If you look at a map of Namibia, you will see a large blank spot in the north-east where it seems there are little infrastructure and supposedly little to do, but this is not the case. Tsumkwe is marked as a town in the middle of this area, but it consists of little more than a police station, a few general dealers that don't stock fresh goods, two churches, government offices and a lodge - a real frontier town. However, the area surrounding Tsumkwe is an area where you can play the explorer. It is known for its local inhabitants, the Ju/'hoansi Bushmen, who have lived here for thousands of years. Scattered through the area are water holes, some natural and some artificial, where elephants and other game drink in the dry season. There are also huge baobabs, some with inscriptions dating back to the 18th century. None of the lesser roads are marked on official maps, but armed with a local map, it is possible to find these villages and water holes. You may camp anywhere (except at the Nyae Nyae pans), with the permission of and payment to the nearest village. Find out who these people really are, why they live where they live, their past history, their traditional way of life, their amazing knowledge of tracking and living off the land, their hopes and future. The culture of the Ju/'hoansi Bushmen is a tourist attraction and visits to villages can be arranged with both Nhoma Safari Camp and Tsumkwe Country Lodge or you can call on the conservancy office and arrange for a local guide to show you around. The Nyae Nyae pan, 20km south of Tsumkwe attracts many water birds such as flamingoes and the endangered wattled crane.
04 June 2012