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Purros Himba Tribe (Photo Diary)

In Purros we visited Himba women whose fine jewellery made of metal, bone and skin would not look out of place strutting down an Alexander McQueen runway. We listened to the snap of branches and the purr of dessert elephants as they tramped past our tent on their midnight moseys and Bow Wow ate so much of their poo we renamed him Shitlips.

Lula on a mountain with the Purros Himba tribe in the distance, Namibia.

Our first sighting of a Himba hood!


The Purros Himba tribe in the distance, Namibia.

This semi-nomadic tribe have managed to maintain their traditional way of life for centuries, rejecting the trappings of the modern world and surviving in the harsh, often waterless conditions of Kaokoland.


Bow Wow and Himba dog at Purros Himba tribe village, Namibia.

Bow Wow and this Himba hound were perfectly matched for rough and tumble games.


Himba women at Purros Himba tribe village, Namibia.

These burnished beauties' lives are devoted to tweaking their appearance and they are every bit as gorgeous as the sashaying divas on MTV.


Himba mother and baby at Purros Himba tribe village, Namibia.

They spend hours every day smearing a mixture of ground up ochre (red rock) and butter fat all over themselves to cleanse their skin and to protect it from the sun and insects.


Himba huts at Purros Himba tribe village, Namibia.

Powder room. Himba women never wash themselves with water. Instead they cleanse their skin by reapplying fresh layers of red ochre and butter fat.


Pot containing perfume made from bark of a local tree used for skin. Purros Himba tribe village, Namibia.

This pot contains a perfume made from the bark of a local tree which, we can vouch, keeps them fragrant.


Lucie holding a Himba baby, Purros Himba tribe village, Namibia.

We hate to think what Ririlceho's daddy did. His name means revenge.


Lucie holding a Himba baby, Purros Himba tribe village, Namibia.

His silky ochre skin smelt like milk and honey.


Himba huts at Purros Himba tribe village, Namibia.

Himba women make the shelters from dried mud, dung, skins and old blankets while the men herd the cattle, sheep and goats.


Himba woman, Purros Himba tribe village, Namibia.

Married Himba women tie a piece of goat leather known as an 'erembe' to the top of their heads. The conch shell on her necklace is a symbol of fertility.


Himba woman with Bow Wow, Purros Himba tribe village, Namibia.

Such warm, kind people. By the time we left, Bow Wow was a red head from all the stroking.


Himba women and babies, Purros Himba tribe village, Namibia.
One things for sure, Himbas know how to accessorise. New fashions spread from settlement to settlement and so their style is always developing.


Himba woman and baby with jewellery, Purros Himba tribe village, Namibia.

I loved the headband that this girl was wearing and she sold it to me. It is one of my most treasured possessions.


Himba huts at Purros Himba tribe village, Namibia.

Unlike their Herero relatives, the Himbas did not convert to Christianity. Himbas believe in a Holy Fire and in their ancestors.


Himba boy hiding behind blanket in hut, Purros Himba tribe village, Namibia.



Lachlan walking on his hands at Purros Himba tribe village, Namibia.

Lachlan made the children laugh by walking on his hands.


Himba children learning to do hand stands at Purros Himba tribe village, Namibia.

He may have inadvertently started a new craze in Kaokaland.


Himba elder / grandmother outside her hut at Purros Himba tribe village, Namibia.

Dust of ages.


Himba elder / grandmother at Purros Himba tribe village, Namibia.

This fierce looking woman is the matriarch of the tribe and yet....


Himba elder / grandmother at Purros Himba tribe village, Namibia.

we couldn't help thinking that we had seen her at a trance party.


Himba woman at Purros Himba tribe village, Namibia.

The ochre on their skin shimmers like intense bronzing powder.


Himba elder / grandmother at Purros Himba tribe village, Namibia.

Their hair is hardened and lengthened with clay.


Lachlan taking photos of Himba children at Purros Himba tribe village, Namibia.

Posing for pictures.


Himba boy and girl at Purros Himba tribe village, Namibia.

We wonder if these young Himbas will be tempted by the modern world.


Himba girl yawning at Purros Himba tribe village, Namibia.

Yawning Himba child.


Himba boy missing two front teeth at Purros Himba tribe village, Namibia.



Himba women outside their shop full of jewellery and crafts at Purros Himba tribe village, Namibia.

The name Himba derives from 'Tjiiimba' which means 'the people that beg' because in hard times they have been forced to do so in order to survive. However, that certainly was not the case in Purros where the women make fabulous jewellery to sell. We hope to go back and buy more from them for the Vagabond Van online shop.


Himba women intrigued by Lucie's blonde hair at Purros Himba tribe village, Namibia.

I asked if it is uncomfortable to sleep with their hair caked in clay. Once translated, they all groaned in agreement in just the same way a group of girls in a Glasgow tanning salon might have done if I'd asked about leg waxing.


