Local traditions and culture in Namibia

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Most Viewed Local Customs in Namibia

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    Namibian Barbecue

    by chicabonita Updated Jan 16, 2005

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    Namibians love to barbecue! It is called brai. The meat in Namibia is excellent. Namibians really love to eat meat! It isn't the country for vegetarian :-)

    Try also the more extraordinary ones like oryx or springboek.

    A must which goes with a Brai is the very delicious chutney and a toast with apricot jam ... mmmmmmmmmmhhhhh!!!

    Campfire in Soussuvlei
    Related to:
    • Food and Dining

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    Termite Hills

    by Myndo Written Dec 18, 2004

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    Termite Hills are a common view in the lnadscapes of Namibia.
    Normally they have the same color as the underground they stand on, but sometimes you will see white ones and the underground is red. That is, because they dig so deep (over 75m to get to a water supply) that they bring up the material from different geolocical layers.

    Most termite hills one sees are about 1 to 2 m high, but there are bigger ones. This one (in the pciture) was the winner: 8 - 10 m high. They grow bigger the older they are and this one is said to be over 100 years old, maybe several hundreds, it is hard to know, because erosion from wind and rain wears them down, too.

    If there is rain some fungus will grow out of the termite hills. The termites care for them as if they were gardeners. They grow as abig as a human head and are said to taste very very good (better than truffel).
    Unfortunately nobody managed to cultivate it outside the Termite Hills.... this would be a speciality world wide.
    When they grow they attract not only humans, but also many animals, so they are gone fast again.

    Termite Castle
    Related to:
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    back from School

    by Myndo Written Dec 18, 2004

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    You will see this several times in Namibia, especially when you have to fill up for gas and food in the bigger cities.

    After twelve o´clock the streets fill with many school children, all wearing the same clothes.
    This picture was taken in Outijo, that is close to the Etosha National Park (well, relatively close. In Namibia everything under 300km is).

    School children, Outijo
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    Himba Men

    by diageva Updated Nov 1, 2004

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    Men are changing their traditional Himba wears that are to pieces of leather for front and behind, and replacing them for cotton clothes.

    They are a semi-nomads descendants of Herero. Cattle and goats are very important, the men go out for search grazing for their cattle.

    Himba are polygamists, but they have to have enought cattle for having wives.

    Himba Man

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    Himba Chief

    by diageva Written Nov 1, 2004

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    Himba Chief is the more important of the village. In front of the entrance of his hut you will find the holy fire. The space from the entrance hut to the fire is a sacred space and no one can get in.
    The holy fire must not extinguish in theory. The holy fire symbolizes the continuity between the world of the deaths and that of the living.

    Himba Chief

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    Himba's Women

    by diageva Updated Nov 1, 2004

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    "The Land of the Red Women," Himba woman have red skin cause a mixture of animal fat, red ochre and local herbs.
    They never use water to wash their selves; they use instead something like a sauna with herbs. Each women use their own herbs for have their own perfume.

    As blood is forbidden at the Himba village, women must go out it to bear their children or in menstruation days.

    Married women wear braided hair with pieces of skin.

    Jewellery is very important, metal rings around their ankles, as other jewellery made of shells, copper, skin ….

    It easy see them making their hair one to the other.

    Himba Women

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    Himba's Children

    by diageva Updated Nov 1, 2004

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    Himba children are adorned with jewellery from birth and their skin is protect with the same red mix of sand and animal fat their mother use for their skin.
    Male boys are also painted in black their neck as the adult men.
    They learn to respect animals from the beginning and to know they are part of the village and that they are not toys but helpful for the village.
    Their hair is also cut in a sort of way. A Himba boy is shaved bald, except a small hair-band in the middle.
    All, hair shape and jewellery has its meaning

    Himba boy

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    Wave

    by diageva Updated Oct 24, 2004

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    It is a custom, in a land with so little people, in a land where you can drive a hole day without seeing another car or people, to wave if you find someone in your way.

