The General Manager of Grassland Bushman Lodge, Eluan Rabe's daughter recently celebrated her 1st birthday at the lodge. Eluan and his wife thought it would be a good gesture to share some of the birthday cupcakes with their Bushman family… What an incredible sight this was!
We had interviews with 3 of our San people: Xhiegau, Xhuma and Xhose.
Xhiegau and Xhuma are father and son and we had the interview with them together.
Name: Xhiegau and Xhuma
Where are you from? Xhiegau: I arrived with my father on Willie’s farm and this is where I grew up and spend my youth. I don’t know any other place then Willies farm as my home. Xhuma: I was born on Willies farm and this is where I grew up and have lived ever since.
What is your specialism? (eg what do you do) Xhiegau: I take guests on Bushman walks at the lodge with my family and I enjoy it very much to learn the people about our culture and how we survive in the bush. I help Willie on his cattle farms, because I know cattle very well, because I learnt from my father. Xhuma: I join my dad and the rest of our family on the Bushman walks to show the guests some very good food you can find in the bush and enjoy it very much to see the people’s reactions as we show them all the interesting stuff you can find in the bush. I also help my dad on Willies cattle farm so I can learn from my dad and also work on my own one day.
How long have you been doing your specialism? Xhiegau: Very long time (40+ years). I have never been anywhere else then on Willies farms. My family and I will never survive without Willie. Xhuma: When I finished school, I immediately started working with my dad, so I have been with Willie since I was born.
How long have you been working for Grassland Lodge? Same as above.
Why should people choose Botswana for an African safari? Xhiegau: The people should come and see how we, the brown people (Bushman), live and survive in the bush. We never changed our morals and forgot what we learned from our parents. We are still the same as we have been hundreds of years ago. Xhuma: The people should come and see the Kalahari and what is has to offer, when it rains in the Kalahari – it comes alive, we have Giant Bullfrogs and lots and lots of food in the Kalahari. The people must come and see how we survive.
From your point of view, what do visitors enjoy about Botswana? Both: It is very safe in Botswana.
Your favourite spot/place in Botswana? Xhiegau: I enjoy Ghanzi very much, there are a lot of people you can speak to and it is nice to sometimes buy something nice for my family. Ghanzi is also a very friendly little town, all the people tell us at the other places they are not as nice and friendly as in Ghanzi. Xhuma: We are Ghanzi people, we know the people in Ghanzi, it is nice to catch up with them every now and then.
What is your favourite thing about Botswana? Xhiegau: We can sleep in peace because it is very safe in Botswana, nobody will bother you when you are sleeping. Here is also enough food, we won’t die of hunger. Xhuma: The people don’t fight with each other, everybody is very friendly. Here is very nice food in Botswana and one can also sleep very well at night.
Where are you from? I was born on the neighbours farm and came to Willies farm as a young girl with my parents.
What is your specialism? (eg what do you do) I work at the lodge as the tea girl and am very proud of my job.
How long have you been doing your specialism? 5 years
How long have you been working for Grassland Lodge? 5 years
Why should people choose Botswana for an African safari? The people should come and see the animals here that are not there where they came from. The people should come and see how beautiful the Kalahari is.
From your point of view, what do visitors enjoy about Botswana? The animals and nature.
Your favourite spot/place in Botswana? Xade, where my mom is staying now, because my dad passed away a couple of months ago. People close to my hart stay at Xade, that’s why it’s my favourite place.
What is your favourite thing about Botswana? It is very nice to stay in Botswana, just nice, nobody is bothering you, one can just enjoy life in Botswana. The black people look down on us, the Bushman people, but we don’t mind them.
When asked if they had anything else they want to share with us, they all had the following to say: Please let the guests come and visit us, we enjoy their company very much and to show them how we survive. The guets don’t look down on us, they help us and support us with what we do.
Willie asked/said the following as a joke: “We are thinking of closing down Grassland and starting a cattle farm?!” All 3 spoke at the same time with the same answer: “No, please not, Grassland is our life!!!”
My name is Aobakwe also known as Xhega to friends and working colleagues.
I am from Ghanzi and have a wife three children whom stays with me at the staff accommodation while I am working at deception valley lodge.
Deception valley lodge has been my home and family for the last four years now.
My duties and responsibilities at work are tracking animals, sharing my skills and techniques with other people regarding my ancestor’s way of life -the Naru bushman.
General lodge maintenance as well pick ups, drop offs and assisting guest to and from their rooms at night.
I love my job due to the fact that it brings me joy and pride showing others my peoples way of life as it use to be as well as preserving nature for the next generation and just over all sharing of knowledge as this is the only way of life I know and it is my way of contributing to my country and people.
Botswana is an amazing country and the reason I love my country so much is not just because I am born here but because I can live freely and be who I am and who I want to be.
I am originally from New Zealand. After nearly a decade in IT I decided to pursue a career in Aviation. I went back to University to complete a degree in Aviation majoring in Airline Transport Pilot with post grad in Aviation Management and Aircrash Investigation. I have been flying for many years.
I decided to come to Botswana after recommendations from colleagues already working there, and I instantly fell in love with the place. I am now into my 8th year and have thousands of hours of flying experience in Botswana.
I am ideally suited as Chief Pilot with my background in Aviation Management and many years of flying experience.
