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ing port of Natal, are unhealthy because in- native tribes, but drawn on by finding everyfested by those malarial fevers which are the where a country in which Europeans could blight of Africa, and which, though worst live and thrive; while the Portuguese, having after the wet season, are more or less per- long since lost the impulse of discovery and nicious all through the year. These fevers fol- conquest, did no more than maintain their low the streams up into the interior wherever hold upon the coast, and allowed even the few the ground is low, and sometimes occur at a forts they had established along the course of height of 3000 or even 3500 feet. But they are the Zambesi to crumble away. much less deadly the farther one gets from the coast, and
Be above 4000 feet they seldom
FRICA occur. The air of the plateau is so fresh, light, and invig
ATBEM LAND orating that the heat even of midsummer is not severely felt, and sunstroke, so common and fatal in India, is not feared. This fact explains how the course of South African discovery has proceeded, and how it is the Dutch and the English, rather than the Portuguese, that have become the possessors of the rich interior.
In the early years of the sixteenth century, long before the first Dutch fort was erected at Cape Town, Portugal had planted her settlers
en led at various points along the east coast, from Delagoa Bay to the Zambesi and Mo
For the location of railways we are indebted to a map kindly lent zambique. They did some
by « The Engineering News.)) trading in gold and ivory with the interior, and they ascended the That the inhabitants of Cape Colony should Zambesi for several hundred miles. But the have been so long in awakening to the value pestilential strip of flat ground which lay be- of the interior is itself to be traced to the tween the coast and the plateau damped their physical character of the land they had ocdesires, and threw obstacles in the way of their cupied. Immediately behind the mountains advance. They did little to explore and noth- which border the coast to the north and east ing to civilize the interior. Three centuries of the original settlement about Cape Town passed, during which our knowledge of South the country is extremely arid and unattracCentral Africa was scarcely extended; and it tive. Southwest of Graaf Reinet (see map) was not till some sixty years ago that the there is a tract called the Karroo (the name is Dutch Boers in their slow wagons passed Hottentot, meaning «dry »), which extends northeastward from Cape Colony to the spots some three hundred miles east and west, and where Bloemfontein and Pretoria now stand; about one hundred and fifty north and south. not till 1854-56 that David Livingstone made This tract is from 2500 to 3500 feet above seahis way through Bechuanaland to the Victoria level. It has a rainfall seldom exceeding five Falls of the Zambesi and to the Atlantic coast inches in the year, and is therefore totally at Loanda; not till 1889 that the vast terri- without running water. Parts of it are mountories which lie between the Transvaal Re- tainous, parts level, but it is everywhere despublic and Lake Tanganyika began to be titute of herbage and of trees, though pretty occupied by the Mashonaland pioneers. All thickly covered with small thorny shrubs and these farmers, explorers, and mining pro- bushes. The exquisite brilliancy of the air, spectors came up over the high plateau from the warmth of the days and the coldness the extreme southernmost end of Africa, of the nights, remind one who crosses it of checked from time to time by the warlike the deserts of western America between the
Railways in Operation
Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada, plateau already described is nearly all availthough the soil is much less alkaline, and able either for pasture or for agriculture. the so-called « sage-brush » plants character- But as this part of Africa is that which has istic of an alkaline soil are absent. North of for us at present the greatest interest, since the Karroo a similar and still larger region, it is the part most recently occupied by Euequally arid, equally barren, and in most places ropeans, and the part around which the waves equally elevated, stretches away to the banks of political strife are now beating, it deserves of, and even beyond, the Orange River, pass- a somewhat fuller description. ing into the deserts of Damaraland and of The eastern half of the plateau consists of western Bechuanaland. The dreariness of this three territories. Two of them are Dutch Karroo country long discouraged coloniza- republics (though a minority of the population, and