Kalahara.  The Griquas living here told me they have
passed away, but the old man stated their fathers could remember them.
The mountain road leaves Bultfontein and goes west no great distance
from the river, over a very stony, road, on to the Pits, where several
Griquas have comfortable houses, situated on a pleasant open space,
rarely to be equalled for beautiful views in all directions.  I remained
here several days to ramble and explore the mountain tops.  I took my
driver in case of accidents, as leopards and lions were known to be
there, as one old Griqua told me they frequently lost a goat by being
taken from the kraal at night.  Vegetation up the kloofs and on the
slopes of the hills is very fine; beautiful tree-ferns, and every
variety of other kinds, particularly the maiden-hair, which grows out
amongst the rocks on the mountains, are very beautiful; also some very
fine ground orchids, and a thorny bush with crimson flowers, as also
many varieties of aloes.

This district contains copper and lead, and from the appearance of the
quartz which crops out, I believe gold will be discovered when this part
is prospected.  One road from this place goes down to the river through
a fearful valley; it is necessary to "reim" (tie) the four wheels of the
waggon, otherwise it would go crash down into the precipice below, and
then turn over and be smashed.  This was the road I took to the river on
a previous journey.  The other passes on to Milk Stort Pass in the
Langberg range, fifty miles more to the west, which I crossed on the
western side, and outspanned under some fine old trees, close to a
perpendicular rock at the foot of the Berg, where we found a small pool
of water in the rocks, collected from the recent rains, and good grass.
The pass over the mountains was a most difficult and dangerous road,
large holes and boulders blocking the way.  The scenery on both sides
was grand, lofty and perpendicular rocks, 2000 feet high, with beautiful
shrubs and flowers growing out from every crevice.  The light and
shadows thrown on the opposite hills by the setting sun gave beauty to
the landscape.

At night some leopards paid my camp a visit; a few sheep I kept as a
reserve for the road appear to have been the cause of their troubling
me.  A Bushman and his son came early in the morning and told my boys
where the leopards could be found, and as their skins made splendid
karosses, we arranged to hunt them down if possible, taking the Bushman
as guide to point the way.  Three of my boys, myself and two dogs,
followed the spoor for several hundred yards.  Up amongst the spurs of
the mountain, the old Bushman pointed to a ledge of rocks overhanging
others, surrounded by bush.  We then sent the dogs to ascertain their
whereabouts, for we knew there were at least two by their spoor on the
sand.  As soon as the dogs, by their barking and unmistakable fear,
showed exactly where they were, we took up our position on separate
rocks, forty yards distant from the tigers' den.  Two of my boys were to
keep up a fire into where we knew them to be, myself and driver kept
ready to overhaul any that might come out.  We heard nothing but low
growls from time to time; the affair began to be interesting.  After
nearly a dozen bullets had been sent in, out came a fine male leopard at
one bound over some bushes, looking anything but amiable, and took a
deliberate survey of his surroundings, his fine spotted skin shining in
the sunlight--a beautiful animal.  But this was only for a few moments;
three bullets entered his body at once, when he gave a spring, and fell
on one side, and as he did not appear quite dead I gave him another in
the region of the heart, for I have known them drop like this, and then
spring up and seize upon those near them.  The other, which we concluded
was the female, made her escape amongst the rocks.  I then set the
Bushman and my Hottentot boy to take off the skin, and the rest returned
to the camp, where we found the dogs lying down by the fire, evidently
ashamed of their desertion by their fawning manner to make friends.
Animals have more sense than instinct; they knew perfectly well they had
done wrong in leaving us.

This range of mountains, which runs due north, as I have stated, forms
the south-eastern boundary of the Kalahara desert, and looking towards
the west for thirty miles from the base the country is almost level, a
few sand-dunes and gentle rises up to the Scheurberg mountain range,
which looks one compact mass of lofty peaks.  But on a close inspection,
there are many detached and deep valleys running between.  A native road
passes about midway through on to the Koranna and Bastard stations on
the Orange river.  There are a great many lions in these hills, as it is
uninhabited, except by Bushmen.  On my previous exploration, where I
outspanned near a Bushman kraal, one of them told my boys that a few
days before our arrival a lion had entered one of the huts and carried
off a young boy; they followed him in the dark with burning brands, but
had to give up; they could only trace him by the screams of the lad, but
they soon ceased.  Across the desert from this point westward, it is 330
miles.

Leaving the camp the next morning after the leopard-hunt, we proceeded
in a northerly direction for thirty-three miles along the west base of
Langberg, and arrived, on the second day, opposite Speck Kopjie, where
another pass crosses the mountain, which is a very stony and rough road,
but the scenery grand on both sides, similar to that we passed through a
few days ago, and arrived at a farm belonging to Potgieter, a Boer.
From thence on to koppies, Mr. Hyland's farm, Blaaw Klip, is six miles
beyond, where, in a hill, a soft stone is dug, which the natives form
into pipes, plates, vases, and many other useful articles.  And beyond,
in a north-east direction, is Mount Hexley, Maremane and Coses, a Kaffir
station.  The formation of the hills is very peculiar, lofty, isolated
koppies, covered, many of them, with thick bush, others almost bare, the
naked rocks piled one upon another in grotesque forms.  The dry
river-bed passing through this part is a branch of the Kuruman river.
We then crossed the Kuruman range, and arrived at the mission station
2nd April, 1865.

Before leaving this part of the Griqualand West, I should like to
describe that peculiar sand-formation on the west side of the Landberg
mountains, which is in fact part of it.  I heard from many of the
Griquas and Potgieter, living near it, that the lofty hills are
constantly changing; that is, the sand-hills, 500 and 600 feet in
height, in the course of a few years subside, and other sand-hills are
formed where before it was level ground.

_May 5th, Sunday_.--Attended Mr. Moffat's church; the service is held in
the Bechuana language.  About 400 natives present.  The singing is as
well performed as it is in any English church at home.  The Kaffirs, who
are Bechuanas, have fine clear voices, and the women are well known to
have sweet, musical voices.  The service is well-conducted, and the
natives as attentive as any white congregation in a civilised country.
I first attended at this church in February 1868, when the Rev.  Robert
Moffat was living there, previous to his finally leaving for England.
On 29th December, 1869, I was again there, detained for many weeks with
a severe illness, and through the kind nursing of Mr. and Mrs. John
Moffat, Mr. and Mrs. Levy, and other English residents, soon recovered.
I remember well before leaving at that time they got up a little picnic
party, to visit some ancient Bushmen caves, a few miles from the mission
station towards the hills, taking a cart with provisions, the party
riding, and a very enjoyable day we had.  As we approached the hills the
country became covered with bush and long grass, where I may safely say,
several hundreds of baboons were busy seeking roots.  The old men were
very large, and to see the whole troop scuttle towards the hills with
the babies on their mothers' backs, with their little arms clinging
round their necks, was a pretty and novel sight.  Arriving at the caves,
we found a long sand cliff projecting many yards over the lower part,
affording shelter for several hundred families, perfectly secure and a
safe retreat--but its ancient inhabitants are passed away and forgotten.
We procured some very beautiful specimens of the trap-door spider; the
workmanship of the door and its hinge, and the lining of the passage
down to their nest is something marvellous.  So far as I have
discovered, there are three kinds of this species, distinguished by
their size.  The largest is a black spider, the body nearly an inch in
length; the opening, or passage, and the door to their nest is the size
of our English florin; the hole to the nest is perpendicular for from a
foot to two feet, when an open space is beyond.  The coating of this
opening and the under side of the door is of a greyish white, and as
soft and smooth as satin, and when the door is shut it fits so exactly
as to be quite watertight.  The top of the door is made to represent the
ground round about, to be undistinguishable by an enemy.  The second
size trap-door is the size of a shilling, and the third the size of a
fourpenny-bit.  But the spiders are of the same type; where one kind is
found in a district the others are not, showing they occupy separate
localities.  I have frequently found the door open and thrown back,
showing the spider is abroad hunting up game to supply his larder.  On
several occasions when finding these doors open I have watched the
return of the spider, sitting down a few feet from the door, and waited
sometimes nearly half an hour.  Presently he will be seen coming along
in great haste.  On arrival at the door he looks down for a few seconds,
as if to listen if all is right below; then he makes a small circuit
round, again approaching; this time he goes in a few inches, then out,
and another inspection of the locality, back again, and down into his
nest, where he remains about two minutes; out he comes on to the top,
looks round, then goes in, turns round and puts out one of his
fore-legs, takes hold of the door and pulls it close down over him, and
when shut it is difficult to see where it is.  Frequently I have watched
these spiders (three kinds) when they have left their doors open, and
invariably the same cautious movements have been adopted on returning
home.  There are other spiders very similar in form and size to the
above; they make their nests and passages down after the same fashion,
but with no trap-door, the entrance being quite open and exposed.
Another peculiar spider, common in these parts, is the two-headed
spider, with two mandibles; they are the largest I have seen, two inches
in length, with six legs, and of a greenish-brown colour.  They are
night spiders, and the Bushmen tell me their bite is death.  This may,
or may not, be true; I had no desire to try.  The number that must be
hidden in the ground in the day must be legion.  When I have had my
camp-fire at night, on an open piece of ground near which I have been
sitting, after hunting, hundreds of spiders and creeping things, as also
moths, are drawn to it for warmth and light; amongst them are these
two-headed monsters, seen running about, and finally become destroyed by
rushing into the burning embers.  I found their retreat during the day
by a pet meercat, the long smooth-tailed kind, similar to the ichneumon.
He would, on my outspanning, jump off the waggon and begin to smell the
ground in all directions, and frequently stop, begin to scratch with his
fore-feet down two or three inches, poke his long nose into the hole,
and bring out one of these spiders and devour it with evident relish.
The ground being perfectly smooth with no aperture exposed, I could not
discover how they could conceal themselves so cleverly.  In some cases,
I counted the number this little animal would find in a given space,
when roughly hunting over the ground; it would average seventeen, in a
surface ten feet square, and leaving probably as many in the ground.
The tarantula is also very common, some of them the size of the palm of
one's hand, well covered with long brown hair.  A large camp-fire at
night would draw the scorpions to it also, particularly if it should be
made near a stone koppie.  They grow to a great size.  I have caught
them from one inch to twelve inches in length.  When young they are of a
green colour, but full-grown they are black.  The sting of the young
ones, if on the arm or leg, causes a numbness with a burning heat that
may last a day, with no other bad symptoms.  The sting of the full-grown
ones must be dangerous; the natives tell me it is death.  The study of
the insect-world is a lifelong study in Africa alone, consequently my
attention was only drawn to those kinds that took my special attention.

There is every indication that this country is drying up.  Fountains
that gave out fine springs of water, so the old Kaffirs told me, in
their fathers' time, have not been known to flow for many years.  This
is a common remark all over the country, and there is evidence that it
is so.  Extensive pans, some more than a mile in circumference and 100
feet deep, with rocks or cliffs generally on the north-east side, with
sandy bottoms, are now without water, when evidently they must have been
full at some time.  From the long drought, seven or eight months of the
year, it cannot become a corn-growing country to any extent.  The
greater portion of the ground is of that stony and rocky nature it is
incapable of growing anything but a coarse grass that suits cattle, but
not sheep.  A farm of 3000 morgan, or 6000 acres, will not maintain
throughout the year more than 200 head.  That is where water is on the
farm, otherwise that number of cattle can only be maintained for seven
months out of the year.

The northern border of Griqualand West, on the north of the Campbell
Randt, is a fine country for grazing and keeping cattle.  There is more
permanent water, the district being limestone.  From Daniel's Kuil,
where there is a singular cave, and between Neat's fountain, Marsaipa
and Boetsap, is now laid out into farms.  Fourteen years ago I
frequently hunted the ostrich all through that region.  Lions and wolves
would visit me every night.  Bushmen also were found, but of late years
they have disappeared.  An old Bushman at that time told me one evening
many tales of his escapes from lions, and one of his brothers, only a
few months before, was seized by a lion in the arm, when he had the
presence of mind to take a handful of sand and throw it in the lion's
eyes, when he let go, and the Bushman made his escape before the lion
had recovered from the pain and surprise, then gave a roar and bounded
away.  I saw his brother a few days afterwards, and the marks of the
teeth on the arm.  A similar occurrence happened in the desert when I
was there four years before.  A lion had seized a Bushman in a similar
way, when he could manage to reach the hind part and squeeze his leg,
when the lion gave a roar and sprang away.  Many other such tales I have
heard from these children of the desert of lions leaving the victims
they have seized.  I have met with three kinds of wolves in these parts:
the tiger-wolf, hyena striata, the largest kind, the striped hyena, a
large animal, and the maned hyena, the small kind.  The wolf-hyena is
the most numerous.

Porcupine-hunting is very good sport at night when the moon gives a good
light.  They visit the Kaffir gardens, when the corn is getting forward.
The plan is to go in with a few dogs, and several Kaffirs with sticks;
the dogs drive the porcupines about; when they come near a good rap with
the stick on their nose soon kills them, but care must be taken they do
not run back and plant some of their quills into your legs, for they
make dangerous wounds.

The old Bushmen tell me they recollect when all the large game was
plentiful over the whole of this part of Griqualand West, north of the
Vaal and Orange rivers, and also the hippopotami were found in them.
The Blood Kaffirs, along the lower part of the Orange, also tell me
there is one at the present time to be seen occasionally.

The flora in these parts, in the spring and through the summer, is an
interesting study alone.  Some of the flowers are perfectly crimson,
others of a deep purple; the creepers, with their rich scarlet flowers,
climbing up amongst the bushes, and long yellow pods, make the veldt
interesting.  The Vaal bush is the most common in this province; it
flowers in the winter, and has a pleasant perfume; the tea made from its
leaves is an excellent tonic.  Many of the Bechuanas live in small
kraals along the Campbell Randt, the Harts river, and at Great and
Little Boetsap, and possess many waggons and spans of oxen, supplying
the people at the Diamond-Fields with vegetables, corn, cattle, and also
wood from their forests, to keep the machinery at work.  The general
altitude of this part of the country is 4300 feet above sea-level.  This
is the cause of grass being more coarse throughout the interior of South
Africa than it is at a lower level, and why winters are colder than they
would be, the south latitude being only 28 degrees.

Griqualand at the present time is as much occupied by a white population
as any part of the Cape Colony, and, from its being the great diamond
centre, has now become the most extensive and business part of South
Africa; millions of pounds change hands annually, where fifteen years
ago it was a howling wilderness.

CHAPTER SIX.

THE BECHUANA FAMILY--THEIR DIVISION INTO TRIBES--THEIR PAST AND PRESENT
CONDITION.

That portion of Bechuanaland between the territory belonging to the
chief Montsoia, which is on the north, and Griqualand West, is occupied
by several chiefs belonging to this family.  Monkuruan claims to be the
paramount chief over many of them, others claim their independence.
When the British Government annexed the Diamond-Fields, they
acknowledged this chief to be the head of the Bechuanas over all that
country.  Previous to that time, Mahura, uncle to Monkuruan, ruled; at
his death his nephew became chief, and lived at his chief town, situated
on one of the spurs of the Campbell Rantz, called Taung, or Toane, a
large Kaffir station, close to a small branch of the Harts river, above
its junction, containing a population, at the time I first visited the
country, under 2000.  Monkuruan and his people belong to the Batlapin
tribe of the Bechuana family.  He has several large kraals, where his
people live.  Another chief, Botlatsitsi, son of the old chief Gasebone,
lives at Phokwane, about eighteen miles from Taung, on the south side of
Harts river.  He and his people belong to the same tribe as Monkuruan.

The town, or kraal, is very pleasantly situated amongst the hills, which
are thickly covered with low underwood.  The other petty captains,
living within the country first described, are Moshette, of the Baralong
tribe, who, with his people, live about nine miles from Taung, at
Kunanna; the chief Matlabane, of the Bamairi branch of the Batlapiu
tribe, whose kraal is six miles from Taung, on the hills about it.

The chief Matlibe and his people live at Taung, and they are of the
Batlapin tribe also.  The petty captain, Jantze, of the Batlapin,
previous to the annexation of the Diamond-Fields, lived at a large
kraal, Lekatlong, on the banks of the Harts river, near its junction
with the Vaal, but afterwards he removed, with his people, to Myneering,
about thirty miles south of Kuruman.  Young Gasebone lived at Dekong, on
the same branch as that passing Taung, which I recollect perfectly well,
for he stole out of my waggon thirty pounds of coffee, on my third visit
there, in 1869, and then politely offered to drive my waggon through a
very stony drift on my leaving his station.  At Kuruman is Moshette.  At
Bakelaris, which is eighteen miles on the north from Kuruman, is the
chief Barhakie, and brother to Moshette.  To the north, eighty miles
from Bakelaris, is Morequerne, where there are three petty captains,
Makobie, Makutse, and Marketchwar, an old blind man; his people told me
he was more than 100 years old, but they did not understand age; he died
shortly afterwards.

Eighteen miles to the north-west of Morequerne is Conge, another large
station, which is on the border of the Kalahara desert; and to the west,
and south, towards Kuruman, is the kraal at Mynyam, near Honey Vlei, a
large sheet of water.  Cooe station is to the west of the Vlei, but near
it, forty miles south, is Tsinin station; Comopere twelve miles south of
the last, and twelve miles west of Bakclaris.  On the east again we come
to several kraals--Matetong, Kopong, and Tokong are the principal.
There are many others of less note, all with their head-men.  On the
west of Kurutnan, under the Langberg range of mountains, are Gamapoope,
Molanwan, Kamasap, Puruhulu, Tuten, Lukin, and Zitburn.  One of the
chiefs is Tatu.  Consequently, all this part of the country is thickly
populated by the Bechuana family, all under petty chiefs and captains.

South of Kuruman is Kobis, Koning, Myneering, and Marseipa, and with
their outlying posts for cattle, sheep, and bucks, make it an important
and valuable region for the British Government to protect and secure
from foreign invasion, as it is contiguous to Griqualand West along the
whole of its northern border.  The extent of this portion of
Bechuanaland above-named, south of the chief Montsioa territory, is from
the Transvaal on the east to Langberg on the west--200 miles by nearly
200 north and south, or 40,000 square miles.  And when I first knew the
country, twenty years ago, it was nearly unknown to the white man,
except the missionaries, who had their stations at Kuruman, Lekatlong,
Bakclaris, and Matetong, and some half-dozen traders passing through
Kuruman, from Hope Town, in the Cape Colony, to the Bechuana chiefs
living to the north.  This little-known region then was one of the most
pleasant and agreeable parts of Africa to visit and explore.  The
natives, more particularly at Kuruman and those to the north, were most
friendly and kind.  Like all native tribes, they do not forget to beg of
the white man.  Down towards the south, in Mahura's time, the people
were troublesome, and much less civil in their behaviour to strangers.
I think I experienced more annoyance because they took me to be a Boer,
noting down all their watering-places, and on one occasion I was in
great danger in consequence.  Skins well-brayed was the only material
for their clothes; the men had long cloaks, which, when thrown over the
shoulders, reached the ground.  The women had short wrappers round their
loins, hanging down behind and very scanty in front; in cold weather
they also had leather mantles.  But at the present time they have to a
great extent adopted the European mode of dress, and deal extensively in
almost every kind of English merchandise.

From cultivating little or no corn, which was the woman's work, they now
go in extensively for ploughs, which the men use, and instead of growing
mealies, which is maize or Indian corn, and a few melons, they now
produce wheat, barley, and oats, which they grow in their beautiful
valleys and sell to traders for English goods, and in addition they
breed herds of cattle, goats and sheep.  Many of the men buy the best
English clothing, and some of the women, particularly the young ones,
indulge in cotton prints and even silk for their dresses, and are very
proud if they can obtain stylish boots.

The schools also have greatly improved the people.  The advance in
civilisation within the last twenty years has been remarkable.  They
are, as a people, timid and for from being fond of war.  Their language
is Sechuanse, which is soft and pleasant to the ear.  They have natural
mechanical talent, and make good carpenters, smiths, and masons.  Their
houses show great ingenuity in their construction, particularly in the
formation and design of their granaries for storing their winter corn,
which are quite artistic in form.  Many of these are built up in the
centre of a large hut made of clay, shaped like our water-bottles, in
diameter ten feet in the largest part, gradually reduced in size to
three feet at the top, total height ten feet, which will hold many
hundred bushels of corn.  No mice, snakes, or other animal can get in to
destroy the grain.  A store is kept separate for each family, quite
distinct from their living huts.

They are very expert in metal, melting the ore for the manufacture of
ornaments, assagais, Kaffir picks, and such things as they require.
They also make very neat mantles, karosses and other kinds of materials
for the women, the men being the tailors and dressmakers for the tribe.
Time being no object, their work is beautifully executed, as may be seen
from the karosses brought to England; many of them sold as high as ten
pounds.  They are also very fond of music; they make various kinds of
instruments which produce pleasing sounds.  The young men form
themselves into bands to the number of twenty to thirty, called the reed
band--reeds from six to eight feet in length with holes similar to the
flute, but held upright in front of each musician--forming a circle like
our military bands, and perform tunes.  The women and children walk
round on the outside singing and clapping hands in time to the music.
This performance generally begins about sundown, and is kept up for
several hours.

The interior of their huts and yards outside where they cook, which are
surrounded by a high fence made of sticks, are kept remarkably clean and
tidy, and their iron utensils also receive their share of attention.
Many of these Bechuanas are rich in cattle, sheep, and goats.  They have
their cattle-posts away in the bush, where the stock is looked after,
cows milked, and once or twice a week a pack-ox is loaded up with skins
of milk and taken to the kraal for use.  These "vieh-posts" are in
charge of their slaves, called Vaalpans.  They are the Bushmen of the
country kept in subjection by the Bechuana tribe, and are a very
harmless and quiet people, the only drawback to their liberty being they
cannot leave their masters' service; otherwise they have full liberty of
action.  They are of a darker colour and different in form to the Cape
Bushmen.

The Bechuanas throughout South Central Africa possess waggons, and have
spans of oxen and everything complete like the colonists, and go trading
with English goods amongst their neighbours like any white trader.  They
also bring down from their homes, wood, corn, and vegetables for sale to
the Diamond-Fields, and are far more beneficial and useful in the
country than the Boers.  They are outstepping them in civilisation, and
if they had white skins, would be looked upon as a superior race.  They
have been kept down for want of opportunity to rise above their present
condition.  This extensive race, as I have already stated, extends from
the Cape Colony to the Zambese, throughout the whole of Bechuanaland,
and are in habit and customs the same wherever they live, the same
language and its dialects.

The females, like all other nations of the world, have their fashions,
and vary according to the country in which they live.  Some of the young
girls shave all the wool from their heads except on the crown, leaving
about three inches in diameter, which they anoint with red clay,
plumbago, and grease, giving a very sparkling and shining appearance to
it that is very becoming, and even makes the young girls look pretty, as
many of them at that age have a pleasing and intellectual expression;
their short kilt is so arranged that the upper and lower borders should
have the white fringe of hair of the springbok skin to look like a
border of deep lace, which against the light rich brown hair of the
other part is very becoming, and sets the figure off to great advantage.
They quite understand being complimented upon their good looks, and can
carry on a flirtation with admirable tact.  Where this is more
perceptible, is far away from the demoralising influence of other tribes
who have come in contact with the Boers and other white people.  The
more isolated they are from such influence, the more I have always found
them respectful in their manner to strangers.  I am referring to the
Bechuana family in general.

The principal roads through this part of the country to the interior
pass through Hope Town in the Cape Colony to Kuruman, the mission
station where the Rev.  Robert Moffat spent forty-five years of his life
in missionary labour, which station has been largely increased by the
addition of an extensive college erected of late years at a great
expense for the teaching of native youths for missionary purposes.  The
site is admirably situated, having an unlimited supply of the purest
water from a spring some few miles above the station, which issues from
a cave in the side of the hill in a picturesque locality.  The mission
houses and church of the London Missionary Society are substantial and
well-built, and have fine gardens well stocked with fruit trees, and the
orange and lemon grow to great perfection.  Mr. Chapman, who has a large
store, takes great interest in his garden, and grows every kind of
vegetable known in England.  Twenty years ago there were several stores;
three at Upper Kuruman, about a mile from the mission station.

The bold outline of the lofty range of hills at the back of Kuruman,
distant some six miles, adds greatly to the beauty of the adjoining
country, which is undulating and well-wooded, with open plains and
Kaffir gardens, and is one of the most healthy parts of South Central
Africa.  The roads from Kuruman branch off in every direction to the
several natives' towns.  The main transport road from Kuruman and
Diamond-Fields goes to Maceby Station on the Molapo, in the chief
Montsoia territory, and very pretty roads to travel over.  On leaving
the station there are several small kraals on the road to Kopong, which
is a large native town situated on the Matlarin, a tributary of the
Kuruman river, which latter flows past Bakclaris, and then south, past
Comopere, from thence through a wild uninhabited country for 180 miles,
where it joins the Hygap river, which is the lower portion of the
Molapo.  The main road continues on from Kopong, through a fine forest
of kameel-doorn trees for many miles, then enters upon open veldt,
passing little and great brack-pans to the Setlakoole and Moretsane
rivers, then bush again to Maceby's station Pitsan; the distance between
Kuruman and that town is 154 miles.  Several roads branch off from it to
different parts; one goes to Melemas on the Molapo, another to Marico,
and also others to Monkuruan's at Taungs.  Maamuosa, where the Koranna
Captain Moshoen and his people live, a bad and wicked tribe, who have
been helping the Boers lately to make war on Monkuruan, and whose land
the Boers have taken from him.  The principal main transport road from
the Cape Colony and Diamond-Fields runs direct to Taungs in a north-east
direction to Maceby's and then north, which has by the late Convention
with the Transvaal been preserved.  There are no very lofty hills in
this part of Bechuanaland.  The principal ones are those at Kuruman,
those near Taungs and Swaatberg.  The average elevation is about 4600
feet above the sea-level.  The northern portion is more open, extensive
plains and forests of the mimosa tree; and has many brack-pans, where in
the summer wild geese and ducks come in great numbers.

The game when I first travelled through these parts swarmed on the open
flats.  Blesbok and springbok, hartebeest, quaggas, gnus or wildebeest,
the black and the blue; the latter is a much finer animal, the skin is
also of more value.  The koodoo is found in the hills.  Then there are
several other antelopes, such as the steinbok, found all over Africa.
These at the time I state, if it were possible to count them, would
exceed 100,000 to be seen from the waggon at one time, a complete forest
of horns, and as they feed off the grass until it is too short, they
move away to another district.  Of course lions, wolves, and jackals
were very numerous and kept up their howls all night.  The wild dog
(Hyena venatica) could be seen in packs of several hundred, crossing the
plains in pursuit of game--they are a pretty animal with large rounded
ears, large bushy tail, whitish face, long black and white hair, tall
and slender.  They always hunt in packs.  On one of my journeys, having
to cross these plains, I came upon several hundred of them in one of the
slight hollows.  On nearing them, for the road ran directly past where
they had been having a grand feast off springbok, as remains of them
were still unconsumed, some of them were lying in the road I was
travelling, and would hardly get out of my way, others stood looking as
we passed between them.  Fortunately they had been having their meal,
otherwise I think my span of oxen would have fared badly, for there must
have been over 300.  With so many making an attack on a span of oxen,
guns would have been of little use, if they were hungry.  I have often
seen forty and fifty in a pack in full cry, after blesbok or springbok,
and a beautiful sight it is.  Wolves also were seen, seven and eight
together.

At a small pan on these plains, in a hollow, with high reeds surrounding
it, I, one afternoon, outspanned, intending to remain there the night,
as there was an extensive pan near, with very steep banks down to it,
where I intended, the next day, to look for ancient implements, as I had
previously found some there before.  I sent one of my Kaffir boys down
to this pan, only a short distance from the waggon, for water.  He was
very quickly back, looking quite scared, and cried out there were wolves
in the pan.

Our rifles were soon out of the waggon, and cartridges for a few shots
if necessary.  I started with my Bushman and Hottentot driver, all
armed.  As he said, the pan seemed full of them; when within fifty
yards, some of the wolves broke cover and were making for some bushes;
two were shot, others escaped at the sound of our rifles.  We could see
them moving about in the long reeds, and fired at every opportunity,
killing in all seven; four of them were the largest I had ever seen;
their heads were immense, and between the ears measured seven inches.
They are large and powerful animals, but great cowards.  Lions would be
heard nightly round the waggon, whenever I outspanned in one particular
district near the Moretsane or Setlakoole rivers, which seemed a
favourite resort for them.

All this state of things has passed away.  The game has been shot and
driven away more into the desert, wolves nearly all poisoned, and in
crossing any of those extensive plains and open flats, a few hundred may
be counted, where before tens of thousands covered the veldt in all
directions.  Then it was a great pleasure to travel through the country
for sport alone, in addition to the enjoyment of passing through a
beautiful country teeming with game.  At the present time, to go over
the same ground with not a living thing to be seen, it becomes
monotonous.  Close to that pretty isolated hill, Swaatberg, are the
ruins of a very ancient town, Kunam: whether built by Kaffirs or the
race that built the other stone huts, mentioned in a previous chapter,
there is no history to prove.  There are many strange tales handed down
to the present generation of its being one large town, the seat of a
powerful chief, and of some great battles having been fought there.  The
ruins indicate it to have been at some remote period a large town.  Near
it are extensive pans, that at one time must have held water to a great
depth, as the banks and cliffs clearly prove; now only in the summer
months water is found in them.  Not far from them there are some
dried-up springs, the water of which was conveyed away by a sluit
passing into the Moretsane.

One day we had fixed our camp at a very pretty spot close to some fine
trees and bush, had made all fast for the night, and were sitting by the
fire before going to bed, the Kaffir boys having their supper, when we
were startled by a rush of large animals passing close to our
camp-fires, on both sides of us.  The night being very dark, we could
only distinguish, by the light from our fire, that an immense herd of
blesbok was amongst us.  We had our rifles in hand in a moment and fired
into a dense mass of them.  When they passed away we found three dead
upon the ground.  My Hottentot and boys ran to bring them in, when a
solitary blesbok rushed up to the fire and there stood quite exhausted,
and some thirty yards in the rear were several animals moving about, but
I could not distinguish, from the flickering light, if wolves or wild
dogs, that had chased the poor animal until it could run no more.  We
all ran out with our rifles, but with caution, in case any lions might
be amongst them.  As they did not go away, evidently exhausted also with
the long chase, we had a good chance of getting some, and succeeded in
killing two.  The others in the mean time made off.  Lighting the
lantern to bring them in, we found them to be very fine and powerful
wild dogs.  By this time the blesbok had recovered from the hard run,
and took himself off.  My driver wanted to kill him, but I said, "No; he
sought our protection, and he shall have it."  It is wonderful they
should seek man's protection when all other hope of self-preservation
seems gone.  I have known small birds fly to my waggon and into it, on
several occasions when pursued by hawks.  This is more than instinct;
there is some reasoning power in animals when they seek shelter from
foes where they know they will not follow them.  Foxes we know act in
the same manner.

In the morning, on examining the spoor, there must have been many wild
dogs engaged in the chase, but they were stopped at the sight of the two
fires and waggons, and our shots at the blesbok as they passed us.  In
the small grove of trees under which our camp was pitched, we founded
several very large chameleons measuring fifteen inches in length.  We
discovered them by hearing a noise on one of the branches, caused by a
fight between two of the largest, which we caught, but gave them their
liberty before leaving.  I also, during my explorations, made a
collection of many kinds of the mantis family, commonly called in
Africa, Hottentot gods, as they always appear to be praying, having
their two arms held as if in that act; their four legs are used for
locomotion.  They feed themselves with their hands.  I made a collection
of forty-seven different kinds, those with wings and those wingless,
both kinds having well-developed bodies.  Then there is a third kind
without bodies, called walking-sticks, each kind having four legs, two
arms and hands.  I made twenty-two collections of the winged; the
largest measured eleven inches in length, brown bodies and lovely purple
wings, two on each side, two horns on the head a little over an inch in
length, large eyes, with a mouth similar to a wasp's, with flat head and
neck four inches in length, from the lower part of which the two arms
spring.  The four legs were fixed in the centre of the body; the
smallest size with wings measured one and a half inches in length; each
size differed somewhat in shape.  I put one of these, which measured six
inches, green on the back and yellow underneath, with silvery wings,
into a paper-collar box.  One afternoon, on looking at it half an hour
afterwards, I found it had woven a nest on to the side, composed of
silky and light-brown material, and the insect appeared quite dead or in
a torpid state.  Putting the box away, I forgot to look at it for
several months; when I opened the box I found upwards of 200 young ones,
all dead, each about one-eighth of an inch in length.  The greater
portion of my specimens I caught in my waggon at night when my candle
was burning and my fore-sail up, being like the moths attracted by the
light.  The wingless ones I found on bushes or in the grass.  The third
kind, the walking-stick, I always found in the grass.  The first time I
caught one was when I was collecting some beetles.  I saw, as I thought,
a piece of live grass moving along.  Sitting down on the ground to watch
it, I found it had four legs, which moved very slowly, and two in front
that stuck straight out in line with the body.  Carefully observing its
movements, I saw at once it was a very strange kind of insect.  Taking a
piece of grass to lift it from the ground, the thing showed fight at
once by raising its head, opening and shutting its mouth, drawing up its
two long arms from the straight position, and striking out at the grass
I held to its head.  The colour was exactly that of the long dry grass
in which it was moving--yellow.  Length of body and neck, fourteen
inches, and the size of a small straw; the legs were very long--five
inches; the knee-joint half-way up; the arms had two joints--the regular
elbow, and two-thirds of the distance another that doubled up, so that
it could pick the food and carry it to its mouth.  These again vary in
size and colour from one inch in length to the size above described.
The female is much larger than the male, which is a light-brown, the
former of a sea-green colour.  I think the mantis and the trap-door
spider the most curious of the insect-world in South Africa.  Many
specimens of moths I collected in my waggon after dark, some of them
very beautiful; the larger kinds I mostly found in the long grass on the
plains.

Butterflies were very plentiful in some parts, in others rarely any
would be seen; each locality had its peculiar species.  The wasps also
amused me when standing in any particular locality for some time; the
large black with purple wings was a constant visitor.  When about making
a nest to lay their eggs, they would fly into my waggon, examine every
part minutely, and after fixing upon a particular corner, would fly away
and return with a ball of mud the size of a pea, and commence to plaster
the side of the waggon fixed upon.  This would go on for two or three
days, the two wasps, male and female, bringing in these little balls of
mud, going and returning every minute until it was completed, leaving a
little circular hole to each cavity in the clay nest, one-eighth of an
inch in diameter when so completed.  They would commence with one of the
holes, there being five; the female would deposit the eggs, then the two
would go out and return with a green caterpillar each, which they would
push into the hole containing the eggs, then leave and return with balls
of clay, and plaster up the hole so cleverly that it would be impossible
to find it from the outside.  The same labour was bestowed upon the
other compartment of the nest, and when completed would be left for time
to bring forth the young.  Two other kinds of wasps were of quite a
different shape, their slender bodies extended for half an inch, leaving
a large egg-shaped ball at the end.  These made exactly the same form of
nest as the one described.  A fourth kind, I noticed, would build their
nest in the roofs of buildings; these would be suspended by a thin stem
of a glutinous nature, upon which would be fixed from five to twenty
cells similar to those of the bee.  There have been eight and ten of all
these kinds of nests in my waggon at one time, and during the intense
heat of the weather, 106 degrees and sometimes 116 degrees in the shade,
being too hot to move about, I have amused myself in watching the
methodical way in which they so cleverly and beautifully completed their
work, and in so short a time.  The bees generally make their nests in
old hollow trees, which we discovered through the honey-bird leading us
to one.  When one of these birds wants to attract attention, it soon
makes its presence known, and becomes impatient, if not attended to,
flying round about with its little twitter and call, which is well
known.  When it sees you are following it, it flies from branch to
branch in a straight line to the nest; when there, it stops, and you
soon see the nest.  The Kaffir will go fearlessly to work, the bees
buzzing about him when taking out the honeycomb, he rarely being stung.

The common black crow, with white about the neck, is also a friendly
bird, of the same size as our English.  They generally come and settle
near the outspan, waiting for the camp to break up, then come and look
for what may be left.  They talk in their throat as well as caw, and can
be taught like a parrot to speak.  I tamed a young one; he would not
sleep in the waggon, but early in the morning he would come and settle
on the front part of the waggon, where he could raise the fore-sail to
look in.  On seeing me in bed he would come in, hop up to my face, take
hold of my nose, or have a peck at my beard, look round to examine the
things hanging on the sides, then hop out.  On my getting up and leaving
the waggon he would be seen flying from some tree, and come and settle
on my hat or shoulder; if the latter, he would put his head round and
rub his beak against my face.

There are other crows quite black, more like ravens, but not so large.
Another time I was staying at a Boer farm for three weeks to have my
waggon repaired; in the early day I walked over to a Boer farm, about a
mile from my outspan, to examine some quartz reefs, where I found a few
specks of gold on a former journey.  At this farm there was a beautiful
crane, belonging to old John Nell, the farmer.  I tried to make friends
by making the same kind of sounds that he kept repeating, but he took no
apparent notice.  On leaving to walk back to the waggon with my rifle,
this crane followed me all the way, keeping about three yards behind,
where he remained by my camp a short time, then flew home.  Every day
after he paid me a visit.  One afternoon I took my rifle for a ramble
round in the thick bush veldt to look for a waterbok.  When about a mile
from my waggon I heard a great rush.  Looking round I found it was my
friend the crane.  He settled down in front, then came and walked on my
left side, just beyond my reach, keeping close for some distance, then
on a sudden he took flight and rose in the air, making long circular
sweeps, until he passed behind some small clouds and became again
visible, until he was lost in the distance.  Thinking no more of him, I
continued my walk for half an hour, and was returning home, when the
same kind of rush was heard, and looking up I saw him pass close to me,
and settle on the ground about thirty yards in front; he then took his
place by my side as before, and accompanied me home, and then flew back
to the farm.  I mention these incidents to show there is something more
than instinct in all living things.

The country round this part of Monkuruan territory, and in fact all
Africa, swarms with every kind of ant, from the smallest size up to
three-quarters of an inch in length, each kind having their own peculiar
form of nest, more particularly the destructive white ant, which causes
so much damage to buildings and furniture; the construction of their
nests differs in different latitudes.  In the Cape Colony, Natal, Orange
Free State, and lower part of the Transvaal, the veldt is covered with
these hills, in the shape of a ball cut in halves and placed on the
ground; the average size is four feet in diameter by two feet in height;
many of them have been scooped out by ant-bears.

The Dutch women, in travelling, frequently make use of these holes, by
turning them into ovens to bake their bread for the road.  More to the
north, instead of being round, they form a kind of peak, with holes on
the topmost points, some exceeding in height twenty feet.  North of this
again the ground is raised some two feet by ten to fifteen in diameter.
On the centre part chimneys are built up, many exceeding four feet in
height, by nearly three feet in circumference; the opening is nearly a
foot in diameter, the top terminating in a cup-like form, in three
distinct layers, one above the other, forming quite an ornamental
termination to the chimney beautifully constructed.  On looking down,
hundreds of these tiny masons may be seen plastering and repairing the
inside coating, which may have received damage from rain.  There is
always one large chimney, and sometimes one or two smaller ones close to
it, and at the base some twenty or thirty small ones, three inches to a
foot in height, and three and four inches in diameter, and many small
holes round about, where the ants are busy taking in their food, small
pieces of dried grass, and other things, never making use of the
chimneys as a means for supplying their cells with food.  They are, I
believe, erected as ventilators to give air below, as the cavity beneath
must be as large as a small room, and in some eases larger, as a waggon
fell into one.  A road had been made near Molapo, over one of these
disused nests, and in 1877 a Boer waggon was travelling in the night, as
is their usual practice.  The front oxen had gone over it, the ground
gave way with the after oxen, but they managed to get on firm ground;
the weight of the waggon broke the top surface, and only the desselboom
on the opposite side getting fixed, kept the two fore-wheels and waggon
suspended over the hole, a Boer woman and three children narrowly
escaping from falling into the pit.  I followed up the next morning,
when the Boer and others were getting the waggon mended; bushes were
then put round the hole and the road turned.  If I had passed over this
road before that waggon I should have met the same fate.  As a whole,
the roads in all parts of Monkuruan territory, and in fact throughout
South Central Africa, are very good, considering they are never
repaired; many of them rough and stony, but as they are mere natural
tracks made by waggons, it is surprising they are in such good
condition.

The population of this district, including all the various tribes, does
not exceed 20,000, exclusive of Bushmen, and they do not number more
than 3000.

CHAPTER SEVEN.

BECHUANALAND.  THE TERRITORY OF THE CHIEF MONTSIOA, OF THE BARALONGS.

This country is situated on the north of Monkuruan.  The boundaries are
common to both, from the Transvaal, down west to that range of mountains
running north, the continuation of the Langberg; beyond is the Kalahara
desert, of which this western portion forms part.  Its northern boundary
joins the chief Gaseitsive, and the Transvaal is on the east.  The
length from east to west is 200 miles, and from north to south seventy
miles.  The Malapo, or the Mafeking river, rises in the Transvaal, flows
west, through the entire length of this territory, continuing on in the
same direction, receiving the two dry rivers, the Nosop and Onp, then
turns south at the great bend, under the name of Hygap, and enters the
Orange at Kakaman's Drift; there are but few branches in its course.
The eastern portion of this country is valuable and productive, suitable
for any kind of vegetation.

When the British Government settled the Keats award boundary, they
confirmed Montsioa's title to the ground on the west of it.  At that
time, 1871, Montsioa and many of his people were living at Moshanen, a
Kaffir station in Gaseitsive's territory, situated eighteen miles to the
west of Kanya, the seat of that chief.  But after the settlement of the
award he removed down to his own country, and settled at his town,
Sehuba, which has since been burnt by the Boers, and was six miles south
of the Molapo river, and the same distance from the large kraal on its
banks, under the petty chief Melema, on Molapo, who was his nephew; and
eighteen miles below, and on the river, was the large kraal under
Maceby.

The population numbered some 35,000 souls, including the Kuruman
district; but since the Transvaal Boers have made war on these people,
after the retrocession of that state, nearly half have been killed and
made prisoners.

The country has fine grazing-lands, and some parts are well-wooded.
There are extensive vleis and pans; the people cultivate corn
extensively, use ploughs, and had large herds of cattle, sheep, and
goats, now stolen by the Boers.

Montsioa belongs to the Baralong tribe of the Bechuana family; he and
his people have always been loyal to the English Government, and during
the Transvaal rebellion many loyal Boers fled to him for protection, and
were hospitably received.  The people are in their habits and customs
similar to those in Monkuruan's country.  Montsioa is a quiet,
well-disposed chief, and has been cruelly used by the Boers for his
loyalty to England; one of his sons, and most of his brave men, have
been shot down like dogs, and his women and their children killed in
cold blood, and many of them taken into captivity, all for keeping true
and loyal.  He has been shamefully and disgracefully forsaken, and left
to battle alone against these murdering freebooters, who were supported
by the Transvaal Government, and supplied with guns and ammunition to
carry on their unholy war, and now he has lost the greater portion of
his people, and nearly all his cattle and property.  The British
Government, moved by the voice of the English people and our loyals at
the Cape, at the eleventh hour sent out a force under Major-General Sir
Charles Warren, to see justice done him.  Will they compel the Boers to
return the stolen property, and the women and children they have taken
into the Transvaal as slaves, for they will be nothing less?  Will they
deliver up the murderers of Mr. Bethel and others?  Never was a more
cruel and unjust war made against people than this, by a people
professing Christianity, who have, by their cold-blooded and atrocious
acts, stamped themselves as a nation of murderers and robbers, and for
such acts they are not worthy of retaining the Transvaal as an
independent country.  It is useless for that Government to deny any
complicity in these wars, they are well known to have been the
promoters--there is evidence sufficient to prove this.  I was told by
some of the influential Boers in Pretoria, soon after peace was
restored, and the first convention made, in July 1881, that they
intended to go and punish Montsioa and Monkuruan, by driving them out of
their territories and taking their land, for their loyalty to England in
protecting loyal Boers.  As they stated, "We will not have these natives
on our border who have helped you English," showing what their intention
was as soon as they were confirmed in their republic.  I have deemed it
necessary to state these facts, that the English people may know in any
future dealings with whom they have to meet.

In the settlement of the Keats award the land was confirmed to Montsioa.
There is an extensive hill of metamorphic formation on his eastern
boundary, but which may now be included in the Transvaal by the recent
Convention, which has in its centre, on the summit, the remains of an
extinct volcano; the vent is about 700 yards in diameter, the highest
point is 5650 feet above sea-level, and stands on the central watershed.
There is an opening for the escape of the lava, which appears to have
travelled some miles down a valley on the south-east.  This lava, or
boiling mud, has several vents on the exterior, the central opening is
level, and on one side many bones are embedded in the rock.  It is an
interesting formation.

The western division of Montsioa's territory is more open on the south
side of the Molapo river, but more wooded on the northern.  It was one
of my favourite hunting-grounds in my early visits, as game at that time
swarmed over those extensive plains, and with a horse they were easily
shot; but it was dangerous riding, as there are so many wolf-holes,
ant-bear, porcupine, armadillo, spring-hare, and meercat, partly hidden
by long grass, that a horse at full speed cannot always escape them,
which frequently ends in a broken collarbone or a broken rifle.  Many of
the antelope species are very subject to bransick, and hundreds die;
their bones may be seen lying about in every direction, consequently it
is a great resort for vultures and eagles, who are constantly on the
look-out for those who have not many days to live.  If a wildebeest or
blesbok has this complaint, and is not likely to live many days, he is
found standing alone, and surrounded by half a hundred of these birds
waiting patiently till he drops, then they commence upon him before he
is quite dead, his eyes being first taken, and in less than half an hour
there is very little left to be eaten.  Many believe the vultures or
eagles discover their food only by their splendid sight; my experience
proves that scent has more to do with it.  During my travels in these
wilds I have had almost daily opportunity of observing their mode of
discovering any dead animal that may be exposed in the open.  These
birds are almost constantly on the wing; the exception is when they have
gorged until they can eat no more.  Then they rest on the ground or some
stone koppie, until they have to some extent digested their food, to
enable them to fly.  Many times I have ridden up to them and given them
a cut with my riding-whip to make them fly, which they are incapable of
doing from over-feeding.  When an animal dies, the scent is driven by
the wind and ascends many thousand feet, and is carried along with it.
If any of these birds are to be seen on the wing, they almost always fly
in circles, making long sweeps in their course; this will take up any
scent that may be in the air.  In watching them closely it is easy to
see when they have got the scent, and when they lose it, as is often the
case if they make too great a circle.  There may be sometimes from 100
to 200 performing these graceful circular flights, some one way and some
another.  Being at a great altitude--1000 yards--when they smell the
carrion, they are, if the wind is strong, more than a mile away from the
animal, and as they fly round they gradually work up to windward, until
the object is visible; then they do not come down at once, but appear to
make a survey of the surroundings before coming down to feast on the
carcass.  I have may times seen them come down wind, pass directly over
a dead beast unnoticed, until they have got into the current of air on
the down side, when they have worked back until they could see the
animal on the ground.  Their splendid sight will lead them to the spot
after a time, but their quick sense of smell is the first indication
that there is a grand feast for them.

Of all birds I think the vulture is the most graceful in its flight,
with its immense wings, which measure from tip to tip seven and
sometimes nine feet, extended without a movement as they circle in the
air.  One day I was out on foot after some blue wildebeest, with my
rifle, near the dry pan Bakillara; I came upon about 100 of these birds,
who were too late for a feast upon a buck, the bones of which had
already been picked quite clean, when they took flight and disappeared.
Knowing their habits so well, and that more would shortly come, I walked
about 100 yards away to a wildebeest hole, which that animal scrapes to
sleep in.  There I laid down as if dead, putting my rifle out of sight;
I wanted to see what they would do if they saw me.  In about ten minutes
several flew overhead to the dead animal, eyeing me as they passed, with
their heads on one side, and about fifty yards over me; many of them
commenced their circular flight to have another look to see if I were
dead.  Nearly half an hour was passed in this way without the slightest
movement on my part, when dozens of them began to settle on the ground
forty yards away, but afraid to come nearer; others would make a swoop
down within a dozen yards of me and pass on; when upwards of fifty had
settled down, finding they would not come to pick my bones, and getting
tired of my position, I jumped up with a great shout, when they took
wing and in less than two minutes were out of sight.

The black eagle is more frequently seen here than in any other part of
Africa, in consequence, I suppose, of food being plentiful.  I shot one
out of four that settled near my waggon one afternoon, when my driver
was skinning a wolf he had shot.  When sitting on the ground it measured
two feet four inches to the shoulder, and its wings from tip to tip nine
feet five inches.  Two years ago I shot a white eagle; the wings
measured nearly ten feet.  I tried to preserve them, but did not
succeed.

All kinds of hawks, some very large, and the large horned owl are common
in this part of the desert, as also some of the smaller species.  Snakes
also are plentiful: the most common is the puffadder, which grows to a
large size; two I killed measured three feet each.  The cobra-de-capello
and also the python are common.  One I shot measured sixteen feet two
inches, but there are some larger.  This one had an entire steinbok in
it; they are more numerous near Vleis.  Lizards, salamanders, and many
small snakes are seen amongst the stones and rocks.  Scorpions of a dark
colour have been killed eleven inches in length.

This part of the country the greater part of the year is short of water,
but in the Molapo it can be obtained by digging a few feet in the bed of
the river, which is sand.  If proper attention is paid to improvements,
this part may be made valuable and productive.

Many Bushman families live on the north side of the river, of the
Bakillihara tribe, quite distinct from the Masare Bushman.  They have
small cattle-posts belonging to the Bechuanas, but others are free,
seldom stationary.

The old mission station at Mosega, situate on a branch of the Klein
Marico, was abandoned in 1852, as also Malatza, by the Revs.  Ingles and
Edwards, the Boers not allowing them to remain.  All that portion of
Montsioa's territory is quite equal to any part of the Cape Colony for
richness of soil and growth of corn and vegetables, splendid
grazing-land for cattle, and well supplied with water from fountains,
with good roads.  Several lions were killed on the Molapo twelve years
ago; two young ones were captured and brought up by M.  Ludic, a
Bastard, and afterwards sold for five pounds, and sent to England.

There were many Bastards at the time I first passed through, which I
frequently had occasion to do on my journeys, and found them very civil
and kind.  Indeed, it would be difficult to find a class of people more
attentive and well-disposed towards travellers than this class, so that
it was quite a pleasure to meet them.  They are good mechanics, and can
repair a waggon as well as any colonial waggon-maker, as I have found
when anything was required to be done to mine.

On the south of this territory, between it and the Transvaal, is that
small slip of country under the petty captain Moshette, part of which is
included in the Transvaal by the late Convention between the British
Government and that Republic.  This petty captain and the Koranna
captain Moshoen have been the tools of the Transvaal Government to make
war on Monkuruan and Montsioa, and it serves them right that they should
lose their country.  Moshoen lives at his large station at Maamuosa,
situated on a white sandstone hill close to the Harts river; this stone
is used by mill-owners for grinding their corn.  The most unfrequented
part of Montsioa's country is that through which the river Molapo runs,
to the westward of Maceby's station, the course of which has already
been described in the river system.

Eighteen years ago the plains swarmed with game, and lions also.  I was
travelling down from Kanya through the desert to Maceby, on my way to
Conge kraal, north of Morequern.  At Maceby's there were Boers, each
with a waggon, going to Morequern; the road I was travelling was the
same.  One of them, whom I had met before, asked if we should trek
together, which was agreed to, until the roads separated seventy-five
miles on, the distance to Conge being 125 miles; the only objection I
had, was that they travelled at night, but as there were some very nasty
places along the road and we could assist each other in case of
accident, I agreed.  On the third night from Maceby's, we were
travelling along over an open country, my waggon was the third in the
line, and a Dutchman was the last; the night was stormy with a high
wind, and very dark.  Soon after inspanning in the evening, we knew
lions were following us, but this occurs so often that we took no notice
of it.  But about eleven o'clock the oxen in all the waggons became very
restless, and our foreloopers had difficulty to keep them on the road,
calling out that lions were close.

The Boer behind my waggon had no forelooper, there was only himself with
the waggon, which was empty.  I was sitting on my waggon-box with my
driver, and the forelooper leading the oxen.  Soon after eleven we heard
the after-waggon and oxen leave the road and make a rush across the
veldt, towards a dry bed of a river, and heard the Boer call out to us
to stop, which we did as soon as I could make those in front understand
the case.  We held to, and listened, but heard no sound of the Boer or
anything else.  The wind and rain coming on, we three, with our waggons,
drew up in a line, and fastened the oxen to the trektow and waited until
daylight, for it was useless and also very dangerous to go walking about
in the veldt amongst low bushes, to look for the Boer or his waggon,
where lions seemed to swarm; besides, we had as much as we could do to
keep the lions from making an attack on our own oxen.

As soon as the first sings of daylight approached, the two Boers, a son,
and myself, took our rifles and followed the spoor of the last waggon,
which we found upset in the dry river, about 400 yards from the road,
killing six of the oxen in the fall, and the other six had cleared
themselves from their yokes, and strayed away out of sight, but no man
was to be seen.  Going back on the line the waggon took, we found the
man's hat and some distance beyond his long ox-whip, and a little blood,
not far from it.  There was then no doubt about his disappearance; the
oxen had bolted, and the man to turn them on to the road had jumped off
the waggon, when a lion had seized and carried him off.  As the sun was
now above the horizon, we gave orders for our boys to outspan, and then
hastened on in the direction the lion's spoor showed us he had gone.
There was here and there blood on the grass, which led to a small clump
of bushes and stones; here we found part of the remains and clothes,
which were all torn to shreds, of the poor man, but no signs of the
lions, for there must have been several by the footprints in the sand.
We sent to the waggon for a spade and buried the remains of what small
portion was left, and then took up the spoor,--to settle accounts with
the lions,--which followed along a dry watercourse, which was crossed,
and under a sand-bank with high grass we came upon them, a lion and
lioness, and a young one, comfortably reposing.  The two Boers and
myself--all good shots--made very short work of the affair, knowing what
they had done.  It was arranged not to fire until we could make a dead
shot, and all to fire at the lion; two in the first instance, the third
to be ready if he showed fight, whilst the other two reloaded; but as
the Dutchmen's rifles carried heavy bullets,--eight to the pound,--their
two shots did the work, for when the lion rose up to have a look at us,
throwing back his ears and showing his teeth, both bullets entered his
chest and he fell, but not quite dead; my third bullet in the region of
his heart finished him.  We then turned upon the lioness, who gave us
much trouble before we could have an opportunity of a good shot; her
endeavour was to escape, but this we could not quite agree to; however,
a shot in the shoulder, and another in the neck, stopped her making any
further attempt to get away, and enabled us to get up and complete the
work.  The Boers wanted the skins, which would delay us the day,
therefore I went back to my waggon for breakfast, thinking it was no bad
bag for so early in the morning.  But before doing so we searched every
bush and cover for the young lion without success; but in the afternoon,
when the two Kaffir boys were skinning the lioness, the young one was
seen not far off, and the Kaffir shot him.  We then went down to the
river to see what could be done with the waggon, the dead oxen, and
those that had strayed away into the bush.  After a time they were found
and brought back; the waggon was too much smashed to remove.  It had
fallen over a steep bank fifteen feet deep.  The Boers wanted to save
the skins and the flesh of the dead oxen, which would take time, and as
I could do no more good I arranged to start the next morning.  We all
took care to collect plenty of wood for great fires to be kept alight,
and it was well we did, for we were serenaded with the lions' music all
the night; the surroundings seemed full of them, and also with wolves
and jackals; the smell of the dead oxen brought them to our locality.
However, bidding my friends good-bye, after breakfast I left for Conge.
The second day after leaving them, we saw several lions as we passed
along, but they were a long way from the waggon.  In the afternoon, the
next day, about 200 yards on our right from the road, we counted no less
than seventeen large and small lions, some of them playing, others lying
and sitting down; they took no notice of us, merely looked as we passed
along, and we at them.  We made a long trek after that, to get as far as
we could from them before night, for however pretty they are to look at
in their wild and native home, their proximity to the waggon on a dark
night is not conducive to a good night's rest.  In four days after this
we arrived at Conge, without seeing any more.  I remained at this
station two days, then left for Morequern.  The chief and many of his
people came to the waggon, with pumpkins, watermelons, milk, and eggs.
I never met with a more quiet and orderly and well-behaved people than
these Bechuanas.  Very few traders visited these parts then.  There was
one after this who frequented this part of the country, and who blew
himself up in his waggon, together with the missionary from Matetong and
some twenty Kaffirs.

This was the last missionary that lived at that station, the house and
grounds are in ruins, but there are some very fine willow trees still
standing planted by Messrs. Moffat and Campbell when the mission was
first established.

Conge is eighteen miles from Morequern; the road the whole way is
fearfully stony; a pan half-way is noted for guinea-fowl.  The next day
I arrived at Morequern, where I had to repair my waggon.  A large pan
divides two large kraals; on the east side an old blind chief lives,
Makalawar or Makutse, a Baralong, and on the west, Maksetse.

As it would take some few days before the waggon would be ready, and as
all the people at these large stations had always been kind to me
whenever I came amongst them, I determined to send out an invitation to
all the young Kaffir girls and young Kaffirs to a big dance.  They were
to come in their full dress costume.  The reed band was engaged.  The
performance was to wind up with a large ox roasted whole, to be washed
down with Kaffir beer.  Three o'clock was the appointed time, at a large
open space by my waggon.  Long before that I had half the people round
me, including little children.  The young girls came decked out with a
profusion of beads worked upon well-brayed leather, forming aprons,
bracelets, necklaces, in every variety of form and design, very
beautifully executed; bands of beads round their woolly heads and long
pendants of beads for earrings setting them off to great advantage, each
coming to me to show their finery, and seeming delighted to be praised
for their good looks and fine ornaments, for invariably when young they
have beautiful figures and expressive features.  The young men also came
dressed in their best clothes.  The old people, with their chief and his
counsellors, came to look on.  In all about 500 assembled to do honour
to the feast, and great rejoicings and fun characterised the meeting.
Two reed bands came, thirty in each.  Dancing and music commenced at
four p.m. and continued up to feeding-time, when the ox was sufficiently
roasted.  Men were told off to cut up and divide it amongst the people.
Nearly 100 little fires were made for parties to form round them, for
Kaffirs can do nothing without a fire.  Kaffir corn was cooked in pots
in addition to the meat for their feast, and at nine p.m. dancing,
music, and talking recommenced with undiminished joyousness, whilst, to
complete the evening, I had a scramble from my waggon of a variety of
articles of use to them--handkerchiefs, tinder-boxes, knives, beads, and
other things, which caused an immense amusement.  At twelve o'clock I
told them to go home, for I must sleep; and in less than ten minutes all
was quiet.  Everything passed off pleasantly.  This reed band is a great
institution with these people.  The following night the young men met as
usual with the band at their large kraal.  The night was not dark, as
the stars give great light in this latitude.  When they were in full
play, and the women and children going round the performers, singing and
clapping of hands, each one wearing a long kaross, which covered their
figure, and a fur cap, their usual covering at night, I left my waggon,
dressed like them, with a jackal kaross and tiger-skin cap, which
concealed my figure and face, walked down and joined in the dance, which
was maintained for some time, all the men sitting or standing beyond the
circle looking on.  A little girl caught a glimpse of my white face,
which had become partly uncovered, when she screamed out and pointed to
me.  It was then no longer necessary to keep up the disguise; I
therefore threw off my kaross.  When they saw who it was, they joined in
the fun, laughing and clapping of hands, and I was made to sit down and
have a good drink of Kaffir beer.  The next night or evening, before
sundown, there was a dance of the married women, about seventy, dressed
up in all kinds of strange figures.  This was to celebrate the return of
about thirty young girls to their homes, and about the same number of
young men, who had passed through certain ceremonies after the Jewish
custom, before the boys are admitted into the ranks with the men, and
entitled to carry arms in war; and the girls before they are allowed to
marry.

This custom is at a particular season.  One or two old medicine-men will
take those boys who are to be admitted to manhood into some secluded
glen, where they remain for two or three months isolated from the rest
of the people, no one being allowed to go near them during that time,
the old men looking after their food; and at the appointed time they are
allowed to return to the kraal.  The young men are painted over with
white clay for a certain number of days after the ceremony.  Two or more
old women take the girls also to some remote place, and when they return
they also are covered with white clay, and, in addition, wear a short
kilt made of reeds or grass, and a band of the same material crossing
over the shoulders, meeting in front and behind, which are worn during a
certain time at their kraals, when they assume their ordinary dress, and
then are eligible to be chosen for wives.  I was hunting one day near
Cooe, and happened to ride down the river close upon a number of these
girls and two old women, which caused a great commotion amongst them.  I
was told if they had caught me they were likely to kill me for
trespassing into their sanctuary.  All the Bechuana tribe have this
ceremony.  This region being far removed from any white people, the
natives are much better behaved, and it was a pleasure to be amongst
them.  As a people they are quite alive to the ridiculous, and can
understand a joke as well as any one.  It was great fun to go out with
the children and enter into games with them, which they so thoroughly
enjoyed that when I arrived at their kraal again after many months,
which I had frequently to do to pass through to other parts, my arrival
was hailed with delight by the youngsters.

During my stay here I had a narrow escape from a lion.  I was out with
my rifle after some ostriches in the Kalahara, ten miles from Conge.
Here and there were low bushes.  I had run down one bird and fastened
the feathers on the saddle before me.  On my way home, on my right,
about 300 yards, was what appeared to be a dead animal or an ostrich, I
could not tell which, therefore I rode up and found it was a blue
wildebeest or gnu, nearly half eaten.  Turning my horse to the left to
resume my journey, walking the horse past a bush close on my right,
about fifty yards from the carcass, I came right upon a full-grown lion
and lioness lying down.  My horse caught sight of them first, made a
spring which nearly threw me from the saddle, so sudden and unexpected
was his movement.  When he did this I saw the lion about to spring; but
our movement was too sudden, and he lost his opportunity; in another
moment the lion would have been upon us.  When a couple of hundred yards
was between us, I turned the horse round to have a good look at the
splendid animal, as I knew he would not follow.  Both were standing
looking at me.  It was now getting late in the day, therefore I lost no
more time in looking after birds or lions.  We were not ten feet from
the lion when the horse made his spring, about as lucky an escape from
the jaws of a lion as one could desire.

Treking through the country where there were no roads to Kuis, on the
Molapo, in Montsioa country, I came upon a small Bushman kraal, six huts
in all, evidently a permanent station.  A few goats were feeding near
them, and in the bushes were four bush girls collecting most beautiful
caterpillars of red, yellow, blue, and green, about three inches in
length.  They told my Hottentot they cook them in milk, and they are
very nice.  As the people seemed very friendly, I remained the night
with my waggon, and was much amused at the dancing and singing in the
evening.  Happy people! why should they be disturbed in their innocent
life?  There were old and young, in all eighteen; a quiet and
inoffensive family.  Far away from other kraals these people lived to
themselves; not another family that I could see within fifty miles.

Walking round in the morning to collect some of these caterpillars to
put into spirits, I observed many of the thorn trees covered with dead
insects, small lizards, frogs, beetles, grasshoppers, locusts, and many
other kinds, all beautifully spiked on the long mimosa thorns; nearly
every bough had one or more on.  I knew at once that it was the larder
of the little cruel butcher-bird.  The bush seemed to swarm with them,
and I have watched them frequently take and spike insects.  One caught a
frog and carried it to a tree close to where I was concealed, to see how
he managed to pierce them so securely.  The frog made a kind of scream
when he was being taken up, and almost a scream when the large thorn was
put through him.  But he was not long suspended; when the bird was gone
he wriggled himself clear, and fell to the ground, and I put him out of
his pain.  This butcher-bird is about the size, rather larger than a
sparrow, black and white.  One killed two canary-birds; both were put on
the thorns.  They seem never at rest, always looking for game of some
kind.  They are known in every part of South Central Africa.  The
Wagt-een-beitje tree is their favourite for impaling their victims.

The mocking-bird is also common; two kinds, one black and white, the
other brown.  The latter is the most talkative.  Both night and day I
have watched them on the topmost branches of the lofty trees, and their
persistent and energetic mode of keeping up their everlasting talk has
kept me awake many nights, as in several parts, where the wood is thick,
they seem to occupy every tree and bush.

