Travel Tips for Namibia

Some things to keep in mind when traveling to Namibia...

Location

Wedged between the Kalahari and the South Atlantic, Namibia enjoys vast potential as one of the youngest countries in Africa.

Climate

Namibia has more than 300 days of sunshine per year. The winter (June – August) is generally dry, both rainy seasons occur in summer, the small rainy season between September and November, the big one between February and April. Rainfall is however highly variable, and droughts are common. Weather and climate in the coastal area are dominated by the cold, north-flowing Benguela current of the Atlantic Ocean which accounts for very low precipitation, frequent dense fog, and overall lower temperatures than in the rest of the country. In winter, occasionally occurs a hot dry wind blowing from the inland to the coast. The Central Plateau and Kalahari areas have wide diurnal temperature ranges of up to 86°F.

Entry Requirements

Ensure that your passport is valid through your return date home. US Citizens require a visa that can be obtained at the port of entry for a maximum period of 90 days. All visitors must also have a valid return ticket.

Language

English is the official language and is widely spoken. However, the majority of older Namibians (those educated before independence) speak English only as a third language; therefore, the standard is fairly poor.

Health

In addition to up to date routine vaccinations, the following are needed at 4-6 weeks before departure: typhoid, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, polio, rabies and malaria.

Currency & Exchange, Credit Cards, and Banking

The Namibian dollar (N$) equals 100 cents, and in Namibia it is pegged to the South African rand, which is also legal tender in Namibia, at a rate of 1:1. This can be confusing, given that there are three sets of coins and notes in use, all with different sizes: old South African, new South African and Namibian. International Visa and Mastercard credit cards are generally accepted throughout Namibia. Credit and bankcards can be used in some Namibian cash machines although the charges for withdrawing cash can be expensive.

The current bank-to-bank USD/NAD exchange rate is USD100 = NAD currency_show_conversion(100, "USD", "NAD"); . Keep in mind this is a bank-to-bank/mercantile rate and is subject to commission and/or exchange rate fees, typically between 1 to 3 percent depending on your bank, credit card company or financial institution. Information and rates here are provided as an indication and guide only and provided without warranty.

Currency data courtesy coinmill.com

Electricity

Electricity in Namibia is 230V and frequency is 50Hz. The socket/plug type is Type D, which looks like this:

Culture

As a country Namibia is still trying to find a national identity, but each of the countries cultural groups has its own a rich heritage and traditions. Due to the unfortunate apartheid history of Namibia the division of people into cultural or tribal groups is an extremely sensitive issue, and most people prefer to think of themselves as Namibians.

Jet Lag

Westbound flights appear to be the worst for jet lag but many people report feelings of jet lag with any long haul flights. To prevent feeling the worse for wear when you arrive at your destination try the following tips: Be well rested before boarding your flight, drink plenty of fluids and cut back on the alcoholic and caffeinated beverages, try to exercise by stretching in your seat or strolling the isle. One of the best tips is to try to set your body clock to your destination’s time while in flight. Waiting until you land can leave you literally in the wrong time zone.

What to Pack
  • First-Aid Kit with insect repellent, malaria prophylaxis, bandages, diarrhea medication, etc.

  • Sun block, moisturizing lotion, lip balm and a hat

  • Comfortable walking shoes or hiking boots

  • Swimsuits

  • Binoculars

  • Battery-operated or conventional razors if visiting remote areas

  • Flashlight

  • Emergency numbers and contacts

  • A good camera