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 Post subject: shane's !XAUS Lodge: A brief story. KTP, Sept. '13
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 29, 2013 10:39 am 
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Been absent from the forums for some time so I now must make an effort to add to our little online community.

We normally visit KTP in December / January .... love the heat and the thunder storms, but this time we decided to try winter. Well actually the end of winter ... August / September. It was still cold.

Our first night was Twee Rivieren and a very chilli -4 degrees.

The following day we left for !Xaus for 3 nights, our first visit to the lodge.

Since there is very little on the forum about !Xaus Lodge, I thought I would write a short Travel Tale about our stay. I wont be going into detail about the rest of the trip, I will leave that for another time.

Hope this proves useful to anyone wanting to visit !Xaus.

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 Post subject: Re: !XAUS Lodge: A brief story
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 29, 2013 11:43 am 
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I will copy selected information from the !Xaus Lodge web site to accompany my images and story:

Location:

Image

GPS co-ordinates: S26°09.005′ E20°15.392′

All visitors to !Xaus Lodge meet at Kamqua picnic site at 14:30.

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The Lodge vehicle arrives which escorts you to !Xaus:

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And then you get your chance to 'sign your life away', indemnity form time:

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From Kamqua picnic site to the Lodge is 30km on a single-track soft sand road through the dunes (travel time about one and a half hours). A 4×4 vehicle is necessary for this leg of the journey or you leave your car behind the dunes, safely locked away from Hyenas and Lions, and hop onto the Lodges 4x4 game drive vehicle with you luggage.

You cross 90 dunes and the Lodge is situated on the 91 dune from the Auob River.

Image

For those of you who love Google Earth, have a look where you park your vehicles:
GPS co-ordinates: S26° 2'35.31" E20°25'36.25"

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Back to KTP sometime in 2014
Travel Reports:
Through the eyes of a couple: KTP won
!Xaus Lodge: A brief story.


Last edited by shane on Fri Nov 29, 2013 12:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: !XAUS Lodge: A brief story
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 29, 2013 12:12 pm 
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HOW !XAUS BEGAN:

Thought I would provide you with some more information about the Khomani San and Mier communities that now own a large piece of land along the south western boundry of KTP. A historic land settlement agreement was reached with the government of South Africa and South African National Parks (SANParks) in May 2002, which restored this large tract of land to these communities that had once roamed or farmed this area. The transfer of 50 000 hectares of land was made from SANParks, to the two communities who then leased the given land back to SANParks. It was named the !Ae!Hai Kalahari Heritage Park Agreement.

This land is administered as a Contract Park and remains within the KTP fence line with SANParks retaining responsibility for its environmental management. The settlement agreement further provided for the communities to receive an allocation of funds for the specific purpose of constructing a tourism facility referred to as a Co-operation Lodge, to be jointly owned by the communities. Transfrontier Parks Destinations, a black-empowered Lodge Management Company, manages !Xaus Lodge commercially on behalf of the Khomani San and Mier communities.

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Through the eyes of a couple: KTP won
!Xaus Lodge: A brief story.


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 Post subject: Re: !XAUS Lodge: A brief story
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 29, 2013 12:17 pm 
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THE NAME !XAUS LODGE:

!Xaus means ‘heart’ in the Nama language and was proposed as a name for the lodge by a group of visiting San and confirmed by the representative bodies of both the Khomani San and Mier communities. Significantly, the lodge’s name, ‘!Xaus’, symbolises the healing of relationships, the restoration of dignity and the aspirations of these communities, who after many years of deprivation are now owners of the lodge and the land on which it is situated.

The name was inspired by the fact that the lodge overlooks a large salt pan with a distinctive heart shape in its northwest corner, as well as the fact that the lodge is located at the ‘heart’ – the meeting line – of the land restored to each of the Mier and Bushman communities.

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It also symbolises the vision of the settlement agreement which was: ‘in the national interest, to finally settle the land claims of the community parties and to establish a positive, co-operative relationship between the community parties and SANParks.’

