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In 1993, Arno Oosthuysen, a Namibian born in Windhoek, built Tsumkwe Lodge which he used as a base for his tours in the area. As a young boy he used to travel with his medical doctor father to all the remote areas in Namibia, visiting clinics and learning the ways of the wild. In 1999, he was asked by the community of //Nhoq’ma to bring tourists to their village as they were left without any income and were living from the bush only. Arno built a temporary tented camp near the village which is 80km from Tsumkwe to serve as a base for his guests: Nhoma Safari Camp. The activities at //Nhoq'ma center around the activities of this community at //Nhoq'ma: hunting and veld food gathering, traditional games and crafts and the all important healing dances.

Kaece G/aq'o is the head of the extended family living at Nhoma. He is estimated to be in his 80's and was an adult before he saw white people for the first time. The village was called Kaece and was situated just below the present site where they obtained water from a well. They would move to the Mangetti forests in the rainy season to collect Mangetti nuts. Lorna Marshall shows the village as 'Chassis' in her book, The !Kung of Nyae Nyae. Kaece was a great hunter that likes to tell the lengthy tale of how he hunted an Eland bull by running it down for days. He is now blinded by cataracts.

Nhoma Safari Camp is not a project, but it is also not a large commercial operation. Since Arno started working with this community in 1999, it has grown considerably. The people of N//hoq'ma are called by others "the people who eat meat". Because of tourism they have been able to stay on their land. A village school came to be because of our intervention, we wrote letters to get a new borehole drilled, we wrote letters to the Ombudsman to have the Kavango cattle post removed. It is easy to say that the Bushmen are not traditional any more and that cultural tourism is dead. However, enough of their tradition and skills are left to make cultural tourism viable. If the children are to have any future it is essential that their parents have a source of income. Tourism is not necessarily a permanent solution, but a way of utilising the land. It is most important that they don't lose this land to cattle owners of other tribes.

The son of the village elder, Kaece G/aq'o, known as Bertus, has proved to be an excellent guide.

 
 
 

 

 

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