Snakes are also plentiful down along the Molapo; being out one afternoon
with my gun after wild ducks, walking along the banks, all of a sudden a
large black mamba snake stood in my path, about ten feet distant; he had
raised himself more than two feet from the ground and was coming at me;
I had just time to fire into his head before he made his spring.  He
measured eleven feet seven inches.  The poison-fangs are as long as a
parrot's claws.  I put him into one of these chimneypot ant-hills to
feed the ants; several more I saw the same day, and many puffadders: the
largest measured three feet five inches.

All this part of the chief Montsioa's territory, down past Kuis, and
along the Mafeking river, which is his western division, is one of the
driest portions of the Kalahara desert; in the winter months the only
water to be obtained is in the sand of the river by digging; but in
summer there is plenty.  A road from Kuruman runs through the desert,
down part of the way by the Kuruman river, crossing the Nosop and Oup to
Meer, where the Bastards have formed a town: the distance is 240 miles.
Before leaving this region I wish to explain the meteorological
peculiarities of South Central Africa.  When any great change in the
atmosphere is about to take place, it has often been remarked by
travellers, that in Africa there is lightning and thunder without
clouds.  I have often remarked this phenomenon, and wondered what could
be the cause.  Isolated from all society, thrown upon our own resources
for occupation and amusement, in these solitary journeys through this
vast unknown region, we are more prone to investigate the mysteries of
nature than we should if thrown more amongst the busy world.  So it was
in my case, and knowing there must be some natural law unknown to me, I
took my observations accordingly to find it out.

During the long dry season many years ago, when travelling in the
central portion of this desert, where this strange lightning and thunder
occurred almost every night at certain seasons of the year, when no
clouds are visible, all I could discover was, that the flashes seemed to
come from one quarter.  I was outspanned one day near one of those
singular isolated granite hills, so often to be seen in the Kalahara
desert, that look more like a ruined temple than the works of nature.  I
started in the afternoon to climb to its summit, to take observations
with my instruments, and found the elevation from base to top to be 278
feet.  It would be difficult to find words to convey the exquisite
pleasure I felt in standing alone on this lofty eminence, where no white
man before ever placed his foot: alone, far from the busy world, its
anxieties and troubles; to look at the fair scene beneath and around me,
the rich vegetation on the plains (for it was in the month of November,
when all is bright and fair), the distant mountains, their quaint
outlines softened by space to lovely purple tints, as they fade away
into the rosy sky on the horizon!  Taking up a position under a huge
block of granite, to be out of the sun's influence, for the thermometer
registered 106 degrees in the shade, to take observations, my attention
was attracted to some heavy-looking clouds just perceptible above the
topmost ridge of some lofty hills in the north-west some twenty miles
distant.  The sun was shining on them, giving them a pink massive
outline.  I remained in this position till nearly sundown, when I
returned to the waggons; no clouds were visible above the hills when I
reached my camp, nothing but the bright glow of the sky, which later on
had changed to a purplish-blue, and as night approached came the usual
lightning-flashes; my impression was we were going to have a storm, but
there were no signs of clouds all night, and a clear sky the next day.
On the following day we treked fifteen miles more to the north, and in
the afternoon observed, just above the horizon, a line of clouds,
similar to those I had seen the day before in the same position, and as
evening advanced they appeared to have dispersed, as they became blended
with the evening tints, and a casual observer would declare, with every
appearance of truth, that there were no clouds to be seen in the sky,
although he would see the lightning-flash only, as in no case when these
apparently cloudless flashes come, is spark or electric fluid visible.
I have been exploring constantly the whole of South Central Africa for
twenty-five years, out in the open air nightly; not an evening escaped
my observations, therefore I write with some degree of confidence when I
state no electric spark is ever seen with this lightning, in consequence
of the distance, and partly below the horizon, and occasionally, but
very seldom, in the stillness and quiet that pervades everything, the
air perfectly calm, the distant nimble of thunder may be heard, and the
clouds before morning have vanished.  I followed these observations for
months, and whenever any clouds were seen just above the horizon before
the sun went down, they appeared to vanish as the evening tints
deepened.  The same result followed year after year.


I once took up my quarters at a small spring flowing from some granite
rocks, where I remained six weeks, near the range of hills already
described, to hunt and explore; this was the following year, and strange
to say, every afternoon heavy masses of clouds just showed their heads
above the horizon, covering more than a quarter of a circle, that is,
from the west of north to east-north-east, taking up the same position
daily; their lovely pink tints faded as evening advanced, no clouds
could be seen, and yet nightly we had these flashes.  Some may say,
surely these clouds must have passed over some portion of the desert,
not a great distance from my outspan, and rain have fallen from these
storm-clouds; the reply is, for months prior to the rainy season
commencing, clouds are formed after mid-day, and follow certain strata
in the air, drawn by the electric condition of that portion of the
earth's surface, and discharge the electricity they may contain without
rain.  I give this because I have on several occasions been stationary
for some weeks in the line of country these clouds have taken, year
after year, and at the same season.  After the sun has passed the
meridian, clouds have been collecting, generally from the north-east,
and as evening advances, the vivid lightning and the heavy peals of
thunder commence, and last for several hours, and then appear to
evaporate, and a lovely starlight night succeeds; not a drop of rain has
fallen during the storm, and a clear blue sky is seen over the whole of
the horizon.  In this part of the desert we are seldom below 3600 feet
of sea-level, and, taking into consideration the clear and rarefied
atmosphere, a flash of lightning and the thunder may be seen and heard
at a greater distance than where the atmosphere is more dense.  I may
further observe, that owing to the rotundity of the earth, and the
allowance to be made in every mile, it does not require that the clouds
should be very far away to be partly below the horizon.  When we place
our eye on a level with the ground and look along a flat country, at ten
miles' distance a man must be seventy feet high for his head to be seen
above the horizon; therefore, at twenty or thirty miles, a portion of
the clouds would be beneath the horizon, not a great distance for sound
to be heard on a still evening, or a flash of light to be seen as
evening closed in.  These storm-clouds, without rain, always precede the
rainy season, as also the sand-storms, and those gigantic whirlwinds
that may be seen passing over the desert by the dozen, and extending in
some instances 1000 feet high, carrying up sand, sticks, and other
articles that lie in their course; many of them measure 100 feet
through.  It is a strange sight to see many of these sand-columns
passing along over a plain.  I have observed, where the first passes, in
the course of the day others follow exactly in the same line: they
indicate a change in the weather.  The mirage is also of daily
occurrence.  In travelling through the country, its general features
appear to have entirely changed by imaginary lakes, looking so perfectly
natural; lofty trees appear to be standing in water; long belts of bush
and wood, which the traveller may be approaching, seem suspended in the
air, showing their reflection in the vapoury atmosphere between them and
the observer, which does not extend above a few feet from the ground:
that apparently vanishes as you proceed, but you are passing through it;
isolated hills look like islands, by their base being surrounded by this
moist air, which is not confined to any particular time of day, but
towards the afternoon they are more frequent.  If there is any wind, of
course there is no mirage, as it disperses the damp air which causes it.

Montsioa territory is rich in cattle, which is sold to colonial traders.
The natives also are cultivating their lands for corn, and a great sale
in ploughs is the consequence.  They are improving in every way, but for
the last three years the Boers have laid waste the country, killing the
people by hundreds, robbing them of their property, and stealing from
them 30,000 head of cattle, besides sheep and goats, causing untold
misery amongst a people who never injured them by word or deed.  I write
this from my own personal knowledge, being there at the time, and having
only just returned to this country.  The only means of preserving these
people, and improving their condition, which is essential also to the
prosperity and advancement of the Cape Colony, is to annex their lands.

CHAPTER EIGHT.

THE CHIEF GASEITAIVE'S TERRITORY OF THE BANGWAKETSE FAMILY OF THE
BECHUANAS.

The next and third Bechuana chief from the Cape Colony is the chief
Gaseitsive, whose territory is more extensive than Montsioa's; his
southern boundary joins on to the latter, along the entire length from
east to west.  His chief town is at Kanya, sixty-five miles north of
Sehuba, Montsioa's town, situated on the summit of a lofty hill, the
highest of any in this part of the country.  The chief lives in a
well-built house, furnished similar to any European residence.  The hill
where the main part of the town is built, slopes gradually down towards
the north, on the east and west, more suddenly on the south by a cliff,
180 feet in height, composed of rounded and well water-worn stones, from
the size of a marble to an ostrich egg, forming a hard conglomerate,
with dark brown gritty sand, and it has every appearance of having once
been a shore-line, and the back of an ancient harbour.  At the bottom of
this cliff the lower town is built, and is the mission station and
church of the London Missionary Society, under the Rev.  Mr. Good.  This
lower town stands at the upper end of an extensive level opening,
surrounded on three sides by hills, open to the south, where a small
sluit drains the land upon which the lower town stands.  The principal
road from the colony after passing through Montsioa's territory at
Maceby's station, runs due north to Kanya; the distance from the former
is sixty miles, from Molapo river; half-way, at Vaalpan Fits, is the
division between Montsioa and Gaseitsive.  The country is thickly wooded
and very pretty; all to the west of this road is part of the Kalahara
desert belonging to these two chiefs.  A road from Melemo's station on
the Molapo joins this, and at Vaalpan Pits a road branches off to the
left, through the desert, to Lake N'gami, a distance of 420 miles to the
chief Molemo at Leshubatabe's station, east of that lake.

The principal watering-places along this road are Moshanen Kraal, thirty
miles; Seletse, forty miles; Tans, twenty miles; Kaikai, 110, with small
pits between; Makapolo Pans, 108, also small pans along the road; Goose
Vlei, sixty-four miles beyond, and to Molemo's station, near the lake,
forty-eight.  The country through which this road passes varies in
character and scenery; the lower portion passes between isolated and
picturesque hills, well-wooded to their summits with a variety of
subtropical vegetation.  Mokotontuane Hills are particularly noticeable
for their beautiful flora.  The plains and valleys have many Kaffir
stations with their petty chiefs, under paramount chief Gaseitsive, who
belongs to the Bangwaketse tribe of the Bechuana family.  They are
Moshanen, Montsioa's old station; Seletse, Gabatane, Ses, Khokhochu,
Lutlue, Tans, and several others, as also Bushman kraals where large
herds of cattle are kept.

The people are quiet and inoffensive, living the same kind of life their
forefathers lived, thousands of years before.  The men have their skin
mantle, the women also, with their short kilt, beads of ostrich eggs,
also brass wire from Kanya, for feathers, karosses, skins, and other
native produce.

The climate is almost perfect; no frosts in winter, which is the dry
season, as rain rarely falls between April and October.  Lions, wolves,
leopards, and a host of the cat tribe, some of which are beautifully
marked and make handsome karosses, which fetch a good price, are
numerous over the whole of this part.

The main transport road, already described, from Maceby station on the
Molapo, in Montsioa's territory, to Kanya, is the only road now open
from the Cape Colony to the interior, for carrying on the colonial trade
with the native tribes beyond, as now settled by the late Transvaal
Convention.  All the others passing northwards go through that Republic
and are subject to a heavy tax, consequently they are closed to us.
Previous to the Transvaal rebellion, we had six different roads for
conveying merchandise from our two colonies, Natal and Cape Colony, free
from taxation.  The interior trade from Natal is entirely closed against
English traders, in consequence of the distance being too great to go
round to the only one now left to us.  The other main roads to Kanya,
besides the one already described, pass through the Transvaal and
Zeerust, which has been given to the Boer Government, since Keats' award
has been so unwisely abandoned and their north-west border extended, the
result of ignorance on the part of the British Government as to the
importance of keeping in our own hands so valuable a part of Montsioa's
territory, for the purpose of greater freedom of communication with that
vast native region beyond.  The transport over them would have been much
easier and cheaper, in consequence of good roads and an unlimited supply
of water.  The only road we have willingly confined ourselves to, from
Maceby's to Kanya, has only one permanent water, at Vaal-pan-pits, for
sixty miles with a heavy road, which for heavy transport-waggons is a
loss to the trader.  The roads which the colonial trade passed over, now
closed to us by the extension of the Transvaal boundary beyond Keats'
award, which should have been maintained, are as follows: From Kimberley
to Taungs.  Melema on the Molapo to Rinokano, and the river road along
the Limpopo or from Rinokano to Kanya by two routes; another is _via_
Maamousa; a fourth passing along the open plains by the two salt-pans,
and the other two, one to the north of Bloemhof, and from that town by
the Vaal river roads--all concentrating on Molapo and Molmane, then
through the new land given to the Transvaal by the Convention.  This is
the position in which the British Government has placed the two colonies
with regard to the interior trade.

The country through which these roads pass to Kanya is very lovely, and
superior to any part of the colony.  One of these passes through a drift
of the Molmane river, a branch of the Klein Marico, passing on past John
Mentji's farm; a small lake in front of the house, surrounded with
beautiful trees, and a pretty fountain at the back, with rising ground
in the distance, is a spot to be remembered.  Beyond is the fountain at
Ludic's, passing between hills clothed in every variety of foliage, on
to Kanya; the distance is eighty miles.  The other principal transport
road to Kanya from Rinokano passes through a more lovely country than
the one just described, the rich alluvial soil of the valleys, well
watered by fine springs, which are small branches of the Notuane river,
fine grass-lands studded with beautiful groups of trees and bush.  On
every side of the road, well-wooded, lofty, and picturesque hills--they
may be termed mountains; others in the distance rearing their lofty
heads, visible between the openings of those near.  The subtropical
plants, scarlet creepers climbing up and between the isolated rocks,
piled one upon another, complete a landscape seldom to be surpassed for
the beauty of its scenery.

The distance to Kanya is fifty-four miles, ten miles from Rinokano,
which is a large Kaffir station.  When I first paid it a visit, an old
chief Moelo lived there.  It is a mission station of the German Mission
Society, in charge of the Rev.  Mr. Jansen, who is noted for his
hospitality to travellers; he has a beautiful garden well stocked with
fruit, also orange and lemon trees.  Monata, ten miles north of
Rinokano, is the old station of the chief Marshelale, who, owing to the
continual inroads of the Boers from the Transvaal stealing his cattle,
removed to the other side of the mountains beyond Kanya, where Pelan
lived.  This old station has now been occupied by several Bastard
families, who have built quite a town of good brick houses situated on a
branch of the Notuane river, which runs through a pass in the mountain
of great beauty.  Above the poort near the springs are many Korannas;
some spoke very good English, and gave me much information respecting
the locality.  Six miles beyond, the road takes a short turn to the
left, passing between high hills for one mile, the road being very steep
and stony, and a mile beyond you arrive at that singular and isolated
hill called Moselekatze Kop, a lofty conical hill; the height from its
base to summit is 275 feet, by my aneroid barometer.  This is composed
of hard sandstone and shale; great quantities of ironstone, and
conglomerate in large boulders, cover the ground at the base, which
appears to have fallen from the top; the rocks round about are blue and
white metamorphic.

As my intention was to scale it the next day, I outspanned under some
fine trees close to the hill for the night, that I might be on the
topmost point at sunrise, which at that season of the year (April) is
about five o'clock; and as the sun rose above the cloudless horizon,
with the pure clear atmosphere, it threw out all the distant mountain
peaks in bold and well-defined outlines, although some of them were more
than sixty miles distant; and as the sun rose, casting the deep shadows
of the surrounding hills, and bringing out the rich green foliage of the
trees and shrubs, it was a sight seldom to be seen.  There are many
cattle and vieh-posts for sheep and goats in these valleys, that belong
to the people at Kanya, and other kraals, in the country belonging to
the chief Gaseitsive.

Leaving Moselekatze Kop, going to Kanya, the road turns west, then
north-west for thirteen miles, to a deep and stony watercourse, that
comes down from the mountain two miles distant, which is a branch of the
river Tans and Sand, into the Notuane.  Many picturesque sandstone hills
of every variety of form, covered with rich subtropical vegetation to
their summits, with gigantic rocks peeping out between the bushes, give
a peculiar feature to the landscape.  Some of the finest tree-aloes grow
here to perfection, the stems measuring twenty-five feet, and in girth
six feet, their long light-green pointed leaves measuring four feet, and
when in bloom their many crimson flowers are beautiful objects.  The
country being so lovely, I remained at this stony river three days to
sketch and prospect, and was rewarded by finding in the bed of the
river, mixed up in the large stones, ancient flint implements, that had
been washed down in heavy rains.  Several of them were so jambed in
between large boulders of many tons weight, that I had to get a crowbar
to remove them.  Some of these boulders measured over four feet in
diameter, showing the force of the stream and quantity of water that
falls in these thunderstorms.

The temperature at night in my waggon in April was 68 degrees, and at
mid-day 84 degrees.  No large game has been seen, although the natives
tell me there are koodoos, blue wildebeest or gnu, hartebeest and
springbok.

From this river the road winds through these beautiful valleys, passing
a remarkable granite rock standing alone in the veldt, round like a
Kaffir hut, twenty feet in height, continuing on through the same kind
of country to Kanya.  Another, in fact two other roads, leave Rinokano,
and go direct to Molapololo, the chief Sechele's station; one round by
Ramoocha Khotla, named after an old chief, passing through Base Poort, a
lovely spot, plenty of baboons and beautiful birds; we cross the Sand
river four times, very stony, on to Sneyman's farms, past the Spitz Kop,
another remarkable hill, over an open flat, park-like, with beautiful
clumps of trees, to Dwasberg, passing on the right Kolobekatze mountain,
leaving on the left the Quagga and Kopani hills, and on to Ramoocha,
where the chief Makose has a large station.  These people belong to the
Bamankitse tribe of the Bechuana family.  It is a mission in charge of
the Rev.  Mr. Schonenburg, of the Berlin Society.  From this kraal the
road divides, one going to Chene Chene, where the chief Maklapan lives
on the bank of the Notuane, and then to Motsode, taking the Limpopo
river road to Ba-Mangwato.  The second goes direct to Molapololo; the
third to the same town, through the Kaffir station Monope, under the
chief Kuanette, of the Bahurutsi-Bamangane of the Bakatla tribe of the
Bechuana family.  Monope is also a Berlin Mission station, in charge of
the Rev.  Mr. Tanson.

The large Kaffir station of Monope is well situated on elevated ground,
a gentle rise from the river Coloben, a branch of the Notuane, being
protected by several large stone koptjies.  The people are very quiet
and civil, cultivate extensively Kaffir corn, and make karosses, which
they sell to traders.  When I first knew the people, twenty years ago,
there was not a man or woman that dressed in European clothes; at the
present time most of them are getting into the way of dressing.  The men
wear clothes, and will have the best.

The Notuane river has many tributaries, that take their rise in this
territory and at Rinokano, which drains the whole of this district, and
falls into the Limpopo.  The town of Kanya, as I have stated, stands on
a hill, much higher by several hundred feet than the surrounding
country.  There are seven stores kept by colonial traders, who did,
before the Transvaal rebellion, a good trade with the natives in corn,
cattle, feathers, ivory, skins, karosses, and other native produce, but
which have been almost destroyed through the Boer disturbances.  The
chief Gaseitsive is a quiet and peaceful man, and his son Bathoen is
also well-disposed.  All the men dress in European clothes, and the
women are taking to them.  It is one of the most difficult things to
change the habits and customs of a people, but in my time great strides
have been made in this direction up even to the Zambese.  The large
station at Mashonen, eighteen miles to the west of Kanya, is now
occupied by this chief's people, since Montsioa left to live on his own
ground at Sehuba.  The country between Kanya and Masepa station is very
picturesque, lovely valleys, some well cultivated; many of the hills
that surround them are clothed in lovely vegetation--the euphorbia, wild
fig, and other subtropical plants; creepers of every variety climbing up
between the large masses of sandstone rocks that stand out in grotesque
forms, piled one upon another, add much to the beauty of the landscape.
Such charming scenery could not be passed over in haste, particularly
when surveying the country, which, detained me from time to time many
weeks in treking through.

The different streams that drain this part rise to the west in the
Kalahara desert and fall into the Sand, Tuns, and Coloben branches of
the Notuane river.  The climate is splendid, so far as perpetual
sunshine for eight months of the year goes; the summer from December to
April being the rainy season, when severe thunderstorms and a downpour
of rain are almost of daily occurrence; but with such a long drought
vegetation does not seem to suffer.

The natives are most friendly, bringing milk, green mealies, sugar-cane,
pumpkins, anything they possess, to the waggon, in exchange for beads,
tobacco, or such trifles as they might require.

At one of my outspans, close to the highest range of hills between
Masepa and Coloben, I formed my camp under some fine trees, as it was my
intention to ascend the highest hill, to take observations with my
servant, the next day.  During the night several wolves visited us; the
smell of the fresh meat in the waggons brought them nearer than was
prudent, for we shot two very large ones in the early part of the night.
Their skins are very useful for many purposes.  This occurred when few
white men visited Africa; consequently, lions, wolves, and other animals
were seen and heard daily, and therefore necessary precautions had to be
taken to guard against any attack upon my oxen.  In the early morning of
the following day I saddled-up my horse, and with my rifle started for
the hills.  It is always a practice in such a country never to be
without your rifle, for it is impossible to say when you may require to
make use of it.  Finding the hill much too steep to ride up, I led the
horse along a winding path between bushes and trees, and reached the
top, which was level and open.  The view from this point repaid me for
the trouble of ascending.  The lofty and well-wooded hills in the
immediate vicinity, the distant mountains with their rugged outlines,
clothed in purple mist, with the rich valleys beneath, was a landscape
worth looking at.  The clear atmosphere brought out all the inequalities
and projecting rocks of quaint forms into prominence.  I was not,
however, allowed to remain long in this peaceful solitude before I
became aware I had invaded Mr. Baboon's stronghold and look-out station.
Making a more minute survey of my surroundings, I observed that many of
the trees and bushes concealed one or more of these monkeys, and others
perched upon rocks not far off intently watching my movements.  Not a
sound escaped them; I believe the presence of my horse had much to do
with keeping them quiet, for horses then were never seen in those parts.
If I had been alone some of the old ones might have given me trouble;
many of them appeared to be nearly my own size.  To see what effect a
shot would have, I fired one chamber of my revolver.  Then the music
commenced--barks, screams, half-human grunts sounded from a hundred
different places as they scrambled from branch to branch to gain cover
amongst the rocks and small caves in the side of the hill, which, in
days long since passed away, were occupied by Bushmen.  The height of
this elevation was 4560 feet above sea-level.

On arriving at my waggon I found one of my oxen stuck in a mud-hole, and
with difficulty released him and proceeded on to Masepa, the petty chief
Pelan's station, where the Kaffir women brought me thick milk, which is
very good and acceptable in this hot weather.  There are many Kaffir
stations along these roads of the Bakwana and Bangweketse tribe of
Bechuana, who live under their respective chiefs.  From my earliest
visits in this country, up to the present time, the Boers have been a
murdering and unprincipled people, over all these parts, stealing the
native cattle and encroaching on the land.  In 1852 Dr. Livingstone, in
a letter to Sir John Pakington, states,--"Frequent attempts were made by
the Transvaal Boers to induce the chief Sechele to prevent the English
from passing him in their way north; and, because he refused to comply
with this policy, a commando was sent against him by Mr. Pretorius,
which, on the 30th September last, attacked and destroyed his town,
killing sixty of his people, and carried off upwards of 200 women and
children.  I can declare most positively that, except in the matter of
refusing to throw obstacles in the way of English traders, Sechele never
offended the Boers by either word or deed.  They wished to divert the
trade into their own hands.  They also plundered my house of property
which would cost in England at least 335 pounds.  They smashed all the
bottles containing medicine, and tore all the books of my library,
scattering the leaves to the winds; and besides my personal property,
they carried off or destroyed a large amount of property belonging to
English gentlemen and traders.  Of the women and children captured, many
of the former will escape, but the latter are reduced to hopeless
slavery.  They are sold and bought as slaves; and I have myself seen and
conversed with such taken from other tribes, and living as slaves in the
houses of the Boers.  One of Sechele's children is amongst the number
captured, and the Boer who owns him can, if necessary, be pointed out."
The above statement is perfectly true in every particular.  This
murderous attack on Sechele and his people took place at Monope, and the
old men at the station took me up into one of the stone hills close to
the town, and showed me the small cave, about ten feet square, in the
side of the hill, where Sechele and his wife took refuge with several
guns and ammunition, and were pursued by the Boers, who kept up a
constant fire into the cave, whilst Sechele and his wife, protected by
the projecting rock, kept them off, Sechele firing, whilst his wife
loaded the pieces.  And the Kaffirs called my attention to the
bullet-marks on the opposite rocks, where portions of the bullets still
remained.  Finding that Sechele shot a Boer whenever he showed himself,
killing five, they withdrew, and Sechele and his wife came out.  After
this affair Sechele went a few miles north with his people, and settled
at Coloben, and then on to his present station, Molapololo.  There is no
denying the fact that the Boers, from the time they crossed the Vaal
river into Transvaal, have been a greater curse to the country, wherever
they have set foot, than Moselekatze ever was when he marched north from
Zululand.  Some think they are excellent pioneers in a new country.
They advance into native territories, killing the people by thousands,
enslaving women and children, robbing them of all their lands and
cattle, and occupying their country, with no ulterior benefit to
themselves or others, but merely as a field for further cruelties and
spoliation of native races, so that the country may be cleared of them,
but not for civilisation or improving the country, because they leave a
dark spot wherever they settle from the ruthless cruelties they
perpetrate upon unoffending and innocent people.  Are they then good
pioneers?  All the sophistry in the world cannot make it right.  To
murder, enslave, and rob innocent human beings, living on their own
lands, who have done no harm, and have as much right to live and enjoy
their own as any other people, black or white, that they should be so
ruthlessly treated by men who profess Christianity and to be a
God-fearing people, is an anomaly, and cannot be tolerated by a just and
upright people like the British nation.  And yet these atrocities are at
the present moment being carried on in Bechuanaland by the Boers of the
Transvaal and Orange Free State and other scum of European nationality,
who have lost all sense of honour and justice, for the purpose of
gaining a footing in the country; and we allow them to commit these
lawless and criminal acts unchecked.  They do not even civilise or
improve the country they take.  Look at the Transvaal; for forty years
the Boers have had possession of it.  What is it now?  No more civilised
than when they entered it, but the contrary.  The Boers are more
demoralised, as we know, who know them.  Their acts alone are a
sufficient answer to this question, and South Africa will not advance in
prosperity and wealth until the Boer element is brought to a sense of
justice; and that will never be while the Boers hold an independent
position in the Transvaal.

The population of the Bechuanas in Gaseitsive's territory, including
those under the chief Kuanette at Monope and Pelan at Masepa, does not
exceed 35,000, exclusive of Bushmen; and against this the entire white
population of the Transvaal at the present time does not exceed 40,000,
including English and other nationalities.  Then why should this handful
of men be allowed to keep all South Africa in a perpetual state of
disquietude, to the immense injury of the trade of the country?  The
gold re-discoveries, however, will settle this question, and that within
the next year or two.  The bulk of the most intelligent and influential
Boers are determined to be annexed, and the hoisting of the British flag
is only delayed by the savage, ignorant "Doppers," with whom the diggers
will make short work whenever they think fit to do so.  The population
now cannot be less than 50,000, of whom 20,000 are Europeans, and all
fighting-men, whilst the Boers cannot muster more than 10,000, of whom
the half are on our side.

CHAPTER NINE.

THE CHIEF SECHELE OF THE BAKWANA TRIBE OF THE BECHUANA FAMILY.

On entering this chief's territory from the south, that is from Kanya
and Masepa, the country is undulating and densely wooded with trees and
bush, the road stony and uneven.  Approaching Molapololo, Sechele's
chief town, a long range of lofty hills comes in view, and as you near
them a bold outline presenting many perpendicular and lofty cliffs,
which gain in magnitude as you advance along the road with your waggon,
passing between many Kaffir gardens.  This range reminded me very
forcibly of the Devonshire coast-line at Bolthead, and requires a short
description to make more clear the general outline, as in no other
region I have visited is there so singular a mountain, and one that
conveys so plainly to the mind the history of remote times, and which
appears so little changed from what it was at that period.

On leaving the low and level country to enter Molapololo, the entrance
is in a break of these hills, which rise from their base several hundred
feet.  In this opening is the remains of a considerable river.  On
passing through this entrance, which is about 250 yards wide, we come
into an open space, surrounded by lofty hills, with an opening on the
west side where this ancient river enters from the Kalahara desert,
passing through this open space and through the entrance just described.
On the east side of this open space is another entrance, flanked with
lofty and almost perpendicular cliffs.  The open space itself is about
half a mile both ways, of an irregular shape, and has every appearance
of being at one time a splendid harbour, with two entrances, surrounded
by lofty hills, leaving the opening on the west side, where the once
ancient river passed in between a narrow opening of light sandstone
rocks.  The soil of this open space is clear light sand, and is now
occupied by several hundred native huts, and is also the residence of
the missionary, the Rev.  Mr. Price, of the London Missionary Society,
and also traders who have six stores.  The outer face of the range of
hills above-named that faces the south, present a bold and perpendicular
front many hundred feet in height, half-way down; then it slopes at an
angle of fifty-five to the foot, which is the accumulation of soil
fallen from the upper cliffs; at the base a level sandy space of some
hundred feet, clear of bush, similar to our sea-coast sands; and beyond
for thirty miles the country is almost level, but thickly wooded.  The
principal formation of these hills is sandstone, the stratification is
almost horizontal, but dips towards the north.  The entrance on the
eastern side is most interesting, and showing the action of the sea on
the outer face of the lofty cliffs, which were exposed to its force.
Half-way up one of the faces, 400 feet above the base, is a large cave
extending some distance into the hill; the entrance is shaped like the
portal of a castle, with perpendicular sides fifty feet wide and seventy
feet in height, the rock round and smooth on both sides of the entrance.
The interior has several chambers, similar in form to many caverns
along the rocky shores in various parts of the world formed by the
action of the waves.  The land-face of this ancient harbour, the hill,
rises 400 feet at an angle of 30 degrees.  On the summit is another
extensive level space, surrounded on the west and east by lofty rocks;
the north is open to the level country beyond.  On this open ground the
main portion of the town of Molapololo is situated, and the residence of
the chief Sechele, who has two well-built houses furnished after
European fashion: an entrance-hall, fitted up with weapons of war, a
dining and drawing-room, bedrooms and offices, sideboards, tables,
chairs, with the usual glasses, decanters, silver stands, and such
things as are required in a dining-room.  The drawing-room has sofas and
lounging-chairs, pictures, and everything nice--quite as comfortable as
any house I have ever been in in South Africa, except in the principal
towns in the colony.  Sechele dresses well in English clothes, and his
eldest son, Sebele, is also a well-dressed, handsome Kaffir.  In 1866,
when I first saw Sechele, he was not so particular in his dress, and
most of his people had skin dresses; now many wear English clothes of
the best quality.  I am describing now the state of the natives in 1880,
my last visit.  But now since the Transvaal has been handed back to the
Boers, trade has become paralysed and little or nothing is doing with
the colony, as the Transvaal Boers have closed all the interior roads,
and not only done so, but robbed and burnt traders' waggons on their way
to the interior, and driven the traders out of Montsioa's and
Monkuruan's territories, and by their lawless acts have devastated the
country.

At my last visit but one, in 1877, I was received with great kindness,
and as an old friend, by Sechele, who had on former occasions shown me
great kindness and hospitality.  I arrived at the town on Sunday
afternoon, the 1st of September, after suffering much from want of
water, and bad grass, since leaving Masepa.  I called on the Rev.  Mr.
J.  Moffat, and then returned to my waggon, where I found Sechele's
brother, who had been sent by his chief, inviting me up to see him.  On
Monday morning I walked up to his house; he was sitting in his kotla
with his councillors, then stood up, shook hands, took my arm without
speaking, and walked to his house, a few steps from the kotla, as the
enclosure is called where he and his councillors transact business, and
took me into his drawing-room, seated me beside him on the sofa, still
holding my hand, and ordered coffee.  After giving him the particulars
of my journey and the news of the country, he asked me to take dinner
with him, and was pleased to see me.  The table was laid similar to any
white man's--stewed beef and pumpkins, Kaffir beer, for which he is
famous.  Then had I to listen to all his troubles respecting the chief
Linsey, who lives at Kgamanyane or Motsode, a station forty-two miles on
the east of Molapololo, who had robbed him of all his cattle, and he was
now a poor man.  Having examined some papers he placed in my hands, I
gave him an outline of my journey to the Matabeleland, and left him with
a promise to see him on my return from up-country, to give the news.
Such is the chief the British people look upon as a savage, and many out
here call a wily old fox, because he is guarded in what he says and
does; and can any one be surprised at his reticence when he has so many
enemies in the Boers, who are watching for the first chance to make war
on him and his people in their thirst for land and plunder?  He has
always been a good friend to the English, and recent events have taught
him to be more than careful how he acts, seeing that no dependence can
be placed on the English Government in relation to South African
affairs; and such is the feeling of all the great chiefs from the
Zambese down to the Cape Colony.

A more romantic position for a native town could not well be chosen, and
with little labour this natural fortress could be made impregnable.
Many of the women wear petticoats, others still retain their skin
dresses with bead and brass ornaments; and if left alone, without fear
of Boer invasion, these are the most happy people in the world.  The
English people have hitherto been looked upon as friends and protectors,
and as one of them I felt proud of my country.  But since the Transvaal
rebellion and its retrocession, an Englishman is ashamed to travel the
country, to be subject to the taunts of the chiefs and people at the
boasted honour of England.  As I have stated, the people are the most
happy of the human race--having no cares, no great division of classes,
no extravagant fashions or forms to keep up.  Luxuries of civilised life
are unknown.  They have their amusements, their nightly music and
dances, the usual reed band already described; the women and children
sing, and keep excellent time to the music; their clear and musical
voices are pleasant to hear.  The duty of the men is to attend to the
oxen and cows, make karosses and clothes, hunt and work with their
waggon and spans, fetching in the corn when ripe, bringing in wood for
the fires; the boys look after the calves and goats.  The women cook,
bring water, hoe the gardens, and keep the birds away, and cut the corn
when ripe--the labour being so divided, all goes on pleasantly.  Sechele
assists the missionary in his services at the church, which is a large
building in the upper town.  A few days previous to my visit a troop of
young elephants marched up to the kraal from the Kalahara desert, having
lost themselves--a very unusual occurrence, as they seldom come down so
far south.  The natives turned out and shot them, causing great
excitement.

In Sechele's territory there are no other stations of any size; he has
many smaller kraals in outlying districts, and several cattle-posts
belonging to Kaffirs, some of whom are rich in stock.  Four roads branch
from Molapololo to the north, one passing through the desert to Lake
N'gami, two direct to Ba-Mangwato through the Bush Veldt, a fourth _via_
Motsode, by continuing down the Notuane river; another, making a fifth,
taking the river road by the Limpopo.  The distance by the direct roads
to Mongwato is 133 miles.  In the dry season most of the
transport-waggons take the river road, as water is always to be
obtained.  In the direct roads, many of the pans dry up; only at Selene
Pan can water be procured, which is eighty-eight miles from Sechele's,
and forty-five from Mongwato.  All that part of the country is very
pretty; there are no hills, small koptjies are numerous.  The trees and
bush that grow in such park-like clumps, of great variety, add to its
charm.  The first year I travelled that road, eighteen years ago, the
whole country swarmed with game, lions, and wolves, that is, at the time
I speak of.  The koodoo, with fine spiral horns from three to four feet
in length, is a noble animal, the size of an ordinary ox, of a dun
colour; their fine action when trotting or on the gallop, carrying their
heads well up, is a fine sight.  Hartebeests, roibok, with their
beautiful fat sides and sleek coats.  Well-marked with black stripes and
white is the zebra, and when a troop of a hundred or more pass, it is a
picture in itself.  The ostrich was then plentiful, but it was difficult
to run them down where the trees grow so thick, with bush between.

I had a young and fleet horse who got quite used to hunting them; if he
saw any, it was difficult to keep him in hand, and in a country of thick
bush, wolf-holes, and ant-bears, it required great caution to prevent a
tumble of both horse and man.  The best plan I found was to stalk them
between the bushes.  I had a narrow escape with a lion on one of my
ostrich hunts.  When chasing them at full speed, I had to leap a low
bush, no other opening being near; when half-way over, I saw a lion on
the other side close under the branches, who raised himself as if he had
been asleep--I partly passed over him.  All I had time to see was his
great head and mane as he jumped up, but I was off and away before he
seemed to realise his position; at any rate he did not give chase, as I
thought he might do.  I think my horse had some inkling of the same, for
he stretched out at his full speed.  At night they became very
troublesome, prowling round the waggon, keeping us awake to prevent them
coming disagreeably close to the oxen and two horses fastened securely
by reins to the trektow and waggon.  Not being hunted, they were very
bold.  One night they killed a beautiful gemsbok within 100 yards of the
waggon; the long straight horns I secured the next morning.

Several Bushmen and their families kept with me during my stay in these
parts, and were of great assistance in fetching water, cutting up the
flesh to make biltong by drying it in the sun, and bringing in the game
when shot.  Some of the Bushmen and women were well-made, the old ones
poor specimens of humanity.  One girl was a perfect model, with rounded,
well-formed limbs, and in good condition from living on the game the men
killed with their bows and arrows.  These people were quite black and
small, a different type altogether from the Bushmen of the south.  They
were of the same family as those who occupy a great portion of the
Kalahara desert, of which this forms the eastern part.  Their language
is also different; they are called Mesere Bushmen from their small size;
that word signifies woman.  They were perfectly naked, the weather never
being cold, at this time the thermometer being 102 degrees in the shade.
Their long rough grass huts being a broken bough or a few sticks stuck
up and long grass thrown over.

They have a very ingenious method of taking game by pitfalls.  They dig
four or five pits eight feet deep, ten long and four wide, fifty or
sixty and sometimes 100 feet from each other, not in a straight line,
but so placed that when they make a fence from one to the other it would
form the letter V; at the point would be the pit, and no hedge, so that
an animal wanting to pass through would walk down to the opening, and as
the pit would be beautifully covered over with small sticks and grass,
made a very inviting road to walk over.  It was at one of these openings
I had a very narrow escape of my life.  Returning to my camp after a
long day out after game, I came upon this fence, seeming an opening, and
not having seen any before, I was going through, my dog in front, when I
saw him disappear all at once, howling as dogs will howl when hurt or
frightened.  Dismounting, I pulled away some of the sticks to make the
hole larger, and found one of these pits, with a large sharp-pointed
pole stuck upright in the centre, and there was the dog at the bottom in
a great state of mind; but how to get him out was a puzzle.  As there
were several long straight branches that formed the hedge, I got
sufficient to put in that I might go down to take hold of the dog's neck
and lift him out, which took me an hour to perform.  I took care to give
these hedges a wide berth when I saw any afterwards.  If a giraffe or
elephant fell in he would be impaled and unable to move.  Smaller game
like my dog are caught alive.  If I and my horse had gone in, he would
have been impaled, and I should have been probably killed.

The Bechuanas have another method of catching game by pitfalls--at least
many years ago it was in use, where instead of securing one, they
trapped hundreds at one time.  In those extensive open plains, where
tens of thousands of the antelope species roam, a favourable spot would
be selected, and from eight to twelve large pits dug, ranged in a row
fifteen feet apart, the earth taken out to the depth of five feet, and
thrown up between them, forming a steep bank; at the bottom of this pit,
it would be divided into smaller pits, two feet in depth, leaving a wall
of earth between each; these would be square, and three in a row.  The
full size of the opening would be about thirty by twelve feet, placed
longways.  These would occupy a considerable space; at the extreme ends
a thick bush hedge would prevent the game leaping over, and several
hundred men placed in addition to prevent the animals going round.  When
all was prepared, men would drive the game by thousands towards the
pits, and as they were pressed on by those behind they made for the pits
to escape, where they would fall in, and having no foothold in the small
square pits above-named, had to remain.  Hundreds passing over them,
also got fixed, until the pits were full.

Then the grand slaughter commenced; as many as 1200 have been caught at
one time.  All the men, women, and children set to work; fires made,
cooking begins, the skins taken off, and the meat cut up into lengths
and hung up to dry in the sun for future use; not a marrow-bone is
wasted, and it takes days to complete the work.  This practice has been
given over for years, but the pits still remain, some very perfect,
which I measured.  The Dutch name is "fungcut," the Kaffir name "hopo."
The game driven into these pits would be composed of all kinds common to
the country.  The Bechuanas have guns and shoot the game, and have
become very good shots.

At Molapololo when the people get short of meat, a hunt is got up to go
out for weeks to shoot game.  Thirty or forty men, each with a gun, and
pack-oxen, with several waggons, proceed to the Kalahara, where game is
always to be had, and when they have procured enough meat or biltong to
load up the oxen, they return home.  Many women and children go in the
waggons with them; it is a grand picnic.  I was with them on one
occasion when we had a lion-hunt, and we killed three out of seven, but
four of the Bechuanas got fearfully wounded.

I was outspanned about 100 miles on the north-west of Sechele's, near a
very pretty pan full of water, it being the rainy season in February,
when one of these hunts came along, and outspanned a short distance from
my waggon.  The night previous we had been on the watch, as lions kept
prowling about the waggons, but could not see any, the night being very
dark.  The next night the Kaffirs lost one of their largest pack-oxen,
and as we saw by the spoor that there were several, the Kaffirs came to
me, they knowing me very well, and asked if I would go with them and
hunt up the lions, as we had several good dogs to drive them out of the
bush.  We mustered in all twenty-two guns--myself and my driver, a
Hottentot, a capital shot, and twenty of the hunting party.  Leaving the
camp about two p.m., we took the lions' spoor for nearly a mile into a
small koppie with thick bush.  The best part of the sport was to see the
Kaffirs in their excitement, as if they had never seen a lion before; my
fear was they might shoot me in their anxiety to have a shot and be the
first to kill; every man had his place assigned him, but we could not
draw the lions out of their cover; the dogs made a great noise, but
would not go in.  Finding they would not move, I placed three Kaffirs in
a good position for them to keep firing with their rifles into the most
likely part; this after a time brought four lions out, three others
slunk away to the rear.  Two had evidently been hit by the bullets, for
they made for the nearest Kaffirs, whom they seized.  Three were killed,
having received seven to eight shots each; those that made their escape
were young, only half-grown.  This was a glorious day for the Kaffirs,
to go home and tell their chief and friends of their bravery.

All this part of the Kalahara belongs to and is in Gaseitsive's
territory, a country nearly 200 miles square; the northern part from
Molapololo is a complete forest, fine trees, bush and open glades, and
is his hunting-ground, where his people procure ostrich feathers, skins,
and game, and also ivory.  It was, when I first knew it, full of game,
but since the natives have obtained rifles, they have greatly reduced
it.  The Notuane river and its branches drain the country belonging to
Sechele and Gaseitsive, and is a tributary of the Limpopo.  Fifty miles
to the east of Molapololo is a large Kaffir station, Chene Chene, within
the latter territory, under the chief Maklapan.  A beautiful and
picturesque hill stands close to it, which is visible at a great
distance.  The whole country is forest and full of game.  The town is
twenty-nine miles south from Motsodie.  The river road to the interior
from Molapololo passes through a very pretty and interesting part of the
country, a long range of low thickly wooded hills on the left.
Twenty-two miles on the road from Molapololo is Clokan, a small stream,
another branch of the Notuane, where water seldom fails.

On my last journey I found a trader, a Mr. Okenshow, outspanned, who
told me several lions had killed three blue wildebeest the previous
night, and advised me not to let my oxen go out of my sight in the thick
bush.  This spot is famed for beautiful birds.  After shooting some
pheasants and four of these little beauties.

I went on and passed another small stream call Koopong, thirteen miles,
and then to Motsodie, the large Kaffir station under the chief Linsey,
which is forty-two miles distant from Molapololo; he cautioned me to
look after my horses and oxen, for the country was full of lions, and
they were so bold they came close up to the town.  They follow the game,
more particularly quaggas or zebras, and, as there were plenty of them,
also koodoos, hartebeest, and wildebeest.

Previous to my first visit, a chief named Kgamanyane left his country on
the east side of the Limpopo river, crossed over and settled at this
station, with all his people, by permission of Sechele, and built a
large station up among several hills, that it might be well protected in
case of war with any tribe.  At his death, his son Linsey ruled jointly
with his uncle, and claimed the country as his own, and began stealing
Sechele's cattle and killing his herds; this led to war between them;
several attacks were made by the latter on the town, but they were
driven off, with a few killed, and so the war for a time was ended.
This was the trouble Sechele told me of.  The town is well selected for
defence, the hills command every approach to it.  Linsey lives in a
brick house, and he and his people dress in European clothes.  There is
a mission station under the London Missionary Society.  The people are
very civil and ready to help strangers.  Close up to the town are some
very large ant-hills, fifteen feet in height, and forty feet in
circumference at the base, terminating in a sharp point.  They are the
work of the small white ant that is so destructive to furniture and
buildings; what motive they have for building them so lofty and pointed
I have never been able to discover, because all their food supply is
conveyed into it through little holes at the base.  They are wonderful
works for so small an insect.  I remained here a week that I might
explore the country, which is of sandstone formation, granite below,
iron-conglomerate in large boulders on the slopes of the hills.

There are two roads to the Limpopo river, one on each side of the
Notuane, and another through the Bush Veldt, to the Great Marico river,
with branch roads to Chene Chene, Ramoocha, and Rinokano stations, the
two former ones being very bad and crossing many sluits.  I took the one
through the Bush Veldt.  Leaving Motsodie in the afternoon, I crossed
the river, and as night would be dark, outspanned early, to be prepared
for any nocturnal visits from our feline friends.  Fixing upon a pretty
little open space, the only one I could find along the road, as it was
one dense bush on both sides, I outspanned, and made everything ready,
collecting plenty of wood to make big fires.  Having made a fire to cook
our evening meal, my three Kaffirs, or rather my Hottentot driver and
two Kaffirs, were sitting smoking over it, and having seen all secure,
were ready to turn into bed, when my driver, a first-class boy, called
out there were lions coming on.  He was the first to hear them--their
noise is not to be mistaken when once heard.  Having listened some time,
the sounds, which on a still night can be heard a long distance off,
appeared to be approaching.  Our first care was to replenish the fire
and pile up wood for two more, bring the foremost oxen close up to the
waggon, making them fast to the wheels; the horse was placed between the
waggon and fire, fastened to the front wheels, and more wood collected.
During this time the lions appeared to be nearing us.  After lighting
the other two fires, I gave the boys a rifle each; myself and driver
took up our position on the front waggon-box, that we might have a
better view.  The night being very still, not a sound was heard, except
occasionally from our friends, as they evidently were very near.  When
about one o'clock in the morning the sounds ceased altogether; then we
knew they had discovered us, and meant mischief.  The last sounds
appeared to be about 300 yards distant.  This was an exciting time, for
at any moment we might expect them in our midst, and to seize some of
the oxen or the horse.  All was still as death, except when the Kaffirs
threw more wood on the fires.  After waiting nearly an hour, the first
indication of their presence was the restlessness of the oxen and horse,
having scented them in the still air; but with all the glare of the
fires they were not visible, the bush being so thick.  We each took our
rifles and stood between the oxen and the wood.  The first warning sound
was from my Hottentot driver, Dirk, who called out, "Look sharp," and
the next moment the report of his rifle.  I was standing by his side,
and saw the lion, not thirty paces from us, turn round, when I gave him
a second bullet.  He appeared to be severely wounded, as he only
retreated a little distance, when he received a third from my driver,
which brought him to the ground, and another in the head to make sure: a
fine, full-grown lion.  The other we never saw, he must have made his
escape at the first shot.  Early in the morning, to save time, I had him
skinned, and inspanned to make my morning trek before breakfast.  Two
treks a day, morning and evening, nine miles each, if possible, but in
this country you must be guided by water.  The smell of the lion-skin at
the back of the waggon made the oxen trek so fast that it was difficult
to keep them under command.  It is a very strange fact that calves born
in the colony, grown into oxen, that have never seen or smelt a lion,
should be so frightened at even the smell.  Instinct, I suppose, tells
them they are no friends.  Those who have never seen a lion in his wild
state can have no idea what a noble-looking animal he is.  My driver
Dirk was elated at having given the first shot, being the first lion he
ever shot at.  Every night in these parts we heard them at a distance.
Wolves came every night.  A few nights after, one came close to the
waggon about midnight, not thirty yards away.  I merely took my rifle as
I sat up in my bed and shot him in the chest--one of those large-spotted
brown sort.  They smelt the raw meat at the back of the waggon.  Wild
dogs also this year came in large packs; they may be seen in one
district for a short time, then they disappear for months.  It is the
same with the lions.  The tiger (leopard) seldom leaves his haunts.

The distance from Motsodie to the Great Marico river road is forty-seven
miles, from thence to the junction of the Notuane river with the
Limpopo, seventy-four miles.  On the road from whence I crossed the
Notuane river to the Great Marico road, the country is very dry and
sandy, but the bush in places is very lovely.  A great fire was raging
on our right and coming down upon us with a strong wind; there was no
means of escaping it, as high grass was in every direction, by trying to
get past it; I therefore held still, set fire to the grass on our left
of the road, which went blazing away at a great speed, that soon cleared
a large extent of ground, where I brought my waggon into a safe
position; if I had not done this, the waggon and all would have been
destroyed.

These grass-fires are very injurious to vegetation, killing the young
trees and causing grass of a very coarse kind.  This transport river
road in dry weather is splendid, level and free from stones; some of the
sluits are bad to cross.  At the junction of the Great Marico river with
the Limpopo is a drift through the latter, and a pinkish granite crops
up on its banks.  Wishing to have a swim, I took my towels from the
waggon, and walked towards the river.  On arriving at the bank, which is
some fifty feet above the water, I saw on the sand beneath me a fine
crocodile, on the opposite sand-bank, for the water was very low, three
others basking in the sun below me, and two in the water, with a part of
their heads and backs out.  Those on the opposite side saw me first, for
they moved towards the water slowly, and entered it and disappeared,
without making the slightest ripple in the water; their bright colours
made them look anything but ugly.  I thought it advisable to defer my
bath to some more favourable opportunity.  At this point Sechele's
territory terminates and the chief Khama's begins.

At the junction of the Notuane and Limpopo there are two drifts.  At the
upper one I had to repair before I could take my waggon through, which
caused me a day's delay; I therefore fixed my camp under a very pretty
clump of trees on the bank, where we were in the evening fully occupied
in shooting wolves, this being a very noted place for them.  Having shot
a hartebeest in the morning, we employed the evening in making biltong
of the flesh, and placed it on the branches of the trees to dry, as it
was getting dark, for in this latitude (23 degrees 30 minutes),
immediately under the Tropic of Capricorn, night sets in very soon after
sundown.  Several wolves came round the waggon; I thought at first in
the dim light they were dogs, but soon discovered my mistake.  We then
made a plan to catch them, by placing two pieces of the raw meat about
fifty yards from our camp, fastening them to a stump of a tree, just
before the moon rose at ten o'clock, that we might see them when they
came; then we all took up our position with our rifles, and waited.
About eleven o'clock three large ones were seen coming from out of the
wood towards the baits, which they soon found and seized, but the pieces
were too firmly tied for them to take away, and then they began fighting
over them, when two more made their appearance, creating quite a scene.
It was then time to fire, and our four bullets settled two; the others
before we could reload made off, although one was wounded as he made his
escape.  Bringing the two dead ones to the camp, we watched a short time
longer, when another was seen coming on, and when in the act of trying
to drag the meat away, we shot him also, and another soon afterwards,
making four, and very large ones.  The next day they were skinned, as
they are very useful for many purposes, and the day after, I shot a
crocodile as he seemed asleep on the bank.  He measured eleven feet.
Being only a short distance from the Limpopo river, which is broad and
in places very deep, these reptiles seem to swarm; and its well-wooded
banks give shelter to hundreds of monkeys, and also to many beautiful
birds.

At the junction of the Notuane river with the Limpopo, the altitude is
2880 feet at the drift, which is one of the main roads from Pretoria in
the Transvaal to the trading-station Mongwato, and the chief Khama's
capital; the distance by road from the drift is seventy-three miles.
The territory of Sechele, which also includes those portions now claimed
by the petty chiefs Linsey at Motsodie, and Maklapan at Chene Chene, are
valuable and well-wooded districts, with many native kraals; the people
cultivate the land, use ploughs, and grow corn which supplies largely
the inhabitants on the border of the Transvaal, and is taken in exchange
for English goods through traders from the Cape Colony, and they also
rear large herds of cattle.  If a settled form of government is
established, and Boer invasions put down, the country will soon become
highly valuable as a market for British merchandise, as the natives are
very industrious, and quite alive to the importance of trade; most of
the beautiful karosses that find such a ready sale in the home markets
are made by the Bechuana people.  In all these chiefs' territories they
are excellent mechanics, manufacturing tools and utensils from native
iron, and good forges are now being introduced.  They have hitherto used
for heating their metal, air-bags, connected by a tube, one placed under
each arm, which they press to their side, which causes a blast
sufficient to melt or heat the metal, which they hammer into form with
stones.  But this primitive mode is going out of use, and the ordinary
bellows is being adopted.  They purchase extensively of colonial
traders, iron pots, kettles, saucepans, and tin utensils, as also every
kind of wearing apparel, and if the country is protected from Boer
marauders, the British merchant may look forward at no distant date to
an extension of trade in these regions, over and above the present
sales, up to several millions annually, as the great stride towards
civilisation during my time has been most satisfactory.  Twenty years
ago, where one trader's waggon went in, in 1880 there were fifty, which
was stopped on the retrocession of the Transvaal to the Boers, when a
collapse took place, and has continued through the murderous attacks and
robbery of the Boers on the natives, but which, I trust, will now be put
an end to by the British Government proclaiming a protectorate over all
this extensive and valuable region.

CHAPTER TEN.

THE CHIEF KHAMA'S TERRITORY OF THE BAKALIHARI TRIBE OF THE BECHUANA
FAMILY.

From the last outspan on the Notuane, at the junction of the Limpopo,
mentioned in the last chapter, the road for eight miles is close to the
bank of the Limpopo river, where I had some fishing, but instead of
catching any fish, I caught a young iguana, two feet long, and had great
difficulty to land him.  It was necessary to kill the beast to release
the hook.  At the bend of the river the road turns north-west, and goes
on to Ba-Mangwato.  There are several cattle-posts at the bend belonging
to Khama's people and the traders at that station; and also immense
ant-hills, of the same kind as those at Motsodie.  I measured one,
twenty feet high and nearly sixty feet in circumference, made by these
little white ants; my waggon looked quite small beside it.

The climate here is very peculiar, hot sun, 99 degrees in the shade,
with cold blasts of wind every four or five minutes in regular waves,
reducing the heat to 70 degrees, which we feel very cold.  This is one
great cause of rheumatism and fever.  To-day was almost melting with
heat; I took shelter under the waggon, but had not been there three
minutes when I had to get into the waggon, being so cold from the wind,
which feels as if it came from a frozen region.  If in a violent
perspiration, fever comes on, if care is not taken to prevent a chill.
The road from this place to Mongwato is fifty-five miles.  In the dry
season there are only three places where water can be obtained.


On one of the tributaries of the Limpopo is a circular rock in the
veldt, no other stones near it, fifteen feet in diameter, and similar in
shape to a ball cut through the centre, and placed on the ground, only
it belongs to the rock beneath the soil.  This rock has been covered
with carvings, the greater portion of which is nearly smooth by large
animals rubbing against it, giving it quite a polish.  Sufficient lines
are left to show it has been well cut with some sort of figures, and on
one side where it curves in a little, and is out of the way of
elephants, rhinoceros, and other animals, the carvings are nearly
perfect.  They represent paths with trees and fruit on each side; upon
one is a snake crawling down with a fruit or round ball in its mouth,
near it is a figure, and a little distance off another figure with
wings, almost like an iguana, flying towards a man who is running away;
his left foot is similar to that of a horse, the right one has two
points--evidently Satan; the intermediate spaces have many stars.  The
upper part of the stone has, in the centre, a small hollow of a
cup-shape, with two circles of the same round the centre one.  It is a
very interesting monument, and appears to be very old, from the fact of
the other portions being partly obliterated by the rubbing of animals
against it.  The rock is very hard and similar to those geologists call
igneous.  There are many rocks of the same description, with carvings of
animals, snakes, and figures on them, and from their position they have
been preserved from animals defacing them.  In several parts of the
country many of them are well executed.

A few days previous to my arrival here in 1877, three Boers, with their
waggons, were endeavouring to find a new drift in the Limpopo river, and
went in to cross to the opposite side.  They had nearly reached the
bank, when the foremost looked round and saw a large crocodile come up
from the water and seize the head of the last man between his jaws, and
disappear with him.  His name was Herman, a married man, twenty-six
years of age.  Nothing more was seen of him but blood in the water.  His
widow, a few months after, consoled herself with another husband.  At
this time, soon after the British Government had annexed the Transvaal,
the Boers, wherever I met them, were always friendly--so much so, that I
have often been invited to take one of their daughters for a wife.  They
were rather proud to have an Englishman for a son-in-law.  I was
outspanned not many weeks back at a very pretty pool of water, or
spring, the water of which fell into the Notuane river, in what is
termed the Bush Veldt, that I might have a little shooting.  The second
day an old Boer and his wife came to me to ask if I would buy some
ostrich feathers, taking me to be a trader, for all Englishmen
travelling through the country will do a little in the way of barter;
therefore I told them if they were good I would.  When coffee was handed
to them as a matter of custom, they asked where my wife was.  On stating
I was single, the old vrow said I must have one of her daughters; she
had two mooi (pretty) girls, and would bring them the next day for me to
see when she brought the feathers.  Accordingly, the next day, true to
her promise, she came with the old man and her two girls to the waggon;
both very young, the eldest not more than seventeen, and not bad-looking
for Dutch girls, apparently very modest and shy, with a conscious look
of what they were brought for.  After settling about the feathers, the
old mother pointed out her daughters to me, and told me, pointing to the
eldest, she would make me a mooi vrow, and that she had a farm of her
own and some stock.  Both the girls, sitting together by their mother,
looked down and giggled every now and again, giving me sly glances from
beneath their cappies (the usual covering for the head for old and
young), and then another giggle.  They had evidently been got up for the
occasion by their smart dresses, well-made English boots, and clean
white stockings, to show off a pretty foot and ankle, which certainly
they both possessed, and were not backward in showing.  This is very
unusual, they generally have clumsy feet.  When at home these articles
are never worn, only leather shoes called veldtscoons, which the men
make.  They say--which is quite true--that stockings are dirty when you
walk about in a sandy country.  However, after a long visit, coffee and
biscuits, I arranged that on my return I would come and pay them a
visit, and talk over the matter, as my opinion was either of them would
make excellent vrows, and left the best of friends.  The old woman's
last words were, "You can take my daughter as soon as you come for her,"
and an encouraging glance from the daughter terminated this interesting
meeting, enhanced, as it was, by the anticipation of having the felicity
soon to possess so charming a young lady.  I have had many such offers
from Boers, who were favourable to Englishmen at that time.  However,
unfortunately my pursuits called me in another direction.

The country between the Limpopo and Ba-Mangwato, the chief Khama's
station, is very pretty, plenty of guinea-fowls, partridges, and pows.
Far away from the road on the left, seven miles from the bend of the
Limpopo, is a large pan where lions are always known to be, and beyond
is Brakwater, where ten years before I lost an ox from out of my cattle
kraal one dark night when outspanned.  It is the custom, with all
travellers when in the Lion Veldt to kraal their cattle at night.
Seventeen miles beyond Brakwater are the Khamitsie Pits, where water
seldom fails, and close to them is a large dry pan quite a mile in
length.  The road passing round at the upper end, and fifteen miles
beyond, winds through the veldt into the ancient river-bed leading to
Mongwato.  The whole region for hundreds of miles is one continuation of
wood, inhabited by a few Bushmen.  The country for so many months
without water is uninhabitable, except at the springs.  The distance by
this river road from Molapololo to Mongwato is 164 miles.

Ba-Mangwato, or Shoshong, is the chief town of Khama.  The chief Sekomo
ruled at this station, until Machin, his brother, drove him from the
chieftainship, and at Machin's death, after considerable fighting,
Khama, son of Sekomo, became the chief of the people over this
territory.  They belong to the Bakalihari tribe of the Bechuana family.
It is a very important station, situated at the foot of a long range of
beautiful hills, and up an opening in the range, where an ancient
river-bed passes through, and where the mission station and church are
situated, it is one of the most romantic valleys in this part of the
country.  When I first knew the station, the Rev.  Mr. Mackenzie had
charge, now the Rev.  Mr. Hepburn lives in a very comfortable house up
this kloof.  The hills are formed of various kinds of sandstone of a
brown colour.  At the back, some distance beyond the church, is a very
singular hill, with a perpendicular cliff on the upper portion.  The
stratification makes it look like a regular wall, with its horizontal
layers so regularly placed.  In Sekomo's and Machin's time the town was
much larger, but since the wars it is considerably diminished.  The
chief Khama lives in the lower town, and has only one wife, being a good
Christian and a great help to the missionary.  The traders' stores are
also in the lower town, and form quite a little village by themselves.
Messrs. Francis and Clark have a fine store, and a building which is
occasionally used as a concert-hall by the traders, who sometimes muster
in considerable numbers, and out of so many a good band is got together.
Most of those stationed there are splendid musicians, both vocally and
instrumentally, so that many an enjoyable evening is spent to break the
monotony of a life so far removed from the outer world.  They have also
their cricket matches, horse races, lawn tennis, football, and other
sports.  Mr. Hepburn is indefatigable in his mission labour in
civilising the natives, combined with the good example set them by the
traders at the station.  The chief Khama is a gentleman in every sense
of the word.  I have met him and felt much pleasure in his society.  He
has prohibited spirits being sold to his people, and on my last visit
but one he did me a great service, and helped me in the most kind way by
taking charge of my oxen when I had been two days without water, having
arrived at Mongwato expecting to obtain some, but there was not a drop,
not sufficient even for the people.  On hearing of my arrival, he came
down and took my oxen in his charge, sent them with one of his herds to
his cattle-post eighteen miles away on the river Mokalapse, to the north
of the town, and kept them there for twelve days, until I could trek to
Matabeleland.  He requires all travellers who enter his territory to
call upon him, that he may know who is passing through, in case they
require any help he can give.  Those who avoid doing so, if they get
into trouble, must get out of it the best way they can.  All the roads
from the south meet at Mongwato; one goes to Lake N'gami, another to the
Chobe, two to the Zambese, and one main road to the Matabeleland, with
branches leading to the Victoria Falls.

The people at one time were very unruly and troublesome to travellers.
In 1868 I was at the station when a trader came in with some brandy; we
outspanned close together outside the town.  The next day the traders at
the station, and there were some fourteen, indulged too much; one in
particular had so far forgotten himself as to take a leg of pork to the
kotla or council enclosure, where the chief Machin was sitting with his
councillors, and held the leg of pork in the chief's face, and asked if
he liked the smell.  These Kaffirs are like the Jews with respect to
pork.  This created an uproar in the station; the trader was severely
beaten, and the whole town turned out to kill all the white men.  They,
hearing of this, fortified themselves in their stores.  Hundreds of
Kaffirs paraded the town, visiting the waggons with their knobkerry and
assagai, threatening destruction to all the white men.  The course which
I thought best to take was to sit on my front waggon-box and smoke my
pipe; time after time hundreds surrounding my waggon, raising their
assagais as if to hurl them at me, and brandishing their kerries.
Knowing the Kaffir character pretty well, I went on smoking as if they
were most friendly, and seeing they could make no impression, they
rushed away to other parts of the town.  At last the chief sent round
some of his councillors to all white men, ordering them all out of the
town, bag and baggage, by four o'clock the next day.  Mr. Mackenzie, the
missionary, left the day before to go to England.  Not having anything
particular to do, I, with the trader who came in with me, inspanned in
the evening to trek towards Selene Pan, forty-five miles on the road to
Molapololo, which we reached the following afternoon, and all that night
and the next day traders came treking in, until thirty-six waggons had
assembled and nearly fifty span of oxen, which looked more like a
commando than traders flying from the wrath of a powerful chief.  It was
a very pretty sight.  The man who committed this insult was too ill to
be removed, and was left behind.  He recovered, and, I think, became a
wiser man.  If it had occurred a few years before, he would have been
killed, and the traders also.  He richly deserved the punishment he
received.  This will show that the Kaffirs at that time had been brought
under great control, for no greater offence could be given than an
insult to their chief.  Some little time after this affair, the chief,
when solicited, allowed the traders to return.

