National Geographic : 1931 Apr
VOL. LIX, No. 4 WASHINGTON APRIL, 1931 MAGAZINE COPYRIGHT, 1931, BY NATIONALGEOGRAPHICSOCIETY, WASHINGTON,D. C., IN THE UNITED STATES AND GREAT BRITAIN UNDER THE SOUTH AFRICAN UNION BY MELVILLE CHATER Special Staff Correspondent to the Union of South Africa AUTHOR or "SKIRTING THE SHORES OP SUNRISE," "ALBANIA, EUROPE'S NEWEST KINGDOM," "MICHIGAN, MISTRESS OF THE LAKES," ETC., ETC., IN THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE CAPE OF GOOD HOPE: THE FLORAL PROVINCE HE land smell! Luckless is the ocean - voyager who has missed that memorable hour when month long briny breezes suddenly drop and there steals upon him from afar that indescrib able earth odor, breathing of imminent shores and journey's end. It greeted us and our ship one daz zling September morning. South Africa at last! We were nearing the continent which Pliny so intriguingly characterized as the source of "always something new." To-day, apparently, the journalist's "something new" about South Africa lies in the not too widely recognized fact that it isn't all jungle, lions, elephants, and half naked blacks, as the movies too often sug gest, but instead a homelike land, where European- descended peoples have been implanting towns, industries, and institu tions for two centuries. For instance, most of the going-away gifts we had received had taken, rather dis quietingly, the form of succor to two in trepid explorers bound for perilous parts. Among those gifts we had found a loose card that read, "Hoping you'll use this often while in South Africa." But to which package did it refer? To that which contained a volume, "In Darkest Africa," accompanied, significantly, by an electric torch? Or to the quinine tablets? Or to the first-aid kit? Or to the bottle of-? But no! We couldn't imagine any true friend actually "hoping" that we'd use that bottle of snake-bite serum "often." "WHY NOT THE SUNNY CONTINENT?" The ship's doctor had looked in on us and our gifts and had answered some ques tions: "Malaria? Stick to the main travel routes and you'll find none while you are in the Union of South Africa. Not but that the Union has a few comparatively small and outlying malarial regions which one must avoid between October and March. And what's this ?" He picked up "In Darkest Africa," then chuckled: "The 'Dark Continent!' Well, as a matter of fact, Kimberley averages about three more hours daily of bright sunshine than New York, and between six and seven more hours than London. So why not the Sunny Continent ?" Apt enough we found his epithet when, under that dazzling September sunlight, there jutted up from the ocean's brilliant blue the vast mauve mass of Table Moun tain. So completely do its colossal dimen sions hide the hinterland that the Table. with its crowning "tablecloth" of cloud, appears at first sight as an ocean - girt island (see illustration, page 392).