When it is in winter in Europe, it is summer in Namibia and so forth. Accordingly, the days are shorter or longer. In principle, Central Europe and Namibia are neighbouring Time zones that change depending on the season. There are also summer and winter times in Namibia, but the changeover is different from ours. Daylight saving time (Central Africa Time): GMT + 2 hours from the 1st Sunday in September to the 1st Sunday in April. Winter Time (West Africa time): GMT + 1 hour from the 1st Sunday in April to the 1st Sunday in September.
Official language is English. 80% of the population speak Oshiwambo, Otjiherero or some other African language. Similarly, much Afrikaans and German is spoken.
Public transport in Namibia is focused on the needs of the population and is limited to the main roads between the major conurbations. Only Windhoek has an inner-city transport system. Although cheap and reliable, this is of little use to travellers as most of Namibia's tourist attractions are off the beaten track. Some private companies offer connections between the cities of Swakopmund, Walvis Bay, Windhoek, Keetmanshoop, as far as Victoria Falls (border region Zimbabwe and Zambia) and Cape Town (South Africa), with stops in smaller towns. The state railway company TransNamib plays only a minor role in public transport. Progress is slow (usually overnight) and destinations are limited. One of the possible routes is from Windhoek via Swakopmund to Walvis Bay. The journey takes about 12 hours.
There are big airlines flying to Windhoek and Swakopmund. Other destinations are accessible by car or charter flight.
Driving a car
In Namibia you drive on the left side of the road. The roads are generally in quite good condition, although less than 15% of them are asphalted. The vast majority of roads (called 'pads') are gravel tracks or sandy paths. If you do not need a 4x4 drive for the larger roads, we strongly recommend renting a robust car. A Golf or similar vehicle is okay in the Windhoek area, but not suitable for a joyful self-drive holiday. Unfortunately, there are quite a large number of accidents in Namibia, most of which do not involve third party vehicles, but can be traced back to inappropriate speed. Especially the gravel roads in good condition are dangerous, as one tends to drive too fast here. Always stay below 80 km/h, there may be obstacles, sand drifts or potholes, animals or people crossing the road, etc. In principle, the traffic regulations correspond to ours in Europe. As in some other countries, there is no right-of-left priority rule. 4-way-stop crossings are popular. All arriving vehicles stop and leave in the order of their arrival. This works wonderfully!
The maximum speed limit on paved national roads is 120 km/h, but often less. However, it is generally recommended not to drive faster than a maximum speed of 100 km/h - your renter may also prescribe a maximum speed. The speed limit in cities and built-up areas is 60 km/h, unless otherwise indicated. You should plan your routes in such a way that you still reach your destination at light. We advise against driving at night. Roads and vehicles are often poorly lit and wild animals often wander the streets. You should also avoid driving through townships and taking hitchhikers with you. Our recommendation is to carry an international driving licence – so you are always on the safe side!
Please also note that in Namibia there is often poor mobile coverage outside the capitals and petrol stations that only accept cash are far apart. This is how a good advance planning should be made.
In urban areas there are many petrol stations, which are often open 24 hours a day and also accept credit cards. In rural areas, this network is becoming much thinner and you should pay attention to your fuel level and refuel earlier than you may be used to. Here the petrol stations often have limited opening hours and often you have to pay cash. Refuelling is usually carried out by personnel, who often also clean windows and check air pressure and oil if necessary. The gas station attendant is very happy to receive a few cents' tip.
Like any other country around the world, people who have provided you with a service would be delighted with a tip. In the following we have tried to create a small recommendation, but of course it can only serve as a guideline and it depends on the particular situation. It is recommended to always have a few coins or small notes (10 Namibian dollars) in your pocket, which you can then quickly have on hand, without having to whip out your wallet.
In the restaurant 5–10% is common. With particularly good service it can be a bit more, with poor service correspondingly less. When refuelling you should give the attendant 2–3 Namibian dollars, even if windows were cleaned or air and oil levels were checked. With regards to parking attendants, the tip can vary slightly after parking. For short stops (up to approx. 1 hour) 2–3 Namibian dollars, for longer standing or good service includes an intake and expulsion, etc. up to 10 Namibia dollars. In hotels you should give luggage racks 5 Namibian dollars. All other tips are usually collected in a box. Maids get a tip from you. Depending on the category you should plan 50 to 80 Namibian dollars. Of course, you can also tip employees who were particularly helpful. On safaris there are mostly local recommendations. Here it is often common to reward your personal driver separately with a tip; all other employees receive a portion of the collected amount. Depending on the quality of the service, they can be roughly 80–120 Namibian dollars a day, each for the Ranger and for the community.
