Himba

The Himba live in a secluded area in the northwest of Namibia called the Kaokoveld. They are one of the last prehistoric people in the world. Impassable mountain terrain, rough Atlantic seas, and the vastness of the desert all contributed to the preservation of the Himba tribe. These friendly people are closely related to the Herero and speak the same language. The Himba are herdsmen, breeding mainly cattle and goats while leading a semi-nomadic life. They migrate with their herds to the different waterholes from season to season.

For the Himba, clothes, hair and jewelery hold a special meaning and form an important part of their tradition and culture. Even newborn babies are adorned with pearl necklaces while older children are given bracelets crafted from copper and decorated with shells. The proud Himba women spend many hours on beauty care and grooming every day. They cream their whole body with a mixture of rancid butterfat and ocher, scented with the aromatic resin of the Omuzumba shrub. The cream lends the body an intense reddish glow, which reflects the Himba ideal of beauty.

To visit this tribe without a guide would not be wise and would have a negative effect on the culture of the tribe. We recommend hiring an Ovambo or Himba guide who can explain the culture of the tribe, what they regard as "decent behavior" and what would be appropriate gifts.