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Namibia Travel Guide - Travel S Helper

Namibia

travel guide

Namibia, formally the Republic of Namibia, is a republic in southern Africa with the Atlantic Ocean as its western boundary. It is bordered to the north by Zambia and Angola, to the east by Botswana, and to the south and east by South Africa. Although it does not border Zimbabwe, it is separated from that nation by less than 200 metres of the Zambezi River (basically a tiny bulge in Botswana to establish a Botswana/Zambia micro-border). Following the Namibian War of Independence, Namibia won independence from South Africa on March 21, 1990. Windhoek serves as the country’s capital and largest city, and it is a member of the United Nations (UN), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU), and the Commonwealth of Nations.

The San, Damara, and Nama peoples have lived in Namibia’s arid plains since ancient times. Immigranting Bantu peoples arrived in the 14th century as part of the Bantu expansion. Since then, the Bantu groups collectively known as the Ovambo people have dominated the country’s population, constituting a substantial majority since the late nineteenth century.

During European colonization in the late nineteenth century, the German Empire imposed protectorate authority over much of the area in 1884. It started developing infrastructure and agricultural and kept this German colony going until 1915, when South African forces destroyed its soldiers. Following the end of World War I, the League of Nations assigned the country to the United Kingdom, with South Africa in charge of administration. It enacted its laws, which included racial classifications and restrictions. With the National Party voted to power in 1948, South Africa implemented apartheid in what was known as South West Africa. The Cape Colony seized the port of Walvis Bay and the outlying Penguin Islands in 1878; they became a member of the new Union of South Africa when it was formed in 1910.

Uprisings and demands for political representation by local African political activists seeking independence in the late twentieth century culminated in the UN acquiring direct responsibility for the area in 1966, although South Africa retained de facto authority. The South West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO) was recognized by the UN in 1973 as the official representation of the Namibian people; the party is led by the Ovambo, who form a substantial majority in the region. In 1985, South Africa created an interim administration in Namibia as a result of ongoing guerrilla conflict. In 1990, Namibia gained complete independence from South Africa. However, South Africa retained sovereignty of Walvis Bay and the Penguin Islands until 1994.

Namibia has a 2.1 million-person population and a robust multi-party parliamentary democracy. Agriculture, herding, tourism, and the mining sector – including mining for gem diamonds, uranium, gold, silver, and base metals – are the foundation of the country’s economy. Because of the vast, dry Namib Desert, Namibia is one of the world’s least densely inhabited countries. Namibia has a high level of political, economic, and social stability.

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Namibia - Info Card

Population

2,550,226

Currency

Namibian dollar (NAD) - South African rand (ZAR)

Time zone

UTC+2 (CAST)

Area

825,615 km2 (318,772 sq mi)

Calling code

+264

Official language

English

Namibia | Introduction

Namibia, once a German colony, was governed by South Africa under a League of Nations mandate after WWI, then annexed as a province of South Africa following WWII. The South-West African People’s Organization (SWAPO) declared independence in 1990 after launching a guerilla struggle for freedom in 1966. Namibia is quite similar to South Africa in many respects. Namibia shares many of the issues associated with apartheid since it was governed under that system.

It is essential to understand that race is a frequent topic of conversation in Namibia. That is, Namibians will refer to other people’s races more often than visitors from countries where race is not usually an issue would anticipate. Race is a problem in many aspects of life as a result of apartheid, therefore it comes up often. Despite this, the different ethnicities get along well in Namibia, and racial conflicts are very rare.

Namibia is comparable to South Africa, and if you’ve traveled in one, you’ll find it simple to travel in the other. There are several minor distinctions. In South Africa, for example, a non-white person may choose to speak English rather than Afrikaans (as a political choice), whereas Afrikaans is a proud part of the culture of Namibia’s mixed-race population (who call themselves ‘colored’ in both Namibia and South Africa), and many people still speak German. These distinctions aren’t likely to cause offense, but they are useful to be aware of.

Tourism In Namibia

Tourism contributes significantly (14.5 percent) to Namibia’s GDP, directly or indirectly supporting tens of thousands of jobs (18.2 percent of total employment), and serving over a million visitors each year. The country is a popular tourist destination in Africa, and it is well-known for ecotourism, which highlights Namibia’s diverse wildlife.