The symbol ‘!’ denotes a palatal click in the Nama language but for those who can’t master the click, !Xaus is pronounced ‘kaus’.’

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Travel Reports:
Through the eyes of a couple: KTP won
!Xaus Lodge: A brief story.


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 Post subject: Re: !XAUS Lodge: A brief story
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 29, 2013 12:20 pm 
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THE VALUE OF !XAUS LODGE TO THE NEIGHBOURING COMMUNITIES:

The Khomani San (Bushman) and Mier communities are the owners of !Xaus Lodge and all its furnishings. In addition, the Community representative organisations receive a monthly rental from the operation of the lodge based on its turnover. Almost all the lodge employees are drawn from the local communities where unemployment is rife.

After the first ten years of operation, a Khomani San and Mier Community Trust will be established to receive a 10% equity stake in the lodge management company. Any asset acquired through donor or grant funding is owned by the lodge and therefore its communities. !Xaus Lodge assists in leveraging donor funding for off-site community health, agricultural, educational and job creation projects.

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Travel Reports:
Through the eyes of a couple: KTP won
!Xaus Lodge: A brief story.


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 Post subject: Re: !XAUS Lodge: A brief story
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 29, 2013 12:56 pm 
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Thought I would end off today's posting with a story written by Graham Williams, management consultant and storyteller with Halo and Noose:

I’ve returned from spending a week in the arid Kgalagadi, listening to the desert silence, taking in the 360° horizon, and encountering a small group of Bushmen.

ABOUT THE BUSHMEN AND HOW WE/OTHERS SEE THEM:

The original inhabitants of the sub-continent, Southern Africa’s ‘first nation’ or aboriginals, existed as relatively small, self-sufficient, nomadic groups scattered over a wide geographic area and speaking many dialects. Traditionally they have lived by hunting game, gathering wild vegetables, berries, herbs, and insects, moving with the seasons and the game.

The bushmen adapted over the years to incorporate agriculture, herding, trading into their hunter-gatherer way of life. They are said by some to be still the least changed of all races and a living representation of stone-age man. There is also an accompanying fear that they are facing social and cultural extinction as they become assimilated into a modern state, inter-marry with others, are ravaged by AIDS, alcohol abuse and commercialisation, and lose their traditional life-style. (1)

But the lenses through which we see the Bushmen may distort reality. They may be magnified or reduced by ignorance, generalisations, projections, patronising. The picture we build of the ‘other’ may in part be an effort to define our own existential ‘self’.(2) Thus our understanding and perception of the Bushmen could traverse a number of spectra, for example:

Attractive, desired, to be conquered, settled, ‘saved’, integrated OR dangerous, unknown, perhaps violent and a threat to be avoided, kept separate, Noble, romantic, mystical, pure and Ignorant, unsullied, spiritual OR devoid of logic, higher thought degraded, Unable to adapt, facing extinction OR able to adapt, transform, survive

Notes to help understanding of the story that follows:

What is clear is that, notwithstanding external encroachments of various sorts, the Bushmen have stayed close to nature, possess strong powers of observation, allow their minds to be fed by nature, and they tend to live in the present moment. “The past is in front of me because I can see it. The future is behind me because I cannot see it. And I am walking backwards through my life”. (3)

They are by nature gentle, submissive, unassertive, and cooperative. Being nomadic they have been able to withdraw and avoid conflict. They solve problems by talking them through. They have community values, and their emphasis is on sharing scarce resources rather than accumulating wealth. Perhaps this has added to their vulnerability?

Their folk-lore heroes and heroines are valued for their wisdom and humility rather than their strength. Their successful hunters were encouraged to take pride in their craftiness rather than their strength, and to be modest, self-effacing: “We speak of his meat as worthless. In this way we cool his heart and make him gentle”. (4)

They are steeped in story. “A story is like the wind, it comes from a far-off quarter, and we feel it”. (4)

The Bushmen speak about all undefined dangers as, use the metaphor of, “lions”.
Ostriches are the world’s largest flightless birds, and are difficult to stalk, but their large eggs (one is equivalent to 24 hen’s eggs) are a source of food and serve as a means to carry and store water. In one of their stories the Ostrich was able to make fire, cook, get warm and when tricked and robbed of this by a young bushman, never flew again, and lost most of her life-force.
The eland, hunted by Bushmen and lions alike, is highly prized for its fat, for having sexual potency, and for being the rain animal (fertility).

