Bushmen Conservation in Africa

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During my long journey, I met some great projects and organizations. But what I experienced only briefly in Namibia – in a place called “n/a’ankuse”- surpassed them all, both in the non-profit concept and in the wildlife travel experience!

My walk with cheetahs, learning from Bushmen, and discovering one of the most awesome conservation projects in Africa!

“God is watching over us” is the meaning of the sacred word “n/a’ankuse” and it beautifully describes the feeling given to a visitor when he walks through the doors for the first time.

Located 40 km from Windhoek, Namibia, and ideally located near the international airport, it feels like worlds away from business civilization. An oasis of peace and tranquility, but also one of the most awesome non-profit and ecological concepts I have ever experienced.

Walking with cheetahs

Intestine…. The n/a’anker Foundation comprises 3 main areas to preserve Namibia’s spectacular wildlife, lands and Indigenous communities. In addition, n/a’bank offers volunteers from all over the world the opportunity to participate and be rewarded with the experience of a lifetime.

The Very start…..

It all started in year with a Levenslijnklinik to the San Bushmen, according to the founders Marlice and Rudie van Vuuren, a San baby, cut off to die due to lack of proper care, and interest due to the local medical center. From there, a large area outside Windhoek – 3,200 ha – was purchased to create a protected area for many endangered Namibian species and create jobs for the San Bushmen.

N / a’ankuse Wildlife Sanctuary and Lodge was inaugurated in year and has 6 beautiful guest houses and 10 villas that can accommodate a whole family, all distributed throughout the property for maximum privacy.

That’s where I’ve had the opportunity to spend some time lately.

The journey from Windhoek took about an hour and lost much of it on a gravel track crossing a magnificent landscape. Once we got to the main entrance, it took another 15 minutes to reach the main Lodge house, so maybe that’s the matter….

The first thing I noticed was the solar panels above the parking lot, and that set the tone for everything else.

The main building and the 6 adjacent Chalets impress with their beautiful architecture and interior decoration. “Organic Romantic” is the name of this particular style, designed by Namibian architect Dirk Theunissen and interior designer Laurie Owen from Johannesburg.

An eclectic mix of earthy and gray tones, balanced with simple ornaments and a fresh, earthy atmosphere that appeals to calm and comfort in an elegant elegance.

The conservation projects were already impressive, but a wonderful sense of style was a rare combination.

After my stay in my magnificent Chalet and getting to know all its facets and its little Extras, I was welcomed by “Fudge” the cat. Just so you know, she runs the store and came to make sure that I liked my surroundings and that I knew how all the appliances worked….

A walk in the bush with the Bushmen of San

Then I started my first “activity”: meeting the San Bushmen and walking with them in the bush.

I have already met the Lifeline clinic, and n/a’ Merci also offers a job and training for the San. Almost all the staff at San Lodge, including the Safari guides. There is also a school for older children-supported by the Jolie Pitt Foundation – and scholarship programs for older children.

Of course, the San marlice and Rudie love it and are very grateful for everything they have received.

The next day, my Safari guide told me how different the future is for his children than for his own when he was their age. Now you have options and can build a superior future for yourself. He started as a security guard at the gate and worked his way up the ranks to Safari Guide-and he was an excellent one! More on that later….

My meeting with the San Bushmen was enchanting and fascinating. While the tribes live mainly in the Kalahari, a small group always walks around N/a for 3 months to meet the guests and walk with them in the bush.

My Guide serves as a translator and the communication was quite fun – especially for you…;- )- because I tried my best to speak your language with all the extra sounds.

Then we were taken to a thicket and the San explained the different plants and how to use them in their daily lives (tasting included).

My walk with the Bushmen

The main plant was the water root, which you dig out of the ground, then eat to hydrate.

For them it was rather boring, because the Land around Windhoek is much more stony and the plants are much smaller, but in the Kalahari they are greatand easy to dig up and are an important ingredient in the desert.

I also saw how to make a fire – nice! – and learn more about their culture and their daily life.

Making a fire with the Bushmen of San

All in all, a wonderful afternoon that I highly recommend once you stay in N/a’s.

After a dip in one of the coolest pools ever:

I enjoyed a delicious meal of African specialties, then I retired to my charming cottage to enjoy an evening under the porch.

Fudge came to me and stayed the night.

A large game reserve

The next day was dedicated to activities in nature and I highly recommend that you spend at least two days in this beautiful place, more if you can.

Marlice van Vuuren is a well-known ecologist in Namibia and wants to stay on her parents’ reserve.

N /a ‘ dank was concerned about the decline in the number of wild animals and was built as a wildlife reserve, especially for big cats.

Numerous trainings and conversations took place with Namibian farmers to convince them not to kill leopards, cheetahs and lions, but to capture them alive, then hand them over to n/a’knuse.

It is becoming more and more effective and so far more than 150 feral cats have survived the persecution thanks to the efforts of n/a’knuse.

Whenever possible, they are transferred to areas where they are less dangerous for livestock and released into the wild.

Leopards are “tough” cats and can often be released the next day. Cheetahs, on the other hand, are very sensitive and take 2 months to recover from Transportation on their own. Even after that, not all of them can be released, in particular. once they get used to people.

Carnivores have their own enclosure, at least 1 ha per animal. In addition to cheetahs and leopards, 3 lions currently live in the protected area, as well as carp salmon, wild dogs and baboons. The lions were the biggest I’ve ever seen. Kalahari lions are much larger than most other breeds, as I learned here.

Outside the enclosures, giraffes, zebras, Springboks, and many other animals (except Fudge…) are free in the field. It feels like living in the African bush.

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