There are many hotels and parks that cater to eco-tourists. Sport hunting is also a significant and increasing component of the Namibian economy, accounting for 14% of total tourism in 2000, or $19.6 million US dollars, with Namibia home to many species sought after by foreign sport hunters. Furthermore, extreme activities like as sandboarding, skydiving, and 4x4ing have grown in popularity, and many towns now provide tours. Windhoek, the Caprivi Strip, the Fish River Canyon, Sossusvlei, the Skeleton Coast Park, Sesriem, Etosha Pan, and the coastal cities of Swakopmund, Walvis Bay, and Lüderitz are among the most popular destinations.

Windhoek, Namibia’s capital city, is vital to the country’s tourist industry owing to its central position and closeness to Hosea Kutako International Airport. According to the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s Namibia Tourism Exit Survey for the Namibian Directorate of Tourism, 56 percent of all visitors visiting Namibia between 2012 and 2013 visited Windhoek. Many tourism-related parastatals and regulatory organizations in Namibia, including Namibia Wildlife Resorts, Air Namibia, and the Namibia Tourism Board, as well as tourism-related trade groups such as the Hospitality Association of Namibia, are based in Windhoek. There are also a number of noteworthy hotels in Windhoek, such as Windhoek Country Club Resort, and several international hotel brands, such as Avani Hotels and Resorts and Hilton Hotels and Resorts, operate in Windhoek.

The Namibia Tourism Board (NTB), Namibia’s main tourism-related regulating body, was created by an Act of Parliament: the Namibia Tourism Board Act, 2000. (Act 21 of 2000). Its main goals are to govern the tourism sector and to promote Namibia as a tourist destination. The Federation of Namibia Tourism Associations (the umbrella body for all tourism associations in Namibia), the Hospitality Association of Namibia, the Association of Namibian Travel Agents, the Car Rental Association of Namibia, and the Tour and Safari Association of Namibia are also trade associations that represent the tourism sector in Namibia.

Demographics

Namibia, behind Mongolia, has the second-lowest population density of any sovereign nation. The majority of Namibians are of Bantu-speaking ancestry – largely of the Ovambo ethnicity, which accounts for about half of the population – and live mostly in the country’s north, but many are now residents in cities across Namibia. Other ethnic groups include the Herero and Himba, who speak a language related to the Nama, and the Damara, who speak the same “click” language as the Nama.

In addition to the Bantu majority, there are significant populations of Khoisan (such as Nama and San), who are descendants of Southern Africa’s original inhabitants. There are also descendants of Angolan refugees in the nation. There are also two minor groups of individuals of mixed racial ancestry, known as “Coloureds” and “Basters,” who account for 8.0 percent of the population (with the Coloureds outnumbering the Basters two to one). Namibia has a sizable Chinese community.

Whites (mostly of Afrikaner, German, British, and Portuguese ancestry) account for between 4.0 and 7.0 percent of the population. Despite the fact that their population proportion is declining owing to emigration and decreased birth rates, they still constitute the second-largest community of European descent in Sub-Saharan Africa, both in terms of percentage and actual numbers (after South Africa). The majority of white Namibians, as well as almost all mixed-race Namibians, speak Afrikaans and have comparable roots, culture, and religion to the white and colored people of South Africa.

A sizable white minority (about 30,000 people) may trace their ancestors back to the German immigrants who colonized Namibia prior to the British seizure of German territories during World War One, and they support German cultural and educational organizations. Almost all Portuguese immigrants came from the former Portuguese province of Angola. In what was then South-West Africa, the 1960 census counted 526,004 people, including 73,464 whites (14 percent ).

Every 10 years, Namibia conducts a census. The first Population and Housing Census was conducted after independence in 1991, with further rounds in 2001 and 2011. The data collecting technique is to count everyone who lives in Namibia on the census reference night, no matter where they are. This is known as the de factomethod. The nation is divided into 4,042 enumeration zones for census purposes. To get accurate statistics for election reasons, these regions must not overlap with constituency borders.

Namibia had a population of 2,113,077 people according to the 2011 Population and Housing Census. Annual population increase was 1.4 percent between 2001 and 2011, down from 2.6 percent in the preceding ten–year period.

Religion

Namibia’s Christian community accounts for 80 percent to 90 percent of the population, with at least 75 percent Protestant and at least 50 percent Lutheran. It is the country’s biggest religious denomination, owing to German and Finnish missionary activity during the country’s colonial period. Indigenous beliefs are held by 10%–20% of the population.

Many Namibians converted to Christianity as a consequence of missionary efforts in the second part of the nineteenth century. The majority of Christians now are Lutherans, although there are also Roman Catholics, Methodists, Anglicans, African Methodist Episcopalians, Dutch Reformed, and Mormons (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints).

