Although not as well known as some of its African neighbours, Namibia is a gem for those in search of the wilderness. Namibia is a large, and sparsely populated country on Africa's south-west coast, which has enjoyed more than a decade of stability since achieving Independence on 21 March 1990.
Today Namibia is a peaceful country which is economically prosperous as a result of its productive mining, fishing, tourism and agricultural industries. Essentially a desert country, Namibia offers contrasting landscapes. The desolate Namib Desert is said to be the oldest in the world, with its high dunes and awe-inspiring sense of space. The central plateau, with its thorn bush savannah and rugged mountains, rising abruptly from the plains, gives way to the majestic Fish river Canyon in the south. In the north of the country, landscapes range from dense bush and open plains of the great Etosha Pan, to woodland savannah and lush vegetation.
The Etosha national park, the third largest in Africa, owes its unique landscape to the Etosha Pan, a vast shallow depression of approximately 5 000km². A series of waterholes along the southern edge of the pan guarantee rewarding and often spectacular game viewing. Germanic influence can still be found in the country's good road infrastructure, well-equipped rest camps throughout the country and most cities' architecture. The perfect choice for nature lovers and amateur photographers alike.
Windhoek. Population: 223,364 (2001)
How to get to Namiba
Transportation to Namibia is usually by air, with direct flights from Johannesburg and Cape Town, as well as direct international flights from Frankfurt, Munich, Düsseldorf and London. Hosea Kutako International Airport is situated 45 km’s east of Windhoek, as strong prevailing winds & high mountain ranges render the Windhoek valley unsuitable for large planes to land. Various transfer companies & taxis are at the guests’ disposal for transfers to the city centre & their accommodation. You are able to collect your pre-booked rental vehicle directly at the airport.
International Visa and MasterCard credit cards are generally accepted and to a lesser degree Diners Club and American Express, while the Speedpoint and ATM facilities assure quick and efficient service. Holders of other card types are advised to clarify whether their card qualifies as an acceptable payment method in Namibia. You have the possibility to exchange foreign currency at foreign exchange offices, all banks and some hotels and lodges throughout the country. Note: No credit cards
are accepted at petrol service stations.
Namibia’s summertime is two hours ahead of GMT from the first Sunday in September to the first Sunday in April. Wintertime is one hour ahead of GMT, from the first Sunday in April to the first Sunday in September.
The Namibia Dollar (N$) equals the South African Rand (ZAR) 1:1. The South African Rand is legal tender in Namibia and is accepted throughout for payment. Denominations: 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, N$1, N$5, N$10, N$20, N$50, N$100, N$200.
Tap water is safe to drink throughout the country, except for isolated rural areas, where the consumption of filtered or bottled mineral water is recommended. These isolated areas include some areas in the Kalahari Desert & the entire Caprivi Strip, where water is pumped directly from the rivers. All accommodation establishments in these areas provide bottled water for their guests.
220/240 Volt AC Round two or three-pole 15 amp plugs are used. These can be purchased at all major outlets in the cities & towns.
Health and entry requirements
Due to hot dry climate Namibia is virtually free of tropical diseases, therefore health certificates are not normally required. Visitors arriving from a yellow fever zone require a valid international yellow fever inoculation certificate.
Anti malaria prophylactics are advisable if visiting northern Namibia, the Etosha National Park serving as the accepted Malaria border. A valid passport, which is valid for 6 months beyond intended departure, is required. Please contact your nearest Namibian Tourism Board office or Namibian Embassy for an updated list of Visa requirements prior to entering Namibia.
All major centres have state-run hospitals. In all major towns professional medical care is available while Windhoek boasts three world-standard hospitals. Doctors are listed under ‘Classified Medical Listings’ in the local telephone directory. As Namibia is such a vast country, emergency medical evacuation services extend to the furthest corners of Namibia and are supported by a well-developed charter industry and a good road network.
Adequate insurance covering travel, accident, illness and hospitalisation incidents is strongly advised for the duration of your stay and must be arranged at time of booking. Please also contact your medical doctor for any inoculations or malaria prophylaxis, which often has to be taken before arrival.
Seasons are opposite to those of the northern hemisphere. Namibia averages 300 days of sunshine a year!
The climate is typical of a semi-desert country where droughts are a regular occurrence. September to April belong to the summer months with the rainfall season ranging from October to April. Winter ranges from May – August.
Some average temperatures in Celsius:
Location Summer Winter
Windhoek 15°C - 35°C 7°C - 28°C
Swakopmund 12°C - 22°C 9°C - 18°C
Fish River Canyon 17°C – 32°C 6°C – 27°C
Etosha National Park 17°C – 34°C 7°C – 26°C
Average rainfall figures vary from less than 50 mm along the coast to
350 mm in the central and 700 mm in the far northeastern regions
The official language is English but German and Afrikaans are widely spoken and understood. Namibia has 15 ethnic groups with some 27 languages and dialects being spoken.
Film & batteries can be difficult to purchase in some areas. Recommended film for the conditions is 100 ASA. Dust-proof packing for your equipment is recommended. It is courteous to ask permission before photographing people in towns & remote areas. Taking photos of State house, any military installation or border posts is strictly forbidden & may result in the loss of your camera.