In the area of Botswana we explored, some animals became quite familiar. The graceful impala was common
as were the red lechwe. It was easy to get the two confused because of their similar coloring, so one had to pay attention to horn and body shape.
Thanks to its white stripes, it was no problem identifying the kudu.
The tsessebe’s humped back was a give away.
The cape buffalo with its drooping horns and hangdog face was distinctive
as were the wildebeests.
Though each of these animals has its own characteristics, they have something in common. They are all members of the antelope family. Surprised? So was I, and even more so learning that the awkward looking tsessebe is the fastest of all the antelopes. What connects them is that they all have hollow horns and are cud chewing.
As interesting as any of the animals were the bushmen of the desert.
Though living differently than in the past, they keep their traditions alive. Women retain their knowledge of foraging for what the environment provides for sustenance.
Nothing goes to waste in this culture. Dried elephant dung has healing qualities.
Zebra dung, dried grass and sticks are used to start a fire. It takes several pairs of hands working fiercely to get a blaze going.
The sharp end of a wildebeest horn serves as a pipe.
Grandmothers are very involved in caring for children.
As in other countries, things have changed in Africa and people adapt to new ways while clinging to old traditions that define them. I appreciate the opportunity to witness that.
One of our guides told of another tradition that has to do with getting married. To receive permission to marry a daughter, a man sends an uncle to negotiate with the intended bride’s family to determine the number of cows she is worth. A typical dowry is between eight and thirteen cows. This fella’s uncle, he said, was a very good negotiator. His now wife was only eight cows plus an extra one for his having gone in through the back door, meaning she was pregnant. My response to this story was that daughters need to keep the back door closed and that it would pay to have several daughters in order to amass many cows which are a measure of a family’s wealth!
So it goes every day when there is so much to take in.
i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind