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Useful Information for Travel to Namibia
Entry requirements -Visa & Passport : All visitors are required to carry a passport that is valid for six months beyond the intended length of stay. There should be sufficient blank pages for entry stamps upon arrival.
Culture & Language: The Namibian nation has a chequered ancestry which can be traced back to many corners of Africa and Europe. Among the rich and diverse ethnic groups are the Ovambo tribe, which make up 50% of the population. The Kavangos tribe make up 9%. The Herero, whose women dress in distinctive Victorian style, make up about 7%. The Himba, who are easily identified by their statuesque beauty, intricate hairstyles and ornamental copper necklaces and anklets, are a subgroup of the Herero. The Damara (or Nama) make up 5% of the population. They speak with interesting click sounds. The San (Bushmen) make up about 2% of the population and are the last representatives of the hunter-gatherer tradition. There are also remaining German colonials.
Languages spoken include Ovambo, Damara, Kavango and Herero, although the official language is English, with German and Afrikaans being widely spoken. Guided safaris are usually conducted in English.
IMPORTANT NOTE ON PASSPORT PAGES: It is the responsibility of each traveler to make sure their passport is valid and has sufficient “VISA” pages to stamp entry visas. Please note the last 3 pages on the passport are “NOT VISA” pages; they are amendment pages, and thus visa cannot be stamped on these pages. There should be at least a minimum of 2 blank (unstamped) “VISA” pages for each country to be visited. Failure to have 2 blank (unstamped) “VISA” pages you run the risk of being denied entry even when in possession of valid passport.
Immunizations & Health: You will find Africa a hospitable and healthy place to visit. However, we do strongly recommend that you consult your physician regarding medications and immunizations that are recommended or mandatory. The World Health Organization compiles a listing of required and recommended immunizations for international travelers. Your health insurance provider may cover some of the costs associated with these immunizations. All vaccinations should be officially recorded and stamped in a yellow international immunization card. This card should be carried with your passport. Routine Immunizations are: tetanus-diphtheria, poliomyelitis, measles, mumps, rubella, influenza and pneumococcal.. Additional immunizations to discuss with your doctor are yellow fever, hepatitis A, typhoid, cholera, polio and meningitis.
For your safety, we request all passengers take a course of malaria prophylactics. There are several different possibilities on the market. Please discuss with your doctor which one is best for you. Please remember, not all immunizations can be taken or obtained on the same day or on the day of departure. Some immunizations must be administered serially over a period of time and some cannot be given together. See your doctor at least 4-6 weeks before your trip to allow time for vaccines to take effect.
*Health concerns throughout the world change regularly. For the latest requirements and recommendations consult your doctor and/or go to the above link for the latest WHO report on Namibia.
Packing: Africa is very casual. Plan to wear neutral colors because bright colors and white can startle some animals. Remember, there is a lot of dust - khaki seems to be a good solution. The following is a general outline of items to pack:
1 bag/backpack - max 26-30 lbs
2 pair shorts
1 small day bag
2 pair lightweight pants
3 lightweight shirt
Travel alarm clock
1 long-sleeved lightweight shirt
1 warm windproof jacket
Undergarments & Socks
1 pair all weather sandals
1 pair lightweight walking shoes
Binoculars (Extremely Important)
1 pair evening shoes for lodges and cities
Flashlight & Batteries
Wide-brimmed hat, baseball cap and/or bandanas
First Aid Kit – basic stuff - bandages antibiotic ointment, anti-diarrhea tablets, antacid tablets, pain reliever, waterproof tape, antiseptic, tweezers, scissors, etc. Sun block, allergy pills, insect repellent (containing DEET - 20% is optimal), prescription drugs w/original label, lotion/sun protective lip balm, malaria Tablets, small bottle of Woolite or washing detergent for undergarments contact lenses/solution/glasses, hairdryer (requires a converter 220-240 volt AC 50 Hz
Laundry services in Africa are very good and available at nearly all of our safari camps, lodges and hotels. This means that you can travel light and still enjoy clean fresh clothing throughout your journey.
