CHAP. ix.] REMARKS ON MY ROUTE.
description as that around us, a sandy soil with not unfrequent dried-up vleys, and covered with trees, but by no means so thickly as to impede the progress of a waggon.
In fact if a person wanted to go from Walfisch Bay to the lake, he would have an excellent waggon road after he had left Eikhams (Jonker's place) one day behind him. He should follow the Quieep River as far as it goes eastwards, and then make a straight course fer Kurri-koop, taking the chance of vley water by the road ; from Kurrikoop, through Elephant's Fountain to 'Twas, all is excellent; thence he should follow the foot of the ridge and not the top of it, as we had done, sending the oxen to water up the gorges. In the twenty-one hours' journey to 'Tounobis, three or four large vleys were passed, in which water would lie for many months. From there onwards I should have no fear whatever in the rainy season, even if the Bushmen refused to guide me, because the character of the country is adapted for holding water; but from Damaraland to the Ovampo no person could think of travelling without guides, unless there was a recent track to follow. If he once strayed from the path he would be hopelessly involved in the thorn thicket.
I fancy that the Bushmen spoke truth about the want of water ahead, as the droves of animals which had congregated in the neighbourhood of 'Tounobis continued drinking every night, the repeated firing being insufficient to drive them away; it seemed as though they had no other neighbouring watering-place to go to.
As the Bushmen learnt to understand our Hottentot a little better, we had some long talks about the animals on the river that joins the western end of the lake; that there are many there quite new to the Hottentots is beyond doubt, as several carosses were stolen by the Kubabees and brought back south, and the skins that many of these were made from were quite unknown to them. The Bushmen, without any leading question or previous talk upon the subject, mentioned the unicorn. I cross-questioned them thoroughly, but they persisted in describing a one-horned animal, something like a gemsbok in shape and size, whose horn was in the middle of its forehead. The spoor of the animal was, they said, like that of a zebra. The horn was in shape like a gemsbok's, but shorter. They spoke of the animal as though they knew of it, but were not at all familiar with it. It will indeed be strange if, after all, the creature has a real existence. There are recent travellers in the north of tropical Africa who have heard of it there, and