Namibia Traveler Information - Travel Advice
Travel Advice with a Travel Advisory overview from the US State Department. Here we cover Visa, Safety & Security, local Laws and Insurance in our Namibia Traveler Information guide.
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Note: Always check that your destination country is one approved for travel by your travel insurance provider.
PASSPORT VALIDITY: 6 Months.
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES: 6 Pages.
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED: Yes, planeside visa available for tourists up to 90 days.
VACCINATIONS: Yellow fever, if traveling from a yellow fever endemic country.
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY: Not applicable.
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT: Not applicable.
Embassies and Consulates
14 Lossen Street, Ausspannplatz
Telephone: +(264)(61) 295-8522
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(264)(85) 686-0853
Fax: +(264)(61) 295-8603
See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Namibia for additional information on U.S. – Namibia relations.
Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements
Requirements for Entry:
- World Health Organization (WHO) card with yellow fever vaccination if traveling from a yellow fever endemic country. Check the CDC Yellow Book for further information.
Visas: Tourist visas are available at the port of entry. Other visa types must be obtained before traveling. Visit the Embassy of Namibia's website for the most current visa information. Overseas inquiries should be made at the nearest Namibian Embassy or Consulate.
Upon arrival, check your visa validity before leaving the immigration counter to ensure that the visa stamp is valid for the length of your intended stay (up to 90 days) or transit through Namibia and that immigration officials have given you a correctly dated entry stamp, as this stamp will be checked upon departure. Overstaying the time granted or having an incorrect or missing entry stamp can result in detention, arrest, and fines.
Passports must have at least six months of validity remaining beyond your planned date of departure. At least six completely blank pages are required for entry. If you are traveling with minor children to Namibia via South Africa, be aware that additional documentation is required.
Parents traveling to Namibia with children should be prepared to produce unabridged birth certificates for their children demonstrating their parental relationship. Birth certificates should be original or certified copies of the original. When one parent is traveling alone with a child, he or she should present the unabridged birth certificate, plus a notarized consent from the other parent listed on the birth certificate authorizing him or her to enter/depart from Namibia with the child. Alternatively, the parent could also present a court order granting him or her full legal custody of the child, or the death certificate of the other parent named on the birth certificate.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to, or foreign residents of Namibia.
Safety and Security
Road Travel: Namibia has thousands of miles of unpaved roads. Road accidents, particularly on gravel roads, pose the most serious threat to visitors. Many gravel roads are well-maintained and can provide unaccustomed drivers a false sense of security, with road conditions shifting dramatically in certain areas. See recommendations below on road safety in Namibia.
Crime: Non-violent crimes of opportunity are the most common incidents reported by foreigners and include pick pocketing, purse snatching, ATM card skimming, and vehicle thefts and break-ins. Criminals sometimes brandish knives and guns. Violent crimes, including murder and rape, and property crimes increased in Windhoek over the last year. Robberies occur at roadside rest stops.
- Dress conservatively.
- Avoid walking alone, especially after dark, and displaying cash and valuable personal property.
- Make sure your hotel room or residence is well secured, including windows.
- Keep your credit card in your sight at all times while it is being processed. Consider using prepaid credit cards with limited funds when traveling.
- Take rest breaks in towns and/or at gasoline stations.
Transport crimes: Violent assaults on taxi passengers are common; petty theft is prevalent and occurs on trains, buses, and in taxis.
- Be aware of criminals using remote key fobs to unlock vehicle doors in parking lots.
- Drive with doors locked and windows closed.
- Keep valuables out of sight and do not use cell phones or laptops while stopped in traffic; bandits may use smash and grab tactics to steal valuables.
- Hire taxis through a hotel or retain the services of a reputable private transport company.
Checkpoints: The police maintain checkpoints approximately 9 miles (15 km) outside of main cities and all major highways. During the holiday season, additional checkpoints may be established along the Windhoek-Swakopmund highway (B1).
