by Philip Iddison
badwiyyin - dwellers in the dessert
These characteristics of the land, reacting on the inhabitants, render
them in great part of unsettled predatory habit, intensely individualistic,
jealous of the secrets of water and pasture which barely make life possible, and
proud of an exclusive liberty, which has never been long infringed. -- D.G.
Arabia attracted a sparse number of adventurous travellers from the
developing European countries from the sixteenth century to the middle of the
present century. Their published accounts identify various attractions
ranging through exploration, scientific studies, political or religious intrigue
to early ethnographic studies. The latter often concentrated on the
bedouin, a case of the traveller observing his fellow traveller. The
accounts record a consistent view of the Arabian character and society,
epitomised by the harsh realities of bedouin life and the more urbane life of
towns and villages. There are passing references to the food of the local people
and that introduced by the travellers but this is usually a subsidiary element
of the account, subordinated to the traveller’s tales of extreme hardship, the
mercurial character of the bedouin and a fascination with their social customs.
The latter were characterised by the two extremes of the rules of hospitality
and the rules of raiding. Tales of the coffee hearth are common and this key
element of bedouin life is remarkably consistent through the centuries of
Practically every part of the Arabian peninsula, an area of some 3.2 million
square kilometres, was occupied to some degree, from the well established trade
and holy cities such as Jeddah, Mecca and Medina to the nomadic herdsmen of the
vast sand deserts such as the Rub al Khali. However the bedouin seemed to
dominate the Western perception of Arabia. This landmass included a variety of
human habitations. Oasis villages and towns were scattered over the sand
and stony deserts of the inland plateau. In the mountains on the southern and
western fringes, altitude tempered heat, rain was more plentiful and a much more
varied agriculture was possible. The Omani mountains sheltered groves of
walnut and fruit trees and Yemeni valleys yielded sorghum and coffee. The long
coastline had numerous trading ports and fishing villages where a rich haul of
seafood was made .
Despite failing to conquer Arabia the Romans divided it into two provinces, arabia
felix and arabia deserta. Arabia felix occupied the whole of
the peninsula and effectively controlled the spice trade from the Indies in the
period before reliable seaborn commerce became established. It was also the only
source of frankincense. Arabia deserta was the northern, Syrian desert .
From the start of the Islamic era in September 622, Arabia was practically
inaccessible to non-Muslims. The few Westerners who did penetrate Arabia
either posed as Muslims or travelled with trepidation as the population were
frequently hostile to kaffirs (unbelievers).
The earliest account by a European traveller to the Arabian interior was by
Ludovico di Varthema, a Bolognese adventurer who accompanied the haj
caravan from Damascus in 1503 and who reached Yemen where he noted fair
orchards, an abundance of vines, fat-tailed sheep and the spice trade.
The discovery of coffee in Yemen was to attract interest from all the main
trading nations from the end of the sixteenth century, but trading houses and
their European settlers remained in the coastal towns such as Jeddah, Aden and
The first party with any aspirations to a scientific assessment of the
interior was not mounted until 1762. Carsten Niebuhr was the only member of the
party of six to return and his account was published in 1772. The
party travelled in Yemen, only reaching as far inland as Sana but amongst many
observations gave a detailed description of coffee cultivation which was then
supplying the coffee houses of Europe.
The first crossing of Arabia was made by accident rather than by design and
yielded little apart from confirmation of the stark terrain. Thereafter a number
of travellers made significant journeys into the interior desserts and started
to flesh out the lives of the bedouin. Charles Doughty (travelling 1876-8)
provides a substantial amount of anecdotal information on the food culture of
the bedouin. He travelled extensively in the Hejaz and Nejd,
spending periods in oasis towns such as Hail and Kheybar as well as travelling
with the bedouin. His observations establish a strong connection between the
requirement of the bedouin to travel to find pasture for their flocks which were
their economic wealth and sustenance and their frequent visits to the oasis
towns which often extended into short periods of residence.
By the early twentieth century the only unexplored area of significance was
the great sand dessert called the Rub al Khali in the south-western portion of
the peninsula and it was to yield little additional information on the food of
the region when it was finally crossed in 1931 by Bertram Thomas.
With the advent of oil wealth, bedouin life changed dramatically from an
austere existence in exacting terrain to nationality in new wealthy nations and
a transition into the modern world in a single generation.
