Traditional African stories of Namibia's Himba people steeped in the history of their ancient ethnic culture - brought to you with the compliments of Ombahe Tours, your Kaokoland safari specialists

Kaokoveld
Safaris & Excursions with



Traditional Stories & Tales of an ancient African culture, the Ovahimba people of Namibia's Kaokoland
-
with our compliments

Ombahe Tours

The Story of
ombahe
- the all important giraffe


The Ovahimba people describe the giraffe in their own language, Otjiherero, as follows: "ombahe oyakaueza oyomasemba nomatjika auangeri ketanga, mbahe komutima muua mbahe".
These words refer to the presence, characteristics, and gentleness of the animal that are fascinating to the Himba for various reasons:

The giraffe moves slowly, gently and determined of its destination. It never seems to be in a hurry and always remains cautious of its environment. It walks tall yet in spite of its size and strength is not aggressive.
"Ombahe" was also useful to the people in days gone-by, as beautiful mats and strong ropes could be made from its skin. Only a few rich and highly regarded Himba were wearing shoes made from the giraffe's skin as a sign of their dignity.

For centuries, The Ovahimba and their most admired mammal species - next to useful domesticated cattle - lived side-by-side and in harmony in the wilderness of Kaokoland. Only large-scale poaching and to some extent also uncontrolled professional hunting, in the early and mid 1900's, pushed the giraffe to the brink of extinction.

Today, much of Kaokoland is organised in conservancies, and its wildlife species are protected by nature conservation laws. Thanks to the tremendous concerted efforts of local communities in co-operation with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and non-governmental organisations, visitors to the far north-western reaches of Namibia once again are able to marvel at the beauty and grace of "ombahe" in its natural habitat - browsing leisurely on the acacia vegetation while keeping a watchful if not curious gaze from under the longest and most beautiful eye-lashes in the animal kingdom fixed on anything and anyone nearby, from a lofty height.   

Traditional Himba Stories & Tales
brought to you with our compliments
 Ombahe Tours, your Kaokoland Safari Specialists

More
Himba Stories
to follow

More
Himba Stories
to follow

A brief history of the
Ovahimba People
to follow

 

Additional touring suggestions can be found at "Namibia's Special Selection

 

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Introduction to:

Himba Culture
(ombahe, the very important giraffe)

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