Horseback riding in Namibia

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Equestrian tours in Namibia

 Namibia Mini Guide
    Source: World Travel Guide


Overview

Although not as well known as some of its African neighbours, Namibia is a gem for those in search of wildlife and wilderness.

Once governed by Germany and South Africa, Namibia has been independent since 1990. Germanic influence can still be found in the country's well-maintained towns, roads and rest camps. Namibia is peaceful and more prosperous than many nearby countries because of its productive mining, farming, fishing and tourism industries. However, with half the country’s agricultural land owned by a few thousand white farmers, land reform is a burning issue.

Essentially a desert country, Namibia offers contrasting landscapes. The Namib Desert is a vast swathe of high dunes and desolate plains with an awe-inspiring sense of space. The thorn bush savannah and rugged mountains of the central plateau give way to the majestic Fish River Canyon in the south. In the north of the country, landscapes range from the dense bush and open plains of the great Etosha Pan, to woodland savannah and lush vegetation. Etosha National Park, the third largest in Africa, owes its unique landscape to the Etosha Pan, a vast shallow depression edged by waterholes to the south which guarantee rewarding game viewing.

 

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.

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 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.

Validity

Valid up to three months from date of issue for stays of up to three months from date of entry. Extensions for a further three months are available from the Ministry of Home Affairs in Windhoek.

Applications to:

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

Working Days Required

Visa processing takes three days, with same-day processing available for an additional fee.

 

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.

Credit/Debit Cards and ATMs

American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are accepted. Credit cards are not usually accepted at petrol stations.

Traveller's Cheques

To avoid additional exchange rate charges, take traveller's cheques in US Dollars or South African Rand.

Currency Restrictions

Restrictions apply.

Banking Hours

Mon-Fri 0900-1530, Sat 0900-1100.

Exchange Rate Indicators

Date

June 3

£1.00=

N$21.88

$1.00=

N$15.08

€1.00=

N$17.10

 

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

The national airline is Air Namibia (SW) (website: www.airnamibia.com.na).

Approximate Flight Times

From London to Windhoek direct is 10 hours 15 minutes.

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

TransNamib StarLine (tel: (061) 298 2175 or 2032 or 2083; website: www.transnamib.com.na) runs a train from Windhoek to Upington, just across the border in South Africa. However, the service is slow and there are no onward trains from Upington to other South African destinations.

Getting There by Road

A tarred road runs from the south through Upington in South Africa to Grünau, where it connects with the tarred road from Cape Town. The Trans-Kalahari Highway links Walvis Bay and Windhoek with Gaborone, Botswana and Gauteng, South Africa. The Trans-Caprivi highway runs through the Caprivi strip and via Botswana into Zimbabwe.

Bus:
Intercape Mainliner (tel: (061) 227 847; website: www.intercape.co.za) runs comfortable overnight services from Windhoek to Cape Town four times a week, as well as services to Johannesburg and Pretoria via Upington. It also runs a service to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe (close to the border with Zambia). The Johannesburg/Pretoria route connects with a direct service to Gaborone, Botswana.

Climate

The cold Benguela current keeps the coast of the Namib Desert cool, damp and free of rain for most of the year, with a thick coastal fog. Inland, all the rain falls in summer (November to April). January and February are the hottest months, when daytime temperatures in the interior can exceed 40ºC (104ºF), but nights are usually cool. Winter nights can be fairly cold, but days are generally warm and pleasant.

Required Clothing

Light cottons, with slightly heavier cottons or light woollens for evening. Inland, shoes are essential during the day as the ground is very hot.

Contacts

High Commission for the Republic of Namibia 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.

Namibia Tourism in the UK

Colechurch House, 1 London Bridge Walk, London, SE1 2SX, Namibia
Tel: (020) 7367 0962.
Website: www.namibiatourism.com.na

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.

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