NMIBIA

Useful info

Time
Namibia has a time difference of one hour between winter and summer.  When planning your holiday, this is important to keep in mind for scheduled optional activities at lodges and hotels. 
Summer:  1st Sunday in Sept – 1st Sunday in Apr: +2hrs GMT
Winter:  1st Sunday in Apr – 1st Sunday in Sept: +1hrs GMT

Electricity
Namibia’s electricity supply: 220 volts AC 50Hz
Most plugs have three round pins but some plugs with two smaller pins are also found on appliances. 
Adaptors can be purchased, or obtained at some hotels/lodges for a small deposit. 

Money
The Namibian Dollar (N$) and South African Rand (R) are the only legal currency in Namibia.  Traveler’s cheques and foreign currency can be exchanged during normal banking hours (Mon – Fri 09:00 - 15:30 & Sat 09:00 – 11:00) at any of the commercial banks, and at Bureau de Change offices at the airport or in towns. Visa and MasterCard credit cards are generally accepted, Diners and American Express cards only at some places Note:  No Credit Cards are accepted at petrol stations. Visitors may bring any amount of foreign currency into the country. Read more >

Tipping
Most restaurants do not add a service fee to bills. Thus, it is customary to leave a 10-15% tip, depending on service.  Parking and petrol station attendants should be given whatever small change you have available.  Porters at hotels and lodges will also appreciate a tip, even though it might seem a small amount, for them it makes a difference.

Weather
During the summer months from October to April, average interior temperatures range from 20˚C - 34 ˚C during the day.  Temperatures above 40˚C are often recorded in the extreme north and south of the country.
The coast is influenced by the cold Benguela current, and boasts a relatively stable range of 15˚C to 25˚C.  Heavy fog is fairly common at night and early morning. 
Humidity is generally very low in most parts of Namibia, but can reach as high as 80% in the extreme north during summer.
The rainy season is from October to April.  The average annual rainfall varies from less than 50mm along the coast to 350mm in the central interior and up to 700mm in the Caprivi. 
The sporadic rains do not affect road travel significantly, however, one should exercise caution when crossing or camping in riverbeds during the rainy season, as flash floods are common occurrences.
During the winter months from May to September, average interior temperatures range from 18˚C - 25˚C during the day.  Below freezing temperatures and ground frost are common at night.

What to Pack
As temperatures can be very high during the summer months, cotton clothing is preferable.  During winter, light clothing, combined with a sweater and / or jacket is recommended, as it becomes cold in the evenings and early mornings. Neutral colours are more suitable for safari, white is not practical. It is best to pack hardy, durable clothing.
Important items to pack: comfortable walking shoes, swimsuit, binoculars, sun hat, sunglasses, sun block, lip balm, mosquito repellent a warm jacket.
If you are traveling with an organized safari, it is important to check what your weight limit is. Generally, you will need to restrict your luggage to 10-12kg (preferably packed in a soft bag) plus a reasonable amount of camera equipment.
If your start and end of journey is from Windhoek you can leave some things in storage at your hotel or guesthouse for a minimal charge.
 

Health
Namibia does not have a national health welfare scheme. It is therefore advisable to obtain medical insurance prior to arrival. The private hospitals, doctors and pharmacies are of high standard, but in remote areas only government hospitals or clinics are available.  It is recommended, that you bring any medicines you may require with you.
Malaria is a possibility during summer months in some northern areas, and in the far North Eastern areas like Caprivi.  We advise you to contact your local GP for advice on malaria prophylaxis.
Medical evacuation flights can be arranged for emergencies in short notice, provided that you have the necessary health & travel insurance.
Vaccination  is not mandatory.

Water 
Although all food and water in Namibia is safe for consumption, we advise that you buy bottled water to drink, since tap water is only purified in the cities.  It is very important to drink enough fluids to avoid dehydration.  Kindly remember that water is as precious as diamonds in this drought-stricken land, so please be respectful and make every effort to help conserve Namibia's water.  This also means that lodges and hotels in desert areas sometimes have no swimming pool or a very small one.

Security & Safety 
Namibia is a relatively worry-free place to visit. Crime, in general, is not a big problem, but some of the major towns are experiencing an increase in petty thefts and muggings.  One should practice common sense by not flashing valuables about and avoiding walking alone in deserted areas and at night. Be aware that theft from campsites, particularly those in or near urban areas, is a problem. Like in most countries, you should not leave your baggage and valuables unattended.  Deposit your valuables in the safe, mostly provided in your room, or at reception on request. The usual safety precautions when out in the wild apply. All reserves have a set of rules that you need to follow to ensure your safety. 
Many of the animals you'll come across, particularly lion, hippo, elephant and buffalo, are dangerous.  Stay in your car and keep a reasonable distance - especially with elephant.   
Africa has its fair share of poisonous snakes but they are rarely encountered. However, if you plan on doing any walking, take along boots, socks and long trousers as a precautionary measure (which also helps with ticks). Always look where you're going and  avoid swimming in rivers that have hippos and crocodiles.

Food and Drink
Standards of hygiene in hotels and lodges are very good, and it is safe to eat fresh fruit and salads. 
The national cuisine borrows heavily from German sources, with sausages and traditional German meals finding their way onto many plates.  
Always advise in advance if you have any special vegetarian or glucose free dietary requirements, since some lodges are in remote areas and don’t always have the necessary supplies on hand. Traditional meals in Namibia are meat stews, served with a starchy porridge of maize or millet. There is tremendous regional variation among the native groups, so expect the unexpected!   There are a number of local libations, including a melon-based wine and all hotels & lodges stock South African wines.  Namibia’s beer is seen as one of the best in the world and is brewed according to the “Reinheitsgebot”, which is a natural process excluding any chemicals. So, be sure to try a Windhoek or Tafel Lager after a long day in the sun!

Public Holidays
*  1 January -  New Year's Day
*  21 March - Independence Day
*  1 May -  May Day/Labour Day/Ascension
*  3 May - Cassinga Day
*  25 May - Africa Day (Anniversary of the OAU's Foundation).
*  26 August - Heroes' Day
*  10 December - International Human Rights Day
*  25 December - Christmas Day
*  26 December - Family/Goodwill Day