Mbunza Living Museum
Mbunza Living Museum
4.5
Natural History MuseumsHistory Museums
About
About 14 kilometres west of the Kavango capital Rundu you can find a place unlike any other: The Living Museum of the Mbunza, a traditional school for culture and at the same time a communal business for the local people of the Kavango. With this sustainable project they will be able to preserve their traditional culture and to generate an additional income.
Duration: 2-3 hours
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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.


4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles30 reviews
Excellent
23
Very good
5
Average
0
Poor
1
Terrible
1

Julie C
Terranora, Australia263 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2019 • Couples
The Mbunza Living Museum is situated 14 km west of Rundu on the river and was begun with German aid to help promote the local communities earn a profit from their traditional skills. We were the first people to visit the museum today and our guide, Paulinus, spoke good English. He took us through the village, explaining how the older men and women sleep on the western side of the family compound because that is where the evil and bad spirits come from. Thus they protect the young children. There were 18 adults and one young child in the village. As we went around, each of the people demonstrated a traditional skill used in their normal life. These included making a fishing trap, preparing a goat skin ready for tanning, moulding clay to make a rhino ornament for use as currency, beating sisal reed and stripping it to make rope, making a dancing skirt from bamboo and sisal for celebrations, carving a small canoe out of mangeti timber, weaving a sleeping mat and basket weaving, cracking mangeti nuts, “churning” the cows’ milk to make butter, pounding and sifting mahangu (a type of millet), playing a complicated strategy game using small rocks in indents in the sand, necklace making from dyed calabash seeds and small bones, and blacksmithing which was traditionally done in a secret place, using a kind of bellows (sometimes up to 20 bellows in a circle) to heat the fire hot enough to change the rock into something hard like iron.
Behind a hut was an altar where some calabash (a pumpkin like vegetable) containers and monkey orange skins were hanging. Here they received blessings as they went out hunting, and where they offered the heart of the beast they had caught. Our guide then played a mouth bow, a musical instrument played when hunting to attract small animals. It sounded very soothing. He showed us 16 different plants used for medicinal purposes, like upset stomachs, burns, diarrhoea, fertility problems, mosquito repellent, pimples, tooth ache and snake bites.
Our last experience was a performance of traditional singing and dancing, showing how they keep their history. They performed three songs which included the trilling tongue vibrating sound (ululation) at certain times throughout the songs, accompanied by 3 drummers with dancing by 10 women and 5 men.
At the end there were artefacts for sale, similar to the items we had seen people making earlier. We were extremely impressed by this museum, and the organised and educational way they showed us their traditional life.
Written 21 July 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi Julie c,, Thank you for your nice review. It makes us proud that the concept we are trying to implement in the six Living Museums in Namibia is received so well, especially in the Mbunza Living Museum. Well Done guys! Regards, Sebastian Director & Marketing (Living Culture Foundation Namibia. )
Written 23 July 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

PhotosbyPharos
Penticton, Canada622 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2019 • Solo
A huge effort has gone into recreating the local way of life at this living museum.
We saw how life was conducted — basket-weaving, churning butter, making ropes, pounding millet, and a small smithy, etc. Also we enjoyed a demo of drumming, singing and dancing at the end of our two hour visit. Recommended.
Written 5 July 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Horst S
Cape Town Central, South Africa723 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2019 • Friends
Regardless of what you expect, the low enthusiasm shown by the tour leader and the "artists", coupled with the minimal information provided in no way justify the NS$ 170/person spent. Even if it is for a good cause (like all cultural tours are), 90% of them have become used to a constant steam of visitors pouring in - and just sit and wait. Unfortunately...
Written 20 May 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Alex
Landsmeer, The Netherlands121 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2019 • Couples
We stayed at Hakusembe river lodge and in the surroundings is not much to do, so we decided to go to the Mbunza living museum. That was an excellent decision, because it was a great experience. You’re probably the only one visiting that day. The day we went the logbook of the past weeks was very empty. Unfortunately they don’t get a lot of visitors.