The chief Khama dresses well, and looks like a gentleman.  Many of his
people also dress, as well as the women.  They are strong and well-made;
some still wear their skin dresses and a profusion of beads and brass
rings, but I think in a few years these will be abandoned for European
clothes.  Begging is still largely practised, particularly for tobacco.
They cultivate corn, mealies, pumpkins, melons extensively, and have
large herds of cattle of all kinds, which are kept at the different
posts away from the town, and milk is brought in on pack-oxen to those
who have no cows.  They also make Kaffir beer from their Kaffir corn,
and, if well-made, it is very nice.  This is the only extensive interior
trading-station in this region.  There are other trading-stations
beyond: at Tati gold-fields, and in Matabeleland, and also at
Pontarnatinka, where Mr. G.  Westbeach has a large store, and others
beyond, and also on the north side of the Zambese river, where a large
and increasing trade is now being carried on by the English traders at
the chief Secheke's on the north side of the Zambese.

The main direct road from Molapololo to Mongwato runs north-north-east
through a bush country with fine trees.  The distance is 133 miles, and
very pretty, the formation being argillaceous limestone; most of the
hills are sandstone.  At a fountain at Koopan, twenty miles on this
road, are some large masses of sandstone rocks, standing out like walls
of an old castle that cover an extensive area.  In these rocks are many
fossil remains of seeds, nuts, shells, ammonites, and one trilobite,
also footprints of animals.  As it was impossible to obtain them, I
remained two days to make correct sketches and measurements, being most
interesting specimens.  In many parts of the interior, where this light
sandstone has been exposed by denudation, particularly in the deep beds
of those dry rivers in the Kalahara, footprints are very numerous, which
I have taken great care to copy, and also all the carvings on the rocks.
The other permanent waters on this road are Bartlanarme in the
chalk-pits, and Lepepe; also Selene pan.  Both are favourite localities
for the giraffe, and here I have remained several days to hunt them, and
was fortunate enough to shoot one out of five that were coming to drink.
Eight miles from Bartlanarme we shot two out of seven, and at another
time Mr. Hume, of Port Elizabeth, a hunter, came upon several, and shot
three from the saddle, from my horse, which I lent him.  One we had
brought to the waggon, and left the other two for the Bushmen.  The
flesh is very fine.  It is a pity such beautiful animals should be
destroyed merely for food and skins.  In this part almost every variety
of game is to be found.  Such a vast extent of open country--where the
white man is never seen beyond the transport road, and its inhabitants
Bushmen only,--extending in an uninterrupted forest westward 500 miles,
and the same in breadth, is no small hunting-ground to roam over for a
hunter to pick his game.  Twenty years ago, I may say up to 1875, game,
as well as lions, wolves, and other beasts of prey, were much more
numerous than at the present time.  In the north and west of Khama's
country up to the Zambese, along the Zouga river, are the great
Makarakara pans, and others; the large game, such as elephants,
rhinoceros, buffalo, and giraffe, were plentiful, but of late years many
hunters have been for months and scarcely met with any.

The country along the Zouga river is very level.  This river enters, or,
I may say, empties Lake N'gami, the altitude being 2813 feet, and flows
to the great pan above-named in April and May, and in June and July
flows into the lake.  The only outlet for the surplus water of the Zouga
is the Mababe river to the Chobe, one of the main streams of the
Zambese, and the water in the Mababe flows either way according to the
rainfall, showing the perfect level of the country.  Gigantic trees grow
along these rivers and the region adjoining; baobab, measuring 108 feet
in girth, the palms, mapana, and other tropical trees and plants.  A
great portion of this country the chief Khama claims, where there are
several kraals of the Makalaka, Batletle, Barutse, Bakalihari, and
others, also many of the Mesere Bushmen, and a few Hottentots and
Korannas.  This region is a portion of the Zambese basin, and the
northern part is infested with the tsetse-fly, the sting or bite of
which is fatal to horses and cattle; but I have been told by the
natives, that if calves and colts are bred in the fly-country, they are
proof to the bite.  We know that all the game in those districts are not
affected by the bite, and that may be the reason.

The sickly season is from September to May.  Many parts are open, with
little bush; another part of the desert is thick bush, and very scarce
of water in the dry season, and is a part of what is called thirst-land
(thirst) from the dryness of the country, and where the trek Boers
suffered so much in their journey to the westward in 1877.  In that year
I was at Mongwato, and came in for my share a few months later, when
there in October of that year.  Mr. Harry Shelton, who had a large store
at Leshulatebes station, Lake N'gami, was coming to Mongwato with
several of his waggons for goods, and two saddle-horses he had with him,
having treked 150 miles along the road which skirts the river Zouga; he
was obliged to leave his waggons and oxen, as no water would be found
between that place and Mongwato, a distance of 160 miles, and came on
with his two horses, but on the road was obliged to leave one of them
from exhaustion, and managed to come in with the other, and was obliged
to be lifted from the saddle on his arrival, having been nearly four
days without water.  On his return fourteen days after, he expected, of
course, to see the horse dead and eaten by lions; but he found him
standing by the same bush he was left at, and he recovered.  This shows
how long a horse may live under such circumstances.  Horses, however,
knock up far sooner than oxen from thirst.  The lions and wolves must
have forsaken the country as well as the game, otherwise the horse would
have been eaten.  Most of his oxen had died on his return, principally
from licking the moist mud in the pans and river.  When so many days
without water they cannot drink when brought to it.  The only means then
of preserving their lives is to throw buckets of water over them; but
this does not always succeed.  Such are the trials and hardships we have
to put up with in a region so liable to long seasons of drought, and
where the country is so destitute of springs or standing water.  But
with all these drawbacks there is a fascination that impels one on to
explore these remote and little-known regions.  The bright and clear
atmosphere, the lovely mornings and evenings for travelling, the
constant change of scene, the splendid tints of the sunsets, and variety
of foliage of the vegetation, the calmness of everything around, and the
constant excitement of strange game to be seen, is a pleasure we can
seldom enjoy, and, as I have before stated, the only true enjoyment in
Africa is waggon travelling in the interior, where time is not limited.

The watershed dividing the Zambese and the Limpopo basins runs to the
east of the great Makarakara pans, in a north-east direction through the
Mashona and Matabele country, and from the south-west to the Kalahara
desert near Kaikai Pits, the elevation being 4260 feet above sea-level.

The principal antelopes of this region are the eland, koodoo, gemsbok,
sable, and leechy or lechi, pallah, ourebi, bonte, rooy, reit, bush and
steinboks, springbok, hartebeest, giraffes, and grysbok, and the zebra,
and many other kinds, which are all to be found in different localities;
and legions of the ant-bear, porcupine, earth-wolf, earth-pig,
spring-hare, meercats, and other smaller animals; wild boar and wild
dogs are seen in large packs, sometimes only a few are together;
consequently with the larger game there is always plenty of sport to be
found, if hunting is the sole amusement; but, combined with natural
history, geology, and other sciences, an explorer has not much idle time
on his hands.  Locusts made this part their breeding-ground, depositing
their eggs by the million, and in October there would be immense tracts
of country covered with them several inches deep.  Before their wings
came, and as the waggons travelled along the roads, thousands were
killed at every turn of the wheels.  The natives eat them, and some
cattle are very fond of them also.  It is nearly seven years since any
have been seen in South Africa.  There are many kinds of wild teas found
in the veldt, which I have used for months, and like them.  Fine forests
of timber occupy a large portion of this region, other parts are more
properly termed bush, although many trees grow in them, and extensive
open plains.  The fine flat-topped kameel doom is very common, palms,
baobab, bockenhout or African beech, zuikerbosh, acacia, Kaffir orange,
ebenhout or ebony, yellow wood or yeelhout, knopjis, doorn or
lignum-vitae, cabbage tree, mahogany, sneezewood, wild olive and fig,
stinkwood, salicwood, Orlean wood or African oak, vittkut, mimosa thorn,
wagt-een-beitje, the African name is mongharn, and a host of other
trees; tuberous roots of many varieties, some eaten by the natives, and
are used medicinally, and others would make good paper--an endless
variety of herbs, of which we at present know but little.

The insect-world is legion; immense hairy spiders, and also the
trap-door spider is a wonderful creature, the mechanism of hinge, door,
and entrance are perfect works of art.

I was told by some of the people at Mongwato that there are in Khama's
territory over 200 cattle-posts, in addition to vieh-posts for sheep and
bucks.  The main and only transport road from Mongwato to the
Matabeleland passes along by the east end of the range of hills by the
town, through a thick bush to the Mokalapsie river, thirty miles, a
large and broad stream in the rainy season.  Upon its banks are many
cattle-posts, and it is much visited by lions.  From this river the road
continues in a north-north-east direction, crossing the metley or sand
river, Tuane, on to Chakani pan, distant from Mongwato fifty-four miles,
one of the most lovely spots on this road, where I spent three weeks
exploring.  I outspanned under a clump of trees close to the pan, but
had to shift my waggon into the open, the trees being full of
tree-toads, and large lizards occupied every hole in them.  The toads
would drop down on to my waggon and make themselves very comfortable on
my boxes and bed.  The large lizard had every look of being a dangerous
reptile to have a bite from.  They were beautifully marked, the front of
the head had a well-shaped heart of a silver grey, with a well-shaped
letter Y of a rich red brown.  I endeavoured to obtain a specimen, but
could not get them to come out.

There are some very fine specimens of the euphorbia and lotus trees away
in the bush, and also fine timber trees of other kinds.  My delay here
for three weeks was compulsory, as there was no water to be had beyond
this point for 150 miles.  This being part of the doorst land, and as
the season had been very dry, all the pans were empty.  I was compelled
to wait until the storms, which are usual at this time of year
(October), filled them.  The last week of my stay severe thunderstorms
were seen in the north every afternoon, which gave me hope of a good
supply on the road, and occasionally we had severe storms at the pan,
but not a drop of rain fell.  The lightning was terrific; and the
thunder following, rolling over the hills and forest trees, shaking the
very ground, was grand.  I always kept from three to four days' supply
of water in my waggons, in casks and iron cans, never leaving without
having them filled, which I personally looked to.  But in this case I
omitted doing so, thinking my driver would attend to it, as I had been
out early in the saddle after game, and arrived at the waggon as the
oxen were inspanned ready to go forward, as I fully believed water would
be plentiful; therefore, on leaving Chakani pan, I thought we were full
up with water, instead of which we had only a day's supply.  To give a
clearer insight what travelling is in a parched-up country like this,
where rain has not fallen for six months, I will quote from my journal a
week's trek through it.

_Tuesday, October 16th_.--Left Chakani pan at 9 a.m.  Travelled over
very heavy sand for nine miles to a large open vlei called Lemonie,
which, when full of water, is nearly a mile in length, a great resort
for wild-fowl and that beautiful bird the berg swallow, the size of a
dove, with a brilliant golden copper-colour plumage on the back, and
light salmon colour and sky-blue breast.  This pan is surrounded by
gentle rising ground with bush, where I endeavoured to secure some of
those small birds that are rare even here, being of a dark
golden-purple, and less in size than our common wren at home.  Finding
no water, I proceeded on to Lotsane river, nine miles, and outspanned
for the night; no water.  Found for the first time all our water-casks
empty, my driver having forgotten to fill them at Chakani pan.  Having
explored up and down the river without finding any, after one kettle of
coffee being made, went to bed, with the hope of finding water
to-morrow.

_Wednesday, 17th, 4 a.m_.--Sent my driver out and went myself to look
for water; no signs of any.  Treked three miles and outspanned to give
oxen a feed on green young grass, as they have not had water since
Monday afternoon.  Went without coffee this morning to reserve what
little we have for our mid-day meal, then it will be exhausted.  This is
the first time for twelve years I have been without water by my waggon.

_Thursday, 18th_.--Retraced my steps six miles, as I met a Boer with his
two waggons, who told me he had got a Bushman to show him where the oxen
could get water, about two miles off the road, in the bush.  Sent my
span and boys down to it, but the water was so muddy I could not drink
it; filled two bottles, such as it was.  The Boer told me I could get
good water eight miles beyond Phalasque vlei, the pan being a mile to
the right of the road, then I could get water along the road to carry me
to the Tati river; consequently, shall start early to-morrow to reach
it.

_Friday, 19th_.--Inspanned at 4 a.m.  No sign of rain, although plenty
of storms.  Treked on to Phalasque vlei; no water.  Then pushed on over
a fearful sandy road at the rate of one and a half miles an hour.
Thermometer 94 degrees in the waggon.  This is a God-forsaken country,
no people, no game, no birds, no water, nothing but hot sandy roads to
travel over, but beautifully-wooded and fine grass.  Reached the spot
described by the Boer, saddled-up to look for the pan, found two, both
dry.  Treked on another five miles, and outspanned for the night; no
water for man or beast; my forelooper drank up what little remained in
the night.  He is what is termed a Cape boy, a perfect beast in the way
of eating and drinking.  My driver, a Hottentot, is a fine fellow, good
at everything.

_Saturday, 20th_.--Sent Dirk forward early to look for water; went as
far as Suruly Kop, nine miles, where I had always found water in the
pan, but it was dry and hard.  It was now getting serious, as I knew if
this pan failed, there was very little chance of getting any this side
of Tati, so I turned back six miles and remained the night where I had
previously slept.  Fortunately the grass was young and green for the
oxen, which relieved them to some extent.  No water these last two days,
not a drop in the waggon; I have brandy, but could not take any, a small
teaspoonful the stomach would not retain.  To eat is out of the
question; I have tried several times, but cannot swallow.

_Sunday morning, 21st_.--Inspanned and retraced our steps six miles, as
I intend to return to Chakani pan, where I know there is water.  My
driver asked for his rifle, as he would take a bushman-path through the
bush, which he thought would lead to water.  He left me about 11 a.m.
All that day he never returned, which has given me great anxiety,
knowing the country swarms with lions.  All night kept firing off my
rifle that he might know my whereabouts.  At daybreak the wolves and
jackals began to let me know they were not far off.

_Monday, 22nd_.--Dirk, my driver, not returned.  I shall never see him
any more!  Passed a fearfully anxious night; my thirst is intense;
fourth day without a drop of liquid passing my lips.  To stay here is
death!  Set to work with my forelooper, inspanned the oxen, and
travelled night and day to reach Chakani.  Arrived at Phalasque vlei at
11 a.m.  Outspanned to give them a little green grass before going on.
No sooner were they free from the yoke than they started off through the
bush, evidently after water.  My loop-boy I sent after them to bring
them back, but instead of following them, he went behind some bushes and
sat down.  There I remained alone with my waggon in the dry veldt, my
driver, as I thought, killed by lions, and now my oxen gone, and my boy
nearly dead.  The weather intensely hot, 106 degrees in the shade.  I
have only one chance; leave the waggon and all my belongings to be
plundered by the Bushmen, and walk to Chakani, a distance of thirty
miles.  Whilst revolving this plan in my head, a Bushman came from under
the trees to me.  I made him understand I wanted him to fetch me a small
tin of water; I offered him powder, caps, and other things, worth about
two pounds; but he said it was far, pointing with his finger in the
direction, and left me.  I never saw him again.  Having made up my mind
to start the next morning by daybreak, with my rifle and a few biscuits,
for the water, as it would not be safe at night for lions, I heard some
footsteps coming on; looking in the direction, saw my driver Dirk
within, a hundred yards.  Never was I more pleased to see a human being,
and gave him a good shake of the hand, but he brought no water.  He told
me after he left the waggon, the day before, he walked on for hours
until it got dark, and he wandered about looking for water, so that he
lost the direction he came.  Hearing several lions, he selected a nice
tree and climbed up, where he spent the night, and shot two large
wolves.  At daybreak he climbed down and found five Bushmen looking
about; when they saw him they came up.  He asked for water, but they
said there was none, which Dirk believes was not true.  They wanted to
look at the gun, but he was wise enough to keep it from them; seeing he
was alone, they might have kept it.  However, he left them by the two
dead wolves, and managed to strike the road, and saw the spoor of my
waggon, and followed it down to where I was outspanned.  When I told him
of the forelooper and the oxen he said he would go at once and follow
their spoor, otherwise we should never see them again, and asked for a
little brandy to wash his mouth out, for he, as well as myself, could
not articulate plainly, and then started after them about 5 p.m.  I was
again left alone to pass another sleepless night, and the fifth day
without water or food.  I frequently rinsed my mouth out with brandy,
which kept my tongue from swelling.  It was a lovely moonlight night,
and, under other circumstances, I should have enjoyed it amazingly, for
the country round was peculiar for the many stone koptjies, 150 feet in
height, large masses of granite, piled up in most grotesque forms, with
flowering plants growing between them.  To pass away this anxious time I
took my rifles to inspect them; on my return I found my poor little
terrier dog on the point of death.  I took him up in my lap; and with a
piteous shriek he fell dead.  Poor little thing, he must have suffered
acutely.  My other dog, "Bull," died on Sunday, so here I am alone, 150
miles from any white man.  Once more passed the night smoking on my
waggon-box, the only thing that I could do, and about 11 a.m., on
Tuesday 23rd, as I was lying down in my waggon, I caught the sound of
oxen's feet on the road, which proved to be mine, with my driver and
forelooper bringing them on, and holding up a can to show me they had
water.  What a relief! we are saved!--for I was far too weak to walk
alone 150 miles, and carry a rifle and food for so long a journey.  My
driver told me after he left yesterday to follow up the spoor of the
oxen, he found my boy asleep under a bush, about a mile from the waggon,
and took him with him, and after six hours' walk came upon the oxen,
where they had been drinking at a kind of swamp in a valley, and some
twelve miles from the road we had travelled a few days before.  Five
Bushmen were driving them over the brow of the hill to be out of sight
of any one looking after them.--Dirk fired his rifle to give them notice
that some one was near, when the Bushmen dispersed out of sight, and he
brought back the oxen as before stated.  Five minutes later, and it
might have been too late.  It was a most fortunate recovery for us all,
and for me in particular.  The water, about three pints brought, was
worth much more to us than its weight in gold.  I took a few
tea-spoonsful at a time, and with the rest we made some tea, and soon
after inspanned and treked to Chakani pan, there to wait again for rain.
After we had been a week there a very singular affair occurred.  It
happened to be one of those dark stormy nights without rain; my driver
and the boy were sleeping in a tent attached to the waggon.  About 2
a.m. he woke me and said there was some kind of an animal wanted to get
under the waggon, being pursued by two others.  It had twice got under,
and being disturbed by the driver, left, but kept going round, still
followed by two others.  I was up with my rifle, for in these parts we
are soon ready for what may turn up.  At last the poor beast, whatever
it was, took safety between the two after oxen as they were fastened to
the waggon, and stood there quite quiet; the other two that followed
stood a little way off.  By stooping low to get the animal above the
horizon, we found it was a large rooi buck, and the others were wild
dogs that had been chasing it, until all three were completely
exhausted, and could run no more.  Jumping from the waggon I tried to
get a fair shot at the dogs, but the uncertain light prevented my making
a good shot.  While so engaged my driver shot the poor buck that had
come to us for safety, which I was very sorry for, as I wished to shoot
the dogs, which we could have done as daylight was near, and then I
would have let the poor beast go.  One dog I did shoot, the other made
his escape.  On looking round the waggon in the morning the whole ground
was covered with their spoor, and close to the waggon it was completely
trampled; they must have run at least twenty miles before they came to
us, from the exhausted state they were in.  The most remarkable
circumstance was that a buck in a wild country like this, seldom seeing
a waggon, should have had the sense to know, for it is not what is
called instinct, and should feel if he could get under the waggon, his
pursuers would be afraid to follow, and he would be safe, so came to us
for protection.  I was much annoyed that my driver shot him, for he
should certainly have had his liberty in the morning.

The foregoing will give a slight idea of some of the trials explorers
meet with in travelling through regions where water is so scarce.  I
remained at this pan up to 14th November; having consumed all the water
in it, and still no rain, fearful thunderstorms without any, I was
compelled to fall back on Mongwato, and retrace my steps fifty-four
miles to procure it.  During my long stay at this pan, I had very little
sport, a few rooi bucks and guinea-fowl, also pheasants, partridges, and
doves.  I was always out with my gun, and my oxen grazed where they
liked, knowing they would come for water once or twice a day, not
thinking for a moment there were any dangerous animals near.  But on the
14th, at 4 a.m., we were preparing coffee ready for a trek, when we saw
two of the largest wild pigs I ever fell in with, come down to drink,
not a hundred yards from the waggon, on the opposite side of the pan.
One we soon secured, having received two shots, the other quickly
escaped.  This delayed us until 7 a.m., when we treked, and had not gone
a quarter of a mile, passing a little stone kopjie, with beautiful
euphorbia and other trees, when we saw, as we thought, six rooi bucks
out on the outskirts of the wood, and 200 yards from the road.  Finding
they did not move, although they were looking at us, being in long grass
we were deceived as to the nature of the animals, and when we were
opposite we stopped.  I and the driver jumped off the waggon with our
rifles, with only one charge, and were walking up to them, when they
seemed to be walking down towards us.  I was about to fire when Dirk
called out, "Don't fire, they are tigers."  Lowering the rifle to have a
better look, sure enough they were six beauties, with their sleek
spotted coats, which made them look very handsome.  As we were at least
fifty yards from the waggon, if we had fired with no more ammunition,
and they had come down upon us, it would have been very awkward.  We
therefore stood our ground, watching them stretch themselves on the
ground, and then stand up, looking at us with heads erect, until they
quietly turned into the wood; and we followed their example, and turned
into the waggon.  It was no use attempting to follow them up, we were
only two, and could do very little, and they might have done a great
deal to us.  This hill is about a hundred and fifty feet high, and
almost daily I have walked round and over it with my shot-gun, and saw
nothing but guinea-fowl.  And so ended this little leopard affair, and
we proceeded on our way towards Mongwato, sadly inconvenienced for want
of water for the oxen.  But at Mokalapsie river, by digging two feet in
the sand between the granite rocks in its bed, we obtained it in
sufficient quantity to satisfy the oxen.

The lions have been a great trouble to those who keep cattle-posts on
this river-bank; the night before my arrival, they killed a horse
belonging to Mr. Francis.  Many singular isolated conical hills, over a
hundred feet in height, add greatly to the beauty of the scenery, but
are great covers for the lion and leopard.  Very warm, thermometer 102
degrees in the shade.  Everything very dry.  Pushed on to Mongwato for
water.  On my arrival there was told there was no water for oxen, and if
rain does not fall the people will have to leave the town and go down to
the Limpopo river.  The chief Khama came to me and said he would take
charge of my oxen and horse, and send them to the same kraal he sent
them before, if I would send a man to look after them, with one of his,
and keep them until wanted.  This kind offer was gladly accepted,
consequently I had to wait for rain.  On the 21st November a Boer came
in and told me rain had fallen in the north, and that I could now trek
up; but as the other Boer I had met on the road deceived me, I took no
notice of the information, and it turned out he wilfully deceived me.  I
spent many pleasant evenings with the Rev.  Mr. Hepburn and the traders
at the station, musical parties at Francis' store, and cricket matches
in the day.  Bought a muid of Boer meal, that is, wheat ground, for 4
pounds 10 shillings the 200 lbs.  A few days later we had a fine storm,
with heavy rain, and on the 26th started again for the north, and
arrived again at Chakani pan on the 30th, which was full of nice fresh
water, and found a troop of ostriches drinking at it.  From thence I
pushed on, the grass being burnt up by the drought, and arrived at
Gowkwe river, one of the tributaries of the Limpopo, as are all those I
crossed from Mongwato.  Two miles back from this, to the right of the
road, is the first baobab tree, a young one, twenty-seven feet in
circumference, with several large nests, each forming quite a town.  The
entire country is a thick wood, stretching in every direction hundreds
of miles.  The belief does not hold good in this region that forests
bring rain, for it is one of the driest parts of Central South Africa,
and has been named thirst-land, from its proverbial dryness, as my
experience can also testify.  From December to the following May water
may be obtained; the rest of the year it is like what I have already
described, consequently game is scarce in the dry season; it always
follows the rain.

From Gowkwe river the road continues on to the river Shasha, the
boundary the chief Khama claimed when he gave me his boundary-line, but
this the Matabele king disputes, and claims down to the Macloutsie
river, and, in fact, all Khama's country, from previous conquest, but
Khama holds possession.  The road from Gowkwe crosses several rivers
between it and the Shasha.  The Sand river is broad and pretty, and
falls into the Macloutsie, which is about the same size, tributaries of
the Limpopo.  They rise in the hill district of the watershed separating
the Zambese basin from the Limpopo.  The distance from Mongwato to the
Shasha by road is 163 miles, crossing the Shasha river, where we find
granite and gneiss rocks, the sand being very deep in its bed, which is
about 100 yards broad, with very steep banks on both sides.  No water is
ever found in any of these rivers, except in the rainy season, and then
it comes down with a rush, sometimes rising twenty feet, but lasts only
a few days or weeks.  This river, according to the chief Khama, is his
northern boundary, but this Lo-Bengulu, the Matabele king, will not
acknowledge.  However, after crossing the river, the road continues
north for six miles, and the Tati river is crossed, of the same size and
character as the Shasha.  On its northern bank is the Tati station,
where there are a few houses occupied by English traders, and a few Boer
families, and the ruins of the large building once the store of the Tati
Gold Company, under Sir John Swinbourne, which will be more fully
described in a future chapter.  The road branches off from the Tati
station, runs in a north-west direction nearly the entire way.  The main
road from Tati to Matabeleland runs nearly north.  The roads through the
western portion of Khama's territory leave Ba-Mangwato station and go
west for thirty-five miles, where the road branches off at Khabala
sand-pits from the Lake N'gami road, and continues north for 129 miles
until the large brak vlei Makarakara is reached.  Thirty miles from
Khabala pits there are two roads at Loata, which join again at Makwa
pits, a distance of sixty-four miles between the two.  Thirty five miles
beyond is Berg fountain, close to the great vlei above-named.  The road
continues along the eastern shore sixty-six miles to the north-east
point of the vlei, where the Nata falls into it.  From the crossing of
the Nata to Daka the road runs in a north-north-east direction, the
distance being 167 miles, passing many vleis; the principal ones treking
north are Veremoklane, twenty miles, great Ramakanyane, eighteen miles,
Tamakanya vlei, seventeen miles, Juruka vlei, Tamafo pan, Tamasibu vlei,
Stoffolds vlei, Henvicks vlei, Tabikies vlei, which is twenty miles
south of Daka.  The road to Panda-ma-Tenka is eighteen miles, where Mr.
George Westbeach has a large store, and is the principal trader for all
that region, even to beyond the Zambese river at Seshekes and the
country round.  He has a store there, and another nearer the Victoria
Falls, seven miles beyond his large store.  All this part of the country
is drained by sluits running to the Zimboya river, which is a small
tributary of the Zambese, which it enters about sixty miles below the
falls, together with another small branch, Lutuisi river, that falls
into the great river about ten miles below the Zimboya at a great bend
of the Zambese, both passing through Wankie's territory, which now
belongs to the Matabele king.  From Mr. Westbeach's great store to the
Victoria Falls is about thirty-two miles.  At the falls, or above the
fall, the river is nearly a mile in width, and is 2580 feet above
sea-level.  The perpendicular fall extends the whole way, falling into a
narrow fissure to some 200 feet in depth, but the opposite or lower side
is so close, and on nearly the same level with the upper fall, that it
is impossible to see the bottom from the perpetual mist or spray that
rises near the centre of the fall.  The outlet of the water passes down
a narrow gorge in a sort of zigzag shape, between lofty rocks, rushing
down at a great speed until the river opens out.  It is impossible to
take any accurate drawings of the falls, there is no position in which
an artist can take up a position to make an accurate drawing.  I have
seen many, but they are greatly deficient in portraying the falls as
they are, or giving a correct idea of their magnificence.  The island on
the south side immediately on the brink of the fall adds much beauty to
the scene.  The tropical trees and plants growing everywhere about add
an extra charm to the landscape.  Thirty-seven miles above the falls the
Chobe river, one of the main branches of the Zambese, comes in, which,
as described in the river basin system, forms the northern boundary of
the chief Khama's territory, that is, from the Victoria Falls to the
Chobe, up that river for forty-five miles, then crosses the desert to
the Sira pan on south, crossing the Zouga or Bot-let-le river to
Dorokarra kraal in a south-west direction to Makapolo vlei, which is the
extreme western point, then turns south-east, crossing the desert to
Selene pan, which is forty-five miles south of Mongwato, then down to
the junction of the Notuane and Limpopo.  South of this line belongs to
the chief Sechele, and the western boundary to the chief Molemo at Lake
N'gami.  The road from Walfish Bay to the Victoria Falls passes south of
this lake to Batuana town, where the chief Molemo rules, along the south
side of the Zouga to the town of Dorokarra, where it crosses on to the
north side, past the tree with feet, going east along by the pits and
pools, salt-pan, seven palms, to Mahutu, then turns nearly north, and
joins the other road from Mongwato, at Garuga, on to Panda-ma-Tenka, Mr.
Westbeach's stores, and Victoria Falls, which are called Mosioatanga.
The road to Mongwato from Molemo's town is the same to Dorokarra, then
turns south-east, following the river to Kumadua lake or vlei, which is
part of the Zouga river, then strikes east to Nchokotsa, and from thence
south-east to Mongwato, passing several pans, the most permanent waters
being at Klakane and Inkotsanges lime-pits.  Where the road leaves the
Zouga there is a drift, and a road runs due north, passing through the
western end of the great Salt vlei Ntwetwe, on past the great baobab
letter-tree, passing a salt-pan on the left, crossing the road going to
the Victoria Falls, on to Kamakama, through the sandy forest of mapani
trees to the Mababe river and Linyanti on the Chobe, the chief Skeletu's
town.  Several other roads cross this part of the desert from
Panda-ma-Tenka.  The distance by road from Lake N'gami is 335 miles,
that is, 170 from the lake to Kumadua lake, and 165 from there to
Mongwato, consequently in a very dry season there is no water to be
obtained in this last distance, and where the trek Boers, in 1877, lost
so many of their people, oxen, and waggons.  There are many hundred
pans, but dry in winter.  There is game of every kind all over this
region, but they follow the water.  The great brak pan, Makarakara, is
also dry at that time.  When water is in, it is over fifty miles, both
north and south, quite an inland sea.  Sand is everywhere, the roads are
fearful, quite up to the Mababe river.

Many of the mapani trees grow to a great size; the leaf has a sweet
gummy sort of varnish, of which the elephants are very fond.  The palm
grows about forty feet in height; the wood is very hard, an axe with a
hard blow will not penetrate.  The gigantic tree, the baobab, grows
extensively over all these regions.  They are prominent objects in the
country through which you pass.  Many of the stems exceed in
circumference 100 feet; their height is not in proportion to the bole;
few exceed eighty feet.  The tree spreads and covers a large extent of
ground; the bark is used to make ropes, and blankets can be manufactured
from it.  I obtained one, which is exceedingly strong.  Bags are also
made to hold water or milk.  The fruit is used to make a refreshing
drink.  This tree is also called the Cream of Tartar; the fruit is
similar and much larger than an ostrich egg.  These trees are calculated
to be, the largest of them, nearly 5000 years old.

The country generally is flat; there are a few hills down by the Zimboya
and Lutuisi rivers to Wankie's, on the river, conical and flat-topped.
But this part is out of Khama's territory.  All east of Panda-ma-Tenka
now belongs to the Matabele king.  Wankie's people and town are now on
the north side of the Zambese.  To the west of that station is the
Lechuma Valley.  South of Daka the land rises gradually from the
Victoria Falls, the falls being 2580 feet above sea-level, and the land
south of Daka is 3900 feet at the highest point.  The southern slopes
gradually down to an altitude of 2813 feet near the great Salt vlei
Makarakara.  The sickly season is from September to May.  South of the
Zouga the land rises gradually until it reaches the central watershed,
at an altitude of 4260 feet.  At all the permanent waters and along the
rivers are kraals occupied by many tribes, under the chief Khama, who,
with the greater portion of his people, belongs to the Bakalihari tribe.
The distance of the Victoria Falls from Ba-Mangwato is 400 miles, and
the distance from Walfish Bay to the falls is 1150 miles.

CHAPTER ELEVEN.

THE CHIEF MOLEMO.

[This chapter concludes the list of the Bechuana family in South Central
Africa, and also of that portion lying to the north of this family, on
to the Chobe and Zambese, which has not been fully described in the
account given in the Kalahara desert.]

The territory claimed by this chief, a branch of the Bakalahari tribe of
the Bechuana family, joins on to the chief Khama's from the Makapolo
Vlei, which is situated 110 miles south of the town of Batuana, where
the chief Molemo lives, along the former chief's boundary on to Sira
pan, where it leaves Khama's territory, and strikes west to Kabats Hill
on to the Mababe river, where the continuation of the Okavango falls in;
up that river to the Tonga, then due south to Omdraai, Ghanz lime-pits
to Makapolo Vlei, Lake N'gami being nearly in the centre of this chief's
territory.  All north and east of this lake is flat, and in many parts
contains extensive swamps and lagoons, swarming with crocodiles,
hippopotami, iguanas, snakes, and other creeping things.  The miasma
rising from these low-lying grounds, where the decomposition of all
vegetation under the tropical sun brings on fever, is very fatal to
Europeans.  During the dry season, from May to September, there is very
little danger in travelling through this region.  The Tonga, or as some
call it, the Teoghe, the continuation of the Cubango, or as it is
sometimes called, the Okavango Quito.  Down the Tonga from the northern
boundary are many rapids.  The water entering the north-west point of
Lake N'gami, the principal portion of the waters of the above rivers is
lost in those extensive swamps, and eventually falls into the Chobe.
Natives live on some of the islands and along their borders.  Very fine
timber, particularly the baobab, grow along these banks.  The Zouga or
Bot-let-le river is the outlet of the waters of Lake N'gami, but the
flow of water down the Tonga is not sufficient to keep even the lake
full, consequently there is little surface-water to supply the Zouga.
If there is at any time a great rush into the lake, the surplus water is
carried to the Chobe, through the Mababe river, the southern portion of
which is called the Tamabakan.  The population is only to be found along
the banks of the lake and rivers.  Batuana is a large town with several
traders who assisted me in many ways, and were very kind.  Mr. Skelton
was doing an extensive business; he formerly kept a store at Secheles,
but he is since dead.  The huts are circular, made of mud with high
thatched roofs.  Some portion of the people dress in good English
clothes.  The father of Molemo, Leshulitebes, was very fond of dressing
well, and very partial to patent leather boots and a tall hat.

Bell Valley is on the south-west of the lake, where there are many large
baobab trees.  Close to Mamahahuie, a kraal on the Walfish Bay road, is
an outspanning station.  Beyond is Quarantine Vlei, Mozelenza,
Sebubumpie, Konies, all within a radius of ten miles, occupied by the
Batuanas, a branch of the Bakalahari tribe of the Bechuana family; the
same as the chief Khama who, sixty years ago, came and settled here,
subjugating the former people, and intermarried with them.  Twenty miles
from Molemo's town is Lesatsilebes, another large kraal, Ma Tabbin,
opposite where the Mababe flows out of the Zouga.  The country north of
the last-named river is intersected with Langte, large and small pans in
every direction; sand everywhere, but good grass in the rainy season.
On the south of the river the Nyabisani flats extend a long way up to
Goose Vleis, south of the Makkapolo hills, long open flats and thickly
wooded in places, palms and every other tropical tree grow.  Game of
every kind is found in this region, but very wild.  I shot a gemsbok
early in the morning.  They are pretty animals, rather larger than a
zebra, nearly the colour of a donkey, with black marks down the back and
along the flanks, whitish legs marked with black band, light face with
black down the front, long black tail almost touching the ground, a
stand-up mane, and a long bunch of hair on the chest, horns perfectly
straight with sharp points, and this one had horns three feet eight
inches in length.  They have been known to transfix a lion, they being
found both dead together.

Roads from the lake branch off to Linyanti on the Chobe, to the Victoria
Falls 320 miles, to Ba-Mangwato 335 miles, to Secheles 350 miles, to
Walfish Bay 680 miles, and to the Orange river 650 miles.  The country
over which this chief rules is comprised in the Kalahara desert.

This country is on the south of the Zambese, the eastern boundary joins
up to the chief Khama's, and south by the chief Molemo.  The Chobe
passes through the central part, from the west to where it enters the
Zambese, thirty-seven miles above the Victoria Falls.  It has often been
a question which is the main stream of the Zambese, the Chobe, or the
northern branch.  Between these two streams is the Barutsie Valley, and
on the north bank of the Chobe is a large kraal, Linyanti, where the
chief Skeletu resided.

For many years there have been continual wars going on between the
Makopolo or Makololo and the Barutsie tribe, who lived on the north bank
of the northern branch of the Zambese, under the chief Sesheke, fighting
for the chieftainship.  Skeletu is dead, Wana Wana was killed, and
Sesheke, or, as some spell his name, Shesheke, has been murdered by his
subjects for his cruelties.  The country supports an immense number of
cattle, and it is also the elephant country; so no European has been
allowed to hunt in that region.  The Makopolos or Makololos, once the
most powerful tribe in this part of Africa, have been dispersed and
destroyed, a few only escaping, and they now live with the mixed races
along the several rivers.  There are many kraals along the various
streams, and in the hill district of Ngwa, intersected by many
watercourses; Sekelula, Linyanti, are some of the most noted.  The
Kabats Hill is on the southern border.  It is thickly wooded, with the
Mapani tree, palms, baobab, and nearly all kinds of tropical plants, as
also the wild grape.  In the northern portion of the Barutsie Valley, on
the banks of the Zambese, are also many important native kraals:
Mosamko, Nambewe, Konye, Nobombo, Nomite, and others.  As I have already
stated, Shesheke lived on the north bank, as also Sekhosi, thirty miles
higher up the river.  This entire country is now under the chief of the
Barutsie tribe.  There is also a large native location higher up the
Chobe beyond Linyanti, Matambaya, and many villages on its bank.

Wild cotton is abundant all over this country, which is suitable for its
growth, and may be, if properly cultivated, the finest cotton-field in
the world.  Wild game of every description abounds in this extensive and
unhealthy portion of Africa.

The Chobe was followed up to 16 degrees 40 minutes, south latitude,
where two branches come down from the north.  The Chobe is a fine river,
with many rapids and falls, and swarms with crocodiles and hippopotami,
snakes and iguana.

The natives have many canoes and are great fishermen, using a kind of
harpoon for the larger fish.  The Mambo natives are very expert in this
sport and lay traps for them.  Bows and arrows and spears are the
general weapons used, but many guns have been introduced into the
country of late years.  The arrows are poisoned with the seed of a plant
that is a runner, very large, the petals long, flowers yellow, from
which the poison is extracted.

I met with several of the Wayeiye natives on the Tonga, who hunt the
hippopotamus and crocodile.  When at my station on that river, opposite
Nakane village, in 1867, a curious affair occurred, which shows the
wonderful amount of sense and affection crocodiles possess.  A little
below my waggon, a native boy caught a young crocodile about a foot in
length, and took it up to the huts, and put it into an old basket.
About two hours afterwards, my driver called out there was a large
crocodile crawling up the bank, and making for the hut where the young
one was in the basket, the natives running away.  On looking out of my
waggon, sure enough, a large one, about eleven feet in length, was up to
the basket, when my Kaffirs ran up with rifles and shot it.  The
distance of the hut from the river was over 100 yards.  It was
impossible to say how the mother found out the whereabouts of her baby;
it might have been by smell, or she might have seen the boy put it into
the basket.  I have heard many similar statements from the natives, of
the old ones following their young when taken, but put little faith in
them until I absolutely saw for myself the truth of these statements.
Crocodiles are also very tender over their eggs; they scratch a hole in
the sand, lay about a dozen, then cover them with sand, and watch with
great care until the young come forth.

The altitude of Linyanti above sea-level is 2813 feet, the same as the
water-level of the Chobe, Lake N'gami, river Zouga, and the large brak
vlei Makarakara, showing the perfect level of these points.  This
country is full of pans and vleis, dense bush, sand everywhere, not a
stone to be seen in all this region.  At a vlei called Sixteen Vlei, the
road goes to the Victoria Falls; but with all its flatness, there is an
indescribable charm in travelling through it; there are so many novel
objects to take the attention of an explorer, in addition to hunting,
and sometimes being hunted by the large game when stalking them in the
dense bush or under lofty trees, far away from the human world.  One may
die and be forgotten, and no one may ever hear how.  My death has been
reported twice, at different times, to the Governor of the Cape, once by
the Rev.  Mr. Thomas, of Shiloh in Matabeleland, in 1869, that I had
been killed by the Makalakas, in the desert, my waggon destroyed, and
property taken, and my friends in the Colony in duty bound were mourning
my loss for several years, as I had not been down south, having treked
far in beyond any white traders, and was never heard of.

I was pursuing my work in blissful ignorance of the many tears that had
been shed for the lone traveller in savage lands.  When I came south,
after being buried three years, calmly treking along with my waggon,
oblivious of the scare I should create amongst my friends, so fully
convinced were they that the report of my death or murder was correct,
that, on presenting myself in the flesh, many of them could not for some
time realise they were looking upon a mortal man.  Information was
forwarded to his Excellency the Governor, that I had turned up from the
far interior, in sound health and strength as man could wish to be.

The other occasion was when I was in the North Kalahara desert, away for
nearly three years, over all those northern regions up to the Zambese,
and in this particular region.  Natives came down and reported to the
missionary at Secheles, that the Karkabrio Bushmen had burnt my waggon,
and that myself and people had been speared.  Again the report was sent
on to the Government at Cape Town, and again my second resurrection took
place, much to the delight of my friends, who had given up all hope of
my ever returning from a country so entirely beyond the limit of the
hunter or the traveller.  It is true, I have had some very narrow
escapes in passing through regions where hostile tribes occupy the
country; particularly in Damara and Ovampoland, and amongst the southern
Bushmen who once infested the Cape Colony.  Fever and the perils of
hunting were never thought of.  To avoid the former never take unboiled
water; weak cold tea, if possible, or weak brandy and water, will in a
great measure prevent it, with an occasional dose of quinine.  Sunstroke
can also be avoided by wearing a very high-crowned, broad-brimmed felt
hat, with several holes as ventilators, with a light kerchief inside the
hat on the head, which cuts off the fierce rays of the sun from the
brain.  Though I have spent so many years under a tropical sun, exposed
daily and all day long to its perpendicular rays, I have never once felt
the slightest indication of sunstroke, which I attribute to the above
precaution.

CHAPTER TWELVE.

THE KALAHARA DESERT.  THE NORTHERN DIVISION IN THE ZAMBESE BASIN.

This region being the most extensive, and at the same time occupying the
greater portion of the interior of South Central Africa, claims special
attention in connection with the surrounding native tribes, all of whom
claim a portion adjoining their respective territories as their
exclusive hunting-ground.

In exploring an unknown country and meeting so many and such a variety
of people whose languages differ, it is not easy on making their first
acquaintance to grasp the different sounds that give meaning and
expression to their words.  I noticed this particularly with respect to
the name of this desert region in connection with local names on its
borders.  In writing down names from native pronunciation I wrote them
phonetically, using as few letters as possible.

The word Kalahara corresponds with Namaqualand, Damaraland, on the west
coast, Zahara Desert on the north, Makarakara salt vlei, Makalakara
pits, Kasaka Bushmen of the northern parts, and many others.

The boundary of this vast and interesting region comes down south to the
Orange river 29 degrees South latitude, which is also the northern
boundary of the Cape Colony, and extends north to the 15 degrees South
latitude, the extent of my exploration.  The western boundary is formed
by Great Namaqua, Damara, and Ovampolands.  On the east it is bounded by
the Zambese to the Victoria Falls, then due south, skirts the eastern
bank of the great Makarakara salt vlei, where five streams enter it from
the watershed, viz. the Nata, Quabela, Shuari, Mia, and Tua; thence the
boundary runs south to the Makalaka pits, a few miles to the west of
Ba-Mangwato, from these pits due south to Molapololo (but that portion
of Khama's country south of Mongwato down to Sechele's) to the Limpopo
may be included, on to Kanya and to Maceby's Station on the Molapo down
that river to Conge, Honey vlei, on to the north of Langberg range of
mountains to Cowie, and down that range to the Orange river, thirty
miles above Kheis.


The length from north to south, as far as I have explored, is 970 miles;
but, from information obtained from the Kasaka Bushmen on the spot, it
may extend much further.  The greatest breadth is about 500 miles from
east to west, and contains within this area 280,000 square miles.

The northern and eastern portion is within the Zambese basin, except
that part drained by the Notuane and its tributaries, which is in the
Limpopo basin, all the rest and central part is in the Orange river
basin.

The great watershed passes through, taking a diagonal course from the
south-east corner to the north-west corner in Ovampoland.  The greatest
altitude above sea-level being 6100 feet, near the source of the Molapo,
the lowest along the shed is 4000 feet, and in Ovampoland 3880 feet.

The river system of South Central Africa has already been described in a
chapter to itself, so that the configuration of the country should be
more clearly understood; but it is necessary to deal with them again to
a certain extent in describing the different localities and native
tribes within its boundary.

Lake N'gami is situated nearly in the centre of the desert, to which two
of the most important northern rivers, Cubango and Quito, flow, uniting
in one, the Tonga, which enters the lake at the north-west corner in 20
degrees 25 minutes South latitude, 24 degrees 45 minutes East longitude,
at an altitude of 2813 feet above sea-level.  The Cubango or Okavango
river, the source of which is much farther north than my explorations
extended, passes through a dense and impenetrable bush, extending on
both banks far away in 15 degrees South latitude, where there are
several tributaries falling in.  Following the stream, which is broad
and in many places deep, with rapids and waterfalls at different points,
passing through forest and open country with native kraals situated on
its left banks, occupied by various tribes who are great fishermen and
have canoes, and where the hippopotami and crocodile abound, down to
where the Quito enters it in 17 degrees 10 minutes South latitude, on to
Debabe, a large native station, where the river turns south, branching
off into the Chobe and Zambese.  The other branch takes its course to
Lake N'gami, and receives the Okayanka, which rises in Ovampoland and
flows east.  All to the north of this river the country varies much in
character; the eastern portion is low with extensive swamps covered with
bush and fine timber, the western portion rises in ridges with lofty
plateaux covered with rich tropical plants and trees, including the
giant baobab; there are also extensive plains, with dry watercourses
crossing them towards the east; many of them have separate names under
the general name Omuramba.

The country to the west of the upper part of the Cubango, which is also
called the Okavango, is rich in timber and fine grasses, and game of
every description known in South Central Africa; this region is known as
Ombango, through which a road passes to the Cubango, and to the north is
the land of the Ambuelas, where the tsetse-fly is very common; it is
inhabited by the Kasaka and Ombango Bushmen.  At the bend of the river,
at 16 degrees 20 minutes South latitude, the country rises in ridges
towards the north considerably, causing many rapids to be formed in the
stream.  Below, the country is more level, until my station is reached,
where there is a hill on the right of the river, with many wherfs of
Bushmen, the altitude being 3370 feet above sea-level, and on the
opposite side of the river are many wherfs of the Ovampo, Karakeri,
Kororo, Ojego, and others, each with their separate chiefs; the most
important is the Ovakuenyami.

The river contains many varieties of fish, which the natives are very
expert in catching from their canoes by spearing and setting traps, as
also the hippopotami and crocodile.

The large station of the Ovokangari tribe of the Ovampo the chief or
king Mpachi rules; and lower down is the Ovalmji tribe, ruled over by
Queen Kapongo, and opposite a dry watercourse falls in; another,
Omuramba Omapu, which passes through Ovambanquida country, under an
Ovampo chief, and where the Kuka Bushmen live on the bank of the
Omurambo and Sheshongo, and lower down come the Ovambanquedos tribe, to
the west of the chief of the Ovarapo tribe, as also Chikonga, who lives
on the banks, and above him the Ovampo chief Tjipangamore.  To the east
of the Ovokangari or Ovaquangari are various tribes, the Oyomboo and
Bavickos at Libebe, who deal largely in ivory, feathers, skins, and
slaves with the Portuguese traders.  The Ovokangari cultivate the soil,
grow corn, are good artificers, manufacture arms, picks, utensils of
many kinds for their cooking, and ornaments for their women.  They work
in iron and copper, and sell many articles to the traders who visit them
from the Portuguese settlement on the west coast, and are a superior
race to those around them.  North of Libebe the Amabomdi, Bakana,
Makuka, and the Bavickos tribes reach as far north as the high
table-land which divides the Chobe and the Quito rivers; therefore the
waters of Cubango, Quito, and their tributaries have their outlet
through the Chobe to the Zambese and the large swamp which is connected
with the Mababe and Chobe by the Tamienkie and other streams.  At the
junction of the Quito and Cubango the Oshambio tribe of Ovampos live on
a large island under a chief.  Down the river is Debabe, and on many
islands the Bakuka, Bamalleros, Bakaa, have large kraals, and on the
north the Barico Bushmen.  The river at Debabe is broad and navigable.
Below that kraal at the bend is the cataract Nona and several rapids,
and the stream continues down to Lake N'gami under the name of Tonga,
receiving in its course several watercourses, under the names of
Omaramba, Ovampo, Okayanka, Sheshonga, and others.

This extensive region in many parts along the watercourses is thickly
populated, and game abounds, cotton is indigenous, and valuable products
of various kinds.  A great trade could be carried on if a proper system
of communication were opened up through Walfish Bay, Lake N'gami, and
down the broad and fine river Chobe to the English traders at all these
places, and a great market found for British merchandise.  The natives
are well-disposed and quite alive to the advantages of trade; they are a
well-made, strong people.  I was told at Libebe that much further north
there were a people of a yellowish-white colour, and also a savage tribe
who are nomadic.  I believe the former is a remnant of the white race
that once occupied the country on the south side of the Lower Zambese
who have left so many of their works behind them, and maybe a portion of
this white race followed the river up and became mixed with the native
tribes.  There are also many scattered tribes living amongst these
tribes between the Tonga river and Ovampoland, the Mesere, Kaikaibrio,
Makololo, Papero, Ohiaongo, Majambi, and others.  The Bakalahara Bushmen
were once a powerful tribe, who it appears gave the name to this desert.
The lion, leopard, panther, and wolves are met with daily.  The leopard
and panther are more to be feared than the lion when in the thick jungle
after game, their form of attack is so cat-like in approaching their
prey, taking advantage of every cover until the final spring is made.
The many lagoons and swamps seem to be their favourite hunting-ground.
In all the waters of these rivers fish abound, of many varieties.
Crocodiles, hippopotami, iguanas, otters and snakes are plentiful
everywhere along the streams.  Unfortunately this region is very
unhealthy.  The sickly season lasts from September to May; the other
months of the year it is very healthy.  The malaria from the standing
pools in the hot dry season causes fever, which is very difficult to get
rid of.

Down the Tonga the natives build their huts in these island homes for
safety; they are circular mud-huts with high thatched roofs; they are
similar to those on the Upper Cubango, and they hunt the hippopotami.
On the lower part of the Quito I shot one in the head, as he was poking
his nose out of the water.  The skin we use for several purposes, mostly
for sjamboks.  Large snakes seem to swarm in every part, particularly
the python.  In a small stream where I thought to be free from
crocodiles, I took a daily bath during my stay at my station.  On one
occasion I was enjoying a swim at the foot of a small fall of beautiful
clear water; hearing a great splashing behind me, I turned and saw an
enormous snake passing me at great speed, lashing the water into my
face, and a few seconds after he was lost in the tall reeds below.
Expecting one or two more might follow, I was soon standing on the bank;
but before I could dress, down came four others, large, and three small
ones, and passed into the reeds below.  The largest appeared to be
twenty feet in length, and very large round the body; their skin was
dark brown with dirty yellow marks.  I knew them at once to be the
python.  A few days after I shot one that measured eighteen feet three
inches in length, and three feet round the body, and three feet from the
tail a large hook was fixed.  I had a similar adventure some time before
in Bechuanaland with one which measured sixteen feet two inches, and
inside was a steinbok.  At night they make a great noise.

Every kind of game is found here.  Elephants may be seen in hundreds;
four kinds of rhinoceros: the black boreli, with two horns of equal
size; another black with one large and one small horn; a white with two;
and another white with one long horn, which is the most rare; their
native name is Chikooroo.  I made a knobkerry out of the horn, which
measured two feet eleven inches, from one I shot the previous year.
Buffaloes, giraffe, blaawbok, elands, gnu, hartebeest, sassaybe,
gemsbok, koodoos, pallah, and others; also wild boar which grow to a
great size, wild dogs and a host of smaller animals.  The ostrich may be
seen on the plains in troops of hundreds; but as guns are now becoming
more common with the natives, they will soon be thinned out.  There are
also many beautiful blue cranes, secretary-birds, mayhens, and legions
of ducks, geese, and beautiful small birds; monkeys and baboons
everywhere, mostly in the fine trees along the river-banks, and they are
much hunted by the leopards and panthers.


On returning to my camp one evening I had a very narrow escape from one
of the former; walking along under the trees on the shore of the
Cubango, I saw immediately over my head one of these leopards on the
branch of the tree that overhung the river, not twenty feet from me.  It
was the act of a moment; I up with my rifle and fired at his chest, when
down he fell a few paces from me; he seemed to be in the act of
springing upon me--another second and I should have been too late.  This
makes the fourth leopard I have shot in this part.  On all occasions I
had narrow escapes.  In a country like this, where in every turn in the
thick bush we meet with one or other of these animals, we have to keep a
good look-out and make our rifles our constant companions.

Next week will be Christmas--the height of summer.  Thermometer in the
shade, under the trees, 107 degrees; but I do not think the heat so
oppressive as it is down in the colony, for the simple reason that we
have a dense bush, magnificent trees, and long grass that absorbs the
heat of the sun's rays and keeps the earth much cooler by being in
shade.  In the colony it is open; no trees, scanty grass, and an immense
open rocky country, so that the stones become so hot that they destroy
the boots.  I have frequently made my tea by placing the kettle with
water on a stone for half an hour; then put in the tea, let it stand a
few minutes, and it is as strong and hot as can be wished.

Most of the natives have been very quiet, but some of the Ovampo have
been very troublesome, which has shortened my stay in this part, more
particularly amongst the wherfs of the Ovokangari.  My Bakuka and
Batuana guides were invaluable and took me through without loss.  Being
the rainy season, water was plentiful, but I had great difficulty in
crossing many of the watercourses, impeded by thick belts of jungle,
although extensive tracts of country are very beautiful and park-like,
lovely clumps of trees were so grouped that art could not improve them.
Travelling for days without meeting with any native, on several
occasions I was closely beset by lions, which my guide stated were the
man-eating lions.  Almost daily, thunderstorms came up in the afternoon,
many of them terrific in violence; the sunsets also are beyond
description for brilliancy of colour.  The early morning is generally
cloudless; clouds seldom gather before mid-day in summer, but in the
winter months they are not visible; this is the healthy season.

There are several roads from Lake N'gami crossing this desert to Damara,
Ovampo, and on to Libebe, and the other villages on the Cubango.  Every
day we went out to hunt up the game to supply the people with food,
which I omit to describe as it becomes monotonous.

Very few inhabitants are scattered over this part of the desert, few
hills are to be seen, until we arrive at Lake N'gami, when the Lubalo,
Makkapola and Makabana hills come into view, and it is round the lake
that the people under the chief Molemo live, and at his kraal and others
along the river-banks of the Zouga or Bot-let-le.  The people are
composed of Betuana, Barutsie, Makolo, Bushmen, and several mixed races;
each tribe has a petty chief ruling over them, but all subject to the
chief Molemo as far as his territory east goes, where the chief Khama
joins.  The principal villages are Sebubumpie, Mokhokhotlo, Mamakahuie,
Mozelenza, Samaai, and numerous others occupied by Bushmen.

The produce of the northern district is collected by the Ovampo traders
and brought down to the Walfish Bay, and by Portuguese traders from the
Portuguese settlement at Benguela.  The trade of Lake N'gami and the
Zambese region is carried on by English traders from the Cape Colony,
having communication by roads from Ba-Mangwato, the chief Khama's
station, and roads from the lake to Walfish Bay, passing the Ghanze
chalk-pits, situated on the watershed, where permanent water is
obtained.  Many thousand Bushmen live in the more unfrequented parts of
the desert, having no settled abode, but remove from water to water as
it becomes scarce; there are three separate tribes, the Mesere, Kasaka,
and Kaikaibrio, and also some Bakalahara.  The greater portion of this
part of the Kalahara within the Zambese basin is limestone, covered in
places with deep sand, but vegetation is very luxuriant--splendid
grasses, and magnificent timber.

It is a good corn-growing country, a variety of valuable herbs come to
great perfection, every kind of European plants and fruits thrive; water
can be obtained by digging,--a splendid country for immigration.

THE SOUTHERN AND WESTERN PORTION OF THE KALAHARA, WITHIN THE ORANGE
RIVER BASIN, THE WATERS OF WHICH FALL INTO THE SOUTH ATLANTIC OCEAN.

The Orange river is the only outlet to the sea to convey the water
brought down by the ancient river system that drains the south, the
central, and the western divisions of this extensive and important
portion of the Kalahara desert.  The Orange for 250 miles forms the
southern boundary.  The rivers that drain the north-western and the
central part of the Kalahara are the twin streams Nosop and Oup,
appropriately called twins, as the two join for twenty miles and again
separate, both running parallel to each other within a short distance,
entering the Molapo close to the great bend, where that river takes the
name Hygap, and flows south, and enters the Orange at Kakaman's drift.
The Nosop rises in the Waterberg of Damaraland in two head-waters called
the Black and White Nosop, which unite north of Westly Vale and join the
Oup at Narukus.  The Oup rises in Damaraland in latitude 22 degrees,
under the name Elephant river, and gathering the waters of other small
branches, joins the Nosop at Narukus for twenty miles, then becomes an
independent stream and, as I have stated, falls into the Molapo.
Several shallow watercourses traverse the desert, but are not of
sufficient importance to merit a description.  The other river connected
with the above system is the Molapo, which rises on the west slope of
the central watershed at an altitude of 5350 feet, in 26 degrees 5
minutes South latitude, 26 degrees 25 minutes East longitude, where a
plentiful supply of pure water flows throughout the year, and takes a
westerly course to the great bend in latitude 25 degrees 50 minutes
East, longitude 21 degrees 16 minutes, when it takes the name Hygap, as
already stated, receiving in its course the small streams Moretsane and
Setlakoola.  The Kuruman river rises in the south of the Kuruman mission
station, and with its small tributaries flows west and enters the Hygap
below the great bend.  The Back river commences in a range of the Brinus
mountains, a beautiful and picturesque group, several thousand feet in
height, of granite formation, well-wooded in the kloofs and ravines.
The peculiar feature of the river is that it has two outlets, one to the
east into the Hygap, the other to the west into the Great Fish river.
South of this river three mountain streams drain the southern Kalahara,
viz. the Nisbet, Aamo, and Keikab, which fall into the Orange to the
west of the Hygap.  The Great Fish river, which completes the river
system of the Kalahara in the Orange river basin, rises in the Awas
mountain in Damaraland, 22 degrees 40 minutes South latitude, 17 degrees
30 minutes East longitude, at an altitude of 6400 feet, and flows south
for 430 miles, and enters the Orange river ninety miles from its mouth.
The country through which it flows is very dry from the scarcity of
rain.  There are no important streams in the east, but on the west there
are many tributaries that drain the high mountain country.  The Chun
rises in the Mitchell mountains, on the border of Great Namaqualand,
receiving the Kurick branch, passing through a beautiful and wild
country to the south of Nababis station.  The three small tributaries of
the Great Fish river to the north of the Chun in 22 degrees 32 minutes
South latitude, are the Ganap, near Reheboth station; the Houra and
Manabis; south of the Chun are the Huntop, Koros, and the Amhup, all
receiving their water from the high lands of Great Namaqualand.  The
principal stations on these rivers are the Amhup, Bethany, Kachasa,
Kawais, Reems, Hudenap, Brakhout, and a few others of recent date.

The inhabitants are of various tribes, called the Namaquas,
Veld-Schoeners, Bundelswaarts, Hottentots, Korannas, Kaffirs, Gobabies,
and Bushmen; some of the former cultivate the soil, use ploughs, and
keep cattle and sheep; they live near the small fountains and along the
river-banks, where they procure water by digging and permanent pits.
They live under petty captains.  There are several mission stations.
Copper is found in many parts of the country, and copper-mines are
worked in the south near the Orange river.  The geological formation is
granite, gneiss, trap, and amygdaloid.  From the magnitude of this
river, it is evident the country at one time must have been well
supplied with rain, as it is a deep, broad, and stony stream, showing
how rapid must have been the flow of water down it.  Fine timber and
bush grow in the kloofs and along the banks; many of the hills are very
picturesque, and the country produces fine grasses for cattle.

The trade of the country is greatly improving and is supplied by
colonial traders from Port Nolloth on the west coast in Little
Namaqualand, which is in the Cape Colony; a railway from that port to
the copper-mines on the Orange river has been for many years at work.
In the Kalahara desert on the east of the Great Fish river, and the
southern portion up to the Hygap river and south of the Brinus mountain
and Back river, are several stations and kraals.  Nisbet or Barth is the
most important, where many Griquas are settled, also at Nabos, Luris,
Akuris, Blydver-Wagh, Aams, Oribane, Ariam, and others.  The Griquas
cultivate the ground, and keep large herds of cattle and sheep, and
trade largely with the Cape Colony.  Hottentots, Korannas, Bushmen,
Kaffirs, Namaquas, and small communities of other tribes live on the
banks of the Orange and along the streams, with their cattle-posts,
which of late years has greatly added to their wealth and enabled the
people to trade largely with the colony.

The bold outline of the lofty hills with their thickly wooded slopes and
kloofs add greatly to the beauty of the landscape, more particularly
along the Orange river, where the rich vegetation, fine timber and bush,
forming deep belts on both sides; the rugged and perpendicular rocks of
many colours, which form its banks, clothed with lovely creepers hanging
down in festoons with their scarlet pods, make the river scenery very
beautiful; and to add to its charm the dense bush swarms with the grey
monkey, baboons, and every variety of the cat tribe, even to the lion;
pheasants, partridges, guinea-fowl, legions of snipes, ducks, geese,
moor-hen, plovers, eagles, vultures, and a variety of hawks, some of
them of great size, measuring from tip to tip eight feet; also the
heron, crane, and stork, and a variety of others, in addition to the
smaller tribes of birds with brilliant plumage.

The otter is very plentiful, the banks being covered with their spoor;
also the porcupine.  There are a great many islands, many of them large
and thickly wooded, and about 300 miles up the stream the beautiful and
picturesque waterfall, the Aukrabies, which has a fall of over ninety
feet, is a grand sight when the flood-waters come down in their annual
flow, rising above their ordinary level from twenty-five to thirty feet,
bringing down large trees that go rolling and crashing as they are
carried along by the rushing water.

I was outspanned on the north bank of this river in 1871, with two
waggons and a cart, for the purpose of making a new tent to one of the
waggons that had capsized and rolled over into a sluit a few days
previously, and had sent the oxen, forty-eight, on to a neighbouring
island to graze early in the morning, when the Griqua chief, living at
his kraal not far from my camp, came and informed me the river was
coming down.  The herds were sent over immediately to bring them off,
but before they could do so, the river had risen fifteen feet,
consequently the oxen had to swim, passing down mid-stream with a small
portion of their heads and horns only visible, the two herds swimming
behind with blocks of wood under their arms, and they were carried down
a mile and a half before they were able to land, and in less than two
hours this river had risen thirty feet.

There are many beautiful stones and pebbles in the river-bed, agate,
soap-stone, petrified gum and wood, which I have found of white, brown,
black, and red.  Diamonds also are found occasionally mixed up in the
gravel that has been brought down by heavy floods.

On the north of the Back river and Brinus mountains, the country is more
open, extensive grass plains and other portions well-wooded.  At
Liefdotes, Tobas, and Klopper vlei are large kraals, also at Swart and
Hoali, on the north of the Brinus.  Up along the east side of the Great
Fish river to the Oup, the country is very pretty, splendid grasses and
timber; the hills are well-wooded, in some places to their summits.
Game abounds; ostriches I have seen in troops of 200.

Two hundred miles north of the Orange river and fifty miles west of the
Hygap, in 25 degrees 50 minutes South latitude, 20 degrees 42 minutes
East longitude, is Hogskin, a large vlei, thirty-three miles in length,
and in some parts three miles in width; the greater portion is dry for
nine months of the year.  The road crosses it to the Griqua settlement
at Meer, which is twenty miles to the north, where there are extensive
vleis, 2710 feet above sea-level.

