Highlights of Namibia

Bushmanland

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Although not the most spectacular region with its typically flat, dusty landscapes of fossilised Kalahari dunes, Bushmanland (also known as Otjozondjupa) is an important agricultural area and home to San (Bushmen) communities.

It is possible to visit San communities from a base just north of Grootfontein, from Grashoek or further to the east at the exceptional Nhoma Camp near Tsumkwe (the latter being favoured but remote).

Nhoma Camp and the nearby Nhoq’ma village adjoin the Nyae Nyae and N Jaqna Conservancies which were established to allow the Ju’hoani (San/Bushmen group) to live in their traditional manner. Arno Oosthuysen has worked with this community since the early 1990s and, together with his wife Estelle, has managed to develop a sensitive and insightful way for visitors to interact with the community which benefits all. This is as authentic as it gets, where visitors learn about the San’s survival skills such as water collection, hunting, making fire, medicine and interpretation of the bush, general village chores. There are more leisurely aspects of village life which are important to the community such as games, music and merry-making. It is also fascinating to listen to (and perhaps attempt to learn) their highly unusual ‘click language’.

The San Bushmen are thought to be the original inhabitants of Namibia and one of 14 extant populations from which all modern humans evolved. Traditionally hunter-gathers, they were persecuted and displaced from their ancestral land by, firstly, the more aggressive Bantu tribes from further north in Africa and, later, European settlers from abroad.

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