Visiting the Himba

Jan 21st, 2010, 07:41 AM
  #1  
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Visiting the Himba

We are doing a Gap trip through Namibia where we end in Windhoek. I would love to add on some extra days and go see the Himba. I contacted the people at The Cardboard Box and they recommended 7 days to do this. That sounded like an awful lot of time, so I'm wondering what is the minimum amount of time it would take to do this from Windhoek. Could you do it in 3 days or would that just be pointless? I was thinking 1 day to drive their from Windhoek, 1 day to visit and 1 day to drive back to Windhoek. Maybe the distance is too great to do this and it would not be enjoyable to pack something like this in. The main reason we can't do the 7 day trip suggested by the Cardboard Box is we don't have many days to add on past our original 15 day trip due to vacation time (and money).

In addition to length of time, is this something that can only be done with a self drive or are there tour companies that do this sort of thing? It sounds a little nerve racking trying to do a self-drive in a 4x4 through the desert! I can't imagine what we would do if the car broke down! Any insights are greatly appreciated!
bluesphee is offline  
Jan 21st, 2010, 08:22 AM
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Hi bluesphee,

Your GAP trip might just include the Himba village near Kamanjab (I used to be one of their guides, and I tried to fit it in if we could). It depends a bit on your routing and whether your guide is a wide-awake dude or not (LOL!).

If your GAP trip does go via a Himba village, it'll give you the opportunity to check it out before making a final decision.

I don't think that it warrants a 7-day trip (the Himba are fascinating, but not that fascinating). However, that whole area is intriguing and Namibia is possibly one of the nicest self-drive destinations you can find in Africa. The road infrastructure is one of the best I've ever come across (even the gravel routes are better than you would think).

The route from Windhoek to the Himba areas is tarmac for most of the way, and you can comfortably travel the distance to Kamanjab in one day (about 550-600kms I think). You could look at staying at a place like Hobatere Lodge or up near Opuwo.

Your GAP trip will give you an awesome overview of Namibia. I'd suggest that you get yourself a 4X4 vehicle (or even a standard sedan would do for many routes) and explore the country for a few days. A 4X4 gives you a little more height to enjoy the scenery, and a little more stability on the gravel roads. Just remember to drive slowly on the gravel (80km/hr), particularly through dips and around curves, and you should be fine. There's hardly any traffic. Be careful for wildlife (including ellies ... LOL!).

A lot of Namibia is not actual desert. Much of it is savanna, albeit very arid savanna. Namibia's also got the friendliest folk I've met in Africa, and you can guarantee that if your car broke down, the very next car would stop to help. It's that kind of country.

You'll also find accommodation easy to come by in Namibia. So you really don't have to bother to book ahead (but if you're going quite far north, it may be a good idea).

I think there are a number of tour operators that would put a package together for you. One I like dealing with is Truly Africa Tours.

If you want to know more about the Himba near Kamanjab, you can contact Oase guesthouse. They should be able to help.

I hope this helps.
Bushkid0 is offline  
Jan 21st, 2010, 08:49 AM
  #3  
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This is so helpful!!! (And so was your other post)

As you saw on my other post, we go to Etosha and then the next day go south to Windhoek so I don't think we would be making it that far north to the Himba w/ this particular Gap trip.

I'm going to look into your suggestions tonight in detail and will be back with my findings/thoughts.
bluesphee is offline  
Jan 21st, 2010, 09:12 AM
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Whoops, sorry, bluesphee,

I'd forgotten that the DACD route has changed a bit, and doesn't go that far north anymore (we used to stay over at Khorixas, and then detour to Kamanjab).
Bushkid0 is offline  
Jan 21st, 2010, 09:22 AM
  #5  
 
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I agree that Namibia is a very easy country to self drive in and is well set up for that. We take guided safaris in East Africa but self drove in Namibia. And depending on where you go, you may not need a 4x4 particularly in September. We just had a sedan. While we did have minor vehicle problems, we were able to get a replacement car delivered in 2 days to the lodge where we were staying. I have to say though that no one ever stopped to help us the times we were stopped on the side of the road making minor repairs to the vehicle. They didn't even slow down, enveloping us in a cloud of dust each time they sped by Not that we really needed help and I'm sure they would've stopped if we flagged them down.