- Remain inside your vehicle with doors locked and open the window slightly to communicate.
- Be prepared to produce vehicle registration documents, personal identification (passport, Namibian identification cards), car rental contracts, and/or drivers’ licenses.
- Proceed only when waved through.
Victims of Crime: Report crimes to the local police at 112 and contact the U.S. Embassy at + (264) (61) 295-8522.
Tourist Protection Units (TPUs) assist tourists victimized by crime in Windhoek and Swakopmund.
- Tourist Protection Unit – Windhoek (Windhoek Main Police Station) at + (264) (61) 209-4345 or + (264) (81) 615-4401.
- Tourist Protection Unit – Swakopmund at + (264) (64) 415-060.
- The Motor Vehicle Accident Fund at 081 9682 can help with ambulances, police, and rescue services.
Local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
- help you find appropriate medical care
- assist you in reporting a crime to the police
- contact relatives or friends with your written consent
- explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
- provide a list of local attorneys
- provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
- provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
- replace a stolen or lost passport
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.
Tourism: The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is typically available only in/near major cities. First responders are generally unable to access areas outside of major cities and to provide urgent medical treatment. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.
Diamonds: Do not purchase diamonds and other protected resources outside of licensed retail establishments. If you are convicted of illegally dealing in diamonds, you can face up to 20,000 U.S. dollars in fines and/or five years in prison.
Wild animal parts: Unlicensed purchase of or trading in endangered wildlife parts, such as ivory and rhino horn, is illegal and carries severe penalties including fines up to 1.1 million U.S. dollars and 15 years in prison. Furthermore, it is illegal to kill or capture any protected wild animals without appropriate permits. The Namibian government is in the process of dramatically increasing sentences for persons convicted of poaching and trafficking in wildlife parts.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.
Photography: It is illegal to take pictures of government buildings, military installations, and key infrastructure, such as ports, train stations, airports, and along border areas. You could be fined, have your photographic equipment confiscated, and risk detention and arrest. Do not take photos of people without their permission.
Phone Service: Cellular phones are the norm, as landlines are only in urban areas. It is possible to purchase a SIM card locally and use a U.S.-compatible cell phone.
Currency: The Namibian dollar (NAD) is the official currency. It is pegged to the South African rand, which is also legal tender in Namibia. Carefully inspect ATMs for skimming technology before using. Credit cards are generally accepted.
Wild Animal Parks: Heed all instructions given by guides or trackers. Use common sense and maintain a safe distance when approaching wildlife. Even in the most serene settings wild animals pose a lethal threat. Lions, leopards, elephants, oryxes, rhinos, hippos, and crocodiles have critically injured and killed individuals in the region.
Baboons live throughout Namibia and commonly scavenge the belongings of travelers. Baboons in camping areas are quite bold in approaching and taking items that interest them. Keep your belongings and food in secure containers.
Adventure activities: Climbing areas, 4X4 trails, hiking trails, and rivers are unpredictable and dangerous. They are often located in isolated areas without access to communications and away from any medical assistance. Dozens of people, including U.S. citizens, have been injured or drowned.
- Leave a copy of your identification, travel documents, and an itinerary with the hotel reception desk when you go on excursions to assist police/rescue teams in the event of a problem.
- Bring sufficient water and supplies, including a satellite phone preprogrammed with emergency numbers.
- Provide a detailed travel plan and return date to family and friends in the United States before your excursion.
Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:
- Faith-Based Travel Information
- International Religious Freedom Report – see country reports
- Human Rights Report – see country reports
- Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
- Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad
LGBTI Travelers: Homosexuality is not illegal but sodomy between men is criminalized, though the ban is not enforced. Many Namibians consider all same-sex sexual activity taboo.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Persons with disabilities face limited access to transportation, public buildings, hotels, and communication accommodations. There are few sidewalks and no curb-cuts, and most buildings lack elevators.
