CHAP. ii.) DAVIEEP. 27
SeJtember list.-We were off at seven, for packing and harnessing took us about an hour and a half, and daylight now breaks about half-past five. We only managed to get a cup of coffee before starting. We had bivouacked on the plain, just at the entrance of the gorge that leads down to Oosop, and our course to-day was parallel to the Swakop, and on to Davidep, another gorge, but not so deep a one as that of Oosop.
The sun, from the first, was extremely hot; we seemed to have quite changed our climate, and the cool sea-breezes were evidently shut out. As the day wore on, the mules showed evident effects of their late change of diet from hard food (corn and dry grass) to green grass and reeds;-all animals, when travelling, are extremely affected by causes like this, and the necessity of the change is often one of the great difficulties of a traveller. We had crossed a ridge ; and a huge, rounded mountain (Tinkhas), that faced us, was the principal feature in the landscape. The ground we travelled on was still a crisp gravel, and extended far away to our right ; op our left lay broken rocky ground, then the deep cutting of the river bed, which we often could see nothing of, though so near to it, and beyond, a complete chaos of broken crags and rugged hills; while level with the tops of these crags, and far beyond them, we could clearly see long reaches of another barren plain, the counterpart of the one we were travelling over.
The fact is, we were in wretched travelling condition. An indolent life of high feeding and perfect rest on board ship is a bad preparation for a journey like ours. Now, on a sudden, we had begun to live without stimulants of any sort, to work hard, and to endure a sun which exhausted what little nervous energy was left us. We went down to the water, leaving the packs as before, at the top of the descent, which here is only two miles long, and drank excessively. The water seemed to do us some good; but as soon as we had walked a short distance from it, the thirst, and hunger, and faintness came on again, and we went back to drink, time after time. We could not see a sign of game, except the same buffalo tracks, which spoke of the beasts having passed by, and migrated to the mouth of the river some days since. There was no spoor of wild beasts, or any signs of life, except a few doves, that we tried in vain to shoot, by cutting up a bullet into slugs : they were too wary for us.
After sundown the cart came : the men had left three mules behind, that had lain down, and would go no further. Andersson, Timboo,