African Camp Fires eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 275 pages of information about African Camp Fires.

After a five hours’ tropical march uphill we were glad to sit under our green dome, to look at our view, to enjoy the little breeze, and to drink some of the cocoanuts our friends the villagers brought in.


[3] “The Land of Footprints.”


The sable.

About three o’clock I began to feel rested and ambitious.  Therefore I called up our elegant guide and Memba Sasa, and set out on my first hunt for sable.  F. was rather more done up by the hard morning, and so did not go along.  The guide wore still his red tarboosh, his dark short jacket, his saffron yellow nether garment—­it was not exactly a skirt—­and his silver-headed rattan cane.  The only change he made was to tuck up the skirt, leaving his long legs bare.  It hardly seemed altogether a suitable costume for hunting; but he seemed to know what he was about.

We marched along ridges, and down into ravines, and across gulleys choked with brush.  Horrible thickets alternated with and occasionally surrounded open green meadows hanging against the side hills.  As we proceeded, the country became rougher, the ravines more precipitous.  We struggled up steep hills, fairly bucking our way through low growth that proved all but impenetrable.  The idea was to find a sable feeding in one of the little open glades; but whenever I allowed myself to think of the many adverse elements of the game, the chances seemed very slim.  It took a half-hour to get from one glade to the next; there were thousands of glades.  The sable is a rare shy animal that likes dense cover fully as well if not better than the open.  Sheer rank bull luck alone seemed the only hope.  And as I felt my strength going in that vicious struggle against heavy brush and steep hills, I began to have very strong doubts indeed as to that sable.

For it was cruel, hard work.  In this climate one hailed a car or a rickshaw to do an errand two streets away, and considered oneself quite a hero if one took a leisurely two-mile stroll along the cliff heads at sunset.  Here I was, after a five-hour uphill march, bucking into brush and through country that would be considered difficult going even in Canada.  At the end of twenty minutes my every garment was not wringing but dripping wet, so that when I carried my rifle over my arm water ran down the barrel and off the muzzle in a steady stream.  After a bit of this my knees began to weaken; and it became a question of saving energy, of getting along somehow, and of leaving the actual hunting to Memba Sasa and the guide.  If they had shown me a sable, I very much doubt if I could have hit it.

However, we did not see one, and I staggered into camp at dusk pretty well exhausted.  From the most grateful hot bath and clean clothes I derived much refreshment.  Shortly I was sitting in my canvas chair, sipping a cocoanut, and describing the condition of affairs to F., who was naturally very curious as to how the trick was done.

Project Gutenberg
African Camp Fires from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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