At A Glance
Namibia, “The Land of Wide Open Spaces”.
Often overlooked by safari goers, this incredible destination has so much to offer the wildlife lover. While the Etosha National Park is the most famous, there are many other fantastic wilderness destinations across Namibia.
Few destinations can match the concentration of animals that you can witness in the late dry season in Etosha. As water becomes increasingly scarce, the game concentrates around the few water sources available. This leads to some of the most iconic wildlife sightings on the continent. When the rains come, the parched land turns to a carpet of bright green. This abundance means the animals spread out and game spotting becomes more challenging. Knowing when to visit is vital.
Beyond the vast plains of Etosha, the landscape changes. The rolling grasslands of Damaraland, punctuated with stark mountains are home to deserted adapted elephants and rhinos. The towering dunes of the the Namib Desert scattered with gemsbok oryx. The beaches patrolled by brown hyenas and packed with cape fur seals. Stone deserts, awe-inspiring canyons, waterfalls, dune fields and wetlands all add to the incredible variety that Namibia has to offer.
From the San bushmen in the south east to the nomadic Himba tribes of the north west, culturally Namibia is equally diverse.
* Etosha National Park
* Bwabwata National Park
* Namid-Naukluft Park
* Nkasa Rupara National Park
* Fish River Canyon
* Sossusvlei Dunes
* Skeleton Coast and National Park
* Swakopmund & Windhoek
* Epupa Falls
* Hot Air ballooning
* 4×4 and dune buggy drives
*Kolmanskop ghost town
* Living desert tours
Phone & Internet
There are two mobile service providers in Namibia. MTC and TN Mobile. For the majority of travellers we would recommend, if you are buying a local sim, choose MTC. MTC has by far the better coverage around the country.
Most visitors will arrive in Windhoek Hosea Kutako International Airport, where you will find an MTC kiosk. Buy your sim here, activate it and top up. The staff will explain the packages available.
As mentioned, Namibia is an extremely sparsely populated country. There are large virtually uninhabited stretches. The mobile coverage reflects this, and outside of the main towns is sketchy, especially for data.
Most hotels and lodges offer internet facilities, but do not expect the type of speeds you would get in most other areas of the world.
There are no required vaccines for visiting Namibia (except Yellow Fever – see below) – however, some medical sources recommend that travellers inoculations against Hepatitis A, Diphtheria, Tetanus and Typhoid. As always, it is best to consult your doctor.
In line with the International Health Regulations (2005), Namibia requires a valid yellow fever certificate from all citizens and non-citizens (over one year of age) travelling from a yellow fever risk country. Vaccination certificates are routinely checked at the Namibian port of entry for travellers arriving from countries designated as high risk for yellow fever transmission. For full details please click here. Please note that if you are coming from a yellow fever risk country that you need to carry your yellow fever certificate with you!
The vast majority of Namibia is malaria free. However, if you are travelling along the Caprivi Strip we advise you to ask your doctor about the required anti-malarial medication. Especially so if travelling November – March.
Namibia is considered a generally safe country. Given its low population density there is little crime outside of Windhoek and the larger towns.
Generally the most dangerous aspects of travel in Namibia are centred around driving. See the driving section on here for more information.
As with all other destinations, be aware of your surroundings, and if a situation doesn’t feel right move on.
The Namibian Dollar (N$) is the main currency in Namibia, however, the South African Rand is also legal tender. Please note that you cannot use the Namibian Dollar in South Africa. The Namibian Dollar comes in notes of N$10, N$20, N$50, N$100 and N$200. One Namibian Dollar is made up of 100 cents. In addition to the notes you will find coins in the value of 10c, 20c, 50c, N$1, R5 and N$10.
Visa and Mastercard credit cards are widely accepted in shops, petrol stations, hotels and restaurants. We do not recommend American Express and Diners for Namibia.
ATM/cash point machines are available in most towns, and some of the smaller villages. Exchange facilities are available at all major airports as well as most large bank branches, although exchange rates from ATM/cash point machines are generally more favourable.