Women Travelers: Only a small fraction of rape cases are prosecuted and fewer still result in conviction. Gender-based Violence Protection Units intervene in cases of domestic violence, which is widespread. Units are staffed with police officers, social workers, legal advisors, and medical personnel trained to assist victims of sexual assault. A privately run shelter operates in the Khomas region and there are government shelters in other regions.
See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Consult the CDC website for Namibia prior to travel.
Medical facilities in the capital of Windhoek and in large towns are capable of providing emergency care and performing many routine procedures. Doctors and dentists are generally well-trained. Well-equipped facilities are rarely available in smaller towns. Carry prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription. Be sure to verify with the Namibian Ministry of Foreign Affairs that your medications are legal before you travel.
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
The following diseases are prevalent:
- Malaria – Transmission occurs in the Northern (Omusati, Oshana, Ohangwena, Oshikoto, Otjozondjupa, Kavango (east and west), Zambezi, and portions of Kunene) and Eastern (portions of Omaheke) regions of Namibia.
Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
Travel and Transportation
Road Conditions and Safety: Most major roads are generally well maintained, though many rural roads are gravel and fatal accidents are not uncommon. Tourists are often involved in single-vehicle roll over accidents. Sand, salt, and gravel roads become very slippery when wet and more dangerous at night. Animals easily visible by day become treacherous hazards in roadways at night. Do not exceed 45 mph (80km) on gravel roads. Many rental vehicle agencies void insurance policies if an accident occurs while speeding. Tire punctures are common as are accidents involving drunk drivers. Other driving hazards include excessive speed, lack of street lighting and shoulders, inadequately maintained vehicles, erratic driving habits, and pedestrians.
The Embassy does not recommend traveling after dark anywhere outside Namibia’s cities. Travel in desert areas or via the Trans-Caprivi Highway between Rundu and Katima Mulilo should only be undertaken during daylight hours. Carry water, additional fuel, spare tires, and provisions. Fuel availability can be sporadic. Professional roadside assistance outside Windhoek or off main roads is unreliable or non-existent.
Traffic Laws: Traffic drives on the left. You may use a U.S. license for up to 90 days or obtain an international driving permit prior to leaving the United States through either the American Automobile Association or the American Automobile Touring Alliance. It is illegal to use a cell phone while driving. Seat belts are required for all vehicle occupants. Motorcyclists are required to wear protective helmets. You may face a charge of culpable homicide if you are driving and are involved in an accident resulting in death.
Motorcades: Pull to the side of the road as far as possible and promptly follow instructions given by the officials present.
Public Transportation: Public transportation is not widely available outside the capital. Taxis and municipal buses are the only forms of public transportation in Windhoek. Schedules and routes are limited.
Avoid the use of public transportation, and hire private transport from a reliable source. Any form of public transportation is unregulated, unreliable, and generally unsafe.
Taxis: The Embassy has received reports of foreign citizens being robbed by drivers of taxis hailed on the streets of Windhoek. Car rentals or radio taxis (taxi service called in advance through established companies) are generally the best means of transport but may be more expensive. The Embassy has not received any such crime reports regarding radio taxis. U.S. citizens are urged to avoid hitchhiking in Namibia due to the high level of personal risk.
Most insurance policies will not cover accidents that do not involve other vehicles or animals.
See our Road Safety page for more information. Visit the website of Namibia’s national tourist office and national authority responsible for road safety.
Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Namibia, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Namibia’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Namibia should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website (https:homeport.uscg.mil), and the NGA broadcast warnings website select “broadcast warnings”.
For additional travel information
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Call us in Washington, D.C. at 1-888-407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 (from all other countries) from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
- See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution and Travel Advisories.
- Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
- See traveling safely abroad for useful travel tips.
International Parental Child Abduction
Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in Namibia. For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.### **Recent AARDY Travel Insurance Customer Reviews**