Three rivers flow into the Hogskin vlei, viz. the Snake, the Moi, and
the Knaas.  After heavy rains the vlei is full, and forms a fine sheet
of water, which it retains for some months; wild-fowl and game frequent
it at that time.  These rivers rise in a hilly country; the Knaas is the
largest, and retains water in portions of its bed through the year.
Quassam, a large Bushman kraal, is situated on its banks; these Bushmen
are distinct from the Bushmen of the desert; they were, many years ago,
driven from the Cape Colony, by Sir Walter Currie, on account of their
stealing the cattle, and robbing travellers.  They first took refuge in
the many islands in the Orange river, but were driven out and went
north, where they settled at Quassam, and where I nearly lost all my
waggons, oxen, and everything, being kept there for two days, and the
oxen without grass.  Coche Africanda was their captain, and I escaped
only by threatening that if he or any of his men moved to detain me
whilst I inspanned, I would shoot him dead, holding my rifle ready for
action.  There were nearly 100 well armed with guns; seeing my
determination, they remained passive, and I left.

Eight miles below this kraal is a very pretty spot, a valley surrounded
by sand-hills, with limestone between and a spring of water, where
several roads meet going to Damara and Ovampo, Lake N'gami, Namaqualand,
and the colony.  The valley is about a mile in length, and half a mile
in breadth, studded with very fine kameel-doorn trees.  The sand in
these rivers contains very fine particles of copper, and also garnet
dust.  On the south side of Hogskin vlei are two conical hills, which
are very prominent objects, visible sixty miles off, and as they stand
alone, surrounded by bush and the vleis, they add greatly to the beauty
of the landscape.  The highest is 415 feet from the base, the other
measures 394 feet; they are called base kopts.  A few miles south-west
of them I procured several specimens of coal, which cropped out in a
large sluit, and also from the side of a hill, and twenty miles beyond.
Slate and shale form the beds of the rivers Suake and Moi.

Near Knaas river the formation in the valley is a conglomerate of
limestone, greenstone, and garnets.  This part of the desert is full of
bush, kameel-doorns, mimosa, and other trees, and is diversified by long
low ridges of sandstone, limestone, and many low hills of granite.
During the rainy season vegetation is splendid, and the grass fine and
beautiful, consequently game is abundant; it follows as a natural
consequence that lions, leopards, and many other species of feline
animals are numerous.  This is truly the lion veldt; I have counted at
one time in a troop, great and small, twenty-two, frequently six and
seven in the middle of the day, and within a short distance from my
waggons.  The ostrich is becoming more scarce every day; when I first
visited this country, in 1864, the Bushman would exchange a beautiful
blood or prime white feather for a piece of tobacco worth sixpence, and
less; now they are difficult to be found.

This desert has been considered a barren and uninteresting region, but
it is not so.  There are portions, it is true, that cannot be traversed
during the dry season, several who have attempted to penetrate it having
been obliged to come out and leave their waggons, their oxen all lost
for want of water.  But this was in a great measure their own fault, for
if they had followed up the rivers and dug in their beds they would have
obtained it.

There are many miles of limestone flats, some extending ten miles in
length, bounded by extensive sand-dunes, and isolated koppies, with
their pointed summits covered with bush.  These sand-dunes cover an
immense area, extending from east to west fifty miles, and thirty miles
over, and in altitude from fifty to 200 feet.  Their base is a dark
limestone covered with sand, which varies in thickness from four to ten
feet.  Their sides are at an angle of about 30 degrees, and the topmost
ridges so pointed that when a waggon and span of eighteen oxen arrive
towards their tops, the whole span is descending on the other side as
the waggon reaches the summit, and the driver on the box can only see
the four after oxen; but from the great depth of sand in the road the
waggon glides down with ease.  To illustrate more clearly the shape of
these dunes I can only compare them to a very stormy sea, with gigantic
waves instantly turned into sand; many small trees and bushes grow on
their slopes, and also beautiful grasses.  From six to eight miles a day
with an ox-waggon is considered a good trek.  There are some small
fountains and vleis in some of the hollows, otherwise no one could pass
that way, as the road over these dunes from first entering them is
thirty miles, then a flat of eight miles over limestone and sand-dunes
again.  There are also many isolated conical granite hills, that rise
from the level plains to an altitude of 200 feet, formed of huge blocks;
they more resemble artificial than natural monuments; many of them are
so overgrown with trees and bush that grow between the blocks that
scarcely any of the rock is to be seen.  It is dangerous to inspect them
too closely, as they are the lurking-places of lions, leopards, and
other beasts of prey.

I discovered this on ascending one of them at Kanardas: when nearly
half-way up, on looking into one of the small caverns, of which there
are many, I saw at the end two large bright eyes glaring at me from the
dark.  After exchanging a good stare at each other I quietly took my
departure down: knowing the nature of these animals, that they will not
openly follow or attack, if not disturbed, I felt pretty safe.  As to
the nature of the beast I cannot say, but from the great size of the
bright red eyes I concluded he was a lion,--at any rate, their
expression did not appear very amiable.  A few lessons like this make an
explorer cautious before prying too closely into hidden and secluded
spots in a wild country like this desert.

On the east of Hogskin vlei is a large salt-pan or vlei, twelve miles in
length from north to south and two broad.  It is worked only by the
Griquas living at Meer.  This settlement was established in 1870.  I was
told by an old Bushman, that they took the bush children and made them
work, and would not give them back.  In 1871 Meer had become quite a
tidy village, of about twenty-five houses, some of them built of red
brick.  The chief was Dirk Falander, who held a magistrate's court and
tried prisoners; it is a little republic upon a small scale, not more
than 100 all told, except the Bushmen slaves.  There are close to the
village two large ponds or pans; the banks on their sides are seventy
feet in height.  The country round is open grass veldt.  Between Meer
and Hogskin vlei is a large pan, surrounded by high sand-rocks, called
Klein Meer, a very pretty and picturesque lake, two miles in length,
with fine bushes and grass lining the banks; five months of the year it
is dry.  Sand-dunes are round it in every direction.

There is a considerable traffic and trade carried on by the Griquas and
the Cape Colony.  Roads cross the Orange river at Koran drift, Kakaman's
drift, and Orleans drift; the two latter meet at Kanardus, close to
extensive lime-pits, where water is obtained, by the side of a dry
river-bed, where there are some of the prettiest trees I have seen in
Africa, spread over the veldt, park-like, and dense bush between lofty
granite hills, which in consequence of water is the general outspanning
place.  I came here one evening after dark and nearly lost many of my
trek oxen, in their eagerness to get at the water, which is twenty feet
from the surface.  They were supplied by sending my boys down with
buckets, by that means filling a hole dug out for the oxen to drink.

These pits are fifty miles north of Kakaman's drift, and twenty-five
miles on is Swaat Modder, in the bed of the Hygap river, the road
passing along its bed between sand-cliffs 150 feet in height.  Between
these two watering-places the Back river enters the Hygap; the sand in
its bed is mostly composed of ruby sand, which I believe would make a
fine red glass.

At Swaat Modder the right side of the river has cliffs 100 feet in
height; the left bank has sand-dunes, where I found several flint
borers, many of them in a finished state, for making holes in the shell
of the ostrich egg to form beads.  Under these cliffs, in an old Bushman
cave, I built a stone house, where we remained six weeks waiting for the
rains.  All this country is under the Koranna chief Puffadder, and his
people are spread over the country in small kraals.  The road still
continues north, past other pits in limestone at Bloomfontein, and at
Kebeum, springbok, etc.; Abequas pits, a large Koranna kraal; then
passes over sand-dunes for thirty miles, and arrives at Anoerogas, where
there is another Kaffir station, also a store kept by a Mr. Redman, of
whom I bought some tobacco for five bags of gunpowder, and a
medicine-chest, and a variety of goods I was much in want of.  A captain
of the Bundelswaarts is here, to give notice to the Bastards to clear
out.  Coal abounds in this part, garnets are found in all the
river-beds, and in many parts mixed up in the sand of the desert.  Lions
are so plentiful here that it is dangerous to leave the waggon without
your rifle.  A Koranna man was killed and eaten last night, a short
distance from the waggon.  This station is 180 miles north from
Kakaman's drift, on the Orange river, and three miles south of Hogskin
vlei; here the roads divide.  One goes to the salt-pan, another to Meer
station, a third to Quassam on to Damaraland, a fourth past Knaas, in a
north-north-west direction to Ovampoland, and a fifth turns south-west,
and leads to Barth, where the Bundelswaarts people live, besides others
to different parts of the desert.

The other portion of the Kalahara takes in the southern part from the
Orange river to the Molapo river, 190 miles to the north, and from the
Hygap river to the Langberg range of mountains, which is the eastern
boundary of the desert, 100 miles in width.  The lower portion, near the
Orange river, is better adapted for farming, as there is good grass, and
the karroo bush, upon which sheep and bucks get fat.  I purchased of
Klass Lucas, the chief, living at his large kraal on the banks of the
Orange, near Orleans drift, a large Africander sheep, for 2 lbs. of
gunpowder.  It weighed, without the tail, 62 lbs., and the tail produced
12 lbs. of pure fat.


Between this station and sixty miles to the north, called Blue Busk
Kalk, there is a fine fountain and large vlei, with a stone kopje on the
north side, where the rocks stand out in grotesque forms of granite
formation; there are in the intermediate distance several very peculiar
granite koptjies; they average about 200 feet in height and 600 feet in
circumference at the base, large masses of huge rocks, piled one upon
another, and without any vegetation; the country round is perfectly
level; they have the appearance of ruined pyramids; the highest I
measured was 275 feet.

The mountain, called Scheurberg, is another peculiar range, with its
many pointed peaks, with wood in the valleys and kloof; fifty miles in
length and twelve in width, a road passing through the centre, a great
resort of lions, wolves, and other beasts of prey.  The continuation of
the Orange river up from the junction of the Hygap is particularly
picturesque, and in many places fearfully bold and rugged, with lofty
and almost perpendicular cliffs, with fine timber, beautiful bushes,
tree-ferns, and other subtropical plants, which add much to the
landscape.

It was at the point of the Langberg, close to the river, where the berg
seems split up into several magnificent hills, between which and the
river is almost a level but thickly wooded space of several hundred
yards in width, where we came to outspan, for the purpose of making a
new tent to my waggon.  My driver happened to capsize it into a sluit
two days before, and, to complete my misfortune, I lost four of my best
trek oxen in the river by sinking in the mud.  The next day one died of
the melt sickness, and I had to shoot another from lung-sickness.

The willow trees along the bank gave us plenty of wood, and in two days
the tent was completed.  Mr. Staple, who was with me, suggested we
should make a boat of wicker-work, after our Welsh coracles, which we
soon completed, by small branches being bent the proper shape, with
cross-pieces, each tied very carefully together, forming a strong and
firm framework, over which we stretched two raw bullock-hides, well sewn
together, and when dry painted it red,--two seats, two paddles, a mast,
and lug-sail; the length was seven feet, and twenty inches deep, in
shape like half an egg cut through lengthways.  This little work
occupied us a week.  When perfectly dry we took it down to the river to
launch it, not thinking of its lightness.  As soon as it was floated I
brought it close to the rock, and put one foot into the boat, and then
made a spring in, when I was no sooner in than I was out on the other
side into the water, a regular header--fortunately it was deep water.
However, on landing, I took off my clothes to dry on the rocks, and
Staples got some Koranna girls who were sitting on the bank watching our
work, to bring some stones to put in as ballast, which took some time,
as few were to be found.

I was better prepared for the second trial, being without clothes, but
this time our boat was perfectly steady, and no wonder, for we had at
least 200 lbs. of stones in the bottom as ballast.  A fine breeze was
blowing up-river, which was nearly a mile wide: fixing our little mast
and lug, we started on our first voyage, steering by a paddle.  This
being the first boat that ever floated on the Orange river, I consider
it worthy of recording.  Our little craft acted splendidly.  The
astonishment of the Bushmen, Korannas, and the blood Kaffirs living on
the bank, who came down to see the white man's floating-house, was
amusing; they shouted with delight as we sailed away up-stream; the
women in particular were the loudest in their admiration.  After
spending some hours sailing up and down, exploring on the islands,
shooting ducks and geese, we returned to our handing and carried our
boat to camp, after taking out the ballast.  As we were in a lovely
spot, well sheltered by trees, and only a short distance from several
small kraals, where we could obtain milk, we determined to remain some
time to explore the neighbourhood, shoot and fish, and enjoy this wild,
independent, and delightful free and easy life.

There were several families of blood Kaffirs who had permanently
established themselves on the banks of this river.  They originally came
from the Cape Colony; the men were perfectly naked, and the women also,
with the exception of a piece of skin round the loins, which was of very
little service as a covering; the Korannas and Bushmen the same.  In the
evening we had two fires, one for us and one for our boys, having two
waggons, a cart, and many oxen and sheep to look after.  We had eight
servants, composed of Hottentots, Korannas, Bushmen, and a Cape
half-caste; consequently, when we were all assembled round the fires,
with the addition of our neighbours, who never failed to visit us at
feeding-time to come in for snacks, we formed a large gathering of as
romantic and unique a party as could well be collected at any picnic.
The ladies present were of all colours, from yellow to black; many of
them well-formed and good-looking, others were of every type of
ugliness.

The Kaffirs were models of symmetry, and a much superior class to the
others.  Having an unlimited supply of wood, our fires lighted up the
trees, bush, and many of the near rocks, leaving the lofty mountains in
shadow, looking black and grim against the sky,--a grand picture for a
Turner.  I made an attempt to portray it on canvas, but my humble
efforts could not do justice to this beautiful and wild scene.

So enjoyable was this mode of life, what with sketching, exploring,
fishing, and shooting, besides the daily sail on the river, visiting the
islands, and the opposite shore, geologising and reading under the
overhanging trees as the boat floated quietly with the gentle current, I
determined to waste three or four months on its banks, as I was
following the river down for 300 miles, which would occupy that time to
thoroughly enjoy it, and give me ample opportunity of indulging in this
wild and free life.  The boat was fastened on to the back of my waggon,
when treking down by the river.  When outspanned, it was taken down to
the water, sometimes crossing over to the Colony side to visit the blood
Kaffirs, to obtain milk and purchase the large Africander sheep.  The
people would come down to see where we came from, and when they saw the
boat and us getting into it and paddling away with our two sheep, their
shouts of astonishment were amusing.

When travelling, it was always in the morning for a couple of hours;
that was our day's work, the rest being employed in various ways as
described.  At one outspan, close to a small Koranna village, we as
usual took the boat down to the river that we might, in mid-stream,
enjoy our daily swim, and crossed over to some Kaffirs.  They were
entirely naked, nothing whatever to cover them; the women brought us
some thick milk.  They had heard that some white men were coming down,
and told us that the Korannas intended to stop us, and not allow us to
proceed.  On returning to the waggons, we found several of those people
sitting round our fires, evidently come to overhaul us, but they were
very civil; they had been getting out what information they could from
our boys.

Forewarned is being forearmed; we looked up our rifles and ammunition,
to be ready for any surprise, as we intended to fight our way down
stream if opposed.  But there was no sign of opposition on their part.
They were much amused at a sketch I had been making of them as they were
sitting round the fire in their half-naked state.  They each wanted me
to take them individually.  Many I did, for practice, and to embellish
my journal, for we do not meet with such picturesque groups every day.
I therefore made the best use of my opportunity.  Both sexes are great
swimmers, and would follow me some distance.  As I sailed from the
shore, I took one or two out occasionally in the boat to help me in
fishing and other work, when my own people were out hunting up game to
keep my larder full.  So that, from being shy at first, they became
almost too friendly, which, under existing circumstances, I permitted.
Their primitive mode of living is very simple.  They marry at twelve
years of age, if living together as long as it suits them is called
marriage.  No divorce courts are needed in these parts.

Our next trek was to avoid the high mountains which terminated on the
river-bank in enormous cliffs.  We therefore had to go round through the
gorges and over steep and stony hills--no roads in this wild country--
and outspanned for the night close to a mountain stream surrounded by
lofty hills, covered with bush.  As night advanced, the different wild
animals began to move about; the red cat, a kind of panther, the
wolf-jackals, and porcupine were very plentiful.  At night when the
camp-fires have burnt nearly out, and all the boys are rolled up in
their blankets fast asleep, every sound is distinctly heard.  The
mountains contained many leopards, and they are very dangerous, and will
not hesitate to attack if you are alone.

These hills were the home of the wild Bushmen, who war on all living
things.  They differ from other Bushmen; they are of a reddish-black
colour, and stand four feet four inches in height.  They live in the
caves amongst most inaccessible parts of these mountains.  They use the
bow and arrow.  Few are now left, as far as we know, for they never show
themselves, and keep as much away from mankind as the beast of the
forest.

Travelling on through mountain passes, we arrived at a native station
where the chief, Klas Lucas, lived, who claimed all the country north,
to the Kuruman river, which is a wild district, having several isolated
hills, and being scarce of water, particularly towards the Kuruman and
Molapo rivers.  Large pans are distributed over this waste, but water is
seldom found in them, except in the rainy season, from January to May.
Large herds of game, and also the ostrich, are occasionally to be seen,
but are difficult to approach, as they are constantly being hunted by
the Korannas, Bushmen, and Griquas, living at the kraals near the Hygap
and Orange rivers, and along the mountains of Scheurberg.  Limestone and
granite are the only rocks to be found over this extensive region.

The Kalahara, to the north of the Molapo, up to a short distance of Lake
N'gami, the Langberg range of mountains continues northwards in broken
and detached hills through a wild country, unfrequented, except by
native hunters, who visit it from the Bechuana side on the east, and
those living in the desert and the Bastards at Meer.  The ostrich is
less hunted here, and consequently more plentiful.  Lions seem to have
it all their own way, for they are more numerous here than in any part I
have seen; not only at night, but in broad day, they make an attack on
your oxen.  One full-grown male lion seized one of my black oxen, not
300 yards from the waggon, in some low bush at mid-day.  Our attention
was called to the bellowing of the ox and the rush of the others towards
us.  The lion was on the ox, having seized him by the back of the neck;
one hind-foot of the lion had torn open the flank, and the other across
the back, when the ox dropped.  In a few minutes I was at his side with
my double-barrel rifle, and sent two bullets into his heart, when he
rolled on the ground quite dead.  The ox had to be shot also, for his
bowels were protruding from his side; he was one of my best oxen.  We
saw several others a short distance off, but they disappeared after a
few shots were fired at them.  As we treked over the veldt, we came upon
several remains of game on the ground, which the lions had killed and
eaten.

There are many beautiful plants and flowers in these parts.  We were
frequently crossed by border tribes who go in to hunt, but they do not
remain.  They may be seen occasionally in small parties traversing the
desert, with one or two pack-oxen loaded with dried game and such
feathers as they may have obtained by the rifle or stolen from the
Bushmen they may have surprised.  If they catch a Bushman, they conclude
he has feathers,--if not with him, he has them hid in the sand.  They
take from him what he has, and then, to make him give up what they
believe he has concealed, they torture the poor wretch by putting a
finger or a toe in the fire until the pain is so groat he tells where he
has hidden them.  If he has none, they believe he is telling them false,
and go to such extremes, that they will burn the hand or foot until they
are consumed, believing the victim is obstinate and will not tell where
they are.

I have a Bushman I engaged to look after the waggon with one foot
entirely burnt off, and a Bush boy with four fingers of the right hand
served in the same way.  The man came to me and asked to be employed,
and said he would show me the waters.  He brought his two daughters with
him; their mother was dead.  The girls' ages, as well as I could guess,
were fourteen and sixteen.  I employed them on various duties about the
waggons, and found them very willing to learn.  I had now a large family
to provide for; my own eight boys and seventeen Bushmen, including six
women and girls, which was a great help, as they took me to
watering-places unknown to hunters, and were my guides to places I
should not otherwise have visited.  I found if you treat these people
well, they are willing to assist in any way.  They are a very small
race, seldom exceeding four feet ten inches in height.  When old, which
is at the age of forty, they are very ugly.  Their food consists of
game, which they kill with their bows and arrows, eggs, roots, mice,
locusts, insects, frogs, land-turtle, and anything they may pick up.

When I was in the desert in 1872, I had one of the chief Bushmen
captains engaged with many of his people to hunt for me.  Hearing of the
atrocities committed on these Bushmen by the border tribes, I told him
to collect a few of the injured ones, and bring them to my waggon, that
I might see them.  In a week he collected fourteen, all, more or less,
having lost a hand or fingers, a foot or a greater part of it.  One
Bushman had a red-hot iron ramrod forced through his body under the
arm-pit and it came out on the other side.  I saw the skeleton a few
days after it occurred.  Some are shot down, and the children stolen and
taken for slaves.  They are also tied to stakes and burnt to death, and
I was taken to the places where these crimes had been committed, and saw
the remains and the site of the fire.  Having satisfied myself as to the
correctness of all these statements from personal inspection and from
more than fifty Bushmen who told me of others equally horrible, all of
which I noted in my journal, I was frequently importuned by these people
to become their chief, which I declined.  I was then asked to write to
the Great Mother (the Queen) to solicit Her Majesty's protection, and
take them over as her children.  This, I saw, was impracticable.  I then
told the chief head-men to call all the Bushman families together near
at hand, at a drift where I had had the bad luck to get my waggon
capsized, and where there was plenty of water, and to meet me there at
the full moon a fortnight hence.

True to the appointment, seventy-seven of the head-men and their
families were there, forming a large camp, and as quiet and orderly as
any assemblage of people could be.  I took down the probable number
there would be within a radius of seventy miles, from Klasson, the chief
spokesman, which numbered 3986.

They stated, if the Great Mother could not be written to, would I write
to the Great Chief at the Cape?  This I agreed to, and told them I would
write out a petition which they would sign, and I would forward it with
a letter explaining the circumstances under which it was sent to his
Excellency Sir Henry Barkly, detailing the atrocities, and praying to be
taken under English protection, which was in due course forwarded, and
some months afterwards I received a reply from his Excellency, stating
"he had received the petition and my letter, but as the Kalahara desert
was so far removed from the Cape Colony, he could not see how it could
be done at present, but at some future time it might be considered."
And from that time these peacefully-disposed people have been left to
the tender mercy of the border tribes.  His Excellency, it appears, did
not know that the Kalahara desert joined the northern border of the Cape
Colony, which shows how little interest was taken to ascertain the true
position of the country from which the petition was forwarded.

The country to the west of this region up to Damaraland, 200 miles, up
to the mountain regions of that country and Great Namaqualand, is
undulating, with vast stretches of wood and open plains; isolated hills
of granite and limestone in other portions.  One extensive district was
covered with water-worn pebbles, garnets, agates, and other beautiful
stones, also large broken pieces of stone of a rich crimson colour.
When broken small cubes of iron pyrites like gold are embedded.  The
grain is very fine, and it would make splendid vases, cups, plates, or
any other ornaments.

I had been foolish enough to collect specimens of every kind of stone,
until my waggon became so full and heavy that I had to throw them away.
I made a collection of 3000 agates of every variety of colour and shape,
which had to be abandoned.  Many cairns or graves are seen with heavy
stones surrounding them.

Not far from them are several ancient stone huts, built upon a small
hill, that must have belonged to a former race, and close to a dried-up
river.  Some of the stones are six feet in length, two feet wide, and
one and a half thick.  They were placed on end and covered in.  None of
them would hold more than four persons.  They are in small clusters of
seven and eight together, and some less.  They were covered in with
large stones, that have long since fallen.  No account can be obtained
of them from the Bushmen.  Their huts are a few sticks stuck up with
grass thrown over.

Several fresh Bushmen and women came to my camp this morning.  Some of
the young girls were very good-looking, and with a profusion of native
ornaments upon them made entirely of ostrich eggs.  A perfect set
comprised a tiara, three inches in width, for the head; a broad
necklace, six bracelets on each arm, and eight anklets or bangles to
each leg, and finally, a rope of beads of sufficient length to go round
the loins twice and fastened in front with a piece of rimpey.  These
constituted the entire dress of one of the girls.  She looked like a
young African queen, and it had the effect of making her look half
pretty.

I bought two sets for six yards of print each.  I think there cannot be
less than 8000 beads in each set, between each bead a piece of leather
of the same size, which becomes black, so that they look like black and
white beads, which has a good effect upon their black skin.  They were
delighted with the exchange.  When disrobed of their ornaments, they
threw the print over their shoulders like a mantle.  The ornament had
the appearance of having been handed down from generation to generation.
At Narukus, on the Nosop river, I came upon a family of Bushmen, ten in
number, of a different type to those I had in my service, evidently a
lower caste.  They have no forehead; the wool on their heads comes close
down to the eyes, and the head falling back like a baboon; projecting
mouth, small nose, a sort of hair or wool all over the chest, arms, and
legs; their eyes are small and restless, watching every movement that is
going on; the tallest man did not exceed four feet four; their skin was
of a reddish-brown.  A few old skins, broken ostrich eggs, and bows and
arrows, seemed all they possessed of worldly goods.

They would have decamped and hid in the bush, but I sent some of my
Bushmen and brought them back.  I asked my own boys, if they were their
brothers, meaning of the same race; they repudiated the idea, and said
they were monkeys not men, and told me there were very few ever seen, it
was very seldom they ever came upon any; they eat carrion.  They are
evidently a distinct race from the Masara Bushmen who are largely
distributed over the desert.  One of the women had a baby not much
bigger than a half-grown kitten; all of them were destitute of clothing.

The country through which the Oup and Nosop pass, in many places is very
pretty and picturesque.  At a fountain on the branch of the Oup, I
remained several days to hunt, to supply so many people with food.

_24th February_, 1872.  A terrific thunderstorm broke over us soon after
midnight, and continued until six this morning, striking and splitting
up some large trees a short distance from our camp, and it rent into
three a large rock which stood out alone from the base of the hill.  The
country was swamped with water, the oxen at one time standing half
knee-deep in it.  My escort of Bushmen and their families for once in
their lives had a good shower-bath.  The baboons also in the hills must
have felt its effects, for they could be heard far and near, with their
half-human grunts.

My Bushman with the stump foot told me he could understand the baboon
language, when, they are frightened or hungry, or are to meet together
to defend themselves against an enemy, or to meet to play, and he knew
well what they said and could talk to them.  The old ones beat the young
baboons with sticks if they do anything wrong, such as stealing the food
from others.  The Bushman's language has a great many grunts in it
similar to these animals.


I find there are four types of Bushmen in this desert; the lowest is the
one already described with no forehead and half wool and hair on their
bodies and legs.  The second is the wild Bushmen, who live in the
mountains near the Orange river, also mentioned, who war on all men, but
they are of good form, without hair.  The third is the Masara Bush
family, also of good proportions and of gentle dispositions, inoffensive
and harmless, ready to help or do anything, and they make good servants.
It was this tribe I had with me in my wanderings.  The two girls I took
in charge made good cooks, washed the clothes, and mended them.  The
fourth is much taller and well-formed, great rascals, who cannot be
trusted with anything; they inhabit the eastern portion of the desert,
and down by Langberg.  A similar tribe were those Sir Walter Currie
drove out of the colony, some of whom I fell in with at Quassam under
Coche Africanda.  The Bushmen of the northern Kalahara are much the same
as the Masara, every one of them quite distinct from the Drakensberg
Bushmen, whose form and colour differ entirely from the others, which I
believe to be a distinct race, and which I described in the first
chapter.

One amusing circumstance I omitted to mention in connection with one of
these wild Bushman boys, when at Swaart-Modder in the Hygap river, where
we had built a stone house under the cliff to keep our goods during our
stay there.  A young Bush boy came in the evening to the camp and made
himself comfortable by the fire.  After some time my boys asked him
where he came from, but he would give no reply.  At last they got from
him that he had run away from his people, because his mother had burnt
his fingers for stealing, and he came to get something to eat.  This was
his second visit, and as he had been well fed before, he came again, but
managed at the same time to steal some of my boys' food.  On this
evening, we had a young man from the colony to drive the cart and look
after the boys, and as our stone house was infested with large mice,
this young Hancock was catching them in an iron pot, and throwing them
out amongst the boys for amusement.  As one by one, up to seven, were
thrown, this Bush boy picked them up, put them into the red-hot ashes to
cook, and, when half-done, ate them as they were.  Thinking he must be
awfully hungry, I told my cook to put on a pot and cook some Boer meal,
which is wheat ground but unsifted; two pints of this were cooked in
water, and when ready it was set before him and soon disposed of.

After all the people were asleep, he stole the food they had left, and
in the middle of the night, sucked three of my goats dry.  The following
morning he was not to be found, and for nearly a month we did not see
him again; when we had travelled 100 miles north, and were outspanned,
he presented himself again, as if it were his first visit.  We found out
he had lived in the bush, existing on a wild water-melon, called shama
or kongive, and had kept us in sight as we travelled.  I tried to tame
him, but it was of no use; his age was about eleven years.  He kept with
us off and on for three months, then disappeared altogether; the lions
would not let him remain long, without making a meal of him.

We were now travelling through a very pretty part of the desert, open
glades and timber trees, lofty pyramidal hills, partly covered with
bush, fine grass, with white feathery tops, no inhabitants; a wild and
picturesque region, crossing open plains, then gentle rises with low
bush; in the distance, mountains with their lofty peaks fading away into
nothing.  The perfect calm and silence that pervades everything around,
the variety of game quietly grazing in all directions, the very
loneliness of my position, being many hundred miles from any white man,
surrounded only by my own Bushmen, and those who accompany me, living in
all their natural innocence as their forefathers lived in prehistoric
ages, add immensely to the pleasure one feels in viewing a scene so
novel and so seldom to be enjoyed.

The country as we approach Damaraland becomes more wild and broken,
lofty mountains come into view as we advance westward.  We were nightly
visited by lions and wolves, which kept us constantly on the watch, and
our fires kept lighted.  It is an anxious time, particularly when in the
stillness of the night we hear their roar at no great distance, in
answer to others far away.  The roar of a lion in the still evening can
be heard miles away.

One morning about eleven o'clock, as we were outspanned in an open plain
about 300 yards from a small pool of water, our oxen, horse, and a few
goats grazing on the opposite side of the waggons, several of my boys
asleep, the Bushmen and the women cooking some flesh in the hot embers,
we saw seven lions leisurely walking up to the water.  After drinking,
they went to a small rise, bare of grass and sandy, and commenced
playing, some lying down, others jumping over them, growling in their
deep bass voice, acting the same as cats at play.  This lasted twenty
minutes, when they as leisurely walked away, taking no notice of us
whatever.  If I had fired and wounded any, they might have come at us,
which would have been dangerous to our oxen, by dispersing.  When an ox
or a horse smells a lion, they will bolt away anywhere, and some might
have been lost, therefore we left them alone and enjoyed so unusual a
sight, watching the movements of these beautiful but dangerous kings of
the forest, in their wild and natural state in the wilds of Africa.

The Kalahara, that portion, on the borders of Damara and Ovampolands for
300 miles, becomes much more densely wooded and hilly.  Some of the
mountains attain a height of 8000 feet, in which lead, copper, iron, and
coal, also limestone, both white and dark grey, crop up everywhere.
Granite forms the hills.  The Black and White Nosop and the Elephant
river, and their several branches, drain all this region.  The country
is very dry, rain seldom falls, and when it does, it comes down with a
rush, which soon passes away; but the vegetation is excellent, fine
timber and thick bush predominate over this vast but little inhabited
country.  The road from Walfish Bay on the west coast passes through, in
an easterly direction, to Lake N'gami, Zambese, Ba-Mangwato, and other
territories on the east.  The road is difficult to travel for want of
water, but when the country is more opened up, means will be found for
procuring it by well-sinking and pumps, to make it as easy to travel as
any part of Africa.  There are several permanent watering-places now
along this route.  In the dry season it is three and four days' trek
between them, but as it is limestone nearly all the way, water can be
procured by digging wells.  The country is subject to drought, more
particularly in the southern portion of the desert, consequently there
is more game to be found in the northern region.  Elephants are seen in
troops of two or three hundred, also the zebra, and the various
antelopes, giraffes, rhinoceros, wild boar, and others.

The country is very favourable for rearing cattle; large numbers of
horses are yearly taken through the desert from the Orange River Free
State to Damaraland, and exchanged for Damara oxen, which are found to
make the best trek oxen, having small hoofs and being nimble on their
feet; they are compact and strong.  Another advantage is that they are
bred on sour grass; when they arrive in the colony, it is sweet, which
improves their condition.

_April 30th_.--At Hoab, a lovely, calm morning, after a heavy rain last
night, at a vlei; there are several large ones in this open grass
country that contain water at this time of year, being the rainy season.
This station is on the desert-track from the lake to Ovampoland.

Outspanned under a large tree; boys employed skinning a koodoo, killed
early this morning by one of my Bushmen guides with his poisoned arrow.
The arrow-head is of bone, very small, the shaft two feet in length, and
the bow two feet six inches.  The shaft, close to the head for four
inches, is covered over with their poison, which, in penetrating the
flesh, paralyses the animal; the flesh killed in this manner is very
good, and has no bad effect on those who partake of it.  Several Bush
people have come to our camp begging for food; they look poor and
miserable, their only covering being a few pieces of ragged skins thrown
over their shoulders.  Several of the grown-up boys and girls had not
even that to cover them.  They are complete wanderers in the desert; no
home or fixed abode, but live on roots, berries, insects, and anything
they may by chance shoot: I gave them some flesh, and a fire to cook it.

The hot winds, which are very oppressive, come in waves, and are very
enervating, more particularly in the dry season, when they dry up
everything.  The wood-work of the waggons shrinks to such an extent,
that the wheels are kept together by ropes of raw hide bound round them;
and your own system becomes so dried-up, that the natural functions of
your body partly cease to act; to remedy this, fat is absolutely
necessary, and nature craves after it.  You will see the desire after
fat in the native tribes, not only to grease their skin, to protect it
from the sun, but to use as medicine.

When treking, some days afterwards, we were overtaken by one of those
gigantic whirlwinds so common in all tropical countries.  We were
entirely enveloped in it; everything that is loose in the way of clothes
is carried up hundreds of yards.  One of my boys had his hat taken by
the current, and it fell nearly a quarter of a mile from where he lost
it.  Many of these whirlwinds may be seen at one time passing over the
desert.

At this outspan, late in the afternoon, sitting on my camp-stool where
my boys were skinning a buffalo I had shot, I saw in the distance a
Bushman coming.  When near enough to distinguish, I saw it was a Bush
girl, tall and well-made, and for a wonder quite fat; she was marked
over every part of her body--face, legs, and arms--with white stripes,
like the stripes of the zebra, and had nothing else on.  She came up,
holding out an old piece of leopard-skin.  My Bushman spoke to her, but
could get no answer.  I gave her some tobacco, when, dropping the skin,
she walked to the fire and sat down.  We gave her a piece of cooked
meat, thinking she might be hungry, which she took, and after remaining
some ten minutes, got up and walked away in the same direction she came;
but no word could we get from her.  She was even strange to my Bushman.
It was a strange visit, and a strange mode of decorating herself.  The
only other occasion on which I fell in with Bushmen so marked was more
to the cast, nearly 300 miles, when nearly a dozen came to my waggon, to
tell me I had that day ridden over a grave where a few days before they
had buried one of their people.  The stripes may have something to do
with death, but the Bushmen I have spoken to know nothing of such
custom.

One of the vleis, which was full of water, appeared to be full of frogs,
from the noise they made at night; going down, next morning, I found
several small ones, having a peculiar appearance.  Catching one, which
was very narrow in its body compared to its length, and having a short
tail, I concluded at once from its general shape that it was half-lizard
and half-frog.  It had all the action of the frog in its long leaps,
without any attempt at running; all the others were of the same form,
and with tails.  I brought it to the waggon to take its measure, viz.
from front of head to commencement of tail one and a half inch, length
of tail three-quarters of an inch, beautifully marked with green and
light-yellow spots.  Not having any means of preserving it, I took it
back to the vlei, where there were hundreds sitting on the bank; as I
neared them they jumped into the water and disappeared.  The Bushman
brought in to-day several ostrich eggs, quite fresh from the nest, which
we had cooked in our large iron pots, mixed with a little flour--a kind
of omelet; one is sufficient for three persons.  The Bushman took me to
a nest that the old birds had been sitting on for some time; there were
eighteen in the centre, and fourteen on the outside, formed into a
circle round them, which are kept for food for the young birds, which
lasts them a few days when hatched; the hen bird then takes and teaches
the chicks to eat grass.

_Thursday, 18th_.--Our camp was visited by a party of traders and
Korannas on their way from Meer down South--the chief Puffadder, old Mr.
Ryland, from Kopie's farm and Low Blaat, four waggons, and a lot of
cattle, horses, and sheep.  They remained the afternoon and night, and
started early the next day for Kebeum.  They told me a trader on the
border of Great Namaqualand, going down to Walfish Bay, had been shot,
and his waggon and everything seized by the Gobabis Hottentots for
plunder, and that the country was in a fearful state of tribal wars.  I
told them of my little affair with the Bushman Hottentot at Quassam;
they said I was most fortunate to escape as I did, particularly with all
my belongings, as they are noted as a nest of thieves, and have robbed
traders of everything.

I left them for Abequis pita, which are in limestone; it is a Koranna
station, under the chief Puffadder.  The country is open and flat; the
grass in many places was up to my chin with white feathery flowers; at a
distance it looks like snow.  The road is very good for waggon
travelling, and around Springbok fountain the scenery is very pretty.
At Abequis pits the Korannas have many huts, and seem to be doing well;
they have flocks of goats, and a few Africander sheep.  They brought me
some very good feathers, which I took in exchange for powder and caps;
many of them have the old flint gun, which would be a curiosity now in
England.

The winters here are warm; it is now mid-winter, thermometer in the
shade 68 degrees.  The men wear old leather trousers, which constitute
their dress, the women an old blanket thrown over the left shoulder, and
brought round and held in front by the hand.  Overmodesty is not a
failing with them.  They were very civil, supplied my people with goats'
milk, and I gave them what they much needed, tobacco, as the women are
great smokers.  Dozens of them will sit or be lying round my fire,
having only two or three bone pipes between them, each taking a few
puffs and passing it on to the next, until all have had a turn; then
they begin again, the old ones keeping a pipe to themselves.  My maids,
Topsey and Nina, the daughters of my Piet, knew these people, therefore
I got on very well, Piet also lived once with them.  The country towards
the south and west was a level plain as far as the eye could see.

The next morning after the second day, started to the northwards; we
passed a large vlei on the left, six miles from the Koranna station,
which is the commencement of the sand-dunes.  The dunes are small until
sixteen miles of country are passed, then they assume great proportions.
A mile to the left is another vlei, where we filled our water-casks and
gave the oxen water, and remained the night, to have a clear day to pass
over them.  There were three Griquas' waggons outspanned, each waggon
was full of women and children, each Jack had his Jill, and each a baby,
plenty of little naked children of both sexes.  They told me they were
on the trek to the Orange river.  These people are always quiet and
civil, they exchanged a fat sheep for some tobacco.  All the country,
including the sand-dunes, is limestone with sand above, and full of low
bush, many large and small land-shells are mixed up in the sand.

_July 17th_.--The Griquas left early in the morning, and we started to
cross the sand-dunes.  A fearful road, their sides are about at an angle
of thirty, and every time we ascend one, we have to put two spans of
twenty-eight oxen in, to pull one waggon up at a time, which causes much
delay shifting them backwards and forwards, as each dune rises from 150
to 200 feet in height, with deep sand in the road, the wheels sinking
nine inches into it.  After struggling over these for five hours, the
oxen were done up, and we outspanned for the day at another large dry
vlei, but on the bank a small spring of water was issuing, sufficient
for the oxen and ourselves, a grand discovery, as we did not expect to
find any until we had got clear of this heavy road.  A short distance
from the water were several families of Bushmen, sitting round a large
fire; some of them had most extraordinary figures, thin calfless legs,
prominent chests and abdomen, altogether different from the other
Bushmen of the desert, and the colour of their skin was much lighter.  A
thin band of leather round their loins, and a skin over their shoulders
was their only covering; long bundles of skins rolled up with several
spears were lying on the ground.  The food they live on in a great
measure gives them this peculiar formation.  They had the short bow and
arrow, and quivers made of skins, full of arrows, cleverly made with
bone heads, all smeared with poison.  They appear to be half-Bushman,
half-Koranna.

I started the next morning, and after toiling for several hours, rested,
and again went on, crossing those lofty ridges until dark, outspanned
for the night in a deep hollow, where there was plenty of good grass,
and trees, and dead wood for fire.  Our trek this day was about eight
miles; two great fires were made, and our little party of twenty-six all
told, made themselves comfortable over their supper, and at ten all were
fast asleep.  But we did not get much rest, the lions kept round the
camp making a great noise, and being surrounded by these hills and thick
bush, we were the greater part of the night obliged to keep a sharp
look-out that none of our animals were taken.  Early the next morning I
took my rifle and mounted one of these sand-dunes before inspanning, and
found from the base to the summit registered 204 feet.  But what a sight
when I looked round; as far as the eye could see, nothing but these
immense sand-dunes in every direction, here and there open patches of
yellow sand and bush, a wild, rugged, and howling wilderness, that
appeared interminable, the fit abode for savage man and more savage
beast, and here we find them, man in primitive nature, as low a type as
the world can produce, little removed from the beast, for it is here I
have met those wild men which I have described elsewhere; they are
partly covered with short woolly hair, and have no forehead, the scant
wool reaching the eyes.  They are rarely now seen, even by the Bushmen
of the desert, as they have repeatedly told me, and here they may find a
home for many years to come, for no other living man will fix his
residence in such a region of desolation,--

  "A wilderness howling and drear,
  Forsaken by man from famine or fear."

  _Pringle_.

On our trek we started many head of game, which are easily killed by the
Bushman arrow, and with these and the many wild fruits they manage to
exist.  It has taken four days to cross this wild and hilly region which
extends over an area as far as I have explored it, fifty miles from east
to west, and nearly forty north to south: the home of the leopard and a
legion of wild tiger-cats, that are spotted or striped,--their skins
make beautiful karosses.  On leaving these dunes we come upon a level
plain of limestone, which we have ten miles to cross, where there are
several watering-places, fountains they may be called, and enter
sand-dunes again for some fifteen miles, and then come upon a bush
country, with gentle rises and low wooded bills with isolated conical
hills of granite.  Close to the hills, I outspanned near a swamp; the
noise from the bull-frog kept us from sleep.  They are monsters, a foot
across the back and quite black.  The Bushmen eat them; they would form
a fine dish for our French neighbours.

The weather is very fine, like an English spring day, everything seems
springing into life.  Clouds begin to collect on the horizon, and the
sunsets are most brilliant, purple and gold, forming celestial
landscapes of the most gorgeous hues.  There are many ostriches to be
seen on the flats, but the country is so full of holes, partly covered
with grass, that it is dangerous to follow them.  Far and wide in every
direction the character of the country is the same, which we pass
through up to Meer, the Bastard station.

We passed several small Bushmen kraals; the women and children as we
approached hid themselves in the bush, but when they found we were
friendly, and giving presents to the men, they came forward.  At one we
remained a few days to buy feathers, during the time my Bushmen and the
girls soon made friends with them, and dancing went on in their fashion
every evening.  These women daub their faces and bodies with black
stripes, which they consider ornamental.  Their natural colour is half
black, consequently these stripes show out prominently; they are a mild,
timid race, very good-natured, willing to do anything, and, if left
alone by the border tribes and the Bastards, their lives would be happy;
their wants are few and easily supplied, clothes they do not require,
the climate at all seasons of the year is seldom colder than our English
summer, and, as these children of the desert are constantly shifting
their locations, huts are not required, or only of the most primitive
kind, a few sticks stuck in the ground, and the long grass thrown over
them.  This is a portion of the central part of the Kalahara.

When we arrived at Meer, all the people were out ostrich-hunting close
round the village, a great excitement, the birds running in all
directions, and the Bastards after them on their horses; they managed to
shoot seven; the others, about fifty, made their escape.

Meer is a straggling village, the soil is rich and grows good crops of
corn, the two pans supply the people with water.  Dirk Falander, the
head-man, is supreme over the people.  They possess several waggons and
have large herds of cattle, and live very comfortably, sending down to
the colony for what supplies they require.  Coffee and sugar are in
great demand.

After a delay of two days, I left for Chuane pits, distant one hundred
miles; as the rains were very early, there was plenty of water to be
had.  This occupied me eleven days.  I remained some time on the Oup and
Nosop rivers, hunting, and it was necessary for one or two guns to be
out every day to supply my little family with food, and as there was
plenty of large game about, we had no difficulty in procuring it.

The wild aspect of the country, bush here, open plains there, with long
ridges of low hills, no living soul to be seen until we arrived at the
pits, and there we found a small family, who on our approach ran into
the bush, but my own Bushmen called them back; they came very
reluctantly, but soon became friends, some fifteen in all, a little
dahka and a few beads as presents soon restored confidence amongst them.

I am much interested in the Bushmen of the desert, and also in the white
Bushmen of the Drakensberg mountains, because they appear from their
isolation from the outer world, and cut off as they have been from the
tribes that now occupy the regions around them, to be the descendants of
the people who occupied the lower end of this ancient continent before
the tribes from the north came down, and pushed their way south,
bringing with them their Asiatic and Hebrew customs, which all without
exception now practise more or less, evidently proving from what regions
they had migrated.  Eventually they nearly penetrated to Cape Town.  Not
so with the white Bushmen of the Drakensberg, the Hottentots, or Bushmen
of Cape Colony, and the Bushmen of the Kalahara Desert, each retaining
up to the present time distinctive physical formations and distinctive
dialects, so entirely different from those tribes that come down south
and overrun the southern peninsula of the African continent.  These
ancient aborigines of South Africa are comparatively pigmy races to
those above referred to, who are as tall, robust, well-formed specimens
of the human race as can be found in any part of the world.  Then again
their language, if it can be called such, is entirely different from any
other known tongue, their thoughts are described by certain clicks, four
in number, the white Bushmen of the Drakensberg have only these clicks,
the Hottentots or Bush men of the Cape have, in addition to the clicks,
sounds which accompany the clicks which come from the throat like
grunts.  The Bushmen of the desert have also these clicks, showing, I
think conclusively, that these early people were in existence before
languages,--what we understand by language, words formed by the mouth,
tongue, and lips, as the nations of the world now converse and talk.
Some of the South African missionaries have committed to paper these
clicks, and they state it is a most beautiful and expressive language.
At any rate, my belief is, that the earliest formed language of man was
by sounds such as clicks and grunts before they advanced so far as to
express their ideas by forming words, and language has been progressive
as man advanced in civilisation.  In travelling over South Africa and
listening to the sounds of the baboons as they move about the rocks
above you, you can detect a great similarity in their guttural sounds
and the Bushman language, and I could quite understand when my Bushman
told me he could converse with, and knew much of what these said,
showing a connecting link between them.  Therefore I take much interest
in watching their characteristic qualities, in connection with the
general run of mankind.  Anthropological study naturally embraces the
study of their early implements, where, and how found, their artistic
qualities, and for what purpose made, for peace or war, and this desert
is particularly rich in these interesting relics of past ages.

The desert on the east and south of these Chuana pits, extends up to the
chiefs Sechele, Montsioa, and Gaseitsive, that join on the eastern
boundary 230 miles, unbroken by rivers or native towns, one immense
tract of wood and plains, long flats, and in other parts undulating,
with the exception of the detached mountain ranges, which run north and
south--the continuation of the Langberg range--and they terminate 100
miles south of Lake N'gami.  They are beautiful, picturesque and lofty
hills, rising from their base 3000 feet; many of their sides and deep
kloofs are thickly wooded with fine timber of great value, and in the
extensive ravines are ancient caves, some of them now used by the
Bushman tribe.  This range is distant from these pits about twenty miles
on the east.  Game of every kind is plentiful; lions, also, we hear for
hours every evening.  Hawks, kites, vultures, eagles, locust-birds are
almost always seen on the wing.

As there was good water at these pits, in consequence of several heavy
thunderstorms having passed over the last few days, I have remained here
to have a little exploration of the country and provide a good supply of
dried meat, which is called biltong, for my people; and in the evenings,
when all work is over, they amuse themselves dancing, singing, and
shooting at targets with their arrows for small presents, which causes
great fun; they are the most happy people in the world.  To amuse them I
made a kite about three feet in length, and with some string sent it
flying, to the astonishment and delight of all.

Spring was now advancing fast, everything springing into life.  The
little, happy African lark flying up some thirty feet, where it remains
a few seconds, then down it comes with such a sweet plaintive voice, and
this is repeated every few minutes, and as there are many of them about,
their little notes are constantly heard.  Thunderstorms are now coming
almost daily, and the evening sunsets are the most brilliant and
gorgeous that can be imagined, portraying golden lakes, mountains and
waterfalls, rivers and islands, with noble castles, and everything to
perfect a landscape, and this remains long without alteration.  It has
been a source of much pleasure in this lonely region to endeavour to
convey the like on canvas.

As we had now plenty of water and could go anywhere, I struck north,
leaving these pits on the 30th October; but a few days previous to my
leaving, I found several small quartz reefs of the right sort for gold.
After spending three days with pickaxe and hammer, digging and breaking
off nearly a ton of quartz, I was rewarded with one little speck of
gold, finding, so far as I could see, that these reefs were not rich;
and if they were, the distance is too great to make it pay to work them.
On leaving, my friends, whom I found in possession of the pits, wanted
to join my party.  Treking due north, keeping west of these mountains, I
outspanned, after four hours, close to one of the highest of the range
for the night, as I wanted to make an excursion to the top the next day,
to see the country and take observations, altitude, and get the
difference in temperature at the highest part.  The night passed off
very quietly, except hearing in the stillness of the night an occasional
roar of a lion and other wild beasts, to give us warning not to sleep
too sound.  The sun rose the next morning in a magnificent glow of
crimson light.  After breakfast I started with my driver and five
Bushmen, each with a rifle and ammunition, all on foot, leaving the
waggon at 6 a.m.  I soon reached the foot of the mountain, when the
difficult part of the journey commenced, passing round projecting rocks,
crossing deep kloofs, thick with bush, where we had to keep a good
look-out, having only one dog to tell if any lions were near.  I
managed, after three hours' labour, to reach the highest summit about 10
a.m., a clear lovely morning, without a cloud.  The view from this
elevated position was grand.  In all my wanderings I have never seen
anything to equal it, no lofty hills to break the view for 150 miles.
The outlook from this point extended both east and west over 200 miles;
the lofty hills near Secheles could only be distinguished with the
telescope, and then like a pale lavender cloud, the country between
thickly wooded, and long stretches of open country, apparently a
waterless region; the same on the western side, excepting that the
country was more open, and the ancient river system could be distinctly
traced by the trees and bushes that grew on their banks.  The game in
the open looked like ants.  One of my Bushmen called the attention of
the others to something they went to look at behind some bushes.  Going
to see what they were examining, I found the remains of four fires that
had recently been alight, and several pieces of bone broken near some
stones to extract the marrow, but nothing else could be discovered.
Evidently there were Bushmen in these mountains, but no sign of them
could we see.  After exploring the ins and outs of the topmost ridges, I
selected a good position for taking observation, after which we disposed
ourselves for lunch; the walk up and pure air gave an edge to our
appetites.  Cold tea and a dash of brandy, which gives the tea the
flavour of wine, was served to all alike, and they then disposed
themselves on the grass for a smoke.  I found the elevation at this
point above sea-level to be 6470 feet, and from the base of the mountain
to where we were 2795 feet.

At 3 p.m. we made a start for the return journey to camp, taking a
different route down, which was much more difficult, the mountain being
broken up into many almost perpendicular ravines, and gigantic rocks
projecting in all directions.  Half-way down my Bushmen called out in an
excited tone that there were several Bushmen on a projecting spur making
for cover.  We counted eleven; how many more we could not tell.  I told
my boys to call to them to come, but they paid no attention, and
suggested that some should go and bring them, but they refused, being
afraid they should be shot by the poisoned arrows; and they informed me
they were monkeys, not men, meaning they were of the same type as those
I have mentioned previously as having woolly hair on their body, legs,
and arms.  As we wound round the mountain, it being too steep to come
straight, we came suddenly upon three more, a man, a woman and child,
quite naked, and of a reddish-brown colour.  My Bushmen called to them
in their language of clicks to stop, we were friends, but they seemed
much alarmed.  A present of beads to the woman gave them confidence.
They appeared very young, not more than seventeen.  The height of the
man was about four feet two inches, large bodies for their size, thin
legs, and small receding head, and disgustingly ugly.

Passing round one of the overhanging rocks, I came upon several caves,
none of any great extent, but evidently made use of as dwellings from
the numerous remains of fires in them and the smoked appearance of the
roofs and sides, and heaps of broken bones lying about, but no one was
in them.  If I had had the means of sending this little family down to
the colony, I should have done so.  After a delay of nearly an hour
looking about, we continued our downward movements, and reached camp
soon after sundown.

During our absence one of our Bush girls went out with two other little
ones to dig up inches, a small bulb like an onion growing in the veldt--
good to eat--when a lion seized and carried her off.  The screams of the
girl and the two little ones brought several of the Bushmen with guns,
but no trace of the girl could be found.  This occurred just before our
arrival, when I formed a party of seven and went to look for her, but
night coming on and very dark, it was impossible to follow up the spoor.
Early next morning by break of day all that could be spared started,
but nothing could be seen, the bush being so thick.  Many of the Bush
people are carried off in this way.  All last night the roar at
intervals could be heard far and near; the man-eating lions are the only
ones these people greatly fear.

To go through my daily routine from place to place, the same duty daily,
would become too tedious.  We therefore, after leaving this place,
visited various localities.  My Bushmen knew that water could be found
at Hoodedoon, and the dry river where we managed to capsize the waggon.
We reached Reitfontain and Wahlberg, my old station, at a pan situated
at the north end of that mountain range; I had left five weeks back, and
encamped once more for a rest.  I call this my station in 22 degrees 10
minutes South latitude, 22 degrees 12 minutes East longitude.  The whole
of the country is high, 3880; at my pan the mountain registers 6880
above sea-level.  After a stay of ten days I left for Lake N'gami.

The importance of this desert cannot be over-estimated in connection
with our interior trade.  Whatever nation secures it, secures all the
trade to the Zambese, which would be an immense loss to England and the
Cape Colony.  It is capable of great improvement, and under a proper
government will become a most valuable field for emigration.

CHAPTER THIRTEEN.

GREAT NAMAQUALAND.


This country occupies the western shore of the South Atlantic, from the
Orange river, which is the northern boundary of the Cape Colony, to
Walfish Bay, a distance of 420 miles.  The southern boundary follows up
the Orange river for ninety miles, where the Great Fish river falls into
it from the north.  The native name of this river is the Garip.  The
breadth at its mouth is nearly four miles; the sand in its bed and the
many shoals and sand-banks prevent its being navigable.  Higher up there
are long stretches of smooth water for miles, intersected by rapids and
rocks,--some of them very beautiful, passing down between broad belts of
rich vegetation, with splendid timber of many varieties: the willow,
with its drooping branches kissing the water, adds greatly to the beauty
of the scene.

It was on this river, some miles above, that I spent many delightful
months, with my canoe, sailing on its placid waters,--some of the most
pleasant of my life.  Many beautiful stones, not in small quantities,
but in cart-loads, can be shovelled up wherever the water has left them
on the shore.  The upper portion of the river I have already described.

Following the coast-line north from this river are several anchorages.
The principal are Angra Juntas, Whale Bay, Possession Island, which is
nearly three miles in length, and over one in breadth--once famous for
guano; and if time be permitted will be again a valuable island for that
manure.  Seals frequent this coast at certain seasons of the year, and
penguins are also abundant.  Cape Voltas lies on the mainland.  North of
Possession Island is Angra Pequena (now German) Island and Bay, where
the mouth of the little Orange river enters it, which rises in the
highlands at the back.  At Pedestal Point, Bartholomew Diaz in 1486
erected a marble pedestal, which has long since disappeared.  It is a
trading-station for supplying the natives of the interior, who trade in
feathers, skins, karosses, cattle, and other products, and receive goods
from the Cape in exchange.  A road from the bay is over a dismal,
barren, and heavy road for fifty miles, when it becomes better, with
some herbage.  In the bay there are several islands, viz.  Penguin,
Seal, Shark, and others, which give good shelter for ships visiting it.
Copper has been found on the neighbouring coast.  North of this bay is
the Island of Ichaboe, which, although very small, is famous for once
being noted for its superior guano, supplying England with thousands of
tons annually.  North of this island is Hottentot Bay, and beyond
Spencer's Bay, the cliffs rising 500 feet nearly perpendicular; and in
the bay is Mercury Island, nearly a mile in circumference, rising to a
height of 250 feet, in which is an immense cavern, divided into several
lesser ones, through which the waves rush with fearful force and noise.
This rock is bare of vegetation, many sea-birds find shelter upon it--
gannet, penguin, gulls, and others.  Seals and whales frequent it at
certain seasons.

In latitude 24 degrees 30 minutes South is Hollam Bird Island, about
half a mile in circumference.  Seals and birds frequent it in large
numbers; many turtles have been caught on the shore.  In 24 degrees
South latitude is Conception Bay, and to the northward is Sandwich
Harbour, which is situated thirty miles south of Walfish Bay.  Sandwich
Harbour has a coast-line of sand-hills beyond; inland is pasturage for
cattle, and on the beach is a spring of fresh water.  A fishery was once
established here by a Cape merchant.  The River Kusip used to fall into
this bay, but now flows into Walfish Bay.  It rises in the uplands, near
the Tans Mountains, but has no water in it, except when it happens to
rain, which is very seldom.  Great Namaqualand terminates about this
point, and Damaraland begins.

From the sea-coast for many miles inland the country is barren and poor;
as the highlands are reached vegetation improves.  The Desert of Tans
extends a long distance inland, nearly to Mitchell's Mount, which is a
lofty hill of 6000 feet, commanding most extensive views in every
direction.  On the tributaries of the Great Fish river, and the river
itself, most of the natives live in small wherfs, at the mission
stations belonging to the Rhenish Mission Society, Bethany, Bethesda,
Reheboth, and others.  The Isabella mines and Nabos copper-mines are on
the Orange river.  Some of the principal wherfs are Reheboth, Ames,
Haochannas, Nababis, Kachasa, Amhup, Reems, Hudenass, Brokhout,
Robaclip, and others, on the various branches.

As I have previously stated, the natives are greatly mixed; many of the
women daub their faces and bodies with black stripes, and also dye their
teeth black; they use a red berry that grows in the bush veldt.  Jonga
Africander, the head of the Hottentot tribe, living in the northern part
of this region, has been constantly thieving from the Damaras, causing
many petty wars between them.  They are a lawless set.  They drove out
and threatened to kill the magistrate there lately.

Wood is plentiful in the kloofs and on the river-banks, where the water
is procured.  The larger game is found in the north-east corner, but has
become very wild from constant hunting by the various tribes.  The lofty
hills are of granite formation and sand.  The Bastards cultivate the
land in favourable localities, plough, and have large herds of cattle,
and carry on a good trade with the colony.  They are hospitable and
peaceable; each wherf has its head-man, with several cattle and
vieh-posts attached.  Copper, lead, and iron are found in several parts,
not yet worked; at some future time it will become a valuable district.
The summers are hot, and in winter it is sometimes very cold; rain
seldom falls, but the dense fogs from the Atlantic, over all the western
portion and on the highlands, cause such a moisture to fall that it has
the effect of rain.  The rainy season is from the end of November to
May.  In the northern part rain is more frequent.  The Namaqua language
is similar to the Hottentot and Koranna, with innumerable clicks, which
make it sound very uncouth and strange to those who have heard it for
the first time.  In travelling through the country I met with great
hospitality amongst the Bastards.  At Nisbet Barth there is a Wesleyan
Society.  The missionary was away in the colony when I passed through.
[Here is Germany's first attempt at colonisation.]  Being anxious to go
on to the copper-mines on the river, where I could obtain a few things I
needed, I did not delay.

The country is not a pleasant region to travel through, for several
reasons--the scarcity of water, and that brackish; the want of grass;
the native cattle, where it would be good, keep it short; and the
wandering tribes are constantly annoying and worrying for something.  On
the banks of the Great Fish river, near the Brinus Mountains, I shot a
black wolf, the first I had seen, and my people told me they were very
rare.  I had great difficulty in getting through the country--bad roads
and dreadful drifts crossing the rivers.

I have little to relate of my explorations of this part of Africa, my
time being taken up in surveying the country, and collecting specimens.
The entire coast is a barren waste, not suitable for emigrants or
anything else for fifty miles at least inland.

CHAPTER FOURTEEN.

DAMARALAND.  SOUTH CENTRAL AFRICA.

The boundary of this region, adjoining Great Namaqualand, Kalahara, and
Ovampo, is very undefined.  The natives are unacquainted with the true
divisions, and as each nationality is not confined to any particular
line, living in a kind of mixed community, it is difficult to say where
one country begins and the other ends; but from accounts of the people,
it appears that the extinct river Kuisip, which enters Walfish Bay, is
the correct boundary, and the coast-line to the north reaches to the
Cunene river, which is also the Portuguese boundary of Bengulo, the
distance being nearly 400 miles.

The first and only harbour is Walfish Bay, being an important
trading-station, belonging to the Cape Colony.  This port, where there
are two trading establishments, supplies the whole of the northern part
of Great Namaqualand, and also all Damara and Ovampolands, the central
and northern Kalahara, as far as Lake N'gami.  The great drawback to its
prosperity is want of fresh water.  In many cases the people are
supplied with water in casks from Cape Town, but I believe if proper
means are taken by sinking wells, a good supply can be procured.  At
present a considerable trade is carried on with the natives, and is on
the increase.  On the north of this bay the river Swakop enters the
Atlantic, which is the main and principal stream that drains the eastern
division of Damaraland, upon which are situated many natives' wherfs.
Some of the principal are Oekiep, thirty-six miles up the river, then
Tineos, Oijimbinque, Otjimonjebba, Okandu, Little Barmen, Great Barmen,
Otjithebba, Gous, Eikham Hot Springs, and Thames Mission Station.  The
distance of this last station by road to Walfish Bay is about 231 miles,
which is one of the roads to Lake N'gami, and is on the north of Awas
mountain, that attains an elevation of 6400 feet.  The scenery in this
region is wild and grand, and eastward of these points the Ealahara
comes in, and is drained by the Black and White Nosops, Elephant river
and branches.  South of Swakop are several native kraals and wherfs;
Wittwater, Reed Fontain, Tjobis, Platklip, Onanis Mission Station on the
Kuisip, and others.  The country is fearfully sandy and dry.  The Canna
river, a tributary of the Swakop, branches off thirty miles from the
coast.  It rises in the spurs of the Ketje mountains and flows
south-west through a deep valley between some picturesque scenery.  Upon
and near this river are several Damara wherfs: Omaruru, Omapyu, and
Evonga.  A few miles inland from the junction of these rivers is the
Canrans Quanwas, or Colquhoun Mount, 3100 feet above sea-level, a
conspicuous object from the sea.  Copper is found in its vicinity.

Forty miles along the coast, to the north of Swakop river, is the mouth
of the Omaruru river, which evidently at some seasons must have a
powerful current; the washing away of the banks of sand, and large
timber trees brought down and left on the bank, is a good proof.
Extensive copper works have been worked here for some time, but they do
not seem to pay the company, long since abandoned.  Twenty miles inland
the lofty and barren hills give a desolate appearance to the country.
The sea-coast to the north is bold, and has many projecting headlands.
Inland, from Cape Cross, the land rises to an elevation of 3700 feet.
All this hilly district is inhabited by Berg Damaras, who are rather
scantily dressed.  The women have a band round the head with lappets
falling behind, a profusion of beads round their necks, with a band and
large square apron folded round their loins, and bracelets.  The men
have a broad belt, leather apron, with parts of tails suspended behind;
they have large bows five feet in length, and long arrows tipped with
iron.  Few iron utensils; wooden bowls are mostly used.

The upper source of the Amaruru rises in the Eshuamen mountains, which
is a dense bush, and separates Damaraland from the Ovampo region.  The
river Omuramba, already described in the Kalahara, rises in the same
mountain, Eshuamen, and also Mount Ketje, taking a north-east course,
then flowing east, leaving the lofty range of the Omureraoom on the
west.  The upper part of the Swakop has many stations, and is thickly
populated.

Limestone prevails over an extensive area; the peaks, which are composed
of this rock, are 4444 feet high.  The region to the east is the
Kalahara desert and a thick bush country.

The principal road from Barmen Mission Station to Ovampoland runs along
by the Omuramba river, between which and Damara the country is divided
by an immense thorn district.  Beautiful and picturesque scenery is to
be found in Damaraland, where the granite hills stand out in bold and
massive peaks.  The mineral wealth of this region is little-known;
copper, lead, and silver, also iron, abound in the mountains.  The
natives speak the Otjiherero language.  There are many mixed races
spread over the country, and great numbers of cattle, sheep, and goats
are kept by them.  Several mission stations are established in the
country: Barmen, Otjimbinque, Schmelin's Hope and others.  The climate
is very healthy.  All the large game are found in these regions.  The
Damaras hunt them with the bow and arrow, but of late years guns have
been introduced into the country.  They are a stout and powerful people,
very dirty in their habits, and seldom remain long in one locality,
being pastoral, cultivating no corn, and always at war with the Berg
Damaras, being of a different tribe, using the Hottentot language.

