Bushmanland - off the beaten track

PUBLISHED 31 OCT 2016   

Another off-the-beaten-track attraction to visit is Bushmanland, home to traditional San bushmen who, like the Himba people, survive by living off the land in harmony with nature. 

Situated in the Kalahari desert, it is a nice added attraction when visiting, offering incredibly rugged scenery of dunes and thorny bushveld that support both game and tribal people.

Source: By Isewell, CC BY-SA 2.5, Link

As you head north from Grootfontein, travel for about 57 kilometers then turn east onto the C44, traveling for 222 kilometers until you reach Tsumkwe, where you can continue on to the Khaudum Game Park or the Botswana border.

However, be warned, this part of the country really lives up to the term 'off-the-beaten-track'. If you study a Namibian road map you will see a large area to the northeast of Namibia that is devoid of settlements or roads. This is Bushmanland, home of the San bushmen tribes. There are no roads to speak of, no petrol garages, and very few shops along the route. 

There are also no facilities catering for tourists, so you will need to bring your tent, food, water and sufficient fuel to complete your journey. You will need a 4x4 off-road vehicle, and you will need to be adept at driving it in soft sandy conditions.  It would be wise to travel in a convoy with at least one other vehicle in the event that something goes wrong, as help is not readily at hand in these backwoods.

Khaudum Game Park

The Khaudum Game Park, situated on the Namibia-Botswana border, is one attraction to visit when touring this area. On route, you will drive through Tsumkwe, the region's largest settlement, which consists of an intersection that is home to just a few shops, such as trading stores, curio shops selling Bushman art and trinkets, and bottle stores. There is also a Nature Conservation office in the village, which can provide information to those heading towards the Khaudum Game Park.

View of Tsumkwe, North East Namibia, near border with Botswana, taken from Cessna 402c

Nyae Nyae Conservancy

If you would like to experience the Bushman culture, arrange a Bushman guide or be entertained with some traditional dancing, pop into the Nyae Nyae Conservancy office and they will organize a local guide for you at a fee. 

Basic campsites are provided near Bushman villages within the Nyae Nyae Conservancy, which tourists are encouraged to use, as all fees generated through these initiatives support local communities who have very few other ways of generating an income, other than tourism and hunting concessions.