Kiddies in tow, we set off for the Kalahari. After my recent activity with the Bushmen at Kalahari Plains Camp, I knew I had to share this lifetime experience with my family.
They say transferring knowledge is key to our children’s development, so what if we were able to share the knowledge of some of the world’s oldest nomadic tribes? Their family antics, playful quarrels and their “lessons in life” education system are good reminders to all, as we fight the entanglement of our complicated lifestyles.
Camera in hand we set off onto the arid plains in front of camp; a sea of yellow grasses speckled with white puffs of cotton wool bush (Gossypium family), called gxhwai in the ancient San language and used by the tribal members to call rain. This was the first San word my son learnt, which was cheered with much joy as he pronounced it back to the family. A few more plant species later, and with much excitement we moved from gathering mode onto more manly hunting techniques.
They demonstrated traps for Kori bustard, followed by steenbok and then a re-enactment of catching a scrub hare which scared the living day lights out of the children as a pretend furry animal was plucked from a hole.
Lastly they taught the children to make fire the ancient tribal way. With much blowing and stick rubbing our flames were roaring in only minutes; almost suggesting trickery at play. Once again the cheers of fire suggested happiness from the cooking and warmth provided by the flickering flames.
Walking back to camp across the springbok littered pan was a real treat; with KB my boy taking the lead into a magnificent golden sunset. All the excitement was way too much for Jade; who hitched a ride on mom’s back; only looking back occasionally to make sure daddy was close by.
This is a must do activity for all families; reliving the natural world long forgotten in time.
Written and Photographed by Deon de Villiers. This article has been reposted in partnership with Wilderness Safaris.
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