Namibia has a tiny Jewish community of approximately 100 people.

Geography

Namibia is the world’s thirty-fourth biggest nation, with an area of 825,615 km2 (318,772 sq mi) (after Venezuela). It is mainly located between latitudes 17° and 29° South (with a tiny region north of 17°) and longitudes 11° and 26° East.

Namibia has the least rainfall of any nation in Sub-Saharan Africa due to its location between the Namib and Kalahari deserts.

The Namibian landscape is divided into five geographical regions, each having distinct abiotic conditions and flora, with considerable variation and overlap within and between them: the Central Plateau, the Namib Desert, the Great Escarpment, the Bushveld, and the Kalahari Desert.

The Central Plateau extends from north to south, bounded to the northwest by the Skeleton Coast, to the southwest by the Namib Desert and its coastal plains, to the south by the Orange River, and to the east by the Kalahari Desert. The Central Plateau has Namibia’s highest peak, Königstein (2,606 meters) (8,550 ft).

The Namib Desert is a vast area of hyper-arid gravel plains and dunes that runs the length of Namibia’s coastline. Its breadth ranges from 100 to hundreds of kilometers. The Namib includes the Skeleton Coast and the Kaokoveldin in the north, as well as the vast Namib Sand Sea along the middle coast.

The Great Escarpment climbs quickly to nearly 2,000 meters (6,562 ft). Average temperatures and temperature ranges rise farther inland from the chilly Atlantic seas, while coastal fogs gradually dissipate. Despite its rocky terrain and poorly developed soils, the region is much more productive than the Namib Desert. Moisture is removed as precipitation when summer winds push their way over the Escarpment.

The Bushveld may be found in northern Namibia, near the Angolan border, and in the Caprivi Strip. The region gets considerably more precipitation than the rest of the nation, with an annual average of approximately 400 mm (15.7 in). The terrain is mostly flat, and the soils are sandy, which limits their capacity to hold water and sustain agriculture.

One of Namibia’s most well-known physical characteristics is the Kalahari Desert, an arid area that stretches into South Africa and Botswana. While the Kalahari is often referred to be a desert, it has a range of localized ecosystems, including some lush and technically non-desert regions. The Succulent Karoo is home to about 5,000 plant species, almost half of which are indigenous; the Karoo contains roughly 10% of the world’s succulents. The relatively constant nature of precipitation may explain this high productivity and endemism.

Namibia’s Coastal Desert is one of the world’s oldest deserts. It has the tallest sand dunes in the world, which are caused by strong onshore winds. Because of the position of the coastline, at the point where the cool Atlantic ocean meets Africa’s hot heat, very thick fog often develops along the coast. There are places along the shore where the dunes are overgrown with hammocks. Namibia offers a wealth of coastal and marine resources that are mostly untapped.

Climate

Namibia stretches from 17°S to 25°S, corresponding to the climatic range of the subtropical High Pressure Belt. Its overall climate is arid, descending from Sub-Humid (mean rain above 500 mm) to Semi-Arid between 300 and 500 mm (encompassing most of the waterless Kalahari) and Arid between 150 and 300 mm (all three regions are inland from the western escarpment) to Hyper-Arid coastal plain with less than 100 mm mean. Temperature maxima are constrained by the general height of the region: only in the extreme south, such as Warmbad, are mid-40 °C maxima recorded.

With regular bright skies, the sub-Tropical High Pressure Belt often offers more than 300 days of sunlight each year. It is located on the southern border of the tropics, with the Tropic of Capricorn cutting the nation in two. Winter (June–August) is often dry. The short rainy season occurs between September and November, while the large rainy season occurs between February and April. The humidity level is low, and average rainfall ranges from almost nothing in the coastal desert to more than 600 mm in the Caprivi Strip. Droughts are frequent, and rainfall is extremely unpredictable. The previous poor rainy season with significantly below-average rainfall occurred in summer 2006/07.

The cold, north-flowing Benguela current of the Atlantic Ocean dominates weather and climate in the coastal region, accounting for extremely low precipitation (50 mm per year or less), frequent thick fog, and generally lower temperatures than the rest of the nation. In the winter, a hot dry wind flowing from the interior to the shore is known as Bergwind (German for mountain breeze) or Oosweer (Afrikaans for east weather). Because the region behind the shore is desert, these winds may become sand storms, depositing sand in the Atlantic Ocean that can be seen on satellite photos.

