Category: Namibi, 2015

Meeting the Bushmen

Wednesday April 22​​  After breakfast this morning, we were transferred to Eros Airport in Windhoek where we met our pilot for the 2-hour flight to the Tsumkwe region, previously known as Bushmanland. We left in three planes, each carrying three guests and a pilot.  Flying over rather barren, uninteresting terrain, with occasional bumps or drops, with another of our planes sometimes barely off of our tail, we landed at Nhoma’s airstrip, where we were met and transferred to the Nhoma Safari Camp.

Nhoma Safari Camp is a semi-luxury tented camp situated in the northeast of Namibia within the communal land of the Ju/’hoan Bushmen or San, 80 km northwest of Tsumkwe. The camp is spread over a vegetated dune with views over the Nhoma omuramba (fossil river bed) and is a short walk from the Ju/’hoan village by the name of //Nhoq’ma (no, this spelling does not contains typos). Guests are accommodated in spacious meru style walk-in tents with private verandahs. The safari tents, shaded by large Zambezi teak trees, provide the basic luxuries such as comfortable beds and en-suite bathroom with hot water. At the highest point of the dune is the thatched dining area where wholesome meals are served buffet style. The camp is owned and was built by Arno Oosthuisen (a convivial fellow who was one of the people who picked us up at the airstrip) with the help of the //Nhoq’ma community with whom he has had an exclusive working agreement since 1999. Tourism allows the community to earn cash in order to buy food and supplies not provided by the surrounding environment. Without tourism, the community may have left their ancestral land and moved to settled areas such as Tsumkwe.
After being taken to our comfortable camp and taking a very short breather, we went for a buffet lunch at the thatched dining area, and talked about what we would see when we walked over to the village that afternoon.  Met back at the main tent at 3PM for the 5-minute walk down a sandy road to //Nhoq’ma.  The village has about 100 people, including the children who are on school vacation from their school 30 kms away.  Fabulous opportunity to see the people of the village, who were quite welcoming, but went on about living their lives.  Nevada had brought hundreds of prints from photos she’d taken last year and people were thrilled to see them.  This generous gesture I’m sure opened people up greatly to us, though I think they’d have been welcoming anyway.
Spent a wonderful couple hours wandering around, taking photos, watching them feed their children, make jewelry, create fire from rubbing sticks, children and adults playing games and doing dances, none of which was being done for our benefit.  The area was large enough for all of us to walk around without getting in each other’s way while taking photos.  We returned for an excellent dinner of kudu, very tender, then walked back to the village to watch and photograph people doing healing dances, again not being done for us, as they started well before we arrived and were not affected by our presence.  I did not know what the hell,I was doing in photographing at night with a tripod, and my photos confirm that.  Below is an assortment of photos from a great day.



1 comment to Meeting the Bushmen

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>