Activities in Opuwo and northern Kunene generally centre on visiting Himba communities. Your first port of call should be the Kaoko Information Centre, though visits can also be arranged through English-speaking Himba such as Western, the owner of Aamveny Camp, or “Queen Elizabeth”, usually found with the other Himba jewellery sellers close to the OK supermarket. Alternatively, you can arrange a visit through your accommodation or book with a tour operator. Before deciding, make sure that your visit is likely to involve a small group, be culturally sensitive and benefit the community. Whatever you do, avoid giving tobacco, alcohol or sweets to individuals or communities. Establish what the parameters are in advance. When visiting a village, or even meeting Himba on the way, merely handing over money to adults or sweets to kids is not helpful, as it has already encouraged begging, which is growing among some of the populace along the route to Epupa. Similarly, photo-taking is a sensitive issue; obviously permission should be sought before taking a photo, but better than that is to interact with people in an activity, or on a visit with an interpreter, and maybe after spending time together, you might ask to take a photo of you all together, to share among the group. The snap-for-cash culture that has dominated interactions between Himba women and tourists for some time now is not helping to develop intercultural understanding or positive relations.

Kunene Conservancy Safaris are Namibia’s most successful conservancy-based tourism company, with great ethical and environmental credentials, running a range of four- to twelve-day small-group tours led by experts. All profits go to the five conservancies involved, and some tours include staying at Etaambura, the first Himba-owned lodge.

Another recent option for travellers who wish to visit independently is to drop in on the newly established Ovahimba Living Museum, which opened at the end of 2016. It’s next door to the community campsite at Omugunda, 42km along the gravel road towards Epupa. As with the other living museums, each activity is paid for separately in cash. Here you can choose from an hour’s bushwalk or body painting, to a general cultural introduction to the village, or a whole day during which you participate in a whole range of activities with a guide/interpreter on hand.

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