Horseback riding in Namibia

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Equestrian tours in Namibia

 Namibia Mini Guide
    Source: World Travel Guide


Overview

From the seemingly endless sand dunes of the Namib Desert to the tropical wetlands of the Caprivi Strip, Namibia is a country of epic landscapes, bountiful wildlife and few people. Its greatest assets are the rugged Namib and Kalahari deserts, which support a surprising diversity of fauna including rare black rhinos, cheetahs, elephants, springbok and vast flocks of ostriches.

Namibia can be a harsh and unforgiving land, and nowhere is this more evident than along the Skeleton Coast. A windswept wasteland of dark green scrub and calcified sand dunes, it is littered with the rusting carcasses of ships washed ashore by the merciless Atlantic Ocean.

It's not all hostile. The area is also home to the colorful Himba people whose love of elaborate hairdos and jewelry have made them one of the most photographed tribes in the world. Their home overlaps another of Namibia's natural marvels, Etosha National Park, which boasts an abundance of wildlife: everything from the tiny Cape sparrow to the magnificent African elephant can be found here. 

Towns and cities are few and far between in Namibia, thanks to its low population. Even the capital, Windhoek, is not much larger than a medium-sized British settlement. But the city's lively nightlife, colonial architecture, thriving culinary scene and excellent beer make it a pleasant place to while away a few days - even if the town planners did make a habit of naming roads after dictators. Anyone fancy a stroll down Robert Mugabe Drive?

Namibia's second city, Swakopmund, is lighter on the dictator nomenclature, but none worse for it. The coastal town has a sunny charm that is all its own. Appearing like a mirage in the desert, the city is home to palm-fringed beaches, a gorgeous collection of colonial buildings and a sizeable German-speaking population.

Passport/Visa

Passport Required?

British

Yes

Australian

Yes

Canadian

Yes

USA

Yes

Other EU

Yes

Visa Required?

British

No

Australian

No

Canadian

No

USA

No

Other EU

No/1

Return Ticket Required?

British

Yes

Australian

Yes

Canadian

Yes

USA

Yes

Other EU

Yes

 

Passports

To enter Namibia, a passport valid for six months from date of entry with one blank page is required by all nationals referred to in the chart above. If you require a visa, you must have at least three blank pages in your passport.

Passport note: Parents traveling with children under the age of 18 need to supply an unabridged birth certificate showing the details of both parents. If the child is flying with one parent only, a parental legalized consent affidavit signed by the absent parents will also need to be produced.

Visas

Visas for Namibia are not required by nationals referred to in the chart above for stays of up to three months if visiting Namibia on holiday except:

1. Nationals of Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, who do require a visa.

All visitors travelling to Namibia for business purposes require a visa. Business travelers from countries that have a visa exemption agreement with Namibia are issued a business visa on arrival, free of charge. Other business travelers  must arrange a visa in advance.

Visa note:

Nationals not referred to in the chart are advised to contact the high commission/embassy for visa requirements for Namibia.

Visa-exempt nationals may only stay in Namibia for a maximum of three months in a calendar year.

Types and Cost

Single-entry tourist visa: £60; multiple-entry tourist visa: £90.
Single-entry business visa: £90; multiple-entry business visa: £120.

An additional administrative fee of £35 applies to all visa types.

Validity

Valid up to three months from date of issue for stays of up to three months from date of entry.

Applications to:

Consulate (or consular section at high commission); see Contact Addresses.

Working Days Required

Visa processing takes three days.

 

Money

Currency

The Namibian Dollar (NAD; symbol N$) is in note denominations of N$200, 100, 50, 20 and 10. Coins are in denominations of N$5, N$1, 50 cents, 10 cents and 5 cents. It is linked to the South African Rand (R) on a 1:1 basis (South African Rand = 100 cents). The South African Rand is also acceptable as currency in Namibia.

Currency Exchange

Available in banks and at bureaux de change as well as Hosea Kutako International Airport.

Credit/Debit Cards and ATMs

American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are accepted. Credit cards are not usually accepted at petrol stations, so bear this in mind when you visit the ATM. Setting aside an emergency petrol cash fund is a good idea if you're planning to drive. Although ATMs can be found in most towns, it's worth making sure that you've got enough cash handy at all times, as towns can be few and far between. Make sure you notify your bank of your travel plans before you go: Namibia is among the countries that trigger an automatic account freeze (fraud protection) if you fail to tell your bank beforehand.