The Rhenish Missionary Society hold most of the stations, and have been
great sufferers by these lawless tribes, being plundered, and several of
them ruined, which has destroyed the trade of the country.
[Illustrative of which, one of the missionary's goats was being
constantly milked.  One Sunday evening he caught a man at it, who ran
away, and he threw a piece of wood at him; and complained to the chief,
who decided that the man was sufficiently punished by that, and the
missionary was fined a goat for breaking the Sabbath.]  Many English
traders were robbed and some wounded.  The mission stations were
established about 1830, but scarcely anything has been done in
civilising the people.  The Namaquas live by plundering their
neighbours, the Damaras.  This was the state of affairs when I first
visited that region.  Since then they have been robbing the Damaras of
their cattle.  Several mission stations have been destroyed.  Their
store at Walfish Bay was broken open and everything stolen, and the
manager, Mr. Toerson, murdered.  The Europeans in the country, numbering
about thirty, made application for assistance at Cape Town.  The
governor sent a man-of-war to Walfish Bay, which returned without
landing.  Since then several British subjects have been murdered, and so
things have gone on from bad to worse, and not until 1875 were any steps
taken; then a commissioner was despatched to endeavour to settle
matters, but his influence had little effect in restoring order, and
eventually he returned to Cape Town.  It is of the highest importance to
the Cape Colony that Walfish Bay and the coast-line for fifty miles
north and south of it should be annexed to that colony as being the
principal outlet for the native trade of the interior.  If it should
fall into foreign hands an immense injury would accrue by the taking
away the greater portion of that trade which rightly belongs to the Cape
Colony.  The chief, Kamaherero, is almost paramount in the country.  The
population of the Hereros is estimated at about 40,000, and the Berg
Damaras nearly 30,000.

The importance of Walfish Bay is its having the command of all the
interior trade of Ovampoland, the Kalahara desert, and also that
extensive region at Lake N'gami, a great portion of which is brought
across the desert, therefore its importance as a British port cannot be
overrated.  There is no field for emigration, as the country is too dry
for agricultural purposes, and the natives at present are too lawless
for any settled community to remain there; but as a trading-station to
collect the produce of the interior, and barter with the natives, it is
all important that it should be retained.

In the latter part of 1879 the country was in a lawless state.  The
Gobabis have been robbing waggons; the Gobabis are Hottentots.  They
robbed a Boer, one Van Zyl, of all he had, and he had to fly with one of
his sons, leaving his wife and another woman with seven waggons, with
horses, oxen, guns and ammunition in the hands of the Gobabis, who had
taken all except the two women.  Van Zyl went to Mr. Palgrave, the
Commissioner, for help, to get his wife and waggons from the Gobabis
Hottentots, but Mr. Palgrave did not assist him, which has caused some
comment, and Mr. Palgrave started away from Walfish Bay.  The Hottentots
released the two women who were prisoners, and kept everything.  Nothing
has been done to bring peace to the country, as where so many petty
chiefs have separate rule in a country like this, it is impossible to
have law and order.  Mr. Van Zyl was afterwards shot, and also his son
some time later.

CHAPTER FIFTEEN.

OVAMPOLAND.  SOUTH CENTRAL AFRICA.

This extensive region is situated to the north of Damaraland, its
eastern boundary is the Kalahara desert, already described, and on the
north-west the Cunene river and the Portuguese settlement forms its
boundary.  The high table-land extends over the whole of this region,
and is exceedingly healthy, the highest altitude being 5300 feet, as far
as I have been able to take them.

The Ovampos have large herds of cattle and goats, and cultivate corn
extensively.  The people are very black, finely proportioned for
strength, and are hardworking and industrious; they speak the Otjiherero
tongue, and are very jealous of strangers.

The only river not yet described that drains Ovampoland is the Ovampo
river, which commences on the west of the Central Watershed, at an
altitude of 4200 feet, and in 19 degrees 20 minutes South latitude, 18
degrees 56 minutes East longitude, then passes north-west, through the
Great Salt vlei, it falls into the Cunene river, and thence to the
Atlantic.

The country is said to be rich in minerals, but no time was allowed for
exploring.  Ovampoland is one of the most beautiful parts of South
Central Africa, with picturesque mountains, lovely open glades,
well-wooded districts, a rich soil for corn, and a dry and healthy
climate.

I left Otabengo on the 10th of September, 1869, and proceeded along the
Okayanka, which passes east and enters the Tonka, already described; it
rises in 17 degrees 48 minutes South latitude, 17 degrees 50 minutes
East longitude.  At Chambombo vlei, between this and the Ovampo river,
we cross the Great Watershed, and get into the Zambese basin.  Game of
every kind is to be found here, the elephant, rhinoceros, giraffe,
eland, sable-antelope, gemsbok, and a variety of other kinds; the
ostrich, zebra, buffalo, wild boar, besides the lion, wolf, leopard, and
other beasts of prey, which nightly visited our camp, causing at times
great alarm.  There are large open plains with palms, the mighty baobab,
the giant of the forest, and other tropical trees and plants.

I halted at a small village of the Kasaka Bushmen, which I named my
station, and followed up the river before commencing my return journey.
Ondonga wherf is where the chief Nangaro lived, and was succeeded by
Chipanga.  The country is divided into small chieftainships.  The chief
Chikongo lived on the banks of the Cubango or Okavango, which is broad,
and in the rainy season forms a fine sheet of water.  The population is
numerous, the villages are fortified, their language is similar to the
Ovaherero tongue; many of the tribes call themselves Ovambuola.  The
Ovaquangari are a tall, well-made race, but very ugly, smeared over with
fat and yellow clay; their huts are round, the roof going up into a
peak.

It is a thickly populated country.  Bushmen and poor Ovaheros are
scattered over this region, which with the tribes have already been
described.  There are no mission stations, but the people are friendly,
honest, and hospitable, and travelling through the country in the rainy
season is not so difficult.  In the dry season there are many parts
which cannot be visited.  The produce of Ovampoland is brought down by
traders to Walfish Bay.  Some few Portuguese travel through it from the
Portuguese settlement, their merchandise and themselves being carried by
slaves.  Along the Ovampo river there are many extensive vleis; some
retain their water throughout the year, others are partially dry.  The
Otjihero tribe have many wherfs along the river, and on the banks of the
vleis, under petty chiefs, who are almost independent.  Extensive open
grass plains, and portions thickly wooded, fine timber trees, and
beautiful flowers.  The cotton-plant is indigenous, and if cultivated
the country might become a valuable district.  Between this and the
Cubango the Batibe tribe is found.  The natives hunt the leopard,
panthers, and the lynx with dogs.  Wild dogs or African wolves go in
large droves and roam the country; they are seen in packs of 200 and
upwards.  In one of the low-lying swampy pans or pools I witnessed a
novel sight late at night; nearly one hundred elephants came to drink,
and seven giraffes.  The latter have difficulty in bringing their heads
down to water.  To enable them to do this where the water is shallow
they spread out their fore-legs as wide apart as possible, and then
bring their long necks down to enable their mouths to reach the water.
A full-grown bull-giraffe measures eighteen feet in height.  The front
legs six feet, six feet at the shoulder, and the neck six feet.  When
galloping, their unwieldy movements, throwing their heads on each side,
give them a strange appearance.  Although they seem to move slowly, they
get over an immense extent of ground in a short time.  I have had some
difficulty when in the saddle to keep pace with them; they are as timid
as lambs.  I have ridden for some distance abreast of several at
different times within a few yards before I could get a shot; that is
the time when their size becomes apparent; and when they fall, after
receiving a vital bullet, the sight is grand; but at the same time it is
painful to think that such noble animals should be killed to keep the
pot.  Lions sometimes kill them, by springing on their back, seizing the
upper part of their shoulder with their mouth, and with one of their
hind legs bury their powerful claws into the flank, tearing open the
side.  This soon cripples them, and they fall with a crash, the lion
still holding on; frequently their skeletons are found on the open
plain.

The man-eating lions are a great terror to the natives.  When once they
have tasted human flesh they will procure it whenever they have the
chance.  Frequently they will enter the native huts and carry off the
first victim within reach.  Many districts have been abandoned by the
people where these man-eaters are numerous.  At one of my bivouacs,
where I was watching for one of these lions, near a small pool north of
the Otabengo vlei, there were seven human skeletons that had been
brought there by lions, and eaten by them.

There are many fine euphorbia, aloes, acacias, mimosas, kameel-doorns,
maparri trees, ningano, lotus, and palms, which give a novel appearance
to the scenery to a northern eye.  On nearing the Cubango we fell in
with many herds of buffaloes.  We shot two, but had a very narrow
escape.  A dense bush surrounded us, which enabled us to escape, with
great difficulty.  The next day I found a tree bearing yellow fruit
similar to an orange, with a kernel in the centre, rather pleasant
flavour, very similar to the marula tree in Matabeleland.  Many kinds of
beautiful birds, mocking-bird, swarms of the butcher-bird,
namaqua-grouse.  Along the banks near water thousands of butterflies are
seen of many colours, particularly where the ground is moist they settle
to suck.


Almost daily I go in search of insects, and I made many valuable
collections to be thrown away from being destroyed by worms and moths.
I collected no less than five kinds of bats, some of them very large.
These also fell to pieces.  Although I was not molested by the Batibe
tribe, I found a stay in the country would add to the suspicions they
already entertained, I could see, of my presence, so I moved on, and,
taking another route, passing Okayanka, crossed a desert through a bush
and open country, guided by two Kasaka Bushmen, and returned to Westley
Vale after a tedious and long journey.  Although in the rainy season we
had difficulty to find water, the soil being sandy, a heavy shower of
rain soon soaks into the ground.  Permanent water there is none.  On our
way we were caught in one of those extensive veldt fires that are so
common all over Africa, and narrowly escaped.  Following down along the
great Salt vlei, Otjando, Otjikolo, skirting the Otjiokaka mountains, we
reached the wells, and up the Omuramba, where water was plentiful, made
for Barmen, where I remained a day, then to Eikham, Rhenoster vlei,
Ames, to Westley Vale on the Nosop.  The country through which I passed
has already been described, in the Kalahara desert.  On our way down we
saw many herds of game, small troops of elephants, a few rhinoceros,
koodoos, pallahs, wild boars and others.  Lions we heard in plenty, but
they did not come near.  I was anxious to leave the country, as the
rainy season was just past, and water was getting scarce, having great
difficulty on several occasions to find water for man and beast, and it
is refreshing to be able after a toilsome and hazardous journey to
arrive at a safe haven, where rest and good water are procurable.

As a country Ovampoland is rich in game of every description, corn and
native products.  Cotton, if cultivated, would be a valuable product for
exportation, but at the present time it is no country for emigration,
being extensively occupied by too many uncivilised natives, who are
averse to whites living in that country.  It is only fit to be preserved
at present to the British crown for its native produce and an outlet for
British merchandise.

Before leaving Ovampo it will be necessary to give some short
description of the ants and ant-hills which are in every conceivable
form and size.  First comes the lion-ant, that lives in the bottom of a
little funnel-shaped hole in the sand, about four inches in depth and
four inches in diameter.  Any fly or small ant coming near falls down
with the rolling sand, when out springs the ant, carries him under the
sand where he has been watching for his prey, and, when devoured, waits
for another.  The largest specimen in my possession only measures half
an inch in length.  The smallest ant makes a little circular ring of
sand formed by the ground brought out from a small hole just beneath the
ground.  They ate so small that when put upon a white sheet of paper
they look like fine dust; and yet these little industrious insects form
such beautiful and perfect nests with cells in the ground, the extent of
which seldom exceeds the size of a small apple.  There is a variety of
ant-hills over the country, some of them seventeen feet in height and
sixty feet in circumference, made by the small white ant, which is so
destructive to buildings.  Mosquitoes also infest the country near the
swamps and lagoons.  My Bushmen and Hottentots had a very ingenious
method of being free from them at night by digging holes in the ground
where they intended to sleep, covering themselves in their blankets in
these holes, and throwing bushes over them as they disposed themselves
to sleep.  Sand-flies were also very annoying, and as evening closed in
hundreds of fire-flies would be seen in all directions, not forgetting
the crickets and frogs, which would keep up a perfect din of noises.
Beetles of every description and size, particularly some very large
rhinoceros-beetles, swarm all over the country.  Then there is that
small animal called the skunk, with black and white fur, but which gives
out a most offensive smell, more pungent than the pole-cat.  The swamps
seem full of the water-tortoise, and the land-tortoise is also very
common and grows to a great size.  Tree-toads and tree-lizards may be
seen in the old trees and on the branches.  I have found many leaf
insects in the desert of various kinds.  They look very peculiar walking
along; some of them are very pretty, many of a light-green colour,
others like brown leaves.  There are a great variety of beautiful birds,
where water is not far away, and the goat-sucker is a constant visitor
at the camp.  But of all the most welcome birds is the turtle-dove.
When we hear its call we know water is not far away.  If proper means
were adopted to procure water this region would be capable of supporting
a large population, as the country is rich in almost everything that man
requires, and is most healthy.  The first step to take to open up this
part of the desert is to improve the road from Walfish Bay to Lake
N'gami, and open out the fountains.  This would lessen the distance to
our interior trade 800 miles.

Of late years the game of the country has been greatly reduced in
consequence of the natives having guns.

CHAPTER SIXTEEN.

THE TRANSVAAL REPUBLIC.

In describing the geographical position of this Republic in relation to
the adjoining colonies, Free State, and native territories, it will be
necessary, before entering upon its physical formation, to give an
outline of its boundaries, and the important position it holds in the
future commerce of the country with the interior trade of South Central
Africa.  All the northern portion is situated in the Limpopo river
basin, the southern in the basin of the Orange and Vaal rivers.  The
central watershed being the division which runs east and west from New
Scotland, passing half-way between Potchefstroom and Pretoria, on to the
western boundary near the village of Lichtenburg.  The boundary from
Griqualand West, east of "Fourteen-streams" on the Vaal river, up that
river to Klip river (a tributary of the Vaal, up which it runs to Gans
Spruit, to where it joins the northern point of Natal), is the division
between this Republic and the Orange Free State.  From thence along the
Drakensberg for a few miles in an easterly direction to the Buffalo
river, down that river south to the Blood river, a tributary of the
Buffalo, which is the division between this Republic and Natal.  From
the Buffalo up the Blood river to its source in the Magidila mountain,
from thence to the conical hill between the Pongola river and the
Drakensberg mountain, is the Zulu boundary.  The eastern boundary is
separated from the Portuguese possessions by the Lobombo range, the
Umzila country, and the Amatonga Kaffirs.  The Limpopo river is the
northern boundary, and the western and north-western by the chiefs
Khama, Sechele, Gaseitsive, Montsoia, and Monkuruan territories, and
Griqualand West, down to Fourteen-streams, on the Vaal river, before
named.  The Republic is situated between 22 degrees 15 minutes and 28
degrees 20 minutes South latitude, and 25 degrees 20 minutes and 32
degrees 10 minutes East longitude, and contains about 122,000 square
miles.

The principal rivers are the Limpopo and the Vaal; the former rises in
the high watershed, south of Pretoria, at an altitude of 6300 feet above
sea-level, flowing in a north-north-west direction through a very pretty
and picturesque part in the Magalisberg range of mountains, which run
east and west, on to where the Great Marico river falls into it, in 24
degrees 15 minutes South latitude, 27 degrees 7 minutes East longitude,
at an altitude of 2690 feet, passing through a thickly wooded country
with many native kraals, skirting Dwaasberg and other lofty hills that
add much to the beauty of the landscape.  From the junction of the
Marico, the river turns in a northerly direction for about forty miles,
where the Notuane river joins it; from this point the Limpopo turns with
many bends and curves in a north-easterly and easterly direction for
some 400 miles, forming the boundary between the Transvaal and the chief
Khama, and the Matabele nation, down to 31 degrees 54 minutes East
longitude, being the north-east corner of the Transvaal, and where the
chief Umzelas territory joins up; from this point, after flowing east
for some twenty miles, it takes a south-south-east direction, through
Umzelas country to the Indian Ocean.  It is a fine, broad stream,
increasing in width from the junction of the Great Marico, where it is
about 150 yards; at the Mokalapsie river, it is 200 yards; at the
junction of the Shasha, 220 yards; and increases in size as it passes on
through the low, flat country to the sea, where it is three miles wide.
It can be made without any difficulty navigable up to the Rubie river
distant from its mouth nearly 300 miles, taking into consideration the
sinuosity of its course, whence a good road could be made to the
interior; above this point there are many falls and rapids, the two most
important are the Impopomene and the Tolo, above-named, both beautifully
situated between thickly wooded banks; and over the granite rocks in its
bed the water falls, and where some of the bed rocks are exposed, in the
dry season may be seen hundreds of deep circular holes from one foot to
six feet in depth, and from one to three feet in diameter, that have
been worn by loose stones in the first instance being revolved round in
a depression in the rock, and in time, by the rushing of the waters upon
them, have increased them to the present size; they are similar in shape
to those on the banks of the Vaal, Orange, and Zambese rivers.  The
immensity of time it must have taken to wear away such deep and large
holes in a granite rock, makes one pause to think of the period when
this river was first formed, because it is only a portion of the year,
when the floods come down, that the water acts upon the stones in these
holes.  The principal tributaries of the Limpopo that rise in the
Transvaal are the Apies at Pretoria, Sand, Pinaars, Plat, Matlabatse,
Pongola, Palala, Nylstroom, Houdt, Limvubu, and the Olifants river with
its many tributaries, all flowing into the Limpopo on its right bank.
The greater portion of the country which these branches pass through is
called the Bush Veldt, Waterburg, Zoutpansberg, and is principally
occupied by native tribes under their respective chiefs.  Extensive
districts are infested with the tsetse-fly, where a traveller cannot go
in with horses or oxen, for one single bite is death.

Many parts of this bush country, now unoccupied, must at some remote
time have been thickly inhabited, as many remains of cultivated ground
are seen in all directions--and large heaps of stones thrown up when the
ground was cleared for corn, as is the custom with all the natives when
they prepare the land for cultivation--but it has long since been
overgrown with timber and thick bush.

Nearly the whole of Waterberg and Zoutpansberg districts, up to the
Limpopo, and down to the Magalisberg range, a little north of Pretoria,
is a mountainous region; the latter mountains run in an easterly and
westerly direction to the Marico district, the south face having
perpendicular and rocky sides, the northern face slopes gradually, and
this is the case with most of the mountains in this part of Africa.  The
Dwaasberg, through which the Great Marico river has forced a passage,
joins on to Wittfontainberg.  Pilandsberg is more to the east, north of
which is the Karroo desert, where is the Marikele mountain, a long range
running in an east-north-east direction to Hangklip mountain, with
detached hills up to Marabas town, where gold has been found and a
company has long been established, with quartz-crushing machines to
extract it.  A gold-mining company has been established at Nylstroom;
copper has been found in many localities.

The Mural mountain range on the western border runs in a north-east
direction for seventy miles, and terminates at the northern point of the
Pongola river, and can be seen at Mongwato, nearly 100 miles distant.
Makapan's poort is a lofty mountain, a complete honeycomb of caves,
where much fighting has taken place between the Boers and the chief
Makapan.  The Marico district is a continuation of hills and fine rich
valleys, the Quaka, Kolobekatseberg, and to the north, Blaauwberg and
many isolated hills, north of Marabas stad, in the Zoutpansberg
district, with the mountain of the same name, reaches as far as the
Limpopo, with the Pweede and Derdebergs.  To the east of Marabas Stad
are many detached ranges, the Matyatyeberg, Spelunken, and
Murchisonsberg, situated on the north of the Olifants river; north and
south-west of Lydenburg are the Magnet heights and Lolu mountains
range--well known from the Secocoenes stronghold, stormed by Lord
Wolseley when Secocoene was taken prisoner.

To the east of Lydenburg is the continuation of the Drakensberg or
Quathlamba range, broken up into lofty mountains attaining a height of
7000 feet; some of the highest are Steen Kamps, Komati, Slangapies,
Rands, and Verzamelberg.  The whole of this part of the Transvaal is
rich in minerals, wood, and water.

The climate is mild, mostly very healthy; some parts are fever
districts.  The native population exceeds 300,000, divided into various
tribes, that are located to the north of Pretoria and Lydenburg, to the
Limpopo, and are composed mostly of Mantatees or Makatees, and also are
known as Mahowas, and are divided into several kraals under petty
chiefs.  These are the origin of the Basutus.  Their queen was called
Mantantezi, and Mosesh, her head-man, deposed and drove her out, and
formed the Basutu nation, once so powerful that they endangered a large
force of ours under Sir G.  Cathcart.  There are also what are termed
Knobnoses, Basutos, Zulus, Pula Pula or goat tribe, Vaalpans or slaves,
that have no resting-place, but roam the country.  Then there are the
two queens, Majaji and Maselaroon, also Albasini, a Portuguese at
Zoutpansberg.  Polygamy is common amongst all the tribes; a man may have
as many wives as he can purchase and keep; they do the greater portion
of the work, till the ground, gather in the corn, fetch wood and water,
cook, and such other labour as is required.

The principal towns in the northern division are, Nylstroom, in
Waterberg; Marabas Stad, in Zoutpansberg, with small villages of Upsal,
Eersteling, and Hantbosch; Lydenburg, with the gold-diggers' camps, in
the Lydenburg district; Rustenberg, in the Rustenberg district;
Middleburg, in the Middleburg district; and Pretoria, which is the
capital of the Republic and a bishop's see, is situated in 25 degrees 40
minutes South latitude, and 28 degrees 32 minutes East longitude.

The other rivers in the northern division, and within the Limpopo basin,
are the Crocodile, with its many tributaries, rising in the Drakensberg
or Quathlamba range, and, passing through the Lobombo mountain, receives
the Umcomasi, Sabie, and other small streams, and enters the northern
part of Delagoa Bay.  The Umbelosi drains the country south of the
Komati, and passing through the Lobombo range, enters Delagoa Bay, or
inner harbour at Lozrenzo Marques; it is navigable from the bay some few
miles from its mouth.  South of this river is the Tembe, which rising in
the Lobombo mountains, with its small tributaries, enters the inner
harbour.  The last of the rivers that drain the south-eastern portion of
the Transvaal is the important Maputa or Usutu river, which rises in the
New Scotland district, at an altitude of 5780 feet above sea-level,
receiving the following tributaries--Impeloosi, Little Usutu, Umkompies,
Umkonto, Umtaloos, and other small streams; flowing through the Lobombo
it receives the Pongola river, which rises a few miles to the east of
Wakkerstroom, and receiving (in its course down) many tributaries
flowing east and north, joins the Usutu, where it turns in a north-east
and north direction for fifty miles; when a broad and navigable river it
enters the southern part of Delagoa Bay.  The lower portion for twenty
miles passes through the Portuguese possessions, and after crossing the
Lobombo mountains, it leaves the Transvaal and Amaswasiland, and enters
the northern part of Zululand or Amatonga country.  This completes the
river system on the east of the Limpopo basin.  On the west there are a
few branches of the Limpopo on the left bank, that will complete this
western division, viz. the Great and Little Marico rivers, the Molmane,
the upper portion of the Notuane, and the Franks and Elands rivers, that
drain the Marico and Rustenburg districts; the Orange and Vaal river
basin, which is separated from the Limpopo by the central watershed,
already described, which is also called the Hooge or High Veldt.  The
Vaal river rises in the Quathlambe mountains on the eastern border of
the Transvaal, called the New Scotland district, at an altitude of 5813
feet, near Lake Crissie, flowing south-west past the town of Stamlerton,
which is on the main transport road from Natal to Pretoria, passing
through an open country, receiving in its course many small feeders;
from this town the river turns westerly to Klip river, which is the
boundary between the Orange Free State and the Transvaal.  From this
point the Vaal forms the boundary between the two Republics, down to
Griqualand West, taking many turns and twists in a westerly, then
south-westerly direction, receiving in its course many streams on the
right bank, within the Transvaal boundary, as under--Klip, Gans, Sand,
Bushman, Kapok, Rand, Waterfal, Klite, Kalk, Eland, Ensel, all spruits,
to the Moi river, upon which Potchefstroom is built.  Following the
river down we next come to Loop, Baken, Machave, and Kockemere spruits;
Scoon spruit, upon which Klerksdarp is built.  Crossing several other
small spruits we come to Klip spruit, Lion, Wolf, Maquassie, and Bamber
spruits.  The Harts river, which is a tributary of the Vaal, enters it
within the boundary of Griqualand West, rises on the central watershed
at Lichtenburg village, in the Transvaal, at an elevation of 6100 feet
above sea-level, and flows in a south-west direction, passing the
Koranna kraal, Maamousa, and the Bechuana territory, under the chief
Monkuruan, where it leaves the Transvaal Republic and enters Griqualand
West.  The boundary of this chief is now being arranged by General Sir
Charles Warren.  This completes the river system of the Transvaal in the
Orange river basin.

The towns within this area are Utrich, Darby, Lunenberg, Wakkerstroom,
Standerton, Heidelburg, Fentersdorp, Potchefstroom, Klerksdarp,
Lichtenburg, Bloemhof, and Christiana.  There are no hills of importance
in this division, only a few isolated "kopjies" at Potchefstroom,
Hartebeestfontein, and at Klerksdarp, which do not call for any
particular description.

On the south-east boundary is a native territory called Swaziland, or
the Amaswasi country, belonging to a Zulu tribe; it is situated between
the Republic, Zululand, and the Portuguese possessions at Delagoa Bay.
It is a very hilly and well-wooded district, thickly populated with a
warlike race.  The Transvaal Republic say it is within their boundary,
but the natives deny it; at any rate the Boers at present have no
authority over them, and the chief rules quite independent of the
Transvaal.  It has long been under our protection, and it was the main
cause of the Zulu war, because we would not allow Cetewayo to "wash his
spears" in them.  Gold-fields are now there.  The English and Boers have
_hired_ large tracts of their country as cattle-runs, and will never be
got out.

There are many roads to the Transvaal from the Cape Colony and Natal;
those most used are from Kimberley diamond-fields, passing up on both
sides of the Vaal river; they are rough, sandy, and in places very
stony; others pass through Bloemfontein in the Free State, crossing the
Vaal at several drifts.  From Natal there are two over the Drakensberg
to Harrismith, on to Potchefstroom and Heidelburg; also two passing
through Newcastle, one going to Standerton and Pretoria, the other to
Wakkerstroom, Lydenburg, and the gold-fields; portions of them are very
good, other parts rough and heavy travelling.  It is the same with all
others that traverse the country, as they are never repaired.

The country on the south side of the watershed or high veldt is open and
uninteresting, long stretches of rolling plains, not a bush or tree to
be seen for miles; except here and there, at long intervals, a Boer farm
is seen, and near it occasionally a garden surrounded by the well known
tall gum trees; no Kaffir locations are seen in any portion of this
part, a few huts occupied by the Kaffir servants may be located near
each farm.  The country is suitable for cattle, but sheep do not thrive.

This country is divided into thirteen districts--seven in the Limpopo
basin, and six in the Orange and Vaal basins.

The first contains Pretoria, Rustenburg, Marico, Waterburg,
Zontpansberg, Lydenburg, and Middleburg.

The second Potchefstroom, Bloemhof, Heidelburg, Wakkerstroom, Utrecht,
and Standerton.

The white population, which was estimated in 1882, did not exceed 45,000
of all nationalities.  Since the retrocession of the Transvaal it has
greatly diminished, probably not more than 40,000 at the present time;
putting five to a family, on an average, there would be 8000 families,
2000 of which would be made up of English, French, Germans, Hollanders,
and other Europeans, to occupy this extensive country, which, deducting
for native tribes, leaves for each white individual, great or small, 700
acres, and yet the Boers are not content with this large share, but must
make war on native tribes to possess themselves of more.  If they were
an industrious and well-disposed people, and cultivated their lands in a
proper way, the Transvaal would, and ought to be, the most prosperous
and well-to-do country in South Africa, having all the advantages of a
subtropical climate, plenty of water (if properly utilised) for
cultivation, abundance of coal and other minerals, splendid grazing for
cattle, and many other advantages; but no, they would sooner expend
their energies in fighting the native tribes and stealing their cattle,
because it pays them better, than devote their time to peaceful
pursuits.  From the time the Boers have held the Transvaal they have
pursued this policy--as is well known by every colonist in the country,
and nothing but a firm Government will ever bring them into a civilised
state, and prevent their atrocities from being further perpetrated, as
has lately occurred on their north-west border and in Zululand.

The splendid position the Transvaal occupies in South Africa, with all
the advantages above stated, the proximity to Natal, and the seaports of
Durban and Delagoa Bay, and eventually a railroad from Newcastle to
Pretoria, as also from Kimberley and Delagoa Bay, shows that this
country has great facilities for supplying the native trade in the
north-east of South Central Africa, where the population is great, and
the country rich in all kinds of produce.  The gold will soon bring all
this.

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN.

A BRIEF HISTORICAL SKETCH OF THE TRANSVAAL FROM 1825 TO 1877.

It will only be necessary to touch very lightly on the principal and
most important events that have occurred from the commencement of the
invasion of the Kaffir chief, Moselikatze (pronounced Umseligas), to the
time when the country was taken over by the British Government, as it is
my intention to go into the history of this Republic only so far as will
throw light on its physical geography.

In 1820 the powerful chief Moselikatze fled from Chaka, the king of
Zululand, with all his people, and crossed the Drakensberg mountains to
the north, into what is now the southern portion of the Transvaal and
Free State.  There he found the country thickly populated by various
native tribes, living independent of each other in large kraals along
the river-banks, fountains, and pans--many of these stone kraals are
still in existence, but in ruins--the principal tribes being Makatees or
Mahows, Bapedi, Bakala, Basutos, and some Bechuanas, Bushmen, also
Hottentots, where they must have lived in peace for many generations,
from the remains of extensive gardens now grown over with grass,
proving, I think, they were not a wandering tribe, but a peaceful
people, as the country was most suitable for agricultural purposes,
being free from bush and comparatively level, with numerous streams of
good water flowing in every direction.  Moselikatze, with his several
hundred warriors, soon cleared the country by the death and flight of
these people; and eventually spreading northwards and towards the west,
crossed the Vaal river, and occupied all the south part of what is now
the Transvaal.  Moselikatze, in 1825, pushed on his conquests where he
found the country occupied by the Bahurutse tribe of Bechuanas, on the
west of what is now Klein Marico, and fought a great battle with them at
their station named Mosega, situated on a small branch of the Klein
Marico river, above where Sindling's post is now built, and defeated
them with great slaughter, occupying the country, and taking possession
of the station--situated in 25 degrees 40 minutes South latitude, 26
degrees 26 minutes East longitude, south of several picturesque hills,
that appear by every indication to have been a volcano--and there he
collected his forces, and there he seems to have remained until he was,
in 1836, attacked by the emigrant Boers under one Potgieter, who
suffered a great defeat at the hands of the Zulu chief, who nearly
destroyed the Boer commando.  Those who escaped fled to the Orange Free
State on to Thaba Nchu, then occupied by the Barolong tribe of Bechuanas
under the great chief Moroka, who died in 1880.

When the Boers reached Moroka's town, they were reduced to the greatest
extremity, and were received with the greatest hospitality and kindness
by the natives; they remained until the following year, getting supplies
and fitting out another commando at Thaba Nchu.  Again they started on
an expedition to attack Moselikatze, accompanied by a large force of
Moroka's people under his own command, whilst Gert Maritz commanded the
Boer contingent.  The present chief Montsioa, then a young man, also
aided the Boers in person with men, and a small Griqua force, under a
petty chief Bloem, completed the little army.  A great part of
Moselikatze's warriors were killed, and he had to fly north with the
remnant of his army, and eventually settled in the country his people
now occupy called Matabeleland, showing that the main success of the
Boers in gaining a footing in the Transvaal was through the Barolong
tribe, of which the chief Montsioa was a captain.

In the same year Potgieter took possession of the south part of the
Transvaal, then, as it is now, an open uninteresting country--rolling
grass plains, with a few isolated hills; and he laid out the town of
Potchefstroom, in 1839, which is partly called after his name and partly
after the river upon which it is built, on an extensive open plain, as
all towns were then built, that no enemy could advance to it without
being seen, and it became the capital of the country until the seat of
Government was removed to Pretoria in 1860.  At that time the country
was full of large game--elephants, rhinoceros, and giraffe browsed on
the banks of the Vaal, down to the Orange river.

Soon after, Potgieter left Potchefstroom and went north-east, and laid
out the village of Origstad, now a gold-field.  Other Boers in 1847
followed, and being mounted on horses with rifles, had no difficulty in
destroying the natives, who had only the assagai and arrows, as they
advanced into the country.

Another party went south from Origstad, and built the town of Lydenburg,
that district being formed into a republic, separate from the republic
at Potchefstroom; but, by common consent, in 1860 they were united into
one.

In 1834 a party of Boers, numbering twenty-seven families, under the
command of Rensburg and Trichard, endeavoured to reach the Indian Ocean.
Passing down the Olifanta river, they crossed the mountains, after many
hardships; where they divided.  Rensburg went north, Trichard and his
party travelled south-east towards Delagoa Bay.  Many of them died on
the road; the remainder were sent on to Natal by the Portuguese
Governor.  Rensburg's party was never heard of again, showing the
restless nature of these discontented Boers.  They were all killed, or
died of fever.

Although they had secured the fertile plains of the Transvaal, where
there was more land than they could hope to occupy, their thirst for
more land was still unsated.

After the battle of Boomplaats the rebel Boers crossed the Vaal, treked
to Marico in 1850, where some of them are now occupying the land they
laid out for themselves; and they still foster hatred against the
English, and since this last rebellion it has greatly increased in
intensity, and nothing but a strong Government and an influx of British
emigrants will allay, or partly extinguish, that feeling, which their
present isolated position is conducive to foster, and teach them to
understand, as General Warren is now doing, that there must be a limit
to their lawless acts.

From 1850 many Free State Boers and others from the Cape Colony, as also
many English, Germans, Swedes, and other nationalities, came in and
settled down in different parts of the country, making small villages
and occupying farms over the whole of the more southern portion of the
republic, leaving the northern part, which is thickly populated by the
native tribes already described.

On the diamond-fields being discovered, diggers came flocking on to the
banks of the Vaal, to open up the mines at Hebron and Klip Drift.  In
1869 there was great demand for all kinds of produce, consequently
prices went up quickly to 200 per cent., which brought money into the
Transvaal, as the greater portion of the food supply was obtained from
thence.

Pretorius was president, and made an attempt to annex all the country on
the north side of the Vaal, but was opposed by the Cape Government and
by the diamond-diggers, which led to the dispute as to the western
boundary of the republic.  A commission was formed, which ended in the
Keats award; the map I made in 1864 was used for the occasion by the
Colonial Government.

Soon after, in 1871, President Pretorius resigned, and Erasmus acted
until Mr. Burgers was elected by the people.  The State all this time
was getting into such confusion that people would not pay their taxes,
and there was no law to make them.

The Secocoene war was going on, "commandeering" was at its height,
general discontent prevailed, and matters arrived at such an
unsatisfactory state in 1876 that hundreds of Boers sold their farms
with the intention of leaving the country, as they could not live under
their own Government.

I was constantly passing through the Transvaal with my waggon to distant
parts, and every Boer who had not tied from the colony for misdeeds,
hoped the British Government would take over the Transvaal under British
rule.  Hundreds expressed this wish; the rebels from the colony and
their sons did not say a word.

Those Boers who sold their farms agreed to trek together, and make for
Damaraland on the west coast.

One of the Boer's statements for leaving his Transvaal home may give
some idea of the feeling that pervaded these trek Boers at the time:--"I
found myself among the commandeered.  On my farm nothing had as yet been
put in the ground, and as no one could be got to go as my substitute,
there was nothing for me but to go on the commando.  My waggons and
cattle had also to be given up for the use of the commando.  In my
absence my wife had to plough, in order to obtain sufficient food for
the year.  I returned from the commando, having lost several of my
cattle on the way.  I went to the field-cornet of Moi river, in whose
district I lived, with the view of obtaining compensation, but I was
informed that nothing could be done in the matter.  Under the old law
compensation could be obtained for damage to what had been lent, but
there was nothing mentioned about this in the new commando laws.  It
appeared the waggons and oxen were commandeered at the owner's own risk.
I was so struck with the unrighteousness of this mode of proceeding
that I felt myself compelled, with all my belongings, to join the trek
for which a party of Boers were already prepared, and with them I then
threw in my lot; and on the 2nd of March, 1877, we left the Transvaal.
Our party consisted of 600 souls, large and small, with 100 waggons,
under the command of Du Plessis, and arrived at the Crocodile river or
Limpopo, where we remained a fortnight, and then went forward into the
wilderness."

Very few ever reached their destination.  They were attacked by the
natives, and had constantly to form themselves into laager to defend
themselves.  Their cattle died of lung-sickness and thirst, many of them
were stolen, some lost in the bush; waggons and property had to be
abandoned; women had to inspan the waggons and drive them; to lighten
them their household goods had to be thrown from the waggons.  Some few
reached Damaraland, and a few went more north into the Portuguese
possessions, where small plots of land were given to them; those in
Damaraland were taken to Cape Town from Walfish Bay, and sent back to
the Transvaal at the Cape Government expense; and this occurred during
the time the Boers had the Transvaal, and their own chosen president was
at the head of the republic.

In a few months after I followed them up, and saw the graves of those
who had died of fever; and a Kaffir told me one of the Boers had given
him a good gun for a small bucket of water.  Chairs, tables, cooking
utensils, and other articles strewed the path through the desert; and
the bones of the dead oxen, that the vultures, wolves, and jackals had
picked clean, covered the ground where they fell--a melancholy sight;
and all this suffering was caused because these Boers found their own
republican Government unbearable to live under.  And this is the best
answer to be given as to why the British Government found it imperative
to step in, and put an end to such a wretched state of affairs, which
act was accomplished on the 12th of April, 1877.

The remnant of these trek Boers were in the Portuguese territory, at the
back of Mossamedes on the west coast, perishing from starvation and
misery, when a subscription was raised at Cape Town for them, and a
ship-load of supplies and a man-of-war were sent down.  They tried to
land some hundreds of miles up the coast beyond Walfish Bay, so as to be
nearer to the Boers, but were prevented by the surf; they returned, and
the supplies were sent up with great difficulty, and many of the Boers
came down, as stated, and went back by sea.

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN.

THE PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY OF THE TRANSVAAL, AND OTHER SUBJECTS, CONTINUED.

The altitude of the Transvaal above sea-level is one of its most
important features in connection with its climate and vegetation; there
is no portion below 2890 feet, except at the northern extremity along
the Limpopo river, where the elevation is lowered on that river to 1560
feet.  The other portions of the republic average 4000 feet between the
mountain ranges that traverse the country.  In the north-east division,
north of the Olifants river, the Zoutpansberg range, the Tweedeberg, the
Derd mountains, the latter being within a few miles on the south side of
the Limpopo river, with the Matin hills, near which the Tave river
flows, vary considerably in altitude from 3700 to 4500, mostly of
sandstone formation.  The eastern portion through which the Pafure river
flows is called Basoetla, occupied by the Mantatees, Knobnoses, and
other tribes, in large and numerous kraals along the streams; Albasini's
town being situated on the south side of Zoutpansberg.

The country is rich in corn-land and fine grasses, splendid forests of
timber, of which the famous baobab tree is very common and of immense
size, the bark of which is used for making sacks, blankets, and other
useful articles; cobalt, iron, copper, and lead, are found in great
quantities, and also gold in the more southern portion.

North of the Olifants river, and south of Albasinis, is the mountain
range called Matzatzes mountain, 4700 feet above the sea-level.  The
district is called Splelunken, where sugar and coffee is cultivated, and
fine farms occupy a large extent of country.  South of this mountain is
the district of Batlokoa, also occupied by the Mantatees, who are
sometimes called Mahows.  In the Bakhalaka district, south of the above,
is Marabas Stad, Eersteling Gold Company, and many good farms.  The
tributaries, Lehtaba the Little, Lehtaba the Great, Letsitee, Sumbane,
Salati, all branches of the Olifants river, rise in these two districts,
passing through as wild and picturesque a country as an explorer can
desire to visit--beautiful isolated hills of every form, particularly
down near Pikiones Kop and the Nunkula hills, where copper and gold have
been found.  Game of every description roam these extensive and splendid
forests.  Lions, tigers, and wolves, besides a host of tiger-cats and
other animals, are plentiful.  The country has never been prospected,
but there is every indication of extensive gold-fields some day being
discovered.

On the north of this last-named district is the district of
Baramapulana, which includes Schoemansdal, through which the Sand,
Houdl, and Brack flow to the Limpopo.  The hills are also of sandstone.
To the west of this region is the Bamalitsi district, and to the east
Bamapela, all within the Zoutpansberg division, and through nearly the
central portion the tropic of Capricorn runs.  The Maalaqueen or
Nylstroom, an extensive river rising in the mountains round Nylstroom,
flows north through Makapans Poort, past Potgieter Rust for eighty
miles, and through Blaauwberg, a lofty range, and on through a dense and
beautiful forest for nearly 100 miles, entering the Limpopo.  The forest
is full of game of every kind; the natives live on the river-banks.  The
tsetse-fly, being so common, prevents the country being occupied by the
white man, as no horse or any description of cattle can live where they
are.

South of this district is the Waterberg division, in which are situated
the rivers Palala, Pongola or sand river, with its many branches, rising
in the Waterberg and Hangklip mountains, a hilly and wild country, in
which is situated Nylstroom, and the river Matlabatse rises in the
Marikele mountains of 3970 feet, and is a continuation of the Makapan
mountains from Makapans Poort, running in a west-south-west direction to
Wittefontein and Dwaarsberg, crossing the Limpopo and Great Marico into
Bechuanaland, and there spreads out into many spurs in that country.
Granite is found at the junction of the Limpopo and Great Marico, and
down those rivers, sandstone, limestone and slate are found in the
last-named mountains.

South of Waterberg is the Rustenberg district, in which is situated the
towns of Zeerust and Rustenberg, with many villages.  To the north of
the latter town is Pilansberg, where one of the upper branches of the
Limpopo rises, forming the Elands river.  The Great Marico rises in the
Rustenberg district, on the central watershed at Doorm Kop, where there
is a lovely waterfall of some seventy feet, falling down a steep bank
into a deep kloof of most beautiful scenery.  A few miles north of this
is Bray's lead-mine, which is very rich in silver, producing over fifty
pounds to the ton.  The mine is situated about twenty miles to the
north-east of Lichtenberg, and about twenty-eight miles south-east of
Zeerust.  The country is very pretty and picturesque, with many fine
fountains, beautiful grass-lands, and richly-wooded hills.  Marico
district is one of the most valuable portions of the Transvaal, being
situated on the main transport roads to the interior from Cape Colony,
Orange Free State, Transvaal, and Natal; besides being rich in lead,
there is copper and gold, and any quantity of iron, oxide of iron, and
many-coloured ochres.

The town of Zeerust, which is in the Marico district, is very pleasantly
situated on the Little Marico river, on the south side of a pretty range
of hills, close to a picturesque poort, through which the Little Marico
runs to Great Marico, and where I have had many pleasant days' sport in
fishing and shooting, before Zeerust town was ever built.  The first
bricks were laid in the erection of an extensive laager by the Boers in
1865, and the town was commenced in 1868.  It is now a considerable
commercial centre, with many good stores.  The rapid increase of the
town after British annexation, and the extensive trade carried on by the
English traders with the interior, made the town one of great importance
to the Transvaal.  Since, the retrocession nearly every store is closed,
and the town is comparatively deserted.  The last lion shot in this
district was in the above-named poort in 1869.  Eighteen miles to the
north-west of Zeerust is the large Kaffir station, Rinokano, and a
mission station under the Rev.  Mr. Jansen, pleasantly situated at the
head of the Notuane river, between long ranges of hills that run at the
back of Zeerust.

The old chief Moelo lived here for many years, and at his death, his son
Moelo and his nephew Copane disputed the chieftainship.  The people
divided, and eventually it was settled by the British Government, in
1879, that one should rule at the station, and the other should form a
kraal and rule more to the north.  Forty years ago the elephant,
rhinoceros, giraffe, and other large game were plentiful all over these
hills and plains; now a few bush-buck, springbok, and other small game
are found, but it is a hard day's work to shoot one now.  The beautiful
springs that flow through this part of the country are utilised to some
extent in irrigation, and for turning small mills for grinding the corn.


There are many extensive and valuable farms in the Marico district.
Oranges, lemons, pomegranates, and all English fruit grow to perfection.
Peaches are so plentiful that I have frequently fed the pigs with them.
I am writing of the country twenty years ago, when not one-fourth of
the population lived in the country that are now occupying the land.
There was no town then; Zeerust, Jacobsdale, Lichtenberg, were not
thought of.  There were five Boers who possessed all the land round the
country, and some of these farms contained 460,000 acres or 30,000
morgen; they were five of the Boers who fled from the Orange River
sovereignty after Boomplaat's affair, treked as far as Marico, where
they divided the country between them, and which they or their
descendants still hold.  In this district are the ancient stone kraals
mentioned in an early chapter; but it requires a fuller description to
show that these extensive kraals must have been erected by a white race
who understood building in stone and at right angles, with door-posts,
lintels and sills, and it required more than Kaffir skill to erect the
stone huts, with stone circular roofs, beautifully formed, and most
substantially erected; strong enough, if not disturbed, to last 1000
years, as the walls and roofs of the huts were two feet in thickness,
built of partly hewn stone.  The divisional walls and outer wall were
five and six feet in thickness, and at the present time five feet in
height at places, the upper stones having fallen; and now large trees
are growing through the walls.  But in no case have I discovered any
trace of mortar or any implements.  Plenty of broken crockery is found
in the ground when it is turned up, but none on the surface.  Kaffirs
have never been known to build their huts with stone, or make fences at
right angles, everything with them is round; they will have stone walls
round their huts, but nothing more.

There are extensive remains of ancient diggings to be found all over the
country, which proves that at one time all this part of Africa has been
prospected, and what favours this view is, that where there is a smooth
natural rock exposed above the ground, extensive carvings of animals are
cut deep into it, which nothing but a hard cold-chisel could make any
impression on this igneous rock, that is as hard as steel, and which, I
believe, were executed by the people who built those stone huts.  There
are also small furnaces still remaining in some of the remote nooks, out
of the way of being destroyed by the people or oxen; but for what
purpose they were made cannot be discovered, all we know is that large
quantities of lead and copper are found in the neighbourhood; and close
to them is a lofty hill in which are found thousands of perfect cubes,
from an eighth of an inch to an inch square, which when broken show a
bright colour between brass and gold, which, I conclude, is iron
pyrites: they have a rich brown colour on the surface.  Gold I have
found in this locality when prospecting, which I well remember, as in
consequence of a fall from a quartz reef I smashed a watch.  I had
occasion to go frequently to Marico, as there were many roads branching
off in all directions--one called the river road to Mongwato, three to
the Bechuana chief, others to Kuruman, the Colony, also to Pretoria and
Potchefstroom.

Zeerust is about ninety miles to the west of Rustenberg; the latter is a
small town surrounded by hills, and where some fifty of our troops were
in a laager or small fort during the whole of the Boer rebellion.  It is
situated on the Hex river, a tributary of the Limpopo.  About twenty
miles south of Rustenberg, on the road to Potchefstroom, at Blaawabank,
are gold-diggings, but it is not a paying affair.  The country is wild
and picturesque.  Old remains of copper-mines are to be seen a little
south of the town.

Forty miles to the east is Pretoria, the capital of the republic and
seat of Government.  It is pleasantly situated between low ranges of
metamorphic hills that run east and west, and is south of the
Magalisberg mountains seven miles.  The city is built on an open plain,
that gradually slopes towards the north, supplied with beautiful
fountains that rise a few miles on the south of the town, the water
falling into the Apes river.  An isolated hill, about three miles on the
east of the town, is a conspicuous object in the landscape.  The streets
run parallel; the market-square is open, with the Dutch church in the
centre; there are several good hotels and a cathedral; Bishop Bousefield
lives in a snug house, with very fine blue gum trees in front.  Many
large stores were erected during the British occupation; but at the
retrocession the greater number were deserted, and a general exodus of
the English took place, for it was impossible to live under the new
state of affairs.  The town in 1875 was not one-fourth the size it was
when the Transvaal was returned to the Boers in 1881.  Mr. Burgers was
then president, and he laboured hard to improve the country; but the
people were not to be moved, and no advance in civilising them could be
made.  There was no money in the country, except a little English gold,
everything was by barter until 1865, when paper money was issued, called
bluebacks, to the extent of 10,000 pounds, and from time to time fresh
issues were made to meet the expenses of the State.  They varied in
value, viz. in 2 shillings 6 pence, and 1 pound 5 shillings notes, but
commercially the 1 pound 5 shilling notes were only worth two to three
shillings.  I had many of them, which I took at that price, and disposed
of them for the same; but if you had to pay the Government tax the full
price was allowed, for they could not refuse their own notes.

The country is open and free from any extensive wood, and the climate is
suitable to produce every kind of vegetation.  In the spring of the year
the thick rose-hedges which divide the gardens give a very pleasing
appearance to the town, when they are in full bloom.  The extensive
barracks and fortifications erected by the British Government on the
south of the town, at a cost of over 100,000 pounds, have been made a
present to the Boer Government for their disloyalty to British rule.

The Roman Catholics have a convent with several nuns, which at the
outbreak of the rebellion was taken possession of and strongly
fortified.  The nuns and lady superior were placed in a corner of one of
the buildings.  All the rest of the establishment was taken, and
converted into a kind of barrack for the volunteers of Pretoria, formed
into four companies, of which I unfortunately belonged to Number 4,
where we had to do sentry night and day.  Our bed was a waterproof sheet
on the bare stone floors, and as the convent swarmed with fleas of all
sizes, from the heavy dragoon down to the light infantry, there was no
fear of a sentry sleeping on his post.  Every second night my company
was ordered to occupy the interior of the convent during the night; each
volunteer was assigned his particular post in the various compartments
and passages, placing a sentry at different points, the rest to sleep--
if the fleas would let them--fully armed, ready at a moment's notice to
defend our position.  My post was generally at the entrance-passage to
the priests' quarters, which had been vacated by them, and on the bare
stone floor I spread my waterproof sheet to get a little sleep; but the
fleas, not one but millions, came down upon me in every quarter--poor
things, they missed the nuns and the priests, for they were ravenous.
Finding I should be sucked dry in a very short time, I took my rifle and
sixty rounds of ball cartridge, made for the entrance, and passed the
night on the door-sill, in about as happy a state of mind as a poor
devil could be who had been marching up and down all day between the
convent and the garrison.  For fourteen days, from the 19th of December,
1880, to the 2nd of January, 1881, I had to put up with this sort of
work, until I suffered so much from the excessive fatigue and want of
sleep that I obtained three days' leave of absence, as I felt unequal to
the work and required rest; but at the expiration of that time I became
dangerously ill from the overstrain on my system, and got a medical
certificate which relieved me of any further military duty in Number 4
Company, and from that date to the end of the rebellion I lived in my
waggon.

At the commencement of December, when we expected the Boers would make
an attack on the town, all the males in the four wards of the city
volunteered to protect the women and children in each ward, and as my
waggon was outspanned in Number 4, I joined with the rest; but when the
news came into Pretoria that the Boers, to the number of 1000, had been
in ambush at Bronkhurst spruit for two days, waiting for the advance of
a portion of the 94th Regiment from Lydenburg, which had been murdered
by the Boers, a council was held, and on the 20th of December martial
law was proclaimed, and all those who had formed themselves into
volunteers to protect women and children were marched up to the barracks
as regular volunteers.  My waggon was drawn up to camp, and placed under
the charge of the authorities during my soldiering.

The history of this rebellion has been so ably and graphically described
by others, it will be useless for me to go more into the subject.  I can
merely state the first news of the British surrender that reached camp,
of the war being concluded, and the retrocession of the Transvaal to the
Boers, arrived on the 28th of March, 1881.

The principal portion of the Transvaal, north of Pretoria in the
Zoutpansberg and Waterberg districts, is called the bush veldt, where
most of the farmers living on the high veldt, between Potchefstroom and
Pretoria, trek at the close of the autumn with all their family and
stock, and remain the winter, where the cattle and sheep find warm
shelter in the thorn forests; and return to their farms when the spring
grass is sufficiently high for the stock to feed.  The Boers make this
trek a kind of picnic, and it is the only kind of life they enjoy.

This high land is also called Witwater rand; the elevation above
sea-level is 5800 feet.  Extensive seams of coal have been discovered
about forty miles to the east-south-east of Pretoria.  Roads in every
direction traverse the country.  The distances from Pretoria to the
following places are: to the west, Rustenberg, 40 miles; north to
Marabastadt, 160 miles; east to Middleberg, 100 miles; and to Lydenburg,
165 miles; south to Heidelburg, 55 miles; Standerton, 120 miles; and
Newcastle, 190 miles; south-west to Potchefstroom, 110 miles; and to
Kimberley diamond-fields, 334 miles.  Middleberg is a small village on
the road from Pretoria to Lydenburg, and the gold-field is in this
district; a cobalt-mine has been discovered.  Lydenburg is situated in
the open country, on a branch of the Spekboom river.  The country round
is very hilly, some of them attain a height of 8000 feet above
sea-level.  The average height of the gold-diggings is 4200 feet.

The detachment of the 94th that was murdered at Bronkhurst spruit, for
some months held possession of a small fort here, before they marched
for Pretoria South of this town, some seventy miles, is a district
called New Scotland, on the eastern boundary of the republic, which was
in 1864 brought under the notice of a Mr. McCorkindale for the purpose
of forming a Scotch colony, but it fell to the ground.  Klip Staple,
already described, and the source of the Vaal river, spring from this
locality.  Wakkerstroom and Utrick have also been mentioned in the first
chapter.  The only portion requiring explanation in the district of
Derby and Lunenburg, with its little colony of Germans who suffered
great losses during the Zulu war.

Heidelburg is pleasantly situated on the south side of the watershed,
containing many well-built houses.  It was during the rebellion the
headquarters of the rebels, and from which Captain Elliot was released
and shot by the Boers when crossing the Vaal river.  The road from
Pretoria to Natal passes through this town, and also Standerton, another
small town on the Vaal, and on to Newcastle.  Standerton was also held
by the British troops during the rebellion.

To the west of Heidelburg, seventy miles, is the town of Potchefstroom,
the first town laid out by the Boers in taking possession of the
country, situated on the Moi river; nearly half of the inhabitants were
English, Germans, French, and other nationalities.  It is 4007 feet
above sea-level; there are some interesting limestone caves on the
river, in which are imbedded many bones.  The town is well laid out with
fine fruit-gardens.  Tobacco is extensively cultivated in the vicinity
and all over the republic, and is well known for its fine quality.

Thirty miles to the west is Klerksdarp, on Schoon spruit, and to the
north-west of Potchefstroom, seventy miles, is Lichtenburg, a village
erected in 1868.  There is also between these two the village of
Hartebeestfontein.  Potchefstroom from Kimberley is 224 miles.
Following the Vaal down west is Bloomhof, a poor miserable village, and
on towards Kimberley is Christiana, another poor and desolate place;
they have been the rallying-points for the freebooters to attack the
Bechuana chief.  The whole of this division of the Transvaal is open and
uninteresting.

Between Christiana and Lichtenburg is a farm called Gestop, situated in
a very pretty valley, close to a picturesque hill.  On the northern
slope are some ancient carvings of animals on the rocks, which are
composed of a close-grained kind of freestone; several of them are on
rocks at the base of the bill, others half-way up, made no doubt by the
people who made the others, the workmanship being similar.  Up the
valley by the side of the bill was, when I used to visit it, a favourite
resort for the muscovy duck, and where I have frequently gone to shoot
them, but they are most difficult to get near.  The only way of getting
a shot at them was to hide in the long reeds that grew on the banks of
the stream and wait for them to fly over, which they did regularly about
four o'clock in the afternoon, where they remained the night, and away
in the morning to some other favourite locality.  A few hundred yards
from the farm-house is a stone or rather a kind of slate quarry.  The
stone is of a light colour, very soft; it can be sawn into any shape
required, and is much used for grave-stones; slabs of any size and
thickness can be obtained; it can also be used for mantelpieces, and any
other kind of work.  The hills and veldt on the farm have many valuable
herbs, and two kinds of wild tea, equal in flavour to that from China,--
in fact, I prefer it to the imported teas, and it is a splendid tonic.

The country round is more diversified with hill and dale, and thickly
wooded with the mimosa and other trees and bush.  Mr. Van Zyl, who
occupied the farm when I knew it, sold it some time after, and treked
with his family and all his belongings out of the Transvaal to be free
from the Boer Government, and went into the interior hunting, where the
Namaquas robbed him of all his property, waggons, and everything, and
shot him and his son.

A few miles to the north of Gestop are the famous salt-pans, and
Barber's pan, of which a description has been given, and a few miles to
the south-east is Reid vlei, a pretty piece of water, a great resort of
wild-fowl in those days long past.  It is a wonder now to see a single
duck; it is pretty nearly the same with the game.  At that time they
could be counted by the thousand, now it takes a long ride to meet with
a few.  I have had troop after troop pass in front of my oxen as I have
been treking along the road, by the thousand, and not ten miles from
this farm; and, as I camped out in the afternoon on the plains to remain
the night, have been much interested in watching the old gnu-bull
standing alone doing sentry duty, keeping guard over the cows and young
ones when feeding a few hundred yards from him.  He would always select
an elevated piece of ground to have a good view round, and every few
minutes he would change his position to all quarters of the compass, and
the first sign of danger give several barks as warning to the others,
and then, with a quick switch of his tail, head down, gallop off to his
friends and remove them further away from any enemy that may be
approaching.

In all these open flats there are always to be found large dried-up
pans, all of them brack, which is very suggestive of sea-water.  It is
not only the pans but the entire soil that is brack, from one end of
South Africa to the other, some parts more than others.  It is only in
small pools, or at fountains, where fresh water can be obtained.  To one
large dry pan, half a mile in diameter, and fifty feet deep, with very
nice sloping sides, I gave the name of Chalcedony pan, from the immense
quantity that covered the ground, not only round the pan but for miles
in every direction; and on all these high flats, every variety of agate,
flint, cornelian, and other kinds of every colour and form, as also
splendid specimens of petrified woods, and in the stone hills, large
shells, but empty of the snails, many of them beautifully marked, also
small fresh-water shells of various sizes, and I have spent many
pleasant days prospecting for some of these specimens.

Near Christiana, on the Vaal river, are two extensive dry brack-pans,
the largest is two miles round.  On the south side the ground forms a
small hill with bush and trees upon it; this is between Christiana and
Bloomhof, where there are several salt-pans a few miles to the north of
that town, where a large quantity of salt is procured annually of good
quality.  The salt can only be obtained on certain occasions, which is
very peculiar, showing there must be a vast quantity of salt below the
pans' beds.

These salt-pans are quite dry and free from water for some four or five
months a year, when there is no salt to be seen, and it is not until the
rainy season is over, and the water that has collected in the pans
during that time (some two feet deep) has in the course of a few months
evaporated, that the salt appears to have been drawn from the deposit
below to the surface by the action of the water upon it, and a thick
deposit is left, which is collected by the proprietor, and sold at
various prices.  I have paid for a sack containing 200 lbs. 3 shillings
and sometimes 5 shillings, according to the supply and demand.  Some
salt-pans do not give a sufficient deposit to pay the cost of
collecting.  There is a great sale for it throughout the country; but
table-salt is supplied from England, as there has been no means of
cleaning the native salt from the impurities it contains.  The Boers and
natives use it.  Some of these salt-pans will yield in the season nearly
1000 nuids of 200 lbs. each, and yet there appears to be no diminution
in the supply, showing there must be extensive deposits beneath the pan
beds.  And so impregnated are some portions of these extensive grass
plains that the grass that grows upon them is called the sour veldt, and
other parts, where the surface-soil has been washed down from a higher
level and deposited on the flats, is called the sweet veldt.  The sour
veldt is easily distinguishable by the white coating on the ground,
which the oxen lick when they want salt.

I always kept my oxen in good condition by giving them salt, once or
twice a week, from a supply kept in the waggon for them, and it is a
great preventative also against that common sickness the lungsick, which
is very fatal to oxen all through South Africa.  There are several salt
and brack-pans in the northern division of the republic, but the most
numerous and the largest are to the south of New Scotland.  Lake Cressie
is the most extensive, in shape something like a horse-shoe, and nearly
twenty miles round, lying in an open grass country with few bushes.  The
water in it is permanent, and cannot be very brackish, as a hippopotamus
has been known to live in it since it was first discovered.  The road
from Lydenburg to Wakkerstroom passes on the east side of the head of
Lake Cressie, where there is a store, and a more desolate-looking
country to pass through is rarely to be found.

But Barber's pan is the most picturesque of all I have visited; this
also forms a kind of horse-shoe in shape.  The outer banks are high on
the west, with bush and trees; the inner side is much lower, and thick
bush, and was always a favourite place for outspanning, and remaining a
few days for duck-shooting--and also the black and white geese, being a
secluded spot, seldom visited by the white or black man.  Game as well
as birds could always be obtained, and plenty of wolves also.  In
circumference it must be some fifteen miles.  A few miles to the
north-east is another extensive pan, long but narrow.  They both hold
water all the year round, as they are deep.

At Wolverfontein, where Mr. John Dunn has a pleasant farm situated near
the eye of the Moi river, upon which Potchefstroom is built, I visited
the limestone cave, which Mr. Dunn pointed out to me.  This cave passes
underground for several hundred yards, and terminates at an underground
river, which flows to the north-east in a great stream, and is supposed
to come out at the eye of the Moi river, three miles away.  Close to the
cave, in the high lime formation of a light-brown colour, the rock is
composed of one-half bones, teeth, entire jaws with the teeth in them,
belonging to some large animal, mixed with quartz rock.  It is a strange
fact to find quartz so intimately mixed up with this limestone and
bones.  I collected several fine specimens of bone imbedded in this
quartz and limestone mixture.  One of the specimens of part of a jaw I
measured _in situ_.  The bone, in which the teeth were perfect, measured
twelve inches, perfectly straight, sharply pointed at both ends, and one
and a quarter inch in the broadest part; the shape being exactly like a
canoe or some of the fast river-skiffs.  A single row of eight teeth
down the middle, two of the centre ones being the largest, nearly an
inch square; the other three on each side were smaller, until the two
end ones measured a third of an inch square; they may have belonged to a
ruminant animal.  The peculiar form of the bone the teeth were fixed in
I thought singular.  I procured four similar specimens, two of the same
size, and two smaller, with several other pieces of rock, half
limestone, half quartz, in which are many perfect specimens of teeth and
bone.

Over this interesting deposit there is a large wood with limestones
cropping up above the soil.  Upon one of them I saw several loose
egg-shaped stones, and others perfectly round, the size of a sparrow's
egg, lying on the ground close to the rock.  On stopping to pick them up
I found the stone full of them, some half buried, others only holding by
a small part of the ball fixed to the rock.  Thinking it a very
interesting specimen I went to my waggon for a hammer, and secured one
of the projecting parts of the rock that had some of these balls
imbedded in it, and a dozen of the loose balls, which have been
carefully preserved to be examined by a geologist when time will permit,
to ascertain if this singular formation is limestone or not, as every
portion of this limestone formation is black except where the bones are
found, and there it is of a light-brown colour.  It is also found in all
the dark rocks in the same locality.  Extensive tracts of country in
South Central Africa have similar rocks containing crystallised
globules, which when broken are hollow, which leads me to suppose this
rock is not a limestone formation.  Dr. Lyle, the geologist, at
Pretoria, examined the rock with bones in it, and pronounced it a kind
of lava impregnated with lime from the bones.

In the neighbourhood of Lydenburg, to the north, are many extensive
caves, some extending for nearly a mile underground, that have been
formed by the small stream of water that flows through most of them,
with beautiful stalactite hanging from their roofs and sides.  A short
distance to the west of these were the strongholds of the chiefs Secoeme
and Mampoer.  These mountains are completely riddled with caves, and are
places of great strength, and surrounded by many Kaffir kraals, under
several petty chiefs.  The most noted are Magali, Manpartella,
Secocoene, Matebe, Maselaroon (Queen), Mapok, Mamalube, Umsoet, Moripi,
Umlindola, Majaje (Queen), Maffafare, Mayaya, and others, numbering many
thousands in all.  During the Secocoene war, in 1878, I was through that
country, travelling up from Pretoria with a detachment of the 80th
Regiment, and visited the magnet heights, a range of hills composed
entirely of loadstone of highly magnetic power.  It is about forty miles
to the north-west of Lydenburg.

