Often known as the San, a name incorrectly attached to this culture by early anthropologists utilizing a derogatory name that livestock owning tribes assigned to these First People who remained true to the hunting-gathering way of life. DNA tests have traced all other cultures back to these original people, and thus the opportunity to visit with your most ancient ancestors lets you tap into the very root of who we all are.
Cultural Visits at Grassland Bushman Lodge
A Bushman Dance at near Grassland Bushman Lodge Honors Oryx and Hunters
Nowhere can this experience be more well done than from Grassland Bushman Lodge (also known as Grasslands Safaris). The exceptional difference offered here is the family that owns the lodge has lived in the area for 5 generations and worked side by side with the bushman for decades.
Authentic visits with Bushmen
The DeGraff family arrived as part of the Rhodes party to become the first large-scale cattle farmers in Botswana. Neeltjie, who manages the lodge as well as her sister and father all speak fluent Naro bushman language. This means you can ask any questions you want as well as receive true translations of all that is happening in the company of the bushman.
This makes for a much deeper experience than guests receive when they go on simple bushman walks that usually consist of 2 men doing a set routine which a guide interprets activities but not the language. At Grasslands, time with bushmen includes men and women and is multi-generational allowing visitors to experience the entire bushman society.
Recent rains allowed a bushman to pull out a plant and drink water with a stem from a small pool against the roots
Each time out is somewhat different and as seasons change so do the important things the bushman show you. For example on our January visit, the foods gathered were quite different than when I was there for an April visit. The travel writer expert, Dave Fox, who co-guided this writing safari with me had a number of questions and did a full-on interview with these fascinating people easily translated in both directions by Neeljie – something likely not possible at any other safari lodge.
Our day spent with amazing people was certainly one of the very top highlights for all in the group and I could see the wonder on their faces and the excitement in their voices. I only wish that every person could somehow visit the first of us. Spending time with the bushmen provides a new vantage point to observe our own lives making it a poignant experience that stays with one long after the visits and your return to home.