Namibia Travel Tips

time

GMT : +2 hours

introduction

Incredibly quiet is the overwhelming impression of this vast; sparsely populated country. Rugged mountains; a vast expanse of African sky; enormous open plains; vast sand dunes in the coastal deserts which dramatically change colour as the day progresses; cold Antarctic waters which wash the beautiful coastline; wild and forbidding landscapes that are home to some of the rarest and most endangered wildlife on earth; and solitude unlike any other continent on the planet. This is one of the few countries in sub-Saharan Africa where you can travel for hundreds of kilometres and see and meet no one. Additionally, a good infrastructure and warm and welcoming people will make a visit to Namibia a memorable experience.

banks

Generally, Monday to Friday 09h00-15h30, Saturday 09h00-11h00

climate

Typical semi-desert hot days and cool nights. Midsummer temperatures can rise to over 40 degrees centigrade. Winter days are warm, but dawn temperatures can drop to freezing. Along the coast it is cool with low rainfall and fog prevails from late afternoon until mid-morning. The rainy season lasts from October to April. The rest of the year is dry and cloudless. Namibia averages 300 days of sunshine a year.

currency

The currency in Namibia is the Namibian Dollar, which is fixed to and equals the South African Rand on a one-to-one basis. Notes are issued in the following denominations: 200 Namibia Dollars (N$200), 100 Namibia Dollars (N$100), 50 Namibian Dollars (N$50) and 10 Namibian Dollars (N$10). Coins are issued as: 5 Namibian Dollars (N$5), 1 Namibian Dollar (N$1), 50 cents, 10 cents and 5 cents.

The Namibian Dollar and South African Rand are the only legal tender in Namibia and can be used freely to purchase goods and services in the country. The Namibian Dollar, however, is not legal tender in South Africa. Traveller’s cheques and foreign currency can be exchanged at any of the commercial banks, which are well represented throughout the country. International Visa and MasterCard credit cards are generally accepted throughout Namibia, whilst a Speedpoint facility assures a quick and efficient service.

Holders of other cards are advised to clarify with a commercial bank whether their card is acceptable in Namibia. Visitors can bring any amount of foreign currency into the country. Further information and assistance can be obtained from any commercial bank in Namibia.

time

Summer: From the first Sunday in September to the first Sunday in April - two hours in advance of Greenwich Mean Time. Winter: From the first Sunday in April to the first Sunday in September - one hour in advance of Greenwich Mean Time.

tax and customs

General Sales Tax (GST) in Namibia is 10% on goods and services. Bona fide tourists to Namibia are exempt from paying sales duty or excise duty on luxury items such as jewellery or Swakara (fur) garments. Overseas visitors may import duty-free 1 litre spirits, 2 litres wine, 300 ml perfume, 400 cigarettes/50 cigars/250 g tobacco

duty free

There is no duty free shopping available at Johannesburg International Airport on a flight to Windhoek. Please make sure any duty free purchases of film, alcohol, etc. are made before arriving in Southern Africa.

drinking water

All water from hotel taps is purified and visitors need have no hesitation in drinking it. Water from boreholes in the camps is also good, but may be brackish.

electrical appliances

All run on 220/240 volts. Outlets are round 3-pin, 15 amp type.

entry requirements

Visitors arriving from any country must be in possession of a valid passport and return air tickets or proof of sufficient funds to be able to leave the country. Persons travelling on French, Italian, Austrian, Liechtenstein, Swiss, German, American (USA), Canadian, Japanese, Russian, Zimbabwean, Angolan, Zambian, Botswana, Mozambican, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Spanish, Irish or United Kingdom passports DO NOT require a visa. Proof of being able to leave the country is required. Health certificates are not normally required.

language

English is the official language, but Afrikaans and German are widely spoken.

medical care

Visitors are responsible for their own medical needs and it is advisable to carry comprehensive medical insurance. There are Public Hospitals in Windhoek and in most towns with services ranging from very good to basic. Private Hospitals in Windhoek provide good quality medical services. Chemists/Pharmacies, private doctors and other medical practitioners are based in Windhoek and other larger regional towns.

