Destinations

Namibia FAQs

YOUR NAMIBIA QUESTIONS ANSWERED

Namibia is one of Africa’s growing tourist destinations, meaning that you get the benefit of some amazing wildlife but with fewer crowds. With landscapes like no other place on earth, here you can see wild deserts that have over run buildings, coastline so stark is has been given the name 'Skeleton' and wildlife adapted to live in these wonderfully unique conditions. 

A place so untravelled comes with it many questions, have a look below at some of the most frequently asked.

  • Is a self drive the best way to travel Namibia?

    Namibia is an easy-to-travel-destination when it comes to transport, with self-drive and fly in both being options.

    Namibia has a fantastic infrastructure and well signposted roads making it perfect for a self-drive safari. Distances can be quite far between destinations, meaning you have time to absorb your surroundings in your own time and you drive on the left hand side of the road, the same as the UK and Australia. We love self-drive safaris in Namibia, so much in fact that our Managing Director, Will Bolsover, did one for his honeymoon!

    Another of our favourite ways to travel is a fly-in safari. Our fly-in safari over the Skeleton Coast is a thrilling way to experience this stark and unique land. Flying between camps each day, you have amazing views each day before staying at some rustic camps with your ‘flight-mates’.

    You can also travel via charter plane and luxury train.

  • What do I need to know about driving in Namibia?

    Find out everything you need to know about hiring a vehicle for a self-drive safari in Namibia.

    With most hire vehicles, you will need to leave a credit card authorisation when you collect the car, and this acts as a guarantee to the hire company that you will pay up to a specified amount should there be any damage to the vehicle before it is returned. This amount varies and we will let you know the amount on your personal hire vehicle. Most vehicles also include unlimited kilometres as the distances are so vast here! 

    When you collect the vehicle, you should check that the spare wheel tyre is in good condition and that you have the necessary tools to change the tyre. You should also check the condition of the other tyres, glass and engine to avoid being charged for damage that is a result of normal wear and tear. 

    Once on the road you should make sure that you fill up with fuel frequently to allow for any detours, unexpected lack of supply (this does not happen often) or getting lost.  In addition you should carry emergency supplies of water and basic food.  You should also check your tyre pressure, oil and water every morning before setting out on your day’s journey.  The speed limits vary in different countries, but in Namibia, Botswana and South Africa it is 120km per hour on tar roads and 80km per hour on gravel/ dirt roads.  To ensure maximum safety, you should not exceed these limits, especially on gravel roads that offer unpredictable conditions.

    Do not, unless in an emergency, drive after dark as the roads can be very dangerous with many animals and poor lighting!

    We have compiled some tips for driving in Namibia below:

    SPEED           

    On any road surface other than tar, never exceed 80km/hour. 

    Normal range is 60km – 80km/h

    Tar road max speed on open road is 120km

    BREAKING ON DIRT ROADS

    Never break hard, especially going into a corner, allow the road to lead you around the bend

    SALT ROADS           

    Roads north of Swakop tend to dissolve in mist and get slippery – they may look like tar, but they’re not!

    DUST

    In dusty conditions it is advisable to switch on the headlights of the vehicle to be more easily observed by other road-users.

    DUSK/NIGHT

    Never drive after dark out of town. Animals often sleep on the warm tar & gravel and are responsible for many accidents. Your insurance won’t cover you for this.

    SAND ROADS

    Stop car, engage 4x4, drive. Disengage after crossing.

    ROAD SIGNS

    Observe road traffic signs, particularly those that indicate gentle or sharp curve ahead.

    In the case of a warning sign indicating a gentle curve ahead, reduce speed by at least one third of the cruising speed before commencing the turn.

    In the case of a warning sign indicating a sharp curve, reduce speed to at least half the cruising speed before commencing the turn.

    ANIMALS

    Always look out for animals, especially warthog as they tend to forage on  road sides

    LIGHTS         

    Drive with your lights on

    Tropical down pours – pull well off the road, keep lights on and wait

    RIVERS

    Ephemeral rivers spring up quickly – wait until the flow subsides, or if flow is very slow, walk the route first.