Temperatures in the Central Plateau and Kalahari may vary by up to 30 degrees Celsius throughout the day.

Efundja, the yearly seasonal flooding of the country’s northern regions, often causes not only infrastructural damage but also loss of life. The rains that produce these floods begin in Angola and pour into Namibia’s Cuvelai basin, where they fill the oshanas (Oshiwambo: flood plains). The greatest floods in recorded history happened in March 2011, displacing 21,000 people.

Water sources

Namibia is the driest nation in Sub-Saharan Africa, and it is heavily reliant on groundwater. The greatest rainfall occurs in the Caprivi in the northeast (approximately 600 mm per year) and falls in a westerly and southwesterly direction to as low as 50 mm or less per annum near the coast, with an average rainfall of around 350 mm per annum. In the Caprivi, the only perennial rivers are located on the national borders with South Africa, Angola, Zambia, and a brief border with Botswana.

Surface water is only accessible in the interior of the nation during the summer months, when rivers flood due to heavy rains. Otherwise, surface water is limited to a few huge storage dams that hold and dam seasonal floods and runoff. People who do not live near perennial rivers or who do not utilize storage dams rely on groundwater. Even remote settlements and economic activity far from excellent surface water supplies, such as mining, agriculture, and tourism, may be supplied by groundwater throughout almost 80% of the nation.

Over the last century, more than 100,000 boreholes have been dug in Namibia. One-third of these boreholes were dry drilled.

Language

Oshiwambo, Herrero, Nama, Damara, different San languages, and Silozi are among the most important Indigenous languages.

The official language is English, which is widely spoken. However, since the majority of older Namibians (those educated before to independence) know English solely as a third language, the quality is very low. Because English was introduced as a medium of instruction sooner in the north than in the south, it is more commonly spoken. In the south, older Namibians are more likely to speak Afrikaans or German.

Many people speak Afrikaans, and it is the first language of both Coloreds and Afrikaners. The surviving English families speak English as their primary language, whereas German is spoken by Namibians of German ancestry, who prefer to live in Windhoek, Swakopmund, and other farms spread across the nation. German is also one of the most important business languages. Immigrants from Angola speak Portuguese.

Internet, Communication

The country code for Namibia is 264. A two-digit area code is assigned to each city or region. Prefix the area code with a ‘0’ when dialing long distance inside Namibia. Mobile phones are widely available and operate on the GSM network, which uses the same frequency as Europe and the rest of Africa. All large cities offer Internet cafés, and hostels often have connection as well.

Public Holidays

The public holidays in Namibia are:

  • January 1. New Year’s Day 
  • March 21. Independence Day 
  • Easter weekend. (“Good Friday”, “Easter Saturday”, “Easter Sunday” and “Easter Monday”): a four day long weekend in March or April set according to the Western Christian dates. 
  • May 1. Workers Day 
  • May 4. Cassinga Day 
  • May 25. Africa Day 
  • August 26. Heroes’ Day 
  • December 10. Human Rights Day 
  • December 25. Christmas Day 
  • December 26. Day of Goodwill (Family Day) 

Entry Requirements For Namibia

Visa & Passport

Tourists are permitted to stay in Namibia for up to 90 days.

Foreign citizens from the countries/territories listed below do not need a visa to visit Namibia: Angola, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Cuba, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macao, Malaysia, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, New Zealand, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Seychelles, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Swaziland

Visitors from countries other than those listed above must apply for a visa at the Namibian embassy in their home country or at the Ministry of Home Affairs, Private Bag 13200, Windhoek, +264 (0)61 292-9111, fax: +264 (0)61 22-3817.

If you need a visa to visit Namibia, you may be able to apply for one at a British embassy, high commission, or consulate in the nation where you legally live if no Namibian diplomatic post exists. The British embassies/consulates in Al Khobar, Jeddah, and Riyadh, for example, accept Namibian visa applications (this list is not exhaustive). A Namibian visa application costs £50 to complete at a British diplomatic post, with an additional £70 if the Namibian authorities need the visa application to be referred to them. Namibian authorities may also opt to charge you an extra fee if they communicate with you directly.

All tourists must have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months from their date of arrival into Namibia.

When flying to Namibia, you must have a return or onward AIR or BUS ticket; if you do not have one, the airline will not transport you (Air Namibia will notify you of this at check-in!). Intercape bus tickets may be purchased online. Intercape operates buses connecting Namibia with South Africa and Zambia.

They will not allow you in if you do not have a destination address, so be sure you have one.

