J1049N Kalahari to Kruger

South Africa, Africa

The Situation

This project aims at preserving and promoting the ancient art of tracking while simultaneously fostering a passion for wilderness and wildlife amongst selected outstanding youngsters.

The Ju/’hoansi* of the remote Nyae Nyae region of Namibia are the last of the San (Bushmen) hunter-gatherers of the Greater Kalahari who still command the full suite of their extraordinary heritage. They have access to land with wildlife, have retained their resonant ‘click’ language and are the keepers of astonishing tracking and gathering prowess. They are also the last exponents of endurance hunting, the ability to run down antelope through heat exhaustion. Only a handful of the Ju/’hoansi, men and women, have been recognized as the remaining indigenous Master Trackers – bearers of the highest level of tracking ability based not on formal tutoring but on sheer ancestral expertise. These skills are vanishing fast. Like the San throughout the Kalahari, the Ju/’hoansi are an impoverished and marginalized community, hammered by diseases such as TB.

The trackers have now established the Ju/’hoansi Trackers Association, and a process of self-empowerment is underway. On the agenda is (1) the building of a trackers’ school deep in the Nyae Nyae bush, (2) attracting more cultural tourists to the area and (3) the forging of contacts with wildlife tourist operators running walking trails throughout the great game parks of southern Africa.

A separate but linked aspect of the Project is wilderness education for youngsters. While financial need is a selection criterion, the principal basis on which students as young as twelve and thirteen are chosen to experience wilderness immersion in big game country is their budding leadership, their enthusiasm for the environment and their potential to give back to conservation in years to come.

The Objective

  1. This project seeks to is strengthening the prestige, financial security, well-being and future of the trackers within the Ju/’hoansi and the Kalahari San

Donate to J1049N