As you are familiar with, the power supply is designed to 220/240 volts alternating current. In Namibia, 3-pole connectors (as in South Africa) are used. The corresponding Plug adapters can be purchased in the country at any major supermarket or at many gas stations. In many cases, adapters are also offered on loan. In larger hotels, Euro standard sockets are often already available. Some guest farms and lodges are not connected to the public power grid and therefore produce their electricity with generators themselves. This may not be available around the clock at full power. However, it is usually enough to charge the batteries of a camera, mobile phone etc.
In Namibia they pay with Namibian dollars. 1 Namibian dollar corresponds to 100 cents and has a currency symbol "nad’’. The currency is tied to the South African border and so on. A Namibian dollar corresponds to a Rand. You can pay anywhere with South African coins. But it's not the other way around. Namibian dollars have no validity in South Africa. The payment with credit cards (MasterCard and Visa) is now widespread and is also used for small amounts. In rural areas and in markets, you generally have to pay with cash. You can get this in money cambio, at banks or most easily at ATMs. At most ATMs you will receive cash with your Maestro card or credit card. Please contact your card issuer for the fees. At Hosea Kutako International Airport Windhoek there are several currency exchange offices and ATMs in the public area.
In Namibia there are leisure activities available for all age groups. For example, sporty travellers can choose among balloon trips, boat trips, snorkelling, diving, windsurfing, surfing, bicycle tours, paragliding, dolphin watching, animal watching, quad biking, scenic flights in small planes, helicopters, golf and much more.
For tourists from Germany, if your stay does not exceed 90 days per calendar year and you do not take up any activity, there is no visa requirement. The passport has to be valid for six months beyond the return date. Children, no matter what their age is, need their own travel documents. Entries in their parents' passports are no longer accepted! It is currently common practice at the Namibian border to inspect the entry and exit of minor children and to examine the custody situation.
Persons under 18 years of age must be able to show a birth certificate in which the parents are listed, in addition to the passport. In order to avoid difficulties in entering and exiting, it is therefore recommended to carry international birth certificates or, if necessary, certified English translations. It is recommended to present English-language explanations, documents or translations. Short-term changes to the provisions or deviating interpretations by individual departments cannot be excluded. For detailed and binding information, please contact the Namibian authority responsible for your foreign representation. (Status of this information: November 2017) In all other cases a visa is required which must be requested at the Embassy of Namibia.
If you are a citizen of a country other than Germany, please inform us of your nationality at the time of your inquiry or booking so that we can inform you of the relevant entry requirements. Thank you very much!
Medical care in large and small towns is excellent, especially in the capital city of Windhoek. There are several private clinics that have an international standard. Most remote cities have a small hospital or a first aid ambulance. All the details will be found on the first page of the local phone book under 'Emergency Services'. Doctors are listed in the orange pages under 'classified medical listings' (separated according to medical fields). Alternatively, you can ask the operator of your accommodation what he/she recommends. Since Namibia is sparsely populated and the distances between towns and villages are large, remember that sometimes you need an entire day to visit a doctor or hospital.
There are no compulsory vaccinations for travellers from Europe. If you arrive from a country where fever vaccination is obligatory, a proof of immunization is required. Please ask your doctor if you need to refresh your vaccinations against polio, diphtheria and tetanus. It's also recommended to take precautions against hepatitis A and B. Since Namibia does not have many stagnant waters, the risk of malaria transmission in most parts of the country is minimal, or limited to a certain time of the year. Risky areas are the river meadows to the north, northwest and northeast. If you want to travel this areas, you should take precautions throughout the year. Kaokoveld, Etosha National Park, the Otavi Mountains and the east, including the Bushmanland are areas with a medium risk. During the rainy season, it is strongly advised to take precautions (November to April). The risk in the area between Otjiwarongo and Windhoek is low. This does not mean that you should not use mosquito protection. The coast, the Namib Desert and the south are considered almost risk-free.
In almost all places tap water is excellent, although the taste can be very different. Sometimes, for safety reason, use bottled water to make coffee or tea. The water from the drill holes of the farms and lodges usually have a wonderful, purified taste. Water from stagnant waters should always be boiled or treated with cleaning tablets.
As rich in contrast as the geography of Namibia, the climate in the different regions of the country is also varied. Namibia is located in the subtropics, there is a long dry season (during European summer) and a short rainy period between November and April. In general it is very dry in Namibia and there are pleasant temperatures.