still interposes a vast expanse of tion speak Dutch). The third includes the very thinly peopled country between the agri- country intrusted by Great Britain to the cultural tracts near Cape Town and the com- administration of the British South Africa paratively well-watered lands far to the north- Company. east. It is not all sheer desert, for large parts One of these republics — the Orange Free of it bear small succulent plants which fur- State-is very nearly as large as England, and nish good feed for sheep, though it takes five just as large as the State of New York. It lies or six acres to keep one sheep. Villages have from 4000 to 5000 feet above the sea, and is sprung up here and there, to some of which mostly level, with some low ranges of hills. The consumptive patients have been drawn by the surface is bare of wood, except in a few shelextraordinary purity and invigorating quality tered spots along the streams, but is well of the air; minerals have been discovered, and covered with herbage. The air is pure and in some few spots are worked with success; bracing, much like that of Colorado or Wyoand in the level ground the soil is usually so ming. There are, happily, no blizzards; but rich that nothing but water is needed to en- violent thunder-storms are not uncommon, able it to produce abundant crops. The and the hailstones- I have seen them bigger expense of finding or storing water for the than pigeon's eggs-- which fall during such purposes of tillage is, however, virtually storms sometimes kill the smaller animals and prohibitive; so this immense region of some even men. To the inhabitants and their gov120,000 square miles, far larger than Great ernment I shall return in a subsequent article. Britain, and nearly as large as the State of Here it is enough to remark that there are Montana, remains and is likely long to remain very few of them-only 77,000 whites and useless except for the pasturage of sheep and about 130,000 natives. Though much of the goats: and the number of live stock it can sup- country is well fitted for agriculture, it is alport, although considerable in the aggregate, most entirely occupied by huge grazing-farms; is very small when compared with the immense and as such a farm needs and supports only area.
a few men, the population continues to grow Fully one third of the whole surface of but slowly. South Africa consists of this sort of wilder- Northeast of the Orange Free State lies ness, which includes nearly all of German the South African Republic, which we know West Africa and of the British territories better under the name of the Transvaal State. between the Orange River and Lake Ngami. It is about two thirds the size of France, and The rest of the country is better fitted for larger than Arizona, but has in this vast terhuman life and labor. Along the coast of the ritory only about 170,000 whites, some three Indian Ocean eastward from Cape Town to fourths of whom are in the small gold-mining Durban there is rain enough for tillage; and district of the Witwatersrand. It is a very northward from Durban to the Portuguese high country, much of it above 5000 feet, port of Beira, though the frequency of mala- -- Johannesburg, the capital of the Rand disria makes the low grounds unhealthy for Eu- trict, is 5500 above the sea, -and these high ropeans, native labor can take full advantage parts are healthy, for the summer heats are of a sufficient rainfall and a soil in many tempered by easterly breezes and by copious places fertile. Inland, both on the seaward rains. On the east and north, where the slopes of the great Kathlamba mountain- country sinks toward the ocean and the valley range and in the long valleys which traverse of the river Limpopo, there is a good deal of it, there is plenty of pasture, and almost the fever, though drainage and cultivation may whole of the land is stocked with cattle or be expected to improve the conditions of sheep, or with ostriches. Still farther in- health. Like the Orange Free State, the land, the eastern half of the great central Transvaal is primarily a pasture-land; it is only in the lower ground on the eastern and to the coast, malignant fevers warn Europeans northern border that tillage is likely to make against any attempt to settle, and make even much progress. There are some mountain- a journey from the sea to the highlands danchains, but even the mountains, except on gerous during some months of the year. the eastern edge of the plateau facing the The reader will probably have gathered Indian Ocean, are destitute of trees. The from this brief sketch of the physical charfierce sun dries up the soil, and makes the acter of South Africa that it offers comparagrass sear and brown for the greater part of tively little to attract the lover of natural the year; the strong breezes sweep over the scenery. This impression is true if any one bare hills and rolling uplands, checked by no takes the sort of landscapes we have learned forest belts. It is in its gold reefs and its to enjoy in Europe and in the eastern part coal deposits that the great wealth of the of the United States as the type of scenery country lies; but to these I shall return later. which gives most pleasure. Variety of form,
West and north of the Transvaal lie those boldness of outline, the presence of water in immense British territories which have been lakes and running streams, and, above all, assigned to the British South Africa Company foliage and verdure, are the main elements as its sphere of operations. Bechuanaland - of beauty in those landscapes; while if any one so called from the principal native race which desires something of more imposing grandeur, occupies it-is a high and generally level he finds it in snow-capped mountains like the country, mostly wooded, though the trees are Alps or the Cascade Range, or in majestic crags but small
, and with grass which is richer and such as those which tower over the fiords of more abundant than that of the Transvaal. It Norway. But the scenery of South Africa is is looked upon as likely to prove one of the wholly unlike that of Europe or of most parts best ranching tracts in the continent. Mata- of America. It is, above all things, a dry land, beleland and Mashonaland, farther to the a parched and thirsty land, where no clear north, are equally high, but more undulat- brooks murmur through the meadow, no casing than Bechuanaland, with great swelling cade sparkles from the cliff, where mountain downs somewhat resembling the prairies of and plain alike are brown and dusty except western Kansas. They are bright, breezy during the short season of the rains. And becountries, very hot in the daytime, for they ing a dry land, it is also a bare land, with only lie within the tropic, but with nights cool few veritable forests in a few favored spots, even in midsummer, and a climate which, ex- while elsewhere, even in the best-wooded cept in the lower grounds along the marshy tracts, the trees are generally stunted. In banks of the streams, is not merely healthy, Bechuanaland and Matabeleland, for instance, but invigorating. Plenty of rain falls in De- though a great part of the surface is covered cember, January, and February, and it is only with trees, you see none forty feet high, and in October, at the end of the dry season, that few reaching thirty; while in the wilderness the grass begins to fail on the pastures. The of the Kalahari desert and Damaraland nothsubjacent rock is, as in Bechuanaland, usually ing larger than a bush is visible except the granite; but here and there beds of slate and scraggy and thorny mimosas. These features schist are found, and in these beds there are of South Africa - the want of water and the quartz reefs, believed to be rich in gold, and want of greenness- are those to which a nafrom which a great deal of gold must in days tive of western Europe finds it hardest to acgone by have been extracted, so numerous custom himself, however thoroughly he may are the traces of ancient workings. The ex- enjoy the brilliant sun and the keen, dry air treme easterly part of Mashonaland, where it which go along with them. And it must also borders on the dominions of Portugal, is called be admitted that over very large areas the Manicaland. This is a country of bold moun- aspects of nature are so uniform as to become tains of granite mixed with porphyry and slate monotonous. One may travel eight hundred -a country the loftiest peaks of which rise to miles and see less variety in the landscape a height of 8000 feet above the sea, and where than one would find in one fourth of the same a comparatively abundant rainfall makes the distance anywhere in western Europe or in streams more numerous, and fuller even in America east of the Alleghany Mountains. the dry season, than are those of any other The same geological formations prevail over part of the great plateau. Here and there a wide areas, and give the same profile to the piece of high table-land, some 7000 feet above hilltop, the same undulations to the plain, sea-level, offers an atmosphere of rare salu- while in traveling northward toward the brity, while a few miles farther to the east- equator the flora seems to change far less ward, in the low grounds which slope gently between 34o and 18° south latitude than it
does from Barcelona to Havre, through only venture to describe it. Nearly five hundred half as many degrees of latitude.
