Left the town of Linyanti, accompanied by
Sekeletu and his principal men, to embark on the Chobe.
Came to the river in order to see that all was right at parting.
We crossed five branches of the Chobe before reaching the main stream:
this ramification must be the reason why it appeared so small
to Mr. Oswell and myself in 1851. When all the departing branches re-enter,
it is a large, deep river. The spot of embarkation was the identical island
where we met Sebituane, first known as the island of Maunku, one of his wives.
The chief lent me his own canoe, and, as it was broader than usual,
I could turn about in it with ease.
The Chobe is much infested by hippopotami, and, as certain elderly males
are expelled the herd, they become soured in their temper,
and so misanthropic as to attack every canoe that passes near them.
The herd is never dangerous, except when a canoe passes into the midst of it
when all are asleep, and some of them may strike the canoe in terror.
To avoid this, it is generally recommended to travel by day near the bank,
and by night in the middle of the stream. As a rule, these animals flee
the approach of man. The "solitaires", however, frequent certain localities
well known to the inhabitants on the banks, and, like the rogue elephants,
are extremely dangerous. We came, at this time, to a canoe which had been
smashed to pieces by a blow from the hind foot of one of them.
I was informed by my men that, in the event of a similar assault being made
upon ours, the proper way was to dive to the bottom of the river,
and hold on there for a few seconds, because the hippopotamus,
after breaking a canoe, always looks for the people on the surface,
and, if he sees none, he soon moves off.
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