Namibia Country Info | Sense Africa

Namibia Country Info

Drinking Water

Water is generally safe to drink all over Namibia. Sense Africa will ensure that you are aware of places where not to drink water, but these are few and far between in Namibia.

Smart casual clothing is recommended and acceptable throughout the country. Lighter coloured clothing not only keeps you cool but also will not startle wildlife whilst watching them.  In the evenings, the temperature will drop. Especially in the winter months (May to September), therefore a fleece or other items of warmer clothing will be necessary.

It is also advisable to bring a lightweight waterproof for those African downpours!  Formal evening dress is seldom.

Neutral-coloured casual clothing (shorts/shirts) for everyday wear, one pair of stout shoes (with soles thick enough to protect against thorns and for walking), one pair of open sandals, a light waterproof jacket for summer, warm jumper/ fleece for winter, warm long trousers for winter, two sets of good casual clothes for evening dining where appropriate, swimming costume, a pair of sturdy gardening gloves if camping—very useful for collecting firewood, etc.  A small day pack is also useful to take with you on day hikes, etc.

English and Afrikaans are the official languages. English, Afrikaans, German, Oshivambo, Herero and Nama are commonly spoken throughout the country.

Currency and Cash
Namibian Dollars and Cents are the currency of Namibia.  They are tied to the South African Rand and Cents and both currencies are in circulation in Namibia.  The Namibian Dollar is not accepted outside Namibia and it is advisable to change any leftover Dollars into Rand, which can then be later changed back into your own currency.

The amount that you bring will depend on the length of time you are travelling, and how many meals you will need to buy during your safari.  Please feel free to ask us the cost of food, etc. along your personal route.

Visa and MasterCard are readily accepted in most banks, shops, lodges and restaurants in Namibia and South Africa, but cash or travellers cheques are recommended for Botswana.  American Express and Diners Cards are not generally accepted.  Cash only is recommended for Zimbabwe and Zambia, and preferably US Dollars.  Petrol/ diesel and National Park entry fees in all countries must be paid in cash only, in the currency of that country.  The Namibian Dollar is linked 1:1 with the South African Rand, and Rand notes and coins are accepted throughout Namibia.

We advise our clients to let their credit card company know the dates that they will be travelling and the countries you will be visiting so that they do not block your card when you try to make purchases in Africa.  It is also worth double-checking your daily/monthly limit!

For self-drive clients, fuel in Namibia and South Africa currently costs approximately Rand/N$11.00 per litre although this has been fluctuating a lot recently.

All acceptable credit cards (VISA being the best) and travellers cheques are honoured in Namibia.  Major foreign currencies and travellers cheques can be exchanged in any bank. Rates for travellers cheques are better than cash.  PIN cards are acceptable in cash machines if they carry the VISA logo.

Souvenirs to Take Home
There are a number of craft markets and places to buy locally made souvenirs such as drums, wooden boxes, animal statues and soap stone carvings.  They are excellent presents, although do be careful of the weight!  Please try not to buy wooden carvings made out of threatened species such as ebony.  If in doubt, please ask.

If visitors wish to photograph a homestead or an individual, he/she should ask permission or consult your guide.  Please be subtle and aware when taking photos.

Please don’t promise to send a photograph if you cannot do it. The number of times that people say they are going to send the picture and it never happens is unbelievable. This is not only unfair but sends out a negative signal. If you do want to send a photograph back make sure that you get a reasonable address and that you can read the writing – some of the town names in Namibia are rather complicated!

Electric current is supplied at 230 volts AC 50Hz and 15 amp three round-pin wall sockets are used. Not all of the remote camps have electricity although communal sockets are often in the main areas which guests can use when the generator is on.

Mobile Phone Coverage
Moblie phone coverage is in the main towns and rural areas.  But outside of these areas it is patchy and in the remote areas a satellite phone is needed. However, when travelling along the well used routes there are always cars travelling by who can help out.

Wifi can be found in all the town accommodation and also the larger camps. Please check with Sense Africa if you need Wifi and we can let you know where you inca get access and if it is free or you need to pay for it.

Service charges are not normally levied, but 10% is a useful guide. Tipping etiquette varies throughout the region although it is always seen as something that is offered for good service and is not automatically expected.  We recommend the following approximate amounts, please remember that this is just a guideline!

R40–50 per person per day for a guided trip, R40–50 per room per day for a general staff tip, most lodges have tip boxes which are split between the whole staff but usually exclude the guides.

Business Hours
Office and shop hours are 08h00–13h00 and 14h00–1700 Mon to Fri.
Bank hours are 08h30–14h30 Mon to Fri and some are open Sat am.
Post offices are open 08h00–16h00 Mon to Fri and 08h00–11h00 on Sat.

Buying Necessities
In Windhoek and Swakopmund, along with other larger towns, there are chemists, supermarkets and a variety of shops to buy forgotten necessities.

Scenic Flights
Scenic flights are based from Swakopmund and flights take you over the desert and sea giving you the opportunity of seeing this stunning landscape from an eagle’s perspective.  The planes are small five-seaters.

Mobile phones can be used in Namibia, as long as you have arranged for international roaming from your provider before departure.  There are a number of internet cafes in Namibia although connection times can be exceptionally slow.

Local Time
Namibia is at GMT +2 hours.  The United Kingdom is one or two hours behind Namibia, depending on ‘summer time’.

Passports and Visas
All visitors require valid passports and travel documents.  European nationals do not require visas.

Make sure that you have a signed passport and that its validity will extend to six months after the date of your return.  This document must be carried with you at all times when travelling around Southern Africa.  For entering any country in Southern Africa, you must have at least two empty pages in your passport for the entry visa, otherwise they may turn you away upon entry!  If you are entering a number of different countries on the same trip then we advise having at least six empty pages as each country’s stamp tends to take up a lot of space.  You need to carry copies of your passport, flight tickets, visa/s and any other important information, in case the originals are stolen or mislaid.

You must check the number of entry days that you are given at immigration as soon as you have your passport stamped.  We have heard of some instances where tourists were only given a few days in their passports, did not check the dates and then had trouble exiting the country as they had overstayed their tourist visas.

Holidays  (apart from those we are familiar with)
Maherero Day—weekend nearest 26 August
Independence Day—21 March
Windhoek Karnival—week in late April/early May
Oktoberfest—vigorously celebrated in late October

Airport Tax
On departure from Windhoek Airport all passengers must pay an airport tax.