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THE DUTCH IN SOUTH AFRICA
Szambesia Fray A be described in a few
OUTH AFRICA, or Africa south of the
be described in a few sentences, so that its physical peculiarities are revealed, and it becomes clear to the mind's
eye that it is practically one country by nature, and must eventually be one by government.
A high plateau of rolling, grass-covered land falls away abruptly on each sea-shore, and at the Cape or southernmost end, leaving a more or less swampy, malarial, and generally narrow margin between the tableland and the water. On the Indian Ocean coast lie Natal, and Portuguese East Africa; and on the Atlantic German South-west Africa, and Portuguese West Africa.
Except in Natal there are few white people in these states, and, whatever influence they are yet to exert upon the development of South Africa, they have not yet begun to form, or even to suggest, their own hereafter.
Of harbours there are, on the west only Capetown, Saldanha Bay, and Walfish Bay in German Africa---all English ports; and on the east coast Durban in Natal, and Delagoa Bay and Beira in the Portuguese strip.
South Africa displays monotonous sameness in the ever-recurring hills and prairies of the interior plateau. The only variation and relief to the eye is at the doorways, so to speak. All around the coast, walling in the great middle tableland, are mountain ranges rising higher and higher, until they sometimes soar to a height of six thousand feet at sixty miles from the sea, and to more than three thousand feet at half that distance inland.
In these bold ranges are to be found practically the only beauties of scenery which South Africa possesses. Basuto Land, which lies between a part of Natal and the Orange Free State, contains such glorious scenery as to have earned for it the flattering nickname of “the Switzerland of South Africa.”
Part of the mountainous country a little farther north, inland from Delagoa Bay, is also spoken of by travellers as very grand and beautiful ; and this is also true of Manica Land, between Portuguese East Africa and Matabeleland, in the British South African Company's domain.
The English and Dutch dominions, which compose the great tableland, are three thousand to five thousand feet above the sea level, so that, in spite of the latitudes in which they lie, they possess a temperate climate. Their soil is very dry, with small rainfalls, and rivers which are either so full as to render them useless for navigation, or, during the major part of the year, nearly dried up.
. It is an empire of rolling land, desert in part, grass-grown in the main
- an imperial cattle range, only as yet touched here and there for agriculture—one region for one people, or, at least, for uniform laws governing kindred inte
The little pit at Kimberley on the edge of the Free State, where the diamonds are found, and the several tiny punctures in the Veldt whence the Transvaal gold is taken out, are of gigantic value, but are too small to affect the general rule that South Africa is all alike, a pastoral region needing water before it can be promoted to become a seat of agriculture.
It is a great, dry, almost burnt land, an empire