From wild horses to undulating dunes, through ghost towns and stark desert, your chosen Namibian venture will resonate long after the journey ends. The country is a mix of desert, semi-desert, savannah and coast.
The unspoilt ecosystems of the Kalahari red dunes, granite gneiss mountain backdrops, exploration of desert sands and colonial seaside towns each offer a platform for adventure through Namibia.
The best time to visit Namibia is June to October. This is the dry season and allows for better wildlife and bird viewing. April and May are lovely cool months with low rainfall and green landscapes. The least favourable time to visit is November to February as it is very hot and holds a high chance of rain.
Namibia uses the Namibian Dollar (N$) which is linked on a one to one exchange with the South African Rand. The Rand is legal tender in Namibia, however the N$ cannot be used in South Africa.
If you are wishing to purchase currency before arriving in Namibia, it is easiest to buy Rand as the Namibian Dollar is seldom available in banks outside of Namibia.
It is advised to carry cash on you for park fees, tips, and places that will not accept card payments.
Banks are found in most towns and are generally open from 09h00 to 15h30 on weekdays and 08h30 to 12h00 on Saturdays. Closed on Sundays and public holidays. Most of them offer foreign exchange services – with cash, bank and credit cards as well as travellers’ cheques.
You can also obtain cash from many of the ATMs. Several international banks have branches in main city centres. Always advise your bank that you are travelling outside of the country as they might block your purchases if they have not been informed.
Public transport in Namibia is geared towards the needs of the local populace and is confined to main roads between major population centres. Although cheap and reliable, it is of little use to the traveller as most of Namibia’s tourist attractions lie off the beaten track.
There are major airlines that fly into Windhoek and Swakopmund. Other destinations are reachable by car or charter flight.
Namibians drive on the left and all signposts are in English. Seat belts must be worn at all times and talking on a mobile phone while driving is prohibited. The general speed limit is 120km/h on tarred roads outside of towns and 100km/h on gravel roads. In built-up areas, the speed limit is 60km/h. To reach more remote areas, high-clearance 4×4 cars are essential.
Traditional Namibian cuisine is rarely served, the food at restaurants tending to be European in style and is, generally, of a very high standard.
Namibia is very meat-orientated, and many menu options will feature steaks from various animals. However, there is usually a vegetarian and seafood section offered by most camps and restaurants.
According to our Namibia travel advice in 2022, a discretionary ten to fifteen percent tip is typical for restaurant bills, hotels, and taxis. In many places, a service charge is automatically added. It is customary to tip the game guide and lodge staff while on safari.
In the supermarkets, you’ll find pre-wrapped fresh fruit and vegetables (though the more remote the areas you visit, the smaller your choice), and plenty of canned foods, pasta, rice, bread, etc. Most of this is imported from South Africa.
The water in Namibia’s main towns is generally safe to drink, though it may taste a little metallic if it has been piped for miles. Natural sources should usually be purified, though water from underground springs and dry riverbeds seldom causes any problems. However, filtered and bottled water is readily available in most towns and all camps, lodges and hotels.
Partially covered by the Namib Desert, one of the world’s driest deserts, Namibia’s climate is generally very dry and pleasant. It is fine to visit all year round. Namibia only receives a fraction of the rain experienced by countries further east. Between December to March, some days will be humid and rain may follow, often in localised, afternoon thunderstorms. These are more common in the centre and east of the country, and more unusual in the desert.
April and especially May are often lovely months in Namibia. Increasingly dry, with a real freshness in the air, and much greenery in the landscape; at this time the air is clear and largely free from dust.
From June to August Namibia cools down and dries out more; nights can become cold, dropping below freezing in some desert areas. As the landscape dries so the game in the north of the country gravitates more to waterholes, and is more easily seen by visitors. By September and October it warms up again; game-viewing in most areas is at its best, although there’s often a lot of dust around and the vegetation has lost its vibrancy.
November is a highly variable month. Sometimes the hot, dry weather will continue, at other times the sky will fill with clouds and threaten to rain – but if you’re lucky enough to witness the first rains of the season, you’ll never forget the drama.
Namibians have a somewhat relaxed attitude to dress codes. A jacket and tie are very unusual. In fact, long trousers and a shirt with buttons are often quite adequate for a formal occasion or work wear. A pair of sensible shoes, jeans and a t-shirt is recommended.
During the day it is generally hot, so pack lightweight loose-fitting clothes in natural fabrics, such as linen or cotton, that will keep you cool and are easy to wash and dry.
Avoid blue clothing – the tsetse flies are drawn to the colour blue, and their bite can give you African Sleeping Sickness.
Long-sleeved shirts and long trousers will protect you against mosquitoes at night.
Telecom Namibia offers a service called wi-space. You purchase a wi-space voucher that allows you to connect to WiFi wherever you see the wi-space logo (about 40 locations in Namibia).
Alternatively, good WiFi access is available at most holiday accommodation venues across the country (free / paid).
Current is 220/240 volts at 50 cycles per second. A three-point round-pin adapter plug, plug types D and M, should be brought for your electrical appliances. Such adapters are also available at major airports.
If your appliance’s plug doesn’t match the shape of these sockets, you will need a travel plug adapter in order to plug in. Travel plug adapters simply change the shape of your appliance’s plug to match whatever type of socket you need to plug into. Travel plug adapters do not change the voltage, so the electricity coming through the adapter will still be the same 220-240 volts the socket is supplying. If you need to use appliances that are not compatible with 220-240 volt electrical input, you will need a voltage converter.