In this book the hero, fresh from school, arrives from England, and joins his uncle, who is a trader with the people of central Africa, bringing the goods obtained down to the south. On this occasion they have been attacked soon after they set out by natives led by Boers. In order to complete their journey to central Africa they decide to return with the few animals left to them, horses and an ox, over the Kalahari Desert. Unfortunately they encamp one night in a place infested with the tsetse flies, which kills the horses. Shortage of water and attacks by various wild beasts such as elephants and a hippopotamus, are some of the adventures described. Adventures they have in plenty, almost too many, for one of their number is killed. They also kill far too many animals, as was the custom in Victorian times.