The Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert
The people commonly known throughout the world as Bushmen, but more properly referred to as the Basarwa or San, have been resident in and around the Kalahari Desert for probably thousands of years.
Originally nomadic hunters and gathers, the lifestyle of the Basarwa has gradually changed (somewhat forcibly) with the times and they now live in settlements, some of which are situated within the southern half of the Central Kalahari Desert Game Reserve. The Botswana Government is, however, rather controversially encouraging these people to move to areas outside the reserve in order that they may be provided with modern facilities, schools, clinics, etc. and to integrate them into modern society.
Other fairly recent residents were Mark and Delia Owens, who spent many years in the Deception Valley area of the park undertaking research mainly on brown hyena. They set up their camp in the northern section of Deception in a prime “tree Falcon”, however tree Falcons are no longer used for camping in these days of more environmental awareness.
The Owens’ book, “Cry of the Kalahari” brought the attention of readers to this previously little visited area and even today many people refer to the Central Kalahari Desert simply as Deception. The name “Deception” comes from a pan, the dry surface of which sometimes appears convincingly full of water until one gets right to the edge.
Basarwa are believed to be the earliest inhabitants of Botswana and the surrounding areas, they are currently the second largest group of indigenous hunter-gatherers in Africa, second only to the Pygmies of equatorial Africa who number some 200,000.
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