This Namibia Safari Requirements information is designed to assist Safari Guru clients in understanding their travel destination prior to departure, as well as planning for the local conditions. Please take your time to read and ensure you fully understand any local customs, political agendas and the history of your chosen destination. Please note that Africa is in a constant state of change and development; therefore, the information provided should be treated as guidance only and could change by the time of travel.
Namibia COVID-19 Travel Information and Requirements – 03 June 2023
- From 25th August 2022, foreign visitors to Namibia no longer need a Covid vaccination certificate or negative PCR test to enter the country.
- Adults and children under 12 years of age are not required to be vaccinated or carry a negative COVID-19 PCR test to enter Namibia
- International travellers must have valid insurance that covers medical care or an unexpected extended stay
Frequently Asked Questions about travel in Namibia and Covid-19
Is a negative PCR test required to depart Namibia?
Namibia does not require a PCR test to depart the country unless the airline or onward country requires it.
Is a doctor’s letter or proof of recovery from Covid-19 accepted for entry to Namibia?
As of 25th August 2022, foreign travellers entering Namibia no longer need any Covid documentation to enter the country.
Is proof of vaccination required for entry to Namibia?
As of 25th August 2022, foreign travellers entering Namibia no longer need any Covid documentation to enter the country.
Do kids need a PCR test to enter Namibia?
As of 25th August 2022, neither adults nor children are required to be vaccinated or carry a negative COVID-19 PCR test to enter Namibia.
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; nowhere is this more evident than along the Skeleton Coast. A windswept wasteland of dark green scrub and calcified dunes, it is littered with the rusting carcases of ships washed ashore by the merciless Atlantic Ocean.
It’s not all hostile. The area is also home to the colourful Himba people, whose love of elaborate hairdos and jewellery has 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 sparrows to magnificent African elephants 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. Does anyone fancy a stroll down Robert Mugabe Drive?
Namibia’s second city, Swakopmund, is lighter on the dictator vocabulary but none the worse for it. The coastal town has a sunny charm that is all it’s own. Appearing like a mirage in the desert, Swakopmund is home to palm-fringed beaches, a gorgeous collection of colonial buildings and a sizable German-speaking population.
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT NAMIBIA:
|Area||824,292 sq km (318,261 sq miles)|
|Population||2,513,981 (Estimate 2016)|
|Population Density||2.7 per sq km|
|Head of Government||President Hage Geingob since 2015|
|Language||English is the official language. German and Afrikaans are widely spoken as well. Namibia is a multi-cultural destination with many other languages spoken, including Damara, Kavango, Ovambe and Herero.|
SOCIAL CONVENTIONS IN NAMIBIA
Thanks to the high number of religious believers, Namibians are, on the whole, conservative. As a result, homosexuality isn’t really understood and is barely tolerated, while modest clothes, although not expected, are appreciated. Generally, though, Namibians are friendly, entertaining people who will deal with you politely and expect the same in return.
Western customs are generally accepted as the norm, so usual courtesies should be shown when meeting new people or visiting someone’s home. In rural areas, visitors should follow the advice of a local guide when it comes to indigenous etiquette. Giving a proper greeting is particularly important, and those who are standoffish or blunt are regarded as extremely rude.
Smoking is uncommon and prohibited on public transport and in most public buildings.
Christians comprise 80-90% of the Namibian population, of which 50% are Lutheran. Other denominations include Roman Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, Dutch Reformed and Mormon. Between 10 and 20% hold indigenous beliefs. The Muslim and Jewish populations are tiny, with the two religions comprising less than 3% of Namibian believers.
HISTORY OF NAMIBIA
Namibia’s prehistoric history dates back more than 750,000 years, when the first settlers moved in to brave the hostile Namib and Kalahari heat. Although the earliest settlers were basic Hunter-gatherers, the Boskop – ancestors of the San people – had developed a structured society more than 20,000 years before the birth of Christ, making it one of the world’s oldest civilisations.
Sadly for the Boskop and the San who followed, their period of dominance did not last, with Bantu and Khoikhoi agriculturalists moving in and displacing them. Later, during the 16th century, the Herero people arrived from the Zambezi Valley, followed in the 19th century by a new Bantu group, the Owambo, who settled along the Kunene and the Okavango Rivers.
Although Europeans had known about Namibia since 1486, when Portuguese Captain Diago Cão sailed along the coast as far as Cape Cross, it wasn’t until the 17th century when Dutch settlers from Cape Colony (now South Africa) began to take an interest. In 1844, the first German settlers appeared, followed by the British who, attracted by its vast sardine shoals, promptly annexed Walvis Bay.
