Namibia lies on the west coast of southern Africa and is a land of incredible diversity and contrasts. It boasts the second second-lowest population density on the globe and in terms of size, is double that of Germany. The landscape is vast, comprised of inaccessible desert and alien-like terrain which supports an extraordinary abundance of wildlife.
The most popular destinations are undoubtedly Sossusvlei and the Namib Desert, where visitors will find dunes melting into the horizon and a gemsbok-dotted landscape. The Skeleton Coast is frequented by adrenaline junkies in search of the ultimate wilderness adventure littered with shipwrecks, historical rock art and desert-adapted species. The iconic Etosha National Park, the surrounding reserves and the Waterberg region are no-brainers for your bush safari. With such a diverse range of destinations to see and wonderful places to stay - all that’s left to do is pack your bags and hit the road.
Self-driving is encouraged in this magnificent country, and with so many natural wonders scattered within its borders – it isn’t hard to imagine why. Be sure to give yourself enough time to stop and explore the culture, its cuisine and all that Namibia has to offer. If time is limited but budget permits, visitors can opt to connect far-flung destinations by swift and convenient charter flights.
We've taken the liberty to answer everything you may need to know about visiting Namibia
It’s a breeze to get to Namibia as it's so well connected. Daily flights from South Africa and Botswana as well as a Charter Flight Network connecting to nearby lodges for a luxury fly-in safari promise a quick and easy route to your destination in Namibia. You find more details on how to get to Namibia here.
Namibia's ocean and desert-scapes are home to a variety of wildlife. To name just a few, these include the Big 5, zebra, free-roaming black rhino, Cape Fur seals, its national symbol the Oryx, as well as various other antelopes. Read more about Namibia's wildlife here.
For such a sparsely populated country, Namibia is home to a surprising variety of cultures and traditions. These include many local tribes such as San People, The Himba, Nama, Damara and Herero. German colonisation also left its mark, with German cuisine, architecture and the language that's widely spoken throughout the country. Find out more about the country's fascinating cultures here.
Nationals from several countries from Australia to the USA are not required a visa to enter Namibia. Travellers are encouraged to check with the embassy before travel to ensure they have the most up-to-date information.
How long will it take to issue my visa?
The waiting period for a Namibian visa is usually 2-3 working days. Same day processing is available for an additional fee.
What are the visa requirements?
Requirements for a holiday and transit visas (single entry only) are: a completed visa application, original passport, motivation letter explaining briefly your purpose, and an itinerary, two passport size photos, and a copy of your air ticket.
In the case of transit visas, applicants must hold a visa or a permit for permanent or temporary residence for their final destination as well.
For how long should my visa be valid?
Enquire at the Namibian Embassy in your country for the most up-to-date visa information.
Please ensure that you verify this information independently with the relevant embassy, high commission or consulate.
Namibia is one of the finest (and most popular) self-driving destinations in southern Africa. If you’re planning a self-driving trip through Namibia, there are a few rules to bear in mind. Cars are right-hand drive and everyone drives on the left side of the road. The speed limit on open highways is 120km, and varies between 60km and 80km in towns and cities. You will be required to wear a seatbelt at all times and the use of a cell phone (mobile phone) while driving is illegal.
Namibia’s road network is one of the best in the world, and even their gravel roads are safe to drive on. All road signs are international and easy to understand. Avoid over-correction while driving since many roads have slight bends that may cause cars to slide. Also: be wary of Namibian wildlife crossing or grazing alongside the road.
Gas stations are situated far apart in Namibia so it’s important to refuel regularly while self-driving. Just to be safe, make sure you carry a jerry can of extra fuel on your trip. Please note that some gas stations in Namibia only accept cash payments. It’s recommended that you only drive during the day – after sunrise till before sunset.
The Type M (or South Africa) plug is the standard plug used in Namibia. This plug is larger than the Type D and has three circular pins. Make sure you buy the correct travel adaptor before embarking on your trip to Africa.
Internet access in Namibia is firmly established and stable, so you won’t have too much trouble picking up wifi at hotels or lodges. Most cities have internet cafes as well. Please note, in some remote destinations wifi may not always be available.
Namibia has two major mobile service providers: MTC and Cell One. SIM cards and handsets are readily available throughout the country. If you dial 112 with MTC and 120 with Cell One you’ll get in touch with 24-hour emergency services for police, ambulance, or the fire brigade. Both networks have roaming agreements with international providers. Cellphone coverage is good, though slightly patchy in more remote areas.
Internal post in Namibia is infamously slow, but international post can reach its destination in about two weeks.
If you’re planning a trip to Namibia, here are some helpful hints you need to know before you go:
- Avoid camouflage since it is illegal for civilians to wear this kind of clothing;
- Namibia is a safe country, but if you are self-driving avoid deserted areas and keep your car locked at all times;
- Self-driving trips allow travellers flexibility when traversing through Namibia, but it’s best not to rush them – you’ll enjoy them most if you stay at least 2-3 nights at most places;
- The Sperrgebiet (Forbidden Area) en-route to Lüderitz is a prohibited diamond area and is off-limits to the public;
- Namibia still has not fully embraced homosexuality and we ask that homosexual couples be respectful of the country’s regulations by means of withholding and minimising public displays of affection.
Before going on a trip, it is important to consult your doctor and take out comprehensive travel and health insurance that will cover all of your intended activities while on holiday in Namibia. Here are some helpful health hints to bear in mind:
- There are no mandatory vaccinations for travellers into Namibia unless you are arriving from a yellow fever area – in which case you will have to produce a vaccination certificate upon arrival;
- Malaria: medium risk in Northern Namibia, especially Etosha National Park and the Caprivi Strip, and low to no risk in the rest of the country. The highest risk of transition is in the rainy season from October to May;
- Advanced medical service will mostly be concentrated in main towns and cities;
- Consult your medical practitioner to determine which vaccinations you should renew before travelling to Africa.
Holidaying in Namibia? Here are some important money matters you need to know before you go:
- The Namibian Dollar (N$) is the official currency of Namibia. Notes are in denominations of N$10, 20, 50, 100 and 200. Coins are in denominations of N$5, 50 cents, 10 cents, and 5 cents;
- American Express, Diners Club, Mastercard and Visa are all widely accepted throughout Namibia. The South African Rand (ZAR) is linked to the Namibian Dollar on a 1:1 basis, and is an accepted currency while travelling in Namibia;
- Currency can be exchanged at any of the banks or bureaux de change throughout Namibia;
- Persons over the age of 18 can import the following items without incurring customs duty: 200 cigarettes, 2 litres of wine or 1 litres of spirits, 50ml of perfume or 250ml of eau de toilette, and gifts to the value of N$3,000;
- The import and export of local currency is limited to N$50,000, while the import and export of foreign currency is unrestricted;
- Banks are generally open from 09:00 to 15:30 on weekdays, and from 09:00 to 11:00 on Saturdays.