Ovampos or, as they are sometimes called, Otjiherero, are Africans, seemingly the connecting link between the Kaffre (q.v.) and Negro (q.v.). The country they live in is called Ovampoland, and is situated in the region north of the great Namaqualand (q.v.), in South Africa, extending north to the Cuanene River, and south to the parallel of 23° S. lat. The land of the Ovampos is a much more fertile region than Namaqualand, from which it is separated by a wide belt of densely bushed country. It has but few rivers, and these not of a perennial nature. About fifty miles from the coast the country rises to a table-land about 6000 feet above the sea-level, and then declines to the south and east into the deserts of the Kalihari and the region of Lake Ngami. Many strong indications of copper-ore are found in various places. The principal rivers, or, rather, water-courses, are the Swakop, Kusip, and their branches, which enter the Atlantic a few miles north of Walfish Bay. The other rivers in the interior seem to lose themselves in the sands. The climate is healthy, except near the coast, where fever in some seasons prevails. It seldom rains in the coast region, which is a very desolate one, and almost devoid of water. Thunder-storms are very violent in the summer season. All the large mammalia are more or less plentiful, according as water may be found at the different drinking-places. Elephants. rhinoceroses, elands, and other large animals driven from the south by the march of civilization, take refuge in the desert lying east of Ovampoland, where sportsmen like Green and Andersson have been known to kill as many as twelve elephants in a day. The country was first described by Sir J. Alexander, who visited its south border. Mr. Galton afterwards penetrated much farther north; and Mr. C.J. Andersson has since fully explored it nearly as far north as Cuanene. Large numbers of horned cattle are annually collected by traders from the Cape in these regions, and whales abound on the coast. The trade in ostrich-feathers and ivory is of increasing importance, and several trading-stations are established for the collection of native products. The Ovampos are described by Andersson as of a very dark complexion, tall and robust, but remarkably ugly. He found them, however, honest, industrious, and hospitable. They are not entirely pastoral, but cultivate much corn. Living in the same country are the Cattle Damaras, with still more of the Negro type, a stout, athletic people, very dirty in their habits, and generally armed with the bow and arrow. They live in a state of constant warfare with the Ghondannup, or Hill Damaras, a nearly pure Negro race, on the one hand, and the Namaqua Hottentbts, who live south of them, on the other.
"Little or nothing," says the Missionary World (N. Y. 1874), "has as yet been done for the benefit of the wandering tribes which inhabit the dreary regions of Ovampoland." German missionaries, employed by the Rhenish Society, have labored here as well as in Namaqualand, but thus far no marked results have crowned their efforts for the Christianizing of the Ovampos. The missionaries have, however, succeeded in systematizing the Ovampo dialects, and they have even printed some elementary works in the Otjihehero dialect. Two of these appear in Sir G. Grey's catalogue.