|On our tours you will meet the San Bushmen. These people were the earliest hunter-gatherers in southern Africa. The San populated Southern Africa long before the arrival of the Bantu-speaking nations, and thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans.
San languages, characterised by implosive consonants or 'clicks', belonged to a totally different language family from those of the Bantu speakers.
Rock art by the late Stone Age hunter-gatherers can be found in the form of paintings or engravings in almost every district in Southern Africa. There is no comprehensive list of all sites, and many have not been recorded, but it is estimated that there are at least 20 000 to 30 000 sites and well over a million individual images.
The San have a rich oral history and have passed stories down from generation to generation. The oldest rock paintings they created are in Namibia and have been radiocarbon-dated to be 26 000 years old.
The most important thing in San life is water. Droughts may last many months and waterholes may dry up. When this happens, they use sip wells. To get water this way, a San scrapes a deep hole where the sand is damp. Into this hole is inserted a long hollow grass stem. An empty ostrich egg is used to collect the water. Water is sucked into the straw from the sand, into the mouth, and then travels down another straw into the ostrich egg.
Traditionally, the San were an egalitarian society. Although they had hereditary chiefs, their authority was limited. The San made decisions among themselves by consensus, with women treated as relative equals. San economy was a gift economy, based on giving each other gifts regularly rather than on trading or purchasing goods and services.