Namibia, a country in southwest Africa, is distinguished by the Namib desert along the Atlantic Ocean coast.It’s total population of just over two million is made up of 11 main ethnic groups . The influence of German colonisation is still clearly reflected in the towns architecture, food and language, especially in Windhoek- the capital city.
Namibia’s natural diversity is reflected in the rugged coastline of the Skeleton Coast, the endless stretch of undulating ochre-coloured sand dunes at Sossusvlei, the impressive Fish River Canyon and the vast salt pan of Etosha National Park, one of the world’s greatest destinations for game-viewing. The unspoiled wilderness of Namibia attracts visitors from far and wide.
- Before you go
- The basics
- When to go
- What to pack
- Useful contacts
- New Border Fees
- Travelling with Children
Passports and visa
All foreign passengers to Namibia must have confirmed return/onward tickets, and the necessary travel documentation for their next destination. Additionally, visitors should ensure that they have at least two blank pages remaining in their passports, for entry and departure endorsements from the Namibian Immigration Service.All travellers must have a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the period of intended stay in Namibia.
Note: Passport and visa requirements are liable to change at short notice. Travellers are advised to check their entry requirements with their embassy or consulate.
Namibia Tourism: www.namibiatourism.com.na
Typhoid, hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccinations are recommended for travel to Namibia. Safety regulations in Namibia require all visitors to have a yellow fever certificate if arriving from an infected area. There is a malaria risk in the northern region of Namibia during the rainy season (January to April). It is best to take prescription medications along when travelling; medicines should be kept in their original packaging and accompanied by a signed and dated letter from a doctor detailing why the medication is needed.
New Year’s Day 1 Jan
Independence Day 21 Mar
Good Friday 29 Mar
Easter Monday 1 Apr
Worker’s Day 1 May
Cassinga Day 4 May
Ascension Day 9 May
Africa Day 25 May
Heroes’ Day 26 Aug
Human Rights Day 10 Dec
Christmas Day 25 Dec
Day of Goodwill 26 Dec
Money & duty free
The official currency is the Namibian Dollar (NAD) divided into 100 cents. Its value is equal to the South African Rand, which is also accepted as legal currency in Namibia. Major credit cards are accepted.
Travellers to Namibia over 16 years do not have to pay duty on 400 cigarettes, 50 cigars and 250g of tobacco; 2 litres wine and 1 litre spirits or liquor; 50ml perfume and 250ml of eau de toilette; and gifts to the value of N$50,000.
Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. Round three-pin plugs are standard.
Summer time: GMT + 2 hours from the 1st Sunday in September to the 1st Sunday in April.
Winter time: GMT + 1 hour from the 1st Sunday in April to the 1st Sunday in September.
The international access code for Namibia is +264. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0027 for South Africa). City/area codes are in use, e.g. (0)61 for Windhoek. Most towns are covered by a GSM 900/1800 mobile network. Internet access is available from some hotels and Internet cafes are available in Windhoek and Walvis Bay.
English is the official language, but many people also speak Afrikaans and German. There are also several indigenous languages spoken, mainly in the rural areas.
Immigration & border crossing
Namibia has a very mature immigration and customs system and passing through road borders is normally quite easy, if you have all the correct documents.
Some people have had unfortunate experiences due to not having the correct documentation. Namibia officials are, however, friendly and efficient and not open to bribery. You should ensure that you have all the necessary official documents to pass through immigration and customs.
– Valid passport of the driver
– Certified copy of vehicle registration papers in the name of the driver
– Letter of authority from the registered owner if the vehicle is not owned by the driver
– If vehicle is still being financed, carry a letter of authority from the bank (must include dates of travel) together with the vehicle license papers.
– Valid driver’s license
– Carnet de Passage: Only compulsory if the vehicle is being shipped to Namibia. Police Clearance Certificates are not required for temporary importation. These are only required if the vehicle is being used for rental purposes or if the importer is in the country on a working permit.
– Permit: Allowed up to three months, if staying in Namibia for longer and on a working permit, a provisional payment of duties valued at 16.5% of the value of the car has to be paid to customs. This is refundable upon the car’s export from Namibia. The work permit must be shown on the passport and on the letter from the company in Namibia confirming that you will be working for them. Cars registered in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mozambique and Botswana do not need to obtain a Carnet.
– ZA Sticker: Available at any AA Accredited Sales Agent store
– Motor Insurance Certificate: Obtainable at the Border Free of Charge. Valid for 30 days
South Africa Border post times:
Ariamsvlei / Nakop – Open 24 hours a day
Klein Menasse – Open 08:00 – 22:00
Noordoewer / Vioolsdrif – Open 24 hours
Aroab / Rietfontein – Open 08:00 – 16: 00
Velloorsdrif / Onseepkans – Open 08:00-22:00
Mata Mata – 08:00 – 16:30
Trans Kalahari (Buitepos) / Mamuno – 07:00 – 24:00
The best time to visit is during the winter months from March to October.
