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Namibia

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Summary

  • Exercise normal safety precautions. Use common sense. Look out for suspicious behaviour. Monitor the news and other sources of information for changes to local conditions.
  • Screening measures remain in place for all passengers travelling from Ebola virus disease (EVD) affected countries.
  • Take on roads. Tourists have been involved in single-vehicle accidents because of excessive speed and lack of familiarity with local road conditions. See Local travel.
  • Australia has a Consulate in Windhoek, headed by an Honorary Consul, which provides limited consular assistance. The Australian High Commission in South Africa provides full consular assistance to Australians in Namibia.
  • See Travel smart for general advice for all travellers.

Entry and exit

Visas

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact the Consulate-General of Namibia in Sydney or visit the website of the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration for visa and other travel information.

Ensure the correct visa and entry period is stamped in your passport if visting or transiting through Namibia. Issuing visas is done by the authorities of the country visited. Check your visa before leaving the immigration counter. Failure to comply with immigration requirements can result in detention and or fines.

Passport

Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months after the date you intend to return to Australia.

Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place.

If your passport is lost or stolen, you must notify the Australian Government as soon as possible.

Money

The currencies of Namibia are the Namibian dollar (NAD) and the South African Rand (ZAR).

Other formalities

If you're arriving from a country where yellow fever occurs, you'll need to present a valid Yellow Fever Certificate to be allowed entry into Namibia.

To prevent the spread of Ebola into Namibia, authorities require screening of all passengers travelling from EVD affected countries.

Australians travelling to or from Namibia through South Africa (including transiting) should read the Entry and exit section of our travel advice for South Africa. South Africa has specific documentation requirements for children travelling to South Africa. Please note South Africa's Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate requirements and be aware that it does not accept provisional travel documents (i.e. one page travel documents).

Safety and security

Crime

Petty crime such as pickpocketing, purse snatching and theft from motor vehicles occurs. Violent crime, including muggings and robberies targeting foreigners, has been reported in Windhoek and Swakopmund. The risk of being a victim of crime increases at night. Travellers in larger towns should avoid walking alone, particularly at night.

Be alert at ATMs. Criminals may attempt to distract you or offer assistance, with the aim of stealing money.

Be cautious when using credit cards as there have been reports of credit card copying or skimming. Do not let your credit card out of your sight when making purchases and check your statements carefully for possibly fraudulent payments.

There have been reports of foreigners being robbed by taxi drivers. Use taxis displaying the Namibia Bus and Taxi Association logo or organised through a reputable hotel or taxi company. Avoid hailing unmarked taxis on the street.

When driving, keep your personal belongings secure, car doors locked, and windows closed. Don't leave valuables in your car. Tourists have been the victim of robbery after stopping to assist people seeking help or hitchhiking along roads. Car break-ins are common, especially in major urban centres such as Windhoek, Swakopmund and Walvis Bay.

Due to the very high prevalence of HIV/AIDS, victims of violent crime, including rape, are strongly encouraged to seek immediate medical assistance.

Visitors should not expect the same level of service from Namibian police as they would in Australia.

Civil unrest and political tension

Avoid demonstrations and large public gatherings as they may turn violent. Monitor the media and other local information sources for developments which may affect your safety.

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. More information: Terrorist threat worldwide

Local travel

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), you are four times more likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident in Namibia than in Australia. Tourists have been involved in single-vehicle accidents because of excessive speed and lack of familiarity with local road conditions. Take care on Namibia's gravel and sandy roads. Other road hazards include poor local driving practices, lack of street lighting, inadequately maintained vehicles, pedestrians on the road and wild animals or livestock straying onto roads.

While roads between main urban centres tend to be in good condition, roads in rural areas are usually unsealed. When travelling in desert areas ensure you travel with sufficient supplies of fuel, water and emergency provisions and be aware of local conditions such as possible flash-flooding and water damage to roads. More information: Road safety and driving

When hiring a car, take out comprehensive car insurance to cover accidents on gravel roads. Most policies offered will not cover accidents that do not involve other vehicles or animals.

In East and West Kavango and Zambezi regions of north-eastern Namibia, particularly in areas bordering Angola, stay on well-travelled routes. Unexploded landmines and munitions remain in these regions.

