A Traditional African Experience – The Bushman Tribe – Botswana

One of the most unique Wandering Memories I have ever had was in Botswana when we had the utter privilege of meeting a local bushman tribe.

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After crossing the border from Namibia, we headed to the Ghanzi Bushcamp, run by a lovely South African lady whose introduction was calling Botswana beer the piss of Africa! Ha… We all took an available upgrade to traditional bush huts, which were made of straw, a simple wooden door and a couple of beds with the essential mosquito nets. These were very comfortable though…

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The Bushmen tribe appeared from the wilderness and invited us on a morning hike to introduce us to their way of life. The tribe were like a family with 5 generations all present living the traditional life. The eldest led the tribe, with a number of adults including woman, two teenagers and a baby all together. We were told that the teenagers usually joined at weekends and during the week they worked the commercial life in the city. So interesting, but they really knew their traditions.

They wandered through the bushland barefoot, with just wooden staffs for protection (this is in wild Africa!). We started by being taught how to create fire out of straw and a stick, followed by the local plant life which was mostly edible. They also used the water from some of the local plants to wash and drink and even use some of the roots as contraception – simply fascinating, and unbelievably all they wanted from us was cigarettes (sad but true). We were also shown how they find food, usually a porcupine which they dig out of holes… What a silly contrast to a western life, it’s just fascinating. What a privilege to spend some time with these beautiful traditional people.

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Our evening was also an experience, with the Bushman giving us a traditional ceremony and dance around the campfire. I am not usually one for these kind of events, but it was very interesting, watching them dance and stamp around the fire. What an African experience!

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