Himba women in Namibia

Visit a Himba Village

Pay a visit to a Himba community to learn about their traditions and way of life.

Himba women in Namibia

© NVinokurov,Shutterstock

The Himba of northern Namibia

A visit to Himba village is a must for anyone interested in culture. The Himba still live very much as their ancestors did, forging an existence in the harsh environment of Kunene (formerly called Kaokoland).

They are pastoral nomads, whose livelihood is based on cattle herding, hunting and gathering, and who need to move seasonally to find grazing land.  Their villages consist of simple huts formed of branches, mud and cow dung with thatched roofs.

  • Experience the warmth of the Himba
  • Insight into daily life in Kunene
  • Excellent cultural experience
  • Ancient customs and practices
  • A glimpse into a different way of life
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What to expect from your visit

Men, women and children rub a dark red paste called otjize (a mixture of cattle fat, ash and ochre) into their skin to protect them from the sun. This gives them their distinctive red colour, which is considered highly desirable within the Himba community.
The Himba wear clothes are made from goat skin.  Women have long braided hair, coated with otjize, worked into elaborate styles, and wear jewellery - necklets, anklets and bracelets - formed from iron, copper and shells.
A visit usually lasts a couple of hours and is led by a local guide who also acts as interpreter, allowing you to talk to various members of the community and learn about their day-to-day lives, traditions, beliefs and customs. It’s a fascinating glimpse into a way of life that is so far removed from our own.
At the end of your visit you'll have the opportunity to buy some of villagers' handmade artefacts. It's an opportunity to give back for the warm way in which you were welcomed into their village and given a glimpse of their day-to-day lives. It's a means for them to receive an income and helps them continue to live as they have for thousands of years, with little western influence.
Himba woman cooking, Namibia © erichon,Shutterstock

Where to go

The Himba people, also called the OvaHimba, live in the Kunene region of northern Namibia, which was previously known as Kaokoland.

When to go

Visits to Himba villages can be made year round, but do depend on their location, as they are nomadic so may not be always be in close proximity to where you are staying.

How to do it

Many camps and lodges in this area can arrange visits to Himba settlements. These include Serra Cafema Camp, Kunene River Camp, Epupa Camp, Grootberg Lodge and Opuwo Country Lodge.