Namibia :: Central Namibia
:: Windhoek Area
Category: Places :: Country
TOP ATTRACTION: Twyfelfontein World Heritage Site
TOP ATTRACTION: Waterberg Plateau
TOP ATTRACTION: Welwitschia Plains 4WD-Trail
TOP ATTRACTION: Brandberg White Lady Painting
TOP ATTRACTION: Spitzkoppe
TOP ATTRACTION: Sossusvlei
TOP ATTRACTION: Sesriem Canyon
TOP ATTRACTION: San Living Museums
TOP ATTRACTION: Petrified Forests
TOP ATTRACTION: Organ Pipes
TOP ATTRACTION: Namib-Naukluft National Park
TOP ATTRACTION: Kolmanskuppe/Kolmanskop (Ghost Town)
TOP ATTRACTION: Heroes Acre
TOP ATTRACTION: Genocide Memorial
TOP ATTRACTION: Garub Pan
TOP ATTRACTION: Fish River Canyon
TOP ATTRACTION: Felsenkirche
TOP ATTRACTION: Etosha National Park
TOP ATTRACTION: Epupa Falls
TOP ATTRACTION: Duwisib Castle
TOP ATTRACTION: Christuskirche
TOP ATTRACTION: Cape Cross Seal Reserve
TOP ATTRACTION: Arnhem Cave
TOP ATTRACTION: Ai-Ais Hot Springs Resort
NAMIBIA IS A BEAUTIFUL, UNSPOILT COUNTRY of memorable extremes. With a population of around 2.5 million citizens, it’s sparsely populated (around three people per km²) and its vast, open spaces make Namibia the ideal destination for first time visitors to Africa to discover the rich diversity of this continent.
Located in Southwest Africa (trivia tip: this was its previous name), Namibia is a gem for anyone itching to explore a wilderness. It has a great number of national parks, game reserves and conservation areas where a large variety of land- scapes, vegetation and animals can be seen. But you don’t have to restrict yourself to these protected areas in order to fully appreciate this country.
Namibia is also the ideal self-drive destination as it boasts a good infrastructure and friendly, welcoming locals. Essentially a desert land, this is a place of distant horizons and long, lonely roads where the urge to explore is difficult to resist. You’ll enjoy an excellent road network, both tar and gravel. In remote areas, it’s possible to drive for days without seeing another human being.
You’ll discover places where the landscapes are almost surreal; you might well recognise scenes from some of your favourite movies! Happily, even with its vast, open spaces, there’s a great deal to do and see, which makes it easy to keep your itinerary flexible and just enjoy your road trip!
Namibia offers a great range of accommodation, from basic campsites to well-equipped and comfortable camps, back- packers, tented camps, guest houses and lodges to the most luxurious of hotels. However, if you choose to venture into remote areas, you need to be a self-sufficient camper.
Windhoek is the nation’s capital and the social, economic and cultural centre, it’s a small modern city that’s well worth a visit. You’ll find it conveniently placed pretty much in the middle of the country.
BEST TIME TO VISIT:
Most people feel that May to October is the best time to visit because it’s cooler than summer. Most of the rain falls during February, March and April, and after this rainy sea- son, the veld is green and beautiful.
The country offers a wide variety of camping options. Always be quiet; Honour bookings; Keep the donkey boiler going; Camp in designated areas; Carry your own firewood; Do not feed wild animals; Stick to designated fire areas; Burn your rubbish in your campfire or take it with you; Use the toilet facilities provided, even if it is a long drop (pit toilet) which you might ordinarily avoid; If there are no facilities available, bury your waste; don’t ever leave it or toilet paper uncovered!
In winter (May - September), daytime temperatures in the interior range from 18 - 25° C. At night, freezing temperatures and ground frosts are common. In summer (October
- April) the average interior daytime temperatures range from 20 - 34° C, but temperatures over 40° C are often recorded in the extreme north and south of the country. Along the coast the temperature varies less and seldom reaches higher than 25° C. Heavy fog is quite common, especially at night.
Namibia is a summer rainfall area at which time floods are common. The humidity is generally very low in most parts of Namibia, but in the extreme north it can be as high as 80% during summer.
Namibia’s currency is the Namibian dollar (N$ or NAD), which is linked 1:1 to the South African rand (R or ZAR).