So you might even consider a self drive (or maybe not after my comments ) in lieu of the Gap tour and that way you have to freedom to go exactly where you want instead of trying to work around the constraints of a tour. Just a thought.
Patty is offline  
Jan 21st, 2010, 12:05 PM
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While I would be hesitant to do a self-drive in East Africa, not so in Namibia. As mentioned above, it's one of the easiest of the African countries to do so, with few roads but in good condition and those that are gravel are easily navigated even in a sedan.

Having looked at the tour you indicate in your other thread, I saw all one-nighters, but for the stop at Swak and Etosha (even here by the time you arrive will only have 1/full day safari) and the distances between the others can be long.

I'd strongly suggest (as Patty mentions which visit to Namibia was after she'd already ventured in East Africa), if Namibia is the country of first-choice for your entry into Africa, then I'd consider a private itinerary - where you visit (and you can arrive at CPT), # of days, choice of lodging, etc. - and not be tied to a set itinerary. And, for sure you can include the Himba for as many days as you feel appropriate. It'll likely cost more that the Gap group tour, but it'll be your itinerary, as you wish.

Why not contact Cardboard Box and see what they can put together for you.

Though I do believe if this is your first and maybe only trip to Africa, Namibia wouldn't be my first choice. Rather East Africa (Kenya/Tanzania... where in Sept is ideal for the Migration) or South Africa.

My two-cents.
sandi is offline  
Jan 21st, 2010, 12:45 PM
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Hey Bluesphee,

I'm really chuckling about all the feedback. As I said, it doesn't really matter where you go, I suspect you'll be back. It gets into the blood you know ...

Btw, I'd go along with the idea of self-driving Namibia. Gives you lots of freedom to make your own trip. Spectacular route and huge diversity. I get bored with the same scenery all the time. 3 days and I'm itching to see what's over the next horizon. But as Sandi mentions, you can spend a heck of a lot time travelling ...

I honestly don't know enough about East Africa to comment. But there are no bad choices here!
Bushkid0 is offline  
Jan 21st, 2010, 01:26 PM
  #8  
 
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I have not read any of the responses to your question.

We did fly to Hartman Tal (awesome landscape) and stayed at Wilderness Serra Cafema Camp. They have a very good "working relationship" to a Himba village (very authentic as very remot from anything in Namibia) close to their camp.

http://www.wilderness-safaris.com/na.../introduction/

That's a fly-in destination as it's not reachable by car - at least not for tourists which are not suicidal ;-)

Happy Planning!

SV
spassvogel is offline  
Jan 21st, 2010, 06:10 PM
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It is totally up to you, but I personally would be concerned how I would feel about myself driving pretty constantly for 2-3 days specifically to gawk at some people living a primitive lifestyle in semi-desert. I chickened out when we were in Namibia, but I am sure there are some people who run "tours" that are sufficiently sensitive, and I do not mean to criticise what I do not understand.

