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NGAMI

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Originally appearing in Volume V19, Page 634 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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NGAMI, the central point of an inland water system of South Africa, once forming a Iake 20 M. long and ro wide, but now little more than an expanse of reeds growing in a soft treacherous soil, below which brackish water is found. It is cut by 2o2° S. and 23° E. Ngami is the lowest point of a large depression in the plateau which comprises nine-tenths of Africa south of the Zambezi. The area which drains to it is bounded S. by the basin of the Orange, E. by the Matabele hills, N. by the western affluents of the Zambezi. The greater part of the Ngami water-system lies, however, N.W. of the lake (which for convenience it may still be called) in the tableland of Angola and German South West Africa. On the high plateau of Bihe, in the hinterland of Benguella. rise two large rivers, the Okavango and the Kwito, which uniting discharged their waters into Ngami. From the N.E. end of Ngami issued the Botletle or Zuga, a stream which runs S.E. and drains towards the Makarikari marsh, from which there is no outlet. Although Ngami has dried up since 1890 the Okavango and its tributary the Kwito remain large rivers. The Okavango is known in its upper course as the Kubango. Its most remote source lies in about 1r° S. and 161° E. and its length is over 90o m. It flows first S. then S.E. and E. In about 18° S. and 2oz° E. it is joined on the north bank by the Kwito, a large navigable stream rising almost as far north as the Okavango. Its general course is S.E., but between 15° and 17° S. it flows S. and even S.W. Below the Kwito confluence the Okavango, which is also joined by various streams from the S.W. (German territory), is a rapid stream with an average breadth of over loo yds., and generally navigable as far as the Popa falls, in 210 50' E. In the dry season, the water-level is from 4to 20 ft. below the banks, but these are overflowed during the rains. At this period, April-June, some of the surplus water finds its way (in about r9° S.) by the Magwekwana to the Kwando or Linyanti (Zambezi system), to which, it is conjectured, the whole body of water may have once flowed. Below the Magwekwana outlet the Okavango, now called the Taukhe or Tioghe, turns almost due S., enters a swampy reed-covered plain and is broken into several branches. In this region the effects of desiccation are marked. Through the swamps the river formerly entered Ngami. The last 20 M. of the old channel are now dry and devoted tc grain crops. Above this point the waters of the Okavango arc diverted eastward through a channel called Tamalakane to the Botletle, the river which, as stated above, formerly flowed out of Ngami. The point of confluence is in about 20° S. 232° E., the Botletle above this point being merely a succession of pools. Below the junction the river bed is 150 to 200 yds. wide. The banks are 25 to 30 ft. high, and form steep white walls of sand compacted with lime, behind which the dark green forest rises. The stream is fringed with reeds harbouring countless water-fowl. The Botletle, whose bed is about loo m. in length, loses itself in a system of salt-pans—round or oval basins of varying size sunk to a depth of 30 to 45 ft. in the sandstone, and often bounded by steep banks. The outer pans are dry for a large part of the year, the whole system being filled only at the height of the flood-season in August. The Botletle, which receives in addition the scanty waters of the northern Kalahari, at this season reaches the Makarikari marsh. This marsh, occupying the N.E. corner of Bechuanaland, has also feeders from the Matabele hills in the direction of Bulawayo. During the rains the marsh is converted into a large lake. Much of the water is lost by evaporation; much of it sinks into some subterranean reservoir. The evidence o1 travellers is conclusive that the country around Ngami is drving up. The desiccation appears to be rapid. In 1849 when David Livingstone visited Ngami the lake though shallow was of considerable extent. Later travellers reported progressive decrease in the size of the lake and in 1896 Sir F. D. Lugard and Dr Siegfried Passarge found it dry. Dr Passarge was told by the natives that the cessation of the river's flow was caused, about 189o, by a blocking of the channel by thousands of rafts. Although the river system below the Magwekwana outlet of the Okavango is drying up, above that point there are long stretches of navigable water both on the Okavango and the Kwito, in all considerably over Imo m. The Popa falls are the last of a series of six in a distance of 40 m., but none present serious engineering difficulties. The Magwekwana connexion with the Zambezi is a little over loo m. long, and for more than half its course flows through a deep well-defined bed with a minimum width of no, yards. The fall to the Linyanti affluent of the Zambezi is only a few feet and the country presents no obstacles to the construction of artificial channels. Ngami is within the (British) Bechuanaland protectorate, about 5o m. E. of the frontier of German South-West Africa. The district is the home of the Batawana tribe of Bechuana, with whom is stationed a European magistrate. The tribes living along the lower Okavango are tributary to the Bechuana, and the blocking of the channel referred to was occasioned by their bringing to Ngami their annual tribute of corn. See BECHUANALAND and KALAHARI. An account of the Ngami district is given in Die Kalahari by Dr Siegfried Passarge (Berlin, 1904). Of early books of travel consult C. J. Andersson's Lake Ngami (London, 1856) and The Okavango River (London, 1861). NGAN-HUI (AN-IrwEl or GAN-HWLTY), an eastern province of China, which, together with Kiang-su and Kiang-si, forms the vice-royalty of Kiang-nan. It is bounded N. by Ho-nan, E. by Kiang-su and Cheh-kiang, S. by Kiang-si and W. by Hu-peh and Ho-nan. It covers an area of 48,461 sq. m., and contains a population of 23,600,000. Its principal city is Ngan-kiing on the Yangtsze Kiang, besides which it numbers seven prefectural cities. One district city, Ho-fei, is noted as having been the birthplace of Li Hungchang (1822-1901). The southern half of the province, that portion south of the Yangtsze Kiang, forms part of the Nan-shan, or hilly belt of the south-eastern provinces, and produces, besides cotton, coal and iron ore, large quantities of green tea. There are also considerable forest areas. Nganhui is one of the most productive provinces of China. Over the whole of its southern portion tea is largely grown, notably in the districts of Hui-chow Fu, Tung-liu, Ta-tung and Wu-hu. The Yangtsze Kiang is the principal river of the province, and is of great importance for foreign commerce, supplying direct water communication between some of the principal tea-growing districts and the neighbourhood of Hang-chow. The only other river of importance is the Hwai-ho (see CHINA: The Country). Wu-hu on the Yangtsze Kiang is the only open port in this province. From this port a railway runs S.E. to Wen-chow—an open seaport in Cheh-kiang province.
End of Article: NGAMI
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