Always double-check the dates on your passport, since unscrupulous officials have been known to stamp incorrect dates in order to penalize individuals for overstaying when they depart, and the penalties are exorbitant.

How To Travel To Namibia

By plane

The primary entrance point for air traffic is Hosea Kutako International Airport, situated 45 minutes east of Windhoek. Flights are available from Frankfurt, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Victoria Falls, Maun, Harare, Lusaka, and Luanda. Flights to and from South Africa are operated by South African Airways, British Airways, Airlink, South African Express, and the no-frills Kulula.com. Flights to Luanda are operated by TAAG Angola Airlines.

By car

There are nine frequently utilized border crossings with neighboring counties:

Angola

  • Oshikango (Santa Clara),  +264 (0)65 26-4615, fax: +264 (0)65 26-4616.  
  • Ruacana, +264 (0)65 27-0290, fax: +264 (0)65 27-0010. 

Botswana

  • Buitepos (Mamuno),  +264 (0)62 56-0404, fax: +264 (0)62 56-0418. On the Trans-Kalahari-Highway, connecting the B6 and A2 between Gobabis and Ghanzi 
  • Mhembo (Shakawe),  +264 (0)66 25-9900, fax: +264 (0)66 25-9902.  

South Africa

  • Araimsvlei (Naroegas),  +264 (0)63 28-0057, fax: +264 (0)63 28-0058. Connecting the B3 and N14 between Karasburg and Upington 
  • Verloorsdrift (Onseepkaans),  +264 (0)63 26-9134. Connecting the C10 and R358 between Karasburg and Pofadder 
  • Noordoewer (Vioolsdrift),  +264 (0)63 29-7122, fax: +264 (0)63 29-7021. Connecting the B1 and N7 between Keetmanshoop and Springbok 
  • Oranjemund (Alexander Bay),  +264 (0)63 23-2756, fax: +264 (0)63 23-3483.  

Zambia

  • Wenela (Sesheke),  +264 (0)66 25-3430, fax: +264 (0)66 25-2293.  

By International bus

International bus services entering Namibia are most convenient from Cape Town, Victoria Falls, Johannesburg, and Gaborone.

  • Intercape Minaliner provides bus service from Windhoek to Victoria Falls, Capetown, and the Angolan border.
  • Monnakgotla travel operates a bus from Windhoek, Namibia, to Gaborone, Botswana, twice a week.
  • Insight Luxury Coaches operates a bus from Windhoek to Livingstone, Zambia, twice a week. Fares start at N$450. which is less than the Intercape fare

How To Travel Around Namibia

By car

Despite the enormous distances in Namibia, most people travel by ground rather than air. If you hire a vehicle, make sure you have enough cash on hand to fill the tank with petrol. Typically, gas stations do not take any form of payment other than cash. A modest gratuity of NAD 3-5 for the employee pumping your fuel is very usual. When driving through Namibia’s rural roads, it’s usually a good idea to pull over and fill up your tank whenever you spot a service station.

Namibia’s roads are excellent, with paved main routes and well-graded gravel minor routes. Except for tertiary roads and the Skeleton Coast, an all-wheel drive vehicle is not required. Driving at night is very hazardous due to the abundance of animals on the roadways. Traffic travels on the left side of the road. Namibian roads are notorious for consuming tires. Check your spare tire and examine your tires on a regular basis. It’s also a good idea to get any tire insurance that your rental vehicle provider may provide.

Namibia has some of the worst traffic accident rates per capita in the world. Self-driving tourists “win” the ‘no other party involved’ accident category after losing control of their vehicles for no apparent reason other than speed. Driving on dirt roads is unlike any other driving experience that Europeans or North Americans may acquire at home, and the 100km/h speed limit does not imply that you should, or even can, drive at that pace safely.

Namibians often estimate the time it takes to travel between locations based on their extensive experience driving fast on dirt (untarred) roads. If you add a third, you’ll arrive alive and with your kidneys intact! Remember that this farmer passing you at breakneck speed knows every rock and puddle on this road, has a better-suited vehicle, a lighter load, and maybe a few hundred thousand kilometers of experience under his belt.

Allow the rental business to give you a copy of their rental agreement before you book a vehicle. Most of them have many (and often absurd) limitations. Take your time comparing them based on your requirements.