Malaria is endemic to the Zambezi and Kwando River regions in Caprivi and the north-eastern border region with Angola. Suitable precautions and the use of Prophylactics are recommended for visitors to these areas.

There are a number of excellent mosquito repellents available in Namibia, which are applied directly to the skin or clothes in the evening. Many hotels and other accommodation establishments provide mosquito nets over the beds in their rooms.

HIV/Aids is widespread in Namibia and it is recommended that visitors do not engage in any high-risk sexual or drug-related activities; which may cause exposure to the disease.

passports

International visitors need a valid passport together with onward travel documents if arriving from foreign countries directly.

postal services

Post Offices are open from 08h30 to 16h00 on weekdays and from 08h30 to 12h00 on Saturdays.

road travel & public transport

The road network is well developed and of a high standard. The developed national road and tourist infrastructure within Namibia makes it an easy self-drive destination for the international tourist.

Public transport services are largely unavailable. Taxi services are available in Windhoek; which can be booked by hotel staff. Trains and luxury inter-city coaches run between Windhoek and Cape Town & Johannesburg in South Africa.

security

Namibia is a relatively crime free country. Petty thieving can be a problem and occasionally crime of a more serious nature does occur. Visitors should be aware of the following:

  • Avoid lonely and deserted areas in Windhoek; especially after dark.
  • Passports and money should be safely locked away in your hotel.
  • Passports and money should be safely locked away in your hotel.
  • Carry your wallet and other documents you may require in a body belt; preferably under loose clothing.
  • Be aware of what others around you are doing; both when walking and driving.
  • If you are unsure about anything ask your tour guide; hotel staff or a local person with whom you are acquainted. · Do not leave valuables in your motor vehicle; which are visible from the outside.
  • Avoid picking up hitchhikers and ensure your car doors are locked; especially at traffic lights.
  • Do not hand your car keys over to anyone other than the car rental staff.
  • The Namibian Police are available at any time to assist in the event of any difficulties.

shopping

In the major centres, such as Windhoek and Swakopmund, many shops specialise in attractive local products such as diamonds, semi- precious stones, curios of all types, including dolls dressed in the traditional Herero style (these are made by Herero woman), hand-carved wooden objects, beautifully fashioned jewellery, shoes made of Kudu leather, karosses (rugs made from the pelts of wild animals), and popular SWAKARA garments.

telephones

A modern and efficient telephone service is available in almost all parts of the country. Direct national and international dialling is possible in almost all areas. Pay phones operating with coins are available in certain areas. Up-to-date telephone directories are available in all areas. A cellular telephone operation provides limited coverage in Windhoek and in other main towns. Facsimile services are available at most hotels.

tipping

Tipping for service is standard practice in Namibia and usually ranges between 10% and 15% in restaurants and about N$5 per item for hotel porters. Cleaners and maids in hotels and Bed and Breakfast establishments usually get between N$5 and N$10 per day.

During your trip it is likely that you will come into contact with tour guides, game rangers and trackers who depend largely on their tips for their income. Tipping in this instance ranges between N$30 and N$50 per person per day. Tipping is only recommended if you are satisfied with the service you have received and it is entirely at your own discretion.

public holidays

New Year’s Day 1st January
Good Friday (Easter weekend) April (variable date) Workers day 1st May
Africa Day 25th May
Heroes Day 26th August
Christmas Day 25th December
Independence Day 21st March
Family Day (Easter weekend) April (variable date) Cassinga Day 4th May
Ascension Day 1st June
Human Rights Day 10th December
Family Day 26th December

Africa Collection : Portfolio House, Field Place Estate, Byfleets Lane, Broadbridge Heath, W Sussex, RH12 3PB, UK. Office Hours: 09h00 – 17h30 - Tel - + 44 (0) 1403 256655, Fax - + 44 (0) 1403 253325

Africa Collection after hours/emergencies: + 44 (0) 7785 344648 OR + 44 (0) 7904 324368