A cultural trip through Namibia which is located in the southern part of the African continent is what you need to do in order to learn the different cultures of the people who are living in the country. Namibia is a country that is filled with a lot of tribes that are located in the different parts of the country and these make up the cultural tours in Namibia. Besides the tribes that are located within the country, the country also has German influence as it was a former colonialist of German. There are some towns in Namibia that have more German influence like Swakopmund and when you get to most parts of the country you will find that there are several buildings that have a German architecture and that is why some tourists refer to Namibia as a mini German.
A cultural trip to the country will take you to the different parts of the country where you will meet the tribes of Namibia and while there you will be able to experience and participate in all or some of the activities that they carry out. Your cultural trip will take you to the people that have been listed below.
The San people
The san people are also the first inhabitants of Namibia together with the Damara people and they live around the Kalahari Desert. They are used to the harsh conditions of the Desert and are well known for being hunters as that is their livelihood. A visit to the San Bushmen will give you a chance to learn how to track down the wild life in the different National parks that are near them, hunting skills, how to draw water from the ground and the leaves that are located within the Desert and other traditional practices that they carry out.
The san Bushmen are also believed to be the ones that did all the rock painting that are within the different parts of the country and they also offer tourists Bush walks around the different parts of the country and while on these walks you will be able to learn more about them and also get to participate in some of their traditional \practices.
The Damara people
Damara that is translated as black people are the oldest living inhabitants of Namibia and they used to live around the central part of the country next to the san Bushmen. They make about 5 % of the total population of Namibia and although some of them no longer live within the village, they still have their traditions that they follow and these can only be witnessed when one goes to Damara land.
The Damara women are the ones who take care of the home, take care of their homes by cooking food, taking care of their children and husbands while the men go out for hunting. There are several tribes that are under the Damara and these fall under the rule of King Justus Igaroeb.
The Herero tribe
The Herero is one of the many tribes in Namibia that you will get to meet while on a cultural tour in the country. The Herero people are believed to have migrated from East Africa and settled in the central and eastern parts of Namibia. Known to be ardent pastoralists, they have many traditions and their cultural practices will add vibe and color to your cultural safari within Namibia. The Herero people are known to be proud of their unique culture which separates them from the other tribes within the country and some of the experiences you will get when you go for a cultural trip with the Herero include the following:
- The Herero women can be seen dressing up in colorful knee length clothes mostly red that were adapted from the Victorian times and this has become their traditional wear especially the women. Seeing them adorned in their ancient dresses will take you back in time as these were put on by German colonialists’ wives. On top of putting on their traditional wear, the women also put on head gear that is in shape of a horn and this is to pay respect to the cattle that they rear and this is how all the married women are supposed to dress up.
- Enjoy the Herero festival that is held every year while in the country. The women dress up in their fancy Victorian dresses and horn shaped hats while the men form para-military groups which they showcase to their elders and chiefs and the festival is carried out to remember the Herero history and culture. If you want to catch this festival then it is better to visit the Herero on the last weekend of august.
- The Herero also set up a fire in their homesteads and every house has a person who is in charge of the fire. They believe it is a way of communicating with their ancestors and it is also lit to create blessings during the different ceremonies that they carry out like weddings and funerals.
- The Herero are polygamous people and they can get as many wives as they want although the first wife is allowed to make a choice and choose her co-wives irrelevant of how many they are.
- There are two traditions that are followed by the Herero and that is the Holy fire religion where they believe they can communicate with their ancestors and Christianity which was introduced by the colonialists.
- Status in the family and prestige comes from the father’s side among the Herero people but when it comes to property, the mother’s side has full control of everything in the homestead.
Visit the Herero tribe in Namibia to experience the above and so much more and on your visit you will learn more about their culture and the history of Namibia at large.
The Himba tribe
The Himba people live in the Northern part of Namibia and if you do not visit them while in Namibia then your trip to the country will not be fun at all. This group of people that live in the semi-Desert area of Namibia with their red skin are one of the top tourist attractions in the country with their unique culture and traditions. Some of the traditions and cultures that they follow and what you will get to know when you are there include:
- They smear themselves with the red ochre as a sign of remembering the crust of the earth which they believe is red and it also helps by protecting them from the heat that is experienced in the area and that is why you will find most of the locals with red skin.
- One of the many ways that you can tell the difference between the ages of the Himba is by looking at the different hairstyles that they adorn on their heads. Every age bracket has a different hair style and the women can also be seen putting on locally made jewelry around their necks and heads.
- The Himba are polygamous people and extremely generous to their visitors that is when a visitor comes with the consent of the man, they are offered free sex with the wife and the man has to leave his bedroom for the visitor and his wife. They also have initiation ceremonies for the young girls and boys to be initiated into adulthood and you can experience all these can be experienced when one goes for a cultural trip to the Himba people.
- The Himba just like the Herero people believe in a superior being and always light a fire in their compounds as a way of communicating with their ancestors. They also believe that the fire protects them from any harm that they come to them.
- The Himba people have a no bathing policy and it is considered a taboo for one to bathe. Some people believe that it was made a taboo because there is scarcity of water in the area and the only way they can bathe is by smoking themselves with herbs under a blanket.
A cultural trip to the Himba will leave you enlightened with their culture however you should note that even though they are welcoming to the different visitors, they can become hostile to all those that want to change their culture and infiltrate it with the outside world.
The Nama tribe
Closely related to the Khoisan that live in the southern part of the African continent, the Nama people are one of the oldest groups if people living in Namibia. These are nomads and they are known for the large number of cattle that each family has and when it comes to talking they can easily be distinguished from the others due to the clicking sound that they make while talking. The elders can be seen telling stories to the younger generation through folk songs, traditional proverbs, music and sometimes dance. All these are done to help the younger generation understand more about their culture and it is a perfect way for tourists to also learn about their culture.
The Nama people live in a communal way that is no individual owns anything as it is owned by the community especially land and anyone who wants to use the and can use it. They also live in huts that are not permanent that is the huts known as Haru oms can easily be fell when they are migrating and put up again.
The women of the Nama tribe are good at art crafts and you will find many of them either being sold or out on by the women and their children. And although the traditional wear has been put aside by the many people, you will find a few people still dressed in the traditional wear that resembles the Victorian setting.