Namibia is one of the most beautiful travel destinations we ever visited. It’s perfect for a self-drive safari at of the best wildlife parks in Africa, but you will also encounter the most special natural phenomenon. From the largest seal colony in Africa and the endless sand dunes in the Sossusvlei to one of the largest canyons in the world. Start your travel preparations for this bucket list trip with these practical Namibia travel tips.
Read more to prepare for traveling Namibia:
- Namibia itinerary: the perfect self-drive road trip route
- Don’t miss these natural phenomena in Namibia
- Tips for renting a car and driving in Namibia
- Why we wouldn’t recommend backpacking Namibia (+ tips if you do and our travel budget)
14 Namibia travel trips
#1 Is Namibia safe to travel?
We never felt unsafe while traveling in Namibia. The population is extremely friendly and helpful. The wild animals will not pose any danger and if you decide to go wild camping in Namibia, just make sure to know how to do so safe. The most important factor to consider for your safety in Namibia is the vastness of the country and having car trouble with your rental car in the middle of nowhere.
Read more: we wrote an extensive blog about road tripping Namibia. About road safety, what to do when your car breaks down, what to always bring with you (spoiler: water!) and tips for renting a car.
#2 What is the best travel time for Namibia?
The high season of Namibia is from July to October, when the temperatures are not too hot. Guide books say there are animals at the waterholes in the national parks during that time of the year as well, making it easier to spot wildlife on your Namibia safari.
That being said, we traveled to Namibia in January and never regretted it. It was hot, so we did skip some long hikes. But spotting animals wasn’t difficult at all at that time of the year. In fact, it was baby time in Etosha National Park so we saw baby elephants, zebras, lions and more! And the low season of any country also comes with lower prices and fewer visitors at the big Namibia tourist attractions. We also had the advantage that we didn’t need to book any campsites or lodges in advance.
#3 Do you need a travel adaptor for Namibia?
You’ll probably need a travel adapter for Namibia. The power plugs in Namibia are type M or D. We had completely forgotten about this, but found a travel adapter in Windhoek quite easily. But as shops aren’t always around in sparsely populated Namibia, we recommend bringing one from home.
If you travel by rental car and go camping as we did, it is good to bear in mind that your car won’t have a power plug of course. It’s not very comfortable charging your phone or other devices, leaving them around the power pole. So we brought a converter with us to charge our devices in the car while driving.
#4 What about malaria in Namibia?
We were told that malaria is not a danger in Namibia. Malaria would only occur north of Etosha National Park and travelers rarely visit this part of the country. Make sure to get malaria advice from a travel clinic before traveling to Namibia.
#5 Do you need a visa for Namibia?
You don’t need to arrange a visa for Namibia in advance. If you are traveling for less than 90 days to Namibia, a visa is not required. It’s the same in neighboring Botswana, which is often combined with Namibia in one trip. You will get a sticker in your passport upon entering the border in Namibia.
Your passport must be valid for another six months upon arrival in Namibia. Other documents, such as proof of an exit ticket, may also be requested at the border. Check this in advance and bring it with you to be on the safe side.
#6 Which vaccinations are required for Namibia?
No vaccinations are required, but DTP and Hepatitis A are generally recommended by the Dutch travel clinics. A yellow fever shot is mandatory if you travel from an area with yellow fever, we were told. Check in advance with your travel clinic which vaccinations are recommended for you.
#7 What do locals eat in Namibia?
You won’t find many restaurants in a sparsely populated country like Namibia, but if you do visit a restaurant, you should not be surprised to see zebra, kudu and oryx on the menu. You can also buy those kinds of animals at the supermarkets. An affordable bell pepper, on the other hand, is a lot harder to find. That feels strange but is understandable in a desert country with wildlife but without many opportunities to grow vegetables on a large scale.
Barbecuing is also a favorite activity in Namibia, or rather: a so-called ‘braai’. We have slept on the most primitive camping spots where there was no shower or toilet, but it always had a braai.
What also surprised us: you can drink the tap water in Namibia! We do not often see this outside our home country (Netherlands) and we did not expect this in an African country at all.
Read more: 12 ways in which Namibia surprised us
#8 What is the currency in Namibia?
The official currency in Namibia is the Namibian dollar. But don’t be surprised if the ATM will hand out South African rand: those currencies are linked. So you can actually pay with South African money in Namibia. Sounds crazy, but it’s not a scam.
It’s also good to know that you can pay with your creditcard almost anywhere. When traveling we usually carry a wallet with cash, but in Namibia you can usually pay with your debit or credit card. From the campsites to the national park park gate, debit card payments are accepted almost everywhere.
#9 What time zone does Namibia use?
Namibia is +2 GMT, so the same as South Africa.
#10 What is a good travel itinerary for Namibia?
Your Namibia trip will probably start in Windhoek, as it has an international airport. For a trip around Namibia, you have roughly two choices if you have two to three weeks of travel time: you either visit the north and the Caprivi Strip, or you make a tour skipping the Strip.
We chose the second option as we also wanted to visit the ghost town of Kolmanskop and the impressive Fish River Canyon in the south, while we were less interested in more safari time at the Caprivi Strip. Check out our blog about the perfect Namibia itinerary for more details and a useful map of the route.
#11 Where are the beaches in Namibia?
Namibia is located on the coast, so there is a stretch of coastline full of beaches. Just don’t think this means Namibia is the perfect beach destination, as most coastal areas don’t have comfortable beaches at all.
We camped in Torra Bay on the Skeleton Coast, which is the most perfect beachside campsite. Sebastiaan dared to even swim in the ice-cold ocean, but I just couldn’t. Swakopmund has the best beaches in Namibia. Those are the kind of sand beach you’re looking for when planning a day at the beach, but keep in mind the ocean is extremely cold here as well. Swakpomund even has its own beach bar: Tiger Reef Beach Bar & Grill, right next to the Swakopmund camping Tiger Reef Campsite.
#12 Can you go backpacking Namibia?
We think a rental car is essential for traveling around Namibia. The only good alternative is a group trip, but we prefer to travel without a group. Public transport in Namibia is not widely available and will certainly not take you to all the big tourist attractions in Namibia. There is a train track through Namibia, but the train would also take you to the more central points in the country and not to the tourist highlights.
Read more: why we wouldn’t recommend backpacking Namibia, including tips if you decide to do so and a breakdown of our travel budget
#13 Would we recommend camping in Namibia?
Absolutely yes! Lodges in Namibia can be quite pricey, especially in high season. Camping is a more budget-friendly option, but also a more adventurous way to spend your nights. We traveled the country with a 4×4 with a rooftop tent and set up our tent at the most beautiful places. We stayed at camping sites with the best views: near a waterhole in Etosha National Park, on the Brukkaros volcano and on the Skeleton Coast. Traveling around with a 4×4 and camping were actually the highlights of our Namibia trip.
Read more: everything about camping in Namibia and the best camping sites in Namibia.
#14 What is a normal travel budget for Namibia?
Your travel budget will depend on whether you choose an organized group tour or a self-drive road trip around Namibia. We prefer the second and would go for a road trip our second time in Namibia as well. We give you plenty of tips in our Namibia blogs for traveling around the country by yourself.
If you make the same choice, your biggest expenses will be your airline tickets and your rental car with gas. Prices for anything, also for rental cars, are much lower in the low season, so consider this deciding what time of the year to visit Namibia. We spent € 3,300 for two people and more than three weeks in the low season, excluding flight tickets. We give a break down of our travel budget, explaining to you in detail how we spent our money and what were the exact costs of our rental car.