Indigenous Southern Africa
Follow in the footsteps of the indigenous people of Southern Africa
Thanks to archaeological discoveries, it has been proven that areas of South Africa, Namibia and Botswana were initially settled by hunter-gatherers at least 100,000 years ago. Often referred to as the San or bushmen, their ancestors were some of the region’s first citizens, and some experts believe that we can find traces of modern man’s oldest relatives in their genes. However, many of these indigenous communities are often overlooked and marginalised — for example, they are now squeezed into about 10% of their former territory.
Southern Africa provides some unique opportunities if you are interested in indigenous communities. A guided tour allows you to learn about their way of life, and you’ll find that there are so many stories to be shared. The San consider it their responsibility to take care of the natural world around them, which they understand to be their provider, and here are 4 tours that allow you to follow in their footsteps.
1. Cederberg, South Africa
About a three-hour drive from Cape Town, you can discover the majestic wonder of the Cederberg Mountains, which is known for its incredible rock formations and its rich cultural heritage. On the Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve, you can not only marvel at indigenous fauna and flora, but you can also go on a guided rock art tour, which will give you the chance to learn about the history and customs of the San people who live in this mountainous area. The rock art sites — often consisting of eland, cattle and humans — are fine examples of symbolic markings of yesteryear.
2. Tsumeb, Namibia
A trip to Tsumeb Cultural Village, which is somewhat of an open-air museum located on the southern outskirts of Tsumeb, offers you the opportunity to connect with indigenous ancestors through displays that highlight the history of the native Namibian tribal communities. The Hei//Omn San people are the original inhabitants of the area around Etosha, and this community project allows you to participate in cultural activities with indigenous families, as well as experience a healing ceremony. On a guided tour, indigenous people will share their knowledge of natural medicine and foods, and you will also have the chance to lose yourself in singing and dancing.
3. Yzerfontein, South Africa
!Khwa ttu is a San Education and Culture Centre that is a one-hour drive from Cape Town, near the small seaside town of Yzerfontein. It is the only San-owned and operated cultural centre in the Western Cape, and it offers the chance to interact with the San people’s descendants and learn about their heritage. A San-guided tour (on foot or by bicycle) will allow you to witness exceptional hunting and tracking skills, discover food preservation and cooking techniques, learn the clicks of the San languages, and see how traditional San jewellery is made. After you have deepened your knowledge of the ancient and present-day life of the San, you can then relax and enjoy a hearty meal at the farmhouse restaurant.
4. Makgadigadi Pans, Botswana
Go on an excursion from your luxury accommodation in the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, and witness how members of the Zu/’hoasi tribe navigate their way across this desert landscape and experience their environment. Walk with native trackers, gather herbs and medicinal plants with women, meet community elders, and experience the euphoria of the healing trance dance before returning to the comfort of your camp and soaking up the splendours of this ethereal area.
If you wish to learn from the ancient wisdom of indigenous communities in Southern Africa, contact Elite Travel Concept to include a guided tour in your itinerary.
Information from this article was gathered from travelstart.co.za.