Visiting a Himba village
Today we wake up with a beautiful view in front of us: the Kunene river is flowing just a few meters ahead, forming a deep gorge. The sound of the churning water is loud, on the other side the green mountains of Angola. After having breakfast with this breathtaking landscape, we meet Owen, our Himba guide, ready to meet the culture of these nomadic people. At first, we stop in a small market where we buy some gifts for the village: 2 sacks of flour, oil and sugar. Once we are in front of the village, Owen starts explaining something about the culture.
Himba people are one of the most ancient tribes of the country, and they still live following the old customs. A long time ago, a part of the Kaokoland tribe by name Cimba (or Tjimba), during a severe drought that killed the 90% of their livestock, moved to the south region of Angola, crossing the Kunene river and coming in contact with the Ngambwe people. Here they took the name ”Ovahimba” that means ”beggar”. The other part of people moved to the south part of the Kaokoland region, by name Ovaherero, coming into contact with the German people during the colonization period.
Terminated the drought, the Ovahimba went back occupying the southern area of Kunene river again. Before entering the village, Owen goes to talk with the village’s chief, to ask permission to do the visit. Once gets it, we have been told not to cross the centre of the village, this because the holy fire takes place there and only the inhabitants are allowed to walk through.
Finally, we enter the village, built with a few huts made with mud and dung, and we reach the Himba seated under a tree. The women are noted for their sculptural beauty, enhanced by intricate hairstyles and traditional adornments. They rub their bodies with red ochre and fat to protect their skin against the hot sun. After an hour spent taking pics and walking around the village playing with the kids, we head back to the campsite. Our opinion is that the visit is indeed enjoyable, but if you think that they haven’t got used to meeting tourists, you wrong.
Epupa Falls hike
In the late afternoon, we leave the campsite for a walk along the waterfalls. The path starts a few meters from the campsite gate. The Epupa falls, located at the border between Namibia and Angola and formed by the Kunene River, are a series of cascades that spread over a distance of about 1.5 km.
The walk is very relaxing, in front of us a breathtaking view: lush vegetation, palm and baobab trees, a quite deep gorge and an incredible number of small waterfalls. Before the sunset, hiking along a short ascent, we reach the top of the hill. Here a man comes up to us asking for a 20 N$ fee. We are a little surprised, there’s anything around us, and we are paying just to see ”a landscape”, but he said it’s a fee for the community. Anyway, we pay the small ”tip”, waiting until the sun lights the valley with its red and warm colour, then we go back to the campsite.
Need to Know about Epupa falls
How to get there: take the road C43 from Opuwo. It takes at least 3 hours and a 4×4 vehicle because the road is terrible and you seriously risk to break down if you have a sedan.
Himba village tour: just ask at the reception of your accommodation, and they’ll find a local guide for your visit.
Waterfalls walk: follow the road, a few minutes walk from the Epupa Falls lodge and campsite.