    TYRE PRESSURE    
     

    Toyota 4x4 hi-lux double cab: Tar roads 2.2 bar, gravel roads 2.0bar,  sand (Sesriem) etc 1.8bar

    PUNCTURES

    Always use the safety triangle provided and find a flat place to change a tyre, with rocks behind/in front of the three remaining wheels

    LEFT HAND SIDE

    We drive on the left hand side of the road (same as the UK)

    SEAT BELTS

    The driver, as well as all passengers in the vehicle need to wear their seat belts at all times whilst travelling in the car. The fines are currently NAD 2,000.00 per occurrence for non-compliance.

    4x4 FACILITY            

    Be clear on how to engage the 4x4 function of your car. If you struggle to get out of 4 wheel drive, it sometimes helps to reverse the vehicle before changing.

    DRIVERS

    Ensure wherever possible that you have two insured drivers

    DRIVE TIMES

    We do our utmost to ensure that daily average drive time shouldn’t exceed 5 hours with regular breaks.

    FUEL

    Please carry enough cash to pay for fuel as most filling stations only accept cash.

    POLICE ROAD BLOCK           

    Always stop!

    If fined for any offence, insist on a receipt  

  • Is Namibia easy to navigate?

    Self-drives aren't all about the actual driving, we are often asked about how easy it is to navigate. Find out more here.

    The road network is well maintained and very well signposted, and with relatively so few roads it’s almost impossible to get lost! You will be provided with a map before you depart in your vehicle, and these are clear and easy to read.

  • Is Namibia a good family destination?

    Namibia is a fantastic destination for families, offering limitless adventure opportunities and great value for money.

    Many lodges and camps will only accept children 12 years and over, but there are some that are specific family accommodations that cater your younger children. We can advise you on the best places to stay, and read through our fully comprehensive Namibia Family Safaris page for more details.

  • Do I need travel insurance for Namibia?

    As part of the Terms and Conditions of your safari with Natural World Safaris it is essential that you purchase comprehensive travel insurance when making final payment for your safari. 

    Your insurance should be inclusive of full medical cover including costs of emergency repatriation, cancellation and travel delay.

    Anyone travelling with Natural World Safaris must have travel insurance valid for their time of travel.

  • Which languages are spoken in Namibia?

    The official language in Namibia is English, so communication should not be a problem. 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.

  • Do I need an international drives licence for a self drive?

    On a self-drive safari, you will need to bring a licence with you for each person who may be driving the vehicle you rent.

    An EU or UK photo license is fine and you won’t need an international license.

    If the essential details on your driving licence are written in English you can use this, but if not then you will need to acquire an International licence. If you do stop at a police block, some will also ask to see your passport to prove that you have a valid visa for the country so you should always keep this handy.

  • Are there luggage limits?

    The amount of luggage you can bring to Namibia will depend on your chosen safari type and how you will be travelling.

    For fly-in and guided driving safari departures the luggage limits are between 12 and 20kg per person and soft bags must be used to minimize luggage damage. For self-drive trips we also advise soft bags, as these are much easier to transport and to pack into the vehicle. Any excess luggage can be safely stored with us in our Windhoek office, or in Maun or Kasane if you are flying into the Okavango Delta.

  • What money should I bring?

    The amount that you bring will depend on the length of time you are travelling, and how many meals you will need to buy during your safari.

    Visa and MasterCard are also readily accepted in most banks, shops, lodges and restaurants in Namibia and South Africa, but cash or travellers’ cheques are recommended for Botswana.  American Express and Diners Cards are not generally accepted.  Cash only is recommended for Zimbabwe & Zambia, and preferably US$.  Petrol/ diesel and National Park entry fees in all countries must be paid for in cash only, in the currency of that country.  The Namibian dollar is linked 1:1 with the South African Rand, and Rand notes and coins are accepted throughout Namibia.
    We advise our clients to let their credit card company know the dates that they will be travelling and the countries you will be visiting so that they do not block your card when you try to make purchases in Africa.  It is also worth double checking your daily/monthly limit!

