For the first time ever, an incredible
opportunity to experience a dignified and sensitive Bushman safari. For many
years, it has not been possible to offer a genuine non-patronising Bushman
experience due to the threat of exploitation. Now, Uncharted Africa Safari
Company, in conjunction with the Bushman people themselves, offer a unique and
fascinating opportunity to experience the age-old rituals and traditions
associated with an eland hunt.
The eland is the most important animal to the Bushmen, both as a practical
resource (food, skin etc) and as a spiritual symbol. It is the largest antelope
in the world and the only animal in the Kalahari that stores large quantities of
fat (both in its dewlap and its hump). Fat is one of the only foods in the
desert that is storable for the Bushmen as they have no system of refrigeration
nor means of food preservation. One can therefore appreciate the great
importance and value of this life-giving substance and majestic animal to the
Bushmen people. The rite of passage from boyhood to man is sanctified by the
successful hunt of a large antelope. Sadly, this tradition is threatened with
extinction because the Bushmen are too poor to forfeit the money that they could
earn through hunting trophies. As a result, they are unable to hunt for ritual
Uncharted Africa Safari Co has created a safari experience where Guests are able
to accompany an authentic Bushmen hunt and respectfully observe the related
rituals and tradition related to its successful conclusion. In so doing,
sustainable cultural tourism preserves the Bushmen culture for future
Your Guide will be a fully qualified Zoologist/Biologist in consultation with
Community leaders thus ensuring a unique experience that combines both culture
and wildlife in an educational, yet non-intrusive, fashion. The Bushmen with
whom we conduct our hunts are the last of the greatest hunters alive today. To
hunt an eland with Bushmen in a truly authentic manner is an incredible
privilege and a rare and special experience. One, that until now has been
impossible to experience anywhere in Africa.
However, it must be accepted that as such, the success of the hunt could never
be guaranteed. We will aim for eland but if unsuccessful, will hunt a gemsbuck,
wildebeest or kudu as all of these species are incorporated in the initiation
Please also bear in mind that activities detailed below may vary from the order
detailed below due to the spontaneous and authentic nature of the experience.
Arrive by plane at midday and transfer down a dusty red road to a remote
campsite deep in the ancestral gathering lands of the Zu/’hoasi Bushmen.
Uncharted Africa Safari vehicles are top-of-the-range Toyota
Landcruisers,extremely comfortable and have multiple thoughtful details that
make them perfect for game viewing such as roof-top seats, leather bean bags for
photography and ponchos to keep one warm on sunrise gamedrives. After a
delicious and refreshing lunch, head off to your hut for a rest.
The campsite will be comprised of traditionally styled tents replete with all
the accoutrements of a proper safari. Guests will sleep on proper beds between
pure cotton sheets and old-fashioned army blankets and duvets.
Wooden ladder shelves for hanging and stacking clothing and a wooden trunk for a
bedside table will provide space for storage. Private bucket showers and bush
loos are situated adjacent to each shelter. Depending on where the hunt takes
place, there may be several nights spent fly camping under the stars in Mosquito
After tea, walk through the bush to the nearby Bushmen village where you will be
met in a traditional manner by the elders of the community. Around the fire
before dinner, listen
to the history of the Bushmen people whose origins can be traced back 30000
years, and learn about the complex political challenges that are confronting
Enjoy a delicious dinner under the stars.
After a restful night’s sleep, meet the men after breakfast to prepare for a
traditional hunt. Walk into the bush and search out the poison grub beetle,
gathering suitable roots, sanseveria leaves and branches for the manufacture of
rope, bows and arrows.
Return to camp for a lunch and siesta.
After tea, return to the Bushmen village. Watch the men prepare bows, arrows and
quivers while young boys demonstrate various traditional games that provide
training for the hand-to-eye co-ordination skills that will be so necessary when
on the hunt.
Retire to bed after a satisfying dinner in excited anticipation of the next
DAY 3 - 7
Depart early after hearty cooked breakfasts for a day’s traditional hunting with
Spend the next few days with the men tracking, hunting and gathering - observing
and sharing in their astounding knowledge of their environment.
Days will be spent searching the area for eland tracks, stalking and, hopefully,
hunting down some wild quarry using traditional bows and arrows. This is a real
expedition and, at times, may be physically demanding. A picnic lunch will be
taken with to enable one to be flexible and react fast to the day’s events.
Return to camp hopefully bearing the results of a day’s hunt and prepare the
meat to share and sample around the fire.
The following morning, join the Bushmen in the very sensitive job of sharing the
meat among all the band members (men, women and children). This task is
performed by the hunter whose arrow killed the antelope. It is a time of great
excitement and rejoicing as the eland is prized above all other antelope.
If you can bear tearing yourself away from the fascinating preparations for the
evening’s celebrations, return to camp for a lunch and siesta.
The successful hunter will undergo the ritual ceremony of the hunt led by the
elders, receiving tattoos to indicate his passage into manhood as a hunter. A
huge feast and incredible trance dance will follow, through which all the
community bond and are healed by their Healers. This is a deeply spiritual
experience for the Bushmen people.
It is a great privilege for our Guests to have the opportunity to observe the
mysterious passage of the Healer into a state of altered consciousness (entirely
induced by breathing technique), where he can make contact with his ancestors.
The eland has taken on an almost God-like significance in all San Bushman
culture and lore. The hair from between the eyes of the eland is removed, burnt
and inserted into the incisions that are made between the eyes of the hunter, on
his temples and on his arms. The hunter is thus tattooed to imbue him with the
power of the eland.
When a young girl reaches puberty and menstruates for the first time, the week
long ritual she undergoes culminates in a symbolic eland dance. The most
important trance, a healing dance of the San Bushman is another eland dance and
is the embodiment of Bushman spirituality.
It is therefore no wonder that eland have been elevated to deity status, and why
the eland is often featured in ancient San rock art. Depending on the success of
the hunt, we may have time to join in a morning gathering expedition with the
men, women, children and your Guides.
Your Guide will point out the distinct ecological characteristics of this area
and its animal and bird species while spontaneous gathering and discussions
about the uses of plants and wildlife by your Bushmen Guides provide the link
between culture and wild environment that we seek to offer our Guests on these
very special safaris.
An adolescent Bushman girl knows more than 115 species of usable plants and an
extraordinary variety of plants and herbs with both culinary and medicinal value
will be found.
After lunch and a siesta, return to the Bushmen village where you will learn
from the women how to prepare their bush foods using only the most basic of
tools and an open fire. You will be able to sample a variety of foods from wild
spinach and roast beetles to ostrich egg omelette cooked on the coals.
Some of the women may also show you how they make
beads from ostrich eggs and the simple, but striking jewellery that they make
from porcupine quills, seeds and ostrich eggs.
Leather is also decorated with both glass and ostrich beads to complex and
As the sun sets and the evening draws close, the women may spontaneously perform
the melon dance, around the evening fire. This unselfconscious and free-spirited
traditional dance represents the joyful celebration of a successful harvest.
Return to camp for a rather more conventional, but still delicious, meal and
retire to bed.
Superb Freshly prepared meals
Your Guide w / covered safari vehicle
A Morning of Successful Gathering
Bushmen Tracking is Legendary