The Story

Lion and the Ostrich

In the light of the above information, read this adaption of a Laurens van der Post story retold by Irene Murphy Lewis. Notice the response to arrogance, the approach to danger and threat, the life-force/ power of wisdom and humility. And think in evolutionary psychology terms of the archetypal menagerie within your own psyche as you read. (5)

The story goes like this: (6)

Lion, somewhat like the world boxing champion Mohammed Ali, arrogantly considered himself to be the greatest of all. In a conversation with Ostrich, he compared his own strong teeth and mighty roar to Ostriches’ absence of teeth and weak call. Ostrich, tall and wise, would not be drawn into conflict or battle, and instead suggested a co-operative Eland hunt. Lion attacked, mauled, chewed an Eland. Ostrich attacked the Eland’s calf, and drank its blood. Lion roared and mocked Ostrich, threatening to eat it as well. So Ostrich ran and hid behind an anthill. Lion followed, and Ostrich leapt out, surprised and blinded Lion by throwing clods of sand with its two-toed feet, and continued until the light had left Lion. Ostrich may have had no teeth, but did have cunning, a plan and a strategy. And was the greatest.

References:

1. Critical Arts – a journal of cultural studies. Recuperating the San Volume 9, Number 2, 1995

2. Clelland-Stokes, Sacha Representing Aboriginality Intervention Press Denmark 2007

3. Williams, Graham and Haarhoff, Dorian The Halo and the Noose Graysonian Press 2009

4. Smith, Andy; Malherbe, Candy;Guenther, Mat and Berens, Penny The Bushmen of Southern Africa David Philip Publishers Cape Town 2000

5. McCallum, Ian Ecological Intelligence: rediscovering ourselves in nature Africa Geographic 2005

6. Murphy Lewis, Irene Why Ostriches Don’t Fly and Other Tales from the African Bush Libraries Unlimited 1997
- See more at: http://www.xauslodge.co.za/blog/kgalaga ... XaCZK.dpuf

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Back to KTP sometime in 2014
Travel Reports:
Through the eyes of a couple: KTP won
!Xaus Lodge: A brief story.


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 Post subject: Re: !XAUS Lodge: A brief story
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2013 2:24 pm 
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Thanks Trrp-trrrrrrrr, Phokojwe and Annie-Marie

This should give you a good idea of what the Lodge is like ......... take a tour.


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Through the eyes of a couple: KTP won
!Xaus Lodge: A brief story.


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 Post subject: Re: !XAUS Lodge: A brief story
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2013 3:11 pm 
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Shane thanks for the tour...looks stunning. :thumbs_up:

Approximately how far is the patch of water in the from the deck of the Lodge? ...Are animals frequently seen from the deck, as I saw there was a telescope. :hmz:

:popcorn:

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 Post subject: Re: !XAUS Lodge: A brief story
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2013 3:34 pm 
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Hi Trrp-trrrrrrrr, I would stay it is on par with kielie Krankie in distance and elevation. While we were there for 3 nights only Ostrich and Gemsbok visited the waterhole (they were repairing it the first day we arrived so that probably did scare the animals a little). However, on a walk around the saltpan on the last day we passed waterhole and there was leopard spoor from earlier that morning.

I will go into more detail when I continue with my TR next week. Enjoy your weekend ........

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Travel Reports:
Through the eyes of a couple: KTP won
!Xaus Lodge: A brief story.