  • Drive South Africa (Car and 4X4 Hire),  +27 21 423 6957, e-mail: info@drivesouthafrica.co.za. Rental branches’ pick-up and drop-off locations are offered in eight locations throughout the country, including Namibia’s airports and major cities. 
  • Europcar Car Hire (Car Hire),  (00264) 61-227103, e-mail: info@europcar.co.za. Car rentals in Namibia. 
  • Kalahari car hire (Car hire Windhoek), 109 Daan Bekker Street, Windhoek, +264 61 252 690, e-mail: iti07553@mweb.com.na. 
  • CABS Car hire Namibia (Car hire Windhoek), 282 Independence Ave, Windhoek,  +264 61 305 912, e-mail: info@cabs.com.na. 
  • Windhoek Car Hire (Windhoek Car hire), 124 Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo Street, Windhoek,  +264 61 306 553, e-mail: info@windhoekcarhire.com.  
  • Thrifty Car Rental,  +264 61 220 738. Offers 24 hour car rental service for a scenic drive through Namibia.
  • AAA Car Hire,  +264 811 246 286, fax: +264 61 244558, e-mail: info@namibweb.com. Sedan, 4WD and bus rentals in Namibia.

By taxi

In Namibia, there are two kinds of taxi services: shared taxis and dedicated taxis, often known as “radio taxis” or “call-a-cab.” The shared taxis are required to obtain a license that restricts their mobility to inside a town or between a group of towns. Taxi rates for shared taxis are set by the government and cannot be negotiated. Taxi drivers may, however, overcharge visitors who are unaware of the normal rates. Radio taxis do not have this limitation, although they charge between 5 and 10 times the price for the same trip.

Shared taxis are seldom roadworthy; in Namibia, any vehicle must pass the roadworthy test only when ownership changes. It is not unusual to see steel wire-tied bonnets, emergency spare tyres, shattered windows, and other such occurrences. Drivers often disregard red lights (called “robots” in Namibia) and stop signs, allowing passengers to board wherever they find them, even on motorways and in the midst of intersections. Be courteous to other vehicles by not waving at a cab that cannot safely stop.

Long-distance shared taxis make it simple to travel across towns. They are quick, sometimes frighteningly so, and inexpensive. Simply ask around to find out where the taxi rank is located (sometimes there are several taxi ranks, each one with departures to different areas of the country). However, none of them will transport you to tourist sites, which are usually typically located outside of major cities. Instead of waving at cabs operating inside a city, it is customary that you gesture in the direction you want to go.

Many businesses provide low-cost shuttle services between most places, including Windhoek, Swakopmund, Walvis Bay, Tsumeb, and Otjiwarongo. These services are completely secure, although they are more costly than cabs.

By train

TransNamib, Namibia’s national railway operator, provides trains (and buses) to locations across Namibia through its StarLine passenger service. Some of the options are as follows:

  • Windhoek-Otjiwarongo-Tsumeb
  • Windhoek-Gobabis
  • Windhoek-Swakopmund-Walvis Bay
  • Windhoek-Keetmanshoop (formerly also to Upington in South Africa but not any more)
  • Walvis Bay-Swakopmund-Tsumeb

The StarLine scheduled service transports people in special carriages attached to freight trains. These passenger coaches include airline-style seats, air conditioning, and (sometimes) audiovisual entertainment. On lengthy trips, vending machines offer refreshments.

Desert Express,  +264 (0)61 298-2600, fax: +264 (0)61 298-2601, e-mail: dx@transNamib.com.na. The Desert Express is a luxury tourist train that travels across Namibia on a regular basis, bringing visitors to places like Walvis Bay, Swakopmund, and Etosha National Park. Buses carry tourists from railway terminals to the different attractions. 

By plane

Westwing,  +264 (61) 221091, fax: +264 (61) 232778, e-mail: charters@westwing.com.na. Throughout the nation, it provides both scheduled and charter flights.

Destinations in Namibia

Regions in Namibia

  • Caprivi is a panhandle in the country’s north-east. The Caprivi is one of Namibia’s few water-rich regions, with two main rivers.
  • Northern Namibia – from the mouth of the Ugab River to the Angolan border.
  • Central Namibia is located between the Tropic of Capricorn and the mouth of the Ugab River.
  • Southern Namibia – South of the Tropic of Capricorn.

Cities in Namibia

  • Windhoek is the capital and biggest city of Namibia.
  • Keetmanshoop—Small hamlet on the train lines and roads, serving as a starting point for hikes in Fish River Canyon Park.
  • Lüderitz is a German seaside village from the Colonial period.
  • Ondangwa and Oshakati are twin settlements in northern Namibia’s Owamboland region.
  • Outjo—Etosha National Park, Koakoveld, and Damaraland are all accessible from here.
  • Swakopmund—Coastal town that is a tourist hotspot for Namibians.
  • Tsumeb—Mining town east of Etosha.
  • Tsumkwe is a remote desert town surrounded by San (Bushmen) settlements.
  • Walvis Bay—Desert sports.

