Namibia Factfile

Issue 5 (November 2009)

• Language: English (official), Afrikaans, German and several ethnic languages

 

• Time zone: GMT+2


• Int dialling code: +264


• Visas: Not required for UK and Ireland passport holders


• Money: Namibian dollar (N$), currently tied to the South African rand, which is widely accepted for cash payments. Banks are capable and efficient. Traveller’s cheques in UK£ and US$ are both accepted. Most hotels, restaurants and shops accept credit cards; petrol stations require cash. ATM machines (BOB tills) will accept foreign cards: you must select ‘credit card account’ regardless of actual account type.


• Getting there: Air Namibia (www.airnamibia.com.na) flies to Windhoek from Frankfurt. British Airways (www.ba.com) and South African Airways (www.flysaa.com) fly from London Heathrow to Johannesburg and offer good connections to Windhoek.


• Internal flights: Air Namibia operates a limited service. Small, reliable, privately-run 4-6 seater light aircraft link lodges and bush airstrips all over the country. Flying is the only way to access the northern Skeleton Coast.


• Self-drive: Roads are excellent, the traffic lights and signposting clear, making driving a pleasure. The trunk roads are very good tarmac, but most others are smooth gravel: stick to 80kmph on these as going faster frequently leads to accidents. A 2WD is ideal unless visiting in the rains or heading to off-beat areas like Bushmanland or Caprivi.


• Places to stay: Hotels are generally clean and safe. Private guest farms welcome visitors nationwide. Stylish lodges and bush camps are the norm in the wilds. Good, clean campsites are found nearly everywhere.


• Safety: Namibia is generally a very safe country.


• Health: Malaria occurs in the northeast and central Namibia – principally in Caprivi, Kavango, Owambo, and Northern Kunene. It does not occur in all these areas throughout the year,  so it’s best to consult a travel clinic for the appropriate precautions a few weeks before you leave. Your tetanus, hepatitis A, polio and diphtheria jabs should be up to date. www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk is a good source of information.


• People: The Himba are probably the best-known ethnic group in Namibia, but the tribe make up just one per cent of Namibia’s culturally diverse population. A large proportion of the population are Owambo, with smaller numbers of Kavango, Damara, Herero, San Bushmen, Topnaar and Tswana. Around 12.5% are White Namibians or mixed-race, mostly of Afrikaaner or German descent.


• Geography: Namibia is essentially a desert country, but it also has some widely contrasting landscapes including the thorn bush savannah and rugged mountains of the Central Plateau, the open plains of Etosha Pan and the lush flood plains of Caprivi.


• Find out more: Namibia Tourist Board www.namibiatourism.com.na

 

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