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Volunteering with Hands Up Holidays, Opuwo, Namibia

By Jennica Peterson

Feb 11, 2012

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While on a 17-day trip to some of Namibia’s most spectacular sites, travelers with Hands Up Holidays spend four days volunteering in the village of Opuwo, home to the nomadic Ovahimba people—known for covering their bodies with a mixture of ochre and fat to protect their skin from the sun. Travelers assist with such projects as building a mud hut. The program aims to encourage meaningful exchanges between diverse cultures and help the Ovahimba preserve their way of life.

HOW YOU HELP: Projects include building a traditional dwelling from sand, mud, cow dung, and branches; collecting wood to build an animal shelter; fixing wells; and herding cattle.

HIGHLIGHTS: Spot lions, elephants, and giraffes on a safari in Etosha National Park. Zip down sand dunes near Swakopmund on a snowboard. Take a walk into the wilderness with a guide from the San tribe.

Hands Up Holidays, (201) 984-5372, 17-day trips from $2,400, including some meals and lodging in tents and hotels. This appeared in the May/June 2010 issue. 

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