Travel information / frequently asked questions about Namibia
Namibia is a safe country to travel in and with its good infrastructure it is ideal for self-drive safaris. Especially those, who like to get an individual impression of the country a tour in a rented vehicle is highly recommendable. You’ll have the opportunity to learn a lot about the country and people and also to experience a lot off the beaten track.
Here we answer the most important and most frequently asked questions:
Am I suitable for a self-drive tour through Namibia?
To be able to really enjoy your self-drive safari you should be open-minded, serene and patient to a certain extent – in Africa and thus also in Namibia, the clocks often tick a bit differently. On the other hand, compared to other African countries, Namibia is in many regards nearly European. Not without reason Namibia is seen as the perfect country for introducing novices to the African continent.
Do I need driving experiences for a Namibia self-drive tour?
With the material and pre-information provided like route descriptions, distances and approximate travelling times you will be well prepared for your safari. However, one should be an experienced driver and should be in the possession of the licence for more than just a couple of weeks. 4x4 experience is not necessary. The tarred and gravel roads are overall in good condition.
The driving routes and distances have been selected in a way that you can have a rather relaxed experience.
What needs to be considered when driving in Namibia?
In Namibia you don’t need to be scared (just respectful) of spiders, snakes and lions, but rather of overestimating your own driving capabilities. Every car rental company will tell you that the average travelling speed on gravel roads should not exceed 80 km/h and 120 km/h on tarred roads. However, on some gravel roads 80 km/h is already too fast. Take your time – you are on vacation! And please take note of the road signs.
On arrival, when taking over your vehicle you will receive an orientation on driving in Namibia and on road safety. It is essential that you follow the instructions given by the car rental company:
Here some safety guidelines for driving in Namibia in advance:
- Namibia has left-hand traffic – Please stick to it.
- Please avoid driving at night!
- Off the accelerator on gravel roads – maximum 80 km/h. Especially on gravel roads: reduce speed before entering a bend! Also when the road visibility is not clear. Abrupt reduction of speed can lead to losing control of the vehicle and in the worst case “rolling” the car.
- Only over-take when visibility is 100%.
- Always lock your rental vehicle and don’t leave valuables visible from outside in an unmonitored car.
Many rental vehicles are equipped with tracking devices. Should you have an accident and the evaluated data shows that you were speeding your insurance will be nil and void.
You need your national driver’s licence in connection with an international licence for driving in Namibia.
Which accommodations in Namibia are visited and which meals are included?
All accommodations described in the itinerary are known to us and classified as good to excellent (service, cleanliness, location, facilities). Most of them only have a limited number of beds though and when fully booked we have to book alternatives. These changes are subject to availability at the time of booking. When having to book alternative lodges, hotels or B&Bs we always strive to find accommodation of the same quality.
In most of the lodges dinner and breakfast are included in the rates. In towns you have the option to visit restaurants of your choice for dinner, thus only breakfast is included.
The campsites have also been chosen with care. All team members of Info-Namibia are dedicated campers and value good campsites.
In the itinerary of a lodge or lodge/camping safari we have chosen locations where you have access to supplies. Camping vehicles are equipped with a fridge for storing perishables up to five days.
What is the safety situation in Namibia?
It is always advisable to visit the website of your Ministry of Foreign Affairs before travelling abroad. In general, Namibia is a politically stable country. Compared to other African countries the crime rate is very low, however as a tourist (and as a local as well) there are certain ground rules to adhere to:
- Don’t do anything, you wouldn’t do at home. For example, don’t let any stranger assist you when drawing money at an ATM.
- In town and especially in outskirts you should not travel on foot carrying valuables.
- Avoid walking around in darkness. In Swakopmund one can make an exception when walking to or from a restaurant in the evenings, but please inform yourself at the reception of your accommodation.
- Should you want to use a taxi service, please use official taxis (CityCab, etc.) or make use of Leva (Namibia-Uber).
Please see the "African Risk Map". Copyright © Control Risks 2019
What needs to be considered regarding cash in Namibia or other payment methods?
Changing money: At the airport in Windhoek you can exchange foreign cash at the teller or you can draw money at the ATM. This goes for all bigger towns in Namibia. Best ATM when using foreign cards are Nedbank (green) or Standard Bank (blue). Draw or exchange about N$ 5000 per person at the beginning of your tour and try to pay with credit card during the rest of your travel. Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted.
Costs for provisions during the safari: As mentioned above, dinner and breakfast are usually included in the lodge tour. Lunch and any missing, additional meals in restaurants can usually be paid with credit card.
On the mixed lodge/camping tour the accommodations and campsites are pre-paid.
Costs for supplies in shops are comparable to Europe or the USA. Eating out in restaurants is normally less expensive than in Europe.
Fuel: A large cost factor are costs for fuel. You can calculate with an average consumption of 10 litres on 100 km. One litre of fuel costs about N$ 12 (dated 07.04.2020). For a 2000 km journey you will need about 200 litres of fuel, which will cost you about N$ 2400.
Souvenirs: You can buy beautiful souvenirs relatively cheap all over the country. Local producers of jewellery and artefacts benefit from this income.
Gratuities: A 10% gratuity for a good service in restaurants is common in Namibia. For services at fuel stations (re-fuelling, washing the windscreen…) a tip of N$ 5 is a guideline. Many accommodation facilities have a general “tip box”, the content of which gets equally distributed amongst all staff members. Tips are normally given once at the end of the stay and are usually about N$ 50 per person per night. Of course, the amount you want to give as gratuity is at your own discretion.
How does the entry into Namibia work and how do I obtain a visa for Namibia?
Most Europeans (as well as US citizens and many others) receive a visa free of charge when entering the country. This visa is valid for the duration of the intended stay (make sure!). The maximum given stay is 90 days.
- You definitely need a passport which is at least 6 months valid and which has two open pages when entering the country.
- It is your responsibility to inform yourself about the visa regulations that adhere to your nationality before travelling to Namibia.
- Double check the entry stamp at immigrations on the duration of validity of your visa.
- Should you be travelling with minor children, please let us know as special documents are needed for that.
Are there prescribed vaccinations for Namibia and what about malaria in Namibia?
Namibia does not prescribe any vaccination, but check with countries where you might be in transit! Malaria is restricted to certain areas of the country. Depending where you want to travel to, we will advise about malaria. As with the visa regulations please always inform yourself at your own Ministry of Foreign Affairs about regulations