Other destinations in Namibia

  • Brandberg Mountains — At 2 573 m, this is Namibia’s highest peak.
  • Etosha National Park
  • Kolmanskop — A ghost town located just outside of Lüderitz.
  • Waterberg Plateau Park—Another excellent location for animal viewing.
  • Sossusvlei—The most common entrance point for visitors to the Namib desert.
  • Skeleton Coast—The Namib desert’s northern coastal region, called after the hundreds of ships that were beached in the dense fog that often occurs where the desert meets the Atlantic.
  • Spitzkoppe—the Matterhorn of Namibia.
  • Fish River Canyon Park—The world’s second biggest canyon.
  • Opuwo—Kunene Region’s capital and a great place to stock up before traveling deeper into Kaokoland and the remainder of NW Kunene.
  • Kaokoland – This northwestern part of Namibia is home to the Himba tribe, desert elephants, desert lions, Epupa Waterfalls, and many more attractions.

Things To See in Namibia

Namibia has a lot of natural beauty. To really enjoy the nation, take a trip or hire a vehicle and go around the countryside, taking in the deserts, mountains, towns, and everything that Namibia has to offer.

The Namib Desert, which extends for over 1000 kilometers along the Atlantic coast, is one of the country’s most prominent characteristics. As one of the world’s oldest deserts, its sand has an unique red color and some of the world’s tallest sand dunes. Sossusvlei, the most accessible section of the desert, is a magnificent site with towering dunes that change colors as the sun rises and sets. Fish River Canyon, near the South African border, is one of the world’s biggest canyons. It stretches for 160 kilometers and has a width of 27 kilometers at its widest point and a depth of approximately 550 meters at its deepest point. The Skeleton Coast National Park is located in the north of the nation and is largely inaccessible. It’s an apparently desolate stretch of stone and sand known for its fog and the amount of shipwrecks that have occurred along the shore.

Namibia, although not as abundant as neighboring Botswana or South Africa, nevertheless offers enough of African wildlife to view. This contains several indigenous subspecies suited to the severe desert environment, such as desert lions, desert elephants, and Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra. Gemsbok, ostrich, and springbok are other frequent grazing species. Namibia’s national parks are a great place to start, with Etosha National Park in Northern Namibia being one of the most renowned. The park is surrounded by the Etosha salt pan, which attracts animals, especially during the drier winter months, since it provides water in a relatively arid area. Waterberg Plateau Park, the Caprivi Parks, and the isolated Kaokoland are all excellent places to see animals.

Namibia has a German colonial impact that may still be seen in some of its structures. Windhoek is home to a variety of noteworthy structures, including the Christuskirche, the railway station, and the castle-like Heinitzburg Hotel. Lüderitz is a colonial-era town with unique German Imperial and Art Nouveau architecture. Kolmanskop, an abandoned mining village, is nearby. Once a prosperous diamond mining town, the miners have left and the sand dunes have taken their place, although excursions are still available.

Food & Drinks in Namibia

Namibians consume an enormous amount of meat.

  • Windhoek’s numerous different restaurants and cafés provide both local and foreign food. Almost everything you desire may be found here.
  • Apples, oranges, onions, tomatoes, potatoes, and spinach are among the fruits and vegetables available in Namibia. Peanuts, beans, rice, millet, maize, bread, and pasta are also quite prevalent. Many of these items are imported and therefore very costly, as well as restricted in availability owing to seasonality.

Namibia’s nightclubs are usually busy and open late (pretty much until the last person leaves). They are mainly concentrated in Windhoek, Swakopmund, and Oshakati. There aren’t many bars, but there’s plenty of shebeens and really excellent beer. Windhoek Lager is Namibia’s trademark beer, an easy-drinking filtered lager comparable to many German beers.

Money & Shopping in Namibia

Namibia (together with Lesotho, South Africa, and Swaziland) is a member of the Southern African Common Monetary Area, and the Namibian Dollar (NAD) is linked to the South African Rand at a 1:1 ratio (ZAR). In Namibia, both the Namibian Dollar and the South African Rand are legal currency, but change is typically provided in Namibian Dollars.

