Mafwe Living Museum

About The Mafwe Living Museum

Engage and connect with Namibian locals

Visiting the Living Museum of Mafwe gives you an opportunity to add extra depth to your Namibian travels.

This interesting activity is the perfect add on for those exploring the wonders of the Zambezi Region. The Living Museum is located close to Namibia’s borders with Angola and Zambia, close to the Sobbe Conservancy and Mudumu national park.

About the Mafwe People

The Mafwe people are one of the largest cultural groups in the Caprivi area. Like most people in this lush, riverine environment, they rely on subsistence farming for their ongoing wellbeing.

Through the ages, the Mafwe have hunted, fished, and grown crops like maize, millet, sweet potatoes, melons, pumpkins, and groundnuts.

While some Mafwe clans still practice the old way of doing things, many have become more modernized. The Living Museum of the Mafwe serves as an important reminder of original Mafwe culture and is also an informative destination for travelers who are interested in local culture.

Additionally, Namibia’s living museums are income spinners for the local population and help create a positive attitude toward tourism. Ultimately, this helps indigenous folk to understand the importance of conserving Namibia’s natural environment in order to attract visitors.

What to See at the Mafwe Living Museum

The living museum of the Mafwe has a typical open-air village design, with various areas dedicated to highlighting the chores and enjoyments associated with daily life in times gone by. It’s located on a hilltop with a view of the Kwando River and is surrounded by lush grasslands.

During your tour, you can learn more about the following aspects of the Mafwe lifestyle:

  • Clothes making
  • Trapping and fishing demonstrations
  • Singing and dancing
  • Fire-making
  • Traditional games
  • Basket making
  • Trap construction
  • Bushcraft

The villagers are particularly welcoming toward children and try to involve them in the tours as much as possible. For instance, children may try out the traditional straw beds or try to play a tune on the traditional hippo drums.

A translator is at hand to decipher the locals’ enthusiastic banter during your visit.

You can choose from two different tours when you visit this living museum, i.e.:

  • Short Tour of 1.5 hours

This tour focusses on the Mafwe’s crafting abilities. It includes a short bushwalk as well as dancing and singing.

  • Long Tour of 4 hours

This tour envelops you in the Mafwe’s daily routine. It includes fire-making, stamping mahangu, food tastings, and craftsmanship demos.

You will learn how to make spears, bows and arrows, jewelry and woven objects. The bushwalk involves demonstrations of ancient hunting and fishing methods. The tour ends with singing, dancing, and traditional games.

There is also an information center and a craft market on site. The Mafwe are skilled craftsmen and spend much of their time crafting curios for sale both on site and at nearby craft outlets.

Spending the night camping under the baobab trees in the village is a unique experience and a good way to discover the true meaning of rough camping. Overnighters must bring everything with them, including drinking water.

There are also several luxury lodges located in the nearby concessions.

Getting to the Damara Living Museum

The turnoff to the Museum is on the B8, close to Kongola. To get there, you take the D3502 northward and turn left at the village of Singalawe, sticking and keeping left at the fork in the road near the school. The village is about 200m further on.

Plan the Most Interesting Trips to Namibia

Our travel guide has all the information you need to discover the best that Namibia has to offer. You’ll find information on the best game viewing destinations, scenic spots, and most exciting activities available.

Start planning your trip to Namibia today and be sure to include a few nights at the family-friendly Arebbusch Travel Lodge in your itinerary.

Please Note: The details shared herein were correct at the time of publishing. However, with time some of this information may change. We recommend confirming information with suppliers prior to making final travel arrangements. If you do happen to find an issue with any information we’ve shared here, please feel free to contact us so that we can make the relevant changes.

Mafwe Living Museum


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Mafwe Living Museum

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