    For self-drive clients fuel in Namibia and South Africa currently costs approximately Rand/N$0.77 per litre although this has been fluctuating a lot recently.

  • What should I pack to go to Namibia?

    Before you travel with us, we always send you a recommended packing list to help your prepare for your journey. There are some more details here:

    Clothing

    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.

    Other things to pack

    A towel if you are camping, a broad brimmed hat with a strap, sunglasses, sunscreen, 2 litre water bottle (you could also just buy a mineral water bottle when you arrive and re-fill it), camera & film (extra film can be purchased in Southern Africa, but you should bring a good supply in case you can't find exactly what you want here), spare camera batteries, binoculars with strap, bird book if you are keen birders (Sasol or Newman’s birds of Southern Africa are both very good and not too heavy), spare glasses if you wear these or contact lenses, any personal medication, a basic kit of re-hydrate salt sachets, diarrhoea tablets, painkillers, antihistamine cream, insect repellent, plasters and antibiotic ointment.

    Extra stuff to bring if camping

    What extra things do I need for a camping trip? A powerful torch (maybe the headlight type for ease of use), sleeping bag (four season for winter) one can usually be hired if you don’t want to bring your own – just ask us for details.
  • What are the passport requirements for Namibia?

    Make sure that you have a signed passport and that its validity will extend to six months after the date of your return.

    This document must also be carried with you at all times when travelling around Southern Africa, including Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana. For entering any country in Southern Africa, you must have at least two empty pages in your passport for the entry visa, otherwise they may turn you away upon entry! If you are entering a number of different countries on the same trip then we advise having at least 6 empty pages as each country’s stamp tends to take up a lot of space.  It is advisable to carry copies of your passport, flight tickets, visa/s and any other important information in case the originals are stolen or mislaid.

    Please check the number of entry days that you are given at immigration as soon as you have your passport stamped. We have heard of some instances where tourists were only given a few days in their passports, did not check the dates and then had trouble exiting the country as they had overstayed their tourist visas.

  • Am I safe on a self drive in Namibia?

    Self drive safaris are very popular in Namibia, they can be cost effective, relaxing and are suitable for anyone, from honeymooners to families. We often get asked if they are safe, find more details below.

    Namibia has the second lowest crime rate in Southern Africa and serious crime against tourists is practically unheard of. Out of the major town centres you will have the road almost literally to yourself, even on main tourist routes it is common to have a spacing of 15 minutes between cars. If you do have a break down or a problem, passers-by will commonly stop and help. You will also be given a local mobile upon arrival, pre-programmed with all the lodge numbers and our local ground operators details whose there to take care of you while in country.

    Namibia lends itself to self-drive safaris. The roads are in good condition, very quiet and easy to navigate with signposts at every junction, the population tiny and crime low. On a self-drive safari, we would supply full outlined maps of your route and spend however long it takes, talking over your route prior to departure. We are on the ground in Windhoek, close to the city centre, where in addition to the maps we hand over flyers and vouchers. It would also be here where the car would be delivered so that your consultant will be hand to also check the car over and ensure that you are happy with the 4x4 and that two spare wheels etc are provided. We also include the most comprehensive insurance available in Namibia, including tyres, rims, glass lights, underbody and water damage. Once on the road we advise all lodges of your routing and ETA and should they be late they automatically inform us and take appropriate action. We lend all our clients a mobile phone with the direct number of each lodge they'd be visiting, plus our 24 emergency number. We also offer as an optional extra GPS and Sat phone hire.

  • Can I drink the tap water in Namibia?

    Tap water is purified in hotels, lodges and other public places so is safe to drink. If you are worried about drinking the tap water, bottled water is available to purchase throughout Namibia.

    Two litre bottles of water are available in the supermarkets which are great if you are on a self-drive safari.

    If you need to purify water yourself, you can do this by boiling it if you have gas, or by using purification tablets. Vitamin C tablets are good for disguising the taste.

  • What is the weather like in Namibia?

    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.

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