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

For the first time we had an opportunity to admire the wonderful pelt.  It is beautiful in quality, plum colour, with iridescent lights and wavy “water marks” changing to pearl colour on the four quarters, with black legs.  We were both struck with the gorgeousness of a topi motor-rug made of three skins, with these pearl spots as accents in the corners.  To our ambitions and hopes we added more topi.

Our journey to the Narossara River lasted three days in all.  We gained an outlying spur of the blue mountains, and skirted their base.  The usual varied foothill country led us through defiles, over ridges, and by charming groves.  We began to see Masai cattle in great herds.  The gentle humpbacked beasts were held in close formation by herders afoot, tall, lithe young savages with spears.  In the distance and through the heat haze the beasts shimmered strangely, their glossy reds and whites and blacks blending together.  In this country of wide expanses and clear air we could thus often make out a very far-off herd simply as a speck of rich colour against the boundless rolling plains.

Here we saw a good variety of game.  Zebras, of course, and hartebeeste; the Roberts’ gazelle, a few topi, a good many of the gnu or wildebeeste discovered and named by Roosevelt; a few giraffes, klipspringer on the rocky buttes, cheetah, and the usual jackals, hyenas, etc.  I killed one very old zebra.  So ancient was he that his teeth had worn down to the level of the gums, which seemed fairly on the point of closing over.  Nevertheless he was still fat and sleek.  He could not much longer have continued to crop the grass.  Such extreme age in wild animals is, in Africa at least, most remarkable, for generally they meet violent deaths while still in their prime.

About three o’clock of the third afternoon we came in sight of a long line of forest trees running down parallel with the nearest mountain ranges.  These marked the course of the Narossara, and by four o’clock we were descending the last slope.

FOOTNOTES: 

[22] See “The Land of Footprints.”

XXXVIII.

THE LOWER BENCHES.

The Narossara is really only about creek size, but as it flows the whole year round it merits the title of river.  It rises in the junction of a long spur with the main ranges, cuts straight across a wide inward bend of the mountains, joins them again, plunges down a deep and tremendous canon to the level of a second bench below great cliffs, meanders peacefully in flowery meadows and delightful glades for some miles, and then once more, and most unexpectedly, drops eighteen hundred feet by waterfall and precipitous cascade to join the Southern Guaso Nyero.  The country around this junction is some of the roughest I saw in Africa.

We camped at the spot where the river ran at about its maximum distance from the mountains.  Our tents were pitched beneath the shade of tall and refreshing trees.

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