Tsumkwe
Village in Namibia

See also: Actor of "The Gods Must Be Crazy"

Tsumkwe may be the regional administrative centre and is a settlement in the Otjozondjupa Region of Namibia - the district capital of the Tsumkwe electoral constituency, and the largest settlement in the region. However it is hardly more than a collection of shops, trading stores and bottle shops. You may find Bushman art for sale in stalls or small shops: ostrich egg bracelets and necklaces and colourful beaded bags are the most common items.

If you plan to explore the area make sure you have sufficient fuel for your planned mileage. There is a police station and Nature Conservation Office, which is useful for anyone travelling on to the Khaudum (Kaudom) Game Park and Khaudum Camp - the office will be able to advise on the condition of the roads and location of the wildlife. Travellers should look out for a large baobab tree close by.

YouTube video of Bushmen Living Museum:

 

The area around Tsumkwe exhibits notable vegetation and wildlife - particularly within the Khaudom Game Reserve (Kaudwane in Tswana) where lions, cheetahs, hyenas and other large mammals can be found. The African wild dog has notable packs within the area.

Capital of the San (Bushmen)

Tsumkwe is situated about 60 km west of the Botswana border and 300 km east of Grootfontein in the Otjozondjupa Region. Tsumkwe is just a small town with about 500 inhabitants and it is administrative centre for the Tsumkwe district in which 9,000 people live, of which about 2,400 are San.

The San, the original inhabitants of Namibia, also called Bushmen, have been living in Southern Africa for more than 20,000 years. The region belongs to the former Bushmanland, appointed homeland to the Bushmen by the former South African administration.

The Bushmen established the Nyae Nyae Conservancy, a game reserve of about 30 x 35 km around a pan (Nyae Nyae Pan), which turns into a lake after good rainfalls. In this regoin the Bushmen can be seen in their natural habitation and one can even partake in a hunt or a nature walk. It is estimated today that about 30,000 San are living in Namibia, of which about 2,000 still have a traditional way of live.

En-route to Tsumkwe there are many small turnoffs from the C44, leading to Bushmen villages where travellers can meet the people and learn about their fascinating culture. The best way though to experience it is to visit the Living Hunters Museum 20 km north of Tsumkwe.

Living villages: You can stay in a San community for a few hours or several days and participate in their life.

Build a traditional hut, forge iron arrow tips, learn to read animal spoor, and so on. Great for kids! There are several such villages around Tsumkwe. Contact the Nyae Nyae Conservancy for more information about this tour. Tsumkwe Lodge can also organise trips to living villages.
Community camp sites: You can camp at several San villages around Tsumkwe, ask at the Tsumkwe Lodge which ones are worth visiting. The villagers often also offer activities like guided walks, and the experience is a bit more natural than in the official living villages. The downside is that the "program" is not guaranteed: If the story teller is absent then there will be no story night at the fire, when only elders are around no one will take you on a walk for edible plants. The community camp sites are a lot cheaper than the living villages. When arranging for a price for activities keep in mind that there is a minimum wage in Namibia of around 12.50 N$ per hour. Please do not add to the exploitation of the San by paying less than that.

The Tsumkwe Lodge is the main place to stay in the area. There is also a public guest house. The camping possibilities are good.

TUCSIN
Tsumkwe Country Lodge, on the D5904 south of the village centre: turn south at the main crossroads in town, the lodge is signposted about a km from there: 25 bungalows, 6 camping sites. The lodge has a waterhole that is frequented mostly by cattle and donkeys, but occasionally an elephant quenches its thirst there too. Camping spots are on sand with lots of thorn bushes yet little shade. A footpath leads directly past the camp site, and the next bar is not far. The place can thus become noisy at times. Food at the restaurant has to be ordered in advance, but it is worth it. The lodge employs several indigenous San who are happy to answer questions and give advise on what to visit next.

Sikereti Camp has been reopened!

Phone code: 067. Police: 10111.

Related Maps Accommodation in the area Activities in the area
Hotels Pensions B&Bs Lodges Camping & others
Etosha National Park General map - - - Tsumkwe Lodge Tsumkwe Lodge Tour to Bushmen village
Grootfontein Etosha - - - Nhoma Camp Khaudum & Sikereti -
All Bushman Regions - - - Khaudum Camp Nhoma Camp Site -
Tsumkwe - - - - Sikereti Camp - -

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