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Namibia

Namibia Safari information Even by African standards this is a vast country. With its surface area of 824 268 square km, it is about four times the size of the United Kingdom and 27 times the size of Belgium. Situated along the Atlantic seaboard on the south-western coast of the African sub continent, Namibia borders on Angola and Zambia in the north, South Africa in the south and south-east, Botswana in the east and Zimbabwe at the eastern extremity of Caprivi, the curiously-shaped panhandle consisting of water-rich riverine swamplands. Population is estimated at just over 1.4 million with an annual population growth of about 3%. The population density of 1.7 people per square km is one of the lowest in the world. The population is distributed unevenly, however. Approximately 60% of the countrys inhabitants live in the north and about one third in rural areas. The Namibian nation has a checkered ancestry, which can be traced back to many corners of the African continent and Europe. The result is a people characterized by a rich and diverse kaleidoscope of different languages, cultures and lifestyles.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

All visitors must have valid passports and return tickets. Visas are required by nationals of foreign countries excluding the following: All Commonwealth countries, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Rep. of Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Namibia, Netherlands, Norway, Samoa (Western), San Marino, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Uruguay and USA. The following countries (although Commonwealth) do require visa: Bangladesh, Ghana, India, Mauritius, Nigeria, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Entry into Namibia is permitted for a maximum duration of 90 days. Note: Please check with your nearest Namibia Consulate for up to date information for other than US citizens.

CURRENCY

The currency unit is the Namibian Dollar (NAD), which is fixed to and equals the South African Rand on a one-to-one basis. The Namibian Dollar and South African Rand are the only legal tender in Namibia and can be used freely to purchase goods and services in the country. The Namibian Dollar, however, is not legal tender in South Africa. Travelers can exchange their currency for Namibian Dollars on arrival at Windhoek International Airport or at commercial banks in Windhoek and Swakopmund. Banks are open Monday to Friday 9:00am-3:30pm and Saturdays 9:00am-10:30am. Credit cards (Visa, MasterCard) are accepted in major towns and at many safari lodges and rest camps, but not in rural areas. Visitors may import/export a maximum of NAD 50,000 in bank notes. Foreign currency may be imported and exported without restriction provided it is declared on arrival.

CLIMATE

Namibia is generally a hot and dry country. However, there is a range of local climates with extreme variations. The Atlantic coast is subject to both cold, moist mists, which come ashore in summer, and hot, dusty winds, which come from inland in winter. Mountain areas are typically cooler and have greater rainfall. The border regions with Angola and Zambia are tropical – hot and humid. Most of the interior land surface is desert or semi-desert. The summer months of November to April are generally hot and sunny with temperatures rising as high as 85°F with night temperatures dropping to around 59°F. The rainy season runs from February to March with average rainfall between 50 – 700 mm. During the winter months of May to October, days are dry, sunny and mild to warm (68°F) but evening temperatures drop significantly to as low as 32°F, being particularly cold and windy at the coast.

Temperature (ºF) – These are the average lows and highs
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
WDH 63/56 63/84 59/81 55/77 48/72 45/68 45/68 46/73 54/79 57/84 61/84 63/88
SWP 54/77 54/73 54/73 59/77 59/77 64/82 59/82 59/82 54/77 54/77 54/77 54/77

Rainfall (inches) – This varies according to the year and where you are.
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
WDH 1.69 2.08 2.20 1.10 0.19 0.11 0.11 0.11 0.11 0.39 0.90 3.75
SWP 0.47 0.59 0.47 0.39 0.39 0.39 0.27 0.35 0.43 0.59 0.63 0.43

WATER

All water from taps is purified and visitors need have no hesitation in drinking it. Outlying areas typically rely on borehole or spring water, which is safe if boiled.

ELECTRICITY

In major cities all electrical appliances run on 220 or 240V AC, 50 Hz. Outlets are round 3-pin, 15 amp plugs. The electricity supply is 220 or 240V AC, 50 Hz. However those camps/lodges situated in remote areas have to generate their own electricity. To do so each camp/lodge has a generator, which runs for about 3 hours in the morning and 3 hours in the afternoon when guests are out on activities. These generators then charge batteries located at each tent / room, which provide good 12v lights all night (if used sensibly). If you need to have your video battery re-charged you can ask the camp staff to do this for you. Therefore, please bring a spare battery for use while the other is being charged. It is not possible to use appliances such as hairdryers or electric shavers as there are no electrical plug outlets in the tented rooms at the camps.

COMMUNICATIONS

Namibia has an efficient postal system and 31 automatic telephone exchanges, enabling visitors to dial to 277 countries. Telecom Namibia also offers a cellular telephone system. IDD and fax facilities are freely available. Most major towns have post offices open from 08h15 to 16h00. A direct international dialing service is available from the major hotels and lodges in Namibia. For international telephone calls, the country code is +264 – regional country codes are available from the operator. Safari lodges are able to communicate via a radio.

TIME ZONE

Greenwich Mean Time + 2 hours during Daylight Savings; Greenwich Mean Time + 1 hour from April to August.

LANGUAGE

Although English is the official language, both Afrikaans and German are frequently used. The major African local languages are Herero and Ovambo with at least nine other dialects found in some areas. The English-speaking visitor to Namibia will have no problems while traveling throughout the country.

WHAT TO BUY

The first artists of Namibia were the Bushmen (San), whose rock paintings and engravings can be viewed in rocky shelters on mountains and hills throughout the country. Namibia has a surprisingly large and active community of artists and craftspeople. While earlier works of art depicted mainly wildlife and the landscape, many of today’s artists reflect the changing political and social climate in the country. Work by contemporary artists and craftspeople can be viewed and purchased in galleries, craft centers, at street markets in the towns and rural areas, and along roadsides. Namibia’s handicraft sector consists of contemporary craft produced mostly in the urban areas and the more traditional crafts produced in the rural areas. An intriguing facet on the contemporary craft scene is the large variety of designer jewelry, which is manufactured locally by goldsmiths using local semiprecious and gem quality stones. Fine carpets and tapestries using wool from the karakul are also popular. Swakara (Namibian karakul or Persian lamb) garments are styled in line with international fashion trends, while miniature dolls in Herero traditional dress, shoes made of kudu leather, and a novel Namibian art form - toy motorcars made from wire - are popular Namibian souvenirs. Traditional crafts include woodcarvings from Kavango and Caprivi, Owambo and Himba baskets made from leaves of the makalani palm and Bushman eggshell jewelry. Embroidery and appliqué work feature naive art designs of trees, animals and birds.

DUTY FREE

There is no duty free shopping available at Johannesburg International Airport on a flight to Namibia. Please make sure any duty free purchases of film, alcohol, etc. are made before arriving in southern Africa.

TAX AND CUSTOMS

Value Added Tax (VAT) in Namibia is 15%. Bona fide tourists to Namibia are exempt from paying sales duty or excise duty on luxury items such as jewelery or Swakara (fur) garments.

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

1 January New Year’s Day
21 March Independence Day
1 May Workers’ Day
21 May Ascension Day and Casinga Day
25 May Africa Day
26 August Heroes’ Day
10 December
Human Rights Day
25 December Christmas Day
26 December Boxing Day