Passport & Visas
All visitors to Namibia require a valid passport, valid for 6 months from date of entry.
PLEASE note that visitors must have 1 blank page in their passport for entry into South Africa. If you intend travelling to South Africa and Namibia please ensure you have at least 3 blank pages in your passport.
Holders of full United Kingdom, United States, Canadian, Australian and most EU passports do not require a visa to visit Namibia for tourism purposes up for stays up to 90 days. However, often immigration officials will only grant entry for the exact period you have said you will be in the country. Please check the dates stamped in your passport on arrival, and make the necessary arrangements to extend your stay if you plan to stay longer.
The Namibian government website does not give a list of all countries exempt from visas – for full details please contact your nearest Namibian embassy.
Travelling with children
There are no special conditions for travelling in Nambia with children as there are for South Africa.
If you will be self-driving in Namibia with children we highly recommend that you bring enough entertainment to keep them busy on long drives. Do not rely on electronic games that require data connections.
You drive on the left in Namibia. Self-drive is one of the best ways to see Namibia. Most large international brand companies are represented in Namibia. Most people will hire a rental vehicle either in Windhoek or Swakopmund/Walvis Bay.
When hiring a car a valid photo driver’s license (if in English the original is fine, if not you will need an international license), and a credit card (please note pure debit cards are NOT accepted by the car rental companies.
Note – unless otherwise most rental cars in Namibia will be manual transmission (shift), make sure you request automatic if that is what you want.
We highly recommend that you rent an SUV or 4×4 vehicle for travel in Namibia. This is both from a comfort and safety point of view.
The road network in Namibia covers all the main areas of interest, however, it is relatively limited. As such, fairly easy to navigate, using up-to-date maps. If you are considering using GPS we would generally recommend hiring one from the rental company (or use your own loaded with the relevant maps). Mobile reception is poor outside of the main centres and you will not be able to navigate with your phone maps if you need data signals.
The road network in Namibia is generally good. Many of the roads you are likely to use will be gravel roads. Many will also have considerable cambers and have patches of sand. Often you will drive for long distances without seeing other vehicles.
Self-driving in Namibia can be one of the most rewarding ways to see the country. PLEASE if you choose to self-drive, do not speed and take regular breaks. The temptation to speed up because there are no other road users is great, just DON’T. Road fatalities in Namibia are very high, because it is easy to lose control on gravel roads when speeding.
Always request 2 spare tyres when renting a vehicle in Namibia. With so much travel on gravel roads the risk of punctures is increased.
In Namibia the standard voltage is 220 V and the frequency is 50 Hz. You can use your electric appliances in Namibia, if the standard voltage in your country is in between 220 – 240 V (as is in the UK, Europe, Australia and most of Asia and Africa). If the standard voltage in your country is in the range of 100 V – 127 V (as is in the US, Canada and most South American countries), you may need a voltage converter in Namibia. Many small electronic devices now have dual voltage converters as standard.
The standard plug in Namibia is a three round pinned plug as show above – often referred to as a type M. We suggest travelling with an adaptor – although most hotels and lodges will be able to assist (a deposit may be required).
Namibian seasons are reversed to those in the northern hemisphere.
Spring: September – November
Summer: December – February
Autumn: March – May
Winter: June – August
More accurately there is a dry cooler season, from around April until September. The days are warm and at night the temperatures plummet. Clear skies predominate and there is usually no rain.
From October the temperatures start climbing and cloud cover increases. The day time temperatures become hot and the evenings remain warm. By late November the first rains have usually arrived. The rainy season then lasts until late March.
As a very general rule the further south you go the drier it gets. The Kalahari region and extreme south receiving very little rain.
One notable exception to the general weather pattern is the coastal belt. This area’s weather is dominated by cool ocean currents from the southern Atlantic. While the rest of the country can be baking hot, Swakopmund can be cool and shrouded in fog.
As with most areas of the world, Namibia is experiencing a changing weather pattern, with more extremes.