April and May are green and fresh months in Namibia.
June and August are the best for game viewing as animals tend to congregate around waterholes, making them easy to spot.
September and October are also fantastic for game viewing but it can be very dry and dusty.
- Comfortable, lightweight clothing (cotton fabrics) for the daytime and a sweater or jacket for early mornings and evenings.
- Comfortable walking shoes and sandals.
- Sunblock, hat, sunglasses, lip balm and moisturising lotion.
- Flashlight, binoculars and a good camera with extra film or memory card.
- For electrical small appliances or chargers a conversion plug to a three-pin type outlet.
- Swimsuit as most lodges and hotels have swimming pools.
- Insect repellent, rehydrating solutions or concentrates, diarrhoea medication, malaria prophylaxis (if traveling in malaria areas), bandages, etc.
- Traveller’s cheques in US dollars or South African Rands. American Express, MasterCard, DinersClub, Visa, Maestro cards are widely accepted. Some cash to buy souvenirs from street markets.
- Passport (valid for at least 6 months after date of entry) and Visa’s if required.
Namibian Tourist Office, Windhoek:
+264 (0)61 290 6000 or
Namibian Consulate, Cape Town
+27 (21) 419 2810
Namibian Emergency Contact:
1011 -POLICE- the emergency number
Road Fund Administration:
Tel: +264 61 433 3000
Fax: +264 61 433 3070
1. Motor Cycles, motor tricycle, motor quadru-cycle, caravans, light trailers: R 177.00
2. Motor cars, single & double cab goods vehicles, 2×4 & 4×4 goods vehicles, minibuses (less than 25 passengers): R 277.00
3. Light goods vehicles/delivery vehicles (GVM < 3, 500 kg): R 579.00
Border Crossing Fees have increased. Impacts on Self Drives, FIT’s, Tour Vehicles, Trailers, Caravans, 4×4.
Payment can be made at the border post via debit/credit card or cash
Remember to ask for the receipt and keep it with you in the vehicle.
Contact us if you do need assistance.
Swakopmund is an enchanting little seaside town in the middle of the Namib Desert, which grew around what was once the main harbour of German South-West Africa. Often described as ‘a slice of Germany on the edge of the desert, it has many fine German colonial buildings and a distinctly German character, along with a variety of specialities to eat and enjoy like: rock lobster, fish and Swakopmund oysters, sausages and pastries.
There is plenty of great accommodation in the town, which is very popular with tourists and locals and has become something of a beach resort.
Swakopmund is known as a paradise for extreme sports, and popular activities which include:
- Sand boarding,
- Dune carting,
- Hot air ballooning,
- Shark fishing
- Quad biking
- Beach Angling
Visitors who are looking for more relaxed, culture enriched activities will enjoy attractions in Swakopmund like the:
- Cape Cross Seal Colony
- The National Marine Aquarium
- The Rossmund Desert Golf Course which is one of the five all-grass desert golf courses in the world
The Skeleton Coast
The entire coastline of the Namib Desert is called the Skeleton Coast. It was named for the hulls of wrecked ships found washed up along the shore, as well as the beached whale and seal bones found there. The local San (Bushmen) used to call the coast ‘The Land God Made in Anger’, and Portuguese sailors referred it to as ‘The Gates of Hell’.
The coastline is intimidatingly desolate, but very beautiful, and a glorious destination for photographers, particularly as the remains of shipwrecks can still be found.
Skeleton Bay is known to be a great surfing destination. The stars are stunning at night, undimmed by human settlements.
In the Skeleton National Park the following activities can be enjoyed:
- Seeing the Agate Mountain Salt Pans
- The clay castles of Hoarasib
- The large Cape Fur Seal colony at Cape Fria.
- A variety of wildlife like Rhino, Giraffe, Elephant, Lion, Buck and many more
One of Namibia’s highlights is the clay pans of the Sossusvlei, in the Namib Desert. Eenclosed by magnificent ochre sand dunes. The Sossusvlei dunes are among the highest in the world, reaching more than 960 feet (300m), and are a wondrous sight of endless rolling shapes and sharp wind-sculpted crests. Although they have been created over a period of millions of years, their forms are constantly changing, rising and falling at the mercy of the wind.
The beautiful black and white Oryx (a large, spiral-horned antelope) is occasionally spotted in the meagre shade of the thorn trees, lizards leave their tiny trails on the pristine mounds of sand, and the black ‘tok tokkie’ beetle is commonly seen stumbling over the sun-baked jigsaw puzzle pieces of the red clay surface. The area is also home to ostriches and springbok.
The most impressive pan is Dead Vlei, a vast, hollow depression of dry cracked mud scattered with ancient camel-thorn trees. The colours and contrasts here are a photographer’s delight. The pans fill up with water only every so couple of years but the dry sun baked clay can hold the water for along time making it a water-hole for animals far and wide.