Several travellers' reports of the bedouin culinary regime are influenced by
the rules of hospitality. If the host were expansive or wanted to impress, the
quality and quantity of food offered would be lavish and hence create an
unrealistic impression of routine consumption, not dissimilar to the situation
in other cultures. However there would often be no backup supplies and playing
host could seriously deprive the dependants of the host of their meagre rations
or seriously deplete the host's flock. The dish of boiled mutton or camel calf
served on rice or a "mess of wheat" ,
mansaf, would normally only be a festival or major family event dish for
the bedouin . Doughty, Thomas and Thesiger who
travelled extensively with small parties of bedouin record a far more basic and
monotonous diet. Commonly it was so ordinary that it did not warrant a mention
in their journals.
Light breakfasts and occasional impromptu meals of game or for hospitality
during the day are recounted but the main meal was usually taken at the end of
the day, after the evening milking.
Bedouin culinary requirements ranged from the need to sustain a small group
travelling independantly, probably with grazing flocks, to the provision for
large tribal groups who might be settled in one area for several weeks. Access
to fresh provisions might be close at hand in a nearby oasis or could be several
days march away.
Thus bread, 'abud, which was a staple, would be the simple mixing of
flour with precious water from the waterskin (girbeh) to prepare dough to
be cooked in the embers of the fire for wandering herdsmen. In a tribal
encampment large quantities of shirak or rukak (thin unleavened
bread) would be prepared and cooked on a saj (convex metal sheet), over a
Small game was simply thrown on the fire to cook in its fur and was eaten in
its entirety. On the other hand a butchered beast for a feast in a large camp
would be cooked in a jidda or qidr (large stewpot) to be served
with wheat or rice  and liberally drenched with
rendered animal fat or molten butter (samn). Wheat is mentioned more in
the nineteenth century accounts and seems to have been replaced by rice as the
latter became more readily available through trade.
Cooking utensils were simple and robust. The jidda, made of tinned
copper , came in a variety of sizes, large
specimens were required to cook for feasts. It was accompanied by a shallow
dish, sahen, for serving food. Wooden bowls and serving dishes were also
used. Coffee making required its own utensils described below.
Much cooking was thus an improvised affair, three stones to make a tripod
support and a search for dried plant roots in the desert sand or some dried
camel dung, jella, for fuel.
With food resources at a premium there was little prospect of regular meals,
one meal a day would be adequate and no meal was a common occurence, perhaps a
few dry dates and some camel milk sufficing. A bedouin herdsman
could survive during the spring grazing, rabia, with the very barest of
possessions. Doughty recounts meeting two young men several days from camp with
their milch camels whose sole provisions were a cloak and stick each and one
bowl between them so they could milk their camels for food and drink.
Bedouin hospitality made a great impact on Western travellers. The rules
varied but the common version required that if anyone appeared at your camp who
was not a sworn enemy, you were duty bound to provide at least a minimum of
board and lodging for three and one third days. After that time your guest
was required to leave and but was still under your guardianship for a further
three days, the time it was believed to take for all the host's food to pass
through the guest's body. Frequently a beast would be slaughtered for the first
meal, as much to demonstrate the host's wealth and social standing and to uphold
tribal honour which was on show on such occasions. Whilst this meal
was being prepared, coffee or some other light refreshment such as dates and
buttermilk would be served and the guest would be politely questioned to extract
useful information. These gatherings were strictly male affairs, if
women were in the encampment they would be segregated and would prepare the
meal, although slaughter and butchery were men's work.
Meals were served on the ground to the guests first. Food was generally eaten
speedily. Once you had taken your fill you would vacate your place
at the food to allow someone of lower standing to have his turn. After rinsing
your hands you would retire to wait for everyone to finish, after which more
coffee would be served. After all the men had eaten any remaining food would be
taken to the women and young children. A host would often abstain
from eating, taking a supervisory role to ensure that the hospitality was
Bedouin food was dominated by a number of staple items. Apart from water
these had to have certain characteristics. They had to be self mobile or at
least economical to carry. They had to be readily preserved in the harsh
climate which ranged from freezing  on the
central uplands in winter to 55o Centigrade shade temperatures in the
Apart from stock and their milk products the staple items were dates, wheat
and rice, flour and samn (clarified butter).
Dates, tamr, were of prime importance to survival in the desert.
