We met and Bow Wow licked the Ju/’hanse San people, or as they are more commonly known, the Bushmen, near Tsumkwe, eastern Namibia. Bow Wow impressed the tribe with his tricks, while I learnt how to make jewellery out of ostrich eggs and Lachlan considered ditching his Calvin Kleins for some Bushmen budgie smugglers.
On our arrival, these spirited youngsters greeted us in threadbare, western clothing. In the heat, wind and dust, it wasn't long before we too were similarly begrimed.
San people are the most ancient tribe in Southern Africa and our closest link to stone age man. For 20,000 years they have survived as hunter gatherers.
However, the modern world has encroached on their land and there is very little game left to hunt. When we arrived, they told us that they had only caught one kudu that month.
To supplement their meagre lifestyle, they rely on travellers like us who pay to experience their ancient bush culture.
This means proudly donning their traditional buckskin loincloths, much like a Scotsman wears his kilt on a special occasion.
On a foraging expedition...
they showed us how to set a berry-baited bird trap. Once caught in the noose, the bird strangles itself trying to get free. Later they cook it in ash, still in its feathers.
Bush baby with pepper corn curls.
Shadow dance. Traditionally, while the men are hunting, the women collect wild fruits, berries and root vegetables like this certifiably organic bush potato.
Their arcane knowledge of medicinal and water bearing plants has been passed down through the ages.
They speak in sharp clicks and pops which we found impossible to get our graceless, western tongues around. We couldn't even say some of their names.
San people are expert archers.
They coat the tips of their reed-shafted arrows with a highly toxic poison which is obtained from the beetle larvae pictured.
Even a tiny amount of this larvae juice is fatal to humans and so it is handled with great care.
The chief of the Tsumkwe tribe used his foot for leverage to strip leaves of their pulp, leaving long fibres which were then twisted together into a durable twine to make bow strings.
No matches here. Flames are created by rubbing sticks together over dry grass and calling on the fire spirits.
Since meeting at the water pump earlier that day, this little girl and Lachlan had struck up a wordless friendship.
Without the pressures of the modern world, the women are enviably at ease with their bodies. We forgot to ask what they keep in the tortoise shells that hang from belts at their waists.
Gossiping in their musical language of clicks, the women formed a production line for making beads out of ostrich shells. Once the shell is chipped in to small circles, a hole is hand drilled through the middle. It was much trickier than it looked.
The chief's wife wore the most ornate ostrich headband with a fringe of beads. The white beads are ostrich shell and the black ones are seeds.
Age-old traditions are being passed on to the next generation.
We will always associate the San people with the sound of laughter. In this game, if you drop the monkey orange, you're out!
Bushmen can read tracks on the ground in the same way that we can read words in a book.
Armed with quivers full of arrows, the men performed a hunt.
And fire! The San people are known for their stamina and will run their prey down until it drops with exhaustion.
The winning shot. The tribe all had a humour that danced behind their eyes and required no words.
They also demonstrated how they hunt using spears.
Bow Wow narrowly escaped being impaled when he mistook this as a harmless game of fetch.
Lachlan's friend watched on, absorbing the heritage of her people.
Babies are carried in leather slings. Rather than being strapped to their mother's back as we had seen elsewhere, these tots face out to take in the world around them and in easy reach of a constant milk supply.
This baby has a typical Bushman bottom, just like the ones seen on cave paintings and perfect for life in the desert.
I joined the San women in their Elephant Dance.
This ancient dance depicts the female chain of communication that takes place when someone comes across a dangerous animal and the warning of its location spreads from one woman to another.
The tune is still imprinted in our minds.
The bonds of time.
There is a solar panelled water pump ten minutes walk away. Surrounded by butterflies enjoying the mud, we washed there in the morning but almost immediately dust stuck to our sweat again. It was quite impossible to keep clean.
The tranquil chief is respected and loved.
We were honoured that the tribe's doctor contacted the spirits of his ancestors for us.
As the rest of the tribe clapped and sang, he transcended to a trance like state and his whole body seemed to vibrate.
A different energy was palpable in the air and it gave us goosebumps.
For a few minutes afterwards, the doctor seemed detached and totally drained.
He had travelled to the spirit realm before our eyes.
If only Bow Wow had looked at the camera!
The chief and his wife were such kind, gentle people.
They gave me this headband made from the skin of a blue duiker and ostrich shells. Lachlan was given a bow.
Watching the great goddess moon rising over the desert on our last night in Tsumkwe.
Morning walk to check the baited trap but no birds had fallen for it.
These Bushmen were curious to see our home-on-wheels.
Lachlan gave them a grand tour.
"And this is the office." They liked our website.
Saying goodbye. Bow Wow is so sweet in this picture! I am convinced that he has been trying to imitate my facial expressions.