Everything you should know for your trip to Namibia
Namibia is the most sparsely populated country in Africa with a population of only 2.2 million people, making it the second thinnest populated country in the world. The majority of Namibia's population are from the Ovambo tribe, followed by the Damara / Nama speaking people, the Hereros, Kavangos, Caprivians, Basters, Tswanas and Bushmen (San). Only about 150.000 white people live in Namibia, of which 60% are Afrikaans speaking, 20 % German speaking and 20 % English speaking.
Namibia travel advice for foreigners: Germans, Austrians and Swiss citizens as well as citizens of the European Union do not need a visa. For a stay of up to 90 days, your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the end of the journey and contain two free pages. A free Entry Entrance Permit is issued upon arrival at all official border crossings. Often, the residence permit is issued for a shorter period, so check at least as many days of your stay as you actually need. An overlapping of the residence permit - even unintentional - may lead to the imposition of drastic (imprisonment) penalties. If you are planning a longer stay, you should inform yourself about the residence regulations at the diplomatic missions. For entry through a third country, e.g. South Africa must also comply with their entry requirements. The provisions may change at any time.
Eat and drink
Most restaurants in Namibia offer typical Namibian and German dishes, as well as European cuisine. Salads and water can be eaten and drunk without hesitation, although purchased bottled water is more recommended. The many game dishes and the local beer are excellent.
The service standard in the country is good nevertheless, everyone is happy about a small tip if you were satisfied. Here are a few clues: Room maid about NAD 5 per day; Taxis, tankers and luggage carriers are looking forward to NAD 5-20, depending on the effort involved. Guest farms and safari camps / lodges usually have a tip box, the amount received is distributed among all staff, so that the kitchen staff, who provide you with very good food, also receive their share. BUT neither your ranger nor your tracker is taken into account during distribution. You should give this tip directly, NAD 100 per person / day for the ranger and slightly less for the tracker is the recommendation here. At restaurant visits 10-15% is the recommended rate..
The medical care in Namibia is quite good. Due to country's thinly populated areas and the long distances, however, one should be aware that the next doctor / hospital may well be a day's journey. In smaller places you can find hospitals and first aid stations (in the phone book under the category Ministry of Health and Social Services), only in desert regions and in the country doctors are not reachable. A first aid kit with insect repellents, bandages and painkillers should always be part of the travel baggage. Antibiotics are available in the pharmacies of cities. Vaccinations are not mandatory. The usual vaccinations should be checked, hepatitis A is recommended. The north of Namibia, including the Etosha pan and the Zambezi region, is Malaria zone; Malaria prophylaxis is recommended throughout the year. Good sun protection is essential in your travel luggage.
Casual leisure clothing is perfectly adequate. The suit, tie and the little black you only need in very few very high-quality restaurants. Summer clothing is recommended throughout the year. You should also have warm sweaters and a windproof jacket for cool evenings and mornings. In the Namibian winter, in the months June to August, it is very cold at night. A light scarf, cap and thin gloves for the game drives in the open safari vehicle are helpful. For game drives and stalks, you should have clothes in neutral and muted colors, no bright colors or white. You should also have sturdy shoes for a walk in the bush or a small hike.
Climate and travel time
Namibia can be visited all year round. Because of the location south of the equator, the seasons are reversed to countries north of the equator. The rainy season is from December to March. The best travel time is from late March to mid-November. If you get some rain during your holiday, take it as the Namibians, you are happy about it. In many regions it rains only very, very few days a year and guests who complain about the rain are often misunderstood by the locals.
Mobile phones with a European SIM card can be used in Namibia. Frequently however with prepaid cards no outgoing telephone calls are possible, but only text messages and incoming calls. The mobile network is not comprehensive. In the vicinity of larger towns and cities the reception is good, but in the country you should rather use the landline. The use of the landline from accommodation establishments is usually not a problem and quite affordable.
The time difference is from the first Sunday in September to the first Sunday in April plus one hour (Summertime), otherwise minus one hour (Wintertime).
Namibia is considered a safe country for traveling. However, one should use the same circumspection in any city as one does in the home country. Do not leave luggage or valuables in the vehicle. Your day's destination should be reached before dawn, as people and animals can easily be overlooked in the dark on the unlit roads.
The official language in Namibia is English. Other languages such as Afrikaans, German and numerous tribal languages are also spoken.
Transport and traffic
In Namibia there is left-hand traffic. There is a well-developed road and gas station network, but the majority of roads consist of sand and gravel roads. Observe the long distances between the stations. For the hire of a car or camper, in addition to the valid national, the international driving license or a certified translation of the national driving license is required.
Accommodation establishments range from state camps to simple pensions to very good hotels, lodges and guest farms of a high standard. Namibia Holidays Tours & Safaris only book their guests into accommodation establishments which are highly quality conscious. Camps in the national parks of Namibia are well equipped. Unfortunately, accommodation frequently changes prices during the year, although rates usually change on November 1 each year and are valid to end of October the following year.
Currency and payments
The national currency is the Namibian Dollar (NAD). 1 dollar = 100 cents = about EUR 0.07 or about CHF 0.07. 1 euro = approx. NAD 14 and 1 Swiss franc = approx. NAD 13 (as of 21.04.17). Import max. NAD 2,000 (or South African Rand). All major credit cards are accepted in cities and hotels (not at petrol stations), partly in guest farms. You can withdraw money from ATMs (ATM) in the country with a credit card (Master & VISA) with the max. amount of NAD 2,000 per day.
The electricity network has 220 volts. Three-pole adapters for your plugs are best obtainable in the country. The so-called world adapters, which one gets in Europe usually do not fit. Some accommodation establishments also provides adapters to their guests for a fee. For a stay in a national park / game reserve, you should have a flashlight in your luggage, private game lodges usually provide them in the room.
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