The initial lure for me to Namibia was certainly the wildlife viewing opportunities and unique, Mars-like landscapes, but the visits to the local communities were certainly a highlight. We stayed in some community-owned lodges that were wonderful with unique architecture and style that just blended into the scenery, with tasty, local cuisine, and then staff from the local community that greeted and treated us with such hospitality. The smiles on their faces when they saw us, their stories during the game drives, and their willingness to share and show their land are things I will always remember.
We had the chance to visit a Himba community, an ethnic group that are primarily livestock farmers. This group is often known for the women’s attire and hair. The women have hair locks coated with fat and ochre pigment and cover their body with the reddish paste that serves as moisturizer, sunscreen, and insect repellant all into one. A elder woman provided a nice demonstration of preparing the paste from ochre, spices, and fat, and the smell was so earthy, distinct, and a perfume. It was a brief insight into their daily life, but very educational and authentic. We saw the kids leading the cattle out to graze, watched young girls walking to fetch water from the source, a difficult task in such an arid land, and watched the women prepare dinner. The smiles and laughter from the women were captivating, and something I will always remember.