Travel to Namibia


Namibia is a country of startling contrasts that straddles two great deserts: the Namib (after which it is named) is the oldest desert on the planet, and its sea of red sand lies along the Atlantic coastline, while in the eastern interior lies the Kalahari, a vast and sparsely vegetated savannah that sprawls across the border into neighboring countries.

Over the years, there have been a number of cultural influences that have all added to the unique atmosphere of Namibia. At various times Germany, Great Britain and South Africa have all governed the territory, but it was with the eventual independence of Namibia in 1990 that the country was able to develop its multi-cultural character and reinvent itself. There is a rich and colorful uniquely African vigor that now freely blends in with the European influences on architecture, food, customs and art, all merging to create a distinctive Namibian character.

All this is in interesting juxtaposition with the expansive landscapes that surround the cities. The many national parks and game reserves boast a huge variety of wildlife in a kaleidoscope of differing environments: giraffes amble across the blinding white saltpans of Etosha National Park, gemsbok plunge headlong up impossibly steep red dunes at Sossusvlei, and seals in their many thousands colonize lonely beachheads along the Skeleton Coast. Astonishing contrasts are everywhere for the visitor to savor, enjoy and photograph.

Namibia has rapidly become a well-known safari destination with a difference, famed for its remote and intimate lodges, interaction with the indigenous people as well as the wildlife, and offering unique opportunities to become involved with the cultural heritage of all its peoples.


Namibia is a country of startling contrasts that straddles two great deserts: the Namib (after which it is named) is the oldest desert on the planet, and its sea of red sand lies along the Atlantic coastline, while in the eastern interior lies the Kalahari, a vast and sparsely vegetated savannah that sprawls across the border into neighboring countries.


Namibians are of diverse ethnic origins. The principal groups are the Ovambo, Kavango, Herero/Himba, Damara, Colored (including Rehoboth Baster), White (Afrikaner, German, English, and Portuguese), Nama, Caprivian, San, and Tswana.

The Ovambo make up about half of Namibia’s people. The Ovambo, Kavango, and East Caprivian peoples, who occupy the relatively well-watered and wooded northern part of the country, are settled farmers and herders. Historically, these groups had little contact with the Nama, Damara, and Herero, who roamed the central part of the country vying for control of sparse pastureland. German colonial rule destroyed the war-making ability of the tribes but did not erase their identities or traditional organization. People from the more populous north have settled throughout the country in recent decades as a result of urbanization, industrialization, and the demand for labor.


The official language is English. German and Afrikaans are also widely used and there are numerous African languages and dialects which fall into two main groups, namely Bantu and Khoisan


Namibia was, due to its barren coastline, colonized by the Europeans as one of the last African countries. It was the German merchant and adventurer Adolf Luederitz from Bremen, who bought in 1883 the bay of Angra Pequeña from Nama Chief Joseph Fredericks from Bethanien. He also bought the area in a 20 mile radius around the bay. The purchase price was then 10 000 Reichsmark and 260 guns. The bay is today known as Luederitz Bay.

In 1884, the German Empire took over the “protection” of Luederitz’ possessions. A tiny corps of the “Kaiserliche Marine” landed in the bay and raised the German flag. From 1884 to 1914, Namibia was a “German Protectorate” called “Deutsch Südwestafrika”. The German Empire sent the “Deutsche Schutztruppe” (Protection Corps). It had the task to transform the area between Oranje and Kunene into a German colony. German settlers were supposed to buy land and freely and safely establish farms. For this purpose the indigenous population, mainly Nama and Herero, was to be subjugated.
Initially the colonization proceeded more or less peacefully. Treaties were negotiated with Nama and Herero representatives. In these “Protection Agreements” both groups were assured of military support. In return, the Nama and Herero agreed to let German settlers take possession of their land and use it agriculturally.

Eventually the Herero and the Nama realized that the German colonization threatened their subsistence and their traditional way of life as free cattle and goat herders so both population groups rose in armed rebellion. These military conflicts lasted until 1908 and resulted in the total defeat of the black population.

At the beginning of the First World War, South Africa occupied the area and in 1920, she was given the country by the League of Nations as a mandate. When this was abolished in 1966 by the UN, South Africa rebelled and the result was many years of military struggle between South Africa and the Namibian liberation movement SWAPO, which was supported by the United Nations. On March 21, 1990 the political independence of Namibia was finally granted and a democratic constitution drawn up. SWAPO won the first free elections and became the strongest party. Its leader Dr. Sam Nujoma became the first Namibian President.

Travel Guide


The currency in Namibia is the Namibian Dollar (NAM$), which is fixed to and therefore equivalent to the South African Rand (ZAR). The Namibian Dollar and South African Rand are the only legal tender in Namibia and can be used freely to purchase goods and services. The Namibian Dollar, however, is not legal tender in South Africa.

Travelers’ checks and foreign currency can be exchanged at any of the commercial banks, which are well represented throughout the country. Visitors may bring any amount of foreign currency into the country. Further information and assistance can be obtained from any commercial bank in Namibia.


The climate is typically semi-desert with hot days and cool nights. Midsummer temperatures may rise to over 40 degrees Celsius. Winter days are warm, but dawn temperatures may drop to freezing. Along the coast it is cool with low rainfall and fog prevails from late afternoon until mid-morning.

