Tsumkwe

T he main town in Bushmanland – home to the Bushman/San people – is Tsumkwe, located 56 km east of Grootfontein. Further south and east is a vast expanse of wooded savannah where animals such as roan antelope and elephant roam.

A distinctive tree found in the area is the baobab, recognised by its grotesquely fat trunk.

There are no organised camping facilities in Bushmanland. Exclusive tours to introduce visitors to the Bushmen and their vanishing way of life are offered by several safari companies. Groups usually leave from Tsumkwe, visit the Khaudum National Park, and are introduced to Bushman communities such as the Jungkwa or Ju/’Hoansi. Depending on the tour company, the Bushmen act as hosts, demonstrating skills such as tracking and food gathering, and sharing their knowledge of local customs and beliefs with their guests.

Several tour operators offer guided tours to traditional San villages in the area. The itineraries include bush walks with San trackers, who demonstrate hunting, snaring and tracking skills, and how bush food is collected. Ninety per cent of the proceeds generated by these tours remains with the Bushmen.

The general dealer at Tsumkwe can usually supply petrol and diesel, but this may not always be the case. It is best to call in advance and establish whether there is any before setting off on a drive through the area (067 68 7055). If travelling towards Tsumkwe, be sure to rather fill up with petrol at Grootfontein and Tsumeb and also carry extra jerry cans of fuel. It is also recommended to stock up with provisions and to carry extra water.

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