The area of the present Lydenburg gold-fields may be included within a
radius of 100 miles from that town, and contains some of the most
magnificent scenery in Africa.  Within it are the hot springs, six in
number.  They are situated among rocks, and close to them is one cold
spring; they are becoming known as having very healing properties.  The
Komati river passing between beautiful mountains is most picturesque,
and on the north the Waterfall river and other streams have lovely
scenery, with the lofty mountains forming the background.  A most
charming effect is produced when the clouds are passing along their
sides below their summits.  It is a pity that a land so lovely and so
rich in valuable minerals is not in better hands, where a firm
Government would be able to properly develop the country.  There are at
present a few thousand people living near the various diggings, but many
say they are not succeeding.  Large sums of money have been expended in
machinery, but few companies pay.

Before leaving the Transvaal I wish to call attention again to the white
Bushmen, described in the early part of this work, which I omitted, viz.
that they are only found in the mountain ranges on the west of the
Drakensberg, and in that mountain.  They have never been found in the
lowlands or in any other part of Africa, and are distinct in form; that
is, so remarkably thin, and their legs being more like sticks, without
any appearance of a calf, pot-bellied to an enormous extent, with their
spine curving in like a bow, and few exceed four feet in height; their
colour is yellow white, quite as much so as Europeans brought up in a
tropical country.  This leads me to conclude they are a separate and
distinct race, unless they are part of a tribe that live in Equatorial
Africa, called the Akka or Tikku-Tikki race, under the king Munsa, the
pigmy race described by Herodotus; but these appear to be of a much
darker colour.  When travellers state the age of any of these peculiar
people it cannot be relied on, for I do not believe there is a black man
in Africa who knows his own age.  I have seen some exhibited whose age
is stated to be twenty; this is mere guess, for it is impossible to
tell, when they have no notion themselves whether they are five or
fifty.

CHAPTER NINETEEN.

GENERAL REMARKS ON THE TRANSVAAL.

The two main roads from the Cape Colony to the Transvaal cross the
Orange river at Hope Town, and a few miles north of Colesburg, both
meeting at Kimberley, the diamond-field centre.  Railways are open as
far as Kimberley.

From Kimberley to Pretoria by road is 334 miles.  The country, the whole
distance, is open, and most uninteresting; grass-lands the entire
distance, broken here and there with small patches of low mimosa bush.
The only portion of the distance less monotonous than the rest is the
road that skirts the bank of the Vaal river, as far as Bloemhof, where
the pretty wooded banks and broad river relieve the eye from the
everlasting rolling plains seen in every direction.

There was some pleasure in travelling these roads twenty years ago, as
game being plentiful on the veldt, and wild-fowl of every kind in the
rivers and pans, there was some excitement in looking out for a good
dinner.  At the present time I have travelled from Pretoria to Kimberley
and never had occasion to take my gun or rifle out of my waggon.

The face of the country is entirely changed, farms now occupy the land,
and many villages are built, supporting a considerable population that
depend greatly for support by supplying the several markets on the
fields with their produce.  In all my experience of African travelling,
I never passed through a region less interesting for picturesque scenery
than the greater part of Griqualand West, and the southern portion of
the Transvaal, up as far north as Lichtenburg and Pretoria.  But it is
not so on the eastern border and northern division of the Transvaal,
where is fine mountain scenery and thickly wooded valleys, with the many
rivers, the banks of which are clothed with thick vegetation, with
timber of considerable size and variety covering the country in all
directions.  The Pongolo forest near Swaziland; the finely-wooded
district of the Lobombo mountains; the wild region north of Lydenburg to
the Limpopo river, an extent of country some 150 miles in length; and
all to the north of the Magalisberg range, where the forest is more
dense, containing much valuable timber; right up to the northern
boundary, separating this republic from the Mashona or Matabeleland by
the magnificent Limpopo river, a region extending 200 miles in length;
more particularly in the northern division, where the unbroken range of
forest that covers each bank of this noble river for hundreds of miles
on the right and on the left, where the abrupt and almost perpendicular
mountains rear their lofty heads far up in the clouds, clothed with
every kind of tropical tree.  This gives one an idea of eternal spring,
the foliage displaying a charming variety of every shade and hue, from
the pale and silvery to the darkest green and copper-purple; much of it
covered with a profusion of lovely lily-like flowers, others with
crimson bloom, fruits and seeds, creeping plants climbing to the topmost
branches, and falling down in graceful festoons to the ground, forming
numerous ropes, which the many monkey tribes use to ascend and descend
with remarkable speed.  Some of the giants of the forest--the noble
baobab and others--blasted by storms and age, stand out in grim mockery
of perpetual life, although they may number many thousand years, noble
emblems of misfortune and decay.

  "The rheum of age from Marlboro's eyes to flow,
  And swift expire a driveller and a show."

In some of these African forests, so extensively covered with timber and
beautiful underwood, where the white man's foot has seldom trod, it is
natural to look for some rare specimen in animal or vegetable life.

There is a charm in traversing these unknown forests that irresistibly
draws the explorer on more into their recesses.  The gloom pervades
everything around, cut off from the bright sun above by the dense
foliage, casting into shadow the gigantic boles of many trees that
surround the traveller, giving a weird aspect to the scene, combined
with the perfect silence that reigns around; for during the greater
portion of the day, when the tropical sun is high, all nature is as it
were dead, the birds retire into their homes, the wild animals crowd
into some hidden nook and sleep, and everything is at rest, until the
sun nears the western horizon, when one by one, both animals and birds
begin to stir.  A single antelope may be seen leisurely moving along,
then two or three more; a jackal, a tiger-cat, or some other beast of
prey makes a cautious advance among the bushes; the distant sound of
branches being broken by elephants or giraffes; the twitter of many
birds, and the shrill whistle of others calling to their mates, cooing
of doves, and the tapping of the woodpecker on the decayed bark of trees
seeking for insects beneath (which has a most peculiar effect upon the
listener in the silent retreat), and as night advances, the roar of the
lion, which startles all nature into silence, causes the intruder upon
his preserves mechanically to look to his rifle to see all is right and
fresh cartridge handy, for at any moment his proximity may be expected.

It was on one of these evening rambles in the noble forest that I was an
eye-witness to a very rare and singular sight, and which, I believe, few
explorers have ever witnessed.

Wandering on where the openings in the bushes allowed free access
between the thick vegetation, admiring the splendid picture of vegetable
life, I caught the sound of loud, deep, bass voices not so very far
away, which appeared to be coming nearer.  As I was under one of those
splendid baobab trees, quite in shadow, I determined to wait and find
out the cause of such unearthly sounds.  Lying down on the grass, to be
out of sight as much as possible, I waited with my rifle ready for
action, if any animal should come disagreeably close.  The sounds were
continuous, and became louder every moment.  At first I concluded there
were several wolves fighting; then growls, similar to cats on the
house-tops, but much louder; this continued for some twenty minutes.
Crawling round the tree on my knees, I discovered the cause.  About
seventy yards from where I was concealed were two lions, that is, a lion
and a lioness, apparently in a very quarrelsome mood, as the lioness
kept throwing back her ears and showing her teeth, at the same time
pawing the lion in the face with her huge paws, and lashing out with her
tail, the lion taking it very quietly, but growling as if remonstrating.
All this time they were coming nearer, until they stopped some forty
yards from my retreat; all was quiet--I intently watching them all the
time--for some ten minutes longer, when the lioness gave a few cat-like
spits, and bounded into the bush, and the lion quickly walked off in
another direction.  A hunter relates being once in a tree watching a
lioness and a lion.  Another began roaring in the distance, when the
lioness roared in reply, the lion trying to prevent her.  But at last he
began also, when the other lion appeared, and a terrible fight began,
their strong bones cracking.  At last the first lion was killed, and the
lioness, with a whisk of her tail, went off with the last.  "Oh, you
jade!" said the hunter.

Evening was now falling fast, and as the nights here close in soon after
sundown, it was time to strike for my waggon, where I had outspanned on
the banks of the river, at a very pretty bend, where I could get plenty
of sea-cow and crocodile shooting.  On my way home, which took twenty
minutes to reach, many kinds of game crossed my path, and I managed to
bag a fine silver jackal.  The lion and lioness were not seen any more.

My camp is 100 yards from the river, where several openings in the trees
give me many pretty glimpses of the stream and the opposite bank, which
is, from this near side, some 200 yards broad, with several sand-banks
and rocks in mid-stream.  Lofty reeds grow thick and strong upon their
sides, full of nests belonging to the yellow and red finch, as also the
larger kind with long black tails that greatly impede their flight.

Birds of all sizes, and of many colours, with brilliant plumage, swarm
along the banks; several kind of kingfisher, honey-birds (not much
larger than hummingbirds, with their long curved bills, mostly found
where flowers are plentiful), bitterns, pelicans, Kaffir-cranes,
flamingoes, geese, ducks, and other kind of water-fowl are seen in great
numbers, and give plenty of occupation for rifle and shot-gun.  The
vultures, hawks, and eagles are daily seen on the wing.  We stumble on
snakes at every turn of the forest and along the river-bank.  The python
has been killed on the Limpopo, the natives tell me, longer than my
waggon, which is sixteen feet, and some say that there are others that
have been seen double that length.

About a mile below this camp I came upon their spoor, in the long grass,
and from the beaten path they made, over two feet in width, there must
be many of these monsters about.  We have been out several times at
night to look for them.

The largest snake I shot, next to the python, was when walking along a
bank of sand, where there were several large holes.  He was moving in
the grass a short distance from me, a most vicious-looking reptile,
quite black, and measuring nearly thirteen feet; there are others nearly
as large in the Kalahara desert.  I have killed many puffadders, but
none exceeded in length three feet six inches.  The long, thin yellow
snake is mostly found in trees, after birds; they stretch themselves
along the branches, and look like a portion of them.  Those I have
killed measured nearly five feet.  When the little birds see them they
fly round and near, making a great noise.  I was walking along a
river-bank that had several snake-holes in it; a short distance ahead
was a small bird fluttering about in one spot.  Standing to watch it for
some time, and finding it still kept on in the same way, I walked up
almost close to it, when I saw the head of a large snake sticking out of
a hole; but on my making ready to fire he retreated into it, and the
bird flew away.  This was the first time I had seen a snake charm a
bird.  The variety I have killed may be called legion.  Of several the
names are unknown.

The iguana grows to a large size in these rivers; I have only seen the
black one in this district.  My boys killed one measuring five feet
seven inches; they cooked and dished him up for their supper, and told
me it was very good.  The hedgehog, ant-bear, and armadillo are
plentiful, as also many kinds of earth-animals, generally found in the
more open parts.  But the most disgusting thing, and which I have a
horror of, are those tree-toads.  Some trees seem to swarm with them;
they fix themselves in the fork of a branch, and remain quite still all
day, and at night they chirp like a bird--it may be called the
singing-tree, I suppose the same kind mentioned in `Pilgrim's
Progress'--their colour so resembles the bark that it is difficult to
distinguish them from it.  I have stated in a former chapter that
several dropped into my waggon when on my way up to Matabeleland.

Early the next morning, after my lion adventure, I prepared for a day's
shooting up-river, ready for any and everything that came within range
of our rifles.  My driver and a Cape boy, both very good shots, and
myself with shot-gun, after an early breakfast, started soon after
sun-up along the right bank of the river.  We had not proceeded many
hundred yards before a large flock of guinea-fowl flew up, when both
barrels brought down five.  This was a good beginning; they were sent
back to the camp at once.  It is no use pursuing these birds when they
have been disturbed, they run like a race-horse, and keep to the ground.
If you have a good dog to chase them they are compelled to find shelter
in the trees, when they can be shot.  My last dog was bitten by a
puffadder and died.

Continuing along the bank for some little distance I came upon a deep
pool in the river, where we could distinguish, just out of the water,
part of the head of a large hippopotamus; but as we neared him to get a
shot he prudently sank.  On the opposite bank two half-grown crocodiles
were enjoying the morning's sun, and they also thought it desirable to
clear for the water, but not before one of them received a bullet in the
side, which made him turn and twist about, lashing his tail as he made
for the water, where we lost sight of him.  The river was too wide and
deep, and too dangerous for any of us to cross, to attempt to follow him
up; but we saw by his motion in the water he must have received a mortal
wound.  The river appeared about 200 yards wide, with thickly wooded
banks, and fine timber trees.  As we were watching his movements,
several ducks flew past down stream; two I shot, but they fell in the
water, and no one dare go in to get them, as our friends the sea-cows
and crocodiles might lie there.  Consequently, we left them floating on
the water, but had not moved many paces away before they had
disappeared, a dainty morsel for one of these monsters.

As we advanced along the bank we became aware that large game occupied
the other side of the river.  The dense forest prevented our seeing
them, but there was no mistaking the sounds.  Elephants were near, by
the breaking of branches and the constant rumbling sound of their
bowels.  The river was too deep and dangerous to cross, therefore I had
no choice left but to remain quiet and concealed in the shadow of the
beautiful trees, the branches of which overhung the river.  We knew they
were approaching the river to drink.  After waiting some twenty minutes,
one by one they pushed themselves through the undergrowth that lined the
steep bank, and made for the water, standing in a row close together,
sucking up with their trunks the water into their immense throats, an
operation that looks ridiculous, a sight seldom to be seen in daylight.
To have fired upon them would have been cruel, as there was no
possibility of getting their tusks even if we had killed them; we
therefore watched with intense interest this interesting sight.

After satisfying their thirst, they walked into the river until they
were half submerged, throwing water over their backs, and flapping their
immense ears against their sides, making a peculiar noise, evidently
enjoying the bath immensely, pawing the water with their huge legs; and
then returned to the forest, to browse on the young and tender branches
of their favourite trees.  There were thirty-seven full-grown, and
eleven young ones of various sizes.  It was with difficulty I could
restrain my boys from giving them a shot.  To see elephants, the largest
of all animals, in their native wilds roaming undisturbed, and note
their habits and actions, is most interesting.

These gigantic animals care very little for crocodiles or hippopotami;
but the rhinoceros often kills them.  Their long legs, being six feet in
length, and nearly three feet round, are very formidable when used in
their own defence, either on land or water, without the aid of their
five feet of tusks.  At the present time these splendid animals are
never seen in these parts, where formerly they were so plentiful.  Mr.
John Viljoen, the Boer who came north after the Bloomplaats fight in
1848, thirty-seven years ago, and settled in Marico, told me that the
whole of that district swarmed with elephants and every other kind of
large game, as also in the neighbourhood of Rustenburg, Pretoria, and
other localities more south; now they are seldom seen south of the
Limpopo, except in the country to the east, under the chief Umzela.

In the trees on the opposite shore, and in the forest behind us, large
grey monkeys, with black faces, were busy watching us.  There appeared
to be hundreds, and as they swung from branch to branch, with the young
ones following their mothers, they made the forest look lively.  They
travel on the tops of the trees faster than you can run below.

As it was now getting on towards noon we pushed on up-stream, making
excellent bags of guinea-fowls, pheasants, and ducks.  In addition to
this dainty food, my boys shot a quagga, which the black man prefers to
any other game.  It was now time to return, being pretty well loaded
with provisions to last several days; but what avails that with a
hunter, when surrounded by so many tempting opportunities of having a
shot at animals or large reptiles, never to be met with out of these
primeval forests?  We wanted sjamboks, so much sought after by the
colonists; the best are made from the skin of the hippopotamus, so we
must bag some, if possible, before we left this fine and undisturbed
hunting-ground.

We therefore searched the river carefully on our way back, directing the
Kaffirs to peer into every nook and corner of the pools, and at last
were rewarded by discovering a fine, large sea-cow moving about in long
reeds in a small sand-island, only separated from the bank by some
twenty yards of shallow water.  This was a splendid chance not to be
thrown away, as he was quietly feeding, unobservant of our presence.  We
took advantage of his turning towards us, and gave him three shots in
the head, one entering the brain, and he fell without apparently a
struggle; a most fortunate and lucky capture, as he was on a bank just
above the water, where we could take his skin and tusks without any
trouble.  Slipping off my boots and socks, I tucked up my trousers, and
was soon at the beast's side.  It occupied us the remainder of the day,
until sundown, to take the skin, which was no easy task, and even then
we did not secure the whole; only taking the best part, suitable for the
renowned sjambok, and several pieces of the flesh, as it is excellent
eating, similar to pork.  It was now a puzzle how to get all to the
waggon, being nearly a mile from it.  I therefore determined to send all
my three Kaffirs with as much as they could carry to the camp, and
return with some empty sacks for the remainder, while I remained on
guard.

It was some time before they returned, the sun had long gone under, but
the bright starlight night enabled me to see distinctly some distance
round.  During their absence I enjoyed the perfect silence that pervaded
everything, except occasionally the splashes in the water by crocodiles
at play, or in their rush after fish, and the blows of the hippopotamus
as it came up from the deep water.  Not a breath of air stirred, or a
leaf moved.  Numerous fire-flies added a charm to the scene, for they
are most brilliant, and even give light enough when caught and held near
a book, in the darkest night, to read distinctly.  Many glow-worms, of
which there are legions here, will also give light to read from.  We now
set to work to cut up more of the sea-cow's flesh, and after well
loading all hands, started for the waggon, where we arrived about eleven
o'clock in the evening, after a hard and an exciting day's work.

Lions we heard from both sides of the river as we made for camp; also
wolves and jackals, with the plunges in the water from the sea-cows, as
we disturbed them in passing, where they were feeding along the bank,
kept us on the alert from a surprise.

From a long and isolated life in the wilds of Africa how sensitive the
hearing becomes to sounds of every kind, and the different calls or
notes of birds or beasts, if danger is near!  Birds will give warning
much quicker than animals, from their being able to see a greater
distance from the branches of the trees.  Animals know the birds' call
of danger, as also do birds that of animals.  The plover is the most
annoying to a hunter, as they are persistent in following him up, giving
the note of alarm.  I have endeavoured to hide myself away many times
from them; but they are not to be baffled in this way, but come flying
round the bushes, prying everywhere, until you are discovered, and with
renewed vigour they strike up their alarm-notes, making the game fly
before you in every direction.  Once let these birds fix their attention
on a hunter, he must either shoot them, or give up hope of a good day's
sport.

The boy in charge of the waggon during the day informed me that a little
before sundown nearly a hundred head of game had passed down the river,
close to the waggon, but cleared when they discovered the camp.  They
were, from his description, the rooi or red antelope, the size of our
fallow-deer.

We left this camping-ground the next day, and as there were no roads,
had some difficulty in pushing our way through the forest, to avoid the
tent of the waggon being smashed by the low branches of the trees.
After proceeding some few miles we came upon the remains of a quagga
that had evidently been killed and eaten by the lions the previous
night, as their spoor on the sand was very fresh.  We therefore hastened
our departure to get clear of the dense bush before night, and after two
inspans arrived at an open space close to a small brook of running
water, where we fixed our camp for the night.

The weather is delightful, almost perfect; perpetual sun, which becomes
monotonous when there is so much of it, scarcely sufficient wind to stir
the leaves of the trees, the heat most agreeable, only 83 degrees in the
shade at mid-day.  After making all fast we prepared for supper: a
guinea-fowl for myself, and quagga steaks for my boys, and then to bed
at 9 p.m.  During the night jackals and wolves annoyed us; lions we
heard at a distance, but sufficiently near to cause us to keep a
watchful guard in case they felt disposed to make an attack on our oxen.


These grand old forest regions of Africa are full of interest, more
particularly at the present season, when animal and vegetable life are
springing into existence.  Spring has far advanced, and summer is coming
on apace.  The birds are filling the woods with their notes,--although
they do not sing they make the air ring with calls of many sounds,
teaching their young to fly; the mocking-bird being the most persistent
in keeping up his incessant chatter.  The grey cockatoo, with his
beautiful crest, is determined to make himself heard amidst the din of
sounds; but of all the African birds I love, the best is the gentle
ringdove; his welcome cooing notes have cheered my heart in many a weary
day's trek over a dry and parched-up region, where days have been passed
without tasting a drop of water, when the notes of the ringdove have
caught my ear, telling me water is near, for they are well known never
to be far from it, which in every such case has been true.  The croaking
of frogs also is a welcome sound, for they never enlighten the air with
their notes when the water has dried-up.  Crickets and many other
insects make the air ring with their chirps when water is plentiful.

A traveller, when roaming through this wild region, soon becomes
acquainted with all forest sounds, and in many cases from necessity,
when passing through a country where for six or eight months of the year
rain never falls, not even dew, to moisten the atmosphere.  During this
dry time few insects are seen, but in the rainy season they swarm, and
birds are scarce far from water; but along all the river-banks some with
most beautiful plumage are to be seen, and many other kinds.  Gorgeous
flowers are not wanting to add beauty to the forest scenery, and a
traveller must indeed be callous to all that is beautiful in nature who
can traverse these woodland regions unobservant of their beauties.  The
charm lies not only in the magnificence of the scene around, beautiful
as it is made by the Creator for man's enjoyment, but it is also the
book of nature, where man may learn wisdom away from the busy world.
However much we may like the society of our fellow-man, there are times
when it is very refreshing to be alone to think, particularly when
surrounded by scenery rarely to be found out of these splendid old
forests, where nature has been so bountiful in clothing the earth with
such pleasant objects to look upon.  I love the woods and their
surroundings, where the mighty baobab, the king of the forest, reigns
supreme above all other trees, whose age exceeds 5000 years, and is yet
full of life and vigour--born a thousand years before the great pyramids
of Egypt were even thought of--a living monument of the vitality of
nature.  Mighty nations have grown, flourished, and passed away into
oblivion, since these vegetable monuments first took root, where they
now stand and flourish, fit emblems of man's littleness.  We pace the
galleries of our museums and look with admiration on those monuments
brought from Nineveh, Babylon, Greece, Rome, and Egypt, which speak of
the past history of the world, but not one of which can date as far back
as these living trees, that had life before these nations had an
existence.

Can we then pass these grand old trees with indifference, or look upon
their huge trunks--which measure over 107 feet in circumference--without
emotion, the branches of which at mid-day would shelter from the sun a
regiment of soldiers?  But these are not the only trees that grace the
primeval forests of Africa; there are many varieties, dating back many
thousand years from their birth, that are grand objects in the
landscape, and complete a picture of forest scenery that few can realise
who have not visited these ancient and glorious old forests, which, if
they could speak, could tell wondrous tales of scenes unknown to man.

CHAPTER TWENTY.

SOUTH CENTRAL AFRICA--ITS TERRITORIAL DIVISIONS AND BOUNDARIES.  THE
RIVER SYSTEM AND THEIR BASINS.

This extensive region is bounded on the south by the Cape Colony and the
Orange Free States; the Orange river by the former, and the Vaal river
from the fountain-head down to where it enters the Orange, in 29 degrees
10 minutes South latitude, 23 degrees 47 minutes East longitude, by the
latter State, with the exception of a portion of Griqualand West, which
extends beyond those two rivers, and forms part of the above region.
The Orange enters the South Atlantic in 28 degrees 40 minutes South
latitude, 16 degrees 25 minutes East longitude, and up to the junction
of the Vaal is the boundary of the Cape Colony and South Central Africa,
which extends northwards up to the basin of the Congo, a distance of
1400 miles, and in width, from the South Atlantic to the Indian Ocean,
in the northern part 1800 miles, the extreme south 1100 miles, an area
of over 2,000,000 square miles, divided into divisions or territories,
ruled over by independent chiefs, and will be dealt with under their
respective heads.  Great Namaqua and Damaralands embrace the whole of
the west coast-line, from the Orange river northwards to the Qunene
river, the boundary of the Portuguese settlement of Benguela and Angola,
a coast-line of 730 miles.  The remaining portion by the Portuguese
settlement, the eastern coast, extends from the south side of Delagoa
Bay, and the southern extremity of the Portuguese settlement, to the
mouth of the Zambese river, on to Quilimain, a Portuguese port on the
north, a distance of coast-line of 700 miles, up to the boundary of the
Congo Confederation.

This vast area is divided into three separate watersheds, the most
important one divides the waters of the South Atlantic from the Indian
Ocean.  This watershed commences at the extreme southern point on the
Drakensberg mountain in Natal, 10,000 feet in altitude, following that
range round to New Scotland, 6100 feet in altitude, in the Transvaal,
then turns west, along the high veldt between Potchefstroom and
Pretoria, 6300 feet, to the north of Lichtenburg, a town in the same
State, 6100 feet, then in a north-west direction through a portion of
Bechuanaland, the Kalahara desert, to Ovampoland, 4300 in altitude, on
to Benguela, the Portuguese settlement on the west coast.  All on the
west of this shed the country is drained by the Orange and Vaal rivers
and their tributaries, and the Swakop and other small streams in
Damaraland, into the South Atlantic Ocean.  The second watershed
commences on the high land, 4260 feet in altitude, half-way through the
desert, in 23 degrees 40 minutes South latitude, 23 degrees 20 minutes
East longitude, takes a north-east direction, passing on the east side
of the great brak vlei Makarakara, along the granite range of the Molopo
in Matabeleland, on to the Lobolo mountain, 4500 feet in altitude, near
the Zambese river, 300 miles from its mouth.  The above river and its
tributaries drain the country on the north of this watershed, and is
called the Zambese basin; on the south side it is drained by the Limpopo
river and its tributaries, called the Limpopo basin; both rivers
discharge themselves into the Indian Ocean.  These three large rivers,
the Orange, Zambese, and Limpopo, with their branches, with the
exception of a small portion of great Namaqua and Damaralands on the
west coast, and also part of Umzela's territory and the Transvaal by
Delagoa Bay on the east coast, drain nearly 2,000,000 square miles of
South Central Africa.  The Orange, south of the above region, with its
tributaries, drain the Orange Free State, and part of the Cape Colony,
to the extent of 170,000 square miles in addition.  Each of these river
systems I propose to describe, as they form the principal geographical
features, previous to going more into the detail of the several
territories ruled over by independent chiefs.

THE ZAMBESE SYSTEM, COVERING AN AREA OF 860,000 SQUARE MILES.

The entire length of this river, from the fountain-head to its mouth in
the Indian Ocean, south of Mozambique, is 1550 miles.  The small lake
Dilolo, in 11 degrees 30 minutes South latitude, 23 degrees 0 minutes
East longitude, situated in the Lololala region, and within a few miles
of the upper springs of the Kuana, a branch of the Congo; and from
thence falls south and south-east, through Lui Banda, Barotsi, Makololo,
Banyeti, and other tribes, with its many branches, to the Victoria
Falls, and then on to the sea in an easterly direction.  The other
important tributaries, taking their rise in the region west of the
above, are the Chobe, Quito, Cubango or Okavango, and many branches in
the country of the Kimbandi and Bunda; the source of the Cubango or
Okavango is but a short distance from the upper springs of the river
Quanza, that passes through Angola to the South Atlantic, and belongs to
the Portuguese.  The Chobe takes a winding course south, through a level
and swampy country, full of jungle, past a Kaffir kraal, Matambaya, to
within seventy miles to the west of Linyanti; past that chief's kraal,
in an easterly and north-easterly direction, it enters the Zambese
thirty-seven miles above the Victoria Falls.  The Chobe is a large and
broad river with several rapids.  There are many streams and laagte
which intersect this extensive and swampy region.

It is a most unhealthy and sickly country, whence it has obtained the
name of the Fever District.  The Cubango river: the source of this river
also flows south 19 degrees 10 minutes South latitude, 15 degrees 0
minutes East longitude, the altitude was 3370 feet above sea-level; from
that station the river runs in a south-east direction for fifty-five
miles to Libebe kraal, then in an easterly course winding through the
desert for sixty-five miles to Debabe's kraal, 17 degrees 22 minutes
South latitude, 21 degrees 30 minutes East longitude.  Thirty miles
below my station the river Quito joins, which forms a broad and fine
stream.  At Debabe's the river turns south-south-east, and receives a
new name, the Tonga; one portion flowing into the Chobe; the other
continuing, with many turns and windings, for 220 miles, finally
entering the north-west corner of Lake N'gami at an altitude of 2813
feet, receiving in its course the Laagte Okayanka that rises in
Ovarapoland at Chambomba vlei, 3900 feet above sea-level, flowing east,
and enters the Tonga 110 miles below Debabe town, where the country is
full of swamps, with outlets into the Mababe river.  Lake N'gami is
forty-five miles long when full, and about ten miles in width, very
shallow, and is getting less every year.  The western end is in 20
degrees 25 minutes South latitude, 22 degrees 38 minutes East longitude.
There are several small streams which flow into it in the rainy season.
On the eastern side the Zouga river joins it, sometimes flowing into
it, and sometimes out; the direction of the current depending on the
rainfall.  The Zouga, from the lake, winds easterly through a flat
country for eighty miles, then turns south for 130 miles to Kumadua
vlei, and then north-east for sixty miles, and joins the great
Makarakara brak vlei, which is nearly fifty miles across, where five
streams enter it on the eastern side from the watershed that passes
through the Matabeleland, viz. the Nata, Quabela, Shuari, Mia, and Tua.
The Zouga river having such a perfect level, the water in April and May
flows easterly, in June and July westerly.  The only outlet for the
surplus water of the Zouga, lake, and vlei, is the Mababe into the
Chobe; and when all are full, and no stream flowing, the water in the
Mababe goes north or south according to the rain.  If a great rush of
water comes out of the lake or vlei, the Mababe is the outlet which
connects the lake system with the Zambese, and the hippopotami find
their way up from the latter river into the Zouga.  The length of the
Mababe from these two points is 200 miles, but there are several
watercourses throughout this region, more particularly round the hilly
district of Ngwa hills, traversing the country in all directions; pans
and vleis intersect this extensive district, many of them extensive--the
Sira and Etwetwe are considerable.

The tributaries to the east of the Victoria Falls to the coast comprise
the following:--Daka, Zimboya, Gwaii with its many branches, Sebuana,
Lohala, Sinyaki, Lozenza, Banyeka, Panyama, Zingisi, Nake, Luenya,
Landeen, Sankatsi, Zangwe; all of them take their rise in the watershed
of the Molopo and Lobolo mountains.  The principal known tributaries on
the north of the Zambese are the Shire, which enters it ninety miles
from the mouth--it is a broad and extensive river, being the outlet to
the waters of the Lake Shirwa--the Kewubue, Loangwa, Kafue, Majecla,
Luamba, and many intervening branches not yet sufficiently surveyed.
This comprises the Zambese basin, the most valuable and important region
in South Central Africa.

THE LIMPOPO RIVER BASIN, COVERING AN AREA OF 620,000 SQUARE MILES.

This river, from the fountain-head to its mouth, where it enters the
Indian Ocean, eighty miles up the coast from Delagoa Bay, in 25 degrees
25 minutes South latitude, 33 degrees 30 minutes East longitude, is 850
miles in length.  Its configuration is nearly three parts of a circle.
The chief fountains rise south of Pretoria in the Transvaal, on the
watershed between Potchefstroom and Pretoria, 26 degrees 10 minutes
South latitude, 28 degrees 40 minutes East longitude, taking a
north-north-west course for 200 miles, then turns north-east, and then
easterly for 400 miles, and then in a south-south-east direction for 250
miles over a flat country to the ocean.

The principal tributaries on the west and north are the Eland, Great
Marico, Notuane, Makalapsie, Setuane, Serube, Pakwe, Maclutsie, Shasha,
Makhae, Kubie, and the Nuanettie, and their several branches, which
drain the country on the eastern side of the two watersheds.  The Great
Marico, with its branches of Little Marico and Molmane, drains a
considerable extent of country in the Marico and Molmane district, and a
large portion of Bechuanaland under the chiefs Gaseitsive, Sechele,
Makose, and Lindsey.  The remainder pass through the chief Khama's
country, and the Mashona country under the Matabele king, Lo-Bengulu.
The eastern branches all rise in the Transvaal as under:--the Apies
passes by Pretoria, Pienaar, Matlabas Sand, Palala, Magalaquen, Hout,
Lovolo, and the Olifants river with its many branches.

Their fountains rise on the north side of the watershed, which passes
east.  The other rivers are the Manica, with its three principal
branches, the Sabie, Crocodile, and Umcomati, that partly drain the
Lydenburg gold-fields; the Umbolosi and the Maputa, with two main
branches, the Uzutu and Pongola, that fall into Delagoa Bay.  The
eastern coast-line, north of the Limpopo, drains the territory under the
chief Umzela; the two principals are the Sabie or Sabia, which rises in
the northern watershed at Sakaloto kraal, 18 degrees 10 minutes South
latitude, 32 degrees 8 minutes East longitude, at an altitude of 4210
feet above sea-level, and the Buzi river, which supplies Umzela's kraal,
and both rivers enter the Indian Ocean in Sofala Bay.  These rivers
complete the Limpopo basin, which drains the northern portion of the
Transvaal, the Portuguese settlement, in addition to those already
named.

THE ORANGE AND VAAL RIVER SYSTEM, AND THE ANCIENT RIVER SYSTEM OF THE
KALAHARA DESERT, COVERING AN AREA OF 520,000 SQUARE MILES.

The only portion of the Orange river which forms the south boundary of
South Central Africa is that part from its mouth to the junction of the
Vaal.  The Orange above that junction turns south-east, and from Ramah,
which is the point where the boundary between Griqualand West and the
Orange Free State join, the river is the northern boundary of the Cape
Colony up to Basutoland, where the head-fountains rise in the mountain
regions of that territory, and it is the boundary of Natal near Giant's
Castle, at an altitude of 10,000 feet above sea-level.

The Caledon forms one of its tributaries, draining a portion of the
Orange Free State.  The Vaal river, which forms the south-east boundary
of South Central Africa, rises in the Quathlamba mountain--a beautiful
range of hills on the eastern division of the Transvaal, now called New
Scotland--and Wakkerstroom district, and from Klip Staple, an isolated
hill, 6110 feet in altitude above sea-level, also from Lake Cressie, a
large sheet of water at an elevation of 5813 feet.  Rensberg, a part of
the Quathlamba, is 6800, and in 26 degrees 10 minutes South latitude, 30
degrees 32 minutes East longitude.  From this point the river flows
south-west, seventy miles, to Standerton, a town in the Transvaal, and
on the main transport road from Natal to Pretoria, passing through an
open country, receiving in its course many small feeders.  From that
town the river takes a winding course west for 120 miles, down to where
the Moi river, upon which Potchefstroom is built, joins it; on the
northern bank several small streams flow into it that rise in the
watershed, running from Klip Staple westerly to Lichtenburg, the
altitude averaging 5000 feet.  The principal are Bushman, Kalk, and
Rand.  Heidelburg is situated on the latter, between the Kalk and Rand.
On the south bank the river Wolga is one of the upper tributaries,
rising in the Drakensberg above Harrysmith in the Orange Free State.  It
is an important stream draining a large extent of country.  From the Moi
river the Vaal flows south-west, with many bends and turns, for 240
miles, to the town of Barkly in Griqualand West, where the altitude is
3750 feet, and 28 degrees 30 minutes South latitude, 24 degrees 41
minutes East longitude.  Between these two points there are several
spruits falling into it from the north, and rising on the south slope of
the watershed.  The most noted are Scoon, rising in the Dwaasberg, a
gold-bearing district, on which are situated the towns of Fenterdrop and
Klarksdorp; Klip, Maquassie, and Bamber spruits.  The other towns
between Klarksdorp and Barkly are Bloemhof, Christiana, and Hebron,
situated on its banks, the latter being the first town built on the
river diggings after diamonds were discovered.  The rivers on the south
side drain the Orange Free State: the principal are the Rhinoster,
Valsch, and Vet.  The Vaal from Standerton down to Barkly, and beyond to
its junction with the Orange, is very picturesque, well-wooded with fine
timber, and bush on its banks, which are steep--the water has been known
to rise forty feet without flooding its banks--many islands, with their
rich foliage, particularly in the autumn, in April and May, when the
lovely tints give great beauty to the river.  Kimberley, the diamond
centre, is twenty-five miles south-east from Barkly on the south side of
the river.  From Barkly the river flows for twenty-five miles in a
north-westerly course, where the Harts river joins it.  In this distance
there were, and are now, several diamond-diggings, viz.  Pniel, opposite
Barkly, Waldick's plant, Good Hope, Gong Gong, Kesi Kamma, and others.
The Harts river rises in the Transvaal at two large fountains, with
vleis at Lichtenburg, 26 degrees 22 minutes South latitude, 26 degrees
37 minutes East longitude, at an altitude of 6100 feet above sea-level,
passing down south-west for 220 miles, enters the Vaal at Lekatlong
Kaffir station, and also a mission station of the London Mission
Society, passing through, in its winding course, an open grass country.
On and near its banks are the native kraals Maamuosa, Taung, and
Phokwane, as also Boetsap in Griqualand West.  From the junction of the
Harts to the junction of the Orange the Vaal flows south-west for sixty
miles, through a hilly country, particularly at what is called the
"Poort," where the river enters a mountain district, and for seven miles
the scenery is grand and wild, to within a short distance of Siffonel
kraal, where formerly the chief Siffonello lived, and after 1869 it
became a diamond-digging camp.  At the junction of the Orange and Vaal
the two rivers form a broad sheet of water, well-wooded on both banks,
which is now the Orange, and flows west by south for eighty miles,
through a hilly country, to the great bend near Prieska, which is on the
colonial side of the river, then turns north-west for 120 miles, winding
between lofty and rugged mountain scenery, with broad belts of wood on
both banks, to a Griqua town, where Klaas Lucus lives, passing
Bultfontein and Kheis, a Korunna village, and the extreme western
boundary of Griqualand West.  From Klaas Lucus the Orange flows in a
westerly direction, with many extensive bends, for 380 miles, where it
enters the South Atlantic Ocean, 28 degrees 40 minutes South latitude,
16 degrees 25 degrees East longitude.  At Kakaman's drift, thirty miles
below the bend at Klaas Lucus, the ancient river Hygap enters it, which
is the main stream that carries off the waters from the Kalahara desert,
being the only outlet of the river system of that extensive region.  At
the junction of these two rivers a Korunna chief, Puffadder, had his
head kraal--fifteen years ago.

The river from this point is very beautiful and grand; noble and lofty
hills flank it on both sides.  Many hundred islands, with dense bush,
add immensely to the beauty of the country.  Between the Hygap and the
South Atlantic Ocean there are four rivers that drain the South
Kalahara, the Nisbit, Aamo, Keikab, and the Great Fish river; the three
former rise on the south side of the Brinus mountain, the latter is a
large and extensive tributary of the Orange, being over 400 miles in
length, rising in Damaraland in 22 degrees 10 minutes South latitude,
flowing south through the desert, receiving in its course, on the
western bank, many branches that rise in the mountain region of Great
Namaqualand, the most important being the Amhup, Koros, Huntop, Chun,
Oip, and Manobis, and enters the Orange river about ninety miles from
its mouth.  The total length of the Orange to the Vaal, and up that
river to Lake Cressie, is 1110 miles.  There are several cataracts and
rapids on both the Orange and the Vaal, with long stretches of smooth
water.  The most extensive cataract is Aukrabies, below Kakaman's drift,
where there is a foil of nearly ninety feet.  The ancient river system
of the Kalahara desert, of which the Hygap is the outlet into the
Orange, requires care to properly describe the peculiar formation of the
several watercourses that intersect that extensive region, and from the
magnitude of some of them show that at some remote period they were vast
flowing rivers, whereas at the present time water is seldom seen in
them.  The upper or more northern fountains rise in Ovampoland, at an
altitude of 3350 feet near the Omareru river, distant from the Orange
river at the junction of the Hygap nearly 700 miles; 200 miles below the
upper fountain of this river the elevation is 3200 feet; 130 miles to
the south of this, at the junction of the Nosop river, the altitude is
2700 feet; and 160 miles following the course of the Nosop down south to
the junction of the Molapo, along that river to the junction of the
Kuruman river, the height is 2400 feet, which river receives the name of
the Hygap; and 170 miles following that river due south to the junction
of the Orange, the altitude is 1470 feet,--consequently there is a fall
of 1880 feet from the fountains in Ovampoland to the Orange river.  The
Black and White Nosops join in the desert, forty miles to the east of
Rhinoster vlei.  They both rise on the eastern boundary of Damaraland,
having many feeders from the mountain range 8000 feet above sea-level,
flowing south and east to Narukus, where the Elephant river joins it,
receiving its waters from the Limestone Peak, 4444 feet in altitude.
Twenty miles below Narukus the river is called the Oup, which meanders
in a south-east and south direction, and falls into the Molapo,
twenty-four miles below the junction of that river and the Nosop.  The
distance of the upper springs of the Black and White Nosop to the Molapo
is nearly 500 miles.  Twenty miles below Narukus the Nosop separates
from the Oup, and continues more to the east, which has already been
described.  Forty miles to the west of the junction of the Oup and
Kuruman rivers is a large vlei, thirty-two miles in length, called
Hogskin vlei, and in places from two to three miles broad.  This vlei
receives three small rivers, the Knaas, Snake, and Moi; their
fountain-heads are in the hill district on the west, covered with bush
and rugged in form.  The country is very pretty and picturesque, with
fine kameel-doorn trees, prickly thorns, and mimosa trees.  On the east
of this large vlei is an extensive salt-pan, but not used, as there are
no inhabitants except Bushmen and Korannas.  To the south is the Back
river, which rises in those beautiful mountains known as the Brinus
hills; from the topmost springs it flows in two directions, one to the
Great Fish river, the other eastward past Liefdote, Tobas, and Klopper
vlei, turns south-east, and enters the Hygap sixty miles above the
Orange river, and seventeen miles below Swaart-Modder, where I built a
stone house under the hanging cliff, in the dry bed of the Hygap.  The
other two rivers that complete this ancient river system are the Molapo
or Mafeking, and the Kuruman.  The former rises on the central watershed
in the district of Molapo in Montsioa's territory.  The eye of this
river is situated 26 degrees 7 minutes South latitude, 26 degrees 20
minutes East longitude, in a lovely wooded glen, 5350 feet above
sea-level, and only ten miles from the main eye of the Molmane river
that falls into the Limpopo basin; the watershed passing across the
desert divides the two.  From this fountain the Molapo turns westerly,
passing Melemas and Macebe's kraals, continuing in the same direction
for 315 miles, joins the Nosop above described, and forms the main
stream of which the Hygap is a continuation.  The Setlakooly and
Moretsane are the only branches of any size that drain the country in
that long distance.

The Kuruman river rises south of the mission station of that name, flows
west and enters the Hygap a few miles below the junction of the Oup,
passing through a wild and broken country the last ninety miles of its
course.  The Hygap river from this point to the Orange is a broad and
deep river, and from the lofty and perpendicular sandstone rocks,
reaching in many places 200 feet in height at the bends, where the
current acted upon them in its course down, it is evident that at a
remote period it was a river of some magnitude; the force of water in
many places has undermined the base of the cliffs, forming caves, that
have been used by the early inhabitants as dwelling-places, and in one
of which I erected a stone front to live in for a time when in that
region many years ago.

At the fountain-heads of many of these desert rivers the springs are
very powerful, but the water does not continue for any great distance
above the sand in their beds, but sinks and percolates through the sand
until it reaches the Orange river.  Knowing this, I had very little
difficulty in procuring water by digging a few feet into their beds, the
sand in many places filling up the original beds eight to ten feet in
depth.  The water when procured was clear and cool.  There are several
rivers on the west coast that drain Damaraland, the country being so dry
that rarely any water is found in them near the coast; Swakop is the
most important, the mouth being in Walfish Bay, as also the Kuisip
river, south of Swakop, which enters the south side of the above bay.

The rivers on the north are Omaruru, Ugab, Hubb.  The northern boundary
of Damaraland, the Cunene river, separates the Portuguese settlement,
Benguela.  And in Great Namaqualand is the Little Orange river which
rises on the west slope of the mountain range, and enters the South
Atlantic near Angra Peguena island, lately annexed by Germany, which
completes the Orange and Vaal basin in South Central Africa.  The rivers
or branches of the south side of the Orange, which drain a large portion
of the Cape Colony and Little Namaqualand west of the junction of the
Vaal river, are the Ongar, which enters the Orange near Prieska,
Hartebeest or Vish river, Pillans, and some small streams of no note.
The country which these rivers pass through is wild and very hilly.

CHAPTER TWENTY ONE.

THE REGION NORTH OF THE TRANSVAAL UNDER LO-BENGULU, THE MATABELE KING.
ITS PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY AND NOTES ON MY EXPLANATIONS.  WITHIN THE LIMPOPO
BASIN.

This region is commonly known as Matabeleland, Maahona, and Makalaka
country.  It extends from the Limpopo river northwards to the Zambese
river.  The western boundary joins up to the Bechuanaland occupied by
the chief Khama, and on the east by the territory belonging to the chief
Umzela.  The extent from north to south is 420 miles, and from east to
west 340 geographical miles.  The mountain range, Molopo, traverses it
the whole length in a diagonal direction, from the north-east corner
down to the south-west, which forms the watershed dividing the Zambese
from the Limpopo basin, the northern portion of this kingdom being in
the former, and the southern in the latter.  The tributaries of the
Limpopo take their rise from this watershed, all of them, without
exception, flowing through a beautiful and well-wooded country,
containing some of the most magnificent and valuable timber to be found
in Africa: mahogany, ebony, and other useful woods suitable for building
purposes and other work.  The principal names of these rivers are the
Shasha, being the southern, between the chief Khama and Lo-Bengulu, the
Tati, Ramakaban, Mpakwe, Meksine, Rubi, and Nuanettie.  The whole
country drained by these rivers is granite, with lofty and picturesque
hills covered with tropical vegetation of many flowering shrubs and
trees, with the brilliant flowers everywhere peeping out between massive
granite rocks, lying one upon another for several hundred feet in most
grotesque forms.  This gives to the landscape a peculiar and novel
appearance, quite different from anything seen in the south.  Many of
the spurs of the Molopo range are free from bush, where the native
cattle find fine grazing-land, and the gigantic baobab, palms,
euphorbias, aloes of many kinds with their crimson flowers, and other
tropical trees skirt the hills and mountain streams.  The fallen masses
of rock from the pyramidal-shaped hills strew the ground at their base,
and give a peculiar and strange feature to the scenery around.  This
country gradually descends towards the south and east, until it reaches
the Limpopo river, interrupted by many isolated hills and mountain
ranges, thickly wooded; the most inaccessible points being selected by
the Mashona natives for their kraals, to be secure from surprise by the
Matabele warriors.

The population of the eastern division of the Mashona country is mostly
composed of the Mashona tribe that occupied this region previous to the
invasion of the dreaded Zulu chief Moselikatze, about the year 1840,
when he advanced north with his army of wild Zulus, and took possession
of all the country which is now included in the Matabele kingdom.  There
are also several other tribes living in this district, the most numerous
being the Makalakas, Bakalahara, and the Mesere Bushmen, and many of the
Banyai, Makloes, Makatse, and Mantatees, that have crossed the Limpopo
from the Transvaal.

The Tati gold-fields occupy the western border on the north bank of the
Tati river, which were first discovered by Mr. H.  Hartly, the well
known and highly-respected elephant-hunter from the interior, in 1867,
which soon became known, and a number of diggers from Australia and
other parts came flocking to the scene.  Amongst the number was Sir John
Swinburne.  A company was formed, and after spending much money in
machinery and other works, it was abandoned, sufficient gold not being
found to pay expenses.  The stores and works fell into ruin, and the
last of the powerful engines, weighing several tons, was washed down the
river nearly two miles, and deposited on the bank some twenty feet above
the river-bed, where I saw it when returning from Matabeleland in 1878.

The fact of the flood-waters carrying down such a huge and heavy mass as
this engine two miles, and depositing it at so high a level, will give
some idea of the force and quantity of the water that fills these rivers
during that time.  The rainy season varies as to time; sometimes it
commences early in November, at others later, and lasts until February
or March.  In all these tributaries of the Limpopo that drain the above
region, none retain water throughout the year, although they are large
and broad streams with steep and lofty banks, but during the dry season
water may be obtained from most of them by digging a few feet in their
sandy beds; they are all at too sharp an angle to allow water to remain
in them.  The main road from Ba-Mangwato to Matabeleland crosses most of
them, and frequently I have had to wait weeks on their banks until the
flood-water had subsided to enable me to cross.  On one occasion I was
on the point of crossing the Bamakaban river, and was treking down the
bank to enter it with my waggon, when my driver called my attention to a
great roaring sound which came from the up-river side.  Having
previously had several days of storms, with heavy rains, we held still
to listen, and from previous experience we too well knew the cause.
There was not time to cross and reach the opposite side before the rush
of water would be upon us, particularly with an ox-waggon, as the sand
in these river-beds is very heavy for oxen to pull a waggon through, and
sometimes they take it into their heads to come to a stand until they
think proper to move on again, after a little coaxing with one or two
South African waggon-whips, the handles of which are twelve feet long,
and the lash twenty.  Therefore, to prevent any catastrophe, we selected
a pretty open grassy glade on the wooded bank, and outspanned; but
before we had completed this operation, the water was in sight, coming
down like a wall, bringing trees of considerable size, large stems of
dead wood, sticks, and froth, rushing and tearing along with a roaring
sound that could be heard miles away, and in a few minutes there was
sufficient to float a large ship.  Where would my waggon have been if I
had attempted to cross?--Carried down into the Indian Ocean in
splinters.  Many a waggon and their owners have been caught in these
flood-waters and lost in the rivers of Africa.  Nevertheless, with all
its inconveniences, it is a grand and imposing sight, and a novel one to
those who are unaccustomed to African travelling in an ox-waggon.

[A waggon which contained the journal of St. Vincent Erskine, the
traveller, of his third expedition in this country, was thus washed down
a river.  A white girl and a Kaffir and the oxen were drowned.  A number
of men searched the banks for the journal for days in vain, and it was
only found accidentally two years afterwards in its tin case in a bush
so high above the river that no one had thought of looking there.]

We were detained here eleven days before we were able to cross, the sand
in the river-bed being very deep, and resting on the granite-bed rock
beneath, which is not very smooth or level.  The force of the flood
sweeps away all the sand, leaving a rugged bed; therefore it is prudent
to wait till the water has drained away, that we may pick a safe road
across, otherwise an axle might break, or some damage be done to the
waggon.  In all cases it is wise not to be in a hurry.  I have known
fussy transport riders flounder into such rivers before the water has
subsided, and break their waggon, which has detained them weeks to get
repaired.

During our stay we had some excellent shooting, big game as well as
small.  The third afternoon of our stay seven giraffes were seen by my
herd boy, who was looking after the oxen in the veldt, and he came and
reported the same.  Not having my shooting pony at hand, I had to send
for him and saddle up, and started with my driver and forelooper to find
these noble animals; but to do so it is necessary to be very slim, as it
is called here, that is very sharp and clever in stalking your game,
otherwise it will escape.  It is surprising how keen and sensitive the
eye and ear become to all woodland sounds and trifling incidents
necessary for a hunter to observe and note, to lead him up to the game
he is seeking; a broken stick, a crushed leaf or blade of grass, a
broken twig where the game has passed, must be keenly looked for.  We
had proceeded but a short distance when we met three Mesere Bushmen with
their bows and arrows, who told my driver they were coming to tell us of
several giraffes that were feeding in a dense bush not far away.  With
the natives not far away means any distance, they being bad judges in
such cases.  We, however, secured them to show the way, one taking the
lead, the rest of us following in Indian file, the pony being led by my
driver.  After winding in and out through the forest for nearly a mile
as far as I could guess, the first Bushman called a halt, at the same
time he advanced crawling along very cautiously, until we lost sight of
him for some little time, when we saw him come crawling back in the same
way.  He told us there were, by counting on his fingers, eight giraffes
quietly feeding a short distance in front.  The bush being too dense to
make use of the pony, he was left behind in charge of my boy, and we,
with our two rifles, with our Bushman guide, had to adopt the same mode
of advance, to get near enough for a shot, and crawl with the greatest
caution, avoiding any dead and dry sticks, for at the least sound in
breaking one they would be off and away in a moment.  After proceeding
on our hands and knees for some distance, the Bushman, who was in front,
motioned with his hand that they were in sight.  Crawling up with the
greatest care, I could only distinguish their heads and long necks above
the bushes which surrounded them on all sides, not one hundred yards
away.

We waited until one of their bodies came into view, when we were to fire
from both rifles at the same animal.  The silence of death was around,
not a puff of air to move a leaf, the bright tropical sun shining in all
his glory, making the heat almost intolerable.  In this position we
waited some ten minutes before a chance occurred.  One of them came more
into the open, with his body in full view.  Now was the moment to fire,
and our two bullets entered his body with the well known sound which a
ball makes in striking.  He fell, but was up again in a moment.

It was a beautiful sight to see; the others leaping and bounding away,
swaying their long necks from side to side, until lost in the bush.  But
we had no time to look after them; our attention was drawn to the one we
had shot.  After regaining his feet and attempting to follow the others,
he only staggered a short distance, and then fell dead; a noble corpse,
and a noble bag.

After our excitement was a little subsided, it was necessary to consider
how we were to get such a huge beast to the waggon with the least
trouble.  It was arranged to inspan the waggon, and bring it round the
best way we could through the forest to as near the dead giraffe as
possible.  It was now near upon ten o'clock in the morning.  Despatching
my boys and one of the Bushmen to carry this plan out, I remained with
the other two Bushmen, who wanted no instructions.  Giving them my
hunting-knife, they were soon at work skinning this beautiful animal,
which proved to be a young cow, but full-grown and the finest meat in
Africa, very much like veal in flavour.  In a short time the waggon was
brought up to within fifty yards, and outspanned in the shade of some
noble trees, for the sun's rays were intense, and with the heat and
fatigue, I was glad to throw myself on the grass, after a good drink of
cold tea, to rest and smoke, whilst my Kaffirs and driver were making a
fire for cooking, skinning the giraffe, and doing other household work.
Being well supplied with good water, the casks being full, our
contentment for the time was complete.

What a glorious thing is this wild life, where game and water are
plentiful, with liberty to roam where one lists, with health and
strength to enjoy it!  The only surprise is that any one can be ill in
such a country, pure air, plenty of exercise, good food and water,
constantly moving, seeing fresh sights daily: I pity the man that cannot
enjoy a life so free and so exciting as this.  A giraffe lying at full
length on the grass is a grand sight.  This one measured fifteen feet
seven inches, from hoof to the ears, and it was a work of much labour to
skin and cut up such a large beast, but everything was done by 4 p.m.
Bushmen are like vultures, they scent game afar off, for by the time
everything had been cleared up and put straight, eight fresh Bushmen,
their wives and several children, had put in an appearance, and were
looking with longing eyes upon the remains of the giraffe.  I was glad
to see them, and told them they could take what was left.  Poor things,
their delight was complete.  Knives were out, slashing and cutting up
commenced, and divided out; a fire was made and cooking went on up to
midnight.  The night was fine, and as the fire lighted up the figures as
they moved about, and shone upon the trees and shrubs, it was about as
unique a picture as one could desire to see, and would have told well if
the scene had been in Hyde Park or Kensington Gardens.

During the night we were much annoyed by lions round our camp, some of
them coming so close that a Bushman caught up a burning piece of wood
and threw it in the face of one, with such good aim, it fell on his
shaggy mane, and made it smoke, when he cleared off.  Bushmen seem to
care very little for lions; they think nothing of walking through the
forest with only a short spear.  I was too tired to go after them, but
two days afterwards had a narrow escape; as I was walking along up the
river-bank looking for guinea-fowl, I came plump upon two.  Having only
my shot-gun I could do nothing.  I was in a fix, and if they had known
it, they could have made short work of my bones.  As it was, we stood
looking at each other, not with any pleasurable emotion on my part, and
I think they participated in the same feeling, for after some five
minutes had passed, the young lion slunk behind a thick bush, and soon
after the old one followed.  During the whole time I never moved hand or
foot.  If I had raised my gun to fire, or turned, the old one would have
been down upon me in one spring, for I was within springing distance, we
were so close.  When the old one stood partly facing me, in an attitude
of defence, his mane raised and his large glaring, fiery eyes fixed upon
mine, he was a noble animal, appearing almost double the size of those
caged at home.  I never moved my position for some time after they
disappeared; if I had they might have attacked; and when I did, it was
for some twenty paces backwards, and then I turned and followed the
river down to camp, after securing three guinea-fowl.

During the remainder of my stay here, we cut up and dried the giraffe,
to make biltong, which will keep for years; in the day exploring the
rivers and country, taking observations, collecting specimens of
everything interesting, and writing up my journal.  On the 15th we found
the river dry, and sent the boys down with spades to make the drift good
by filling in the holes between the granite rocks, for the waggon to
pass over, and we arrived on the north bank in the evening, in time to
make fast the oxen to the trektow before dark.  Every night we heard
lions and wolves, but this night we were infested with them: the scent
of the raw flesh in the waggon seemed to draw them, for they gave us no
peace.  The bush was thick, and the night dark and cloudy.  They gave us
no chance for a shot; the only thing we could do was to keep up great
fires all night and watch.  We fired several shots into the darkness
where we thought they were prowling about.  Several times we thought
they were fighting by the fierce growls and spits they made, but we
found the spits came from the females, as lions are never known to do
so.  If it were not for the novelty of the affair in listening to and
seeing lions in their own native wilds, I would prefer a good sound
sleep in my waggon, but we do not meet with such noble game every day of
our lives.

When Sir John Swinburne and his company were working for gold at Tati,
other diggers followed up that river, some thirty and others forty
miles, and worked claims near its banks at Todd's Creek and Charley, but
did not find sufficient gold to pay, and they were also abandoned.  At
the present time a new company has been formed to work the old diggings
at Tati, and I believe find more than sufficient to pay expenses.
Ancient workings in the district have been discovered, but when used, no
history can inform us.

About a mile to the west of the Tati station, on the summit of a hill
about 200 feet above the river, are some very interesting remains of an
ancient fort, built of hewn stone.  The outer walls, now standing, are
four feet in height, with two courses running the whole length, about
half-way up, with five regular courses between, built in the
herring-bone fashion, similar to those in old Roman walls now preserved
in England.  These stones are very thin, not much thicker than common
tiles; the other courses have stones in regular layers, three inches
deep and about a foot in length.  This wall is two feet thick, and
encloses a space of about half an acre.  The floor originally was
concrete; large portions still remain, and nearly in the centre are
portions of small furnaces for melting metal.  At the south-west corner
of this enclosure are several rooms, with walls dividing them seven feet
in height.  In the eastern room the walls are twenty feet high, and it
appears to have been a tower, leaving a space of some four feet between
the outer and inner wall; and, when in a perfect state, it must have
been a strong place, of defence, standing, as it does, on the topmost
ridge of the hill, overlooking the river and surrounding country.  There
is no evidence of any mortar being used; mud may have been a substitute,
and from time to time been washed away.  Trees are growing in many of
these rooms of considerable size, as also bushes.  This being a
favourite lurking-place for lions, I had to explore it with a rifle in
one hand, and book and rod in the other.  It is a most interesting ruin
and well constructed, evidently the work of a white race.  There are no
Kaffir tribes in this part of Africa or south that have ever been known
to build their kraals square or with hewn stone.  Other ancient and
similar ruins are still preserved beyond these diggings higher up the
river, the walls also square and fifteen feet in height.  The country is
dense bush, with fine timber.  Lignum-vitae trees abound; the wood when
cut is black and white, very hard, and used for waggon desselbooms and
axles.  It has been known to last almost as long as iron.

The Tati station is the only white man's station between Ba-Mangwato and
Gubuluwayo, the Matabele king's military kraal.  It is distant from the
former 169 miles, and from the latter 126 miles.  A few stores were
opened by English traders, to supply the Bushmen who brought ostrich
feathers for sale (but if known by the Matabele people they would have
been killed), and also travellers and hunters passing up and down from
the interior, as it is situated on the main and only transport road to
that country.  The range of mountains, "Mopolo," forming the watershed
above mentioned, averages in height 4320 feet above sea-level, there are
some parts nearly 5000; it is of granite formation.  Along some of the
rivers, already described, may be seen some fine slate rocks.

The natives procure very fine gold-dust from the sand in some of the
river-beds, and sell it.  They preserve it in the quill of a feather
from the wing of a vulture, where they deposit it for safety.  Every
kind of game is found in this region, but it is becoming more scarce
every year.  This part is known as the Makalakaland.  Quartz intersects
the country in several parts, and is rich in gold.

There are many military posts on the slopes of the watershed down to
Makobi's outpost, on the Mpakwe river, which is the frontier outpost,
where all travellers and hunters have to stop, to obtain permission to
enter the country before proceeding.  On the arrival of any stranger, a
messenger is sent to the king, and if he objects, he has to turn back,
and if allowed to proceed, two Matabele warriors from the regiment
stationed there take charge of the visitor, and conduct him to his
majesty, who inquires his business, so that no one is allowed to enter
his territory without his knowledge.  Although the Matabele country
comes down to the Shasha river, no one occupies that district, except a
few wandering Bushmen, south of the military post at Makobi's.

There are many ancient forts similar to those at and near the Tati, the
ruins of which are still to be seen on commanding positions, but none of
any great extent; a garrison of 100 men would be as many as could occupy
them.  Most of them are so concealed from view by trees and bush, that
it is by mere accident they are discovered.  I once outspanned in the
centre of one without knowing it, thinking it an old Kaffir kraal, until
my attention was called to the peculiar form of the stonework of hewn
stone, and the square rooms.

At the Mpakwe river near the south side of the drift, and twenty-nine
miles north from the Tati river, is another very interesting ruin, built
of cut granite with regular courses, each stone nearly the same size,
and regularly jointed.  The walls are ten feet high, and two feet thick.
The interior was a smooth granite concrete floor, and contained burnt
earth similar to bricks, in great quantities.  That portion facing the
river was divided into several rooms.  At the main entrance within the
building is a small kind of sentry-box commanding the opening, capable
of holding only two persons.

The situation is commanding, and must have been, when perfect, capable
of holding out against an enemy.  There is another very good specimen of
these ancient forts a short distance from the Camarlo drift, on the
river Umfulamokokgumala, which is a branch of the Mapui, that falls into
the Gwaii, a tributary of the Zambese; this drift is on the topmost
ridge of the watershed of the Mopolo, at an elevation of 4360 feet above
sea-level.

The fort is 110 feet square, with rounded corners.  In the centre is a
fort thirty-five feet square, with walls two feet thick.  All of them
have large bushes growing in and through the walls.  There are many
other ancient forts similar in construction to those described in this
region, and also many more to the east, within the southern division of
Lo-Bengulu's territory, and within the Limpopo basin.

Sixty-three miles north of the Tati gold-fields, on the transport road,
is Lee's farm, situated on the Mpakwe river, a branch of the Shasha, a
grant of land which Lee obtained many years ago from the king
Umseligasi, or better known as Moselikatze, the dreaded chief.  It is
situated a few miles south of Manyami's outpost, on the south slope of
the Matoppo mountain, the western spur of the Mopolo range.  Lee, on his
father's side, is English, but he has married into a Boer family, and
has great influence with Lo-Bengulu.

Sixty-three miles north of Lee's farm is the great military station of
Lo-Bengulu, situated on the summit of the watershed named Gubuluwayo or
Gibbeklaik, a strong and well-laid-out town on the summit of a low hill;
the king's houses and his cattle kraal being in the centre, surrounded
by strong fencing, leaving an open space, round which the town is built.
It will be more particularly described in another chapter, as it
belongs more to the Zambese basin.

An extract from my journal for a few days will give a clearer insight
into African travelling than any other description.

From the Tati gold-fields to Gubuluwayo, the military kraal, distance
126 miles.

_December 8th_, 1877.--Inspanned at 4 p.m. for the interior.  Treked
about a mile, when my oxen, frightened by lions, turned suddenly round,
and broke the desselboom of the waggon.  I had to splice it, and return
to Tati station in the evening.

_9th_.--Kept awake all night by lions.  Out all day in the bush, looking
for a suitable tree to cut down, to make desselboom; the knopjiesdoorn
or lignum-vitae is the best.  I went with rifle and Kaffir with axe all
round the hills, and at last found a straight one, which we cut down and
brought to camp.

_10th, Sunday_.--A very wet, stormy day; severe thunderstorm.  Mr. Scott
returned from Macloutsie river, there being no water on the road to
Mongwato.

