Revel in the tranquillity that brought us to the Okavango Delta in the first place.
Where: In the heart of the Okavango Delta
When: Year Round however due to the floods levels winter months have the best water levels.
The use of mekoro depends on a number of factors beyond our control – water levels, vegetation growth, changes in the Okavango’s channel-structure, and hippo activity, amongst others. These can and do change quickly and unpredictably. We cannot predict environmental conditions with any certainty, despite having 30 years’ experience behind us.
The Okavango, with its crystal-clear channels, lily-studded lagoons, sweeping floodplains and countless islands is home to over 450 bird species, a spectacular array of plant species and the full spectrum of African game. The Okavango has earned its reputation as one of the world's premier wilderness areas and the 1000th World Heritage site.
Delta Camp, Oddballs’ Enclave and Oddballs’ Camp offer the purest traditional Okavango Delta experience – local guides, hand-made wooden dug-out mekoro. (the genuine wooden article, not the plastic replica). The only commercial tourism operations in the Okavango that still offer their guests the opportunity to experience the genuine, traditional wooden dug-out canoe – the archetypal mokoro of the Okavango, the means by which the Delta was settled in ancient times
Each guide has his own mokoro, (pl mekoro) in which heʼll take you gliding through the Okavango. The peace and tranquility, the regular and soporific thrust of your guides long ngashi, by which you are propelled, the gentle rustle of water and lily-pads, the crystal clear water beneath you, the warm sun overhead – all these will frame the many sensations that will flood through you as you make your gentle progress. As you thread your way through floodplains fringed with islands, ancient trees will mark your passage, as will tiny reed-frogs, imperious fish eagles that appear to be courting while fishing in the lagoons, their distinctive call, the voice of Africa, accompanying your mokoro ride. A host of other living creatures, large and small, Bee-eaters hawk from the reed-beds, red lechwe will pause in their grazing to observe you, hippo will grunt in the lagoons, and the crocodiles you don’t see will see you.
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.
Footsteps in Africa
News, views, sights and sounds from the Botswana bush!