Destinations

Namibia

A stirring, desert realm of vast horizons and startling contrasts with epic wildlife and culture too.

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Namibia

There's something special about Namibia. Perhaps it's the arid nothingness of the blood-red deserts or the stark beauty of the Skeleton Coast? Maybe it’s the endless salt pans, the glorious wildlife or the towering dunes of Sossusvlei? Whatever the potion, those who embark on a Namibia safari are changed forever, and return again and again. Quad bike in the roaring dunes of the Namib Desert in the southeast of the country, visit star attraction Etosha National Park in the north or self-drive the length of the country along the eerie Skeleton Coast – an extraordinary experience, and a way to truly feel the soul of Namibia.


Why you'll love it

Namibia is totally different to any other country on the continent. It’s 80 percent desert, so each place feels more remote than the last, and the landscape is home to desert-adapted wildlife (even beneath the dunes), breathtaking landscapes and fascinating cultures.


Off the beaten track

No one knows the mystical Skeleton Coast better than Namibia's Schoeman brothers, and there's no better way to discover the haunting hinterland than on their family-owned African flying safari.


Something to think about

Accommodation in Namibia tends to be rather more basic than that in other countries, especially on the popular self-drive routes. That doesn’t mean it’s bad – think simply comfortable and rustic lodges, without the infinity pools and private butlers.

When to go

January

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are hot and humid with occasional rainfall and if you are lucky, a short-lived but dramatic thunder storm.

February

Season: Wet
  • Weather is characterised by high temperatures, relative humidity and sporadic rainfall.

March

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are ideal in march, with little rainfall and a drop in humidity.

April

Season: Wet
  • Although predominantly hot and dry, there can be a couple of rainy days across this month.

May

Season: Dry
  • The wet season is over with rainfall drying up completely and temperatures beginning to fall.

June

Season: Dry
  • The dry season is in full swing with no rainfall and low temperatures experienced at night.

July

Season: Dry
  • Temperatures are at their lowest with comfortable daytime temperatures, cold mornings and no rain.

August

Season: Dry
  • It is the heart of the dry season, with no rain and chilly morning temperatures.

September

Season: Dry
  • Namibia's weather is ideal in this months with temperatures moderate and little chance of rain.

October

Season: Dry
  • The dry season is coming to an end, temperatures are on the up with light showers falling towards the end of the month.

November

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures continue to rise with low humidity and the occasional afternoon shower.

December

Season: Wet
  • The seasonal rains have began, lowering the temperature and increasing the humidity.

Need to know

Getting there

Namibia has one major international airport, Windhoek (WDH). This is the hub for all airlines arriving from the US and Europe. There are various domestic airports and airfields connecting all major towns and safari destinations, and to other destinations in Africa. Depending on your arrival time you may have to overnight before catching your connecting flight to your first safari camp the next day.

International flights
We would recommend booking your flights online in order to get the best rates. If you need any help or advice please let us know.

Domestic flights and transfers
Connecting between all the locations on your trip may necessitate a variety of modes: light aircraft charters, domestic commercial flights and road transfers. Please review the inclusions and exclusions on your specific trip page for details. If you need help understanding the best flights to book, please let us know.

From the moment that you land in Namibia you will be greeted and assisted to your onward connections. You will be looked after from that point on until you are transferred back to the airport in time for your departure flight.

Health

Please consult your personal physician and/or a travel clinic preferably 6 weeks prior to your departure. Vaccine requirements vary based on your country of origin and your travel itinerary and your previous vaccination history. It is best to consult with your physician or the CDC website for guidelines.

Important vaccinations to consider and which may either be required or recommended are: Yellow Fever, Typhoid, Hepatitis A & B and Cholera, among others. Please always carry your "International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP)" (or "Yellow Card") with you.

Malaria
We advise that you consult a medical practitioner at least six weeks prior to travel. Malaria is present in some areas of Namibia, though most of the country is considered low risk. If you are traveling to a region of Namibia where malaria is present, it is strongly advisable to take malaria prophylactics before, during and after your visit. Please consult a medical professional regarding which prophylactics will be suitable for you.

