When you go tracking with the Kalahari Bushmen, you’ll find that they are deeply rooted in their ancient oral culture and in their symbiotic relationship with the animals, birds and plants of the Kalahari Desert. Stop, touch, taste, learn and listen – it’s an unforgettable experience.

Did you know?

The San or Bushmen were South Africa's first inhabitants.

Although the traditional Kalahari Bushmen or San way of life is fast disappearing, there are still places where their ancient culture flourishes. Experience this by going on a guided trail where Bushmen trackers share their stories, knowledge and skills.

Internationally renowned zoologist Professor Anne Rasa runs a simple, comfortable lodge in the Kalahari Trails Nature Reserve, just 35km from the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, the first trans-border park in Africa, which stretches across the Kalahari Desert between South Africa, Namibia and Botswana.

Rasa was a pupil of the late San tracker, Vetpiet Kleinman, who was born in the park and whose skills were world-famous.

On an early morning or evening walk, she will interpret tracks, and talk about the sand, rocks, plants, animals and birds. That night, after a hearty supper, you'll sit by a crackling fire and listen to Kalahari Bushmen stories as old as time.

In the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park itself, you can choose between the park's regular accommodation or the first fully catered luxury lodge, !Xaus (pronounced 'Kaus'). !Xaus means 'heart' in the San dialect and symbolises the business relationship between the local San community and private enterprise, which gave birth to this striking, remote lodge.

Walk with some of the local Kalahari Bushmen, and see where the well-known San artist, Vetkat Regopstaan Kruiper, whose paintings hang in the chalets, was laid to rest following a traditional burial ceremony.

Visit a local craft village, see San craftspeople at work, learn about medicinal plants and follow wildcat, jackal or aardvark spoor.

Your guides demonstrate how the San chew roots as a substitute for water and how they defend themselves against a lion by holding burning grass above their heads.

And at night, as the Bushmen say, you will hear the stars sing, and maybe even hear a black-maned Kalahari lion's roar.

Travel tips & Planning info

Related articles