Namibia

Although not as well known as some of its African neighbours, Namibia is a gem for those in search of the wilderness.

Namibia is a large and sparsely populated country on Africa's south-west coast, which has enjoyed more than a decade of stability since achieving Independence on 21 March 1990.

Today Namibia is a peaceful country which is economically prosperous as a result of its productive mining, fishing, tourism and agricultural industries. Essentially a desert country, Namibia offers contrasting landscapes. The desolate Namib Desert is said to be the oldest in the world, with its high dunes and awe-inspiring sense of space. The central plateau, with its thorn bush savannah and rugged mountains, rising abruptly from the plains, gives way to the majestic Fish River Canyon in the south. In the north of the country, landscapes range from dense bush and open plains of the great Etosha Pan, to woodland savannah and lush vegetation.

The Etosha National Park, the third largest in Africa, owes its unique landscape to the Etosha Pan, a vast shallow depression of approximately 5 000km≤. A series of waterholes along the southern edge of the pan guarantee rewarding and often spectacular game viewing. Germanic influence can still be found in the country's good road infrastructure, well-equipped rest camps throughout the country and most cities' architecture. The perfect choice for nature lovers and amateur photographers alike.

Languages

English, Afrikaans, Herero, German and many local dialects.

Climate

The cold Benguela current keeps the coast of the Namib Desert cool, damp and free of rain for most of the year, with a thick coastal fog. Inland, rain falls in summer. Summer temperatures are high while the altitude means that nights are cool. Winter nights can be fairly cold, but days are generally warm and pleasant.

During winter (May-September), temperatures in the interior range from 18 - 25 degrees Celsius during the day. Below freezing temperatures and ground frost are common at night. During summer (October-April), average interior temperatures range from 20 - 34 degrees Celsius during the day. Temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius are often recorded in the extreme north and south of the country. The coast influenced by the cold Benguela current, boasts a relatively stable range of 15 - 25 degrees Celsius. Heavy fog is fairly common at night.

Visitors should pack both warm and cold weather clothing for any visit to Namibia. Windhoek boasts a number of excellent safari outfitters and tourists are advised to shop for clothing upon arrival.

Visa / Passport Requirements

Visas are not required by most Nationalities and a 3-month entry is permitted. All Passports must be valid for at least 6 months beyond intended departure date.

Health

There are no mandatory vaccinations for travellers from Europe. If you arrive from a country where Yellow Fever vaccinations are mandatory you need to produce proof that you have been vaccinated. Take the usual precautions and ask your doctor whether you should renew your vaccinations against Polio, Diphtheria and Tetanus. He / she might also advise to take precautions against Hepatitis A and B. Unfortunately there is no vaccination against Malaria. Namibia is a Malaria-risk area, and taking Prophylaxis is most advisable.

Currency

The Namibian Dollar (NAD; symbol N$) is in note denominations of N$200, 100, 50, 20 and 10. Coins are in denominations of N$5, N$1, 50 cents, 10 cents and 5 cents. It is linked to the South African Rand (R) on a 1:1 basis (South African Rand = 100 cents). The South African Rand is also legal tender in Namibia, although the N$ cannot be used in South Africa.

Local Time

GMT +1

Electricity

220 V / 240 V / 50 Hz.

System

Metric.

Driving

Left-hand side.