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Opuwo, Namibia

Ochre and Beads

After driving all night from Walvis Bay, we arrived in the small town of Opuwo in Northern Namibia. Opuwo is a hub of activity for the Himba people. Throughout town, many traditionally dressed Himba women famous for their ochre-covered bodies, and many western-dressed Himba men do business, run errands, and hang out.

Surrounding Opuwo are many Himba villages, and visiting one of the villages can be an interesting way to see what tribal life looks like today. The Himba are traditionally seminomadic and pastoral; these practices are changing over time, due to a variety of factors like Apartheid, changing ideas of land ownership, development, and capitalism (of course!).

We tried to be cautious about being voyeuristic, though it is admittedly difficult (and maybe inherent) in this situation. We went with a local guide, who we hired outside the grocery store on the main strip of town. She is recommended in the Lonely Planet and really was great. She climbed into the passenger side of our car and directed us where to go. She clearly had a relationship and rapport with the village she took us to.

We enjoyed camping and using the pool at the Opuwo Country Lodge.