The native idea of a good egg differs as widely from our own as is possible on such a trifling subject. An egg is eaten here with apparent relish, though an embryo chick be inside. We left Mosi-oa-tunya on the 27th, and slept close to the village of Bakwini.
One Mosi-oa-tunya, however, is quite enough for a continent. We had now an opportunity of seeing more of the Batoka, than we had on the highland route to our north. They did not wait till the evening before offering food to the strangers. The aged wife of the headman of a hamlet, where we rested at midday, at once kindled a fire, and put on the cooking-pot to make porridge.
Many feel a disappointment on first seeing the great American Falls, but Mosi-oa-tunya is so strange, it must ever cause wonder. In the amount of water, Niagara probably excels, though not during the months when the Zambesi is in flood.
But as, at Niagara, one has to go over to the Canadian shore to see the chief wonder the Great Horse-shoe Fall so here we have to cross over to Moselekatse's side to the promontory of evergreens, for the best view of the principal Falls of Mosi-oa-tunya.
They were said to send up "smoke" in the wet season, like Mosi-oa-tunya; but when we looked down into the cleft, in which the dark-green narrow river still rolls, we saw, about 800 or 1000 feet below us, what, after Mosi-oa-tunya, seemed two insignificant cataracts. It was evident that Pitsane, observing our delight at the Victoria Falls, wished to increase our pleasure by a second wonder.
Here we see them in a conglomeration, each with a train of pure white vapour, racing down till lost in clouds of spray. A stone dropped in became less and less to the eye, and at last disappeared in the dense mist below. Charles Livingstone had seen Niagara, and gave Mosi-oa-tunya the palm, though now at the end of a drought, and the river at its very lowest.
We proceeded next morning, 9th August, 1860, to see the Victoria Falls. Mosi-oa-tunya is the Makololo name and means smoke sounding; Seongo or Chongwe, meaning the Rainbow, or the place of the Rainbow, was the more ancient term they bore.
In the presence of the strange Mosi-oa-tunya, we can sympathize with those who, when the world was young, peopled earth, air, and river, with beings not of mortal form. Sacred to what deity would be this awful chasm and that dark grove, over which hovers an ever-abiding "pillar of cloud"?
The white cloth now appeared the size of a crown-piece. On measuring the width of this deep cleft by sextant, it was found at Garden Island, its narrowest part, to be eighty yards, and at its broadest somewhat more. Into this chasm, of twice the depth of Niagara-fall, the river, a full mile wide, rolls with a deafening roar; and this is Mosi-oa-tunya, or the Victoria Falls.
We took another view of the grand Mosi-oa-tunya, and planted a quantity of seeds in the garden on the island; but, as no one will renew the hedge, the hippopotami will, doubtless, soon destroy what we planted. Mashotlane assisted us. So much power was allowed to this under-chief, that he appeared as if he had cast off the authority of Sekeletu altogether.