The rainy season lasts from October to April. The rest of the year is dry and cloudless. Namibia averages 300 days of sunshine a year.

Health Requirements

Malaria is prevalent only in the north of the country.  Malaria prophylaxis is not required in Windhoek, but is suggested for travel to the north.  Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) hotline for international travelers at

Visa Requirements

A passport and visa are normally required.  Bearers of U.S. passports who plan to visit Namibia for tourism for less than 90 days can obtain visas at the port of entry and do not need visas prior to entering the country.  Travelers coming for work or study, whether paid or voluntary, must obtain a work or study permit prior to entering Namibia.  Passports must have at least six months of validity remaining beyond the traveler’s planned date of arrival in Namibia.
All travelers traveling to or from Namibia via South Africa are strongly encouraged to have five or more unstamped visa pages in their passport.  Travelers merely transiting South Africa (those not stopping over or exiting the international terminal in South Africa) should not require visa stamps and may require fewer blank pages for travel.  South Africa and Namibia both require at least two unstamped visa pages – one for the entry stamp and one for exit.  Visitors who do not have enough blank visa pages in their passport risk being denied entry and returned to the U.S. at their own expense.

Credit Cards

Most hotels/lodges, restaurants, travel agencies and the bigger shops will take major credit cards – Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.

Electrical Appliances

220 volts AC, 50hz. Outlets are of the round three-pin type


All water from taps is purified and visitors need have no hesitation in drinking it.  Bottled water is readily available.


A: Alexandria
B: Amboseli National Park
C: Arusha
D: Aswan
E: Bazaruto Island
F: Benguerra Island
G: Botswana
H: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
I: Cairo
J: Cape Town
K: Cape Winelands
L: Central Kalahari Region
M: Chobe National Park
N: Denis Island
O: Desroches Island
P: Drakensburg
Q: Dubai
R: Dubai Beaches
S: Dubai City Center
T: Dubai Desert
U: Dubai Marina
V: Durban
W: Eastern Cape
X: Eastern Cape Safaris
Y: Egypt
Z: Ethiopia
AA: Etosha National Park
AB: Franschhoek
AC: Garden Route
AD: Ghana
AE: Greater Kruger National Park
AF: Greater Winelands
AG: Hermanus
AH: Hwange National Park
AI: Johannesburg
AJ: Jordan
AK: Kafue National Park
AL: Kampala
AM: Kariba
AN: Kenya
AO: Kigali
AP: Knysna
AQ: Kruger National Park
AR: Kwazulu Natal
AS: La Digue
AT: Lake Manyara NP
AU: Lake Nakuru
AV: Lewa Wildlife Conservation
AW: Linyanti/Savuti Region
AX: Livingstone
AY: Lower Zambezi National Park
AZ: Luxor
BA: Madagascar
BB: Madikwe Game Reserve
BC: Mahé
BD: Mana Pools National Park
BE: Masai Mara
BF: Mauritius
BG: Mombasa
BH: Morocco
BI: Mozambique
BJ: Nairobi
BK: Namibia
BL: Ngorongoro Conservation Area
BM: North Island
BN: Okavango and Moremi GR
BO: Oman
BP: Oudtshoorn
BQ: Plettenberg Bay
BR: Port Elizabeth
BS: Praslin
BT: Queen Elizabeth National Park
BU: Quirimbas Archipelago
BV: Rwanda
BW: Sabi Sands
BX: Samburu National Park
BY: Selous Game Reserve
BZ: Serengeti National Park
CA: Seychelles
CB: Sharm El Sheik
CC: Sheik Zayed Road
CD: Silhouette Island
CE: Skeleton Coast National Park
CF: Sossusvlei
CG: South Africa
CH: South Luangwa
CI: Stellenbosch
CJ: Swakopmund & Walvis Bay
CK: Tanzania
CL: Tarangire National Park
CM: Timbavati Region
CN: Uganda
CO: Umhlanga
CP: Victoria Falls
CQ: Vilanculos
CR: Volcanoes National Park
CS: Windhoek
CT: Zambia
CU: Zanzibar and Pemba Island
CV: Zimbabwe


Explore the rest of our Namibia destinations:


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This Destination


Related Destinations

Amboseli National Park
Bazaruto Island
Benguerra Island
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Cape Town
Cape Winelands
Central Kalahari Region
Chobe National Park
Denis Island
Desroches Island
Dubai Beaches
Dubai City Center
Dubai Desert
Dubai Marina
Eastern Cape
Eastern Cape Safaris
Etosha National Park
Garden Route
Greater Kruger National Park
Greater Winelands
Hwange National Park
Kafue National Park
Kruger National Park
Kwazulu Natal
La Digue
Lake Manyara NP
Lake Nakuru
Lewa Wildlife Conservation
Linyanti/Savuti Region
Lower Zambezi National Park
Madikwe Game Reserve
Mana Pools National Park
Masai Mara
Ngorongoro Conservation Area
North Island
Okavango and Moremi GR
Plettenberg Bay
Port Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Quirimbas Archipelago
Sabi Sands
Samburu National Park
Selous Game Reserve
Serengeti National Park
Sharm El Sheik
Sheik Zayed Road
Silhouette Island
Skeleton Coast National Park
South Africa
South Luangwa
Swakopmund & Walvis Bay
Tarangire National Park
Timbavati Region
Victoria Falls
Volcanoes National Park
Zanzibar and Pemba Island

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