Traveller's Cheques

To avoid additional exchange rate charges, take traveller's cheques in US Dollars or South African Rand. In general, you can expect a better exchange rate for traveler's cheques than for cash.

Currency Restrictions

Restrictions apply.

Banking Hours

Mon-Fri 0900-1530, Sat 0900-1100. Note that at the end of the month, when many government employees are paid, queues at the bank can be several hours long.

Exchange Rate Indicators

Date

April 2018

£1.00=

N$17.34

$1.00=

N$12.44

€1.00=

N$15.14

 

Health

Vaccinations

 

Special Precautions

Diphtheria

Yes

Hepatitis A

Yes

Malaria

Yes*

Rabies

Sometimes

Tetanus

Yes

Typhoid

Yes

Yellow Fever

No**

Inoculation regulations can change at short notice. Please take medical advice in the case of doubt. Where 'Sometimes' appears in the table above, precautions may be required, depending on the season and region visited.

 

* A small malaria risk exists in the entire northern third of the country (Oshana, Oshikoto, Omusati, Ohangwenga, Otjozondjupa and Omaheke) from November to June and along the Kunene river and in Kavango and Caprivi regions throughout the year. Although visitors who plan to remain in the southern part of the country (Sossusvlei, Windhoek, Walvis Bay etc) do not need to take anti-malarial drugs, they are recommended for those travelling further north.

** Namibia is not an infected area but does border countries that are. As a result, a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travelers over one year of age arriving from an infected area.

Food and Drink

Mains water is normally chlorinated and, while safe, may cause mild abdominal upsets. Bottled water is available and is advised for the first few weeks of the stay. Drinking water outside main cities and towns may be contaminated and sterilization is advisable. Water taken from lakes and rivers is generally a bad idea and cannot be regarded as entirely safe to drink without prior boiling. Milk is pasteurized and dairy products are safe for consumption. Local meat, poultry, seafood, fruit and vegetables are generally considered safe to eat.

Other Risks

Vaccinations against meningococcal meningitis, tuberculosis and hepatitis B are sometimes recommended. The measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is also recommended for travelers born after 1956 who have not previously received the inoculation. A rabies vaccination is sometimes required, particularly if your plans involve some degree of interaction with wild animals.

Health Care

Because Namibia’s size medical facilities are spread out, with most lodges offering little more than basic medical care. As a result, serious accidents will require an expensive transfer to hospital in Windhoek, or in extreme cases, to medical facilities in South Africa. As a result, travel insurance is essential, and taking out a comprehensive policy is worthwhile. This is doubly the case if you’re planning to take part in sports such as quad biking or off-roading.

While Namibia isn’t plagued by the tropical diseases that afflict its northern neighbours, it does experience the occasional outbreak of malaria, while dysentery (most often seen in campers who haven’t properly treated their water supply) can also occur. It is advisable to consult your doctor well in advance of travelling about immunizations and assembling a first aid kit if you’re planning to drive long distances or stay in a remote area.

 

Getting There

Getting There by Air

Namibia s relatively hard to get to, with only one direct flight available from Europe. As that flight, operated by national airline Air Namibia (SW) (website: www.airnamibia.com.na), go to and from Frankfurt, multiple stops are necessary for everyone else.

Travelers from the UK can take a connecting flight to Frankfurt or fly with South African Airways (www.flysaa.com) via Johannesburg. Flights are most expensive during the peak game-viewing season which runs from May to September, and over the Christmas period.

Note: Namibia's main airport is Hosea Kutako International. Unless you're traveling direct from Frankfurt, it's worth having your bags wrapped in order to avoid problems while changing planes. Thanks to the flight connection time on British Airways/ Air Namibia route, taking a change of clothes in your hang luggage is also handy- it isn't unusual for bags to arrive a day behind their owners.

Approximate Flight Times

From London to Windhoek - 13 hours 30 minutes (including stopover).

Air passes

Air Namibia offers and airpass to international travelers using the Frankfusrt route. Along with the main flights, the pass includes a minimum of two additional flights to internal destinations. Little information is available on the website; for full details call the airline on +44 844 482 2317, in the UK.

