Namibia Travel Information
About Namibia, Africa
From the seemingly endless sand dunes of the Namib Desert to the tropical wetlands of the Caprivi Strip, Namibia is a country of epic landscapes, bountiful wildlife, and few people. Its greatest assets are the rugged Namib and Kalahari deserts, which support a surprising diversity of fauna including rare black rhinos, cheetahs, elephants, springbok and vast flocks of ostriches.
Namibia can be a harsh and unforgiving land, and nowhere is this more evident than along the Skeleton Coast. A windswept wasteland of dark green scrub and calcified sand dunes, it is littered with the rusting carcasses of ships washed ashore by the merciless Atlantic Ocean.
It’s not all hostile. The area is also home to the colorful Himba people whose love of elaborate hairdos and jewelry have made them one of the most photographed tribes in the world. Their home overlaps another of Namibia’s natural marvels, Etosha National Park, which boasts an abundance of wildlife: everything from the tiny Cape sparrow to the magnificent African elephant can be found here.
Towns and cities are few and far between in Namibia, thanks to its low population. Even the capital, Windhoek, is not much larger than a medium-sized British settlement. But the city’s lively nightlife, colonial architecture, thriving culinary scene and excellent beer make it a pleasant place to while away a few days – even if the town planners did make a habit of naming roads after dictators. Anyone fancy a stroll down Robert Mugabe Drive?
Namibia’s second city, Swakopmund, is lighter on the dictator nomenclature, but none the worse for it. The coastal town has a sunny charm that is all its own. Appearing like a mirage in the desert, the city is home to palm-fringed beaches, a gorgeous collection of colonial buildings and a sizable German-speaking population.
And just outside the city lie the rusting remains of the Martin Luther, an abandoned steam locomotive that tried to tame this wild land and failed – a metaphor, surely.
Namibia weather, climate, and geography
Best Time To Visit
With a staggering 300 days of sunshine each year, Namibia is a year-round destination, although some may prefer to avoid the heat of high summer. The cold Benguela current keeps the Atlantic coast of the Namib Desert cool and rain-free for most of the year, with a thick coastal fog that lends a mysterious edge to the area. January and February are the hottest months when daytime temperatures in the heart of the Namib can exceed 40ºC (104ºF), but nights are usually cool. Winter nights can be fairly cold, but days are generally warm and pleasant.
Inland, the rain falls exclusively in summer (November to March). The Caprivi Strip has a unique tropical climate, with heavy rainfall that often leads to flooding between December and March. The weeks following the March rains are ideal for birdwatching, but less good for spotting game, as the animals are more dispersed than in the dry season. The Fish River Canyon hiking route is closed from mid-September to mid-April due to the risk of floods.
For travelers seeking a real wildlife experience, the winter months of April and June are the best time to visit, as the bush will be sparse and the dry weather will lead to frequent congregations at the waterhole.
Pack light cotton, with slightly heavier cotton or light woolens for the evening. Inland, shoes are essential during the day as the ground is very hot. For walking or trekking, ankle-height boots are recommended as there are poisonous snakes in the desert including the Cape Cobra. Neutral colors are recommended for safaris and game viewing. At Sossusvlei, a pair of sunglasses is crucial, as the reflection of the sunlight on the dunes and Dead Vlei is near-blinding.
Light cotton, with slightly heavier cotton or light woolens for the evening. Inland, shoes are essential during the day as the ground is very hot.
Namibia is a large, mostly arid country in southwest Africa with Angola to the north, Botswana to the east, and South Africa to the south. In the northeast corner, the Caprivi Strip, a narrow panhandle of tropical Namibian territory juts towards Victoria Falls, forming borders with Angola, Zambia, Botswana and South Africa. To the west is a 1,280km long stretch (795 miles) of perhaps the loneliest coastline in the world, with foggy shores lashed by the Atlantic and littered with shipwrecks.
Along the entire length of the country, the huge shifting dune fields of the Namib Desert spread inland for up to 130km (81 miles). The most stunning sand dunes can be found in Sossusvlei National Park. In the far northwest, the Kaokoland Mountains run parallel to the Skeleton Coast, while further inland lies the Etosha Pan, a dried-out saline lake surrounded by grasslands. The Etosha National Park is the third largest in Africa, remaining largely free of human influence.
In the interior, the Central Plateau runs from north to south, sloping away into the vast sand basin of the Kalahari. Windhoek, the capital, perches on this plateau. The Kalahari has a geography all of its own, with inselbergs, or isolated mountains that create microclimates and habitats for organisms not adapted to life in the desert.
Namibia Passport And Visa Requirements
|Passport Required||Visa Required||Return Ticket Required|
To enter Namibia, a passport valid for six months from the date of entry with one blank page is required by all nationals referred to in the chart above. If you require a visa, you must have at least three blank pages in your passport.
Visas for Namibia are not required by nationals referred to in the chart above for stays of up to three months if visiting Namibia on holiday except:
1. Nationals of Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia, who do require a visa.
All visitors traveling to Namibia for business purposes must arrange a visa in advance.
Nationals not referred to in the chart are advised to contact the high commission/embassy for visa requirements for Namibia.
Types And Costs
Single-entry visas: £30 (three-day processing) or £50 (same-day processing); multiple-entry visa: £60 (three-day processing) or £80 (same-day processing).
Valid for up to three months, for stays of up to three months from the date of entry.
Consulate (or consular section at high commission).
Visa processing takes three days, with same-day processing available for an additional fee.
Namibia Health Care & Vaccinations
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* A small malaria risk exists in the entire northern third of the country (Oshana, Oshikoto, Omusati, Ohangwenga, Otjozondjupa and Omaheke) from November to June and along the Kunene river and in Kavango and Caprivi regions throughout the year. Although visitors who plan to remain in the southern part of the country (Sossusvlei, Windhoek, Walvis Bay etc) do not need to take anti-malarial drugs, they are recommended for those traveling further north.
** Namibia is not an infected area but does border countries that are. As a result, a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travelers over one year of age arriving from an infected area.
Because Namibia’s size medical facilities are spread out, with most lodges offering little more than basic medical care. As a result, serious accidents will require an expensive transfer to the hospital in Windhoek, or in extreme cases, to medical facilities in South Africa. As a result, travel insurance is essential, and taking out a comprehensive policy is worthwhile. This is doubly the case if you’re planning to take part in sports such as quad biking or off-roading.
While Namibia isn’t plagued by the tropical diseases that afflict its northern neighbors, it does experience the occasional outbreak of malaria, while dysentery (most often seen in campers who haven’t properly treated their water supply) can also occur. It is advisable to consult your doctor well in advance of traveling about immunizations and assembling a first aid kit if you’re planning to drive long distances or stay in a remote area.
Mains water is normally chlorinated and, while safe, may cause mild abdominal upsets. Bottled water is available and is advised for the first few weeks of the stay. Drinking water outside main cities and towns may be contaminated and sterilization is advisable. Water taken from lakes and rivers is generally a bad idea and cannot be regarded as entirely safe to drink without prior boiling. Milk is pasteurized and dairy products are safe for consumption. Local meat, poultry, seafood, fruit, and vegetables are generally considered safe to eat.
Vaccinations against meningococcal meningitis, tuberculosis, and hepatitis B are sometimes recommended. The measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine are also recommended for travelers born after 1956 who have not previously received the inoculation. A rabies vaccination is sometimes required, particularly if your plans involve some degree of interaction with wild animals.