Near but far… the four O-regions that is… Oshikoto, Oshana, Ohangwena and Omusati are charmingly set in northern Namibia. This is where you will be welcomed by majestic Makalani Palm trees. Domestic animals such as donkeys, cows and goats abound, expressing they are the chiefs of the road.
And of course, the countless quirky shebeen names, as you look on either side of the road toward Ondangwa, are nothing short of entertaining: ‘West Life’, ‘Every Day is Friday’, ‘Vuvuzela’ or ‘Put More Fire’.
I call this area home and it undoubtedly has a way of unearthing something new every time I visit.
Here are a few reasons why you might enjoy the four O-regions:
The people here hold a kind of vibrancy that is fascinating, heartening and tenacious. Their sense of welcome is beautifully embedded into their being; families care for one another and new visitors are welcomed in a warm embrace. Often this warmth is exuded in a smile, hug or (if you’re lucky) it may come in a form of their traditional brew, omalodu, which is fittingly served as a welcome-home-drink.
It’s a whole vibe
When you arrive at the Oshivelo Check Point, unstrap your wrist watch and relax, as you will not need it. Instead you will be humbled by the simple good-slow-life, and judge the passage of time by looking at the sun’s position in the sky. Life is different here, vibrant and filled with a carnival of colour and infectious joyful clamour as people and animals careen over main roads and amid homesteads.
Markets and shopping malls are inundated with the usual elongated greetings that swiftly turn into catch-ups of the young and elderly. In the late afternoons, as you search for the perfect sundowner spot, a soccer match at a nearby open field might be worth the entertainment. So, stop and enjoy it!
As you navigate through the various O-regions, depending on the season, you will notice that it is characterised by unique food-bearing plants such as the magnificent Makalani Palm, Marula, Bird Plum, Jackalberry, wild fig, plant beans (omakunde), pumpkin (omanyangwa), melons (omatanga), groundnuts (efukwa) and grain omahangu.
Some local foods to try would be porridge (oshifima), marathon chicken, strips of dried meat (eedingu), stamped beans (oshingali) and traditional spinach (ombidi). Local beverages to enjoy include omalodu and oshikundu. If you’re strong enough for potent drinks, have a sip or two of omaongo or ombike.
The list is endless, as you will not go out of options to indulge in traditional cuisine.
Oops… before I go, have a peak at few gems in the four O-regions:
Gondwana Collection Goes North
Marula Cultural Festival
Traditional Oshiwambo Wedding
I hope my home unearths something beautiful that captures your heart so you can visit often.
So, see you soon, amazing people!
What do you look forward to most when visiting the four O-regions? If you visited before, what did you enjoy the most about your experience? Share with us in the comment section below.
Author – I’m Nela, from a small village called Ongha in Namibia. I am intrigued by research, writing and photography as it is an ideal way to gain knowledge about people and the world. And of course… to share it too!