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Animals of the Hai||om

Many utensils and tools necessary for daily life were made out of animal material.

  • !Gurub: Quivers for arrows were usually made out of the stomach skin of zebra; the bow strings (!gae!naab) were made from the thin belly skin of a number of animals, but particularly steenbok.
  • |Khoo||naab: Gemsbok horns were used to dig for bush food.
  • ||Gabib, !nonib, ‡nanib: Springbok horns could be used to trumpet messages, for example in the event of an emergency.
  • ||Khama‡nams: Blankets were made from hartebeest skin.
  • Ana|khaab: The “bra” of the women as well as the baby slings (||hanib) were made out of springbok skin.
  • The belly skin of the giraffe was used as a water bag; it had to be kept wet to prevent it from cracking.
  • The sinew from the back of all large animals (eland, giraffe, hartebeest, wildebeest, kudu, oryx) was used as string to fasten the feathers to the bow (!gairi||abab).

Oryx are found throughout Etosha, but are perhaps more common in the drier west. They do not migrate like zebra, springbok and wildebeest do; they are often found in the area around and to the south of !Gobaub, and also at ||Nububes and Tsînab.


Steenbok are found almost everywhere. They feed on grass and leaves, such as ‡gares (Acacia mellifera, black thorn), |nubis (Acacia nebrownii, water acacia, water thorn) and !gûs (Acacia luederitzii, false umbrella thorn).


Zebra follow the east-west migrations of wildebeest and springbok. They are commonly found on the plains, usually not far from the pan. Zebra prefer the nutritious, short grasses of the plains above the taller grasses found in the woodland areas.


Eland were not found at all locations; they like red, sandy ground, so they are mainly found at places like ||Axawakab, !Gobaub, ||Nububes, Tsînab, Tu!naris and ||Ai!gâb. They are seldom seen on open plains, preferring open woodlands.


Springbok have the same seasonal migrations as zebra and wildebeest. They are found on the plains and near the pan from March to November after the rains, before starting to move westwards again in December.


Kudu were commonly found around Tsînab, ||Nububes, !Goas, |Namob and Kevis, feeding on the ‡oos (Combretum apiculatum, kudu bush) and auib (Spirostachys africana, tamboti) that grow in some of these areas.


Wildebeest (sometimes also called gnu) prefer open plains and short grass to graze on. Over the course of a year, they follow the same general east-west migrations as zebra, though their range does not extend as far west.


Stories about the consequences of eating lions reveal that lions, more than other predators, were respected by the Hai||om as colleagues and friends, as equals. Lions were also a source of divine power.


Animals of the Hai||om

Many utensils and tools necessary for daily life were made out of animal material. Find a complete list of the animlas which were used by the Hai||om.


Plants of the Hai||om

The Hai||om know hundred of plants for many uses, for example as bush food, medicine and poison for their arrows.


Places of the Hai||om

Before the Hai||om had access to drilled boreholes, the hunter-gatherers were profoundly reliant on natural water sources, where they often erected their permanent settlements.

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