An extremely photogenic minority people in Namibia, the Himba largely occupy remote, arid areas of Kaokoland (which for our purposes comprises areas of Damaraland and the Skeleton Coast). A semi-nomadic people whose way of life has remained largely unaffected by the outside world, the Himba have become increasingly recognisable through high profile TV documentaries and some quality eco-tourism operations. While this risks changing their traditional lifestyle inexorably, Himba village visits have largely remained sensitive to their customs and requirements. Communities benefit from these cultural exchanges, but money has not yet become a central concern for the people and altered their priorities.
Himba women are instantly identifiable through the ochre that hardens their hair, creating vivid colours and striking shapes. Both men and women wear minimal clothes, adorned with tribal jewellery and trinkets that it’s often possible to purchase on a community visit. Living in small domed huts made from mud and grass, the women breed cattle and goats while caring for the children, whereas men are more involved in socio-political activities. All of these traditions are explored to a certain extent in village visits, and you should also get the chance to converse a little if your guide speaks some of the Herero-based dialect. Surrounded by pristine scenery in genuinely remote tracts of African wilderness, Himba cultural visits from Serra Cafema Camp or on a Skeleton Coast Safari provide a fascinating break from more traditional, nature based activities by vehicle or aircraft.