Namibia is a barren land as if it were another world, but it is inviting and strangely familiar. It is a paradise for photographers – a land of contrasts and clear colors. Those who are looking for peace and stillness and enjoy mesmerizing landscapes and wide desert expanses are going to fall in love with Namibia, one of the least populated countries in the world. Namibia is Africa at its best, with friendly, natural people, endless savannah and bushland. It is also home to an amazing selection of wild animals, protected in the vast Etosha National Park and other smaller nature reserves and ranches. Namibia is an adventure, but one doesn’t need to be an adventurer to experience this country.
Before you set out to explore Namibia, it’s a good idea to acquaint yourself with some basic facts and information to navigate this vast land. Our destination experts have put together all the essentials for you in our Namibia travel guide.
Visa and entry
The Namibian Government requires all visitors to have at least three full blank pages in their passports upon arrival into the country and also that your passport be valid for at least six months beyond the intended date of departure from Namibia. Documents that prove onward travel are also required. Citizens of USA, UK and Australia may enter the country without a visa for a period of 90 days.
Malaria is encountered mainly in the northern parts of the country. It is important to bear in mind that malaria may be contracted despite chemoprophylaxis, especially in areas where chloroquine resistance has been reported. Both chloroquine-resistant and normal strains of malaria are prevalent in Africa. Malaria transmission is at its highest during the warmer and wetter months of November to April. From May to October the risks of acquiring malaria are reduced. There is also less prevalence of Malaria in remote areas where our camps are situated.
It is very important that you drink plenty of water, especially during the warmer months. It is generally recommended that your drink at least two to three liters of water per day to limit the effects of dehydration. This excludes tea, coffee, and alcoholic beverages, which act as diuretics and therefore can actually contribute to dehydration.
If you are on an overland tour, please exercise caution when crossing river beds and camping during the summer months as flash floods can occur from the sporadic rain. It is perfectly safe to travel by road at this time, though a 4×4 or vehicle with high ground clearance is recommended. The rest of the year is dry and cloudless.
Currency and cards
The currency in Namibia is called the Namibian Dollar (N$), which is fixed and therefore equivalent to the South African Rand (ZAR). The Namibian Dollar and South African Rand are the only legal tender in Namibia and can be used freely to purchase goods and services. The Namibian Dollar, however, is not legal tender in South Africa. You can carry an unlimited amount of foreign currency and Travellers’ Checks with you and the latter can be exchanged at any commercial bank throughout the country.
International Visa and MasterCard are generally accepted throughout Namibia. Safari camps, however, are mostly unable to accept American Express cards. Credit cards are not accepted at some gas stations either.
Do bear in mind that ATM frauds have recently increased in larger Namibian cities. We advise you to settle your bills via credit or debit cards whenever possible.
Namibia has a fully developed modern mobile network that works in the bigger towns. We advise our guests to obtain a local SIM card on arrival at the airport from an MTC shop. MTC has the widest network coverage across Namibia.
Namibia Emergency Hotlines
Namibia Police Emergency: +264 (61) 10111
Fire Brigade (ambulance, accidents, and injuries): +264 (61) 211 111
Most hotels offer internet and/or WiFi services to guests (usually subject to a charge). Many airports, restaurants, cafés, and shopping centers offer WiFi. Broadband internet is slower than in Europe.
Driving around Namibia
In Namibia one drives on the left-hand side of the road. The speed limit is usually 60 km/h in urban areas, 80 km/h on gravel roads, 40 to 60 km/h in national parks and private reserves, and 120 km/h on the main highways. Safety belts must be used at all times. The driver or any authorized co-driver must produce a valid unendorsed driver’s license at the time of rental. The driving license must be in English and must include a photo. Otherwise, an international driving license will be required.
Avoid driving long distances at night or at twilight, because wild animals crossing the road are a real threat in Namibia. Most of the farms are fenced, but kudu can easily jump over two-meter-high fences.
