We continued our travels outside of Gaborone to Mokolodi where we spent the night in a "traditional" village.
Nested in the rural and isolated countryside, the scenery was spectacular. New plants and animal sounds, many of which we were unable ti identify.
We were greeted at the "cultural village" by three elderly women and an elderly man dressed in traditional Botswana attire. The “cultural village” itself was very touristy, but we stil had a blast.
We were initially under the impression prior to our arrival that we would, in fact, be staying in an authentically traditional village. Upon arrival, however, we quickly realized we had bought into the idea of having the "African village experience."
I don't think we realized beforehand that there was a market for the very experience we were seeking. However, the food and hospitality were great. We did, in fact, sleep in mud houses, but we weren't without running water or electricity.
The elders of the village sang and danced for us in a welcoming ceremony which we gladly took part in. We later tried traditional Botswana beer, which was startlingly different from any beer I've had before. I can only describe it as a sour, alcoholic porridge that isn’t carbonated, and is served lukewarm. It might take some getting use to.
The elders expressed their sadness that their culture and traditions are quickly disappearing, and in some instances, vanishing altogether in their lifetime. they claimed to have truly grown up in traditional villages, and only one of them had received any schooling.
They expressed frustration with the young generation of Botswana. They said they were leaving behind their culture, language, traditions, and very identity without a second thought in attempts to emulate the west. They blamed the HIV/AIDS epidemic on this, as well as alcohol. It was an interesting but sad conversation. They told us traditional Btoswana people living in the old ways were disappearing, and in some cases, being forced to immerse in modern society after being pushed off of federally sanctioned game reserves though having living in those areas for many generations.
The following morning we traveled to the Mokolodi Game Reserve for a Safari. We got to see an amazing variety of animals, and the reserve itself was spectacularly beautiful. Zebras, cheetahs, impalas, warthogs, ostriches, and more!