Himba girl in front of fence at Purros Himba tribe village, Namibia.

“Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to get back to.” (John Ed Pearce)


Elephant in dry riverbed at Purros, Namibia.

Bow Wow was either very brave or very stupid to bark at this whopping great dessert elephant.


Elephant and 4x4 in dry riverbed at Purros, Namibia.

A traffic jam in Purros.


Lucie getting Bow Wow to do tricks in front of local people and Herero woman at Purros, Namibia.

The local Herero people loved Bow Wow's tricks.


Children's hands at Purros, Namibia.

The children taught us some moves to Herero pop music which is known as Oviritje.


The sign at our camp site kitchen reads: "Please do not leave food where it can be seen or smelt by elephants", Purros, Namibia.

Bow Wow is a connoisseur when it comes to poo. Elephant is his favourite.


Bow Wow on dry riverbed with broken dry mud. Purros, Namibia.

This dry river bed was like jumbo broken Easter egg shells. The under foot crunch was supremely satisfying.


Broken dry mud in dry riverbed, Purros, Namibia.

Wild dessert elephant, lion, ostriches, zebra and many other species often hang out here.


Pied Crows at Purros camp site, Namibia.

After noising them up all morning, Bow Wow was under attack by a gang of sweeping pied crows.


Pied Crow at Purros camp site, Namibia.

These swaggering thugs even wear wife-beater vests.


Pink berries on Omungambu tree at Purros camp site, Namibia.

The dainty pink balls on this omungambu tree can be boiled to make a delicious sour/sweet snack.


Lachlan taking a shower at Purros camp site, Namibia.

Each camp site had its own private shower under a big tree.


Galen, Tiva and Bow Wow at Purros camp site, Namibia.

Home schooled Galen and Tiva were travelling with their bohemian parents.


Galen & Tiva on Lula the Landy at Purros camp site, Namibia.

They were so ridiculously cute and engaging, it made us want some little vagabonds of our own.


Tiva sitting on Lula the Landy at Purros camp site, Namibia.

Their father Glen is an incredible photographer and they invited us to join his birthday party.


Glen Green's hand made wooden camera, Purros camp site, Namibia.

Glen made the exquisite wooden casing for this camera that uses film. You can see some of his work at


Galen getting into the back of their Land Rover Defender, Purros camp site, Namibia.

Galen gave us a tour of their home-on-wheels.


Birthday cake for Glen Green at Purros camp site, Namibia.

Tiva made the icing for her dad's birthday cake and decorated it with seeds and foliage that she found lying around.


The Green family at Purros camp site, Namibia.

Such a wonderful family and so forgiving when Bow Wow jumped up and toppled the ravishing cake on to the sand. As we munched into salvageable slices (with only minimal crunch) Galen mused, "At least the pied crows can share the feast."

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47 Responses to “Purros Himba Tribe (Photo Diary)”

  1. Glen says:

    Hi Guys, been great following your travels.
    Thanks for thie pix of us, and the plug.
    Am in Cambodia (angkor wat) at the moment having a blast.
    Somewhat different to Namibia.

    Happy travels


  2. Thanks for keeping up to date with us! We were gonna let you know about this post, but you beat us to it!
    Good luck in Cambodia. Would love to get there one day. Can’t wait to see your shots… Lachlan

  3. I am very pleased to know that you experience such cultures and places, I wish I could do this one day too. I love your pictures!


  4. Fascinating! I’ve never traveled to places like this — maybe someday. In the meantime I’m totally enjoying your photos and story. What wonderful experiences you’re having.

  5. Nancie says:

    What an experience. Thanks for sharing your great photos.

  6. what extraordinary experiences you’ve shared with us – and amazing photos. thanks!

  7. Jim says:

    You’ve stirred memories of our times with Himba in Namibia in 2008 and 2009.

    And I admire them for resisting the rush to adopt Western trappings, and to retain their culture and way of life.
    Your photos are beautiful capturing the dignity and proud grace of these women.

  8. Incredible photos. Thanks for sharing,makes me miss Africa!

  9. the photos are awesome, how come there are no photos of guys? it looks like you guys had a great adventure

  10. Caleb says:

    Awesome pictures! What is your job that you can travel all over like this?

  11. Poi says:

    Some really amazing shots you have there and sounds like a great experience!

  12. humza says:

    very amazing, in this modern world. this excellent peace of entertainment for us to look our past.

  13. pvs reddy says:

    wonderful efforts for bringing the rarely known cultures and images up to us

  14. patricia says:

    i want to live like this.

  15. Dina says:

    This is incredible. It must be an incredible experience for your whole family too. I’m so impressed to see that you have 2 kids in this journey, they are very lucky! We don’t have kids yet, kind of delaying it because we are traveling. We hope one day when we have kids, we will do what you guys do!

  16. So cool! Thanks for taking me on the journey with you through these photos :)

  17. johnny says:

    wow – amazing photos – what country is it in?!