German colonisation proper began with Luderitz and quickly extended outwards and upwards to include the whole of Namibia, barring Walvis Bay, which remained in British hands. Settlement began as the Nama-Herero wars raged, allowing the Germans to sweep in and take over. Then followed one of the darkest periods in Namibia’s history – the German extermination of nearly 80 per cent of the Herero population. The genocide was interrupted by the outbreak of World War 1 intervened, and from 1918 onwards, Namibia became a British protectorate overseen by South Africa.
Although South Africa became fully independent in 1967, Namibia did not, and as a result, the full force of apartheid was visited on the country. Throughout the 1950s, despite pressure from the UN, South Africa tightened its grip on Namibia, leading to uprisings among the black population and some whites and the eventual formation of SWAPO (South West African Peoples Organisation). SWAPO spent the next 30 years battling to rid Namibia of the South African occupiers, at one point asking for help from Cuba. In 1988, a ceasefire was negotiated between SWAPO, Cuba and South Africa, and independence followed two years later.
Namibia Passports & Visa Requirements
Your passport should be valid for at least six months after the date of your intended departure date from Africa. It is each travellers responsibility to ensure they have adequate passport pages, obtain any visas and satisfy any entry requirements.
SUGGESTED PASSPORT PAGES – At least three blank “visa” (not “endorsement”) pages are required.
If you intend to route via, and visit, South Africa, you should be aware that although South African authorities state they require 1 blank passport page for entry, some officials insist on 2 blank pages. If you plan to take this route make sure you have a total of 3 blank pages.
Before leaving the immigration desk in the airport arrivals hall, check that you have been given permission to stay in Namibia for the duration of your intended visit up to a maximum of 90 days. Overstaying the time granted or an incorrect or missing entry stamp could lead to detention, arrest or fine.
At this time, Australian, American and British tourists do not need a pre-arranged visa to enter Namibia, and should generally have tourism access for up to three months a year. For other travel purposes, you’ll need a visa in advance.
Please click here to get the list of countries that have Visa Exemption Agreements with Namibia.
If you are required to apply for a visa, you would need to submit the following.
Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice.
Medical, Immunisations & Safety
When visiting Namibia, if you have arrived from, have transited through, or live in a country* with the risk of yellow fever, you must present a certificate of yellow fever vaccination upon arrival.
There is a low risk of yellow fever in this country; however, there is a certificate requirement.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), from 11 July 2016 (for all countries), the yellow fever certificate will be valid for the duration of the life of the person vaccinated. As a consequence, a valid certificate presented by arriving travellers cannot be rejected on the grounds that more than ten years have passed since the date vaccination became effective, as stated on the certificate; and that boosters or revaccination cannot be required.
For other immunisations, please consult your medical practitioner or a travel medical centre for advice on medical issues related to your destination. The following websites may be helpful to you: British: travelhealthpro.org.uk, Australians: smartraveller.gov.au and wwwnc.cdc.gov for American travellers. Please note that many immunisations require administration some weeks prior to travel in order to be effective. During your trip, should emergency assistance be required, each game-drive vehicle has radio contact with the camp, and each camp has 24-hour radio contact with their base support headquarters. Medical emergency evacuation will be arranged if necessary.
Take enough legal prescription medicine with you to last for the duration of your stay so you remain in good health. Carry copies of your prescription and a dated letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you’ll take and that it’s for personal use only.
Malaria can occur in very limited areas of the north of the country, especially during the rainy season (November to March). You can consider taking malaria prevention medication and seek medical advice if you have a fever, muscle pain, rash or severe headache.
Other mosquito-borne diseases (including filariasis) also occur.
Protect yourself against insect-borne diseases by using insect repellent and wearing long, loose-fitting, light coloured clothing.
It is a pre–requisite of travel that all clients obtain comprehensive travel insurance cover at their own expense. it is always advisable to furnish your booking agent with your travel policy details – if applicable.
Your Health (Food & Water)
In Namibia, local tap water is generally not potable for foreign travellers.
Sealed bottled water is safe to drink, and reputable brands can be purchased in hotels, restaurants, and grocery stores. You will be supplied with water at your camp, which has been filtered through a reverse osmosis process.
It is essential that you drink plenty of water each day (a minimum of 2–3 litres). The dryness and heat will dehydrate you very quickly. If you are feeling lethargic or have a headache, there is a good chance it is simply dehydration, so make sure you increase your water intake.
It is a good idea in the warmer months to travel with spare rehydrate sachets.
The water used for washing salads and making ice has also been filtered.
Cash and Credit Cards, Tipping & Other
The country’s currency is the Namibian Dollar and is used to purchase items locally, although ZA Rands are also accepted. The Namibian Dollar is tied to the South African Rand, also a legal tender in Namibia. Please anticipate no access to ATMs whilst in remote Namibia. (Credit cards and Cirrus bankcards can be used in some Namibian cash machines, although the charges for withdrawing cash can be expensive.). Credit cards are not widely accepted outside of urban settlements. Exchange services for foreign currency and travellers’ cheques are available in the main cities if needed.
