The Himba

A group of people in Namibia with a unique way of life

The colourful Himba people live in a very dry and inhospitable area in Namibia. A visit to the Himba can be a highlight of your trip.

The Himba people have always lived in Namibia, in an area called Kunene Region, previously known as Kaokoland. They are a semi-nomadic, pastoralist people, who mainly breed goats and sheep. They are also called Ovahimba.

The colourful women

The Himba, especially the women, cover themselves with otjize, a mixture of butterfat and ochre pigment used as a cosmetic paste to clean the skin as water is scarce. It also protects them from the extreme heat and mosquito insect bites. 

It is often perfumed with the resin of the omuzumba shrub, and red in colour, representing the colour of the earth, and blood, the essence of life. Wearing the paste is considered highly beautiful.

Used to tourists

The Himba are now used to the visit by tourists, which has its positive and negatives. They are happy to have their photos taken, but tourists are no longer a novelty for them. But for tourists it is, as you can learn about their culture, which they are very proud of.

Visiting the Himba

The Himba live in the Kaoko field; a dry and inhospitable area in Namibia.

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