He Set Out Early In November, The Chief With A Large Body Of Retainers
Accompanying Him As Far As The Falls Of Mosioatunye, The Most Remarkable
Piece Of Natural Scenery In All Africa, Which No European
Had Ever Seen Or Heard Of.
The Zambesi, here a thousand yards broad,
seems all at once to lose itself in the earth.
It tumbles into
a fissure in the hard basaltic rock, running at a right-angle
with the course of the stream, and prolonged for thirty miles
through the hills. This fissure, hardly eighty feet broad,
with sides perfectly perpendicular, is fully a hundred feet in depth
down to the surface of the water, which shows like a white thread
at its bottom. The noise made by the descent of such a mass of water
into this seething abyss is heard for miles, and five distinct
columns of vapor rise like pillars of smoke to an enormous height.
Hence the Makololo name for the cataract, `Mosi oa tunye' -
"Smoke sounds there!" - for which Livingstone, with questionable taste,
proposes to substitute the name of "Victoria Falls" - a change which we trust
the world will not sanction.
From these falls the country gradually ascends toward the east,
the river finding its way by this deep fissure through the hills.
Every thing shows that this whole region, for hundreds of miles, was once
the bed of an immense fresh-water lake. By some convulsion of nature,
occurring at a period geologically recent, this fissure was formed,
and through it the lake was drained, with the exception of its deepest part,
which constitutes the present Lake Ngami.
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