The Albert N'Yanza, Great Basin of the Nile And Explorations of the Nile Sources by Sir Samuel W. Baker









 -  A dead calm the
greater portion of the day; the river fringed with mimosa forest. These
trees are the Soont - Page 50
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A Dead Calm The Greater Portion Of The Day; The River Fringed With Mimosa Forest.

These trees are the Soont (Acacia Arabica), which produce an excellent tannin: the fruit, "garra," is used for that purpose, and produces a rich brown dye:

All my clothes and the uniforms of my men I dyed at Khartoum with this "garra." The trees are about eighteen inches in diameter and thirty-five feet high; being in full foliage, their appearance from a distance is good, but on a closer approach the forest proves to be a desolate swamp, completely overflowed; a mass of fallen dead trees protruding from the stagnant waters, a solitary crane perched here and there upon the rotten boughs; floating water-plants massed together, and forming green swimming islands, hitched generally among the sunken trunks and branches; sometimes slowly descending with the sluggish stream, bearing, spectre-like, storks thus voyaging on nature's rafts from lands unknown. It is a fever-stricken wilderness - the current not exceeding a quarter of a mile per hour - the water coloured like an English horse-pond; a heaven for mosquitoes and a damp hell for man. Fortunately, this being the cold season, the winged plagues are absent. The country beyond the inundated mimosa woods is of the usual sandy character, with thorny Kittur bush. Saw a few antelopes. Stopped at a horrible swamp to collect firewood. Anchored at night in a dead calm, well out in the river to escape malaria from the swamped forest. This is a precaution that the men would neglect, and my expedition might suffer in consequence.

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