miles still farther to the north, in the district There are, nevertheless, some interesting called Manicaland already referred to, is a bits of scenery in South Africa, which, if they third mountain-region, less lofty than Basudo not of themselves repay the traveler for toland, but deriving a singular charm from so long a journey, add sensibly to his enjoy- the dignity and variety of its mountain forms. ment. The situation of Cape Town, with a The whole country is so elevated that summits magnificent range of precipices rising behind of 7000 or even 8000 feet do not produce it, with a noble bay in front, and environs full any greater effect upon the eye than does of beautiful avenues and pleasure-grounds, Ben Lomond as seen from Loch Lomond, or while bold mountain-peaks close in the dis- Mount Washington from the Glen House. But tance, is equaled by that of few other cities there is a boldness of line about these granite in the world. Constantinople and Naples, Bom- peaks comparable to those of the west coast bay and San Francisco, cannot boast of more of Norway or of the finest parts of the Swiss perfect or more varied prospects. There are Alps. Some of them rise in smooth shafts of some fine pieces of wood and water scenery apparently inaccessible rock; others form long along the south coast of Cape Colony, and one ridges of pinnacles of every kind of shape, of singular charm in the adjoining colony of specially striking when they stand out against Natal, where the suburbs of Durban, the prin- the brilliantly clear morning or evening sky. cipal port, though they lack the grandeur The valleys are well wooded, the lower slopes which its craggy heights give to the neigh- covered with herbage, so the effect of these borhood of Cape Town, have, with a warmer wild peaks is heightened by the softness of climate, a richer and more tropically luxuriant the surroundings which they dominate, while vegetation. In the great range of mountains at the same time the whole landscape becomes which runs some seventeen hundred miles more complex and more noble by the mingling from Cape Town almost to the banks of the of such diverse elements. No scenery better Zambesi, the scenery becomes striking in deserves the name of romantic. And even in three districts only. One of these is Basuto- the tamer parts, where instead of mountains land, a little native territory which lies just there are only low hills, or « kopjes » (as they where Cape Colony, the Orange Free State, are called in South Africa), the comparatively and Natal meet. Its peaks are the highest in friable rock of these hills decomposes under Africa south of Mount Kilimanjaro, for sev- the influence of the weather into curiously eral of them reach 11,000 feet. On the south- picturesque and fantastic forms, with crags east this mountain-land, the Switzerland of riven to their base, and detached pillars supSouth Africa, faces Natal and East Griqua- porting loose blocks and tabular masses, land with a long range of formidable preci- among or upon which the timid Mashonas pices, impassable for many miles. The in- have built their huts in the hope of escapterior contains valleys and glens of singular ing the raids of their warlike enemies, the beauty, some wild and rugged, some clothed Matabele. with rich pasture. The voice of brooks, a Though I must admit that South Africa, sound rare in Africa, rises from the hidden · taken as a whole, offers far less to attract the depths of the gorges, and here and there lover of natural beauty than does southern torrents plunging over the edge of a basaltic or western Europe or the Pacific States of cliff into an abyss below make waterfalls North America, there are two kinds of charm which are at all seasons beautiful, and when which it possesses in a high degree. One is swollen by the rains of January majestic. that of color. Monotonous as the landscapes Except wood, of which there is unhappily often are, there is a warmth and richness of nothing more than a little scrubby bush in the tone about them which fills and delights the sheltered hollows, nearly all the elements of eye. One sees comparatively little of that beauty are present, and the contrast between pale gray limestone which so often gives a the craggy summits and the soft, rich pasture- hard and chilling aspect to the scenery of the and corn-lands which lie along their northern lower ridges of the Alps and of large parts base gives rise to many admirable landscapes. of the coasts of the Mediterranean. In Africa
Two hundred miles north-northeast of Ba- even the gray granite has a deeper tone than sutoland the great Kathlamba range rises in these limestones, and it is frequently covered very bold slopes from the coast levels behind by red and yellow lichens of wonderful beauty. Delagoa Bay, and the scenery of the valleys The dark basalts and porphyries which occur and passes is said to be extremely grand. in so many places, the rich red tint which the Knowing it, however, only by report, I will not surface of the sandstone rocks so often takes
