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forth, with their light fanlike foliage, in singular contrast to the domelike crowns of dark-green foliage which adorned the tamarind trees. This beautiful tree further on also remained the greatest ornament to the landscape; but besides this the kómor or baúre also and other species were observed, and the fan palm was to be seen here and there. Cattle and camels enlivened the country, which presented the appearance of one vast field, and was dotted with numerous corn stacks.

I had entertained the hope of being able this day to reach the natron lake of Keléno; but I convinced myself that the distance was too great, and, although I reached the first hamlet, which bears the name of Keléno, I was obliged to encamp without being able to reach the lake. There had been in former times a large place of the same name hereabout; but the inhabitants had dispersed, and settled in small detached hamlets. Close to our encampment there was a pond of small size, but of considerable depth, which seemed never to dry up. It was densely overgrown with tall papyrus and melés. The core of the root of this rush was used by my young Shúwa companion to allay his hunger, but did not seem to me to be very palatable: and fortunately it was not necessary to have recourse to such food, as we were treated hospitably by the inhabitants of the hamlet. The baúre, or, as they are here called, kómor, have generally a very stunted and extremely poor appearance in this district, and nothing at all like that magnificent specimen

VOL. IV.

as

са

which I had seen on my first approach to Sudán, in the valley of Bóghel.

Wednesday, The night was very cold, in fact one of December 22nd. the coldest which I experienced on my whole journey, the thermometer being only go above freezing-point; but nevertheless, there being no wind, the cold was less sensibly felt, and my servants were of opinion that it had been much colder the previous day, when the thermometer indicated 22° more.

As the natron lake did not lie in my direct route, I sent the greater part of my people, together with the camels, straight on to Badamúni, while I took only my two body-guards, the Gatroni and the Shúwa, with me. The country presented the same appearance as on the previous day; but there was less cultivation, and the dúm palm gradually became predominant. In one place there were two isolated deleb palms. Several specimens of the Kajília were also observed. The level was broken by numerous hollows, the bottom being mostly covered with rank grass, and now and then even containing water. In front of us, three detached eminences stretched out into the plain from north to south, the natron lake being situated at the western foot of the central eminence, not far from a village called Magájiri. When we had passed this village, which was full of natron, stored up partly in large piles, partly sewn into “ tákrufa," or matting coverings, we obtained a view of the natron lake, lying before us in the hollow at the foot of the rocky

CHAP. LIV. THE NATRON LAKE OR A'BGE.

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eminence, with its snow-white surface girt all round by a green border of luxuriant vegetation. The sky was far from clear, as is very often the case at this season; and a high wind raised clouds of dust upon the surface of the lake.

The border of vegetation was formed by well-kept cotton-grounds, which were just in flower, and by kitchen-gardens, where derába or Corchorus olitorius was grown, the cultivated ground being broken by dúm bush and rank grass. Crossing this verdant and fertile strip, we reached the real natron lake, when we hesitated some time whether or not we should venture upon its surface; for the crust of natron was scarcely an inch thick, the whole of the ground underneath consisting of black boggy soil, from which the substance separates continually afresh. However, I learned that, while the efflorescence at present consisted of only small bits or crumbled masses, during the time of the biggela, that is to say, at the end of the rainy season, larger pieces are obtained here, though not to be compared with those found in Lake Tsád, - the kind of natron which is procured here being called " boktor," while the other quality is called “ kilbu tsaráfu.” A large provision of natron, consisting of from twenty to twenty-five piles about ten yards in diameter, and four in height, protected by a layer of reeds, was stored up at the northern end of the lake. The whole circumference of the basin, which is called “ábge" by the inhabitants, was one mile and a half.

I here changed my course in order to join my people, who had gone on straight to Badamúni. The country at first was agreeably diversified and undulating, the irregular vales being adorned with dúm palms and fig trees; and cultivation was seen to a great extent, belonging to villages of the territory of Gúshi*, which we left on one side. Presently the country became more open, and suddenly I saw before me a small blue lake, bounded towards the east by an eminence of considerable altitude, and towards the north by a rising ground, on the slope of which a place of considerable extent was stretching out.

Coming from the monotonous country of Bórnu, the interest of this locality was greatly enhanced : and the nearer I approached, the more peculiar did its features appear to me; for I now discovered that the lake, or rather the two lakes, were girt all round by the freshest border of such a variety of vegetation as is rarely seen in this region of Negroland.

We had some difficulty in joining our camels and people, who had pursued the direct road from Keléno; for, having appointed as the spot where we were to meet, the north-eastern corner of the town of Gadabúni, or Badamúni, towards the lake, we found that it would be extremely difficult for them to get there, and

* This territory comprises the following villages : - Farilkaia, Górebí, Mataráwa, Tsamaiku, Kachébaré, Yáka, and Báda. The greater part of the inhabitants already belong to the Háusa race, or, as the Kanúri say, “ A'funú.”

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we therefore had to ride backwards and forwards be. fore we fixed upon a place for our encampment, at the western end of this small luxuriant oasis. On this occasion I obtained only a faint idea of the richness and peculiarity of this locality; but on the following morning I made a more complete survey of the whole place, as well as my isolated situation and the means at my disposal would allow, the result of which is represented in the accompanying woodcut.

The whole of the place forms a kind of shallow vale, stretching out in a west-easterly direction, and surrounded on the west, north, and south sides by hills rising from 100 to 200 feet, but bordered towards the east by Mount Shedíka, which rises to about 500 or 600 feet above the general level of the country. In this vale water is found gushing out from the ground in rich, copious springs, and feeds two lakes, after irrigating a considerable extent of cultivated ground where, besides sorghum and millet, cotton, pepper, indigo, and onions are grown. These lakes are united by a narrow channel thickly overgrown with the tallest reeds, but, notwithstanding their junction, are of quite a different nature, the westernmost containing fresh water, while that of the eastern lake is quite brackish, and full of natron. It seems to be a peculiar feature in this region, that all the chains of hills and mountains stretch from north-east to south-west, this being also the direction of the lakes.

The chief part of the village itself lies on the northwest side of the plantation, on the sloping ground of

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