Damaraland and Kaokoveld in the northwest of Namibia demand a certain level of respect. Occupying a huge, harsh stretch of landscape, even the people and wildlife have adjusted accordingly. Kapoi Kasaona, a Himba guide, shares his Northwest...
“I would say that north-west Namibia is my favorite place as here you can really be alone and free with no fences and know that community and wildlife are living in peace. It’s a rugged landscape, with deep valleys, ephemeral rivers, and the mighty Epupa Falls. My people, the Himba have shared this environment for centuries.
We are described as semi-nomadic pastoralists. Our intricate hairstyles and the deep red ochre that the women use to cover and protect their skin makes us stand out. I know that we really believe in ourselves and have very strong values. Contact with tourists doesn’t change this. In fact, we value tourism and want to show people our world through our eyes.
I was born in the small village Otginduikue just outside Sesfontein and my mother still lives there. I have four children, two boys and two girls and whenever I have spare time, we go walking into the surrounding bush and desert to explore the wonders of the area.
Over time my people and me have come to put a lot of value on all the wildlife and plants that occur in our area. We believe that the wildlife has become as important to us as our beloved cattle and I am proud of how entire communities now live in peaceful co-existence with wildlife. We have a special connection with “our other cattle” and look after it in every way.
The special relationship that exists between man and wildlife in my area is also reflected in how we depict wildlife in our crafts. We use only what is available to us in nature and if the trees branches are small we make small carvings of the animals and birds.
I feel as if every day we make progress in making all our communities more sensitive to wildlife conservation. Likewise, when we get guests we introduce them firstly to our community approach, then to the community and then to our conservation efforts. Lastly, we show them how our joint venture programs work with other conservation and tourism companies. This is a great way to share my Namibia."