Visit to the Bushman's paradise!

Trip Start Aug 26, 2009
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Flag of Namibia  , Otjozondjupa,
Saturday, October 3, 2009

From the vast grasslands of Etosha we continued on to the desert area that Namibia is known for. We spent the day in the truck (which by now we were all used to) and just before we got to our campsite we stopped at a local school. The kids were waiting for us and the headmaster had them sing us some songs. Most of the children there live at the school because their homes are too far away for them to commute. Everyone from the tour brought supplies to donate. Jenny and Cort had a brilliant idea and brought along footballs (soccer balls) and a pump. After the concert the boys pumped up the balls and had a game of footy with the kids. I left the group and was given the grand tour of the school from some of the girls. After an hour or so, we had to get back to the truck to make it to the campsite for our bush walk.

Our campsite was located at Spitzkoppe (in German this literally means pointy-head). This granite isle burg is the remnant of an ancient volcano. It stands 1728 metres above the ground and because of its distinctive shape it is commonly known as the Matterhorn of Africa. We set up camp at the base of one of the rocks and our bushman arrived to take us out for a stroll to the "Bushman's Paradise." Well I don’t know about paradise but the rock formation that he took us to contained some interesting drawings from early people. They were painted on the wall with plant dyes and animal blood. They depicted various animals symbolizing water and food sources. Their purpose was to give direction to these food sources to the next bushman group. The Bushmen could tell which way a food/water source was by the direction the animal faced.

The bushman also gave us some interesting information on the area and its German heritage. We also learned about the Bushmen themselves and some of their customs and culture. Bushman speak is very interesting, the language contains four different types of clicks. They are made in different parts of your mouth to get the different sounds. When he talked for a time, it sounded really neat!

He also told us about the rhinosauras grass (the plant that he is standing beside in the photo). Rhino grass is poisonous and many people have died from ingesting it or inhaling it (mistakenly use it in building their fires). It was a good tip, it doesn’t look that threatening.

In the late afternoon, we spent our time lounging at the campsite and climbing up on the smooth rocks around the campsite. I climbed up just fine; it was the going down that caused me trouble. I listened to the boys (problem number 1) and instead of crawling back down the rock (like a girl) I ran down the rock (like a silly boy). So we all know how these crazy ideas turn out; I ran just fine until I got to solid ground and had too much momentum to keep myself upright and fell over (although I still maintain that Dan should have caught me, he was right there!). Don’t worry though, I was not seriously hurt (except maybe my pride) and if you want to see the video Chris caught the whole thing on tape! There is a fee of $5 though (to cover my emotional distress) =)

In the evening we went into a cave area and had a campfire. We played campfire games and introduced the world to a Canadian S’more (well at least a variation of it; we could not find graham crackers so we had to use tea biscuits). We also spent some time watching the stars without the hindrance of city lights. I tell you, the night sky in Africa is full of millions of stars and really makes you realize the vastness of what is out there.
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