Name: The Republic of Namibia
Time Zone: + 1 (+2 in summertime)
Capital City: Windhoek
Independence gained on: 21 March 1990 (from South Africa)
National Language: English, Afrikaans, German and several recognized regional languages and dialects
Official Language: English
Currency: Namibian dollar (NAD)
Land Area: Namibia covers an area of about 825,418 km2
Drives on the: Left
Country Code: 264
Namibia stretches along Africa's west coast and is bordered by Angola and Zambia in the north, Botswana in the east and South Africa in the south..
Population & People:
• The population is estimated at 2,100,000 as at 2011.
Vegetation & Special Natural Features:
• Although the majority of the country is very arid, there is much to explore on a Namibian safari, from the dune fields and coastal desert plains in the west to the 1660m-high central escarpment, the densely-wooded bushveld in the north and the lush, green Caprivi Strip.
• The long, narrow Namib desert from which the country derives its name stretches 2,000km from the Oliphants River in South Africa to San Nicolau in Angola.
• Cold waters travelling up from the Antarctic reach the coastline and meet warm, offshore winds to create a fog belt which condenses on land. This moisture sustains many varied and fascinating species of plant and animal.
• The mountainous red dunes of the coastal desert give way to gravel plains as the altitude rises inland. The width of the coastal plain varies; in Luderitz it is almost 300km wide whereas, in the Kaokoveld area to the north where the mountains reach almost to the sea, it is almost non-existent. The Namib itself is criss-crossed by many dry riverbeds leading the way from the mountainous highlands to the coast; most of these rarely carry water although some will flood briefly in years of unusually high rainfall..
• The climate is arid with a usually brief rainy season between October and March. Desert days are extremely hot with summer temperatures reaching into the 40s centigrade and sometimes higher. Nights are, conversely, very cold and warm clothes are needed in the early morning while on a Namibian safari. A major factor in the shaping of Namibia's environment, flora and fauna has been the cold Benguela current which flows south to north off the coast, up from the Antarctic.
• The coastal region receives only 15 to 100mm of rain per year.
• Summer runs from November to March with a high of 40°C and a low of 17°C and winter from June to September with a high of 18°C and a low of 5°C.
• Namibian dollar (NAD).
• The Namibian currency is linked one-to-one with the South African Rand. Each dollar is divided into 100 cents.
• The South African Rand is interchangeable with the Namibia dollar in Namibia and all Rand notes and coins are accepted.
• Namibian dollars are difficult to get hold of outside the country and it is easier to purchase cash in South African Rand before travelling. US$ can be easily exchanged throughout the country, as can Euros and pounds sterling.
• Travellers Cheques can also be changed in banks and most accommodation establishments accept credit cards (mainly Visa or Mastercard), although this should be checked before arrival. Fuel can be purchased with credit cards, but cash is still the preferred method of payment. In the more remote areas there may not be credit card machines either.
Passport / Visa:
• A valid passport is required.
• Visitors from the European Union and the USA can obtain tourist visas for up to 3 months' duration at the border.
• There is no national welfare scheme and visitors to Namibia are responsible for their own medical expenses.
• Please leave a copy of your travel insurance policy with us at the beginning of your holiday, along with copies of your airline tickets and passports.
• Namibia is considered a generally healthy place to travel. However, you should carry your own complete holiday/medical insurance.
• Namibia's major private hospitals are of a good standard with clean and safe facilities. However, serious medical cases will be evacuated by air to South Africa where further facilities are available. For this reason you must make sure that comprehensive travel insurance is taken out before you travel; this insurance should cover any medical expenses, air evacuation and repatriation if necessary.
• Malaria protection is imperative. We recommend Malarone as a prophylactic.
• There are no mandatory inoculations required for Namibia but please contact your doctor or a specialised travel clinic for further advice.
• Voltage is 220V AC.
• Please bring sufficient batteries for photographic equipment; some lodges have limited power supply but all are capable of re-charging your electrical items for you.
• Please also bring adapter plugs (3-prong round pin, old English standard).
• Roaming agreements exist with most international mobile phone operators. Coverage is limited to urban areas and settlements in rural areas. Namibia's cellular operators, Mobile Telecommunications Ltd (MTC) and LEO Ltd, provide services for 88% of Namibia's population and cover 70% of the country's surface area.