On the Atlantic Coast, the Benguela Current strongly cools down the air which leads to a regularly dense fog near the sea. Mostly, the sun suppresses the fog during the morning hours. However, there are dull days, as well. A few kilometres inland, there usually is a blue sky again. The temperatures on the Atlantic coast are pleasantly cool in summer and winter.
In the west and in the middle of Namibia the climate is determined by the Namib Desert. Rainfall is very rare and there is a strong but warm wind all year round. In summer there is an extreme climate in this region: temperatures do not seldom rise to 40 °c and it can rain more frequently. But even in the winter months temperatures around 25 °c can be reached here. However, it can get cold during the night (especially when camping).
Tropical climate with a very high humidity prevails in the Caprivi Strip, in the extreme northeast of the country, the only region of Namibia which is subjected to regular rainfall. This means that there is an extensive river system and a densely grown primeval forest.
With an average of 300 sunny days a year, Namibia is a year-round destination. Especially, the months of April to June are a good time to come. At this time of the year daytime temperatures are not too hot and at night the temperatures fall so that it is pleasantly cool.
Even in the dry winter months from July to the beginning of October Namibia is a recommended destination. With an average of 20 °c it is still pleasantly warm. At night temperatures can drop significantly, sometimes even to the point of freezing. This time of year is particularly favorable for animal observations: the country has dried up and the animals gather around the few water holes available.
During the summer months from December to March, extremely hot temperatures prevail. Especially in the Namib Desert the temperatures more frequently rise up to 40 °c. In addition, heavy thunderstorms and rains can occur and roads can be impassable. It is more pleasant at this time in the cooler coastal places like Swakopmund or in the center of the country which - due to its altitude - has a more pleasant climate.
Before starting your holidays, it is strongly advised to conclude a foreign health insurance which also covers repatriation to the home country. In cooperation with our partner TravelSecure.de we are offering you a wide range of important insurances:
Like other African countries, there are also problems with crime in Namibia. But again, if you abide by some rules, the risk reduces drastically. The Foreign Office will inform you about the current situation on its website (www.auswaertiges-amt.de) and we strongly recommend that you are well aware of this before departure. In principle, you should take special care in the centre of Windhoek after close of business, on Sundays, public holidays and after sunset. Townships should only be visited as part of an organized tour. If you are travelling with your rental car, pay particular attention to crossings by closing windows and locking the car doors. Of course, never leave personal belongings open (even while driving). Also, if possible, do not travel after nightfall.
Despite the sometimes quite harsh conditions in Namibia's unique landscape, there is an incredible variety of animals and plants. All of which have adapted and are enchanted by an abundance and biodiversity of the fauna: large wild animals such as lions, leopards and cheetahs, elephants, rhinos and Giraffes, and up to a number of smaller wild animals like a multitude of antelopes such as the Oryx, the national animal of Namibia. Visitors can experience animals at close quarters. Thanks to the country's conservation efforts and its extensive network of national parks and nature reserves, this is made impressively possible. Namibia's history has to do with its wildlife from beginning to end. It is best told in the many national parks and nature reserves of the country. Hundreds of mammal species roam freely around here, giving rise to countless possibilities to discover the wild animals in the different landscapes. In the Etosha National Park, around the water-places, flocks of zebras, strips of wildebeest, jumping-goats, oryx-antelope, as well as hartebeest, mountain zebras, lions, cheetahs, leopards, elephants and rhinos. Their silhouettes stand majestically from the bright white background of the huge salt pans. These serve as a breeding ground for countless flamingos and are at the same time home to 35 different types of birds, such as the Vulture. At the Waterberg plateau, endangered species such as different antelope and buffalo species as well as the wide-mouth rhino are protected. Cape Cross on the Skeleton coast is one of the largest seal sanctuaries in the world. In the lush Kavango & Zambezi region you will find exotic fork racks, pygmy goose and masked leafbird chickens. In the desert regions you will find huge nests in trees and on telephone fattening – the dwellings of the weavers. Due to the regional climate differences within the country, Namibia has a wide variety of plant species – from desert and semi-desert vegetation to a subtropical plant world. Especially worth seeing, are the Kokerboom or quiver tree and the Welwitschia plant; one of the oldest plants ever to be known. It is adapted to the desert and absorbs the moisture from the fog over its special leaf structure. It grows flat on the ground and forms only two leaves on their thick trunk. These leaves grow steadily in the long life of the plant. Their age is difficult to determine, but it can be up to 1500 years or older.
We cannot guarantee the correctness, completeness and topicality of the information given here, nor shall we be liable for any damage. Described regulations as well as the security situation can change at any time. As we have already recommended, in case of doubt we recommend that you contact your local diplomatic, consular representative or your doctor for health issues.