African Camp Fires eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 229 pages of information about African Camp Fires.

From the top of the sheer rise we looked back for the last time over the wonderful panorama of the Rift Valley.  Before us were wide rounded hills covered with a scattered small growth that in general appearance resembled scrub oak.  It sloped away gently until it was lost in mists.  Later, when these cleared, we saw distant blue mountains across a tremendous shallow basin.  We were nearly on a level with the summit of Suswa itself, nor did we again drop much below that altitude.  After five or six miles we overtook the wagon outspanned.  The projected all-night journey had again been frustrated by the lions.  These beasts had proved so bold and menacing that finally the team had been forced to stop in sheer self-defence.  However, the day was cool and overcast, so nothing was lost.

After topping the Mau we saw a few gazelle, zebra, and hartebeeste, but soon plunged into a bush country quite destitute of game.  We were paralleling the highest ridge of the escarpment, and so alternated between the crossing of canons and the travelling along broad ridges between them.  In lack of other amusement for a long time I rode with the wagon.  The country was very rough and rocky.  Everybody was excited to the point of frenzy, except the wagon.  It had a certain Dutch stolidity in its manner of calmly and bumpily surmounting such portions of the landscape as happened in its way.

After a very long, tiresome march we camped above a little stream.  Barring our lucky rain this would have been the first water since leaving the Kedong River.  Here were hundreds of big blue pigeons swooping in to their evening drink.

For two days more we repeated this sort of travel, but always with good camps at fair-sized streams.  Gradually we slanted away from the main ridge, though we still continued cross-cutting the swells and ravines thrown off its flanks.  Only the ravines hour by hour became shallower, and the swells lower and broader.  On their tops the scrub sometimes gave way to openings of short grass.  On these fed a few gazelle of both sorts, and an occasional zebra or so.  We saw also four topi, a beast about the size of our wapiti, built on the general specifications of a hartebeeste, but with the most beautiful iridescent plum-coloured coat.  This quartette was very wild.  I made three separate stalks on them, but the best I could do was 360 paces, at which range I missed.

Finally we surmounted the last low swell to look down a wide and sloping plain to the depression in which flowed the principal river of these parts, the Southern Guaso Nyero.  Beyond it stretched the immense oceanlike plains of the Loieta, from which here and there rose isolated hills, very distant, like lonesome ships at sea.  A little to the left, also very distant, we could make out an unbroken blue range of mountains.  These were our ultimate destination.

XXXVII.

THE SOUTHERN GUASO NYERO.

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African Camp Fires from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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