Banks in Namibia will exchange Namibian dollars into South African Rands without fee or documentation. Because any bank or currency exchange outside Namibia (even other members of the Common Monetary Area) would demand a significant service fee to convert currency, it is recommended that you utilize a Namibian Bank before leaving the country.

It is also a good idea to have evidence (for example, ATM receipts) that the money you are taking out of the nation is the money you brought in the first place.

All cities and villages have automated teller machines. But keep in mind that not everything on the Namibian map is a town. In Kunene Region, “Red Drum” is simply that, a red drum, while “Sossusvlei” is a clay pit, not a town. And, of course, no ATM. It is recommended to only utilize teller machines located inside a mall or other facility. Always take precautions to ensure that no one is watching you input your PIN, and be wary of common scams (for example, machines that seem to consume your card and refuse to return it after you enter the PIN).

Prices in stores are set, while prices in open markets or from street sellers are negotiable.

Many locals may approach you to purchase souvenirs in most places; a simple ‘no thanks’ will generally enough and they will leave you alone. It is customary to haggle. Try to purchase as much as you can from little businesses rather than larger ones—the it’s greatest way to assist the impoverished locals. Please do not purchase high-quality items such as cell phones or safari equipment from mobile sellers. They often deal in illegal products, and acquiring such items may land you in hot water.

Because the government does not want money transferred out of the nation, cross-border money transfer services are restricted and costly, with one of the lowest currency buying-and-selling rates in the world. In Namibia, there are just a few Western Union Money Transfer offices.

Traditions & Customs in Namibia

Namibians are very proud of their homeland. It is a developed country (albeit yet a developing country) with all contemporary conveniences and technology. Namibians have been exposed to a remarkably diverse range of peoples as a result of the United Nations’ oversight of the elections, as well as different volunteer groups. They aren’t bothered by Westerners wearing shorts or ladies wearing trousers. It is not unusual to see Afrikaners strolling about with thick, knee-high socks (which prevents snakes from obtaining a good bite) and shorts. When welcoming someone, it is usual to inquire how they are. It’s a basic interaction in which each person asks, “How are you?” (or the local variation, “Howzit?”) and replies with a similarly brief response before proceeding with whatever your business is about. It’s a good idea to do this at tourist information booths, marketplaces, while getting into taxis, and even in Windhoek shops (though it’s not usually done in some of the larger stores in the malls).

Stay Safe & Healthy in Namibia

Stay Safe in Namibia

Namibia is a peaceful nation that has never been engaged in a conflict. The Angolan civil war ended in May 2002, and the violence that spilled over into northern Namibia is no longer a concern.

Namibia, on the other hand, has a comparatively high crime rate. Keep an eye out for ATMs. It is not advisable for foreigners to stroll or use cabs alone after dark. Pickpockets may be an issue. No native will stroll with a bag, and criminals use the bag to determine who is a tourist and who isn’t. Stuff everything you own into the pockets of your pants. There have been many reports of armed robberies recently. Electric fences are built in nearly every home in Windhoek for home protection.

The majority of reported robberies occur just outside of the city center. According to the authorities, cab drivers are often involved: they identify vulnerable tourists and communicate with the thieves through mobile phone. Take these warnings in perspective; if you remain vigilant and take some common sense measures, you should be OK. When asked where you stay, never be precise; “in town” or “at any B&B” suffices for all good-faith discussions and does not reveal your planned path.

Visitors should have little trouble visiting the townships, but do not go alone unless you are acquainted with the region. If you’ve been traveling in Southern Africa for a while, you’re undoubtedly aware of what you’re doing.

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a major issue in Namibia. The issue is exacerbated since most individuals do not see it as a problem. Be particularly cautious while driving or walking in the nights on weekends.

Stay Healthy in Namibia

In Namibia, the HIV infection rate is about 25%.

Namibia’s medical system is up to date and capable of meeting your requirements. Because the staff is well-trained, HIV transmission in hospitals is not a problem. This applies to both government and private institutions, but lines at private hospitals are typically shorter, and there have been instances of erroneous diagnosis at government hospitals.

The northern portion of Namibia is a malaria-risk zone; thus, contact a doctor before traveling and take necessary malaria precautions while visiting these regions.

Unless otherwise stated, Namibia’s water supply is generally safe to drink. Campgrounds near rivers often receive their water straight from the river, so don’t drink it!

Having said that, make sure you contact a physician who specializes in Southern African health problems, as well as websites such as the Centre for Disease Control. Make sure you’re comfortable with the safety of anything you’re going into.

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