They were ideal food, readily obtainable as they grew in all the oases,
non-perishable, easy to consume, economical to transport, provided excellent
nutrition as a balance to the other main dietary constituents and were
relatively cheap. Thirty pounds of good dates cost 1 real (then equivalent to 4
shillings) in the 1870's whereas a goat cost 2 reals. Dates were also fodder for
camels on a regular basis.
For a few months of the year during the date harvest, the fresh dates from
the oases provided a welcome alternative to the the usual fare of dried dates.
"the best stems, upon which hanged with the ripe, the half-ripe
purple berries, which thus at the mellowing, and full of sappy sweetness, they
call belah; the Arabs account them very wholesome and refreshing."
Ba-theeth, a preserve of parched flour, dried dates and samn,
heated together and kneaded into a solid mass was prepared for use on journeys.
It had excellent keeping qualities and did not require any further cooking.
Wheat was grown in Arabia in the marginal land where enough winter rain would
fall or collect to grow the crop. There are references to burghul but it
is not clear whether this is the true par-boiled grain or broken wheat boiled as
a starch staple for meals. Wheat was cooked in a variety of ways including
harees, a dish with the consistency of porridge but little of the appeal!
Rice has already been mentioned and there is an interesting aside by Doughty
that one of his hosts begged enough water from his guest to cook the rice for
the usual mutton meal.
Wheat was ground to flour for bread, hand querns were a possesion of larger
Bedouin groups. Barley meal is also mentioned as a bread ingredient and millet
was grown in some oases although considered fit only for invalids.
One dessert plant, samhh, yielded grain which could be used for bread,
porridge or a version of ba-theeth.
Samn was a major commercial product of the bedouin herds which was
sold in the villages and towns. Doughty travelled with a caravan from Aneyza to
Medina taking the annual production of 30 tonnes 
of samn in goatskin bags, each camel carrying about 170 kilos.The samn
was prepared by churning either fresh goat or sheep's milk or yoghourt  in a skin which was inflated by blowing into it at
regular intervals. The fresh butter (zibdeh) was heated with flour and
occasionally coriander and cummin. Once the samn had been poured off into
the storage skin (goatskin for commerce, dubh skin for personal use), the
curds and flour were eaten and not wasted. A family with a modest herd could
produce 250 kilos of samn during the winter season, worth £18 at Medina
in the 1870's.
Yoghourt, leban, was also prepared and was drained and salted to make
a sun-dried food for storage, mereesy or jamid. Initially
like a cheese, which is mentioned by several travellers, the drained yoghourt
eventually becomes rock hard and well deserves its description by Doughty as
"milk shards". It was reconstituted by pounding in
a mortar and mixing with water or sieving into hot water. As a travellers food
it could be gnawed in its natural state.
Water was a precious commodity. Throughout the interior it was only
dependably found at some waterholes and at various springs associated with
oases. There are no rivers in Arabia. On the rare occasions when a
wadi was in spate due to heavy rain, the flow could be disastrous in its power
and was likely to run for a day or two at most. With luck it would leave a few
pools of water and would raise water levels in adjacent wells for a few months.
There were only limited technical means of recovering ground water, the haddaj
and suany or draw well driven by a camel or ox was the practical limit of
mechanisation. Some permanent waterholes were 60 feet deep and required
considerable effort to draw water with bucket and rope. If a large camel herd or
caravan had to be watered the bedouin would work in relays for several hours,
often with considerable fear of attack if there were ghrazzu (raiding
parties) known to be in the vicinity.
The quality of the water was often poor. At frequently used
waterholes several travellers noted the contamination of the water with urea
percolating into the water source from the camel urine concentrated around the
waterhole. Doughty comments on many sub-standard supplies "brackish
water ...thick well water full of old wafted camel droppings......tasting like
alum.....mawkish water causing illness in my companions......salty bitter
water.....water full of wriggling white vermin drunk through the lap of the
kerchief.....muddy puddle water...". Yet he claimed that he had
never been ill from consumption of any of these doubtfull sources.
Coffee, kahwa, was the prime social drink .
The ring of coffee pestle on the mortar as the freshly roasted beans were
crushed was the signal for men to gather at the coffee tent for the exchange of
news and recounting of stories. Guests were received by the host who
would frequently prepare the coffee himself.
"We sat down to drink coffee with the sheykh, Misshel, who would make
it himself. This ruler of seven tribes roasted, pounded, boiled and served the
cheerful mixture with his own hand. Misshel poured me out but one cup, and to
his tribesmen two or three. Because this shrew's deed was in disgrace of my
being a Nasrany, I exclaimed, "here is a great sheikh and a little
kahwa!" Thus challenged, Misshel poured me out unwillingly, muttering
some word of his fanatical humour".
