Members of the tribe apply red ochre on their skin and partake in a daily smoke bath in order to maintain good hygiene. To do this, they put smouldering charcoal into a little bowl of herbs (mostly leaves and little branches of Commiphora trees).
With a population of over 50,000, the Himba are a polygamous people where Himba girls are married off to male partners selected by their fathers once they attain puberty. Most of their cultures have been upheld despite western influence and agitation.
The Himba are known for their red matted braids, which are painstakingly made by mixing animal fat, ash and ground ochre, a stone found locally. A few steps from where we are sitting, a group of women are bonding. They are smearing their bodies with the same ochre mixture.
The most cost-effective way to visit the Himba is to do a self-drive trip to Kaokoland – you could include the Epupa and Ruacana Falls on the Kunene River, and stay well clear of the main tourist routes. Although, you will need to be prepared to do a lot of driving!
The Himba are an indigenous, seminomadic tribe from Northern Namibia numbering around 50 000 members. Red ochre is an earth-derived pigment obtaining its color from dehydrated hematite, or ferric oxide, which confers the Himba women a unique red hue on their skin.
The Himba tribe, along with other tribes like the Benue people of the North Central parts of Nigeria, are known to practice the Okujepisa Omuka tradition. A tradition that involves a man giving his wife to his visitor for sexual entertainment and pleasure.
The Himba speak Otjihimba, a dialect of Herero. Herero is a Bantu language.
Young Himba girls are married to male partners chosen by their fathers. This happens from the onset of puberty, which may mean that girls aged 10 or below are married off. This practice is illegal in Namibia, and even some OvaHimba contest it, but it is nevertheless widespread.
Despite its high income, Namibia has a poverty rate of 26.9 percent, an unemployment rate of 29.6 percent and an HIV prevalence rate of 16.9 percent. Poverty in Namibia is acute in the northern regions of Kavango, Oshikoto, Zambezi, Kunene and Ohangwena, where upwards of one-third of the population lives in poverty.
The Ovambo people (pronounced [ovambo] ( listen)), also called Aawambo, Ambo, Aawambo (Ndonga, Nghandjera, Kwambi, Mbalantu), or Ovawambo (Kwanyama) the biggest of the Aawambo sub-tribes are a Bantu ethnic group native to Southern Africa, primarily modern Namibia.
Their homes surround an okuruwo (ancestral fire) and their livestock, both closely tied to their belief in ancestor worship. The fire represents ancestral protection and the livestock allows for proper relations between human and ancestor.
Namibia is a peaceful country, relatively safe to travel to and it is not involved in any wars. After the Angolan civil war in 2002, there is no more violence in Namibia. It does, however, have a relatively high crime rate with muggings near ATMs, pickpockets roaming around and even robberies happening more and more.