under the scorching sun, give great depth of primitive simplicity of a country which stands tone to the landscape; and though the flood now just as it came from the hands of the of midday sunshine is almost overpowering, Creator. The self-sufficingness of nature, the the lights of morning and evening, touching insignificance of man, the mystery of a unithe mountains with every shade of rose and verse which does not exist, as our ancestors crimson and violet, are indescribably beauti- fondly thought, for the sake of man, but for ful. It is in these morning and evening hours other purposes hidden from us and forever that the charm of the pure, dry air is spe- undiscoverable—these things are more fully cially felt. Mountains fifty or sixty miles away realized and more deeply felt when one travstand out clearly enough to enable all the erses an immense wilderness which seems to wealth of their color and all the delicacy of have known no change since the remote ages their outlines to be perceived; and the eye when hill and plain and valley were molded realizes, by the exquisitely fine change of into the forms we see today. Feelings of this color tinge between the nearer and the more kind powerfully affect the mind of the travdistant ranges, the immensity and the harmony eler in South Africa. They affect him in the of the landscape. Europeans may think that Karroo, where the slender line of rails, along the continuous profusion of sunlight during which his train creeps all day and all night most of the year may become wearisome. I across long stretches of brown desert and was not long enough in the country to find it under the crests of stern, dark hills, seems to so, and I notice that those who have lived for heighten by contrast the sense of solitudea few years in South Africa declare they pre- a vast and barren solitude interposed between fer that continuous profusion to the murky the busy haunts of men which he has left beskies of Britain or Holland or north Germany. hind on the shores of the ocean and those still But even if the fine weather which prevails busier haunts whither he is bent, where the for eight months in the year be somewhat pick and hammer sound upon the Witwatersmonotonous, there is compensation in the rand, and the palpitating engine drags masses extraordinary brilliancy of the atmospheric of ore from the depths of the crowded mine. effects throughout the rainy season, and es- They affect him still more in the breezy highpecially in its first weeks. During nine days lands of Matabeleland, where the eye ranges which I spent in the Transvaal at that season, over an apparently endless succession of unwhen several thunder-storms occurred almost dulations clothed with tall grass or waving every day, the combinations of sunshine, light- wood, till they sink in the blue distance toward ning, and cloud, and the symphonies--if the the plain through which the great Zambesi expression may be permitted-of light and takes its seaward course. shade and color which their changeful play The wilderness is indeed not wholly unproduced in the sky and on the earth, were peopled. Over the wide surface of Matabelemore various and more wonderful than a land and Mashonaland-an area of some two whole year would furnish forth for enjoyment hundred thousand square miles- there are in most parts of Europe.
scattered natives of various tribes, whose The other peculiar charm which South numbers may be roughly estimated at from African scenery possesses is that of primeval 150,000 to 250,000 persons. (There are really solitude and silence. It is a charm which is scarcely any data for an estimate, so I give this differently felt by different minds. There are with the greatest hesitation.) But one rarely many who find the presence of what Homer sees a native except along a few well-beaten calls « the rich works of men » essential to the tracks, and still more rarely comes upon a perfection of a landscape. Cultivated fields, cluster of huts in the woods along the streamgardens, and orchards, farm-houses dotted lets or half hidden among the fissured rocks here and there, indications in one form or of a granite kopje. The only traces of man's another of human life and labor, do not merely presence in the landscape are the narrow and give a greater variety to every prospect, but winding footpaths which run hither and also impart an element which evokes the sense thither through the country, and bewilder of sympathy with our fellow-men, and excites the traveler who, having strayed from his a whole group of emotions which the contem- wagon, vainly hopes by following them to find plation of nature, taken by itself, does not his way back to the main track, and the arouse. No one is insensible to these things, wreaths of blue smoke which indicate some and some find little delight in any scene from spot where a Kafir has set the grass on fire which they are absent. Yet there are other for the sake of killing the tiny creatures minds to which there is something specially which the fire may frighten from their nests solemn and impressive in the untouched and or holes. Nothing is at first more surprising