Memo to a Tourist in Namibia
The oldest Bushmen rock art attests that these hunter-gatherers roamed South Africa over 25,000 years ago. Namibia deserves respect and is a harsh and merciless land. Few people live here, it is the second most sparsely populated country in the world, but the people and animals living here have adapted to such an environment. Fortunately, tourists do not need to do this, because Namibia offers upscale hotels with all the amenities.
This incredible country with fantastic, breathtaking landscapes will surprise you: from national parks filled with wild animals to dead silence and colorful desert overflows.
Windhoek is the capital and largest city of the country with a population of about 326 thousand people.
In total, about 2.6 million people. Namibia has the second-largest population density in the world, after Mongolia. The majority of the country’s population is of Bantu origin, half the population is the Ovambo people, who live mainly in the north of the country, although now many people of the people have settled in cities throughout Namibia. Other ethnic groups include the Herero and Himba peoples, who speak a similar language, and the Damara, who speak the same “click” language as the Nama people. In addition to the Bantu-speaking majority, there are large groups of Khoisan peoples (such as the Nama and the Bushmen) in the country who are descendants of the original inhabitants of South Africa.
Russian tourists do not need a visa to visit Namibia for up to 90 days. Passport must have at least 2 blank pages and must be valid for at least 6 months at the time of travel.
Up to 2 liters of wine, up to 1 liter of spirits, up to 400 cigarettes or 50 cigars, or 350 g of tobacco are imported duty-free; up to 50 ml of perfume and up to 250 ml of eau de toilette. Temporary import of hunting rifles, bows and crossbows into the country is allowed. Permission to import hunting weapons is issued by the police at the port of entry. There are no restrictions on the import and export of foreign currency. The export of the national currency is nominally limited to 50 thousand Namibian dollars. Duty-free importation of gifts is limited to 50,000 US dollars. dollars (including the cost of imported duty-free goods). Pistols, revolvers and automatic small arms are not allowed to be imported. The import of canned meat products, drugs and explosives is prohibited. It is strictly forbidden to engage in independent mining and export of diamonds and minerals, as well as unlicensed hunting and export of hunting trophies without the appropriate permission of the Department of Wildlife Conservation.
Namibia is a multilingual country populated by peoples who speak Bantu languages, as well as Indo-European and Khoisan languages. The official language is English. German, Afrikaans, Herero and Oshiwambo are adopted as national languages.
Banks and currency
In Namibia, the Namibian dollar (N$) is used, which is almost equal to the South African rand. Rand is legal tender in Namibia, but N$ cannot be used in South Africa. If you want to purchase currency before arriving in Namibia, the easiest way is to buy the rand, as the Namibian dollar is rarely found in banks outside of Namibia.
There are banks in most cities and are usually open from 09:00 to 15:30 on weekdays and from 08:30 to 11:00 on Saturdays. Banks are closed on Sundays and public holidays. Most of them offer currency exchange services – they accept cash, bank and credit cards, as well as traveler’s checks.
You can also get cash from many ATMs. Several international banks have branches in the main urban centers. Always let your bank know that you are traveling outside the country, as they may block your card if not informed in advance.
Travel and transport
Public transport in Namibia is focused on the needs of the local population and is confined to the main roads between large settlements. Although it is cheap and reliable, it is of no use to the traveler as most of Namibia’s tourist attractions are off the main road.
It is easy to travel around Namibia by car and a 2WD vehicle is ideal for most trips. However, long distances, poor cellular coverage outside of major cities, and the occasional gas station that only accepts cash means that advance travel planning is vital.
Major airlines fly to Windhoek and Swakopmund. Other places can be reached by car or local airlines.
Namibians drive on the left side of the road and all signs in the country are in English. Seat belts must be worn at all times and talking on a cell phone while driving is prohibited. The general speed limit is 120 km/h on tarmac roads outside cities and 100 km/h on gravel roads. In populated areas, the speed limit is 60 km/h.