In addition to the recommendations of your travel clinic or physician, you may also consider the following proactive preventative measures:

● Apply insect repellent to exposed skin. Recommended repellents contain 20-35% DEET but it is a very virulent repellent, and should be used cautiously.
● Wear long-sleeved clothing and long pants at dawn and dusk
● Use a mosquito net if your tent or room isn't screened or air-conditioned; and spray insecticide or burn a mosquito coil before going to bed.

You can also visit www.malaria.org.za for more information.

Yellow Fever
There is no risk of Yellow Fever in Namibia; however, vaccination is required for travellers who are arriving from, or have transited through, countries with risk of Yellow Fever transmission (e.g. Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda or elsewhere worldwide). This requirement can change unexpectedly, therefore, we recommend carrying a Yellow Fever card with you at all times.

Insurance
It is a condition of booking that you carry the correct comprehensive travel and medical insurance to cover yourself, as well as any dependents/travelling companions for the duration of your trip. This insurance should include cover in respect of, but not limited to, the following eventualities:

Compulsory Insurance:
a. Emergency evacuation expenses
b. Medical expenses
c. Repatriation expenses

Recommended Insurance:
a. Cancellation or curtailment of trip
b. Damage/theft/loss of personal luggage, money and goods

Communication
Namibia country code: +264

Calling overseas from Namibia:
From a landline dial 00 followed by the country code plus area code and number.
e.g. USA: 00 1 910 795 1048

When calling from a cell phone dial + prefix followed by the country code plus area code and number. e.g. USA: + 1 910 795 1048

Cell Phone Service
Cell phone coverage is limited (and non-existent in remote safari locations). If you have an “unlocked” cellular phone, it is possible to obtain a “pay as you go” local SIM card, which is available at most major stores and airports in Namibia. Preferred carriers are MTC and Namibia Mobile. You will need your passport and air ticket.

Visas

As a general precaution, we recommend you make several copies of your travel-related documents (passport, traveller’s cheques, credit cards, itinerary, airline tickets, insurance cover, visas, etc). Leave one set at home, and bring another set with you, and place it in a location separate from your originals.

Generally speaking, most nationalities do not require a visa to enter Namibia. Passports MUST be valid for at least six months from your departure from Namibia to home. There must be at least TWO (we recommend four) consecutive blank VISA pages in the passport (not endorsement pages). Namibia’s immigration control is very strict, and is known to deny entry to those not meeting the requirements.

Travelling with children (under 18)
Parents travelling with children (under 18) will be asked to show the child’s full unabridged birth certificate. The full unabridged birth certificate should list the child’s details and both parents’ details. The abridged (short) birth certificate which only lists the child’s particulars won’t be accepted. The South African Department of Home Affairs are not accepting uncertified copies of birth certificates or copies of the parents/guardians identification.

Visa requirements change regularly and it is best to contact your local Namibian embassy regarding the most recent rules. Visa Central is also a good resource.

Money
The currency in Namibia is the Namibian Dollar (NAD) which is fixed to and therefore equivalent to, the South African Rand (ZAR). The US dollar is also widely accepted in Namibia. You can convert money to South African Rand or USD at a bank or Forex Bureau prior to departure, though Namibian dollars must be acquired in-country upon arrival. You can withdraw from a bank or ATM, which are widely available in the larger airports and towns. Please check with your bank for charges and advice when using international ATMs. VISA and Mastercard are the most widely accepted credit cards. American Express has limited to no coverage. It is advisable to have some cash for smaller shops and for tipping. IMPORTANT: When bringing foreign currency (e.g. USD, GBP, EUR) into the country, be sure to bring only the new format with no damage or marks.

