The Himba are a tribe of nomadic pastoralists who inhabit the Kaokoland area of Namibia. The Himba are actually descendants of a group of Herero herders who fled into the remote north-west after been displaced by the Nama. The Himba have clung to their traditions and the beautiful Himba women are noted for their intricate hairstyles which and traditional jewellery.
As Himba men and woman wear few clothes apart from a loin cloth or goat skinned mini-skirt, they rub their bodies with red ochre and fat to protect themselves from the sun and also gives their appearance a rich red colour.
The Himba jewellery is made from iron or shell, and due to their intricate designs have become very popular amongst western tourists. Himba homesteads are cone shaped structures made from palm leaves, mud and cattle dung. During the course of a year the family will move from one home to another in search of grazing for the animals. For this reason it is important not to take anything from a Himba hut even if it appears abandoned. The traditional village at Puros or the luxury Epupa Lodge are both good places to visit if you want to learn more about the Himba way of life.
Several safari operators organise tours to Kaokoland, if you plan to self drive in Kaokoland you will do best to rent a four wheel drive vehicle, it is our opinion that this is the one area where it is best to join an organised safari through Kaokoland, or organise a local Himba guide, firstly because of the remoteness of the area but more importantly due to the sensitive nature of the Himba culture, with a local guide you will be able to talk to the Himba and learn about their culture, without a guide the experience is more voyeuristic and their will be no communication.
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