I hope my post won't be misinterpreted.... saying any more would be ridiculous seeing as I have never even seen a Himba person.
kimburu is offline  
Jan 21st, 2010, 07:23 PM
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Stay with your GAP tour bluesphee.It's a great tour and will give you a great introduction to southern Africa.And there is so much scenery to take in, that for that itinerary it's wonderful to not be driving yourself.Self drive is great when you have more time, less distance to cover, and you are confident with the country,and it's roads.
But next time, you will want to self drive.
We've done that GAP tour ourselves.Would fully recommend it.
And you will see Himba at Outjo, selling their trinkets on the street there when you stop.
But if you want to see a Himba tribal village in just 3 days, your best option is to hire a car(you won't need a 4wd, get the cheapest corolla etc,) and drive up to Khorixas yourself.Stay at Oase Garni Guesthouse.They will organise for you to visit a Himba village just 20 Kms away.You're encouraged to visit.This is a village that has been set up to help preserve Himba ways, but more importantly to take in children from villages further north whose parents have died of aids or are alcoholics.The aim is to give them a more genuine cultural life.
And you're instructed not to take any gifts for those children.Your 'gift' to the village is by paying for the tour.
The drive to Khorixas is sealed all the way, and you'll be there in 5-6 hours.Stay 2 nights and set off early in the morning for Windhoek.Get away around 7.45 and you'll be amazed at how many animals you'll see lined up along the road back!
tactile is offline  
May 3rd, 2010, 10:36 AM
  #11  
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This is a copy and paste from my other discussion thread (just for others that may read through this):

Hi all,

I wanted to report back what we finally decided. We are doing a longer trip than originally planned through GAP in September. We are now starting in Zambia at Victoria Falls, then go through Botswana, Namibia and end in Cape Town. It is their Dunes Delta and Falls Discoverer trip. Here's a link:
http://www.gapadventures.com/tour/DZDD

We managed to work out the amount of vacation time to do this longer trip and felt it was worth our extra money than just doing Namibia and South Africa. We're really excited to do more Safari-style travel in Botswana including the Okavango Delta. It's also going to be incredible to see Victoria Falls.

Oh and one more point. We did the reverse tour that ends in Cape Town since that will put us in Cape Town at the end of September instead of the beginning of September. We should hopefully get better weather that way. Hopefully Namarqualand will still be in full bloom.

Of course I'll report back on our trip sometime after it's done!
bluesphee is offline  
Jun 26th, 2010, 03:50 PM
  #12  
 
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Have a great time. I have been to Vic Falls 3 summers ago. Make sure you see it from both the Zambia and the Zimbabwe side if you can, although you do have to cross the border. I walked between the borders (single white female) and felt totally fine by myself. People do try to sell you stuff. Bring pens to trade. I didn't know that ahead of time and wish I did cause they're so easy to take - microfine point pens especially. If there still is the Adventure, "Walk with Lions" in Zimbabwe, I highly recommend that. I booked through the tour operator in Zambia, safari par excellence, who has an operation at the Zambezi Waterfront hotel.

For myself, I would like ot know if anyone has a recommended tour operator in Namibia? I am traveling solo, ergo self-drive is not somethign I would consider. I've looked at Wilderness, but they are expensive. I am looking at Jenman. I am not seeking a full camping safari - prefer to at least have a shower almost every day.

Thanks for any suggestions. Also - best time to go? I'm looking at september/october.

Heather
heasereb is offline  
Jun 26th, 2010, 03:58 PM
  #13  
 
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Have a great time. I have been to Vic Falls 3 summers ago. Make sure you see it from both the Zambia and the Zimbabwe side if you can, although you do have to cross the border. I walked between the borders (single white female) and felt totally fine by myself. People do try to sell you stuff. Bring pens to trade. I didn't know that ahead of time and wish I did cause they're so easy to take - microfine point pens especially. If there still is the Adventure, "Walk with Lions" in Zimbabwe, I highly recommend that. I booked through the tour operator in Zambia, safari par excellence, who has an operation at the Zambezi Waterfront hotel.

For myself, I would like ot know if anyone has a recommended tour operator in Namibia? I am traveling solo, ergo self-drive is not somethign I would consider. I've looked at Wilderness, but they are expensive. I am looking at Jenman. I am not seeking a full camping safari - prefer to at least have a shower almost every day.

Thanks for any suggestions. Also - best time to go? I'm looking at september/october.

Heather
heasereb is offline  
Jun 27th, 2010, 12:28 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
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Instead of visiting Huimba villages which are frequented very often also by tour buses I would rather fly up to Serra Cafema at the Kunene River.

www.wilderness-safaris.com

spassvogel is offline  

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