Namibia. Useful information for travellers.

3 months road trip in Southern Africa,
 Namibia, Botswana, South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. 
October - December 2014   

Average exchange rate: 1 € =  13,75 N$

Travelling in Namibia is easy. The tourist infrastructure is good, many different options.
Empty country, safe, wild life and infinite landscape. Wonderful, we loved it! Great for a roadtrip!

To go around it´s much easier if you have a car, not many people around the country so not too much public transport. Only the main towns are connected by public transport (and there are not many). Otherwise, you can try to hitch-hike (even if some roads are really empty of traffic, you never know...) or join a tour (just ask at the backpackers in the main towns, Windhoek and Swakpmund being the best places).
Read the special chapter about "rental car" in our Namibia Blog.

Interesting information: www.namibian.org and The Cardboard Box.

Warning:

Namibia is a dry country, but there´s a short rainy season with heavy rains, specially in january and february.
Keep this in mind as many roads are gravel ones, and they get bad with the heavy rains, specially sad if you travel with a normal car.
   MONEY IN NAMIBIA   

The currency is the Namibian Dollar.
The exchange rate in October 2014, was 1 € (euro) = 13.75 N$ (Namibian Dollar).

In the main towns, there are banks with ATMs (ususally close to the supermarkets).
No extra charge for foreign cards. Good exchange rate, no extra commissions, good withdraw limit.
Supermarkets, hotels, activities, etc., can usually be paid directly by card. But only a few gas stations admit cards (but there are usually ATM inside or near the gas station).
Carry some cash too, specially when going to remote places.

   WEATHER IN NAMIBIA   

The rainy season is from november til april, with more rain in january and february.
Keep in mind that driving in Namibia can be a complete different experience in the rainy season when the gravel roads can get muddy and even with a 4x4 it can be tough. So if travelling with a sedan car, it´s better avoiding these months.
 In winter (june to august), it can be very cold in the desert at night.


   NATIONAL PARKS IN NAMIBIA   

National Parks in Namibia are quite cheap, compared with other African countries. 
For prices, there are 2 parks categories:
  • Etosha, Fish River, Sesriem, Skeleton, Waterberg 
          Prices: Entrance fee is 80 N$/day (less than 6 €) for foreigners.
  • The other parks (most of them in the Caprivi, northeast) are half price.
          Entrance fee is 40 N$/day for foreigners.

Plus, 10 N$/car.
You can visit the parks on your own, self-drive and a normal sedan car is usually fine.
We did Etosha, Sesriem, Fish River national parks with a Ford Fiesta, no problems.
Waterberg can only be visited with an organised tour.
Most of the Caprivi parks (northeast) need a 4x4, except Buffalo section (close to Botswana border, Divundu).
If you don´t have a private car, in the national park camps they organise jeep-safari drives (around 25 US$ for 3 hours).

For accommodation in the parks, the private managment, NWR (Namibia Wildlife Resorts) has good camps. Usually quite cheap if camping (except Etosha), rooms are more expensive.
Complete information at: www.nwr.com.na
Outside holidays, and if camping, you don´t need to book. Harder to get a room in places like Etosha all year round without booking.

    TOURIST INFORMATION IN NAMIBIA  

In the tourist areas and towns of Namibia you will find goverment tourist information offices, with free maps, booklets, advertisements, etc. Similar to the ones in Europe, Australia, USA, etc.
Really useful.
Also inside the national parks, the information centers offer good advice and some free maps (not always free!)..

   TELECOMS AND SIM CARD IN NAMIBIA   

Good mobil coverage. MTN and Vodacom are the main companies. Easy to buy a sim, no register needed.
Buying a sim card costs only 10 N$ (less than 1 €).
3 G network not avalaible, at least outside the capital and big towns. Coverage was fine, even in remote areas.
Some of the accommodation in towns has free wifi.

   HEALTH  

Most of Namibia is malaria free zone. Just some places north of the country, bordering Angola and Botswana can be risky, more in rainy season.
Lots of repellent at the supermarkets, like “Sleep Well” or “Tabard” (South Africa brands), quite cheap (around 30 to 50 N$).
Water is usually safe to drink. Ask first.
Supermarkets are modern and clean.
Big AIDS rate.

We saw many small health centers but Namibia is big and empty so better to have an insurance in case.
Hygiene is good, specially at the supermarkets and camps. Like in Europe or better!
Many big pharmacies in the main towns, close to the supermarkets.

   LANGUAGES - COMMUNICATION IN NAMIBIA   

English is widely spoken, so no problem.
But for some people, it´s a second language as many have as mother tongue afrikaan, german or Oshiwambo. People commonly speak two or three languages.

   ELECTRIC PLUGS   

Special type of plug, like in South Africa, with 3 big round holes. You need an adapter if coming from Europe, US or UK.

   SAFETY IN NAMIBIA  

We never felt unsafe travelling around Namibia. 
The country looks safe, it´s very empty and calm, also we didn´t go to the capital city Windhoek (just take more precautions there, like in all the big cities).

Shops close quite early and the town´s center gets empty with the sunset, so better avoid just in case going out when dark.
Most of the camps have private security and access control.
Many wild animals and cattle in the northern part, so better don´t drive at night.
Everything´s easy for the traveller.

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