Coffee was always freshly roasted in a mahmas (roasting spoon) stirred
with a maqlab. The roast beans would be cooled in a mabradah, a
wooden tray. They were brayed in a mihbash or nijir made of wood,
iron or brass. In some bedouin families the coffee was brewed in a
dedicated pot made of clay, medlah. It would be transferred to the
classic beaked Arabian coffee pot of tinned copper or brass, dalla and
served in small ceramic cups, finjeyn. It was often flavoured with
Milk, haleeb, from camel, goat and sheep was consumed, although
preference was for camel's milk. Of the three the camel's milk was drunk whole
and the other two usually after the butter had been made. Doughty
reports a hierarchy of bedouin views on the relative merits of the three milk
"Camel milk is the best of all sustenance, and the very best is that
of the bukkra, the young camel with her first calf, as lightly purgative.
Ewe's milk is very sweet and fattest of all, it is unwholesome to drink
whole, it kills people with colic ..... ewe buttermilk should be let sour some
while in the semily (butterskin) with other milk, until all are tempered
together, and then it is fit to drink.
Goat milk is sweet, it fattens more than strengthens the body."
These observations are borne out by modern analysis of the milk. An appended
table compares the main characteristics with cow's milk from tropical breeds.
Cattle were kept in the oases but are recorded as being of poor quality.
The dromedary cow has a gestation period of 370 to 375 days and only breeds
every second year commencing at four years of age and continuing until 20 or so
years of age. Calving is very seasonal coinciding with the winter rains and the
presence of good feed stocks. The lactation period varies according to the
camel's nutrition but is usually 18 months with yields of 1,000 to 3,000 litres
per year and individual milkings up to 5 litres being common. The milk is rich
in vitamin C which is of particular benefit to the bedouin who have little
access to fresh fruit and vegetables. The milk diet was however not
satisfying in some respects; bedouin complained to Doughty of the "creeping
hunger" and begged him for "Damascus kaak (biscuit), it
is six weeks since I have chewed anything".
Tea drinking was introduced at a relatively late stage but has become well
established. Doughty may be held responsible in part for its introduction as he
carried supplies for his own consumption and several times offered it to bedouin
who had not tasted it before. They were generally unimpressed with the tea
flavour, considering it insubstantial compared to coffee, but did enjoy the
Bedouin existence depended on their herds and flocks. The camel
was the supreme possession providing transport for man and his chattels, a mount
for raids which would potentially add to his wealth, milk for food and drink,
meat, hair and hides and dung for fuel. Camels were wealth and would rarely be
slaughtered for meat. Any camel meat usually came from the slaughter of
surplus bull calves or injured or sick beasts. Camels enabled man’s
penetration of the extensive desert areas as they are capable of sustained
travel in search of pasture with only intermittent water supplies. After the
winter rains, rich spring pastures provided enough moisture in the feed to
enable camels to survive without access to water. Contrary to popular
conceptions, camels do need regular feed to maintain satisfactory condition but
this could be provided by meagre desert plants, some dates or even dried
sardines traded up from the coast.
Where daily access to water could be assured, herds of goats and sheep were
kept, primarily for milk and meat and also skins, hair and wool to make woven
goods. There are references to fresh milk used for human consumption but apart
from that dedicated to the rearing of young, samn production seems to
have been the prime use. These herds were effectively tied to the
permanent waterholes and oasis villages. Modern bedouin have overcome this
handicap by using their four wheel drive vehicles to transport the water to the
flocks. This is adding pressure to the limited amount of grazing.
The desert is remarkably fertile. Many plants are adapted to its
demands, halophyte species are salt tolerant and xerophytes are
drought resistant. Most of the seeds show remarkable long-term fertility . A single thunderstorm can bring a flush of green
plants which are established in a few days and will last for several months. A
few days rain will trigger plant growth and revive dessicated shrubs that will
be green for a year or two. The bedouin sought these rare storms in the deep
deserts and would remember precisely where rain had fallen in recent months and
hence there might be the chance of some pasture for their camels.
The bedouin were not recorded to consume desert plants on any regular basis.
However they were aware of what was edible and would consume them on finding.
Many plants were known to have medicinal or veterinary value and are mentioned.
