Glossary (Namibia)

 

Clothing

The southern winter (May - September) in Namibia is characterised by pleasant day temperatures (about 25°C), while the nights are very cold; often below zero. You should bring both, summer clothes and warm jerseys. During the summer months, day temperatures can soar to well over 30°C while night brings little relief. Many people struggle to sleep well in the heat. For the summer months you will need light and airy clothes; sun-hats, sun-glasses, sun-tan lotion and firm shoes are indispensable.
 

Cultural diversity

Namibia has a diverse culture. Among others, there are the Herero, Nama, and Damara tribes and the San (Bushmen) residing in the Kalahari desert, being the original hunters on the Southern African continent. At present, coloured and white people inhabit Namibia as well. During the colonial era, many Germans settled on farms in Namibia and currently German speaking people still own numerous Guest Lodges and Game Farms.
 

General

Namibia is one of the least densely populated countries in the world and is extremely dry. For someone who enjoys quietness, remoteness and likes a surrealistic landscape, it is the destination for a dream holiday. It can be especially rewarding to make use of personalized tours to appreciate the remote atmosphere.
 

Important Telephone Numbers

International dialling codes:
- Namibia: +264
- Great Britain: +44
- USA: +1
- Germany: +49

Namibia Ambulance Service: Differes in all regions
Namibia Police Service: 10111

Mobile Phones: Please obtain details from your local service provider about international roaming in Namibia.
 

Landscapes

The north is especially rich in wildlife and the Etosha Pan Nature Reserve is undoubtedly the highlight. On the other hand, the south is dry and boasts a fascinating landscape with the predominant red dunes in Sossus Vlei and the spectacular canyon landscape of the Fish River Canyon.
 

Language

English is the official language, but many people also speak Afrikaans and German. There are also several indigenous languages spoken, mainly in the rural areas.
 

Money & Tipping

The Namibian Dollar (N$) is fixed to the South African Rand (1:1),
The exchange rate favours international tourists since the Namibian Dollar is steadily declining against the major world currencies. It is, however, not a country that offers cheap accommodation.
Tips of 10% are expected where a service charge has not been included in the bill. Tour guides, game rangers and trackers rely on tips for their income and should be tipped accordingly.
The Namibian Bank allows you to exchange all freely convertible currencies and traveller's cheques into Namibian Dollars. At bigger branches you find ATM's, where you can draw money with a credit or Maestro (the former EC) card. The banks are usually open on weekdays from 9:00 to 15:30. Some are closed at midday between 13:00 and 14:00 pm.
 

Peak Holiday season

The prime time to travel in Namibia is between August and November during the dry season. Animals are best viewed at this time as big herds congregate to drink at scarce water holes. If, however, your interests do not rest entirely in observing animals, but you enjoy the beautiful landscape, the off-season months of March to May are just as suited. Roads are less dusty as it rains more frequently and you may even see a wonder of nature - a green desert!
 

Petrol Stations

The network of petrol stations in Namibia is good, although not as numerous as in Europe. Also smaller towns have a petrol station. Only cash is accepted as payment. Mostly Diesel, 95 Unleaded and 97 Super (leaded) are available. 1 litre costs just under 9 N$. The petrol stations are service stations (no self-service) and a small tip of about 2 - 5 N$ is adequate, especially if the attendant has washed your windscreen.
 

Roads

The condition of Namibian roads is generally good and well maintained. You can travel the country on 5 500 kms of tarred road and 37 000 kms on gravel roads easily in a normal sedan. The sand, salt and gravel roads are well maintained and easy to navigate, unless it is pouring with rain. During the rainy season in Namibia (November - March) roads passing through river beds can be flooded, so be careful before crossing a flooded river.
A 4x4 is not an absolute neccessity in Namibia. Most gravel and sand roads are in good condition and can be negotiated by normal light vehicles. But for some areas particularly Kaokoland you have to have a 4x4. For the Kaokoveld, additional expedition equipment like a second spare wheel, tools, special maps and possibly a GPS etc are required.
In the whole of southern Africa one has to drive on the left side of the road. As well as your national driver's licence you should also take an international one along. In all urban areas, there is a speed limit of 60 km/h while on national/rural roads, the limit is 100 km/h. On gravel roads one shouldn't go faster than 60-80 km/h. Every year, there are many accidents due to people speeding on untarred roads. Besides, if an oncoming car causes a stone to hit your windscreen, chances are it won't break if you are traveling at a lower speed. Tourists especially, who are unfamiliar with the hazards of these roads, overestimate their vehicle's road traction.
 

Safety

Namibia is probably regarded as one of the safest countries to visit in Africa. The majority of visits to Namibia are safe and trouble-free, but beware of street crime and pick-pockets in the town centers, just like any other town in the world. Make sure you do not leave things lying open in your car which could attract criminal elements. Travel in daylight hours only (livestock wandering onto roads at night cause many accidents).
 

Time

Local time is GMT +1 (GMT +2 between the first Sunday in November and the first Sunday in April).
 

Travel Health

Safety regulations in Namibia require all visitors to have a yellow fever certificate if arriving from an infected area. Travellers should ensure their polio vaccinations are up to date. There is a malaria risk in the northern region during the rainy season (January to April). HIV/AIDS is prevalent and precautions are essential. Cholera outbreaks do occur and visitors should drink or use only boiled or bottled water, and avoid ice in drinks. There has been an increase in the incidence of rabies among dogs in Windhoek. There are good medical facilities in Windhoek, but medical insurance is essential as treatment is expensive. Travellers to Namibia should take medical advice at least four weeks prior to departure.