The north-eastern region of Namibia is home to some of the last remaining San (Bushman) communities in Southern Africa. These people have mastered the harsh Kalahari environment over thousands of years and are believed to be the original inhabitants of both Namibia and Botswana, over time being displaced by more aggressive tribes moving into the Southern African region. Since Independence in Namibia in 1990, the traditional San hunting grounds have been reduced in size and the people living in this area no longer survive in pure hunter-gatherer societies. New community developments incorporating cattle ownership and tourism have been established, with mixed reactions.

Although idealists would prefer the San to revert to a cashless society where they are able to pursue their traditional lifestyle, most understand that the advancement of time and ‘Western’ influence has made this all but impossible and that some amount of compromise is required.

This compromise ensures that the San are able to continue living in some semblance of their original communities, whilst sharing their ancient skills with visitors to the area in return for the monetary investment that enables them to buy the necessities of their daily lives.

Tsumkwe is the regional capital of Bushmanland and tours can be arranged from here, as well as from the towns of Grootfontein and Tsumeb a little further west. Visitors can learn about San villages from the local guides, and the area is also home to a variety of wildlife species. The remote and beautifully unspoiled Khaudom Game Reserve in particular is home to many interesting species such as the rare wild dog, roan antelope, elephant, zebra and just about all the species that are present in Etosha.

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Nhoma Safari Camp is a small activity orientated, tented camp, situated in the north eastern corner of Namibia on state-owned land within the traditional area of the Ju/’hoan San or Bushmen (as they are commonly known in Namibia). The camp is owned and was built by Arno Oosthuysen with the help of the //Nhoq’ma community with whom he has had an exclusive agreement since 1999. Tourism allows the community to earn cash in order to buy food and supplies not provided by the surrounding environment. Without tourism, the community would have left their ancestral land and moved to settled areas such as Tsumkwe.

The safari tents, shaded by large Zambesi teak trees, provide the basic luxuries such as comfortable beds and en-suite bath rooms with hot water. Meals and drinks are provided in a central dining area consisting only of a large thatched roof. It is adjacent to the Ju/’hoan village by the name of //Nhoq’ma and 60 km, or a one-and-a-half hour drive on a 4WD track, from the Khaudum National Park. The ten tents are spread out along a vegetated dune with a 180 degree view over the Nhoma omuramba (fossil river bed). The vegetation of this part of the Kalahari is classified as woodland savannah and is a far cry from the image people have of the Kalahari! Other surprises reveal themselves during the course of a visit.

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  • Rooms: 10
  • Type:
  • Spoken Languages: Afrikaans, English
  • Special Interests: Adventure, History Culture, Nature, Wildlife, Birding, Flora, Leisure, Relaxation
  • Location: Namibia, Bushmanland

TUCSIN (The University Centre for Studies in Namibia) bought Tsumkwe Lodge in 2014 from the Namibia Country Lodges Group. The TUCSIN TSUMKWE Hospitality and Training Centre is now a multi-functional centre promoting inter alia, education and training.

TUCSIN became involved because this was seen as an opportunity for offering education and training to the marginalized San community who can no longer survive exclusively by hunting and gathering. The need to integrate community members and in particular the Ju/’hoan San Bushmen, who live in the Nyae Nyae Conservancy, is of cardinal importance. It requires a well-informed approach with respect for the precious – but rare – value systems of traditional hunter-gatherer societies.

TUCSIN considers the lodge as an opportunity for involving the marginalised San community who live in the area. A hands-on approach to work should lead to training, study and eventual employment.

TUCSIN TSUMKWE operates as any other lodge in Namibia catering for local and international visitors to the area. Accommodation complemented by personal hosting and cultural excursions to Ju/’hoansi villages form part of the day to day function of this Hospitality and Training facility. With its close proximity to the Nyae Nyae Pans and Khaudom National Park, Tsumkwe is still a wilderness paradise, off the beaten track!

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