Personal expenses in the camps, such as souvenirs from the camp shop, can generally be paid with Visa or MasterCard or in the local currency. A surcharge may be levied on credit card transactions. Be sure to contact your bank before departure if you plan to use your credit card in Africa. When carrying USD cash, taking small denominations is a good idea as it is often difficult to get change. Generally, check that USD notes are 2010 or newer and not damaged or marked.
Please consider carrying cash for tipping, most notably for luggage porterage, road transfers, lodge staff and guides.
While gratuities are not compulsory, they do make up a significant portion of income for local staff.
|Camp Staff||There will generally be a communal staff tip box at all the camps, or if not, the manager will inform you how best to offer any gratuity. The usual gratuity for camp staff is USD10 per guest per day|
|Specialist Staff||Safari Guides and Butlers, it is USD10–20 per person per day, given directly to the person at the end of your stay at each camp|
|Trackers||USD5 per person given directly at the end your stay|
|Massage Therapists||We recommend about USD2 – USD3 per treatment|
|Hotel Stays||Baggage porterage is usually tipped (about USD2 – USD3 per guest per movement, depending on how much luggage). Tips for housekeeping are generally not expected unless significant services have been provided|
|Non–Safari Transfers||E.G. airport–hotel: We recommend around USD2 – USD3 per guest per movement, minimum USD5 total|
Safari Guru would like to emphasise that tipping is definitely not a requirement and should be undertaken only by choice, dependent on the service received.
Climate, Clothing and Luggage
Namibia has a very favourable climate, averaging 300 days of sunshine each year.
Summers (October to March) can be very hot with temperatures reaching 35C, but this also the rainy season so a lightweight rainproof jacket is very useful. Winter days, during April to September, are agreeably warm but temperatures can plummet to below zero at night so warm clothing is essential.
Neutral coloured casual clothing (shorts/shirts) for everyday wear, one pair of stout shoes (with soles thick enough to protect against thorns and for walking), one pair of open sandals, a light waterproof jacket for summer, warm jumper/ fleece for winter, warm long trousers for winter, two sets of good casual clothes for evening dining where appropriate, swimming costume, a pair of sturdy gardening gloves if camping – very useful for collecting firewood etc. A small day pack is also useful to take with you on day hikes etc.
Baggage is limited to 20 kg/44 lb per person. This includes carry–on luggage and camera equipment. ALL bags must be soft–sided as they have to be manoeuvred in and out of light aircraft holds. Maximum dimensions 25cm (10in) wide x 30cm (12in) high x 62cm (24in) long. PLEASE DO NOT USE HARD CASES. Hard suitcases and bags with wheels cannot physically fit into the aircraft.
Cell Phones, Power, Photography and drones
Tri–band cell phones on global roaming generally work in all major urban centres. However, they do not work in the majority of safari camps.
Camps are powered by regular electrical power, solar power or generators. Voltage is 220–240V. There is usually ample electricity to charge batteries for digital and video cameras, iPods etc., but not for use of hair dryers and electric shavers etc. In some camps, the facilities for charging batteries are in the main camp area rather than in a room. Many camps have an array of adaptor plugs.
In Namibia, South Africa and Botswana, the South African Socket is used. The voltage (220–240V) is similar to Australia and a voltage converter will generally not be required to use appliances designed for Australia. A socket adaptor is usually all that is needed.
There are no formal rules limiting photography by tourists in Namibia, but some people have been detained for taking pictures of State House and properties where the President is residing. Parts of Namibia require a permit to enter (eg the Cape Cross Seal Colony) and you should check about photography when applying for permits. If the army or police are protecting a building or place, check before taking any photographs. If in doubt, don’t take pictures.
Serious digital photographers may wish to bring a mobile device for the
downloading of images. you are advised to bring a spare battery for use while the other one is being charged, a power converter/adaptor if applicable, cables for computers or cameras and additional flashcards.
Drones without proper government authorisation are not permitted in Namibia.
For further research, please see Drone Laws by Country
Drone laws are continually changing, and if you are interested in bringing a drone on your trip, we recommend double-checking the rules for each country you will be travelling through immediately before departure.
Safari Guru’s Namibia Safari Requirements and Packing List
Understand more about Packing for an African Safari, with a checklist of packing items, or download Safari Guru’s Namibia Safari Pre-Departure Information Document.
PDF Download – Namibia Safari Pre-Departure Information Document
DISCLAIMER: Please note that whilst we take every care to ensure the information contained herein is accurate, we cannot in any manner or form guarantee the accuracy and correctness thereof. The information is taken directly from relevant country government sources and the IATA travel centre, and can change at any time and without notice. You are therefore advised that any information contained herein should not be construed as a representation made by Safari Guru or its network of suppliers and ground handlers and it remains a travellers sole and absolute duty to double-check current information at the time of undertaking any travel.