There are several plants which have water storage capabilities in the roots and
these were known to the bedouin for emergency use. The dessert truffle, faga,
was harvested and eaten.
Apart from the date palm which rarely produces usefull fruit in the true wild
state, some trees of the stoney and mountainous dessert produced edible fruit; sidr
and haybed  are relatives of the jujube
and produce significant quantities of edible fruit, nabak and dom.
Another palm tree  has edible fruit, mish,
that will keep for up to a year and are ground up to make a nutritious meal,
eaten raw or cooked.
Game formed an important element of bedouin food though it was not available
on any regular basis and would at times be an item of last resort, such as the
eating of carrion and the prohibited foods (harram rather than halal).
The decimation of the game supply by hunting with high power rifles or automatic
weapons from four wheel drive vehicles is a phenomenon of the last few decades
and is slowly being reversed by a more enlightened view of the natural fauna.
Game was caught in a number of ways. Hunting salukis and
several hawk species have been used for centuries and are a part of bedouin
culture just about surviving to the present day. There are records
of large traps in use since Chalcolithic times. They were constructed in the
stoney deserts from converging drystone walls with a ditch behind.
Gazelle were driven into the trap by beaters and in leaping over the wall some
would be killed by the hunters or break limbs and be caught for slaughter. This
illustrates a serious problem concerning game consumption for the strict Muslim,
as all meat had to be slaughtered in a prescribed way and the carcase bled . The accounts show some laxity in this requirement,
though given human nature it was usually ascribed to a neighbouring tribe with
whom relations were not cordial or who were not considered to be true bedouin.
Matchlocks and rifles had become relatively common by the second half of the
nineteenth century and were used for hunting. However their prime
purpose was quite clearly for personal security or offensive action against
fellow bedouin. Small game  such as
jerboa and lizards could be dug out of burrows with a camel stick and some men
were fleet enough of foot to run down the larger reptiles such as dubh,
the spiney-tailed lizard which can grow to 60 cm long and whose tail is
particularly good eating. Like most reptiles its flesh is likened to
rabbit or chicken in taste and consistency. Sling shots and stones
propelled from simple pop guns were also effective weapons in skilled hands.
Certain game had pre-eminent value to the bedouin, associated with the
sporting element of the chase and kill. Houbara bustard was
one such soughtafter game-bird taken exclusively with hawks. The
Arabian gazelle, rim and oryx were also esteemed .
Conversely some game was not so welcome, gatta, sandgrouse were considered
to be poor eating being dry-fleshed birds. There are several references to
the relish with which the bedouin would consume the cud from the stomach of
ruminants such as gazelle.
Jarad (locusts) can probably best be considered as game. There
are many references to the consumption of locusts; it seems to have been an item
of horrible fascination for many of the European travellers.
"the children bring in gathered locusts, broached upon a twig, and
the nomads toast them on the coals; then plucking the scorched members, they
break away the head, and the insect body which remains is good meat." 
In the nineteenth century locust plagues were still a serious scourge for the
Arabians. Doughty recounts passing a large locust swarm heading for the
Teyma oasis from which he had departed with his Bedu companions a few days
before. His companions accepted the destruction of the burgeoning date harvest
with fatalism. Several had date gardens at the oasis and realised
that they would have few or no dates that year and that they would have to rely
on other resources such as their stock.
Whilst locusts were a curse for the farmer, they at least supplied some
instant food. They were generally roasted or parched over the fire. If not
consumed immediately the dried flesh could be ground up into meal and stored in
a skin to be added to stews at a later date.
If grazing was adequate near an oasis the bedouin would pitch camp and take a
break from the nomadic life.
Many bedouin had land holdings in the oases where they would grow date palms
to provide for their travels. At the date harvest in early autumn they
would return to supervise their holdings which were frequently left in the hands
of a slave farmer who would take half the crop for his sustenance. Beneath
the date palms fodder could be grown for the flocks and vegetables and fruits
cultivated. Fruits included pomegranate, citron, lime or lemon, grapes,
plum, melons and watermelons. Vegetables included cucumbers, carrots, pumpkin,
onions, garlic, okra, sorrel, thyme and other fresh green herbs.
The oasis village would have a suq or market. Apart from the basic
foods such as samn, rice, wheat, flour and dates, some fresh vegetables
and fruits would be on sale and there might be a butcher or someone who was
offering cooked food.
