Caravan Leaving Oasis in the Desert, Egypt

Special Collections > Keystone Slides
tiff scanned file from original glass slide
Almost all of northern Africa is a desert. Much of it would be fertile if it had water, but as the prevailing winds come from the northeast from across Asia, they are dry and bring no rain. Wherever underground water comes to the surface, there is an oasis covered with luxuriant vegetation. Date palms flourish and furnish food for the people. People who live where water is plentiful can hardly imagine how it is prized and every drop conserved for use. These soldiers have rested and refreshed themselves in the oasis and are again starting off across the desert. They are in haste, for each man rides a dromedary, as the swiftest camels are called. The very best can carry a rider a hundred miles in a day. The ordinary camel cannot travel more than three days without drinking, but the better breeds can go six or even seven days without water and with very little food. The hump is made of fat which is absorbed and keeps the animal alive when food is scarce. The camel's feet are provided with thick, broad sole-pads, which make the footing secure on the shifting sands and there are thick callosities on the joints of the knees where it rests. The nostrils can be closed against the flying dust and the eyes are protected by very long eyelashes. A camel has an extremely keen sense of smell, especially for water. The flesh is good food, the milk is excellent, and the hide makes good leather, while the hair is made into both cloth and rope. In some regions the dung is almost the only fuel the nomads have. For centuries the camel has been indispensable to life in the desert. Just before the Civil War the United States tried to introduce camels into the dry Southwest, but the attempt was not successful. Keystone ID: 9843 Note: All titles, descriptions, and location coordinates are from the original Keystone Slide documentation as supplied by the Keystone View Company. No text has been edited or changed.
Copyright by the Keystone View Company. The original slides are housed in McConnell Library's Special Collections.