African Camp Fires eBook

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

In this charming spot we lingered eight days.  Memba Sasa and I spent most of our time trying to get one of the jungle-dwelling buffalo without his getting us.  In this we were finally successful.[26] Then, as it was about time for C. to return, we moved back to V.’s boma on the Narossara; relaying, as usual, the carrying of our effects.  At this time I had had to lay off three more men on account of various sorts of illness, so was still more cramped for transportation facilities.  As we were breaking camp a lioness leaped to her feet from where she had been lying under a bush.  So near was it to camp that I had not my rifle ready.  She must have been lying there within two hundred yards of our tents, watching all our activities.

We drew into V.’s boma a little after two o’clock.  The man in charge of our tent did not put in an appearance until next day.  Fortunately V. had an extra tent, which he lent us.  We camped near the river, just outside the edge of the river forest.  The big trees sent their branches out over us very far above, while a winding path led us to the banks of the river where was a dingle like an inner room.  After dark we sat with V. at our little camp fire.  It was all very beautiful—­the skyful of tropical stars, the silhouette of the forest shutting them out, the velvet blackness of the jungle flickering with fireflies, the purer outlines of the hilltops and distant mountains to the left, the porters’ tiny fires before the little white tents; and in the distance, from the direction of V.’s boma, the irregular throb of the dance drum and the occasional snatch of barbaric singing borne down on the night wind from where his Wakambas were holding an n’goma.  A pair of ibis that had been ejected when we made camp contributed intermittent outraged and raucous squawks from the tiptop of some neighbouring tree.

FOOTNOTES: 

[23] This is an interesting fact—­that she reared to strike instead of springing.

[24] It must be remembered that this beast had the evening before killed a 350-pound hartebeeste with ease.

[25] “The Land of Footprints.”

[26] “The Land of Footprints.”

XXXIX.

NOTES ON THE MASAI.

It is in no way my intention to attempt a comprehensive description of this unique people.  My personal observation is, of course, inadequate to that task, and the numerous careful works on the subject are available to the interested reader.

The southern branch of the race, among whom we were now travelling, are very fine physically.  Men close to seven feet in height are not at all uncommon, and the average is well above six.  They are strongly and lithely made.  Their skins are a red-brown or bronze, generally brought to a high state of polish by liberal anointing.  In feature they resemble more the Egyptian or Abyssinian than the negro cast of countenance.  The women are tall and well formed, with proud, quaintly quizzical faces.  Their expressions and demeanour seem to indicate more independence and initiative than is usual with most savage women, but whether this is actually so or not I cannot say.

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African Camp Fires from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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