Credit cards are accepted in the cities and bigger towns. You should be able to withdraw money from ATMs without any problems. In smaller towns you’ll find that cash is king.
Officially, you can only pay for fuel, spares and repairs with cash, debit or credit cards, but some fuel stations may choose to only accept cash.
Foreign currency and travellers cheques can be convert- ed to Namibian dollars at any bank or Bureau de Change.
Value Added Tax (VAT) is 15% on goods and services and is included in the price. Foreign tourists are exempt and can reclaim VAT on goods (not services) at their port of exit provided they have valid VAT receipts and present the goods.
DRIVING IN NAMIBIA:
Drive on the left-hand side of the road and adhere to British driving rules. Namibia has a very good road network. Even though all national highways (B-routes) and national roads are tarred, almost 90% of the roads in Namibia are gravel roads. Namibia’s gravel roads are world famous for their quality, they’re mostly of an excellent standard and are very well maintained.
Roads classified as C-routes, whether they are paved or unpaved, can usually be driven with any sedan vehicle, but a vehicle with high ground clearance is recommended. These roads are well-constructed and well-maintained, but might be in a bad condition after heavy rains.
D-routes may also be accessible by sedan. However, unlike the C-routes, they do not have bridges at river crossings therefore they are more vulnerable to rain damage. Be aware that the salt-surfaced roads near the coast are extremely slippery all year round.
During the rainy season roads can become very slippery and roads passing through river beds can be flooded. The smallest stream can turn into a raging torrent of water. Do not cross these streams unless you are absolutely sure how deep they are and how strongly they flow. Water levels drop just as quickly as they rise, so you should rather wait a few hours or at most a day when you’re stuck in this way.
You should pay special attention to warnings of antelope, warthog and even elephants, as they often graze along the verges of the road and can be unpredictable. Even though most roads are fenced, wildlife, donkeys, goats and cattle may still cross your path, even on the main tar roads in remote areas. Always be on the lookout for animals beside the road and do not drive at night.
When approaching a slower vehicle from behind, the driver of the front vehicle will sometimes signal if it’s safe to overtake. Trucks especially, will often use their right indicator to signal that it’s safe to overtake; but be extremely cautious – as this could also be an indication of the driver’s intention to turn right!
The speed limit is 60 km/h in urban areas and 120 km/h on tarred roads outside urban areas. On gravel roads, it is 100 km/h. Speed limits are enforced by means of manned speed cameras which are set up in different places, but often closer to major towns.
The driver and all passengers must wear safety belts and the use of a cell phone without a hands-free set while driving is illegal. In Namibia it’s a legal requirement to drive with your headlights on at all times. 4-Way stops (indicated by a red STOP sign with the number 4 below it) are commonly found at the quieter intersections – the first vehicle to arrive has priority. On roundabouts, give way to the right and proceed with caution.
When driving through long, dry grass like that often found in Kaokoland and Damaraland, be aware of the danger of grass accumulating under your vehicle and catching fire. ALWAYS carry a fire extinguisher in your vehicle and stop at regular intervals to clear any grass around the exhaust manifold.
Generally, fuel is reliably available in most towns and is of good quality. A very good rule is to fill up at each and every fuel station you pass, regardless how full your tank. The distances between towns can be large and occasionally towns run out of fuel or their pumps might be out of order.
This is especially true when the demand for fuel reaches a peak during the holiday season. Supply might be affected at smaller fuel stations, for this reason it’s a good idea to always carry at least 40 litres of extra fuel.
Low sulphur diesel (50 ppm) is available all over Namibia, even at the smaller places. The only place you may not find it is at a container fuel stop, but here you can buy a few litres of normal diesel and mix it in (consult your owner’s manual for advice on this subject).
The fuel price is regulated in Namibia. However, there might be marginal price differences from town to town; if fuel is sold in containers you will find these prices will be a bit higher. Check the Tracks4Africa website for the latest fuel price.
You are allowed to fly your drone in Namibia, as long as you get prior approval from the Namibia Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA). If you only want to use your drone recreationally, you have to apply at least 60 days in advance and if you want to use it for commercial purposes, you have to apply at least 120 days before the scheduled flight
FOOD & DRINK:
Daytimes can be exceedingly hot in summer, winters slightly less so. For this reason you must always carry enough drinking water.
