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Namibia

CLIMATE

The cold Benguela current keeps the coast of the Namib Desert cool, damp and free of rain for most of the year, with a thick coastal fog. Inland, rain falls in summer. Summer temperatures are high while the altitude means that nights are cool. Winter nights can be fairly cold, but days are generally warm and pleasant.

Winter (May-September): Temperatures in the interior range from 18C-25C during the day. Below freezing temperatures and ground frost are common at night.

Summer (October-April): Average interior temperatures range from 20C-34C during the day. Temperatures above 40C are often recorded in the extreme north and south of the country. The coast influenced by the cold Benguela current, boasts a relatively stable range of 15C-25C. Heavy fog is fairly common at night.

PASSPORTS & VISAS

Depending on nationality and country of origin, a visa may be required to enter Namibia.  Visas cannot be obtained at port of entry.

MONEY

The Namibian Dollar (NAD; symbol N$) is in note denominations of N$200, 100, 50, 20 and 10. Coins are in denominations of N$5, N$1, 50 cents, 10 cents and 5 cents. It is linked to the South African Rand (R) on a 1:1 basis (South African Rand = 100 cents). The South African Rand is also legal tender in Namibia, although the N$ cannot be used in South Africa.

The Namibian Bank allows you to exchange all freely convertible currencies and traveller's cheques into Namibian Dollars. At bigger branches you find ATM's, where you can draw money with a credit or Maestro (the former EC) card. The banks are usually open on weekdays from 9:00 to 15:30. Some are closed at midday between 13:00 and 14:00 pm.

Credit/Debit Cards: American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are accepted. Check with your credit or debit Card Company for details of merchant acceptability and other services which may be available. Credit cards are not usually accepted at petrol stations

Travellers Cheques: To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take traveller's cheques in US Dollars or South African Rand.

HEALTH REQUIREMENTS

Medical services in Namibia are of a very high standard. However, the availability of most services is restricted to the main towns. Emergencies and accidents that occur in remote areas do attract a high cost when transport to the main towns is required. Host establishments should be able to organize these services when requested.

There are no mandatory vaccinations for travellers from Europe. If you arrive from a country where yellow fever vaccinations are mandatory you need to produce proof that you have been vaccinated. Take the usual precautions: ask your doctor whether you should renew your vaccinations against polio, diphtheria and tetanus. S/he might also advise to take precautions against Hepatitis A and B. Unfortunately there is no vaccination against malaria.

DOCTORS AND HOSPITALS

Medical care in towns and cities is excellent, especially in the capital city, Windhoek. There are several private clinics which maintain international standards. Most remote towns have a modest hospital or first-aid-clinic. Since Namibia is scarcely populated and the distances between towns and villages are vast, bear in mind that in some places it may take the majority of a day to reach a doctor or a hospital

LANGUAGE

Before Independence, English and Afrikaans had been the only official languages. Now they are also Herero, Ovambo, Damara and Nama. The white population mostly speaks Afrikaans (60%) and German (35%). You can manage well with English and German.

CLOTHING

As Namibia has a typical semi-dessert climate with hot days and cool nights, it is recommended that you pack both summer clothing as well something warm for the evenings. It is advisable to pack a sweater and/or jacket as it becomes quite cool in the evenings and early mornings.

WHAT TO PACK

  • First-aid kit containing, amongst others, insect repellent, possibly a malaria prophylaxis, bandages, diarrhoea medication and painkillers; sufficient supplies of your regular medicines
  • Sunglasses, sun protection and a hat (year-round sunshine)
  • Moisturising lotion and lip balm
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Swimsuits
  • Binoculars
  • Battery-operated or conventional razors (if visiting remote areas)
  • Torch
  • Travel insurance policy and repatriation insurance
  • Telephone list with all the emergency numbers, including the numbers of family and friends.
  • Rehydrate solutions or concentrates.

 

FLIGHTS AND TRANSFERS

Check-in is one hour prior for domestic departures and two hours prior for international departures. Many scheduled regional flights booked may involve multiple stops before reaching final destination.

LUGGAGE ALLOWANCE

Maximum of 20kg (44 lbs), including hand luggage

ELECTRICITY

The voltage in Namibia is 220-230 V, AC (identical to South Africa). Adapters are for sale at most supermarkets. Farmers often generate their own electricity with a diesel generator, which they usually only run during the day. At night it's candlelight or light from a 12 Volt battery.

DIETARY

Groceries are available in any urbanised village or town. A wide, and in places, excellent variety of goods is offered in Windhoek, Swakopmund and Otjiwarongo. In rural areas, however, and especially in the north, fresh produce like vegetables and fruit is scarce. The quality of Namibian meat is excellent because the animals feed in natural pastures and no chemicals are added to their food. The meat available is usually beef, and venison from kudu, Oryx, springbok and ostrich. Fresh fish, crayfish, mussels and oyster are highly recommended in Swakopmund, Luederitz and Walvis Bay.

PHOTOGRAPHY

You can buy film in many towns at good prices. There are also a couple of shops that offer a 1-hour photo service. Slides can only be developed in Windhoek. For good wildlife photos, a light-intensive tele-lense and autofocus are usually required. You are allowed to take photos anywhere. If you want to photograph people, it is polite to ask their permission first.

GRATUITY

It is customary to give a tip of 10% of the bill in restaurants. Porters receive N$2 to N$5 and a petrol station attendant about N$2.

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