A Walk With The Bushmen
Namibian Lesley Gariseb and Swede Annika Dellermark have established a camp in Wilhelmstahl called Aabadi, where they arrange for Bushmen to come and share with people their way of life. The bushmen are paid for their services, and also sell their crafts to visitors. Abenteuer spent a fascinating morning on a bushman walk, followed by a well catered lunch and a strange and amusing Swedish game involving throwing sticks to knock things over. We learned a great deal more than we can show you here, but following are some of the highlights of our morning.
Our friends showed us how to make fire the bushman way. It is a team effort, as one takes over as soon as the other is tired from the rapid rubbing, spinning motion of one stick onto another. The bushmen chant and encourage each other through the process. After a good ten minutes or so, our friends’ efforts are rewarded with a little fire. The fire can be fed and encouraged into proper cooking flames, but //Gam and !Gamshee simply wanted to light their pipe for the moment.
Our friends showed us this ostrich egg only for our edification, but the bushmen bury these eggs in various places along their accustomed routes in preparation for times when water is scarce. This custom has saved countless lives over generations of bushmen.
The Big Event
//Gam and !Gamshee simulated a hunt for us. What I found most remarkable was the range of their arrows, perhaps 12 meters at most. The Bushmen’s very survival is witness to their incredible skill at tracking and stealth. There is no other way to kill their prey but to get very, very close. The Bushmen also demonstrated an ingenious small animal trap, bending a thick branch over to the ground and tying it to a release trigger. The animal is lured by a twig coated in sweet sap. When the trigger is released, the branch snaps back into place.
Diamphidia Beetle Larvae
This is beetle larvae which carry a deadly poison that the Bushmen place on their arrows. The poison paralyzes its victims as it works its way slowly into the bloodstream. There is no known antidote, and bushmen are careful not to handle them with open wounds.
The bushmen will also drink water that gathers in tree hollows like this one, and they sometimes pour milk in and let it sit to curdle. They will then add shredded roots and branches to thicken the mixture for a bushman delicacy.
One can stay overnight at Abaadi. There are currently two clean, cozy, little thatch roof bungalow, each with a shower, toilet and sink. Construction is planned for further accommodation, but for now you can stay overnight in relative solitude and spend a little more time with the bushmen. By staying over you will have the opportunity to witness a bushman dance, and enjoy a beautiful night under the stars. At night there is a fire outside the Lapa where you can braai, and in the afternoon you can brush up on your stick throwing skills! Give us a call at +264 64 404030 to arrange your walk with the bushmen.