in step with the kalahari
Tracking with the San Bushmen in Namibia is on Intrepid’s Top 10 Real Life Experiences list. Which is no surprise when you read great travel tales like this one from Intrepid’s Jo Edgely…
“Have you ever seen the movie The Gods Must Be Crazy or read Wilbur Smith’s Blue Horizons? If so you will be a little familiar with the amazing San Bushman. The once nomadic tribe now mainly live in and around the Kalahari Desert, but originally the San used the whole of southern Africa as their hunting ground.
The San stole my heart with their friendly welcoming nature and amazing sense of humour. The sound of them talking in ‘clicks’ was something I really did think was fictional before I heard it with my own ears.
We spent an afternoon with a small family group of about 10 people, made up of men, woman and children. They walked us through the bush, with one of the elders explaining all the different plants and their uses, how to track the spoor of animals and humans and how to cover your own trail or scent if you are running away from something or some one. We discovered all sorts of things, from which plants aid child birth through to finding the plant that medicinal rubs like Deep Heat come from. He communicated with us mainly though acting out what he was describing along with ‘clicking’ constantly. It was a bit like a game of charades, but when it got too complicated his younger brother would help, as he was the only member of their family group that spoke English.
That night we camped in the San village and had all the local kids with us singing, dancing and playing games. I don’t think travel experiences get much more real than this and it’s certainly part of an amazing overland journey that I will never forget!”
* photo by Gillian Bass – Intrepid Photography Competition