One of the most unique tribes remaining in Africa, are the Himba tribe. Roughly 50,000 from this indigenous tribe remain in Namibia and Angola. They have retained many traditions and at the same time adapted to modern influences. Opuwo, a small town in Northern Namibia is one of the best places to see people from this tribe. They intermingle with the other Namibians from town at places like the local supermarket. Village tours are available which are an incredible way to better understand their lifestyle and learn about many of their traditions.
The Himba people are known for retaining their culture and values, which include roles for each individual within the village. The women take on the brunt of most of the family work, tending to the children, the farms, and making jewelry. The men are tending to livestock, often away for many days at a time. They do not have any education, and rarely rely on generating income. They try to be self sufficient by growing livestock and farming produce.
How to Book a Village Tour
The easiest way, yet most expensive is through the Opuwo Cultural Center, just before the center of town on highway C41. For a more intimate and cheaper option, Queen Elizabeth is a Himba woman herself, who left her village at 11 to get educated. She speaks English (among many other languages fluently) and knows their cultures and traditions. She still has family in the Himba village, and will give a tour where her Aunt is one of the elders. Queen Elizabeth can be found at the OK Supermarket in the center of town, where she has a stall with dolls and jewelry or reach her by cell phone at +264 812 138 326.
Visiting a Himba village will allow you to learn about their culture and traditions. They have several unique traditions. All men and women remove their bottom four teeth, as they have a high respect for cows and believe removing their teeth makes them look more like cows. They do not shower or bath. They rub otjize paste on their skin, a combination of butter fat and ochre pigment, to cleanse their skin and protect themselves from sunburn and mosquito’s. They use an incense and burn underneath their armpits and neck as a natural perfume.
A village tour gives you the opportunity to ask questions and better understand their culture and get up close with this beautiful tribe. They are hard working people, very kind, and always find a way to smile and laugh. I really enjoyed the young boys. They are very photogenic, and loved to see themselves in pictures after taking them.
The village tours usually last around 3 hours. The tour cost is $150 Namibian Dollars per person, plus a gift of $150 Namibian Dollars per group. Before going on the tour, you will buy some groceries with Queen Elizabeth for the village to present as a gift upon entering. The tours with the Opuwo Visitor Center cost $300 per person, plus a gift of $150 Namibian Dollars for each village you visit. You have the option to go to 1 village, or up to 3 different villages in 1 day.
Etosha National Park click HERE
Himba Village Tour in Opuwo
Swakopmund and Outdoor Adventures click HERE
Naukluft Mountains Hike click HERE
Sossusvlei and Deadvlei click HERE
Luderitz and Kolmanskop Ghost Town click HERE
Fish River Canyon click HERE
Visited on 03/15/2016.