Monday, 28 April 2014

The Road to the Bushmen - Central Kalahari Game Reserve Botswana

The Central Kalahari Game Reserve or in short CKGR, is a desolate desert like environment located in the centre of Botswana. It is classified as a desert because of it's lack of permanent surface water but it has no resemblance to other desert like environments for instance the Namib desert. It is covered with plenty of stocky, thorny bushes and trees and grasslands. It is unimaginable how wildlife can survive in such a harsh environment. But not only they, but also the Bushmen have been able to do so for thousands of years.


The CKGR was set up by the British administration of the protectorate of Bechuananland in 1961 as a reserve for the Bushmen to practise their traditional lifestyle, as they have been doing for ages. Starting in 1997 and continuing through to 2002 the Botswana Government, in order to protect the rapidly dwindling stocks of game according to their research, decided to relocate all of the bushmen that were living in the reserve at that time, to resettlement camps outside of the reserve. Villages consisting of whole family units, and everyone else that were part of a village were resettled. The effect on the bushmen was devastating. Their whole way of life revolved around their attachment to the land and what they could get from it to sustain them. Resettlement camps were nothing more than shanty towns full of hopelessness and despair, and even today stand in sharp contrast to their ancient hunting grounds that sustained them for so long.

Ancient hunting grounds of the Bushmen - CKGR

Ancient hunting grounds of the Bushmen - CKGR

Less than a handful of Bushmen communities still resides within the Reserve with a small community at Molapo in the east of the Reserve and other communities at Mothomelo and Gope in the South. The community of Bushmen at Molapo, although they still do hunt, do not follow their traditional nomadic lifestyle anymore. They stay in more permanent grass and wooden structures. The community at Mothomelo is said to be the last Bushmen community that have manged to keep their nomadic lifestyle largely in tact against all odds. The photos below are from the community of Bushmen at Molapo. 


Photo Credits all photos at Molapo:
The Bushmen at Molapo




Near Molapo: Central Kalahari Game Reserve

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