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The Ju hoansi Bushmen Experience

The "Bushmen", politically correct called the "San are certainly one of the oldest indigenous populations on our planet. They have been around for more than 20,000 years, with a history of living in small family bands. They never cared about riches or personal possessions; everything was shared among their people. Day-to-day existence was secured through hunting and gathering, although this was never easy in the desert and semi-desert environment of the wider Kalahari.

Obviously, things have changed with the advent of the modern world and the doubtful benefits of "civilization". Today, most San live scattered over many Southern African countries, far away from their original traditional hunting grounds. Some of them are city "squatters", some farm labourers, and some have been resettled by their respective Governments to specific ghettos. Their passivity and lethargy appears to be very different from their traditional lifestyle, and many of them have been forgotten by greater society. One tribe in particular is unique among the displaced San populations, since they still continue to occupy their ancestral land in the remote area of Nyae Nyae: the "Ju hoansi". These Bushmen of the Western Kalahari are a people that are only slightly touched by the onslaught of Western civilization and there are only 1,400 Ju hoansi left, living in about 36 villages which comprise their traditional living area.

The current grandparent generation is THE VERY LAST of the great line of knowledge gathering and information passing. For various reasons there exists a knowledge gap between the grandparent and parent generations, and the parent and child generations, so wide, that the knowledge will almost certainly be lost forever; it is not a science, it is an art.

The immense library of information that these elders carry with them defies belief. Their tracking skills, so honed after decades of experience, are second to none. The hunting skills of the men and the foraging skills of the women in the harsh environment of the Kalahari ensure their survival. Their complicated language is characterized by the typical clicking sounds which can be found in all San languages, some of which are similar to the "plop" of a wine bottle just having been uncorked.

An expedition to visit and spend time with these amazing people is an unmissable chance to catch the last of thousands of years of soon-to-disappear history. Just imagine, after your day spent with the Ju hoansi Bushmen, you’ve showered, eaten and rested a bit, then it starts…, just off in the distance…, but close enough to hear… As you walk over to their camp, the stars are out, the fire glows an eerie orange, the women are clapping and chanting, the men are dancing, the babies are silent, almost asleep, and you’re day’s journey from the nearest signs of formal civilization.

Soon enough, one of the men falls into a trance. The women control his movement through their perfect beat and beautiful voice, and he controls his level of trance through his breathing. Never has something felt so alien, and never have you felt so involved in anything so ancient and sacred. Experience this wonderful group of ancient people in their environment, which is harsh only to our untrained eyes.

The only way to visit the Ju hoansi Bushmen is by mobile safari. There is an airstrip into which you will fly, to be met by a vehicle which will take you to camp, from where you will start to explore the area and, most importantly, get to meet these remarkable people.

Route: Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Chobe Waterfront, Xai Xai anthropological safari

Rate: From $700.00 per person per night sharing

Includes: Rates are fully inclusive of all meals, laundry, game-viewing activities by open-sided game-viewing vehicle, beverages (excluding premium and imported drinks), return transfer by road between Maun or Kasane (Chobe waterfront) airport or local airstrip and mobile camp, park entry fees, camping fees, services of a professional guide(s), SATIB 24 Crisis Call.

Excludes: International and regional flights, premium imports, travel insurance, visas, items of a personal nature and gratuities.

When to travel: It is recommended to visit the Kalahari during the summer rainy season (November – April), as the game viewing is generally most spectacular then, whilst the Moremi, and Chobe are best visited during the dry season (May-October).

Please click here to contact one of our consultants to assist you with a comprehensive itinerary

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