Considering… Namibia

Through watching many landscape travel videos on Vimeo and Youtube, I came across Namibia. It looks like a beautiful place with so much wildlife and incredible contrasting landscapes with bright orange sand dunes mixed with dead trees. Africa is a continent that contains so much beauty, and it would be a great addition to our world trip.

Why do we want to go?

We’ve always wanted to travel to Africa, but we did not really know where to go. The more we see and hear about Namibia, the more we want to explore it. The epic landscapes, the culture, and wildlife are a big part of why we want to go. There is even a travel meetup on Namibia this month, so it seems to be calling us. These bucket list contenders should be convincing enough!

What are some bucket list contenders?


 Country Profile

COUNTRY | Namibia
RegionSW Africa
Best SeasonJune through October is the dry season
Average Temp / Weather ConditionsSubtropical desert climate with big swings between day and nighttime temperatures. Averages high temperatures during the best season are 21-25°C/70-77°F, but the lows can get down to 7°C/45°F and sometimes below freezing so be prepared.
Key AttractionsHiking, wildlife, photography, national parks, culture, epic landscapes
Entry / Visa RequirementsPassport Valid for 6 months beyond departure date. Tourist Visa available at port of entry. Requires 6 blank passport pages.
CURRENCY | Namibian Dollar (~$1 NAD = $.073 USD)
Daily Budget$617 NAD ($45 USD)
Frugal TipsBook activities, etc. well in advance; cook your own food
THE STAY | Possible duration: Two weeks to a month
Lodging TypesHotels, hostels, Airbnb, couchsurfing, camping, vacation rentals
FoodMeat barbecue, stews, homemade cheeses, beer, sausages, and bread rolls filled with cheese, eggs, meat or salad
Transportation OptionsBuses, trains, hitchhiking, car rentals (know how to change a tire as roads are corrugated, take 2-3 spare tires to remote areas)
Driving RequirementsDrive on the left side of the road; gasoline is cash only; road signs are in English; roadblocks are common and you need to show your international driver’s license; tolls are common; 4X4 recommended for remote along with adequate supplies
ConnectivityWifi is not very common, so check to see where you are able to connect. Some accommodations will have it as well.

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CULTURE | Language: English (Official), Afrikaans, German and up to 30 native languages
  • It is considered rude to not greet people, even people you do not know.
  • Do not ask what tribe a person is from as they may take offense. Asking about religion or what town they are from is perfectly acceptable.
  • Always receive and present items with your right hand.
  • Time is considered flexible.  Things and people running late is not considered to be rude, unless it is an official function.
  • Direct eye contact is okay among adults, but children should not make direct eye contact with adults they do not know as it is disrespectful. Make eye contact whenever possible.
  • Light touching during conversation occurs and is normal here. It is a sign of friendship. Namibians prefer to be close to each other during conversations.
  • It is a good idea to say “How are you?” when greeting someone. Do this at tourist info booths, markets, taxis, and even in shops. Tipping is expected.
Local LawsPossession of illegal drugs is punished severely with long jail sentences; Defamation is illegal and the accused often pay fines.
English AvailabilityEnglish is the official language, but speak slowly because they will not be used to your accent
Attitudes Toward AmericansGenerally friendly
Photography ConcernsThe desert heat and sand could cause problems for your camera if you aren’t careful with it as well as other electronics. Theft is also a concern in cities primarily.
General Safety
  • Crime rates are high in the cities. Be careful at ATMs.
  • Pickpockets are a problem and tourists are often robbed when they have bags on them.
  • Most robberies are near the city centers. Tourist robberies are very common in Walvis Bay, Henties Bay, and Swakopmund areas.
  • When walking or driving on weekend evenings, watch out for drunk drivers because they are numerous.
  • The northernmost part of Namibia is malaria prone (north of Etosha). In towns and tourist areas, you will be generally safe.
Emergency NumberVary by location. See this site for more info.
Location of U.S. Embassy / Phone14 Lossen Street, Ausspanplatz, Windhoek, Central Namibia, Namibia, Namibia Phone +264 61 295 8500
Medical FacilitiesModern medical care is readily available. Government hospitals tend to misdiagnose more frequently and are not as good quality as private hospitals. From most places you are likely a half a day away from a medical facility, so be prepared with a first aid kit. Some hotel lodges can provide basic first aid.
Vaccinations NeededNone unless traveling from a yellow fever endemic country
Health ConcernsHIV is very common a 25% of the population has it. Also, malaria is prevalent in the most northern part of the country, north of Etosha.
Water QualityWater is safe in hotels, lodges and other public places where it is purified. They do tend to recycle and purify wastewater, as water is a limited resource in Namibia. Bottled water is available at supermarkets.

Additional Resources

Have you been to Namibia?  What activities do we have to try out?  What other countries should we consider?

Photos by Nomis Simon, Creative Commons

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