ONJOWEWE Himba Orphan Village is part of the Otjikandero Community Project and is situated about 20 km outside of Kamanjab on a local cattle farm, a guided tour around an authentic Himba village will not only give you an in depth insight into the life and ways of the last traditional tribe in Namibia, but an amazing photographic opportunity as well.


Experience the milking ceremony, the smoke bath, be informed on the beliefs around the holy fire, ancestors, and herbal medicine. You will also learn about the jewelery and hairstyles to imitate the status of each tribe member and their close relationship with nature, their cattle and children.


The beginning:
The Otjikandero Himba Orphan Village Project was started in 1999 when Jaco Burger moved to Kaokoland to work and live with the local Himba tribe. He had met Mukajo there previously. As a result of leukaemia she could never have children, but as the last queen in her blood line of the Ovahimba’s and considering her great love for children she was desperate. Jaco and Mukajo came together for the Himba Orphan project and had a traditional Himba marriage. Women are not allowed to have children in the Ovahimba tradition unless they’re married. Jaco decided to live with the Ovahimba’s in Kaokoland and he was adopted by the Ovahimba’s as well as the Chiefs. He also has a Himba mother with whom he lived for a couple of years, which enabled him to learn their language.

As part of Otjikandero Community Project - Onjowewe Himba Village was established only for overnight guests of Onjowewe House in the Rocks, Onjowewe Bush Camp & Campsite to offer a more private visit on specific tour times that are available on request.
Overnight guests at Onjowewe House. Bush Camp & Campsite have also the priviledge to spend more time in the Himba Village and even after dark.

Please note there is no overnight allowed in the Himba Village. Thank you for your understanding!

The traditions:
The Himba is one of the last tribes in Africa (besides the rare bushman) living strictly within their tradition. In Angola there are Ovahimba’s that have never even seen a white person before. In the Ovahimba Tribe, when you have more than 10 children and you can afford your first and second wife, you must take a third wife. This is the tradition and rules are stipulated by the head Chiefs in Kaokoland. Everything is overseen by the chiefs and heads of the families in order to keep the people’s traditions alive. All first marriages are arranged, but you are more than welcome to live with your real love, remembering that the first wife is still head of the family! No jealousy in the Himba tribe! That would be akin to breaking the law.

The village:
At this stage Jaco has three wives and 39 children with 16 Himba volunteer women (including their own children, between 4 & 8 children per Himba volunteer woman) from Kaokoland which the chiefs send to assist for the children during a certain period. They stay in the village with their families and the kids for 3 to 6 months (sometimes even longer) before returning to Kaokoland. The Himba women from Kaokoland come to live there to assist with the raising of the children. These women are usually family relations of the children and they ensure that the children get raised in the traditional fashion. Six of the children in the village attend the local primary school, but because of this the children become somewhat westernised. 

The beneficiaries:
The money received for tours to the Himba Project goes into a Trust which is mainly used for food and other necessities. When the residents of the village fall ill and their traditional medicine fails to work we send them to a private general practitioner. The children are seen by a doctor almost every month and sometimes receive inoculations against western diseases, considering the amount of contact they have with westerners. In addition, the project supports Himba families related in the community who are struggling due to problems with livestock. The project assists in payment of transport fees and other expenses that may arise. These families also get support in the form of meat & maize flour, especially if there are funerals or any other family occasions in Kaokoland. We currently provide around 10 families in Kaokoland, between 15 & 20 volunteer women with their children, 34 orphan children and the local schools around Kamanjab with food and clothes/blankets every year. 

Otjikandero Himba Orphan Project is the first registered Orphan Trust Fund in Namibia. This will assist in reduction of required income tax payments which are currently resulting in substantial losses to the project. Various monthly expenses are at the moment still more than the income of the project. 

With Otjikandero & Onjowewe Himba Orphan Project we try to give the local tribe a chance to survive in the western world. We are very proud of the Himba lifestyle, tradition and culture and strive to ensure that future generations will live and thrive on the farm with us and that the project can continue to grow. 

The Management of the Onjowewe Himba Village would like to thank you for your interest and support in this Project!

OKUHEPA – Thank you!



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