If you are traveling to more than one African destination, the Star Alliance Africa Airpass (www.staralliance.com) is worth investigating. Destinations covered include Windhoek (although not Walvis Bay etc.), most South African cities and other capitals across the continent.

The oneworld Visit Africa Pass (www.oneworld.com) covers flights to Namibia and other South African destinations with British Airways and its subsidiary, ComAir.

Main Airports

Windhoek (WDH) (Hosea Kutako International Airport) is 42km (25 miles) from the city (journey time – 30 minutes). To/from the airport: Shuttle services carrying two or more passengers at a time go to the city. Private taxis are also available. Facilities: Restaurant, bars, snack bar, duty-free shops, post office, bureau de change and car hire.

Departure Tax

None.

Getting There by Water

Main ports: There is a modern deep-water harbour at the Walvis Bay. There is also a small port at Lüderitz.

Getting There by Rail

Namibia's border with Zambia runs alongside the Zambezi River and there is a pontoon ferry crossing into the country from Wenela on the Zambian side.

Getting There by Road

From Cape Town, the N7 freeway runs all the way up to the Western Cape into Namibia, crossing the border at Vioolsdrift (also known as Noordoewer).

From Johannesburg, follow the N14 to Upington and connect with the N10 freeway leading to Grunau in Namibia, brishing past the Augrabies National Park end route. Other border crossings include those at Vellorsdrift, Ariamsvlei, and Klein Menasse.

The Trans-Kalahari Highway links Walvis Bay and Windhoek with Gaborone (Botswana) and Gauteng (South Africa).

It's also possible to enter Namibia from Botswana via the Mata Mata gate in Kgadigadi National Park, provided that you plan to spend at least two nights within the park and stop for immigration at Twee Rivieren.

The Trans-Caprivi highway runs through the Caprivi strip and via Botswana into Zimbabwe. An entrance fee applies to passenger cars and is payable at the border.

Coach travel is available on the Intercape Mainliner (www.intercape.co.za). Routes run to Windhoek from Cape Town and Johannesburg (via Upington), as well as to and from Livingstone (Zambia) and Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe).

Climate

With a staggering 300 days of sunshine each year, Namibia is a year-round destination, although some may prefer to avoid the heat of high summer. The cold Benguela current keeps the Atlantic coast of the Namib desert cool and rain-free for most to the year, with a thick coastal fog that lends a mysterious edge to the area. January and February are the hottest months, when daytime temperatures in the heart of the Namib can exceed 40C (104F), but nights are usually cool. Winter nights can be fairly cold, but days are generally warm and pleasant.

Inland, the rain falls exclusively in summer (November to March). The Caprivi Strip has a unique tropical climate, with heavy rainfall that often leads to flooding between December and March. The weeks following the March rains are ideal for birdwatching, but less good for spotting game, as the animals are more dispersed than in the dry season. The Fish River Canyon hiking route is closed from mid-September to mid-April due to the risk of floods.

For travelers seeking a real wildlife experience, the winter months of April and June are the best tome to visit, as the bush will be sparser and the dry weather will lead to frequent congregations at the waterhole.

Required Clothing

Pack light cottons, with slightly heavier cottons or light woolens for evening. Inland, shoes are essential during the day as the ground is very hot. For walking or trekking, angle-height boots are recommended as there are venomous snakes in the desert including the Cape Cobra. Neutral colors are recommended for safaris and game viewing. At Sossusvlei, a pair of sunglasses is crucial, as the reflection of the sunlight on the dunes and Dead Vlei is near-blinding.

Contacts

 Namibia High Commission in the UK

6 Chandos Street, London W1G 9LU, UK
Tel: (020) 7636 6244. 
Website: http://www.namibiahc.org.uk
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 0900-1700.

Embassy of the Republic of Namibia in the USA

1605 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20009, USA
Tel: (202) 986 0540.
Website: www.namibianembassyusa.org
Opening times: Mon-Fri 0900-1600. 

British High Commission in the UK

116 Robert Mugabe Avenue, Windhoek, P.O. Box 22202 
Tel: (61) 274 800. 
Website: http://www.gov.uk
Opening hours: Mon-Thurs 0800-1300 and 1400-1700; Fri 0800-1200. 

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