Botswana can offer something to Safari goers that is a bit special – The Okavango Delta, the only inland delta in the world and a beautiful oasis in the middle of the desert. It is certainly unique. Guests can both view game and marvel at the spectacle that is the Okavango Delta. For game viewers all animals from the tiny duiker to the mighty elephant to the endangered rhino are on offer. For those who simply want to relax and unwind there are plenty of spots to park off and listen to bird life while soaking up some sun.
Aside from the majestic beauty of the Okavango Delta, it is the people of Botswana who make any safari truly memorable. They are warm, open people with a great sense of humour who truly enjoy sharing their wonderful country and all it has to offer. Every camp, lodge and hotel has a comment book for guests, they are full of praise for the staff and often heartfelt messages to guides, managers, pilots, cooks and general staff. I often read these books for my own enjoyment, it adds value and satisfaction to my job. Without a doubt it is the people of Botswana that make every visit special.
As a pilot I have been afforded the luxury of staying at most of the camps and lodges that Botswana has to offer. In my opinion Oddballs is the best place in Botswana, it has to be the most relaxing and tranquil place on the planet. The staff are incredible, they go beyond being friendly to treating guests as though they are family. It is the pilots favourite and one of the reasons why I fell in love with Botswana.
I have often been told by guests that I have the best job in the world.
Name: Mogomotsi ‘Mock’ Motlapele
Where are you from? I come from Maun, Botswana
What is your specialism? (Eg what do you do) Mobile Safaris - Tamog Tours & Safaris is a 100% citizen owned company which offers a unique and traditional African Safari experience. It is a safari company that offers mobile safaris, day trips, game drives and cultural tours.
How long have you been guiding? 13 years.
How long have you been operating Mobile Safaris? 8 years.
Why should people choose Botswana for an African safari? Botswana is a premier safari destination in Africa offering some of the best wildlife viewing on the planet, especially in around Chobe and Okavango delta region.
From your point of view, what do visitors enjoy about Botswana? Botswana is the most peaceful country in Africa, and has the highest concentration of game animal in the world, has the oldest and highest concentration of rock painting anywhere.
Your favourite spot/place in Botswana? Okavango delta and Moremi game reserve
What is your favourite thing about Botswana? Natural attractions.
Name: Keith Simmonds
Where are you from? My family are from Zimbabwe however I was born in Cape Town South Africa and after one month old my family moved to Mauritius where we lived for 9 and the moved again to Singapore where I lived for 10 years studying in Australian, American and British International schools. I then moved back to South Africa for 4 years where I studied in university and then at 43 Air School to become a pilot and have now lived in Botswana for 4 years.
How long have you been flying? I began my pilots license in 2007 but have been flying aircraft since I was a child as aviation is my family business; I am the ninth pilot in my family.
How long have you been flying in Botswana? I have been employed by Delta Air since August 2011.
What is your specialism? I am a Line Pilot and the Safety Officer for Delta Air.
What made you choose Botswana? Growing up I have listened to many of my fathers stories about Africa and the African bush; I have always wanted to return to Africa and find stories of my own as the African wildlife and landscape are where I feel most at home. During my training in South Africa I was required to fly across the South African border into another country, I fortunately myself and my friends chose to fly to Maun Botswana. I quickly realised this was exactly what I had been looking for and thus as soon as my training had finished, I flew to Maun to look for work.
Why should people choose Botswana for an African Safari? Botswana is an extremely diverse land which has everything someone looking for an African experience is looking for. The Okavango Delta stunning from every angle and is flooded with wild life ranging from enormous Elephant population to the endangered wild dog; Further south is the Kalahari, a rich desert filled with Lions, Eland, Oryx and many other animals with all the knowledge there is to learn about them taught to the traveller by resident bushman.
From your point of view what do visitors enjoy about Botswana? Peaceful freedom in a relaxing environment.
What is your favourite spot in Botswana? Along the Boro river just outside of Maun in the Okavango Delta is a large sandbank which I travel by boat to on my day off; it allows me to disappear from civilization with friends and family and relax.
My name is Edward Poppek, but I go by the name Ted.
I am German/kiwi spent my first 21 years in Germany and then left to live and work in New Zealand.
My first ever flight in a small aircraft was 2006 when I arrived in New Zealand to study and become a pilot. I had nothing to do with aviation at that particular point and had only made up my mind a few weeks before I left Germany.
The reason I became a pilot, was simply for the travel, hotel rooms, the lifestyle, this is was what sold it for me. I worked 6 1/2 years in hospitality to pay for my pilot training and once I was done my travels started and the job hunt brought me to Botswana.
After 2 years flying here as a line pilot, my rather spontaneous decision to become a pilot has paid off, I love my job, I love the environment here and mostly the fact that I get to meet new people every day. The great part of being on safari here in Botswana is that you have to fly to most of your destinations, making the trip so much more exciting. Seeing how the land can change in minutes of flight, spotting animals and experiencing how vast this country is.
Living here, I not only got to experience the incredible countryside, but also the how welcoming the people here are.
Favorite spot in Botswana? Come visit us here, then I will show you.
Hooray - 2015 here we come!!
2014 was an exciting year at Footsteps in Africa with a 12% increase in bednights booked compared to last year.
Thank you for your valued support during the year. We look forward to looking after
your precious guests in the New Year and to many more adventures in 2015.
***Good News! We still have limited space available for last minute enquiries over Christmas and New Year! ***
Contact us now for all your last minute booking requests.
We are delighted to announce that Grasslands Bushman Lodge has been awarded the 2014 World Luxury Hotel Award Country winner in the Luxury Safari Retreat category.
Footsteps in Africa
News, views, sights and sounds from the Botswana bush!