The homestead’s entrance.

The homestead’s entrance.

Namibia is full of hidden treasures and Ongula Village Homestead Lodge near Ondangwa is one such treasure. The lodge can be found nestled next to a traditional Owambo homestead and guests staying there are afforded a unique opportunity to experience life in traditional northern Namibia.

A visitor helps grind Mahangu. Mahangu is a delicious staple found in Namibia’s north.

A visitor helps grind Mahangu. Mahangu is a delicious staple found in Namibia’s north.

Ongula Village Homestead Lodge is community run lodge where travellers who are willing to go out of their way can experience a side of Namibia that most tourists do not ever manage to see. Tourists, local and international, are invited to take a step back from the frantic urban world and take a peek in to how a rural community in Owamboland lives.

This is no sterile museum or staged theatrical production. At Ongula you will be shown exactly how the Owambo people of Namibia’s under-explored northern regions live on a day-to-day basis. From the granary, to the kraals, to the central fire pit, visitors are not only shown how the local tribe goes about their daily chores but will also be afforded opportunities to take part in some of these daily routines.

This structure houses an underground traditional clay-baking facility.

This structure houses an underground traditional clay-baking facility.

The focus is on getting you immersed in the local culture so that you can get a better understanding of how the community there lives and as such there are several activities that are on offer. As mentioned you can take part in several of the day-to-day chores that need to be carried out around the homestead on a daily basis. This could include clay-pot making, basket weaving and even cattle herding.

This well has serviced the homestead for generations and it is still in use.

This well has serviced the homestead for generations and it is still in use.

While at the lodge you will be taken on a tour of the homestead and the basic functions and purposes of all the various rondawels (traditional huts), living spaces and quarters will be explained to you. There are also several day trips that will show you a bit more of the surrounds if you have a little extra time to explore the greater Ondangwa area. You can visit the Nakambale Museum to learn about the legacy of the Finnish missionaries who brought Christianity to Namibia or the Onankali village’s Mahangu paper project where the grain is used to manufacture paper for the local community. You can also visit the Oonte OVC Organisation where a bottle recycling plant is used to benefit 450 orphaned and vulnerable children in the Ondangwa area. Or for those of you who want to get a taste for the night life in Namibia’s rural north why not enjoy a sundowner drink at one of the local “shebeens”.

The rooms are appointed with furniture made from recycled materials.

The rooms are appointed with furniture made from recycled materials.

The north of Namibia is beautiful and rugged, but it is also quite underdeveloped. As a result there are many community based projects you can get involved with. From schools to shelters for at risk children and adults there are numerous causes that can benefit from your time. A good way to get involved in some community-based projects in this region is to work through the Ongula Village Homestead Lodge. Check out some of the projects they directly run, and if none of those take your fancy you can always ask them about other outreach projects that are being run in the region.

From : Africa Geographic

Original Source: Namibia Tourism