The Zambezi Region, like the neighbouring Kavango region, is renowned for its crafts, especially woodcarving and basketry. Over the last few years several centres have been established to showcase these skills and sell the fruits of the artisans’ labours as souvenirs to tourists. These have been encouraged by government as a means of sustainable development, though with varying degrees of success. However, the overall rise in visitor numbers to Namibia has increased the demand for crafts, resulting in more mass-produced items and fewer genuine, high-quality individually crafted pieces. Indeed, the selection varies little from place to place: walking sticks, wooden animals, baskets, clay pots, soapstone carvings and tie-dye textiles abound, with a smattering of jewellery across the craft shops. Designs often reflect the surrounding environment, also incorporating themes and techniques brought over from Zambia and Zimbabwe, while some items are straight imports from these neighbouring countries.

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