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The Makgadikgadi Pans in Botswana is one of the most remote wilderness destinations in Africa, a land hidden from civilisation and forgotten by time. This sense of isolation and insulation from the outside world is best exemplified by the Zu/’hoasi Bushmen.
Unchartered Africa’s Jack’s Camp offers guests the opportunity to spend some time with the tribe learning about their culture and traditions, and offers a window into the past.
The bushmen teach visitors how they have survived in the harshest of environments using their vast and ancient knowledge of plants, animal behaviour and survival skills. They share their traditional hunting and food-gathering skills as well as how to make jewellery and hunting equipment. Visitors can walk with them, watch them make fire and see them perform their traditional dances. It’s a glimpse into their traditional way of life and an extraordinary experience.
The elders of the community meet visitors in a traditional manner after which they walk out into the bush with the men, women and children. The focus of the walk is to provide a gentle introduction to the Kalahari and Bushmen way of life. The group points out the distinct ecological characteristics of the area and its animal and bird species. Guests can discover extraordinary uses for ordinary-looking plants or learn how to hunt or squeeze water out of a desert melon.Later visitors watch the men prepare bows, arrows and quivers. Young boys may also demonstrate various traditional games that provide training for the hand-to-eye coordination skills that will be so necessary when on the hunt. Some of the women will show you how they make beads from ostrich eggs and the simple, but striking jewellery that they make from porcupine quills, seeds and ostrich eggs. Leather is also decorated with both glass and ostrich beads to complex and beautiful effect.
Our film crew recently visited the Zu/’hoasi tribe and were struck speechless by what they found. “Our cameramen had such a transcendent experience with the bushmen. All of the cameramen felt quite emotional,” Ryan, our Creative Director, explained. “It was incredible to see a people so out of touch with technology and so in touch with nature. I recommend it to anyone and everyone just to see how other people can live in a very genuine and real way.
“We ended up seeing a trance dance, which was bushmen communicating with their ancestors And going into a trance-like state while they were dancing around the fire with us which was a privilege to see. It was an unbelievable experience.”
When is a good time to go?
DRY SEASON: Winter 16th April – 31st October
GREEN SEASON: Summer 1st November – 15th April
Activities are weather dependent.
How do I get there?
Fly to Johannesburg, and then to Maun, Botswana. You will be met at Maun airport and transferred by light aircraft to your chosen safari destination.
If you’d like to enjoy this truly authentic and thought-provoking experience yourself simply send us a message and we can put you on a path to Botswana.
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Matt discovered a passion for writing in the six years he spent travelling abroad. He worked for a turtle sanctuary in Nicaragua, in an ice cream factory in Norway and on a camel safari in India. He was a door-to-door lightbulb-exchanger in Australia, a pub crawl guide in Amsterdam and a journalist in Colombia. Now, he writes and travels with us.
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