A short distance-280km to Ghanzi (distances in England will now always seem meagre in comparison) meant a laid back start and our first lie-in in ages: 7am. Sounds early to most but given that the heat reaches about 30 degrees by 8am and the sun sets in a flash, over the past month or so we have woken at sunrise and gone to bed early. Trust me, 9pm is the new midnight.
On the way we stopped for firewood, dragging sizeable logs to the truck in the brutal heat (must have at least hit the 40s). At Ghanzi we stopped for supplies and were surrounded by young street kids. Harmless, hungry and with a noticeably different face structure-this being the land of the San bushmen-they gobbled a piece of chocolate from the ground that had fallen from someone’s ice cream, before being chased away by a managerial Mzungu.
Our camp that night had traditional huts and rooms with ensuite bathrooms (!!!) on offer. We boomdiggidy upgraded immediately for a small fee, totally worth the words-cannot-describe-comfort of sinking into a real life bed.
We then all joined a walk led by 4 members of one of the oldest tribes in Africa-the San bushmen. Scantily clad in their traditional animal-skin dress and with a translator as our guide, they took us out into the bush -which to our untrained eyes looked like barren wilderness- and foraged for the plants they used to survive.
Healing roots and leaves which cured everything from stomach cramps, headaches to staving off malaria as well as contraception and fertility remedies. Soap and a considerable amount of water were both amazingly extracted from plants before our eyes.
Their finale was to make fire using sticks, which awakened the pyromaniac in Doug who then recreated the magic back with them back at camp.
As recompense for their time they politely asked for a cigarette, removed the filter then shared it amongst their group. The elder, a granny with a hacking cough called rank, snatched it from the youngest and puffed away happily.