Namibia is considered the safest country in South Africa. The criminal situation in the country is very calm, you can almost fearlessly walk along the streets of cities at any time of the day. Movement around the country is free, with the exception of private estates, two diamond-mining regions and some nature reserves. Visiting diamond-bearing areas is possible only with special permission obtained through the local police.
Food and drink
There are rare places in Namibia where authentic traditional Namibian cuisine is served. Food in restaurants is usually European, and of a very high standard. Restaurants in Namibia are especially meat-oriented, with many menus featuring steaks from a variety of animals. However, most camps and restaurants usually offer vegetarian and seafood options.
In supermarkets you will find packaged fresh fruits and vegetables (although the more remote areas, the less choice), as well as a variety of canned goods, pasta, rice, bread, etc. Most of these products are imported from South Africa.
The water in Namibia’s main cities is generally safe to drink, although it can have a metallic taste if it is supplied through miles of long pipes. Natural springs are usually purified, although water from underground springs and dry riverbeds can occasionally cause some problems. However, filtered and bottled water is available in most cities and in all camps, lodges and hotels.
Climate and weather
In Namibia, partly covered by the Namib Desert (one of the driest deserts in the world), the climate is generally very dry and suitable for year-round visitation. Namibia receives only a fraction of the precipitation that falls in countries further east. Between December and March, some days are wet and may be followed by showers, often with localized midday thunderstorms. They are especially common in the center and east of the country, much less common in the desert.
April and especially May in Namibia are in most cases simply beautiful. It’s getting drier, but there’s a real freshness in the air and more and more green in the landscape; At this time, the air is clean and practically free of dust.
From June to August, Namibia cools down and dries out even more; in some desert areas, nights can get cold, with temperatures below freezing. As the landscape dries up, wild animals in the north of the country are drawn to the water bodies and are easier to see for visitors. By September and October, the air warms up again; safari in most areas is at its best at this time, although there is often a lot of dust around and the vegetation loses its brightness.
November is a very changeable month. Sometimes the weather is hot and dry for a long time, and sometimes the sky is filled with clouds and everything is going to rain – but if you are lucky enough to see the first rains of the season, you will never forget these dramatic landscapes.
Namibians are quite relaxed about dress codes. You don’t see a jacket and tie here often. Long pants and a button-down shirt are often quite appropriate for formal occasions or work wear. For the rest of the time, a pair of comfortable shoes, jeans and a T-shirt is recommended.
It is usually hot during the day, so bring light, loose-fitting clothing made from natural fabrics such as linen or cotton, which will keep you cool and easy to wash and dry.
Avoid blue clothes – tsetse flies are said to be attracted to the color blue.
Long-sleeved shirts and long trousers will protect you from mosquitoes at night.
Health and vaccinations
No vaccinations are currently required to enter Namibia and there is no risk of infectious diseases. Tap water in small towns and most lodges is drinkable, salads can be eaten without risk of infection. If the water is not suitable for human consumption, it will be known and you will be warned. Malaria prophylaxis is recommended in northern Namibia, northern Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and northeast South Africa. The decision whether or not to take malaria pills is always up to the client. Before departure, clients should consult their physician regarding recommended antimalarial medications.
One hour less than Moscow. For example, 10 am Moscow time corresponds to 9 am in Windhoek.
The plugs in South Africa and Namibia are similar to the old British plugs, unlike Botswana and Zimbabwe where the current British plugs are used. Adapters are sold in large stores.
To talk on a pay phone, you need a card (sold at the post office, gas stations and tobacco kiosks) or coins in denominations of 10 and 50 cents. You can call abroad from a call center (usually located at post offices) or from a hotel.Cellular services are provided by several operators. There are internet cafes.
Tipping should be given in accordance with the quality of service and personal feelings. In restaurants, it is recommended to leave 10% of the bill. Porters should be sufficient amount of N $ 5.
Useful addresses and numbers
Police and rescue service – 10-111.
Ambulance – 211-111 (Windhoek), 405-731 (Swakopmund), 205-443 (Walvis Bay).