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Tautona Lodge is situated near the Village of Ghanzi on it’s own private game reserve. Tautona, meaning big lion in Setswana, was built in 2000 and commenced operations in May 2001., The Tautone Lodge also has two swimming pools for those hot, lazy summer days, there is a television and telephone facilities for the modern traveller who needs to catch up with the rest of the world.
Tautona Lodge also has a camp site, catering for caravans and campers, with good ablutions and pleasant surroundings. A waterhole nearby guarantees plains game such as kudu, impala, steenbok and waterbuck in the early evening or morning, and a curio shop.
Tautona boasts a large restaurant, pool bar and conference centre. These facilities have proven popular with the local Ghanzi patrons. Altogether a much needed oasis on your journey through the Kalahari.
Enjoy a sunset game drive, and then settle down for a sundowner, or just sit back and enjoy the relaxing effect that the Kalahari has to offer.
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Ghanzi is also known as ‘The capital of the Kalahari’ and is situated amongst a flat and featureless terrain, with bushes, thorn trees and grasslands coming alive in the rainy season. It is some 200km to the Namibia border post to the east or 300km to Maun to the west. The tarred roads are excellent and Ghanzi is served by its own airfield. Ghanzi is also a stopover point for travellers en-route to the Okavango Delta and Moremi Game Reserve.
Ghanzi has a couple of banks, of which one of them has an ATM. There are also 3 shopping centres and a couple of bottle stores. The Airfield garage just off the highway is the most convenient refuelling station. For those wishing to stay there are a few hotels and lodges in the Ghanzi area.
Employment in Ghanzi centres around cattle farming that supplies the Botswana Meat Commission with most of the required beef produce. There are also several RAD (Remote Area Development) settlements in the area, providing basic social services like schools and health facilities. Training in handicrafts, textiles, carpentry, dressmaking, livestock rearing and arable agriculture is also organized. Another development project in Ghanzi is Ghanzicraft, located on the main street in town, near the post office.
Bushmen (Basarwa) once dominated the region. Their survival strategies had been perfected over the centuries for living in such an inhospitable environment. They were joined later by the Bakgalagadi and gradually left to live in the Kalahari villages such as Ncojane, Matsheng and Kang.
After the Bushmen, it was the turn of Hottentots to settle in the Ghanzi area, tending large herds of cattle. In 1874, the first white settlers arrived, led by Hendrik van Zyl, a flamboyant character whose legend lives on in Ghanzi, as does the remains of his once magnificent house. Boer trekkers followed in the late 1890’s, lured by attractive business propositions. It turned out that the farm leases had been fraudulently acquired from Tawana Chief Moremi in Maun by Cecil Rhodes’ ‘legal advisers’.
But a commitment to cattle ranching was established in the early 1900’s and today there are over 200 cattle farms. The abundant supply of groundwater that feeds nutritious grasses, combined with improved ranching techniques, enhances the local experts boasts that Ghanzi ‘has the best cattle country in the world’.
Sports & natureThe Kuru Dance Festival, held every year in August, features the traditional song and dance of Kalahari dwellers, and brings visitors from all over the world. The festival is organised by the Kuru D’Kar Trust, part of the Kuru Family of Organisations (KFO, seven in all) which state their goal as the promotion of San culture. Several cattle farmers have developed game ranches and wildlife concessions – land allocated near their farms – and tourists come for wildlife viewing, excursions to CKGR, and desert walks with the San people,who share their ancient way of life that masterfully and respectfully exploited the food and water resources of the desert.
Culture and history infoHistory: The first Afrikaner to settle in Ghanzi was Hendrik van Zyl, who set up a small hunting and trading enterprise in the area around 1870. However, the first substantial Boer migration into Ghanzi began around 1897-1898. Ghanzi was also first a farm of someone. The place known today as Ghanzi, was first called Kamp. Kalahari Arms Hotel and the Barclays bank in Ghanzi are some of the first businesses established in Ghanzi Culture: Ghanzi is a place of different ethnic groups such as Basarwa, Bakgalagadi and Baherero who all have the spirit of tolerance. In addition to that, residents of this place speak different languages such as Sesarwa, Sekgalagadi and Seherero but their standard language is Shekgalagari.