  18. Hi Dina, no kids for us just yet – they are kids from the Himba tribe. Of course we do have Bow Wow, our dog child!

  19. Hi Johnny, this is in a tiny tiny town called Purros in Namibia (Southern Africa). If you haven’t been there, stick Namibia on the top of your list. One of our fave countries.

  20. mbali says:

    This is the truly story of the lost world.

  21. Daniel says:

    At work I need to wake up a bit; I just got lost in that moment of time all for the better. Teh potency of your narrative has sparked an interest, I´ll be back for more!

    Thank you for sharing.

  22. Federico says:

    Spectacular photography…just a few days ago I was watching a documentary of this tribe in Namibia…I am sure I will make it someday!

  23. Thank you, that’s great to hear!

  24. Beautiful photos – I just found your blog and it’s wonderful! : )

  25. katja says:

    i’ve been thinking about ging to africa a lot lately and your post has certainly fuelled this wish beautifully. great impressions!!

  26. Some fantastic photos, what did the tribe make of the Land Rover?

  27. Gel says:

    Amazing photos. The people are beautiful. I’d love to travel there. I love your blog. Keep up the great work!

  28. syed Arshad Hussian says:

    working in tribal areas is a very difficult job,involves risk factors u ve done a good job,these pics helps to understand their life style

  29. Tobias says:

    What an experience! Amazing photos! Reminded me of my visit to the Agta people in Philippines, as they are semi nomadic too. Loved the hair styles! :P

  30. Elbè says:

    Beautiful images – engagingly written! I’m doing an assignment on Ovahimba. May I use some of your photographs? You will be credited!

    Will be much appreciated…

  31. Sure you can, thanks for asking :) Please include our URL in the reference too. Is it web based? Would love to see your finished assignment.

  32. These all are genuinely very amazing clicks. These tribe people are looking very sweet and innocent. And both of these two kids are really cute, where are their parents. Were they also on the trip to Purros?
    I will love to go that place may be one day….

  33. Hi Brianna, thanks for stopping by :) Purros should be at the top of everyone’s must see list – though I wouldn’t want it to change of course as it is such a special, untouched and wild paradise. The children were so sweet and they loved Bow Wow. The lovely mother and father were there too, you can see them all in the last photo. Glenn is an incredibly talented photographer, you should definitely check him out…
    Best wishes, Lachlan

  34. Martin Kylie says:

    hEY Lucie,Lachlan&BowWow,
    I am doing a study research on lifestyle of tribes. You got a nice collection of pics here. I will definitely visit Purros for my research and one more thing Can I use some of these pics for my research purpose? Thank You

  35. Hi Kylie, yes you can use our photos as long as you link back to us and credit us. Thank you for asking and good luck, Purros is amazing!

  36. Aiman says:

    I really enjoyed reading this. So fascinating to learn about the Himba women traditions. Hope i get to visit one day too.

  37. Nathan says:

    Very beautiful pictures, I appreciate your nice work. It seems as I have been there with you on the journey.

  38. Cole dlar says:

    Beautiful photos. These photos itself tell us a story. The hairstyles and jewelry of the people are really nice and unique. These pictures remind me of my trip to Andamans. There also the people are semi nomadic. Thanks for sharing your travel experiences.

  39. Aaron says:

    Nice photos collection and having of good qualities. Great work done.
    These people really have distinct way to live life.
    It’s amazing. I enjoyed reading.
    Thanks for sharing.

  40. Amazing photos. Their jewelry and hairstyles are really unique and awesome. It must have been a great experience to you and your family. I hope I can also visit this place in the near future.

  41. ella thomas says:

    It looks like a very exciting trip. Hope I would also once in a while go to some trip like this. It is very interesting to visit different places and try to understand the different cultures spread around this wide world. The interesting fact here is the jewelry worn by the women. I think even gold or diamond jewelry cannot be compared with these.

  42. .:denverssexyiest:. says:

    This post is really amazing and unbelievable. It is very difficult to digest the fact that even in this modern day world, there are semi nomads. Nevertheless their is unique. The babies in the pictures look so cute and innocent. The pictures speak a language of their own and they are very beautiful.

  43. Hey guys, i thank you very much that you could visit such an amazing area and that you could publish it like this….we (purros residents) really like it very much and hope that more and more people will follow your footsteps.

  44. Katherine says:

    I think people really beautiful on your photos, wife and children. The jewelry is beautiful shells they are, it makes you want to travel partier in Himba.
    I know the Kalahari desert in Africa in Buschmen to see…

  45. Derek Claire says:

    I love the country of Himba people of this region. Women are very beautiful. Your photos are successful.
    soon for another trip

  46. Lewis Rachel says:

    The photos look very beautiful. The people also look very beautiful and attractive. I am doing a study on Himba people and this post has helped me a lot. I love the jewelry worn by the women. Thanks.

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