Money & Tipping: The unit of currency is the Namibia Dollar (N$), which is divided into 100 cents. This is fixed to the South African Rand. Notes are issued in denominations of N$200, N$100, N$50, N$20 and N$10. Coins are issued as N$5, N$1, 50 cents, 10 cents and 5 cents. The Namibia Dollar and the South African Rand are the only legal tender in Namibia and both can be used freely to purchase goods and services. We suggest bringing a combination of Traveler's Checks (mainly as a security measure) and US dollars. Have your traveler's checks issues in small denomination ($20s and $50s) as you will receive the entire amount in the foreign currency you exchange for. Getting US dollars in Africa is expensive but having some throughout the trip is necessary. The remainder of your spending money is a combination of credit card purchases and obtaining local currency at ATM machines. The amount of extra money you need to bring will depend on how many optional activities interest you and your shopping habits. $300 cash should be plenty - with at least $50 in small bills for bartering and tipping. Personal expenditure, meals in major cities, insurance, drinks other than specified, gratuities, airport taxes and visa fees are excluded. We suggest that you allow US$25-35 per day to cover the cost of personal expenses and souvenirs (within reason). There are a number of optional activities available and recommended in Swakopmund.
Guide to Tipping on Safari: Although tipping is a safari tradition, it is never compulsory and should only be done if you have received good service. The staff very much appreciates receiving gratuity from you and it is one way of assuring them they are doing a good job. You can tip in US dollars or local currency. Guests often want to know what is appropriate, so we have prepared a brief guideline to assist you.
Professional Guides and Driver Guides
We recommend, if you are happy with the service, about US$5-10 per person, per day for the guide and about US$3 per person, per day for the driver as a suggested tip.
Here we recommend $3-5USD per client, per day, to be divided among the staff. Most lodges have a staff tip box located at reception or a central location. Tips left here will be divided among the porters and waiters and other lodge staff. If you are particularly satisfied with assistance received from someone, a personal tip is also acceptable.
Voltage & Photography: Bring the photo equipment you are used to working with. A trip like this is not the best place for trying out a new camera. If you spend all of your time learning how to use a piece of equipment, you may not learn how to shoot good images. Bring the instruction manual. Keep in mind that too much equipment can be a hindrance, while leaving behind a piece that could be useful is also a mistake. We suggest bringing an 8" x 5" beanbag to use as a tripod to hold your camera steady when shooting from the vehicle. Bring a combination of lenses that range from 25mm to 300mm.
We suggest an average of 2-3 rolls of film per day of game viewing. Most of your game viewing is in the early morning and mid to late afternoons. For protection from airport X-ray machines, pack all film in lead-lined shield bags. Film and batteries are not available in the African bush. You will find them in the major cities, but they are very expensive.
Digital photography is here. Digital photographers will have to plan for how to save images while in the field. Multiple storage disks are less cumbersome than bringing a laptop to download images to.
Whichever film type you select, the slower ASA films (50-100) generally produce higher quality photos. I would bring a slow film and a faster one (400) for low-light situations.
Note: Always ask before photographing the native people. Do not take pictures of military installations, police stations, airports, soldiers, police or border posts - you may have your film confiscated.
Please consult with lodge managers about charging your equipment. Many properties are run on generators that are only turned on at certain times of the day, usually in the early evening and turned off in the late evening at bedtime.
Electricity in Africa is generally at 220 volts AC, therefore, for most 110 appliances you will need both an adapter for the proper plug configuration and a converter for the correct current. Both round and rectangular three pronged plug sockets are in use. Most safari camps do not have individual electrical outlets in the tents.
Documentation: Passport, health certificates, airline tickets, traveler’s checks, spending money, money belt, proof of insurance, xerox copy of passport, traveler’s checks
Note: Before you leave home, we suggest you make photocopies of the information pages in your passport and carry them separately from your passport. We also recommend bringing at least two extra 2"x2" passport photographs. This will facilitate the replacement of your passport and visa(s) in the event your passport is lost or stolen.
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