Namibia is one of the best countries for an ultimate road trip, but the country is HUGE, and it’s impossible to cover too much in a few days. Planning can be overwhelming, so you have to read as much as possible about this dream destination. But don’t you worry, I got you covered! Read down below all the things to know before traveling to Namibia! But don’t you worry, I’ve got you covered! Read down below all the things to know before traveling to Namibia!
Getting to Namibia
European Union (except Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia), the United Kingdom, United States, as well as most of the Commonwealth nationals, do not require a visa to enter Namibia and can stay for up to 90 days.
Most international flights arrive at Hosea Kutako International Airport, a 45minute drive from Windhoek, Namibia capital, which a good starting point for Namibia tours.
We had two options to chose from Qatar Airlines and Ethiopian Airlines, and we chose the second one due to the better flight schedule and prices. I must say, flying with Ethiopian Airlines came as a pleasant surprise: new aircraft, friendly staff, proper seating, and ample legroom.
Best Time to Visit Namibia
The best months are from June to October, which is also the peak travel season, so make sure to plan and book well in advance. During those months, the dry season comes with no mosquitos (we only fought them for two nights in Sossusvlei), pleasant temperatures during the day (but it can get cold at night in Damaraland or Etosha), and ideal wildlife viewing.
Money in Namibia
Namibia’s currency is the Namibian Dollar (N$), but it is used side-by-side with the South African Rand as they are valued 1: 1.
You’ll find ATMs throughout Namibia, and this is unquestionably the simplest way to manage your money while traveling. When withdrawing or changing money, you may receive either South African rand or Namibian dollars.
Credit and debit cards are accepted in most gas stations, shops, restaurants, campings, and lodges.
One of the few things to know before traveling is that tipping is expected everywhere in Namibia, so make sure you have some small domination on you. When you park your car in the city, at a shopping mall, at a gas station, tourist sites, or other areas, often you will see men asking for money to watch your car. It’s a standard method in Namibia, so don’t get discouraged.
Is Namibia Safe?
It is the first thing that our friends asked us before and after our visit. Now I can definitely say that it is one of the safest countries we’ve visited. From the car rental company, we were advised not to help someone with a puncture other than tourists, not take hitchhikers, ask for help when we see a group of local men, instead reach for tourists’ help or elderly.
Honestly, I found the Namibians very kind, friendly, and always helpful.
However, as anywhere else in this world, be vigilant and stay safe at any time. Never leave anything valuable in your vehicle, and don’t wander alone at night (that goes mostly for cities like Windhoek, Swakopmund, or Walvis Bay).
Internet in Namibia
The easiest way to buy a Sim-data package is from the MTC store, inside the small arrivals hall at Windhoek airport. Wi-Fi connection is often slow and unstable in Namibia: most time, we could only check our emails or chat, and uploading/downloading was a mess. However, overall, it was better than expected. Another thing to know before traveling is that Wi-Fi at lodges or campsites is not reliable eighter; rely on your Sim-Card only.
Sim-data package: MTC Super Aweh Voucher for one week: 65N$ (4€, 4.5US$) included: 700 free minutes, 1500 free SMS, 3 GB free, 750 MB free for Facebook&Whatsapp. Cheap, isn’t it?
Driving in Namibia
Namibia it’s a rough land but still very easy to drive. It’s such a trouble-free country to navigate on your own that I dare to say that anyone could do it. Driving in Namibia is done on the left side of the road and, driving a 4×4 car is highly recommended! The majority of tourists hire a 4-4tented car which you will see a lot during your holiday!
The roads are sometimes exhausting, so driving that much in a day is not an option. You will drive most of the time on C gravel roads with a max speed of 80km/h, and you will drive slower on D gravel roads due to potholes. Navigation is easy, using either online or offline google maps.
Distances from Windhoek to:
– Etosha National Park, 433km, 4h30′ drive
– Sossusvlei, 370km, 5h drive
– Swakopmund, 350km, 3h30′ drive
– Spitzkoppe, 277km, 3h drive
Renting a BUDGET Car in Namibia
I know renting a 4×4 rooftop tent car can be quite expensive. Still, considering that accommodations aren’t cheap, this option is the best way to travel and the most popular way to visit Namibia.
We’ve opted for a BUDGET car from Savanna Car Hire ( I can highly recommend them: we had some minor problems with the fridge, they were very responsive and helpful). Budget cars are usually old models with more miles on board (ours had 178.000km), with no crossing border option, but they cost less.
Car Rental: 4×4 Rooftop Hilux, BUDGET OPTION = 12.285N$ (758€/ 840US$) / 13 days rental, with a reduced excess option also included (14.000N$) or 58€/ 64US$/day
Camping in Namibia
Namibia is an excellent country to camp. The campsites usually have good facilities: electricity, running water, toilets and showers- private or communal, a restaurant or a bar, a small shop for necessary groceries, and a pool to chill out. Remember to book well in advance, especially in high season!
If you don’t want to buy food supplies and cook but serve lunch or dinner at one of the restaurants inside the campsites, please book in advance. One thing to know before traveling is that some lodges offer pre-book meals only.
Shopping in Namibia
There are plenty of supermarkets in Windhoek, like Pick&Pay, Spar, or Chequers, where you can stock up on groceries. Make sure you have some small notes on you for the men guarding your car while shopping.
Some random prices:
Water: 35N$/5-litre bottle. You can refill it at any petrol station or a convenience store for 10N$/bottle.
Beer – 25N$/can – Alcohol is sold everywhere: supermarkets, gas stations, restaurants, and bars. But keep in mind; it’s against the law to buy alcohol in shops or liqueur stores on Saturday on Sunday. All the fridges are chained, so don’t even bother asking for help!
Meet – Pork-neck chops, 122N$/kg. Braai is famous in South African countries; charcoal and firewoods are sold at every petrol-station or convenience store.
Milk: 20N$/1-litre, Apples: 28N$/kg, Pears: 33N$/kg, Pineapple: 22N$/piece Bananas: 24N$/kg, Ginger biscuits: Oh my god, they are so delicious, definitely something to try: 13N$.
2-Week Self-Drive Trip Costs for 2 Persons – Things to know before traveling to Namibia
2.800N$ (173€, 191US$) for 2 people for 4 nights accommodated
3.522N$ (217€, 240US$) for 2 people for 9 nights camping
12.285N$ (758€, 840US$) for 13 days rental with extra insurance, 58€/ 64US$/day
4.386N$ (270€, 300US$) for 305-liter fuel for 2.850km made in two weeks
6.325N$ (390€, 432US$) for 2 people for park entries, food, and extra
Total: around 900€, 1000US$/pp for 13 days or 69€, 76US$/ pp/per day (without international flight tickets)
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