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 Post subject: Re: !XAUS Lodge: A brief story
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 10:17 am 
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After locking up vehicles at the overnight parking area, it's time to make your way across 90 dunes to the Lodge. Not being a experienced 4x4 driver, I had my reservations about the one and half hour trip. All in all the trip went off fine expect for 2 dunes which presented a problem.....just didn't build up enough speed to crest them. This mean reversing 100 - 200m and trying again. Second time I managed and off we went to catch up with the rest of the party.

On arrival at the Lodge the hosts welcome us at the central 'gazebo' while your luggage is taken to your room. Wet face clothes are handed, a welcome treat after a dusty, sandy, dumby trip from the Auob.

Image

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Through the eyes of a couple: KTP won
!Xaus Lodge: A brief story.


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 Post subject: Re: !XAUS Lodge: A brief story
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 10:41 am 
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The rest of the day you are left to do as you please. Late afternoon is your sunset drive and back for dinner at 19:30.

Pre-dinner chat:

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And the night sky never fails to impress:

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The walk to the lounge/dinning room:

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The solar panel jar lights that help you find your way along the walkways:

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Moon setting in the early morning:

Image

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Back to KTP sometime in 2014
Travel Reports:
Through the eyes of a couple: KTP won
!Xaus Lodge: A brief story.


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 Post subject: Re: !XAUS Lodge: A brief story
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 11:19 am 
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I would like to attached a few images from the Lodge website which will give you a better idea of the environment.

The dining area:

Image

The boma (use only when there is a big group of people):

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Breakfast on the deck:

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The pool which we didn't make use of. Way to cold ................

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The lounge area:

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The Lodge at night looking to the north:

Image

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Back to KTP sometime in 2014
Travel Reports:
Through the eyes of a couple: KTP won
!Xaus Lodge: A brief story.


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 Post subject: Re: !XAUS Lodge: A brief story
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 1:21 pm 
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The activities which are offered at the !Xaus are:

The day of arrival you are treated to the sunset drive before dinner, as I have already mention. Your choice of beverage on a dune, directly opposite the Lodge on the otherside of the saltpan. A beautiful back drop to sip on a glass of wine:

The climb up the dune:

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But what a view when you get to the top:

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Drinks are tabled:

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Then its time to take in the surroundings:

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The Lodge in the distance:

Image

Image

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Through the eyes of a couple: KTP won
!Xaus Lodge: A brief story.


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 Post subject: Re: !XAUS Lodge: A brief story
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 1:46 pm 
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!Xaus Lodge and its surrounding ecosystem has a serious scarcity of water, relative to what the area has experienced over the last decade. The result is that they employ careful water-wise policies to conserve water, and reduce the amount of water they need to truck in. When the bore-holes are not delivering enough water then priority is given to the waterhole.

You cannot drink the water out of the taps at !Xaus Lodge (its natural mineral & salt content is too high and I mean HIGH - like sea water) They provide drinking water in the rooms in carafes, as well as bottled water. The water from the bore-holes is processed through reverse osmosis filters (this removes ALL salt and minerals content from the water). If you read up about this process, it is apparently not a good idea to live permantly on this type of filtered water as you obtain no goodness from it except to hydrate your body - this is debatable so I leave it up to you to decide.

It is a new experience showering and brushing your teeth with this SALTY water ........... !Xaus water makes the water in ALL the other camps taste like honey .............

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Travel Reports:
Through the eyes of a couple: KTP won
!Xaus Lodge: A brief story.


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 Post subject: Re: !XAUS Lodge: A brief story
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 8:54 am 
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Thanks everyone for posting ...... appreciate it.

Now one of the funniest things we incountered on our stay was a Guineafowl that made the Lodge its home. His name slips my mind now, but it apparently flew in from the neighbouring farms outside the park and arrived at the Lodge's 'doorstep'. One thing is for sure, it is certainly safer their than out in the wild.

It's quite odd hearing a guineafowl call in the evenings in the Kalahari ...... just doesn't fit.

I am sure this must be the only permanent fowl in KTP ....... anyone seen one before ?

Image

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Travel Reports:
Through the eyes of a couple: KTP won
!Xaus Lodge: A brief story.


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