    Tuhafeni (our great driver) did wave every single man or woman or car we find in our way and always he did have a wave back.

    I love to wave, so from the beginning, before even I did notice this was a custom, I did wave all the people we saw from our bus. Waving I get to know the beautiful Steffney and other children and other people that always did wave back with a big smile.

    So, remember, if you go to Namibia, do wave in your way.

    Steffney

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  • Myndo's Profile Photo

    The Herero

    by Myndo Written Aug 24, 2004

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    Namibia has about 1.8 million people.
    About half of them are the Ovambo. But there are a lot of different others: the San, the Nama, the Damara, the Himba, the Kavango...

    One of them are the Herero.
    They make about 8% of the population.
    European Missionars influenced them a lot in the end of the 19th century. This can still be seen today in the traditional clothing of the Herero woman. Its victorian stile and they wear about 12m of cloth !

    The woman in the picture I stumbled upon during her changing into the clothes she works in (she made the bathrooms on the Camping place). She was actually really thin under all that clothes (I wouldn´t believe it either, if I hadn´t seen).
    She saw I was interested in her stile and asked whether I wanted to make a picture (oh, sure!)

    Herero
    Related to:
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    • Arts and Culture

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    Herero Costumes

    by tini58de Updated Aug 5, 2004

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    The Herero women have adopted a style of dress that looks rather strange! These costumes were brought with German missionaries. The dresses include full length skirts with many petticoats underneath!
    The headdress is also very unique - it looks a little like a two-coned hat. A shopkeeper in Windhoek told us, that the Herero women spend an awful lot of money for their outfits: the stola has to be made of English wool - so that calls for a lot of money as well!

    Herero woman

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    Sundowners....a civilized way to end each day

    by 850prc Written Aug 2, 2003

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    Throughout Namibia, as in much of southern Africa, it is a tradition to say goodbye to the day by having a glass of wine, a beer or a cocktail. This tradition of "sundowners" has existed since the colonial time(s) of the British. And, it doesn't really matter where you are, or who you're with.....sundowners are a daily matter of fact.

    So, whether you're in the bush or in Windhoek or Swakop, expect to say goodbye to the fierce and warm Namibian sun each day with a toast. Sundowners, man!

    My family enjoys sundowners at Mowani Camp

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  • Car attendants

    by tryhard Written Apr 20, 2003

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    In many of the larger town or city areas you will see young guys usually wearing fluoro yellow vests around the shopping areas, car parks.
    If they see you park your car they will approach. They are authorised by the city authorities to provide a car minding service whilst you are shopping. You can politely decline or you can indicate that you would like their services and they will put a ticket on you windscreen.
    When you return you pay them a dollar or two depending how long you were away and they will remove the ticket.

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    Namibia is a truly...

    by smoox Updated Sep 2, 2002

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    Namibia is a truly multi-cultural country. Both the British and the German as well as the Boors have left their traces in this African country, at times almost covering what is there of the Nama, Herero, Himba, Damara. What´s utterly fascinating is the fact that this conglomerate of cultures seems to work out just fine... Let´s just respect each other! Congratulations, Namibia, to what you have achieved in those 11 years of independence!

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    The currency is the Namibia...

    by smoox Written Sep 2, 2002

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    The currency is the Namibia Dollar which is connected to the South-African Rand. Hence you will be able to pay in both currencies (and receive change in both currencies as well).
    There are no banks beyond the cities - so make sure you carry enough cash. On the other hands, you will be able to pay with your credit card or cash a travellers´cheque in the lodges.

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  • Do not pass or shake hands...

    by Kakunaa Written Aug 26, 2002

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    Do not pass or shake hands with your left hand....you will be considered rude and vile...they wipe with the left, and therefore you do nothing else with it. Do not address elders until they address you, and always greet in some way...it's the polite thing to do. No short shorts or dresses...knee length and below for the ladies....

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