• Most European, USA and UK-based operators have roaming capability in Namibia. If roaming is too expensive for you, purchasing a local SIM card on arrival may be a cheaper option.
• International calling cards are available at any Tele Shop in Namibia and vary between U$7.00 and U$17.00
Namibia has one of the most efficient telecommunication networks in Southern Africa. Across the whole of Namibia, even in rural areas, you will find that phone booths are available almost everywhere.
• There are Internet cafes in most towns. Most accommodation facilities in Windhoek have internet facilities, ranging from small B&Bs to big hotels with Wifi hot spots and complimentary business centres.
• Please respect the local people with regards to photography and only use cameras if you have the permission of the subject/s to do so.
• Never try to "steal" a photo against the will of the person concerned. Let your guide help negotiate terms before you start shooting!
Food & Water:
• The water is safe to drink throughout the majority of Namibia. When visiting the remote areas purification tablets should be used, or bottled mineral water bought en-route. Plenty of water must be drunk to prevent dehydration. We recommend 2-3 litres minimum per day, excluding beverages such as tea, coffee, juice and alcohol. Dehydration is responsible for many emergency evacuations and can cause very serious problems; it is totally avoidable, so don't let this spoil your holiday!
• Please advise us of any allergies, likes or dislikes before you embark on your holiday.
• Please ensure that baggage is packed in soft bags and should weigh no more than 15kg per person.
• It is possible to store luggage not required during the safari with us at The SAFARI Company or at your hotel if you are returning there after your trip. Please refer to our recommended packing list.
When on Safari
Namibia offers a treasure-trove of experiences, ecosystems, wildlife and cultures. The SAFARI Company encourages our guests to support our guides by learning and honouring their policies which helps preserve our precious environment. In order to promote responsible tourism, we ask that you join us in observing the following tips.
Whilst on a game drive:
• Please do not interfere with animal behaviour.
• No more than 5 vehicles around an animal at one time (please accept the decision of your guide to leave an animal if he feels it is becoming overcrowded).
• Please do not get too close to the animals as this may distress them.
• Please do not get out of the vehicle without consulting your guide.
• Please try to be as quiet as possible when viewing wildlife close up. Your guide will turn off the vehicle's engine whenever possible.
• Please minimize off-road driving.
• No speeding! The speed limit in the parks is 40kph.
Protect the Environment:
• Please do not litter, especially cigarette butts.
• Please do not collect bones, feathers, stones or plants etc; they are all mini ecosystems.
• Please do not buy bones, stones, feather displays or plants etc.
• Please do not take photographs of the local people without asking their permission first.
• Please do not encourage trade or give personal items away to the local people (if we support begging we promote begging).
• If you have brought gifts to give to the local people, please give them to your guide for proper distribution.
• Beware of anyone asking you for gifts or money and do not feel obliged to donate anything.
• Please report back to us if you are harassed.
Television & Music:
• Most places do not have either and some safari vehicles do not have radios.
• The sounds of the bush are so special, unique and memorable that we advise against either, but if you are a 'music addict', we suggest you bring an iPod and sufficient power supply.
• The first thing most visitors notice is that Namibians as a whole are extremely friendly, helpful people. Much of Namibia's population is quite poor though so take good care of your valuables, especially money and Travellers Cheques. Please do not leave money in your room or unattended in a safari vehicle.
• If you are walking around, please do not wear flashy jewellery or have expensive electronic equipment on display, and hold on tight to your bags.
• All hotels and lodges have a security box for valuables and lock-up rooms for excess luggage storage.
Guide to Tipping:
• Although tipping is a safari tradition, it is never compulsory and should only be done if you feel you have received good service.
• Staff very much appreciate receiving gratuities from you, our guests, because it is one way of assuring them they are doing a good job.
• Most lodges have a staff tip box located at reception, or in a central location. We recommend $10 per client per day in the tip box. These tips will be divided among all lodge staff.
• If you are particularly satisfied with assistance received from someone in particular, a personal tip is also acceptable.
• In most lodges the driver/guide is tipped individually.