Namibia

About Namibia

Namibia, located on the West Coast of Southern Africa, is one of the least densely populated countries on the planet. It has a population density of 2,6 people per square kilometre. In contrast, the United Kingdom has 395 people per square kilometre, and Germany 236. The Namib desert (meaning “vast place”) is considered to be the oldest desert in the world.

People of Namibia

The original inhabitants of Namibia were the San,  Damara, and Nama peoples. The 14th century brought the Herero and the Himba peoples.  The largest ethnic group is now the Ovambo people. People of British, German and South Africa decent make up around 5% of the population due to historical rule of these nations. Namibia gained full independence from South Africa in 1990.

Weather Overview

December to March is generally hot in Namibia. Rain and thundershowers come in January. April and May may still have rain, as temperatures slowly start to drop. The dry winter months are from June to September. Winter days are moderate to warm, and the nights are cold. Expect frost inland and in the deserts. Temperatures start to rise again in October, with some rainfall bringing relief after the dry season.

Winter temperatures range around mid-20s Celsius (70s Fahrenheit). Summer temperatures are in the mid-30s Celsius (90s Fahrenheit).

Star Gazing

The Namibian skies are exquisite. Low population density, and almost no air pollution mean that there are millions of stars clearly visible at night. Some of the top venues for star gazing can be found here.

Travel Information

Cards vs Cash

Credit cards are accepted at most supermarkets, restaurants and accommodation establishments in urban Namibia. While Visa and Master card are widely accepted, payment with American Express and Diners Club are not as commonly available. Expect to make cash payments when travelling in rural areas.

ATMs

Credit cards can be used to get cash from ATMs or banks. Visa and MasterCard are the most commonly accepted, as indicated by signs displayed on ATMs. Most banks in Namibia have ATMs.

Currency

Namibia uses the Namibian Dollar (N$). It is linked to the South African Rand (ZAR), which is also legal tender in Namibia. The Namibian Dollar and South African Rand operate on a one-to-one exchange.

If purchasing currency before arriving in Namibia, it is generally easier and cheaper to buy ZAR. South African Rand is more widely available internationally. Commissions on ZAR are lower than the rates charged for changing currency into N$ (commissions can be up to 25%).

Tourist visas are valid for three months. Visit the Namibian Consulate or Embassy in your country to get your visa. However, not all visitors to Namibia require a tourist visa.

Those nationalities which do NOT require a visa (for a maximum 90 day visit) include:

American
Australian
British
Canadian
German
Japanese
South African

To find out if need a tourist visa you can visit here and select your country of origin.

Limited WiFi is available at relatively low speeds at many lodges and accomodation, but this is not guaranteed. Internet cafés can be found in most major towns, and Windhoek and Swakopmund have several coffee shops and cafés offering WiFi Hotspots. Namibia works on a 3G mobile network system, with 4G networks only available in some areas.

Remote Places Photography will provide you with your own Namibian SIM card upon arrival.

In many rural and remote places, connectivity cannot be guaranteed. Expect very unreliable, or no connection in these places.

Crime

Although not extensive, there is some crime in the major Namibian cities of Swakopmund and Windhoek. Please check with your accommodation regarding safety in urban areas. In remote areas, leaving the lodge or camp alone at night is not permitted. There are many wild animals and the terrain can be extremely dangerous.

In remote areas, you will need to travel with the RPP team to get from place to place. If you prefer to make your own way to a particular destination, then you will need to hire a qualified guide. This is to ensure your safety and is required by Namibian regulations. The cost for hiring a qualified guide is not included in the expedition rate.

Vaccines

It is generally advised that you are up-to-date with diphtheria, hepatitis A and tetanus.

Other vaccines to consider are:
Cholera
Hepatitis B
Rabies
Typhoid

A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travellers arriving from countries where there is a risk of yellow fever transmission.

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