The ancient semi-nomadic pastoralist tribe in the arid lands of Namibia, known as the Himba, have been favorites to photographers. Their fame for the decorated styles spread beyond the remote Kunene region, where they live, tending livestock. A practice that men do not perform, Himba women apply a paste of butter, fat and red ochre (sometimes scented with aromatic potion) called otjize to their skin and hair each morning, giving them a distinctive red tint. There has been a lot of speculation about the origins of this practice, and some argue that it protects the skin from the sun or repels insects. But Himba considers it an aesthetic act of beautification, a traditional type of makeup that is applied every morning after waking up. This practice has survived generations of war, farming, and drought.
They are mostly pastoral people and are welcome to visitors who come to witness about their way of life.
The Himba houses, numbered between 30,000 and 50,000, are round structures built posts of saplings, with a domed roof coated in mud and manure, or simple huts made of mud.
Whether it is a protective measure against the hot environment or just a cultural trait, the Namibian Red Women of the Himba tribe have a unique sense of fashion and style that has become an iconic image of Africa.