One of the tribe members gave us a guided tour. He showed us how the tribe lives; everyone has his own role in the community. They are self sufficient. Best part of the tour was when the whole tribe performed three cultural dances! When you drive between Rundu and Divundu you see a lot of these community’s. Because of the guided tour you get a good idea how the people in the surrounding live. You can also buy handmade craft. Great souvenirs!
Written 15 May 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

uevgen
Dnipro, Ukraine11 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2019 • Friends
We've attend Mbunza living museum in Jan 2019.

From my point of view this place is undeservedly underestimated. Very detailed explanation for each aspect of life took longer than stated including real fishing and blacksmith.

It was a pleasant surprise for us.

Highly recommend to attand.
Written 26 January 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

tsovin
Moscow, Moscow City, Russia2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2019 • Friends
This is a living museum. It means, people you meet here are not members of savage tribe, but rather actors. Nonetheless, they really preserve the culture of their ancestors. Meeting them, you will know, how they lived, survived, and behaved for hundreds of years. Entertainment is well organised, and included both description and demonstration of all the common activities.
According to their journal, they have a visitor just once in 3-5 days, and its really a shame.
Don't miss an opportunity to entertain yourself and get some knowledge about this culture. To support it you don't need to make any donations to god knows who, just came, enjoy, and pay a ridiculous fee for the hard work of local people (we payed 170N$ p/p for the short program, and its completely worth).
There is no sign on the main road - just go to the point, marked on your map. 4WD vehicle is highly advised.
Written 23 January 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

teeny29
Leonding, Austria200 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2017 • Couples
10 minutes off Hakusembe River Lodge you can visit this very interesting living Museum of the Kavango People. The guide explains all the different forms of their traditional life, weaving baskets, fishing, blacksmith, Music instruments, food, herbs etc. We liked this one very much as visited by far less tourists then other living Museums and they do a great job. It was very informative and the baskets they do are very pretty.
Written 11 February 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ari van Engelen
Zurich, Switzerland28 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2017 • Family
We were not expecting much, but as it turns out it was amazing!!! This was the first and only time we got to see inside the little African huts, and their villages, they explained their way of life, what they cook, how they hunt, make weapons, dress etc. It is a village full of people in actual traditional clothing all living off some traditional craft, all willing to answer questions, take pictures and really interested to show their traditions. We were invited to try out the crafts, play the games and even see how they fish. We had a stop in Rundu as most travellers do just to break the long trip down to Etosha , and looking to do more than sit in the pool, we decided to go to the Living Museum. It was a great experience worth the time and money!
Written 4 October 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Andre E
6 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2017 • Couples
Not geared for what they adverise...came running from all directions to get into their artificial gear!!!....stop any where at a village in the area and talk to locals...you will know more afterwards!
Written 1 January 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi Andre, Are you actually sure, that you have been to the Mbunza Living Museum and not to a different village in the area? What do you mean by artificial gear? Kind regards, Sebastian
Written 4 January 2017
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Sonya P
Denver, CO26 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2016 • Couples
We visited the Mbunza Living museum on 11-Nov-2016 and were the only guests. We wanted the full experience, which was supposed to be 3 hours, but since it was just us, it took much less time.

Joseph was our guide and he was great! We were fascinated by how much he knew and he answered all of our questions.

We enjoyed all of the activities we were shown; we have a curiosity for how things are done and the staff did a great job of demonstrating to us.

Of special interest was the blacksmithing and mouth bow demonstration.

We felt welcome here and that all were very knowledgeable and willing to share that knowledge with us.

This was our first living museum and we wish we'd known about the others we'd inadvertently driven by on our way. There are several around Namibia and we also visited the Mafwe and enjoyed that one, too.

We would definitely visit this museum again and highly recommend it.
Written 17 December 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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