Namibian roads are generally in good condition and well-maintained. Please make sure to fuel up at each town and always keep a full tank since there aren’t many fuel stations on the highways between destinations.
Travel in all national parks requires a permit, which can either be obtained at the gate or at a MET (Ministry of Environment and Tourism) office in the closest town – these include Dorob (Swakopmund MET or Sesriem), Namib Naukluft (Swakopmund MET or Sesriem), Sossusvlei (Sesriem), Etosha (at the gate), southern Skeleton Coast (at the gate), Fish River Canyon (at the gate) and Khaudum (gate). The process requires that you complete a form and pay an additional fee.
Planning a trip to Namibia? Our destination experts are happy to share further information and plan a private and obligation-free itinerary for you.
That depends entirely on what you want to see. There are three obvious areas in Namibia that all offer epic wildlife experiences. Etosha National Park, in the north of the country, covers a whopping 22,000km² and is dominated by the Pan which was formerly an ancient lake. The scarcity of water attracts all manner of species including elephant, rhino, lion, giraffe and gemsbok. A good strategy is to find a good waterhole and just sit and watch what happens. Another option is Damaraland, a perpetually surprising landscape of red rock mountains interspersed with some pretty tenacious vegetation where desert-adapted elephant, rhino and lion roam. S
No trip to Namibia is complete without a venture into the dunes of the Namib Desert. Huge orange waves of sand as far as the eye can see, the Namib dune-fields hug the Atlantic coast south of Walvis Bay. The landscape may appear harsh, but there are plenty of creatures that call this otherworldly place home, each with their own wonderful adaptations for dealing with the lack of water, high winds and unfriendliness of the elements.
Namibia specialises in breathtakingly creative desert lodges where you can eat outdoors and sleep under a blanket of stars. Connect the best of these lodges using scheduled light aircraft flights and you add an extraordinary dimension that you will never forget – the colours, patterns and contrasts of the desert take on a whole different dimension when seen from above.
Alternatively, head off grid for a few days on a mobile safari. Expert guides and comfortable vehicles make the long days fascinating. Simple, comfortable camps set up in virgin spots every couple of days mean that each new day will bring fresh adventure and new territory to explore.
One of the finest things about a mobile safari is the random places you’ll stop off for a leg-stretch and coffee served on the bonnet, or have an impromptu picnic under a tree with not a single other human in sight. Namibia’s vast emptiness presents an ideal opportunity to get out and roam without the need for a permanent base or a structured time-table.
Travelling to Namibia with your family is an outstanding way to spend quality time with your children. As a family, we recommend climbing behind the wheel of your own 4×4 and taking to Namibia’s vast empty roads. Prepare for scenery so stunning and roads so endless that you won’t believe your eyes. Pull into beautifully run desert lodges by night where you’ll eat beautifully prepared food while the children marvel at the pollution-free night skies. Climb dunes and run back down them, drive the Skeleton Coast, track desert elephant and more.
Namibia is an easy-to-travel-destination when it comes to transport, with self-drive and fly in both being options.
Namibia has a fantastic infrastructure and well signposted roads making it perfect for a self-drive safari. Distances can be quite far between destinations, meaning you have time to absorb your surroundings in your own time and you drive on the left hand side of the road, the same as the UK and Australia. We love self-drive safaris in Namibia, so much in fact that our Managing Director, Will Bolsover, did one for his honeymoon!
Another of our favourite ways to travel is a fly-in safari. Our fly-in safari over the Skeleton Coast is a thrilling way to experience this stark and unique land. Flying between camps each day, you have amazing views each day before staying at some rustic camps with your ‘flight-mates’.
You can also travel via charter plane and luxury train.
Namibia has a very favourable climate, averaging 300 days of sunshine each year.
Summers (October to March) can be very hot with temperatures reaching 35C, but this also the rainy season so a lightweight rainproof jacket is very useful. Winter days, during April to September, are agreeably warm but temperatures can plummet to below zero at night so warm clothing is essential.
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