_11th, Monday_.--Very hot day.  Thermometer in shade 96 degrees.
Barometer 26.75; altitude at this station 3740, and at the river 3100
feet above sea-level.  Lions and wolves making noises all night.  Mr.
Lee's two married daughters came in from the hunting-veldt.  We went out
to examine an ancient fort, and look over old gold-diggings, Mr.
McArthur making my desselboom, 3 p.m.  News brought in that camels and
elephants are passing within four miles to the north-west.  McArthur and
self saddle up, and after a ride of three miles, fall in with four
giraffes.  Shot one, rode back, sent waggon on and followed, and brought
back a waggon-load of meat.  Arrived in camp, 9 p.m., thoroughly tired
and hungry.  Had a grand supper at McArthur's store, a glass of toddy,
and to bed at 11 p.m.

_12th_.--Out shooting all day with McArthur.  Passed close to a lion in
the bush, shot at him but missed, and he made off.  A fearful storm in
the night.

_13th_.--Two white men came in from Gubuluwayo, they tell us Lo-Bengulu
will not allow any white men in the Mashona country, and has sent out a
thousand Kaffirs to drive away the game, and annoy the hunters in the
hunting-veldt.  Scott, Kurton, and many others have been robbed by the
Makalakas, and the king will give no satisfaction.  Many of the traders
have been threatened with the assagai, and one's life is not safe in the
country.  Thermometer 98 degrees.  Visited the ancient forts to take
measurements, and procure some pretty birds, of which this country is
full.  Mr. Brown, who has a store here, is very clever in preserving
them.

_14th_.--McArthur making my desselboom.  Thermometer 101 degrees.  Four
waggons have come down, some from Panda-ma-Tenka.  The hunters up there
have done nothing, the game having all been driven away by the natives.
Trade is bad and everything in confusion.  Those come in to-day are
Wiltshire, Gordon, Fry, and four others.

_15th_.--Desselboom finished.  Very warm, 104 degrees.  Out exploring
amongst the hills, and also on the 16th.

_17th_.--Three waggons left to-day for down country, with Palmer, Bray,
and Gordon.

_18th, Tuesday_.--Scott left to-day with Thompson.  Rain all day and
last night.  Lions came close up to waggon, but too dark to get a shot.

_19th_.--Kaffirs came in to tell us there are plenty of giraffes and
buffalo between this and Ramakaban river.  Saddle up, McArthur with me;
go in pursuit.  Come up with a herd of buffaloes, seventeen, but bush is
so dense cannot get a good shot; and after several attempts to get round
them, they make off for the hills, and we return to camp in time to
escape a severe thunderstorm.

_20th_.--Out all day down the rivers.  Very hot, 107 degrees.  The rain
makes the heat very trying.

_21st, Longest day_.--Thermometer 102 degrees.  The river is coming down
fast.  In the morning there was no water in its bed.  At 4 p.m. it had
risen twelve feet, bringing down large trees.

_22nd, Saturday_.--Left the Tati station at 6:30 a.m.  Travelled six
miles, and outspanned at a pan for the day.  Plenty of water, wooded
country all the way; crossed three bad sluits.  Buffaloes, giraffes, and
elephants can be seen from the waggon as we trek along, but the bush is
so thick we cannot follow them.  Shot a bastard eland before reaching
the pan, which we secured by sending my two boys to protect it whilst we
outspanned, as the distance was only a few hundred yards from the pan.
The flesh is very good eating.  Inspanned at 5 p.m., and treked four
miles, as it came on to rain with thunder, and outspanned for the night
in the bush.  Made three large fires round oxen, to keep off lions that
were constantly prowling about the waggon.  Very pretty country, and
pleasant to travel through when water is plentiful.  McArthur's driver I
find very useful; he is a Zulu and speaks English.

_23rd_.--Very warm, 105 degrees.  Treked in two inspans to Mpakwe river,
through a very pretty and picturesque country.  Crossed the Mpakwe on
the 24th, a bad drift, and outspanned on the north bank, two miles south
of Makobi's outpost, a military kraal of the Matabele king.  Sent Dirk,
my driver, to the head Induna, for permission to go in.  During his
absence a Zulu came to waggon.  I gave him for a present some powder and
bullets, also a kerchief.  He then, while I was reading, stole an axe
and my waggon-whip, and cleared.  The river is very pretty, and the
wooded hills, with the variety of trees and shrubs that grow on their
sides, impart a richness to the landscape.

_25th, Christmas Day_.--Thermometer 108 degrees.  Inspanned at six.

Treked up to Makobi's outpost.  Two Indunas came to me, and several
hundred of the natives, men, women, and children, swarming round me, and
under the waggon, ready to steal anything they could lay their hands on.
I complained to the Induna respecting the theft last evening, and told
him I should report it to the king if the whip and axe were not
returned.  In about an hour the axe was returned, but not the whip.

It was amusing to see all the Kaffir girls when they came to sell their
milk, ground-nuts, pumpkins, and other things, when I told them I would
not buy any of their things because of the theft.  They immediately
began to abuse the thief in no measured language, because they found
they had lost the sale of their goods; and when they found I was firm,
the Induna promised I should have the whip on my return, if it could not
be found before I left.  I therefore got into the waggon to get some
beads to purchase milk and other things, followed by half-a-dozen Kaffir
maids with their goods, filling the waggon, followed by others blocking
up the front.  There was scarcely room to move.  I soon cleared them
out; these naked Venuses were much better outside.

The heat was terrific, 108 degrees in the waggon, full of these wild
children of nature, with several hundred naked people round and under
the waggon; a regular Babel of sounds, men begging for everything they
saw, even wanting the clothes I had on.  The head Induna took a fancy to
my waistcoat, and as I wanted to get on without sending a message to the
king, I made a bargain with him, that if he would send two of his
warriors as my guard to the king, I would give him the waistcoat and an
old black coat.  This settled the question.  I gave him the coat and
waistcoat, which he then put on his naked person, and strutted up and
down full of pride and vanity to the admiration of all.  He was a
splendid specimen of humanity, standing at least six feet six inches,
stout in proportion, with a handsome, expressive countenance.  My coat
looked ridiculously small, and the waistcoat would not meet in front by
several inches, but that was of no consequence.

At last, after settling for pay to my two guards, I left at 4 p.m.,
thankful to get away.  Up to this time a cup of coffee in the early
morning, and a few biscuits, had been my Christmas fare.  After
travelling three miles over a very stony road I came to a stand.  The
only means of getting on was to make use of the screw-jack to raise the
wheels over the enormous granite blocks in the road--first the front,
then the after wheels.  When clear of them I set to work to cut down
trees, to make room for the waggon to pass.  At last, when night came, I
was too exhausted to do anything but lie down on my bed and go to sleep.
Christmas Days in Africa have, from some cause, been unlucky with me in
the way of good fare; monkeys, tiger-cats, meercats, porcupines,
ant-bears, and such like dainties, have always fallen to my lot on
Christmas Day.

_26th, Wednesday_.--Splendid morning.  No disturbance all night.  Rose
by sun-up, hungry; had a broil of some eland on an iron ramrod, and
coffee--meat fit for the gods.  Lovely and cool, thermometer 78 degrees.
Took a bath in a small stream close at hand, a luxury not always to be
obtained.  As it was a cloudy morning and cool, I gave the oxen a feed
and drink before starting.  As we were only a short distance from the
military kraal, we soon had some thirty Kaffir girls with wooden bowls
of milk for sale.

Of all people I think these black people are most alive to the
ridiculous and fun; full of what is called banter and quizzing, and very
observant.  On their arrival my boys and the two Zulus began to chaff
them, but they gave it back with interest, and evidently had the best of
it.  Their witty remarks were very clever, and my boys had to give in.
Some of them were very good-looking, with beautiful figures and
expressive faces.  Having filled all our bottles, and my Kaffirs having
had a good drink of milk, we inspanned, and after two treks arrived at
Lee's farm for the night, passing on the way many quaint granite hills
covered with tropical vegetation.  The country round was also very
pretty.  Great unbroken masses of granite stand out in all directions.
Lee was from home; his wife gave us coffee and sold us some reims.

_27th, Thursday_.--Beautiful morning.  Treked in two inspans through a
lovely country, intersected by many lofty granite kopjies, 300 feet in
height, masses of granite formations, as if placed there by the hand of
man; passing the Manyami's outpost, on to Matapola station at the foot
of the mountain of the same name, and outspanned on a pleasant open
piece of grass, near some fine trees, the Kaffirs coming down in
hundreds, begging "Tusa, Tusa," everlasting, until my head Zulu, guard
ordered them off to their kraal, leaving the girls to sell their milk
and ground-nuts.  Without this guard I should have had much trouble to
keep these sons of nature in subjection.

On our way to-day I was nearly having to pay a large sum.  At our
outspan my herd boy, who had charge of the oxen when feeding, allowed
them to stray into a Kaffir garden, where a fine crop of Kaffir corn was
growing.  My head guard found it out, and told my boys that they must
bring on the oxen at once, inspan, and be off.  If the Kaffirs found
their corn trampled and eaten it would be serious; so we lost no time to
push on.  If any damage of this kind occurs, if only to a trifling
extent, they will demand many head of oxen as a quittance.  The guards
seemed as pleased to get away as we did.  No game to be seen on this
side of Makobi's; there are too many Kaffirs in the country.  Many
thousand head of cattle grazing everywhere.

_28th, Friday_.--Made two treks to-day.  Crossed several bad drifts, but
the scenery is very grand and beautiful, passing between lofty and
grotesque granite conical hills, beautifully covered with many varieties
of tropical shrubs and flowers.  Met Mr. John Lee going home with Mr.
Byles the hunter, and Mr. White, at our first outspan.  Passed several
pretty trees (of the cactus family) and the siequarre trees, which bear
long leaves, and at this season of the year dead flowers.  Wild cotton
grows in this region, and a plant called obendly, another kind of
cotton-plant.  The natives work up the cotton into long strings, fasten
many together, and use it for tinder, or for sale to traders and
hunters.  The fibre is very tough, and if cultivated would be a valuable
article of commerce; the flower is very peculiar, having green leaves;
the pod is five inches in length, has three sides with a rib between,
each side being one and a quarter inches wide, and green; the leaf is
light-green above and white beneath, and grows along the ground.  It is
not found to grow south of twenty-one degrees, south latitude.  I have
now in my service the Zulu engaged at Makobi's (Dumaka) as forelooper;
Jack, the driver; Dirk, second driver; Mack, the cook and general
servant; Jacob, a Bechuana, and the two Zulu guards.

_29th, Saturday_.--Travelled to-day in three short inspans, through a
fine open country, thickly populated, large kraals in all directions.
People very troublesome, constantly asking for presents, "Tusa," all day
longitude.  Weather pleasantly warm, thermometer 90 degrees, a strong
east wind blowing.  Bought Kaffir beer for my boys at the Amaboguana, a
large Kaffir station, and outspanned for the night near the large
military station Amagoquana.  Bought two Kaffir sheep for three pounds
of beads.  The country is well adapted for grazing purposes; the sheep
were in splendid condition, each tail produced from ten to fourteen
pounds of fat.

_30th, Sunday_.--We crossed the Carmarlo drift, and went on to one of
Lo-Bengulu's country stations, Umcarno, which is situated about twelve
miles on the west of Gubuluwayo, where I found the king sitting on his
waggon-box in his kraal, and the Rev.  Mr. Sykes and Mrs. Sykes at their
waggon a short distance away.

The rivers that complete the drainage of the eastern portion of the
Mashona country, south of the Mopolo watershed, are the tributaries of
the Sabia river.  The most important are the Ingwezi, Lunde, Tokwe, and
several small ones to the north.  The Sabia rises in the watershed at an
elevation of 4210 feet above sea-level, flows south for nearly 250
miles, then turns east, then north-east, and enters the Indian Ocean
thirty miles south of Sofala.  This river is supposed to be the boundary
between Lo-Bengulu and the chief Umzela on the east.

The country is similar in character to that already described of the
western region, inhabited by the same people, thickly populated, with
many large kraals, most of them perched upon elevated spurs of the
Molopo range and isolated hills.  The highest points reach 4780 feet in
altitude.  The greater portion of this region is granite, and contains
fine springs.  Many of the military kraals have powerful chiefs.  From
the watershed the country gradually descends from 4780 feet down to 1690
feet, where the Tokwe and Ingwezi unite, with hills intervening.  The
spurs from the watershed run in a south-east direction, the same as the
rivers.  There are rice plains and large tracts of wild cotton, which is
indigenous.  Many ancient forts are still standing in ruins.  Umte,
Piza, and Zimbo have gold-pits near them, as also many others, that
would lead one to suppose that those who worked for gold in this country
built these forts for protection against the natives and the wild
animals, as the country at that time must have swarmed with them.

As a wood-producing country there is no part of Africa which contains
finer or more valuable trees.  Almost every kind known in Africa
flourishes here in perfection, and grows to an immense size, mahogany
and ebony being the two most important.  The Sabia valley is most
picturesque, and the land is capable of growing everything that is
required; all kinds of grain, vegetables, fruits, rice, cotton, indigo,
spices, oranges, lemons, besides the wild fruit.  There are lofty
mountain ranges towards the north, the native name of which is Luputa or
Lobolo.

The climate in the summer is hot, but in winter mild.  The lowlands are
subject to fever, the other portions are healthy.

Gold and other minerals are found, the gold in quartz and alluvial, and
if properly prospected would, from ill information obtained, become a
most valuable gold-field; besides the copper and silver that are known
to exist in great quantities along the spurs of the mountain.  The
natives state the gold was worked and the forts built by the white men
that once occupied this country, whom they called Abberlomba (men who
made everything), and there is every appearance that it is so, for I am
quite of opinion no African race of these parts ever built these
strongholds, or took the trouble to make such extensive excavations in
the earth as we find all over the country.

CHAPTER TWENTY TWO.

THE PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY OF THAT PART OF THE MASHONA AND MATABELELAND ON
THE NORTH OF THE WATERSHED DIVIDING THE ZAMBESE AND LIMPOPO BASINS,
UNDER THE RULE OF THE MATABELE KING, WITH NOTES ON MY EXPLORATIONS IN
THE ZAMBESE BASIN.

This northern portion of Lo-Bengulu's kingdom is separated from the
southern by the watershed already described, dividing his territory into
two equal parts.  This division extends to the Zambese.  The western
boundary joins up to the chief Khama's territory, and the eastern by the
upper part of the Mazoe river, crossing the Lobolo mountain to the
Zambese in 32 degrees East longitude.  The northern face of the
watershed is a rugged and mountainous country, broken up into many spurs
with deep ravines thickly wooded.  The country is drained by many
tributaries of the Zambese, with their branches, the most important
being the Gwaii.  The altitude of the source of this river is 4800 feet.
The rivers falling into it are the Inkokwasi, Umvungu, Chamgani,
Kagane, Umkhosi, Kame, Mapui, Amatza, Amaboguana, and the
Umfulamokokgumale, which supply the country with water.

Upon several are situated many of the most important military kraals,
viz.  Amaboguana, Inyatine, Umkano, Umganine, Umhalbatine,
Umslaslantala, Gubuluwayo, Umzamala, Umbambo, Umshangiva, Manpangi,
Inthlathlangela, and many others.  The Gwaii enters the Zambese in 17
degrees 54 minutes South latitude, and 27 degrees 3 minutes East
longitude, passing through the Abutua region, which is thickly wooded.
The next important rivers are the Umnyaki, the Umvuli, and the Mazoe,
and their several branches.  The country is very hilly, clothed with
dense bush towards the Zambese.

The scenery is grand in many parts; bold massive granite rocks standing
out far above the surrounding country give a wildness to the landscape.
The Lobolo mountain is the eastern termination of this watershed on the
south of the Zambese river, in the Banyai region, a lofty range broken
up into many spurs and detached hills, thickly populated, 4210 feet
above the sea-level.  The Leputa, which is a continuation of the Lobolo,
takes a south-west course, through which the Umvuli flows, and several
tributaries of the river Panyame, that flows into the Zambese a few
miles below the old Jesuit mission station Zumbo, on the north bank of
the river.  The watershed from the Lobolo mountain takes a south course
to 18 degrees 10 minutes South latitude, at an elevation of 4650 feet,
continuing in the same course for sixty miles, where the altitude
reaches 4780 feet; then turns south-west for 180 miles to Gubuluwayo,
the king's kraal, where it is 4800 feet above sea-level.  This military
station is in 20 degrees 19 minutes South latitude, 28 degrees 50
minutes East longitude.  At this point the watershed is much broken up,
taking a westerly course under the name of Matoppo range for 100 miles,
at an elevation of 4500 feet, to Umsuaze kraal, where it considerably
diminishes in height to 3700 feet.  To the south of this station it
rises to 3700 feet, where it takes a southern course, leaving the great
brak pan Makarakara some twenty miles on the right, and passing east of
it; then in a south-west direction to Kaikai in the Kalahara desert,
where it joins the central watershed of South Central Africa.  The
country on the north for some considerable distance continues high
table-land.  At Sebenane kraal, near the source of the Natu river, it is
3600 feet, and on the Amatza river, thirty miles to the east, the
elevation is 3800 feet.  At Bobe, on the road to Inyatine, it is 4200
feet; at Sabaque kraal, on the river of the same name, the altitude is
3970 feet; at Maaschen kraal, on the Saturo river, it is 3850 feet; at
the old gold-diggings on the Umvuli river, in 17 degrees 54 minutes
South latitude, 30 degrees 15 minutes East longitude, the elevation is
3740 feet, and as the Zambese below the Victoria Falls, where the
Zimboya river enters it, is 2210 feet, and continues to fall
considerably down nearly to Tette, a Portuguese town on the south bank
of the Zambese, above where the Mazoe enters, the fall in these rivers
is not so great, and all the region between the watershed and that river
is not lower in any part than 1300 feet above sea-level; so that the
elevation of the watershed above the surrounding country on both sides
of it is in no case more than 1700 feet, so that in travelling through
the country the rise is almost imperceptible.

This northern region of Lo-Bengulu's territory, known as Matabeleland,
is thickly studded with large military kraals and villages occupied by
the Mashona Kaffirs.  Some of them are very powerful, so much so, that
when they cause the king to be jealous of them, he sends an impi (army)
composed of some of his bravest warriors, who make an attack on the
station at night when all are fast asleep, and kill every soul except
the very young, whom they bring back with them, together with the
captured cattle and other booty to the king, which disposes of any
anxiety he may have on the score of a rival to his authority.

Ancient gold-diggings and old forts are found in every locality, more
particularly in the north and north-east direction towards the Zambese,
some of them very extensive, and appear to have been worked for years.
Most of the rivers contain gold-dust in their sandy beds, and many of
the natives of the present time collect it for their head Indunas, and
sell it to the Portuguese at Tette on the Zambese river, a considerable
village with beautiful gardens and fruit of every description in
perfection.  It is now nearly twenty years since the well known
elephant-hunter, Mr. Hartly, when out hunting in the Mashona country, on
the Umvuli river, discovered those ancient gold-diggings now so well
known to most travellers who have penetrated so far in as the Northern
Gold-Fields, and a hill near is known as Hartly Hill.

More recently they have been visited by Sir John Swinbourne in 1869, but
at present nothing can be done to develop the country, from the
insecurity of the present state of affairs in the territory.  My
impression is that gold is spread over the whole country, both in
alluvial and in quartz.  Reefs of this rock are seen in every direction,
bordered by rich deposits of clay, shale, and other rocks, indicative of
gold being close at hand.  There are several small hills of igneous
rocks to be met with, also metamorphic schists and other deposits that
have no uniformity in their distribution over the country, which gives
better hopes of rich gold deposits being discovered.  At the present
time no one is allowed in, even to prospect.  No traveller enters the
country without special permission from the king, and he must be
accompanied by several Matabele warriors, professedly as guides and for
protection, but absolutely as spies, to see what the white man is up to,
and if found looking about on the ground or picking up any stones, he is
quickly ordered out of the country, as in the case of St. Vincent
Erskine, who was sent for by the king, because he was staying for a day
or two at the site of an ancient mine.

It is a region full of interest in every sense of the word.  To the
mineralogist, geologist, botanist, naturalist, hunter, and others in
search of the beauties of nature, this region offers as fine a field as
any portion of the world.  It is also of great interest to antiquaries,
as being the supposed kingdom of the Queen of Sheba, and not without
substantial foundation; for do we not find, in every turn we take, ruins
of strongholds and extensive remains of gold-workings, the labour of
former people who once occupied this land?  Scenery more picturesque,
grand, and wild cannot be found.  Animals, the largest in the world,
abound, and of every variety.  To the horticulturist a new field is open
for discovery.

Flowers and many beautiful trees rarely to be met with elsewhere, grow
in great profusion; amongst them the grand old baobab, that has defied
winds and storms.  Palms grace the country with their presence; mapani,
euphorbias, aloes, cacti of every variety and beauty, with crimson
flowers, mahogany, ebony, mimosas, acacias, and the beautiful
matchabela, the tints of which are of a lovely crimson when springing
into leaf, and when they are fully blown turn to a rich green; then
again, the leghondi, with its golden yellow leaves, and others equally
beautiful but unknown, make up a landscape lovely to look upon.  When
they fringe the river-banks, beneath which the crocodile and
hippopotamus are amusing themselves, and the water-fowl and cranes are
busy seeking food, with the birds of rich plumage passing from tree to
tree, as pretty a landscape is made up as can be desired, backed, as all
the foreground is, by gigantic castellated granite hills and quaint
rocks standing out as if representing some animals, so lifelike are
their outlines.  When first I looked upon one representing a wolf, I
could scarcely believe it was so formed by nature.  As a field for
agriculture none can surpass it.  Corn of every kind grows to
perfection.  Coffee, tea, cotton, indigo, all kinds of spices,
india-rubber trees, oranges, and lemons, are found wild; vegetables of
all sorts, sweet potato, and many other kinds of plants.

The climate is healthy away from the coast region, and water is
plentiful; and, if in our hands, the land would support millions where
it now keeps alive thousands of natives; and as a region for the
cultivation of the cotton-plant it is the finest I may say in the world,
for the cotton, which is indigenous without any cultivation, is superior
to the cultivated cotton grown in America.  Twenty-five thousand square
miles of ground could with little trouble and expense produce as much as
the British merchants require, and of superior quality.  I forwarded
samples to the Right Hon. the Earl of Carnarvon, then Secretary of State
for the Colonies, in 1875, and I also left with Sir Bartle Frere, then
Governor of South Africa, similar samples in 1877.  As a rice-producing
country, I know of no better.  The Mashonas cultivate it on a small
scale, and bring it to Gubuluwayo for sale to the traders and hunters on
the station.  The grain is larger than that which is brought to England,
and less quantity is required for cooking.  I have used it for years
when opportunity allowed for getting it from the natives.

The missionary stations in this country are at Inyatine, where the Rev.
Mr. Sykes has for many years been doing duty.  The late Rev.  Mr. Thomas
formerly lived there, but he afterwards removed down to Shiloh.  The
former is sixty miles north of Gubuluwayo, the latter about thirty miles
in a north-west direction.  Hopefountain is four miles to the north of
this military station, where the Rev.  Mr. Thompson formerly lived;
afterwards the Rev.  Messrs. Elms and Elliott, all of whom are under the
London Missionary Society.

Inyati, afterwards altered to Inyatine, was the first royal residence of
the dreaded Umselekatze, who ruled his people with a rod of iron, and
kept an army of over 8000 warriors, and could bring more into the field
if required.  He was a king who knew how to rule his people; a splendid
warrior himself, he took care that his troops should be so likewise.  He
died in 1869, and at his death there was a dispute as to who should be
his successor.  Kuruman, his son by a royal wife, was supposed to be
living in Natal, instead of being killed by order of his father; but on
inquiry it was stated he had been killed.

Lo-Bengulu, on the 25th January, 1870, was proclaimed king with groat
rejoicings.  Warriors to the number of 10,000 assembled at the king's
kraal, dressed in full war costume, a helmet of black ostrich feathers,
capes and epaulets of the same, strips of cat-skins for their kilts, and
other ornamentations on their legs.  Armed with short stabbing assagais
and shields of oxhide, they formed a circle some twenty deep, paying
homage to their new king, singing his praises, keeping time with their
feet, and going through various performances, after which a great
slaughter of oxen took place, with feasting and Kaffir beer, terminating
the day's proceedings.  He has reigned up to the present time without
any disturbance amongst his people.

The Mashonas are a separate race from the Matabele, who originally were
pure Zulus when they came into this country with their chief
Umselekatze, or as he was better known under the name of Moselikatze.
Since then many of them have taken to wife the young girls of the
Mashona tribe.  The great men and high-caste Zulus take pride in keeping
themselves pure from any mixture with other races, and in walking
amongst them in their kraals a marked difference is seen.  The pure
Matabele is a fine specimen of the human race; tall, well-made, with
regular features and an upright bearing.  Lo-Bengulu allows these
marriages, as it tends to unite the nation closer together.  Generally
they look upon the Mashonas as dogs.

The Mashonas are very clever workmen in wood and iron, and make very
handsome bowls, snuff-boxes, spoons, daggers, assagais, and spears,
which they ornament with carvings.  Many of their figures so much
resemble ancient Egyptians that it is difficult to distinguish any
difference.  Quaint musical instruments show great skill, having keys
similar to a piano, bass and treble producing very sweet sounds.  They
make all their iron picks for preparing the ground for the seed.
Blankets they make from the wild cotton, which they dye brown; also bags
for holding milk or water of the bark of the baobab and other trees.
Their bows and arrows are beautifully made.  They are very clever in
cutting out from a block of wood little stools, which are used for
pillows by the young dandies, to preserve their hair from touching the
ground when sleeping.  The fashion with the young men is to allow their
woolly hair to grow quite long, which they increase in length by tying
it up with red bark from the trees (mimosa is preferred), and anoint it
with fat.

The hair is so arranged that it forms ridges from the front to the back
of the head.  When sufficiently long, that is about a foot, it is
dressed with fat mixed with charcoal, and then divided in the centre,
that the curls may fall down on each side, with a band round the head to
keep the curls in their place, and to preserve them from dirt or dust.
Each dandy carries with him one of these wooden neck-pillows, which are
in most cases elaborately carved, and are much prized.  Many of their
customs are similar to those we see in Egyptian paintings of those
people, and when they are sitting down, their figures, face, and
features, and mode of dress are in every way Egyptian.  Their villages
are almost always built on the most inaccessible parts of the mountain
ridges, to be safe from any sudden attack of the Matabele warriors.
Some of them are perched on the top of masses of granite rocks, so that
the people themselves have difficulty to reach them.  A pole or ox-reim
is used to climb up.  Other rocks are used to stow away their corn and
food.

The tsetse-fly is common nearly all over the country, but there are
certain districts clear of them.  I have been told by the natives that
cattle born in the country are free from any ill-effect of the bite.

The Mashona huts are very well-made, most of them with circular roofs.
The Matabele build their huts very similar to the Bechuanas, but the
Zulus of Natal have round roofs fenced in with a high stick fence, and
kept very neat and clean.

The Mashonas are a well-made people, and some of the women very
good-looking when young, but after twenty they begin to show age.  A man
may have as many wives as he can buy, but few men have large families.

Gubuluwayro up to recently has been the principal military kraal of
Lo-Bengulu; latterly he has removed to another locality.  It was on my
last visit very extensive, containing several thousand people.  His own
residence was built similar to any English house, with a verandah,
supported by posts.  There were several rooms, but most of them were in
dreadful disorder; boxes, elephants' tusks, empty champagne and English
beer bottles, karosses, old clothes, guns, shields, and assagais, all
covered with dust and dirt.  Elephants' tusks strewed the verandah;
there was no room to walk about or seats to sit upon.  There were three
other buildings, several waggons, an old cart, and rubbish everywhere.
Close to the house was his principal cattle kraal, and another smaller
one on the left.

The passage leading to the interior of the enclosure passed between; it
is only wide enough for one to pass along at a time, and in wet weather
is several inches deep in mud.  This enclosure exceeded two acres in
extent, enclosed by a high strong fence of poles placed double.  Each
cattle kraal was surrounded in the same way.  Several thorn trees grow
within the enclosure, under which the waggon stood.  His sister Nina
occupied one of the houses.  She was unmarried, very stout like her
brother, and a good friend to all the English visiting the country.

She had great influence with the king, but was a great beggar at the
same time.  I had not been outspanned half an hour before she sent down
a Matabele for some linen; I sent up six yards.  She then sent for some
beads, and I sent up a pound of them.  She sent again for some sugar; I
sent about a pound.  The next day she wanted more linen to cover over
some Kaffir beer she had been making for her brother; I sent her only
three yards.  It is the same with all who go there.

There were many traders at the station who kept stores, some in brick
houses, others in Kaffir huts, situated outside of the military station
that surrounded the king's kraal, leaving an open space of about 300
yards all round between the town and the king's enclosure, where he
reviews his troops on grand occasions.  Several trees are growing upon
it.  The station commands a view in all directions.

The stream from which the town is supplied with water is at the foot of
the hill, about a third of a mile from the nearest huts.  The country
round is very bare of trees.  Kaffir gardens are situated on the rising
ground beyond the hill, upon which the town is built.

Kaffir corn is the principal food of the people.  The women cultivate
the land and bring water to their houses, so that there is a constant
stream of them with their Kaffir pots going up and down the hill on all
sides, conveying it to their houses.  Most of the women have little
black babies on their backs, supported by well-worn skins of the wild
animals killed by the men; with little naked urchins running by their
mother's side, hanging on to the skin worn similar to a kilt, happy as
they can be, talking to their neighbours as they meet, singing with all
the lightness of a happy heart.  They continue to suck until five or six
years old.

When we compare their habits with civilised life, there is very little
difference.  They have the same routine of duty to go through daily in
their household affairs, so far as cooking, keeping their huts in order,
attending to their gardens and such things.  The men make the karosses
and attend to their cattle.  The Matabele race live precisely in the
same way, and have the same habits as their neighbours, the Bechuanas.
The king has several country kraals, which he visits at different times
for a change.

The country cannot boast of many good roads; there is only one direct
from the south.  Others from Mongwato go round to the west by the great
salt-pan Makarakara.  There are also two from the Tati district, and two
from Gubuluwayo, and other hunting roads from Inyatine to the Zambese,
Victoria Falls, and military kraals in various parts of the territory,
many of them very good, others stony and with bad drifts.

Inyatine during the lifetime of Moselikatze was an extensive military
station.  After his death it was destroyed, and the king removed south,
and eventually settled at Gubuluwayo; but it appears that lately he has
abandoned that station, and fixed his residence in another locality.

The road from the king's kraal to Sebenane station, where several roads
branch off, one going to Panda-ma-Tenka, Mr. G.  Westbeech's large
store, passes through a sandy country with numerous pans and vleis, dry
in winter, but containing water in summer.  In the Lechuma valley
beyond, Wankies, a chief, a few years ago, had possession of the country
until Lo-Bengulu took it from him, and Wankies and his people crossed
the Zambese and settled on its northern bank.

The Victoria Falls are considered to be included in the Matabele
kingdom.  Although this part of the country is 3000 feet above
sea-level, it is very unhealthy during the summer months.  Mr. G.
Westbeech, who has lived and hunted in the country for the last thirteen
years, told me in 1878 he had had the fever over thirty times, and when
he took quinine the dose would be a small teaspoonful.  The country
generally through this part is very pretty, in many portions park-like,
with clumps of trees in groups; but the roads are fearfully sandy, and
the want of water for some six and seven months of the year is a great
drawback to the country improving.

But when the time comes, and the people of the Cape Colony are more
alive to their own interests, instead of living in their present dormant
state, devoting their attention to subjects of no real importance to
their prosperity, they will see how vital it is to their interests to
have a central railway up through Africa to the Congo basin, and to draw
a vast trade south, that would otherwise flow to the west coast, and all
the country that is situated on the north side of the Zambese river, up
to what is included in the Congo state, a region of untold wealth,
teeming with elephants, ostriches, and every kind of large game; thickly
populated by intelligent races, who are alive to the advantage of those
comforts that civilisation brings into the country.  From a want of
forethought the colonists have lost the west coast, and as far inland as
the 20 degrees East longitude, and they will find the Germans no mean
competitors in the interior trade of that vast region.

The Barotse tribe, in particular, which is very numerous, has already
received great benefit from the English trade introduced first into the
country by Mr. Westbeech at the chief's kraal on the north side of the
Zambese, and afterwards by other traders, when the chief Secheke was
alive.

The extent of this region north of the river, within a reasonable
distance of a railway at the Victoria Falls, is 150,000 square miles.
The distance of railway carriage from the Zambese river to Kimberley is
770 miles, to where a railway is already being constructed.  A single
line could be made at a trifling cost, as the country through which it
would pass is comparatively a dead level; and beyond the Vaal river at
Barkly, where a bridge is now being erected, only a few small streams
would have to be crossed.

The distance is less by several hundred miles from the above region to
Kimberley over an easy route, than it is to the Congo river through a
difficult and mountainous country, where large rivers would have to be
bridged, making a line almost impracticable.  Such a line would also
open up the country on the south side of the Zambese river.  Towns would
spring up, and the advantages to the Cape Colony would be incalculable.
If fifty miles at a time were laid down and completed, or more, if funds
could be obtained, it would not take many years to accomplish this grand
object.  It would be far more to the advantage of the Colony and English
trade in time than extending the railway from Kimberley to the
Transvaal, although the commerce may be largely increased under the
present Boer rule, with whom we should have trouble in the duties they
would levy on every article entering or leaving the state.

I have explored the whole line of country from the Zambese river to
Kimberley, and have no hesitation in stating that a better country could
not be selected for a railway, or where the cost would be less.  The
country north of the Zambese river, already spoken of, is one of the
most valuable portions of South Central Africa, intersected by large
rivers, tributaries of the Zambese, the elevation being nearly 3000 feet
above sea-level, with splendid open and extensive grass plains, most
valuable for grazing all kinds of stock.  It is also a fine corn-growing
country.  With a railway to the Zambese river, it would be easy for
settlers to reach it, and a road for an outlet for their produce.  The
plan is feasible: it only requires a little more energy on the part of
the colonists, whose interests in the trade of the Colony are important,
to seriously consider this matter, and develop a plan for carrying it
into effect.  This would counteract in a great measure the loss the
colonists must suffer in their trade with the interior, by the Delagoa
Bay railway.

I have referred before to the wild cotton of that part of Africa the
quality of which, as I have before stated, is superior to the cultivated
American cotton.  If the Manchester cotton princes had a little more
vitality in their composition, and turned their attention to growing
their own cotton, and had their own cotton-fields in the finest part of
the world for cotton culture, instead of being dependent on foreign
markets for their supply, when at any time that supply may be stopped,
they would find that they could produce a better quality of cotton and
at a cheaper rate than that now imported to England from the United
States of America.

I have explored this extensive cotton-growing region, and have for years
devoted much attention to the subject, and from my knowledge of the
extent of the country in which the cotton-plant is indigenous, this
region would, with proper attention, become the largest cotton-growing
country in the world.  It is useless to suppose that with the growing
competition with other nations, that trade will be the same in the
future as it has been in the past.  If this idea prevails, the sooner we
are disabused of it the better for those who are embarked, in it; and we
must devise means whereby they may retain and improve the trade of this
country, which must be increased if we are to find employment and food
for the growing population, which is enormously increasing.  Therefore
it is the duty of those who have capital at command and are engaged in
mercantile pursuit, to develop the British trade, not only for their own
benefit, but for the general good of the nation; and here is a wide
field in which their capital can be advantageously employed, and be of
immense benefit to the Cape Colony and England.

There are three kinds of cotton indigenous to the regions above-named.
The first and most important is that from which some of the natives make
blankets.  The yellow flower is cup-like in shape, eight inches in
diameter, and the pod when ripe is six inches in length.  The plant
grows to the height of seven and eight feet, with light-green leaves.
In the second specimen the flower was, when full blown, four inches in
diameter, the pod two inches in length, the height of the tree three
feet, with light-green leaves.  The third kind is the obendly already
described, viz. the flower is green, pod five inches in length, has
three sides with a rib between, each side one and a quarter inches wide,
and green; the leaf is light-green above and white under.

The Mashonas manufacture a coarse cloth made from the bark of the baobab
tree, the size of blankets, and dye them brown; they are very strong and
are used as mantles by the natives; they are made by hand without any
machinery.  This bark could, with machinery, be turned to valuable uses.
They also make beautiful bags to hold milk or water, and sacks for
general use, very strong and durable.  Paper also could be made from
this bark, and there are also millions of immense bulbous roots found
everywhere, suitable for paper-making, besides other plants valuable for
many purposes.

The importance of this railway for opening up the rich gold-fields known
to exist in the Mashona country, must not be overlooked in calculating
its advantages, for they far surpass in extent those in the Transvaal.
Copper, lead, and silver are known to exist also, close to where the
railway would go, which cannot now be profitably worked from the
expensive carriage and the slowness of the transit to the Colony.
Immense quantities of skins of all kinds of animals are now lost in
consequence of the expense of bringing them down to the coast for
shipment, as well as ivory, horns, feathers, and gums, without taking
into consideration the valuable woods, such as mahogany, ebony,
lignum-vitae, and others; and what is of the greatest importance in
considering a railway, coal is known to exist in the country in any
quantity required.

When I visited the Matabele country the last time, I came on a mission
from Sir Bartle Frere, to report on the cotton-bearing country, and
other matters that information was required on by the Government.  On my
arrival I reported myself to the king, where I found him on the 30th of
December, at his country village, Umkano, or, as some term it, Umganine,
a pretty situation with only a few huts beside the king's, that numbered
eight or ten, as before stated in a former part of this chapter.

CHAPTER TWENTY THREE.

MASHONA AND MATABELELAND CONTINUED, WITH NOTES ON THE COUNTRY AND
PEOPLE, WHICH IS WITHIN THE ZAMBESE BASIN.

When I arrived at Umkano kraal on the 30th December, it was Sunday; when
I had drawn up my waggon in a nice snug nook to be away from the native
kraals, and outspanned, it was 4 p.m.  Dinner was soon prepared and
despatched, and then I sent my two warrior guards to the king to
announce my arrival, and that I would call on his majesty to-morrow.  A
short distance from my camp, four waggons were drawn up abreast, no one
to be seen, except a white lady sitting on the waggon-box of one of
them.  I therefore lost no time in going over, and found it was Mrs.
Sykes, wife of the Rev.  Mr. Sykes of Inyatine, who was then holding
service in an adjoining hut to a few natives.  The other waggons
belonged to the Rev.  Mr. Coillard of the French Missionary Society, in
Basutoland, who had come up to Matabeleland to endeavour to found a few
native mission stations; and instead of coming up by the main transport
road and reporting himself in the usual way, he passed through the
Transvaal, crossed the Limpopo at Zoutpans drift, and entered the
Mashona country as it were by the back door, and as he travelled north,
he was seen to pick a few flowers, which was reported to Lo-Bengulu,
when he sent immediately eighty of his warriors to bring him and his
belongings prisoners to this station, and he arrived the day previous to
my arrival.  This brought Mr. Sykes over from Inyatine to intercede and
get him released, as also his waggons, wife, and wife's sister, who were
accompanying him; a rather dangerous journey for two ladies, when the
husband had never been in before and knew not the country, to go
exploring unknown regions, and it was a great surprise to us all that
they came out safe.  When gaining all this information from Mrs. Sykes,
the gentleman himself, his wife and sister came strolling in from a
ramble, when we all made ourselves comfortable round Mrs. Sykes' waggon
to enjoy a cup of tea, the most refreshing drink in a climate like this,
thermometer standing at 92 degrees at six o'clock in the evening, and a
cloudless sky.  Mr. Sykes soon joined us after the conclusion of his
service.  When Europeans meet in a region so remote as this from
civilisation, surrounded by savage tribes, naked as when they were born,
and as wild as nature can make them, knowing no law but that of their
king, who rules at the point of his assagai, we at once become brothers
and sisters, and friendship is then and there established; so it was
with us, chatting and talking as if we had been old and dear friends.
It is true, I had known Mr. and Mrs. Sykes a long time, when I first met
them in 1867, and afterwards.  Having spent a pleasant evening listening
to Mr. Coillard's account of his adventures through that wild region, I
returned to waggon and to bed at 10 p.m.; a calm hot night, flies by the
million, mosquitoes by the thousand round my waggon.  At all Kaffir
stations it is the same; the cattle kraals breed the flies, and the
water the mosquitoes.  At the present time the water is so full of them,
that it has to be strained through a piece of muslin before being used.

Mr. Fairbourne from Gubuluwayo came in the evening to tell me that
Lo-Bengulu intends leaving this station for Gubuluwayo to-morrow, as his
great military dance comes off on Tuesday.  He informed us all that the
party at Ujiji had been laid up with the fever, except the Rev.  Mr.
Price, and some had died.  Most of them we all knew.  Lo-Bengulu and his
Indunas will not allow any white men in the country through which Mr.
Coillard proposed going, as they state, "If we permit them to reside
there, where are we, the Matabele people, to go to, to get cattle and
slaves?"--in other words, to rob the Mashona people of their property
and cattle; if not peaceable, to slaughter them, take the young children
as slaves, and bring them up to incorporate them in the army.

Early on Monday morning, Mr. Phillips, old John Viljuen, and Mr. Frewen
rode over.  The latter was going further in, and had proceeded some
distance, when he was obliged to turn and come on to this station, and
left this morning on his way down country, my two guards returning to
Makobis with him.

Height of this station by aneroid barometer, 4970 feet above sea-level.
The country round is well-wooded, but the trees are small. 20 degrees 25
minutes South latitude, 28 degrees 35 minutes East longitude.

I went to call on Lo-Bengulu; he was sitting on his waggon-box naked,
all but his cat-tail kilt.  After shaking hands and passing the
compliments of the day, I told him, as he expected one of his regiments
over to escort him to the military kraal, I would defer my talk with him
until after the grand dance.  He asked me to follow him when he started;
that meant, I was to fall in with the other waggons of the white people
composing the cavalcade.

We started about 11 a.m., Mr. Sykes taking the lead behind the king's
waggons, which were surrounded by about twenty Zulu women and girls.
One waggon held his sister Nina and the Kaffir beer; next followed Mr.
Coillard and his waggons, then my waggon, Phillips, Viljuen, and other
white men on horseback, and about a hundred of the king's body guard,
about as unique a turn-out as one could desire to see--an African king
on his travels--it would have graced Regent street.

After a seven-mile trek, we outspanned for the day at a small kraal, on
the road to the military camp--as a messenger had been sent to say five
regiments would be sent out the next morning, inviting the king home,
being the usual custom on the king returning after a long absence;
therefore we selected a suitable place to remain the night, away from
the crowd of blacks, and made ourselves comfortable the remainder of the
day.

_Tuesday, January 1st_, 1878.--A lovely bright morning.  Thermometer at
9 a.m., 87 degrees.  After breakfast the Matabele regiments came over,
some four hundred, dressed in their war dress, black ostrich feathers
for head-dress, a tippet and epaulets of the same, tigers'-tails in
profusion round the loins and hanging down to the ground behind, with
anklets of the shell of a fruit the size of an egg, with stones inside
to make them jingle as they move their feet; armed with shield and
several assagais.  So they came on, singing their war songs, jumping up,
striking their shields.  With their black skins, white teeth, and the
white part of their eyes, they were fit representations of imps issuing
from a certain place known to the wicked.  On arriving at the king's
waggon, where the king was sitting on his waggon-box, they went through
a kind of dance, singing the king's praise, Lo-Bengulu quietly looking
on.  The king's wives, between thirty and forty, dressed only in black
kilts down below the knee, open in front; the kilt is made of black
sheep or goat-skin; some, I think, are made of otter-skin; others had
mantles of the same; several had their heads shaved; many cut quite
close.  After the dance, we all inspanned, and followed the king's
waggons in the same order as yesterday; until we arrived at Gubuluwayo,
the military kraal.  I took my waggon and outspanned alongside of Mr
Wood's waggons, on the opposite rise to the kraal, to be free from the
people, and have some peace; and remained the day.  All round the kraal
is open, every available piece of ground is under the hoe.

Wednesday, I went in the morning, with Mr. and Mrs. Sykes, Mr. and Mrs.
Coillard and her sister, who seems to be about twenty, to the king's
kraal, to see the soldiers reviewed by the king, in the open space
between the town huts and the king's enclosure.  It was a novel sight,
and one seen in no other part of the world.  The regiments formed an
immense circle, eight and ten deep; there appeared to be about 4000, all
dressed in their war dress similar to those of yesterday.  Each regiment
contains about sixty, and is distinguished by different coloured
shields.  When they sing their war songs in their deep bass voices,
keeping time with stamping on the ground with their right and then left
foot, striking their shields with their assagais, the effect is grand--
the earth appears to tremble.  Occasionally, one or two come out into
the centre of the circle, and go through the performance of fighting the
enemy, advancing, retreating, then in close combat, striking out with
their assagai in imitation of stabbing his foe, and making as many stabs
as he has killed victims; others come out when these retire, and this
performance goes on during the war songs.  It is considered a great feat
if a warrior can jump high in the air, and strike his shield several
times with both ends of his short stabbing assagai, before touching the
ground and knocking his knees and feet together.  Then come the king's
wives, old and young, and all the young royal girls, wearing a black
goat-skin kilt down to the knee, dressed out with yellow handkerchiefs,
the royal colour, profusion of many-coloured beads, many-coloured
ribbons, long sashes of broad yellow ribbon, all entering the arena at
the same time.  Advancing to the centre with slow measured steps, they
raise first the left then the right leg, and put it down, keeping
excellent time, chanting native songs, the warriors remaining perfectly
still and silent, they then turn and retire in the same way; all this
time the king is not seen, he is in the cattle kraal with his
medicine-man, examining the intestines of two bullocks that have been
killed for that purpose.  After a time, a clear road is made, and large
baskets filled with the intestines are brought out from the kraal: it is
death for a native to touch, it; or be near when it is passed away to
the king's enclosure.  Then comes out the chief medicine-man, enveloped
in long ox-tails that completely conceal his tall figure, reaching to
the ground, with a little jockey cap on having fur in front and a long
crane's feather, when he marches up and down in the centre of the arena,
and in front of where the king is known to be, singing his praise.
After a time, the king makes his appearance, advancing from the kraal
with a towering head-dress of black ostrich feathers, an immense cape of
the same, a kilt of cats'-tails, with an assagai poised in his right
hand, advancing slowly in a stooping position; his fat sister Nina,
dressed out with a long kilt half-way down the leg, any number of yellow
handkerchiefs over her shoulders, and gold chains hanging down in front
and behind, with the feathers from the tail of the blue jay stuck into
her woolly hair, and a knobkerry in her hand, also advances beside the
king, until they both reach the centre of the arena.  The warriors
singing their war songs, stamping their feet to keep time, rattling
their shields, the scene becomes quite exciting.  Poor Nina becomes
exhausted, has to kneel on the ground several times, supporting her body
with her hands, also on the ground, and looks anything but an elegant
figure.  The five royal daughters, whose ages average from sixteen to
six, advance again, and chant a native tune; then the king calls for
silence; order is given that each regiment is to march out on to the
open plain and have a sham fight, which lasts an hour, each army
advancing, retreating, and fighting.  They then return to the enclosure
and form themselves in line, when forty black bullocks are brought in
for the young braves to slaughter, by stabbing them behind the shoulder
so that the skin should not be injured to make shields; some become
maddened by the smell of blood, break loose and escape into the open
country, the young braves following, and a regular race and uproar
follows, creating quite a sensation; and when the night has come, great
feasting takes place, and the sports of the day are at an end, and we
return to our waggon, wondering what the people in England would think
of such a sight of savage grandeur, as was never seen out of Africa.
The young Intombies (girls) are all excitement to see their sweethearts
so brave.  These Zulu maids are most of them good-looking, with teeth as
white as snow, well-made in every limb, and graceful in their movements,
very scantily dressed, a slight fringe in front being their only
covering, but it is the fashion of the country.  For several days these
dances go on; those who have paid their respects to the king retire to
their distant kraals, and fresh regiments arrive to go through the same
performance.  The English who may be at the station are allowed to be
present, but they must keep out of the way, not to be mixed up with the
troops, but they can take up any position they like, to have a good view
of the proceedings.

Thursday, a lovely day.  Went up again to see the review with Mr. and
Mrs. Sykes and the Coillards; found the king sitting on a chair in a
bell-tent alone, facing the troops, who were in a circle as yesterday;
he was naked with the exception of the tailed kilt.  A few braves from
his favourite regiment composed his bodyguard; the chief Indunas were
with their respective regiments of which they held command; the medicine
doctor, clothed in a tiger-skin kaross and a large fur cap with ears of
the same, marched up and down before the tent, proclaiming to the
warriors the greatness of the king.  The English ladies were invited
into the tent, and stood beside and behind this dreaded monarch of this
dreaded nation, for all other native tribes fear him.  The military
performance was similar to that of yesterday; rain came on and we
returned to our waggons.

Ironstone and iron-conglomerate are plentiful over this part of the
country; blue metamorphic rocks crop up between slate shale and quartz,
similar to that of the Tati gold-fields, in all directions.  Fine
gold-dust is found in the rivers to the north, but no one is allowed to
prospect.  There are at the present time thirty traders at this station,
and many hunters both English and Boers are in the hunting-field, who
must obtain permission from the king, and pay a licence in the form of a
gun, horse, or any other article the king may accept.  Several of the
Boers have been abusing this privilege, which has caused the king to be
very severe on the white man going in; some also have gone in under a
shooting licence, and have been found prospecting for gold.  This has
offended Lo-Bengulu with the English, and makes him suspicious of all
who visit his country.  He is naturally partial to the English, and his
sister Nina is their champion if any get into trouble; many have been
robbed up-country lately by the natives; amongst the number are Byles,
Kirton, Scott, Webster, Phillips, Jacobs, and many others.

Friday.  I saw the Rev.  Mr. Sykes, showed him my official letter, and
went with him to the king to ask permission to pass through his country
to the eastern boundary.  He was sitting on an old champagne box,
leaning back against the cattle kraal fence in his usual undress;
immensely fat and tall, he looks every inch an African king.  He heard
my statement, but made no remark.  Mr. Sykes sat on the ground by his
side, and I took up my position in front, and began to smoke, waiting
for an answer.  Some ten minutes later a little Mashona boy brought on a
piece of grass matting four large pieces of bullock's lights, that had
been broiled over a fire, and a fork, advancing on hands and knees to
his dreaded master, and placed them on the grass in front of his
majesty, who took the fork, transfixing one after the other as they
disappeared from sight in his capacious mouth, asking at the same time
many questions on down country news, and how the Queen was, and numerous
other remarks.

Finding he did not intend to give any answer, I told Mr. Sykes we would
leave him to say yes or no at some future time, that I did not come
begging, but only asked for what I had a right to expect he would grant,
and shaking hands we departed from his sable majesty, who was enjoying
the heat of the sun as he sat on his old wooden throne.  It was a very
hot morning.  Thermometer 97 degrees in my waggon, and in the sun must
have registered at least 140 degrees, but these black skins can stand
any amount of heat; it seems to absorb it without creating any
inconvenience.  On my return I found Mr. Wood, with his two waggons
outspanned close to mine, had pushed two of the chief Indunas into a
thorn hedge for calling him a dog; this has caused great commotion in
the Kotla, the king's kraal.  Mr. Wood went to see the king, but he
would not say a word, but I expect to-morrow something will be done.

I visited some of the traders' stores and met Mr. and Mrs. Elm there,
who invited me over to visit them at their mission station, Hope
Fountain, four miles distant, most pleasantly situated on the spur of
the hill overlooking a vast stretch of country to the east; it is a most
healthy locality.

Saturday, up all night, annoyed by wolves and dogs.  Mr. Wood's affair
came to nothing, as Lo-Bengulu would not interfere.  He left this
morning for Umcano, also Messrs. Sykes and Coillard with him, as he has
not yet released the latter.  I received a letter from Rev.  Mr. Thomas,
of Shiloh, enclosing letters for Messrs. Elm and Coillard, and wishing
me to visit him.

Three months ago Lo-Bengulu sent in an Impi into the Mashona country on
a marauding expedition, where they attacked several kraals, killing the
people, bringing back sixty slave children and all the cattle and goods
belonging to them.  A month previous a large Impi went into the same
district, where, as far as it can be ascertained, they killed all the
old people, making some of the women and big girls carry the plunder to
the boundary; then they made them put the things down on the ground and
then killed them, because they might run away if brought into
Matabeleland; preserving the little children who were brought in because
they soon forget the country they have left.

The weather is rather warm, 98 degrees, with heavy showers, storms round
in every direction.  Several euphorbia trees are close to my waggon,
that make a nice shade, and not far away there is a tree where a few
months back three women and five children were hung for witchcraft,
because one of the king's wives and two of his children had died the
night previous, and a wolf was killed within the king's enclosure by his
dogs; a Kaffir supposed to have bewitched them was killed also.  This
occurred just before my arrival.  At last year's dance, when 7000
warriors met, a black bull had his shoulder cut off when alive; this is
a custom with the tribe on some occasions, but I could not ascertain the
particulars.

The king's wives do not pick in the corn gardens, but his children do,
and also carry water the same as others; his reason is they must learn
to do such things; and his daughters go naked like the other girls, and
frequently pay my waggon a visit for tufa or tusa (present); sometimes
they are seen walking about with black skin kilts.  Most of them are
young, but they, as well as the women, wear few or no ornaments; very
few beads are used, mostly pieces of leather strips round the neck and
wrists, none on their legs or head, as is seen on other tribes.  The
Matabele women do not seem to take so readily to clothes as all the
other tribes, who are eager to be dressed up in petticoats, because I
presume it gives them greater liberty of action in their loins, from
their present cramped and bound-up state in their leather coverings.

I was surprised one day, soon after my arrival here, on returning in the
afternoon to my camp, to find four Zulu girls sitting under my waggon,
chatting and laughing with my Hottentot driver and forelooper, having
with them three fine bunches of beautiful ostrich feathers.  When I
looked under the waggon and they saw me, they all gave a yell of
delight, and came out, when I recognised them as old friends who had
frequently washed my clothes when I went to Barkly, in Griqualand West,
two years back, and always admired their clean neat appearance in their
white European clothes.  They told me their mother, who was a widow
woman, wanted to go back to her nation in Matabeleland, and they had
only lately arrived, having been on the road six months; and having
heard of my arrival, they came to see me, and had brought me some
ostrich feathers as a present, and as they knew my two boys they seemed
to be at home again.

I asked them what they had done with their clothes.  They said they had
them tied up in bundles and were in the hut occupied by their mother,
where they lived, and as they were amongst their own people they dressed
or undressed as the other girls.  I found them to be very convenient, as
they did my washing and other things for me.  I took the feathers and
paid them in beads, kerchiefs, tobacco for snuff, and such things they
wanted as presents; they would not take them in payment, showing these
people have some kind feeling; and during my stay at this station they
remained with me the greater portion of every day, their old mother
coming occasionally to pay me a visit.  They could speak English
perfectly; they told me they would like to go back with me if their
mother would let them, but four grown-up girls in my waggon would have
been too much of a good thing.  I should occupy many months in
returning, if I ever did, and it turned out that I did not visit Barkly
again for three years.  If there had been women at this station wearing
clothes, these girls would have retained theirs; it only shows the force
of example.

Thursday, 17th.  I arrived yesterday from exploring the country round,
much delayed by the wet weather and heavy thunderstorms, which have
lowered the temperature of the atmosphere down to 67 degrees, and yet
this is the height of summer up in the tropics, a difference of 30
degrees in a few days; a great-coat is comfortable.  I obtained a
Mashona blanket made of native cotton, also three battle-axes.
Lo-Bengulu, last Tuesday, himself took a burning piece of wood and
destroyed the eyes and nose of one of his men because he threw a stone
at a child and knocked out its front teeth; this was witnessed by one of
the traders.  And a short time previous he had one of his chief Indunas
and his three wives and three children killed, as it is stated, for
witchcraft, but other reasons are supposed to have been the cause; their
bones are lying a short distance from my waggon, having been picked
clean by wolves; they are very plentiful here and visit us nightly,
being on the look-out for human food, as all who are killed are thrown
outside the station for them and the dogs to eat.  Lo-Bengulu, at the
same time, is very fond of children and will not allow them to be
annoyed; he will not allow any milk to be sold by his people, but it is
given to the slave children.

A curious custom prevails amongst these people at the death of a
relative.  When any member of a family dies, he or she is immediately
taken out of the kraal to some adjacent land and buried, sometimes in a
sitting position.  Then for a week, and sometimes for a month, a fire is
kept burning every night close to the grave, and two or more of the
family have to remain there during that time.  Another curious custom is
in existence in the king's kraal; there is a hut within the king's
enclosure which no one is allowed to touch, not even to pull a straw
from the thatch.  If any one commits such an offence the king tells some
of his people to take him out of the kraal, which is tantamount to
ordering him to be killed.  A short time ago a young Kaffir was killed
for committing this offence, and the wolves and dogs had a good feast
that night.

Lo-Bengulu has no heir to take his place when he dies, not having a
royal wife, but if one of his wives should have a son, and he does not
take to wife a princess, she with the child, immediately after its
birth, will be banished, and have to live in a distant country; but
still a watch is kept upon her, and in the event of the king dying, the
mother and child will be brought back, and the child adopted by the
people as their king.

20th.  Lo-Bengulu came into the station this morning, and about 500
warriors went out to meet him, dressed in all the pomp of war.  His
sister Nina came in, in a horse-waggon, and the king with three waggons
and forty loose horses, men, women and children following on foot, as
the great national dance takes place on Tuesday; all the other dances
being rehearsals previous to this, which is the most important and
imposing of all.

Tuesday, a very hot day.  Many divisions of the Impi coming in from all
quarters and marching up to the great camp; as this is the last day of
the old year with this nation, they commemorate it by great national
rejoicings.  About twelve o'clock I walked up with several of the
hunters and traders, and took up our position close to the entrance of
the king's private grounds, when regiment after regiment came marching
up, dressed in their war dress as before described, with shield and
assagai, and took up their position so as to form an immense circle of
ten and twelve deep, within the enclosure close to the king's kraal, who
came out to show himself for a few minutes and retired.  In the mean
time, his wives, dressed in beads and bright yellow kerchiefs over their
shoulders, and long black kilts or skirts down below the knees, young
girls dressed in short kilts, and a profusion of ornaments round their
loins, arms and heads, stepped into the open space within the circle of
troops, and chanted songs, moving forward at the same time, the warriors
singing and raising their shields up and down, keeping time with their
feet.  Nina, the king's sister, came forward also, dressed in beads of
many colours round her waist, back, and skirt, brass and gold chains,
gold watch and chain.  After a time Lo-Bengulu came forward with a
dancing gait, and took the lead out of the station at the head of his
own particular regiment or bodyguard, whose dress and shields are all
black, each soldier not less than six feet, followed by the other
regiments, when they formed into three sides of a square.  Then the king
came forward, surrounded by his bodyguard, and threw an assagai at an
imaginary enemy, when all the troops were instantly in motion and
returned to the open space in the enclosure, when the rain came down so
fast that it put a stop to further proceedings.  But previous to the
king's leaving, about 100 oxen were driven out of the circle where they
had been kept by the whole of the Impi, and were soon slaughtered for
the great feast that was to come off that night.  Altogether it was a
pretty and novel sight, and if the weather had been fine, the effect
would have been most singular and striking.  Some 500 women and girls
stood in groups to witness the performances.  The women who danced held
sticks ten feet in length with the bark peeled off; the slave population
looked on at a distance.  I made the best of my way to Mr. Peterson's
store, where I found Mr. and Mrs. Elm, Mr. and Mrs. Coillard and the
sister, and took cake and coffee with them, and then to my waggon which
was outspanned on the opposite hill.  The programme for this review was
upon a much grander scale than the former already described.  The next
day the troops returned to the respective military camps, and the last
of the military dances ended in a downpour of rain, amidst crashing
thunder and flash after flash of the most vivid lightning I have seen
for a long time.

On the 27th January, I called on Lo-Bengulu for an answer to my request;
he was sitting under his verandah on a chair.  We shook hands, and he
stated he could not allow me to cross his country, because if I
attempted to do so the people would kill me and he would be blamed by
the English for the cause of my death; that if I wanted the things I
wished to go in for he would try and get them, and send them down to the
Governor; that I should never return if I went in, for the Mashonas
would destroy me and he could not help it.

This I saw was mere excuse; he had stated the same thing to others, but
it was useless to argue the point with him, and to go in without his
sanction would have been madness, as the country at the present time is
in a very unsettled state, as Colonel Saltmarsh, whom I met on the
Maclutsie river, as I was going in and he was coming out, told me how he
had been treated by the people, and his boys became frightened, he was
obliged to return; that he was disgusted with his trip and was glad to
get away.  He also told me Lo-Bengulu will not allow any one to go
beyond his station.  Messrs. Bray and Wood took a letter from Sir
Theophilus Shepstone, the administrator of the Transvaal, to the king,
asking as a favour to allow them to go in, but the king refused point
blank, and stated while he is king no one shall ever go into the Mashona
country.

One hunter had his waggon turned over and all his things stolen, and
when complaining to the king of his people's conduct, his reply was he
did not tell them to do it, and he got no satisfaction; not very
encouraging for my success, therefore I was prepared in some degree for
a refusal.  I believe the Colonel had a gun stolen from him also.  At
any rate he did not intend to go without his Christmas pudding if he had
proceeded, for on the banks of the Maclutsie where I met him, he was
preparing a very fine one, and asked me to join him in disposing of it.
The next day we parted, the Colonel for the South and I for the North,
to try my luck with this powerful and despotic monarch.  And as affairs
turned out it was a lucky refusal for me, for a few months after, as I
was exploring the western portion of the Mashona country, reports came
to us by a native that three white men had been killed in the Mashona
country, not so many miles away, by the natives, but they could not give
the names.  But afterwards, on my return to the Tati, I found they were
Captain Patterson, Mr. Sargeant, son of Sir W.  Sargeant, the Crown
Agent, and formerly Colonial Secretary of Natal, and a son of the Rev.
Mr. Thomas, of Shiloh, who had left the Transvaal a few months before
with a letter from Sir Theophilus Shepstone on a mission from him to the
Matabele king.  At the time there was great mystery concerning their
death; it was first reported they had been poisoned by drinking from a
pond that had been poisoned by the Bakalahari Bushmen, but that was
absurd.  It appears that Captain Patterson had entered into some
agreement with Lo-Bengulu which was not pleasing to the Indunas,
therefore to put an end to the agreement it was arranged to put an end
to them.  Rumours of foul play got abroad, and young Mr. Thomas, son of
the missionary at Shiloh, who was one of the three, went as guide; he
was warned, but would not believe the report.  Mr. Palmer, who was going
to accompany them, also heard strange rumours, and he declined, which
saved his life.  The very fact of rumours of foul play going to be
perpetrated was proof that their death had been planned before they were
on their way to the Zambese to visit the Victoria Falls, and as
confirmation of this, Lo-Bengulu said afterwards to some of the white
people, "Now Captain Patterson is dead, the agreement goes for nothing."
It is supposed the three were killed when they were bathing, but no
document was found amongst Captain Patterson's effects to throw light on
this matter, and Mr. Thomas, the father, was afraid to express any
opinion, or to have a full inquiry made in the affair, as he was living
in the country and would have been killed if he had said what he
thought.  He died last year.

That they were murdered there is no question.  Captain Patterson was in
the employ of the British Government, and was in Matabeleland on
official duties, therefore it was the duty of the Government to
investigate the matter and to have sent up an officer competent to carry
it out, instead of making inquiries of the British residents on the
spot, who dare not speak what they knew, and to have given Lo-Bengulu to
understand that British subjects were not to be murdered in his
territory with impunity.  It is this shirking of responsibilities that
lead to dire results, and is unbecoming the dignity of a great nation
like Great Britain.  This has been the fatal policy of the British
Government in South Africa, which has caused the misery and bloodshed
that has swept over South Africa these last few years, and paralysed the
whole trade of the country.  It is not only detrimental to the Colony,
but our British workmen at home suffer, from the stoppage of the trade
to those regions that so largely consume British merchandise.  If the
people of England were to look a little more into these matters, instead
of wasting their time in that petty party spirit which seems to be on
the increase, and devote that time in improving and developing our trade
in our colonies and elsewhere, it would be more conducive to their
welfare than employing it in quibbling over who should have votes or
not, and woman's suffrage, that will not bring one penny more into the
pockets of the people; and such other trifling matters, unprofitably
employing the time of the House of Commons, which should be devoted to
the general interests of our country abroad, and in our colonies, that
are the main source of our prosperity and wealth, which means, in other
words, full employment for our workpeople; for no other policy will put
bread into their mouths.  If this contemptible party spirit, which has
now grown rampant, should increase, England's greatness is on the wane,
for where a house is divided against itself, it cannot stand.  This
spirit, of opposition in time becomes a mania, and the most vital
interests of our country are sunk in the glory, as they imagine, of
turning out their opponents from office.  I hope all who wish for the
prosperity of Great Britain will rise to the occasion and become what
their forefathers were, staunch and determined upholders of British
interests, which means prosperity to her people, where the weal of Great
Britain is concerned, and sink that petty and unpatriotic spirit.  My
fate most probably would have been similar to those unfortunate men, as
it was known I was on a mission into that country also.  I might have
gone and never been heard of more, a satisfactory conclusion to arrive
at.

