Owambo – A collective name for a group of tribes from northern Namibia and southern Angola. In the middle of the 16th century these tribes, which belonged to the Bantu group, moved southwards from the great lakes area in East Africa and settled between the Kunene and Okavango rivers.

An Owambo homestead (kraal or ”eumbo”) has a circular arrangement of homes with a labyrinth of passageways to confuse a stranger or evil spirit. They all lead to the central meeting place, the ”olupale”. The sacred fire is located here.

Herero – the Herero are a pastoral cattle breeding people. They moved to the country at about the same period as the Owambo from East Africa. They are instantly recognised here,  and in Botswana, by their traditional dress, which includes an odd looking hat. Today the number of Herero people in the country is around 100 000. In 1904 they rose up against the German empire with disastrous consequences – around 75% of Herero’s population was destroyed.

Damara – One of the oldest cultural groups in the country. They cultivate corn and vegetables, with livestock playing an important role in their income. Khorixas, their homeland, was proclaimed Damaraland in 1973. Today it is part of the Erongo region.

Himba – This ancient tribe of semi-nomadic pastoralists occupy the Kunene region of the country. The Himbas (who are relatives of the  Herero) are an extraordinary people who have resisted change and preserved their unique cultural heritage.

Other tribes in Namibia include Kavango, Nama, Rehoboth Basters, Topnaars, Coloured, Caprivians, Bushman (San) and Tswanas.