What to pack

Climate
The climate in Namibia is typically semi-desert with hot days and cool nights. Namibia averages about 300 days of sunshine annually. The rainy season lasts from October to April, while the rest of the year is dry and cloudless. Humidity is generally very low in most parts, however, can reach as high as 80% in the extreme north during summer. If you are travelling on a self-drive basis, you must exercise caution when crossing riverbeds and camping during the summer months as flash floods can occur from the sporadic rains. It is perfectly safe to travel by road at this time, although a 4x4 or vehicle with high ground clearance is recommended.
Mid-summer temperatures may rise to over 40°C (104°F). Winter days are warm; however, dawn temperatures may drop to freezing. Along the coast it is cool with low rainfall and fog prevails from late afternoon until mid-morning. Spring starts in September with all the vegetation coming into leaf and days are much warmer with the occasional cool evening and morning. From October expect warm sunny days with warm evenings. Some rains are experienced sporadically, though larger showers can be expected usually only around December.

Dress Code
Conservative casual clothing is acceptable throughout Namibia, though it is recommended that revealing clothing be avoided. When on safari, light layers of clothing in neutral safari colours of green, khaki and beige are the best items to bring with you, as well as a warmer jacket or fleece for the colder evenings. A hat is also a must have! Bright and dark colours like yellow, red and purple are discouraged, or sometimes not allowed (on a bush walk) if you are going on safari.

What to Pack
• Layers - long and short sleeve shirts and trousers
• A warm fleece or jumper
• A lightweight waterproof jacket
• Comfortable but sturdy shoes
• Flip-flops
• Swimming costume (Bathing suit)
• A hat or baseball cap
• Sunglasses
• Sunscreen – a must!
• Toiletries – most camps will provide shampoo, shower gel and soap
• A small torch
• Spare batteries, plug adaptors and charging equipment
• A good pair of Binoculars (8x40/8x42 is recommended)
• Books or a fully loaded Kindle / iPad for siesta time

Most camps and lodges will have a small medical and first aid kit, but we recommend bringing your own supply of essentials - cough medicine, plasters, vitamins, aspirin and paracetamol, and anything else you use on a regular basis.

Camera Equipment (for the enthusiasts)
• A telephoto lens (200/300mm)
• Flash and fast film (400 ASA) for night photography
• Lots of film (64,100,200,400 ASA) if you are using an SLR camera
• Spare memory cards for digital cameras
• Camera cleaning equipment and a good dust proof bag
• Bring spare batteries as although you may recharge your batteries at the camps, charging capacity can be limited

Luggage
Please check with your airlines for the specific luggage restrictions relevant to your flight schedule. Many international airlines have a baggage allowance of 20kgs or more per person and commercial airlines generally permit two (2) pieces of checked luggage. The carry-on bag must be of such dimensions and weight as set by the airlines.

Luggage Restrictions on Internal Flights
Please be advised that on light aircraft flights, luggage is limited to one SOFT duffel bag per person with a maximum weight of 20kg/44lbs. No hard-shell bags are permitted.

Electricity
Namibia use 220/230V, 50Hz AC, and sockets take mostly Type M (3 prong large round) and some Type C (2 prong narrow round). Most hotel rooms have sockets for 110V electric razors. It is best to bring an adapter/convertor combination.

Gratuities
Gratuities are not compulsory or expected; rather it is a reward for excellent service. If you are pleased with the service you receive, you are more than welcome to tip your guide or the staff. Tipping is usually done at the end of your stay. You may tip the staff individually, give the tip to the manager to distribute or do both. Tips can be made in South African Rands (ZAR), USD, GBP or EUR.

Gratuities suggestions:
Safari Camp lead guide: $10 - $15 per person per day
Transfer drivers (e.g. in cities or between airport and hotel/lodge): $2 per person per transfer
Porter: $1 per bag
Ranger or any “ancillary” guides on ad-hoc basis for a specific activity: $3 - $5 per person per activity
General Camp staff (put in a central box in each camp’s main area): $7 - $10 per person per day
Waitstaff in a city restaurant: 10%-15% (large group may incur automatic service charge, please check)

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