The Mashona country in the north is but little-known, from the
difficulty thrown in the way of exploring it, particularly along the
south side of the river Zambese; gold in large quantities is known to be
there, as also other minerals.  On the north side of the river gold has
been found, but until some better mode of transit is adopted, such as a
single line of railway, with shuntings at stated distances, the richness
of these regions cannot be developed.  A railway would revolutionise the
whole country, to the immense advantage of our Cape Colony and Great
Britain, and the civilisation of the native tribes.

When Lo-Bengulu became king, in January, 1870, it was supposed the
rightful heir to the throne, "Kuruman," born from a royal wife of
Moselikatze, was dead, killed by order of his father, as it appears
there was a conspiracy amongst the Indunas to dethrone him, and place
Kuruman in his place.  Moselikatze, hearing of this, as he was out with
an army making conquest in the northern part of the Mashona country,
immediately returned and made an attack on a kraal where these Indunas
had assembled, Inthaba Inisduna, and slaughtered them and all the
people, except Lo-Bengulu, who was his son by another wife, but made a
royal child--and with those slaughtered, it was supposed Kuruman was
one, but it was found afterwards he had escaped.  Moselikatze sent for
him, and ordered a Basuto to take him away and destroy him, but he was
not to injure his person, that one belonging to royalty should not be
mangled.

Kuruman's servant was also commissioned to assist in the murder.  When
it was accomplished, as is supposed, these two men returned to the king
and reported his death, but it is supposed by others that he was allowed
to escape, and that he found his way down to Natal, and became a servant
of the Honourable Theophilus Shepstone, the minister of native affairs
in that colony, and nothing more was heard of him for some years.  Still
the Matabele were much divided respecting Lo-Bengulu becoming king, and
many military stations would not acknowledge him; the consequence was, a
general slaughter took place, and kraal after kraal were visited by the
king's troops, killing man, woman, and child, depopulating large
districts, and after some time reduced the number of his opponents to a
few, but still never entirely crushing them out, or destroying all who
still clung to the hope of getting rid of Lo-Bengulu.  Many of the men
spared in these fights were incorporated in the army that remained true
to the king.  Soon after it was reported that Kuruman was alive in
Natal; messengers were sent down to ascertain the fact; and also some
refugees stated he was Kuruman.  He denied he was the Kuruman, but
afterwards, in 1871, acknowledged he was, and departed for the north to
claim his rights.  The last time I heard of him he was at Rustenburg in
the Transvaal.  The doubt that has hung over Lo-Bengulu, as to his
really being the right man, has made him very watchful, and it seems
this supposed Kuruman is still looking out for an opportunity to enter
the Matabeleland and try his luck, but Lo-Bengulu is too securely
settled on his throne to be easily deposed.

At the death of Moselikatze, waggon-loads full of presents of every
description, presents from those who had visited his country, and
payments for the privilege of hunting in his veldt, became the property
of Lo-Bengulu, and were thatched to preserve them from the weather,
never to be used, because the great king had ridden in them; the empty
ones were destroyed at the burial of the king; taking those loaded to
Gebbeklaiko, now called Gubuluwayo or Bulowaiyo, where the royal widow
of Moselikatze went to reside after the death of her husband, and also
where Lo-Bengulu took up his royal residence, which he has occupied up
to the time when it was recently destroyed.  He has several kraals in
different parts of the country that he visits from time to time, for a
change.  Mr. and Mrs. Coillard are still here, not yet having obtained
their release, but expect it daily.  Mr. Sykes has been indefatigable in
the affair, and clearly explained the object of his visit to establish
several French missionary stations throughout the Mashona country under
native teachers.  But Lo-Bengulu, although very kind to the English
missionaries, is not a believer in their faith, and his people are very
much of the same opinion, consequently there are few converts.  All the
districts are visited by them.  Mr. Sykes and also Mr. Thomas have for
the last twenty-eight years been at much trouble, but cannot convert
them.  They have their great spirit, Molemo, and with their medicine-men
to make rain for them, they seem contented to remain.

In the afternoon I left for Thabo Induna, which is the place where the
massacre of the Indunas took place under Moselikatze previously
mentioned, and then on to Umzamalas town to Inzalion, but as Mr. and
Mrs. Sykes were with the king, went on to Mr. George Wood, an old
traveller and hunter, who showed me several pieces of gold he had
procured from the near quartz reef, and some gold-dust he had himself
washed from the Changani river.  The whole of this region down to the
Zambese is a gold-bearing country.

But what seems very remarkable, no instruments or anything has been
found to lead to the time when this part of the Mashona country was
overrun by this supposed white race, but a time may come when
prospecting may be allowed, that will throw more light upon this
subject.  These old diggings may have been worked by the Queen of
Sheba's people, and subsequently by a white race.  It is very clear,
there must have been a different race from the present, that worked the
ground for gold in these parts, several hundred years ago; from the
ruins now standing, I think proves they may have been the same under the
name of Abbalomba.

Besides the gold-mines in other districts, which will be described in
dealing with the adjoining kingdom of Umzela, there are other
indications of the presence of a civilised people in remote times;
throughout this region known as the Royaume du Quiteve, and Etats du
Monomotapa, the residence of the Emperor Quiteve, and also to the north
is the Ville Royal du Monomotapa, which is situated in ancient
Portuguese maps as being in the northern division of the Mashona
country, on the south side of the Zambese, under the name Monomotapa, in
the Abutua and Banyai regions; the emperor of whom, in 1550, was
conquered by the Portuguese, so they say, and ceded his dominion to
them.  Now it is an interesting question, what tribe or nation did these
emperors spring from?  It appears certain that they must have been in
possession of the country long before the Portuguese rounded the Cape of
Good Hope, and proceeded as far north up the east coast to Mozambique,
including Quillimane and Delagoa Bay, in 1497, under Vasco de Gama; but
he made no settlements on the coast at that time.  Bartholomew Diaz, in
1486, rounded the Cape and proceeded as far east as Algoa Bay, and
planted a cross on St. Croix Island, then on to the Great Fish river,
and returned.  Sofala was visited by a Portuguese traveller from
Abyssinia in 1480.  In 1500, the Portuguese began to form settlements on
the west coast; 1506, town of Mozambique taken by the Portuguese under
Tristan d'Acunha; 1507, Portuguese proceed with their conquests on east
coast, and in 1508, conquer Sofaia.  Therefore it was impossible for the
Portuguese to establish themselves to any great extent on the
coast-line, much before the time it is stated they conquered the Emperor
of Mouomotapa.

A Venetian map published in 1546 gives an outline of the Zambese river
and the Central African lakes, and I have an ancient map of Africa
showing several lakes in that region, particularly Lake Tanganyika,
which very correctly shows its true position, clearly proving that it
was discovered long before Livingstone or any other modern explorer ever
visited that central region.

Were these Monomotapa people black or white, and from whence did they
come?  They were evidently a separate people from those who now occupy
the country.  May not an Arab tribe have passed down along the east
coast, and established themselves in the Mashona region, and formed a
kingdom? for the word Emperor is not a word used by any African races
south of the Zambese, and none, I believe, except they are of Arab
blood, or closely connected with that race.  There is at present that
tribe mentioned in my description of the northern Kalahara desert, on
the Quito and Cubango, to the north of my explorations, that are termed
white; may not this remnant be descendants of the Monomotapa people, and
those white the Mashonas call "Abbalamba," who may also have formed a
part of the Emperor Quiteve's people?

The broad Zambese river would have been a very enticing stream for any
tribe to follow up, who were coming down south to settle, and they may
have introduced the Arab customs, and also Jewish customs, amongst the
people.  Now it is well known the Mashonas are excellent mechanics,
workers in metals, excellent blacksmiths, and they manufacture blankets
from the cotton fibre, which no other nation in the south of Central
Africa does--may not this knowledge have been handed down from this
white race?  Give one of these Mashonas a piece of gold, and ask him to
make you a ring; it will soon be done, and done well.

I am surprised no Englishman has ever thought of exploring the Zambese
from its mouth to the Victoria Falls, with canoes; it could be
accomplished without much difficulty, and a most interesting and
pleasant trip it would be, returning by road to the Colony by the
transport road the whole way; much valuable information would be
obtained that might throw some light on this interesting subject.  To do
it by land would be much more difficult, the many rivers to cross,
swamps and thick jungle to pass through, sleeping at night on the ground
would cause fever, and as my map and others will show, it has never been
explored.  Livingstone followed it down part of the way, and there he
lost his wife.  The distance from the mouth to the falls is about 900
miles.

The old forts on the Umvuli, with the old gold-diggings, along the base
of the Leputa and Lobolo mountains on the Mlebka river, Kambesa,
Nuntigesa, Mandou, Zimbo, Piza and many others in the Mashona country on
the east; and to the west of the Sabia river, near each, are extensive
old diggings, and on the Ingwezi river there are very perfect ruins, but
completely enclosed in bush; the walls are extensive and thick, all of
them built of hewn granite, and laid in regular courses; another on the
Nuanettie river, to the west of the Woohu mountain, is a very good
specimen of these ancient forts, situated on a rocky eminence, well
defended on all sides, and also covered in by trees and bush.  The
Zimbo, or Zimbase, ruins of an old fort are situated on a small branch
of the Sabia river, in 20 degrees 16 minutes South latitude.  A short
distance from its banks there are several low walls on an open space,
but the most extensive is that situated on a low granite hill; the walls
are about eight feet thick and five feet in height in the lower portion,
the upper part measures twenty feet, and forms a sort of round tower
very similar to the ruins on the Tati, which have been described; the
walls are built of hewn granite stone, and in regular layers; on the
inside there are several beams inserted in the walls projecting eight
feet, composed of a hard and fine-grained stone of a dark colour.  Upon
one of them are carvings, diamond-shaped, one within another, separated
by wavy lines; they are much overgrown by shrubs and creepers, and seem
to be of the same date, and erected by the same people as those already
described.  Several old gold-diggings are in the vicinity.  Altogether
these ancient forts, that are so largely distributed over these regions,
are most interesting, and when this country is more developed and better
understood, they may lead to discoveries that may throw more light upon
the subject.  That the Portuguese did deal largely with the natives in
gold is clearly established, and if all these ruined forts were their
work, they must have occupied the country in very considerable numbers,
which seems hardly likely, because there is no record of their having
done so to the extent which these ruins show.


The kingdom of Tarva is supposed to have been in these regions.  I have
not met with any ruins yet that would lead me to suppose they were once
the palace of the Queen of Sheba.  I do not think that walls six or
eight feet thick, built of small hewn stone without mortar, would stand
as perfect as they are the wear and tear of four thousand years, in a
country subject to such storms as sweep over this region in the rainy
season.

The only relics I have found are broken pieces of pottery, containing
much mica, and the well-worn stones the natives used to crush their
corn, which must have been in use many years, as they are hollowed out
almost like basins, and the round stone the size of a cricket-ball, much
worn on one side in pounding the grain.  One ancient grave I opened, but
found nothing but a spear-head of iron, that crumbled to pieces when
handled; the bones had disappeared.  I may mention, when prospecting in
the channels worn in the beds of the rivers by the water, I have found a
great many copper beads mixed up in the gravel and sand, and a piece of
silver, that looks like part of a bar, about half an inch square and an
inch in length, that was also lying in the bed of the river close to the
ruins of the old fort on the Ingwazi river.

The watershed that divides the Zambese and Limpopo basins runs in a
north-east and south-west direction, like the backbone of an animal; the
spurs representing the ribs, but in places the hill is broken up, as at
Gubuluwayo and the country round.  The rivers that drain each basin take
their rise within a few yards of each other, on the south of the king's
kraal.  All the elevated portions of the country are healthy, the lower
parts are subject to fever to Europeans in the rainy season, but when
the country is occupied by an industrious race, and cleared of bush and
drained, it will become as healthy in time as any other portion of
Africa, being so elevated above sea-level, viz. 3300 feet.  It cannot be
so very unhealthy, when Mr. and Mrs. Sykes have lived at Inyatine
twenty-eight years, and have enjoyed good health; Mr. and Mrs. Thomas,
also, for the same time; and at Hopefountain, the two missionaries and
their families have enjoyed good health for many years, and at
Gubuluwayo the traders have no more sickness than if they lived in any
other part of the country considered healthy.

Since my last journey into Matabeleland, Lo-Bengulu has taken to himself
a royal wife, the sister of the Zulu chief Umzela, whose territory
adjoins the western boundary of the Matabele king, and occupies all the
country down to the east African coast, not in the occupation of the
Portuguese.  This naturally was not very agreeable to his sister Nina,
who ruled supreme in her brother's court, during the time he had no
royal wife, which must have made it unpleasant for both parties.  I am
not acquainted with the particulars, but I suppose the king deemed it
expedient to get rid of this annoyance, adopted his usual plan, for he
gave orders to some of his people to take his sister away, which is
tantamount to ordering her to be killed, but no royal blood must be
spilt or the body mutilated; consequently she was taken away and
smothered.  His royal residence at Gubuluwayo has been destroyed, and a
new military camp formed at some distance from it.  His new residence is
built in the European style, much larger than the former, containing
several fine rooms; the principal apartment is capable of holding over
100 people, substantially built of brick, with thatched roof, erected by
Europeans.  The Matabele who calls himself Kuruman, the son of
Moselikatze, and was supposed to have been killed previous to his
father's death, has claimed the kingship, and has many followers, which
may eventually lead to much bloodshed.

A railway will do more to civilise the people in the interior and
increase trade than any other means that could be adopted to improve the
natives and open up the country.

Lo-Bengulu is very favourably disposed towards the English, as I have
before stated; what has made him severe on some, is his having lost
confidence in many who have gone into his country, and abused the
privileges granted to them, which naturally has shaken his good faith in
all who visit Matabeleland.  When he knows he can depend on any, he is
exceedingly friendly, and will do much for them, as in the case of the
late Mr. Thomas Baines, the traveller, who from his honourable, upright,
and straightforward conduct, gained the king's confidence.  The result
was, he granted a large concession of his country to him, for working
and exploring for gold, and signed a document to that effect, showing
that if properly treated he will do good to those who act fair towards
him.  There are a few old hunters who have for years lived up in
Matabeleland, and have the king's confidence, from acting towards him in
an upright and honest way, and have become almost natives of the
country; they belong to the old stock of hunters that are fast passing
away; only a few are now remaining that could be called hunters of the
old days of Moselikatze time, and which formed a little community in
themselves.  Those were days of real enjoyment, when game was plentiful,
and the country not overrun as it is now by a different class of people
altogether.  Those good old times were before the discovery of diamonds,
when even Griqualand West was an unknown land to the colonist.  Mr. G.
Westbeach is now living on the banks of the Zambese; Mr. G.  Phillips
is, I believe, there also; Messrs. Byles, Wood, Lisk are now in other
parts, and one or two more are all that are left of the old stock of
_bona-fide_ hunters.  At that time they formed a little society in
themselves, hired a small farm called Little England, where they would
meet once a year or as often as circumstances would call them down from
the interior, to procure fresh stock in exchange for ivory, feathers,
and other articles.  Each member had to undergo fresh baptism in the way
of a souse in a large bath made in the water sluit in front of the
house, clothes and everything on, and pay his footing in the way of a
certain quantity of brandy or square face (gin).  When I entered the
brotherhood I was suffering with a severe attack of influenza, and
consequently was excused the bath, by paying double footing in spirits;
keeping up commemoration night till late in the morning, which cured me
of my cold.

All is changed now--the country has been of late overrun by traders from
the diamond-fields; Boers from the Transvaal, who have unscrupulously
abused the native laws of Matabeleland, and made the king doubly severe
on all who enter his dominions, and caused the Indunas to look upon all
white men as dogs, which has damaged the prestige of the white man in
the eyes of the natives, and Lo-Bengulu, who is ruled to a certain
extent by them, cannot always do as he would wish.  Natives are very
susceptible of insult, and as the Boers treat all black men as dogs, and
in some way insult them, which they do not forget, this has frequently
brought the English traveller or hunter into trouble.

Lo-Bengulu respects the English nation, and has a loyal feeling towards
her Majesty the Queen, and as all Bechuanaland has been brought under
her protection, now is the time for the British Government to show this
sable monarch and his people, by our acts in Bechuanaland, that
England's policy is not to exterminate the black man, but to protect,
assist, and benefit him, which policy is the only one to bring
Lo-Bengulu and his people into a better frame of mind regarding
England's views towards them, and the only course to eventually open up
that country to civilisation.  At the present time they fear a Boer
invasion, and as they are renowned for their political sagacity, they
will be too wise to offend the English people, who may shortly be living
on their borders.  But if Boers are allowed to settle in Bechuanaland
then we may say farewell to peace in that region.

All now depends on the course the British Government adopt in this new
protectorate.  Lo-Bengulu and his Indunas, I believe, will not interfere
or be troublesome on the border of this protectorate, if they see we
respect the rights of the black man in the future of that country, and,
instead of having the Matabele in any way troublesome, they will become
our friends.  I see a great future open for that country, which will
materially benefit the native races, and be the means of developing that
vast region now closed to British merchandise, for that is the great
civilising power by teaching the native mind the advantages they will
derive from commerce.  Whatever cruelty Lo-Bengulu may perpetrate in his
own country, will not extend further; he was brought up under the
dreaded chief, his father, who ruled his people through their blood, for
no other mode of governing them would have availed.  But the people are
beginning to understand the English ways, in the same manner as the
Zulus do in Zululand.

Thursday, 21st May.  Walked over to old John Viljoen's waggon, where he
was outspanned under some large trees surrounded by a thick bush,
completely concealing the waggons from view; his son and a Boer were
making kameel biltong, having shot one yesterday.  He is now waiting for
the weather to clear up, to have some elephant shooting, his son having
seen eight, about six miles away, in the morning.  Talking of elephant
shooting, he said he had shot seventy-nine at different times, and he
told me, a Scotchman, Mr. Thackery, had shot ninety-nine, and in
shooting the hundredth, when the animal laid apparently dead, he climbed
up him over his head, when the elephant gave him a blow with his tusk
and killed him on the spot.  We arranged to go out together on Monday.
He also told me he shot a python, a few days ago, measuring eighteen
feet in length, and twenty-eight inches round; he saw several others,
but they got away.  On returning to the waggon I found a trader, Mr.
Mussenden, with his waggon outspanned close to it, who was surprised to
see me, having long ago heard that I had been murdered by Bushmen up in
the interior, that it was reported throughout all the country, and
everything stolen; he said he had often heard of my being in the
interior, and through the Desert, when he was up-country, but never
expected to see me alive again, and was very glad we had met, as he
often wished to know me.  Many such reports get about of explorers and
hunters being murdered or lost in the bush; and it requires great care
to avoid some of these dangers in so extensive a region, particularly to
those who have not the bump of locality.  When leaving your waggon, in
the saddle or on foot, before starting, be particular to take bearings
of mountains or any prominent objects.  When the sun is perpendicular at
mid-day, it is difficult to know the north from the south, and if you
have left your compass behind, those unaccustomed to be in a wooded
region soon become confused as to the direction to be taken to regain
their waggon.  Several, whom I knew, have lost their lives in this way,
and were never heard of more.  A young man, William Hancock, I had with
me as my driver, when outspanned in a level country, with dense bush,
took his gun early in the morning to look after game, and never returned
all that day, and night coming on, I began to fear for his safety; the
whole of that night I was in a fearful state of alarm, firing shot after
shot to let him know our position, but no reply; I got no sleep that
night.  At daybreak I saddled-up and started in the direction he took,
firing shots frequently, and I sent my loop-boy out in another
direction.  After calling and shouting until nearly losing my voice, up
to 2 p.m., a distant report came to my last shot; starting off in the
direction at as great a speed as I could make in the thick forest for at
least a mile, I fired again, when a reply came at no great distance.
Going towards it and shouting, I heard a faint voice in amongst the
trees, and Hancock came towards me; he was nearly demented, and looked
as if he had grown ten years older.  Before asking any questions, I gave
him a flask full of brandy and water, and some biscuits which I brought
with me.  He told me he had been in a pursuit of a koodoo he had
wounded, and in the chase had lost the direction of the waggon, and in
his endeavour to reach it had wandered in the opposite direction and
became so confused that he did not know where he was, firing off his
rifle at times to let us know, but the distance prevented the reports
being heard, and as night came on he gave himself up as lost, and
climbed a tree, where he passed the night, as many lions were about;
some of them came almost under the tree.  In the morning he got down,
fired off several shots, until he had only two charges left.  He said
his anxiety made him lose his strength, and from want of water and food
he was nearly exhausted, and when he heard the report of my rifle he
felt he was saved from death, and obtained renewed strength and fired
his last cartridge, which brought me to him.  Mounting him in the
saddle, we returned to the waggon, distant at least four miles.  Now
this young man, born in the Colony, accustomed all his life to being out
in the open air after game, had no knowledge of taking bearings from
time to time, to see the direction he was going; the poor boy--for he
was only nineteen--felt he had gained a new life.  I gave him a few
lessons on woodcraft for his future guidance if placed in a similar
position.  He was a most willing lad and of great assistance to me in my
wanderings; he was a son of one of the early settlers of 1820.

Finally, we may conclude, in leaving this region, that the knowledge
already obtained of the richness of the Matabele and Mashona country by
exploring parties that have been allowed to prospect, only in certain
districts, and by others who have travelled through it in other parts,
and from my own observations, there is not a shadow of a doubt that
eventually this part of the continent will surpass all others in
Southern Africa as a gold-producing district, in the cultivation of
cotton, and other valuable products, that cannot but prove most
beneficial to the power who may obtain it; and to the benefit of its
people, instead of its remaining in its present barbarous state, where
the slaughter of its inhabitants depends on the present whims of its
despotic monarch.

From what has already been discovered of its richness, we see plainly
the ancients, who extracted the gold, have only done so to a limited
extent--what may be termed surface workings; for their numerous pits,
after all, are mere scratches in the ground at places, but when they are
properly worked and greater depth attained, the mines may be found
almost inexhaustible.  And if the gold-dust, found in the sand of the
rivers, can be procured by a few single washings from a small dish, what
may be expected when the whole of these rivers have been properly
worked?

CHAPTER TWENTY FOUR.

THE PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHICAL FEATURES OF THAT REGION, LYING BETWEEN THE
MATABELE AND MASHONA COUNTRY, AND THE INDIAN OCEAN, NOW UNDER THE RULE
OF THE CHIEF UMZELA AND OTHER CHIEFS.

This extensive portion of South Central Africa abuts on the north-east
boundary of the Transvaal, the eastern boundary of the Mashona and
Matabeleland, and the Zambese in the north, up to 29 degrees 50 minutes
East longitude.  On the east by the Indian Ocean, and on the south by
the Portuguese possessions at Delagoa Bay.  The main watershed passing
through the Mashona country, which divides the Limpopo from the Zambese
river, in 18 degrees 10 minutes South latitude, turns east and separates
the waters flowing into the Zambese, through the Mazoe river, from that
which flows into the Sabia, runs south down to 21 degrees 10 minutes
South latitude, 32 degrees 5 minutes East longitude, when it turns
easterly and north-east, and enters the south side of Sofala Bay.  This
river has many tributaries on the west, draining a portion of the
Mashona country, but on the eastern bank there are few, and those but
small.  The most important river is the Buzi, taking its rise from many
small tributaries in a hilly district, to the east of the Sabia in 20
degrees 30 minutes South latitude, 32 degrees 30 minutes East longitude,
on a tributary of which the Umsweleze, the chief Umzela's kraal, is
situated; the Buzi from this point takes a sweep round in a north-east
direction, and enters the Indian Ocean in 19 degrees 50 minutes South
latitude, passing through the Sofala region, between this latter river
and the Sabia.  The Garogesi river enters Sofala Bay.


There are several small rivers north of the Buzi to the mouth of the
Zambese, that drain the coast-line, which is very flat and marshy.  The
tributaries of the Zambese are the Zangwe, Sankatsi, Mowila--the main
branch of the Mazoe enters the river below Tette--Nake, Zingesi, and
Panyame.  In the northern portion, between the Mashona and Zambese, are
many isolated and extensive hills,--Vimga, Nadsu, and Vimiga, drained by
the Nake and Zingesi.  To the east of these hills is the Lobolo
mountain, with its many spurs, and more to the east the Moltkeberg,
drained by the Mazoe and its tributaries, Gaverese, Upa, Janhambe,
Jankatse, and others of smaller note, all which are in the Zambese
basin, which includes also--lower down that river--the Mowila, Sankatsi,
and Zangwe.

The country towards the sea is flat and most uninteresting.  There are
several low ranges of hills in outlying districts.  The country
generally is dense bush, and full of game.  The Portuguese possessions
do not extend many miles beyond the south bank of the Zambese river.
The chiefs in those districts claim up to that line.

The altitude of the Lombolo mountain is 4200 feet, and the Moltkeberg
3700 feet above sea-level.  The general rise of the country is 1700
feet, gradually sloping towards the Zambese and coast.  The northern
division is divided into different tribes under their respective chiefs.
The Banyai country is between the Mashona and Zambese, in which is
situated the Portuguese town of Tette, on the banks of the Zambese.
Pretty and picturesque country around, with fruit of every kind, melons,
oranges, lemons, sweet potatoes, pines, and every kind of vegetable; but
the Portuguese are so lazy that everything is left almost to nature.
The river is navigable for small steamers for seventy miles above Tette,
which is situated 260 miles from its mouth.  Magnificent timber trees
grow in the valleys, and on the slopes of the hills ivory palm, Mali
palm, the palm that grows to the height of eighty feet; the seed of the
fruit is eaten by the natives; it grows in the uplands, and down on the
low-lying swampy country.  Mashola, a tree that bears a round fruit
similar to the Kaffir orange.  The india-rubber tree is very common; the
fruit can be eaten.  The Umtonto tree is used for making baskets and
other things.  Large tracts of country are covered with the Mowasha
bush, mahogany, and ebony up in the hill districts, and all similar
trees found growing in the Mashona country are found there.

There are many native villages along the banks of the several streams,
the country being very thickly populated, particularly in the hill
districts, and the people are industrious and skilful workmen in all
branches of trade, and they make their own blankets from the wild cotton
and baobab tree, which they work by hand, the former by having the yarn
spun by hand with a small stick, weighted at the end; four sticks are
stuck in the ground to form a kind of loom, the yarn stretched tight,
and being wound on a piece of wood, is passed backwards and forwards,
the strands being threaded, to allow the woof to pass through and
through by a backward movement of the hand.  They can make blankets the
usual size, and very white and strong.  They also manufacture bands of
various sizes for native uses.  The blankets made from the bark of the
tree, and bags to hold milk, are very strong and beautifully made.  The
females are fond of ornamenting their persons, wearing copper and brass
rings round their necks, on their legs and arms, and some have silver,
which I was told is got out of the mountains.  Gold is found in all the
mines in the Banyai country; the natives sell it to the Portuguese at
Tette, and quartz reefs cross the country in many districts; several
portions have not yet been visited, consequently the richness of this
region is not known.

On the mountains and high lands the country is healthy, but the
low-lying ground in the rainy season is very unhealthy.  Portuguese
native traders are the only ones that go into those extensive regions,
and supply the population with beads, brass wire, and other things in
exchange for the gold-dust they procure from the rivers.  There is an
old fort on the Mazoe river, under the Lobolo mountains, and several
others higher up that have been partly destroyed by the natives for
walls for their gardens, where they plant small fields of cotton to make
their blankets; a little piece is so occupied adjoining their huts, and
it is found to grow very well in elevated positions.  I have found it
wild as high as 4300 feet above the sea-level, in a light soil, where
water is not found near, but in the low lands it is very plentiful.

South of the Banyai country is the Batoka, in which is the Moltkaberg,
watered by the Upa river, a tributary of the Luenya.  The source of the
Mazoe rises on the watershed in this region, at the Sakaloko kraal, in
18 degrees 0 minutes South latitude.  Another spring issues close to
Mebka kraal, and at Gangwesi kraal, at an elevation of 4210 feet above
the sea, and flows north, on which there are many villages, close to
several large vleis, and towards the east is the large kraal of the
chief Makombes on the Mewila river.  There are also many other native
kraals situated on all the branches of this river down to the Zambese,
and along its banks, Senna being the most important, where there are
several hills that skirt it.  The Batoka tribe is numerous--a fine,
powerful race.  The country is full of bush and fine timber, the same
which grows in the Banyai district.

On the east of Batoka is the Senna region, which reaches to the Zambese
and to its mouth, and along the eastern coast, down to where the Sofala
joins it.  All that is known of this country is that it is very flat and
low; and within its boundary, on the banks of the Zambese, Dr.
Livingstone's wife was taken ill and died, and was buried on its banks
under a baobab tree, a little below the town of Shupanga, and opposite
to the town of Mulu.  Forty miles above the great river Shire branches
off, which flows from Lake Shirwa, in 15 degrees 0 minutes South
latitude, 35 degrees 50 minutes East longitude.  There are few hills in
this part of the country of any note.  Cotton grows abundantly, and
vegetation is coarse and rank in the swamps.

On the south of Batoka is Birue.  This region joins up to the Mashona
country, the Sabia being the boundary, Senna on the east, and Sofala on
the south.  The Sabia river rises in 18 degrees 10 minutes South
latitude, near the village of Sakalato, and flows south as before
stated.  Upon the banks are Kambesa, Gansuma, Umsosa, Kambiss, and
others.  The country is high, with hills of no great extent, thickly
wooded, with abundance of large game of every kind; palms, baobab,
mahogany, ebony, mapari, india-rubber, and a variety of other trees.
The valley along the river is very pretty and picturesque, well
cultivated by the natives, and produces every kind of vegetable.  The
people are civil, but very inquisitive, and great beggars.  White cotton
seems to be much in demand.  The land gradually descends towards the
ocean, until the flat and swampy country is reached.

To the south of Birue is the district of Quitive, a portion of Sofala
that joins up to the Sabia, on the south by Umselayon region.  This
district is supposed to be the kingdom of the Queen of Sheba.  Manica is
the principal kraal, near which are several ancient ruins, and the
remains of a tower a few miles to the north-west of Manica.  It stands
on high ground, 4100 feet above sea-level, which descends to the east,
and not far from the ruins is a large sheet of water, also several
plains on the south of Manica.  The population is a mixed race, composed
of Umgovis, who are part Zulus, Mandowas, Basigas, Batagas, Mashonas,
and others, who are under the chief Umzela.  There are extensive open
grass-lands, and the low-lying country is healthy during five months of
the winter, when there is no fear of taking the fever.  Thirty miles
south of Manica the land rises to 4458 feet.

To the east of this district is the Sofala region, in which the
Portuguese town and port of Sofala are situated.  The town is but a poor
place, as all the Portuguese towns are on this coast; but they command
all the trade of the up districts, which is considerable in ivory,
skins, a few ostrich feathers, and other products of the country.  It is
situated in 20 degrees 10 minutes South latitude, 34 degrees 30 minutes
East longitude.  The country at the back of the town is hilly, occupied
by the Mandowa tribe, and is more healthy.  The river Bozi flows through
it to the sea, well-wooded with fine timber and bush.  Elephants,
rhinoceros, and large game abound.  Rice, cotton, spices of all kinds,
oranges, lemons, citrons, bananas, figs, and wild fruit.  I was told
that Umzela, the chief who occupies the country south, claims as
paramount chief all those districts in the north, down to the Mandanda
region; but his claim is something similar to that of the Portuguese,
who lay claim to all South Africa to the Atlantic Ocean, from Sofala.
He must be content to put up with such regions as he now has power to
govern; and those countries north of Birue are independent, except such
portions along the coast and up the Zambese as the Portuguese have the
power to rule, which is not much beyond the guns at their so-called
forts.  With respect to any extensive or strong stone remains of ancient
cities, supposed to have belonged to the love-sick Queen, there are
none, beyond those that have been erected without mortar.  If this
district formed part of her kingdom where she resided, her palace must
have been small, and of no account.  If substantial buildings had been
erected, they would surely be there now, as the natives with the means
at their disposal could not have destroyed them; but what is so
remarkable is that no relics have been found of any kind, no rubbish
left where they may have stood.  The only one I discovered was in a
stream of the Sabia, where the copper beads were found.  It was an oval
piece of copper, the size of a sixpence, and as thick, with much defaced
marks on both sides that cannot be made out, being so much worn.  To
pronounce it a coin would be premature.  When the country is properly
prospected, there may be found sufficient evidence to settle this
long-disputed question; but if extensive ruins existed, the natives
would know, and it would soon have reached the ears of travellers that
have passed through that country.  There must be some foundation for
these ancient traditional reports.  The country shows that in remote
times gold in large quantities has been extracted from the earth, and if
it is so easily found in the rivers, why should not nuggets have been
found lying on the surface, which first drew the attention of the
ancients to look for it.  The name of the river flowing through this
region, the "Sabia," may have been changed by time from "Sheba," the
same as "Sofala" for "S'Ophir."  There is also a ruin called Piza, and
another Manica, two names foreign to the other names of the country; and
the region of Monomotapa may have received its name from some early
inhabitants, descendants of the people under this renowned queen.  At
present nothing is definite on this point, and the magnificence of her
palaces have been, much overrated in ancient history.  If this was the
real Ophir of Solomon, the Arabs along the coast and at Sofala believe
this to be the true Ophir, Umzela was the great chief of all that part
of the country known as the Birue, Quitive, Sofala, and Mandanda
regions.  His chief kraal, Utshani, is situated in 20 degrees 27 minutes
South latitude, 32 degrees 28 minutes East longitude, between lofty
hills, the altitude being 3180 feet by aneroid barometer, and it is
situated on the upper source of the Buzi river, which flows in a
north-east direction and enters the Indian Ocean on the north of the
town and port of Sofala.  The country is very fertile, and the banks of
the Sabia on the west of the town, through which that river meanders in
a south direction, is flanked by high and picturesque hills, and clothed
in all the beauty of tropical vegetation.  Mahogany, ebony, untanto,
palm, umchani, maparri, umsimbili, bananas, assagaai or lance wood,
barrie, boschlemon, wild almond, kajaten (a fine black wood), knopjes
doorn, wild olive, saffraan, fig, cabbage tree, makwakwe (the strychnine
of the country), vitboom (quinine), india-rubber, and a host of other
sorts that would fill a page if named, all most valuable for various
purposes.  Large flocks of sheep and goats and herds of cattle are
reared.  There is also the large game, such as elephants, rhinoceros,
giraffes, buffaloes, koodoos, and other large antelopes, lions, tigers,
wolves, jackals, tiger-cats in plenty, beside the various earth-animals,
ant-bears, porcupines, armadillos, and many others.  Umzela's territory
is called Umselayon, which embraces all those districts above described.
The mountains which completely encircle the chief's kraal are very
picturesque and peculiar in their form, making the Sinika river a
tributary of the Buzi; which forms in its course almost a circle,
thickly studded with fine timber and bush, and they do not extend much
beyond the river towards the east, which is a low, flat country to the
sea.  The Portuguese have no control over any part of Umzela's
territory; they only hold possession of narrow slips of land along parts
of the coast.  The natives offered no opposition to my visits, and were
willing to barter food for articles of clothing, principally linen
cloth; but in many other portions of the country I had to use great
caution to prevent suspicion as to the object of my visits.  In many
cases I have passed through tribes who would have been troublesome, but
as I took goods to barter I was considered a trader, and as such one can
journey almost anywhere.  Some considered also I was a doctor or
medicine-man, because I caught and preserved insects, snakes, and other
small reptiles, besides plants.  When this idea takes possession of some
of the African races, they leave you unmolested; any injury they might
inflict would be considered unlucky to themselves.  I used to carry
representations of snakes of wood, that are sold in England, and masks
with extensive noses, so that when the natives came round my waggon
begging, as they frequently did, from two to three hundred at a time, I
would draw down the front sail of the waggon, slip inside, put on one of
these masks, and with the snake curling about in my hand jump out in
their midst, when the women and children would rush away howling, the
men after them, to their kraals, and I would be left free from
annoyance.  During my stay at their station, before I could obtain these
things, I used a large burning-glass, and when any one troubled me,
would burn their hand until it began to pain.  Then I would run after
others, which soon cleared them off.  Travelling past their kraals so
frequently they knew my waggon, and if they pestered me for presents I
had only to get out my sun-glass, and they were away in no time.

The only rivers of consequence beside the Sabia and the Buzi in this
portion of Umzela's country are the Umkoni, Umswelise, Umtschomie,
Gerongosi, the source of which rises not far from the Buzi, runs east,
and enters the Indian Ocean, about twenty miles south of Sofala.  The
Lusuti rises with several branches about thirty miles to the north of
Umzela's kraal, and joins the Buzi sixty miles from its mouth.  There is
also the Haroni and its tributary the Lusiti, and the small river Donde
that flows into the Sofala harbour.  South of the Mandanda region are
the districts of Sheshonga, Indobolini, Mashelbe, and Makalingi.  To the
east is the Manklin district, that takes the coast-line from Maramone
Bay, down south to Cape Lady Grey, off which are the islands of
Bazaruta, Benguela, Sigin, and a small group at Cape St. Sebastian.  To
the north of Maramone Bay, some thirty miles, are the two great islands
of Chuluwan.  All the coast-line is flat, infested with the tsetse-fly,
and most unhealthy.  The Mandowa tribe occupy the hill district and
country inland from Sofala, and it is under the rule of Umzela, and is
in charge of Imbasugwar, one of his chief men.

Manukuza, father of Umzela, is a Zulu from Zululand, who fled from
Chaka, the great Zulu king.  His followers are called Mongonis, and all
the tribes under him, viz.  Basigo, Kulu, Mandanda, Cholee, and
Mandower, are called Tonges.  Deloms, a chief of Umzela, is over the
district of Mazibbe, and Sondaba, an Indian, over Sheshongi, which is on
the south side of the Sabia.  The country is flat and marshy, and full
of game.  Rhinoceros, elephants, koodoos, giraffes, wildebeest, wild
hogs, and nearly all the antelope tribe, and zebras.  Date and other
palms, bananas, jute, and wild cotton, beside many native fruits abound.

A very poisonous plant grows on the flats, from which the natives
extract, from the seed, poison to put on their assagais and arrows.

[This poison is the strongest known.  An eminent toxicologist, who in
distilling became inoculated with it through a slight scratch.  He was
nearly dying for six weeks, and said he had no idea that any poison
could be so strong; it would kill a man in three minutes, and an
elephant in one hour and a half.  The flesh of animals killed by it is
not poisonous.  It loses its strength by evaporation in about a year.]

The country in places is noted for its immense ant-hills, almost as
large as those I have described in another part of this work.  The
southern boundary of Umzela's territory is not at present ascertained;
the country south of that already described is known under the name of
Umhlenga, where the Queen Mafussi, of Inhoxe, rules a portion, which is
a vast, open, undulating country, through which the Limpopo flows for
over 200 miles to the sea, at Port Alice.  The Lundi river, a tributary
of the Sabia, joins it in Umzela's country.  It is the continuation of
the Ingwesi, mentioned in the Mashona description.  To the south of this
region, and inland from the town and port of Inhambane, is the region
called Makwakwa or Marangwe--a strong, powerful race of the same tribe
as the Chobis, Bala Kulu, Basiga, Mashongonini, and Mandandas.
Inhambane is situated on the sea-coast.  The territory is very narrow,
not exceeding twenty miles inland, and eighty miles along the coast.

A small river, the Inyanombi, falls into the bay, and the river Zavara
drains the country of the Makwakwa's tribe--a low, flat region.  There
is still a tribe occupying a part of Umzela's territory that call
themselves the powerful Makololo race, of the same family that ruled an
extensive region on the Zambese river above the Victoria Falls, and
became a terror to the neighbouring tribes.  The Barutse people fought
and nearly exterminated them, scattering those left far and wide amongst
other tribes, and broke up the race entirely.  This Makololo nation on
the Zambese extended as far as that white tribe mentioned, living on the
Quito and upper portion of the Cubango--now become mixed with the black
races, and from reports, a wild and savage race, eating human flesh.
May not these two tribes have travelled up the Zambese together at some
remote time?  It seems singular that the Makololos in Umzela's country
should call themselves the once-powerful Makololo tribe; and we find
them on the Upper Zambese, the most powerful tribe in all that central
part of Africa, 400 miles away from those in Umzela's land.  It is an
interesting study to trace the various periods, as they advanced south
from Egypt, and to find at the present time many Arabian and Jewish
customs amongst them; and another interesting feature of those races is
that many names of places in Central Africa are precisely similar to
many names in the islands of the South Pacific Ocean.  So far as is
known of this country, we come across limestone, slate shale, red
sandstone, green stone, quartz, porphyritic rocks, gravel, and on the
western slope of the highlands, granites.

Referring again to the land of Ophir, there are no black races in any
other part of Africa that allow a woman to rule over them; but in the
immediate neighbourhood of Sofala there are three queens, viz.  Queen
Mafussi over Inhoaxe, adjoining Umzela's territory, and immediately on
the south of her are the two Queens Majaji and Mescharoon.  May not this
be one identification, that it was right that woman should be a ruler as
well as man, handed down from the Queen of Sheba's time?  Also a large
portion of Madagascar is ruled over by an Arab race that must have
settled there a very long time ago.  Their language is Arabic, and
queens of that island have and do now rule the greater portion of it.

CHAPTER TWENTY FIVE.

THE PORTUGUESE POSSESSIONS ON THE EAST COAST, WITHIN SOUTH CENTRAL
AFRICA.

The earliest records we have of this coast-line is from the Portuguese,
who first sailed round the Cape to the north, as far as the Mozambique
coast, in 1497, under Vasco de Gama.  In 1508 they visited the coast
again and conquered Sofala, and soon after Quilimane, Inhambane, and
Delagoa Bay, where they built a fort at Lorenzo Marques in the inner
harbour, and took possession of the coast northwards, including the
mouth of the Zambese and both banks of that river beyond Tette, where
they formed a town, claiming the country far in, up the river and along
the coast, but at the present time they have no jurisdiction over it,
beyond a few miles of the coast, the natives not allowing any
interference with their rights beyond the reach of their guns at the
forts.

Up to 1875 the Portuguese only held the northern portion of Delagoa Bay,
down as far south as the 26 degrees South latitude, and half of the
island of Inyack; the English Government disputing their claim to any
territory south of the 26 degrees, and the southern portion of Inyack
was held by the British Government.  Much correspondence passed between
the two Governments, when it was referred to arbitration, and Marshal
MacMahon, then President of the French Republic, decided in July, 1875,
that the Portuguese had a right to the country down to 26 degrees 30
minutes South latitude, which included the whole of the bay and island
of Inyack--to the exclusion of British interests.  The boundary then
laid down as the southern limit of Portugal should follow that latitude
up to the Lobombo mountain, which borders on Swaziland, an independent
chief.

Following the mountain north to the middle of the lower part of the
Comatie river, where it flows through that mountain, from thence in a
north-east direction to Pokionies Kap, on the north side of the Olifant
river, where it passes through the mountain north-west by north, to the
nearest point of the Stricundo mountain, on the Umzim Voobo river, then
in a straight line north to the junction of the Pafarie river with the
Limpopo.  All on the west of this line is the Transvaal boundary.  This
is the boundary on paper and maps, but the Portuguese have no more
jurisdiction over the country north of 25 degrees between the sea and
the Transvaal boundary, than they have over Umzela's territory, with the
exception of a small portion along the coast to the Zambese river, and
up that river to Tette.  The Barpeda tribes, east of the Transvaal, are
divided into many classes, ruled over by independent chiefs.

The country at the back of Delagoa Bay is a flat unhealthy country for
forty miles inland, when it begins to rise, until the summit of the
Lobombo mountain is reached.  The river Lorenzo Marques, which enters
the inner harbour at Delagoa Bay, is navigable for small craft for forty
miles up.  The region to the north of that harbour, through which the
lower portion of the river Limpopo passes, is a low flat country, full
of bush, and most unhealthy.  The tsetse-fly swarms.  Large game is
plentiful over all this region.  The southern portion is called Gasa;
the northern, Umhlenga--already described.  The entrance of the Limpopo
river is in 25 degrees 17 minutes South latitude, and about three miles
broad, which it continues to be up to the junction of the Olifant river,
gradually narrowing towards the north.  It is full of hippopotami and
alligators that grow to an enormous size, and several kinds of fish.

Lorenzo Marques is the capital of the Portuguese possessions in East
Africa; for some distance along the coast it is a dirty unhealthy place.
The fort mounts a few old guns, and is the governor's residence.
Several stores are kept by Portuguese natives and one or two English.
The inner harbour, upon which the town is built on the north bank, is
picturesque.  Tropical trees of many varieties grow: cocoa-nuts, palms,
bananas, lemons, oranges, beside vegetables; but the inhabitants are a
lazy set of people, and the town or country will never improve under its
present Government.

The islands of Imyack and Elephant command the entrance of the outer
bay, and the islands at the mouth of the Uncomasi or King George's
river, Krocodil, and Sabia, that rise in the Transvaal south of
Lydenburg, which has never been thoroughly explored.  The coast-line
from Delagoa Bay to Inhambane is likewise little-known, as also between
that port and Sofala, and north to the Zambese river.  The principal
towns in the Portuguese possessions on the east coast are Lorenzo
Marques, Inhambane, Sofala, and the two small river towns up the
Zambese, Senna and Tette.  Steamers occasionally touch at all the coast
towns named, on their way to Zanzibar from Natal.

Quilimane is situated on the north of the Zambese river, upon one of its
branches, where a Portuguese governor resides for that district.

Another Sabia flows into the ocean near Sofala.

CHAPTER TWENTY SIX.

A CURSORY GLANCE AT THOSE PORTS OF SOUTH AFRICA THAT OCCUPY THE EXTREME
SOUTH OF THE AFRICAN CONTINENT, SOUTH OF SOUTH CENTRAL AFRICA.

South of South Central Africa, which has comprised my field, of
exploration, is the Colony of the Cape of Good Hope, which takes in the
whole of the southern peninsula of the African continent, from the
Orange river to Cape Agulhas, and extends towards the east as far as
Natal.  It is divided into the eastern and western provinces and
Griqualand West.  Cape Town is the seat of Government and the capital,
and is governed by a High Commissioner and Governor, a Ministry and
Legislative Council, and a House of Assembly, both elected.  The
Governor is appointed by the British Government.

The principal ports are Table Bay at Cape Town, False Bay, including
Simon's Town, and the naval station of the colony, Mossel Bay, Algoa Bay
at Port Elizabeth, East London, and a few small bays along the coast.

The principal rivers are the Orange, Caledon, Kraai, Zeekoe, Buffalo,
draining Little Namaqualand, Olifant, Berg rivers draining the district
of Malmesbury, Zout river draining Koeberg and neighbourhood.  Easters
river enters False Bay, Londerende river drains part of Swellendam and
Worcester districts, Gawirtz and its tributaries drain the George,
Worcester, and Beaufort districts, and several small streams up to
Zwartkops, that enters the sea a few miles to the north-east of Port
Elizabeth.  Following up the coast are Samdays, Bushman, Kowie, Great
Fish river, Kaga, Koonap, Kat, Keiskama, Buffalo, Great Kei, White Kei,
Indwa, Tosmo (which drains the country round Queen's Town and part of
Kaffraria), Bashee, Umtata, Umzimvobo, and Umzimcula; not one of them is
navigable from the great fall they take in their course to the sea, and
they have deep water in them only after heavy rains, which is the case
with all the rivers in this colony.

There are several mountain ranges, viz.  Table mountain at the back of
Cape Town, 3500 feet above sea-level.  Stormberg, Zwagerskook,
Winterberg, Amatola, and their spurs, and many others of less note.
Some of them are 8000 feet above sea-level.  On the eastern border in
Noman's-land is the Drakensberg, that divides this colony from Natal,
having its lofty head 10,000 feet above sea-level, where the grand
scenery is rarely to be equalled in any part of South Africa.
Noman's-land or Griqualand East, principally occupied by the Griqua
tribe who left Camphill ground and took up their residence in that fine
rich country.

Numerous vleis and pans, some extensive, many are dry the greater part
of the year.  The largest is Commissioner's pan, in what is called
Bushmanland, some twenty miles in circumference, and contains a crust of
salt on the dry bed, where there is no water in it.  There are salt-pans
near Uitenhage, Cradock, and Betheldorp, beside many fresh-water pans of
considerable extent, but they are becoming dryer every year, as also the
fountains: many of them thirty years ago gave out a copious supply, and
at the present time are small streams.  Verkeerde vlei, close to the
Karroo Port, water is generally found in it, as also Vogel vlei, no
great distance from the Berg river.  Nearly every other vlei may be
termed pans, being so shallow, they are scarcely distinguishable from
the surrounding country; so impregnated is the soil with salt that many
springs and fountains have a brackish taste, and this is the case all
over the southern part of the African continent, which indicates that at
one time it had a close connection with the ocean.

Several mineral springs in the Cape Colony, both hot and cold.  A
chalybeate spring at the foot of the Kradoun mountain on the eastern
slope with a temperature of 110 degrees.  Hot springs at Montague,
Winterberg, Caledon, Malmesbury, Olifant, and one near Breed river,
which is found to rise to a temperature of 156 degrees.

The mineral wealth of the colony is not known.  Copper is found in large
quantities in Little Namaqualand, near the Orange river.  Near Port
Elizabeth lead has been found.  Iron is largely distributed over many
districts, and coal has of late years been found near Stormberg,
Burghersdorp and other places, and conveyed to the diamond-fields, which
turns out to be of better quality than was at first expected, and lately
gold.

Very fine caves in the Zwarteberge range of mountains, a short distance
from Oudtshoorn village, much resorted to, for their peculiar beautiful
stalactites of limestone formation.

Many extensive forests in the colony, near the town of Clanwilliam,
Outenigera, Zitzikamma; there is also the Adda bush, dense bush along
the Amatola mountains, Kat river, and the Knysna.  To the eastward we
find the Kadoun forest, extending nearly eighty miles in length along
the sea, and some fifteen miles in width.

Deep extensive kloofs along the mountain ranges are well-timbered.  The
Great Fish river bush is very extensive, and many others along the
Buffalo mountain, Katberg, Chumie, and Boschberg, are densely wooded
with fine timber, principally yellow wood that grow to a great size.

The great Karroo desert is situated more in the western division of the
Cape Colony, lying between the mountains Bokkeveld, Wittebergen, and
Swartebergen.  In length it is from Mitchell's Pass in the south nearly
400 miles, extending northwards to the Orange river, and from east to
west over eighty, a most wretched and dried-up country; scarcely a blade
of grass to be seen.  The Karroo bush is plentiful, of which the sheep
are very fond--a dreary waste.  The main road from Cape Town to Hope
Town and Kimberley passes diagonally through its entire length, through
Mitchell's Pass, a fearful gorge of seven miles, the road cut out of the
solid sandstone rock on the left hand, with perpendicular cliffs, and on
the right a precipice of some three and four hundred feet; the only
safeguard to prevent carriages from falling over are a few large
boulders placed at long distances apart to prevent any vehicle from
going too close to the edge.  The scenery along the seven miles of this
pass is grand in the extreme, but it can only be enjoyed when on foot,
when at every few steps a halt must be made to view the bold outline of
this wild and picturesque pass.  The railway from Cape Town to Hope Town
avoids this singular formation, consequently the great traffic is
carried round in another direction, more to the east, passing through
Beaufort West and Victoria West, over a flat and barren part of the
great Karroo.  The mountain pass at Franschehoek is very fine, also
Baiu's Kloof, both possessing grand scenery.

The principal towns in the colony beside Cape Town, in degree of
importance, are Port Elizabeth, Graham's Town; the capital of the
eastern province is pleasantly situated in a fertile valley.  Victoria
East, Ceres, Beaufort West, Hope Town, close to the Orange river,
through which the railway runs to Kimberley diamond-fields.  Somerset is
situated at the foot of Boschberg mountain, one of the most picturesque
towns in the colony; Bedford is built at the fort of Kagaberg, in a rich
and valuable part of the country; Cradock, a town situated on the bank
of the Great Fish river.  Graaff Reinet is erected on the Sunday's
river, one of the most pleasant towns in the colony, situated in a
mountain region, some of them are the highest in the colony.
Compassberg is over 9200 feet above sea-level.  Sneeunbergen is another
prominent mountain range with beautiful scenery, and the town is well
laid out; the streets have oranges and other trees planted along their
sides, that add much to the general appearance of the town.  Colesberg
is situated on the main transport road from Port Elizabeth to the
diamond-fields, Kimberley, Orange Free State, and the interior.  The
railway from Port Elizabeth runs to Colesberg, from thence passengers
and goods are conveyed by passenger-carts and ox-waggons.  [A railroad
now runs through this country to Kimberley.]  The town and country are
not very inviting, a vast extent of barren open plains, that slope
towards the Orange river, of which the town is distant some eleven
miles.  Richmond, Hanover, and Middleburg are rising towns.  Aliwal
North is situated on the Orange river on the main road to the Orange
Free State and also to Kimberley.  Burghersdorp is on the Stormberg
river.  Albert is another town in this district, and is on the road from
East London to the Free State.  King William's Town, Grey Town, and East
London are in the same division; the latter is a rising port, and will
eventually be very important as a sea-port.  Queen's Town is situated on
the Indwe river, and has several native locations belonging to the
Tambookie tribe.  There are several small villages situated throughout
all these districts.  To the east is what is termed British Kaffraria,
in which the port of East London is situated on the Buffalo river.  Its
eastern boundary is the Great Kei river, separating it from Kaffirland
proper; the country is picturesque, with lofty and well-wooded hills.

The native population in British Kaffraria are mostly of the Gaika and
Amakosa Kaffirs.

The population of the Cape Colony is various.  The western province has
a greater proportion of the Boer element than the English, but in the
eastern province the English predominate.  Many Germans have settled in
the colony since the German legion has been disbanded, and form a
considerable portion of the population.  French, Swedes, Americans, and
many others from different countries, not forgetting the Chinaman.

Of the natives there are the Hottentot, whose pure breed is nearly
extinct; a few are now living on the banks of St. John's river.
Korannas, who are closely allied to the Hottentot, and are found more to
the north on the Orange river, as also the Bushman.  Griquas, a bastard
tribe, descendants of the Dutch and Hottentot women, who have their
separate captains, and live much after the Boer in habits and customs.
In the Cape Town district are many Malay from India; in fact I may say
one-fourth of the population is made up of them.  Those races that may
be termed Kaffirs are the Gaika, Gonebi, Amakosa, Slambie (who occupy
lands in British Kaffraria), Amagaleka, Amatembu in the eastern part of
Queen's Town, and the country to the east of this division on to Natal
is Kaffirland proper, known under the name Tambookies.

Railroads have been extensively increased of late years, running through
the country to all parts.  One direct from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth,
another direct to Kimberley, Worcester, Graham's Town, King William and
Queen's Town, and many other parts.

The public transport roads are in most cases good, but many that wind
over the steep mountain passes are very bad, and trying to oxen and
mules when they have heavy loads.

Griqualand West forms a portion of the Cape Colony, and is situated on
the north side of the Orange river, and as it has been fully described
in the first part of this work, in consequence of the greater portion of
it being included in South Central Africa, I have merely to state that
Kimberley, Bulfontein, De Beers and De Toitspan, the four large mines,
now form one considerable town, and may be considered the richest of any
in the colony, with a population that is not living in a sleepy hollow,
as the rest of the colony is, but showing some vitality and energy,
which has in a great measure saved the colony from ruin.

The district of Cape Town is very pretty and picturesque, well planted
with firs and other trees.  The town is well supplied with fruit of
almost every description and vegetables.  Abundance of fish are caught
in the bay.

The climate is mild and healthy; the rainy season commences in the
autumn, about May, and lasts until August.  In the summer months it is
rare to have a storm.

Wild animals are becoming very scarce; a few of the large game such as
the elephant and buffalo are preserved in the Addo, Kowie, and
Zitzchkamma forests, and may be occasionally seen going down in troops
of thirty and forty to the sea to have a bath.  A few wild beasts;
blesbok and many springbok may now be seen on the plains, and also the
ostrich.

Tigers and tiger-cats are yet plentiful in the kloofs of the mountain
ranges that extend so far through the colony.  A few sea-cow, I believe,
are still to be seen in the rivers on the eastern border, beyond East
London.

Between the eastern division of the Cape Colony, that is Kaffraria
proper, and the upper part of the Caledon river, is Basutoland, an
extensive region that joins up to Natal or Drakensberg mountain as its
eastern boundary, the north by the Caledon river and the Orange Free
State, as also a portion of its western boundary.  The country is very
mountainous, with deep and thickly wooded kloofs, making the scenery
very lovely.  Some of the hills on the Drakensberg side are 9500 feet
above sea-level.  The Basutos are a branch of the Bechuana family, of
the Barolong tribe, the same family as Montsioa, who left Basutoland
when young, and occupied the country he now holds on the Molapo river.
The small district of Thaba Nchu belonged to these people, which was
separated from Basutoland by the Free State, and in fact that state
surrounded it; and in consequence of a difference between the two
chiefs, Samuel and Sepinare Moroka (the latter being killed), President
Brand went with a force of Free State burghers and took possession of
the town and territory of Thaba Nchu, and annexed it to that state.
Samuel was the son of the old chief Moroka, the other his nephew.  When
Moroka died in 1880, the people were divided as to who should be the
chief.  There is no doubt the son had the greatest claim; he was an
educated Kaffir, having spent several years at St. Augustine's College,
Canterbury, and was in every respect a gentleman in behaviour.  He is
now a wanderer amongst his tribe.

Thaba Nchu, in 1863, was the largest native town in British South
Africa; the population then was about 9000, with mission houses and
church schools.

It was from this station, in 1837, that the Boers who escaped from the
fight with Moselikatze, joined the Barolongs to drive that chief from
Mosega, and collected a force of 1000 men.  Montsioa, the present chief,
held command of part of the expedition, and through the Basuto
assistance, the Boers managed to drive Moselikatze more to the north.
We now see the return they get for this help: their country at Thaba
Nchu taken from them, and Montsioa would have lost his, and himself and
people been murdered, if the British Government had not stepped in at
the eleventh hour and saved them.  Basutoland, which is separated from
Thaba Nchu, is now under British protection, and is one of the finest
wheat-growing countries in South Africa, and the natives, if they had
been let alone, would have remained at peace, as they were growing rich
in supplying the diamond-fields with corn.  But as their country joins
for such a distance to the Free State, which is occupied by a Boer
population, it is impossible for them to remain in peace for long, for
no tribe, however peacefully inclined the people may be, can with Boers
on their border remain so long, as the latter have many ways of causing
a disturbance, which we have so frequently witnessed, as in the case of
Montsioa and Monkuruan, and the only way to prevent any further trouble
in that country was for the British Government to take it under their
protection.  Thaba Bosigo is their principal town and one of their
mission stations.

The Orange Free State occupies the whole of that part of Africa lying
between the Cape Colony, Basutoland, Natal, and the Transvaal.
Bloomfontein is the capital and seat of Government.  Mr. Brand is the
President, now Sir John Brand, with a Volksraad to carry on the
Government, and contains within its area about 55,000 square miles.

The principal rivers are the Vaal, Orange, and Caledon, that form the
boundary.  The tributaries of the Vaal are the Likwa spruit, the
north-east boundary, Klip, Welge, Rhenoster, Valsch, Vet, Modder, and
Keit.

The principal towns are Harrismith, situated on the north-east portion
of the State, about twenty-five miles north of the Drakensberg range,
the boundary of Natal, and on the main transport roads from Natal to the
diamond-fields, Bloomfontein, Potchefstroom, and Pretoria in the
Transvaal; also Winburg, Cronstad, Boschof, Keckstad, Fauresmith, and
many others of lesser note.

The country is almost one unbroken open grass plain, very scarce of
wood; in some parts there are long stretches of thorn, principally
mimosa bush, but the demand for wood at the diamond-fields is so great
that in a few years there will be scarcely a stick worth cutting, as the
price for a waggon-load of wood varies from ten to thirty pounds.  A
large proportion of the population in the various towns are English and
other nationalities.

The climate in winter is cold, but dry.  The elevation averages 4500
feet above sea-level, which is the cause.  Fortunately the winters are
dry.  The rainy season is from November to April.  In the summer months
very severe thunderstorms pass over the country.  Generally there is a
great want of water previous to the rainy season, and many cattle die
from cold and starvation.  Game, twenty years ago, was plentiful, and
also lions; but only a few blesbok, wildebeest, and springbok are to be
met with.  Some of the farmers have now begun to preserve them on their
farms, otherwise they would have long since disappeared from the
country.  Lions have all been destroyed, but a few wolves are still
left.  In parts of the country there are some very pretty localities,
where the woods are preserved, and occasionally may be seen several
hundred baboons visiting those parts for the gum, of which they are very
fond.  Many of them are of great size; they may be heard a long
distance, as they pass with their half-human grunts, and it would be
dangerous for any single individual unarmed to come across their path.

It is impossible for any great improvement to be made in the present
state of affairs in the State.  The country is too poor, and with very
little chance of its ever becoming richer, with such a lack of energy
for advancing in civilisation as is in the Boer character.

The British colony of Natal is situated on the coast, and joins on to
the Cape Colony at its extreme eastern boundary, called Kaffirland
proper, and Griqualand East as also Basutoland.  To the north it joins
up to the Orange Free State, and the Transvaal, the Drakensberg mountain
dividing it from them.  On the eastern side, Zululand is separated from
it by the Tugela and the Buffalo rivers.  It has a coast-line of 150
miles.  The extreme northern point is in 27 degrees 25 minutes South
latitude, down to 31 degrees 10 minutes.  The extreme western point is
in 29 degrees 4 minutes, to 31 degrees 30 minutes, being the eastern
point at the mouth of the Tugela, where Zululand joins it.

It is governed by a Lieutenant-Governor, and Executive and Legislative
Councils.  The principal town is Maritzburg, situated about fifty miles
inland from the port of Durban.  The latter has become an important
town, where all the shipping trade is carried on for the colony and the
interior.  On the main transport road to the Free State and Transvaal
are Howick, close to the Umgeni waterfall, Weston, Estcourt, Colenzo,
Ladysmith, and Newcastle.  East of Maritzburg is Richmond; north of
Durban is Pinetown, and many others in various parts of the country.

The mountain range on the western boundary, and on its northern, called
the Drakensberg, are the highest of any of the mountains of South
Africa, and it possesses some of the finest scenery in this part of the
world.  The loftiest peaks are 10,000 feet above sea-level.  The general
elevation of the upper portion of the colony is 4000 feet, sloping
gradually until it reaches the coast-line.

The climate is very healthy, both in summer and winter, and very mild.
The coast region is more tropical from its being less elevated than the
up-country; many extensive sugar plantations are cultivated, and the
Natal sugar has become an important article of commerce.  Coffee,
tobacco, indigo, tea, arrowroot, various kinds of spices, all kinds of
garden vegetables, tomato, yams, pineapple, and other tropical fruits.
Cotton is cultivated also.

Maritzburg is the seat of Government, and the principal military
station.  Railways are now pushing their way up towards Newcastle.  When
I knew the colony in 1860 the principal mode of conveyance was by
bullock-waggons and passenger-carts.  The colonists are now going in for
preserving fruits, which are highly prized for their delicious flavour.

There is some very fine building stone, particularly the marble found
near Alfreda.  Coal is found at Newcastle and Biggarsberg.  Iron is
distributed largely all over the country, and copper has also been
discovered.  Limestone has been found on the Bushman river and Upper
Tugela.  Slate is also found in several parts, and on the Bushman river,
in which are beautiful specimens of fossil ferns.  Altogether, Natal is
a pleasant and healthy colony, but the native population being so large,
now reaching to near 400,000, against a white population of something
under 30,000, is a drawback to the whole of the country being profitably
utilised, as it would otherwise be, if the colour was reversed.  And one
does not see what the end is to be, as Natal cannot carry a dense white
population whilst the Kaffirs live and increase nearly as rapidly as the
whites.

Gold will probably settle the question, as the bulk of the Kaffirs
remaining will be crowded out, and a small population of white men will
remain and feed the gold-diggers in the Transvaal and beyond.

The End.





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