Oasis rulers were expected to provide hospitality just as the sheikhs did in
the desert. By the end of the nineteenth century these oasis rulers had started
to develop political muscle through exacting taxes to pay for soldiers to
enforce their new-found power. With the arrival of the internal combustion
engine, the camel was soon displaced. The bedouin economy which was
built upon the value of these beasts declined dramatically and many gave up
their nomadic ways for good.
The bedouin recorded by Doughty and his fellow travellers in the nineteenth
century no longer exist. Much of their culture has been handed down to
their descendants and certainly elements of their food culture can still be
identified in the Arabia currently on the threshold of the twenty-first century.
Composition of Ruminants Milk
Note: Values for sheep are temperate breeds due to lack of statistics on
Al-Fahim, Mohamed, From Rags to Riches - A Story of Abu Dhabi,
The London Centre for Arab Studies, London, 1995
Al Taie, Lamees Abdullah, Al Azaf -
The Omani Cookbook, Oman Bookshop, Sultanate of Oman, 1995
Brock - Al Ansari, Celia, The Complete United Arab Emirates Cookbook,
Emirates Airlines, Dubai, 1994
Carles, A B, Sheep Production in the Tropics, OUP, Oxford, 1983
Doughty, Charles M., Wanderings in Arabia, Duckworth, London,
Dyke, Gertrude, The Oasis - Al Ain Memoirs of Doctor Latifa,
Motivate, Dubai, 1995
Hogarth, David George, The Penetration of Arabia, Khayat,
Beirut, 1966, preface dated 1904.
Keohane, Alan, Bedouin - Nomads of the Desert, Stacey
International, London, 1994
Stark, Freya, A Winter in Arabia, Readers Union, London, 1941
Taylor, Andrew, Travelling the Sands, Motivate Publishing,
Thesiger, Wilfrid, Arabian Sands, Penguin, UK, 1964
Thomas, Bertram, Arabia Felix, Readers Union, London, 1938
Webster C C, and Wilson P N, Agriculture in the Tropics,
Longman, UK, 1966
Weir, Shelagh, The Bedouin, British Museum Publications,
 Hogarth was summarising the explorations to
date in Arabia and it is surprising what little of the peninsula had been
comprehensively explored at the start of this century. His summary
of the bedouin character is however concise and to the point.
 Some bedouin near the coastline split their
activities between their flocks and fishing or pearl diving in the Arabian Gulf
 Hogarth corrects the medieval error which
assigned arabia felix to the south western provinces of the peninsula,
but the error has become accepted in modern useage probably emphasised by our
modern perception that these areas are more blessed in resources than the
 The "mess of wheat" or harees
as described several times by Doughty was to be expected in Arabia where wheat
was grown on the oasis fringes whereas rice, temmn, was generally
imported by camel caravan from Iraq. The meat was boiled first and then
the wheat cooked in the stock.
 Weir reports the slaughter of one camel and 86
sheep at one such feast in 1973 for the visit of a member of the Saudi royal
family to a group of Jordanian bedouin. One dish contained 24 sheep on a
mound of rice.
 The area bordering the southern Iraq marshes
between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers was a major rice growing area up to the
1950's when Thesiger noted the importance of this crop to the Arabian economy.
 Copper has been replaced by aluminium. There
is much evidence of prehistoric copper mining and refining on the peninsula.
 Snow was even recorded at high elevations
every thirty or forty years.
 Valued at £2,000 by Doughty.
 Dyke and Weir respectively, samn is
called dibn in the UAE.
 "where there is not coffee, there is
not merry company": bedouin saying quoted by Doughty.
 And still do to this day, shai is
invariably taken with a hefty sugar content.
 I have used dune sand in garden pot plants
in the UAE and with regular watering have propagated seven different species
from latent seed in the sand. One was Portulaca oleracea, purslane.
 Zizyphus spina-christi and Zizyphus
 This palm, Nannorrhops ritchieana, also
yields excellent strong rot-proof fibres for craft work.
 Unusual large game recorded included wolf,
fox and hyena. Wolf flesh was considered to be medicinal, very good for aches in
 Small game included Cape hare, Ethiopian
hedgehog, porcupine, and various rodents as well as many birds, some shot quite
indiscriminately at hides. Snakes were not eaten but lizards were in extremis.
 Sadly they are still hunted, I saw a gazelle
carcass from the small remaining population dangling from the back of a four
wheel drive last winter.