As we traveled through Namibia, Southern Africa, we continued to make our way up north where we saw two Himba women sitting by the side of the road with their children selling some jewelry. Himba women wear little clothing, and elegantly decorate their hair. But what is really distinctive is that they have a red tinge to their skin. The reason is that they cover themselves in a mixture of butter fat and ochre. They do this for two reasons; one is to protect themselves from the sun and the other is to stay fresh since bathing is difficult with limited or no water.
In another effort to keep themselves clean, they cover themselves with an acrid smoke by using a woven triangular basket underneath which are burnt herbs and other aromatic ingredients.
We very much enjoyed our visit with the Himba. While almost decimated during the civil war in Southern Africa and a horrible drought in the 90’s they now number 20-50,000 strong and have developed community conservancies to help protect wildlife and foster tourism.