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BUSHMAN CULTURE

The actual activities may vary from the descriptions below due to variables such as weather condition, decisions of the Ju/'hoan community around whose lives the activities are centred, and possible emergencies.

We do our best to keep the programme interesting and the guests engaged. Activities usually start at 3 pm in winter and 4 pm in summer. Late arrivers will be catered for.

Half day activity on first afternoon: Introduction to community. Activities depend on what individual people are doing, such as cooking, making crafts, preparing hides, making hunting equipment such as quivers or arrows. Traditional games will also be played on one of the two afternoons. Afternoon activities start at 3 pm in winter and 4 pm in summer.

Evening: The giraffe or elephant dances are usually performed when somebody in the village is ill. The "owners of medicine" (n/umkxaosi) use the dance to heat their n/um (the power to heal), to reach a state of consciousness where they can communicate with their ancestors, asking them not to bring bad things onto the community. In this state, they can see things they can't normally see and are able to pull the arrows of sickness out of a sick person.

Although the community is asked to dance for the tourists, it still serves the purpose of curing the ill and is attended by most villagers. It is the expression of their religious beliefs and for this reason we cannot force the community to perform it. The chances of experiencing it is good when staying more than one night.

Full day:

Bush walk/hunt: guests accompany three or four Ju/'hoan hunters, collectiing and eating bush foods while they hunt. If fresh tracks are found, the walk will turn into a hunt. The hunt is usually unsuccessful although always interesting. If any animal is killed, all parts of it are utilised - the Ju/'hoansi hardly ever have any meat to eat.

The finding of a bee's nest is just as important as hunting an animal. The medicinal use of plants are also pointed out along the way. The walk does not follow a fixed route and the intensity/duration of the hunt can be adapted.

The making of fire by various methods and other survival techniques, such as making rope and setting traps are demonstrated during the course of the day. There is lots of interaction between the hunters and the visitors.

 

 

KHAUDUM DAY TOUR

The best time to visit Khaudum is outside the rainy season from June to October when animals visit water holes. The entrance to the park is 60km or a one-and-a-half hour drive away.

Khaudum escorts:
A Khaudum escort is a guided tour, but the guests drive their own vehicle and have their own food and accommodation arrangements. It is advisable not to travel through Khaudum with only one vehicle. The tour can return to Nhoma, Tsumkwe or exit the park in the north.

General:
The 3 842 square km park was only proclaimed in 1989, making it a relatively new park. The park is in the Kavango region, bordering Botswana and the Nyae Nyae Conservancy. The area used to be inhabited by Ju/'hoan Bushman or San groups, but they were relocated to the Nyae Nyae area when the park was proclaimed Except for the border with Botswana, the park is not fenced and game migrate freely into the neighbouring conservancies. The park was proclaimed to protect the woodland savannah biome of north eastern Namibia which is the habitat for the endangered roan antelope. They occur here at the edge of their natural distribution. Wild dogs are another endangered species that occur in the park, but they are usually only seen in September and October at waterholes before the rains start. Ground hornbills and several species of raptors are amongst the vulnerable bird life found in the park. Game and bird viewing is only really good when the clay pans have dried up by the end of August. This is also the time of year when huge herds of elephants congregate at the waterholes in the late afternoon, often keeping other game from drinking. The estimated number of elephants during October in the park is 3500. Because of its inaccessibility, visitors to the park are few and animals are not accustomed to vehicles, causing them to flee. Two fossil river beds traverse the park and are where most game is found. In between these omuramba, the roads are very sandy. .

Only four-wheel drive vehicles can negotiate the roads in the park and tourists should travel in groups of two vehicles - for their own security. The southern part of the park along the Nhoma omuramba is more accessible than the northern part where the tracks are very sandy. The two unfenced camps, Khaudum and Sikereti, are neglected: the facilities are not functional and visitors should be self sufficient, except for firewood, which is still supplied. Even water is not always available and the nearest fuel stations are at Tsumkwe, Divundu, Rundu and Grootfontein. No advanced bookings can be made for the camps and no camping fees are charged. Permits are issued and entrance fees are charged at the camp offices. Sikereti camp is 57km north of Tsumkwe. Driving time to Sikereti from either Tsumkwe or Nhoma is two hours. Camping is only allowed in one of the two camps, but one may stay at the water holes until after sunset.


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