Namibia’s tap water quality is very good as it’s sourced from deep wells, so you can drink it without having to add chemicals or boiling it. However, you should exercise caution if you think the water comes from a running river. As far as possible, don’t use water from stagnant sources, and if you do, treat it first. A good rule of thumb is to boil any drinking water you’re unsure about, or drink bottled water.
Using water purification tablets or a chlorine solution is a cheap and simple way to kill bugs in drinking water.
Every small village in Namibia has a shop where basic food can be purchased. You can stock up at supermarkets in bigger towns.
Namibia is renowned for good beer, the most popular being Tafel Lager and Windhoek.
Make sure you have appropriate medical and vehicle insurance before you leave, and that your vehicle insurance includes vehicle recovery.
The official language is English, but Afrikaans is more widely spoken; many European citizens also speak German. In total, 16 languages and dialects are spoken in Namibia.
Namibia has a very good road network. All national high- ways (B-routes) and national roads are paved (also referred to as surfaced or tarred roads). However, almost 90% of the country’s roads are unpaved. These are referred to as unsurfaced, gravel or dirt roads. Namibia’s gravel roads are world famous for their quality, as they are mostly of excellent standard and very well maintained.
During the rainy season the roads can be very slippery and roads passing through river beds can be flooded.
Respect people’s privacy and ask for permission before photographing someone.
In Africa you should avoid taking photographs of official buildings like airports or official residences.
GMT+2 Central Africa Time.
TRAVELLING WITH CHILDREN:
Due to an increase in child trafficking, parents who travel with children under the age of 18 are advised to carry their full birth certificates in addition to their passports. Adults travelling with children that are not their biological children should provide an affidavit from the biological parents or legal guardians that the children are travelling with their consent. You should also have the contact details of the parents/guardians available. If a child is travelling with only one parent, the other parent must give consent for the child to travel with the other parent. Spot checks may be done therefore it is best to have this documentation ready.
You should always have a good quality high-volume compressor and a pressure gauge with you so you can adjust tyre pressure as needed. Before you leave on your trip for the day, ensure that your vehicle’s tyre pressure is correct for the kind of roads you plan on travelling, as well as the weight that you will be carrying.
If at all possible, carry two spare tyres; especially if you plan on travelling remote areas like Kaokoland. A tyre repair kit is essential.
Police toll-free: +264 (61) 10111
MedRescue: +264 (61) 411600
SOS International: +264 (81) 127 9741
Most community camps in Namibia are unfenced so the wildlife can and will wander through. Always keep your eyes open for wild animals, especially at night. Remember that wild animals are just that, wild, and you’re in their territory. It’s never entirely safe to walk around in wildlife areas, even if it is allowed.
It’s also not a good idea to swim or cool down in any of the rivers in northern Namibia as there are many hungry crocodiles in these parts.
In areas where there are elephant, you shouldn’t keep fruit with you (especially citrus) as the elephants will do anything to get to it.
Never ever sleep with your tent open where wild animals roam free – no matter how hot it is – as predators will drag you out of your tent.
In areas where hippos are found, be aware that at night they leave the water to graze. Never get between a hippo and the water, and do not pitch your tent on or near one of their pathways.
Nationals from the countries listed below are NOT required to obtain a visa when travelling to Namibia (90 day maximum stay): Angola, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Cuba, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macau (SAR), Malawi, Malaysia, Mauritius, Moldova, Mozambique, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Russian Federation, Seychelles, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uzbekistan, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Nationals of the following countries qualify to receive a visa upon arrival: Belarus, Benin, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central Africa Republic (CAR), Chad, Chile, Comoros, Cote d’ Ivore, Czech Republic, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon, The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Hungary, Liberia, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mexico, Moldova, Nicaragua, Niger, Poland, Romania, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, South Korea, Togo, Tunisia, Western Sahara Republic, Uganda, Venezuela, Vietnam, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Ukraine.
Ports of entry where visas will be issued on arrival are Hosea Kutoka International Airport, Walvis Bay Airport and Katima Mulilo, Noordoewer, Ariamsvlei, Oshikango, Transkalahari and Oranjemund border posts.
If you don’t have any 4WD experience, you should do a course before you venture into remote areas.
Due to the risk of burning out your vehicle (due to long grass collecting near or on your exhaust) you should always carry a fire extinguisher.
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