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Bushman safaris - Cultural interactions in Botswana

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Learning all about the San people, their traditional ways and customs. A safari is very much about wildlife, but it is also about the people and this is an extraordinary tribe who educate their children through story telling. It is absolutely enchanting - and is perfectly summed up in the iconic film The Gods Must Be Crazy.

One can either spend time at various camps or lodges in the Kalahari Desert, where on one day there will be the opportunity to walk out with the San people and learn about their culture and their techniques for hunting, as well as how they forage for plants.

See fantastic wildlife too, but the emphasis is equally on wildlife as it is the culture and there will be the chance to sleep out beneath the stars on a deck which is an amazing experience!

For those with greater interest and who want more of a cultural influence, then we have a wonderful four night safari with the San people in the Kalahari Desert. This is an incredible opportunity to experience a dignified and sensitive, authentic cultural safari with the San people.

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Here, the San people offer a fascinating insight into their unique way of life. Your guide will be a fully qualified Zoologist/Biologist working in consultation with Community leaders thus ensuring a unique experience that combines both culture and wildlife in an educational, yet non-intrusive, fashion. Stay at a remote campsite deep in the ancestral gathering lands of the Zu/’hoasi.

This is a comfortable experience though, sleeping on proper beds between crisp, cotton sheets and duvets. A wooden trunk doubles up as storage as well as your bedside table. The tents exude old world safari charm, with en suite bathrooms.

Walk to the San village where you will be met by the elders of the community in a traditional manner. Listen to the history of these gentle people whose origins can be traced back 30 000 years ago and learn about the complex, political and social challenges facing them in the 21st century.

Watch a trance dance – a free spirited, traditional dance which represents the joyful celebrations of a successful harvest. Learn how the women prepare their meals and sample a variety of their local food. Watch how they make jewellery from ostrich eggs, porcupine quills and seeds.

See them hunt and forage for food. Learn which plants the San use to heal themselves, as well as those they use to extract water. See how they bury their water to keep it cold in temperatures way over 40 degrees Celsius. We have the most amazing guide who will reveal his world to you and this is particularly good for our family safaris, when your children learn about another culture.

Another alternative is in Namibia in the Khaudom region where one can spend time with the San people.

For those travellers who are interested in the culture of Botswana in general, there is a fabulous camp in the Kalahari Desert, which does a huge amount of work with the local community and one can visit the villages and school as well as the clinic and get a real understanding of African community, which is very special.

What else can one see in the Makgadikgadi salt pans and the Kalahari Desert?

  • The rains arrive in the Makgadikgadi Pans in Botswana, triggering a migration of herds of zebra and wildebeest across the plains, with predators closely following in their wake. The plains become green and scattered with wild flowers, the horizon ablaze with rainbows backed by glorious sunsets and clouds illuminated by lightning. 

Witness this extraordinary sight from October/November to April/May. Stay at a selection of exquisite camps that offer Bedouin chic in the Makgadikgadi and are a window into an otherwise unknown world. We offer either individual stays at these camps followed by three nights spent in the western Kalahari with the Zu ‘hoasi or for a small group or family, we can arrange for you to be led by San expert and bon viveur, Ralph Bousfield.

  • Five nights in the Kalahari – with two nights spent fly camping beneath the stars on Kubu Island. We can arrange for you to have a private quad biking safari in this region for a couple of nights, sleeping out beneath the stars with bedrolls which is perfect for a family or we can also erect a private, tented mobile camp for you and your party in this region too.

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