The safety standards of transport and tour operators, including adventure activities, may not be of the same level as in Australia. Sufficient safety equipment may not be provided and recommended maintenance standards and safety precautions may not be observed. If appropriate safety equipment is not available, use another provider. Always use available safety equipment, such as lifejackets or seatbelts, even if others don't. Ensure your travel insurance covers you for any adventure activities you undertake.

Air safety

The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Namibia.

More information: Air travel

Laws

You are subject to the local laws of Namibia, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular services charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail. Research laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.

Penalties for drug offences are severe and include lengthy prison sentences. More information: Carrying or using drugs

Homosexuality isn't illegal in Namibia but local communities may be intolerant of same sex relationships. More information: LGBTI travellers

Foreigners have been detained for photographing government and military facilities. If in doubt, seek permission from a local official before taking photographs.

Unlicensed purchase of or trading in endangered wildlife products such as ivory and rhino horn is illegal and carries severe penalties. Visit the Australian Department of the Environment's Wildlife trade website for more information.

There are severe penalties for people convicted of illegal dealings in diamonds and other precious stones.  Only purchase from licensed shops.

Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas can be prosecuted in Australia.

If you are detained or arrested, the Namibian authorities may not automatically notify the Australian Government. As soon as possible, ask police or prison officials to notify the Australian High Commission in the Pretoria, South Africa or the Australian Consulate in Windhoek.

Information for dual nationals

Namibia does not recognise dual nationality. This may limit the ability of the Australian Government to provide consular assistance to Australian/Namibian dual nationals who are arrested or detained. Travel on your Australian passport at all times.

More information: Dual nationals

Health

Take out comprehensive travel insurance before you depart to cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. Confirm your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy.

There have been reports of some Namibian medical and emergency facilities not recognising some travel insurance policies. Check with your insurance provider to confirm that Namibian medical and emergency facilities recognise their product and carry a copy of the insurance papers with you, including the insurers emergency contact numbers. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for your medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.

Consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. Get vaccinated before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition.

More information:

Medical facilities

Outside major urban centres, the standard of medical facilities is often limited. Doctors and hospitals usually require cash payment, regardless of whether the patient has travel insurance. In the event of a serious illness or accident, medical evacuation to South Africa, which can cost as much as A$23,000, may be necessary.

Health risks

The rate of HIV/AIDS infection in Namibia is very high. Exercise appropriate precautions if engaging in activities that expose you to risk of infection.

Malaria occurs in the northern regions of Namibia. Other insect-borne diseases (including filariasis, leishmaniasis and sleeping sickness) also occur. Take medication against malaria when travelling in the northern regions. Take precautions to avoid being bitten by insects, including using an insect repellent, wearing long, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing and ensuring your accommodation is mosquito proof.

Water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (including typhoid, hepatitis, meningitis, tuberculosis and rabies) occur with more serious outbreaks from time to time.

In rural areas, boil all drinking water or drink bottled water. Avoid ice cubes and raw and undercooked food. Don't swim in fresh water to avoid exposure to water-borne diseases such as bilharzia (schistosomiasis). Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.

The 2014-16 outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in West Africa was the most serious in recorded history. To prevent the spread of the disease into Namibia, authorities require screening of all passengers travelling from EVD affected countries.

Natural disasters

The rainy season is November to April when flooding may occur and roads may become impassable. Monitor local media for information, follow the advice of authorities and consider moving to higher ground if flooding worsens and if it is safe to do so

Where to get help

Depending on the nature of your enquiry, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurer. Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.

If the matter relates to criminal issues, contact the local police. The emergency services number in Windhoek is +264 61 211 111. If calling from a mobile phone within Namibia, dial 112.

Tourist Protection Units are available in popular tourist areas. In Windhoek they are located inside Windhoek Main Police Station and can be contacted on +264 61 209 4345. In Swakopmund they can be contacted on +264 64 405 558.

If the matter relates to complaints about tourism services or products, contact the service provider directly or the Namibia Tourism Board on +264 61 290 6000.

The Consular services charter explains what the Australian Government can and can't do to assist Australians overseas.

Australia has a Consulate in Windhoek, headed by an Honorary Consul, which provides limited consular assistance:

Australian Consulate, Windhoek

Ed Humphrey
Honorary Consul
56 Chalcedoon Street
PO Box 86491, Eros
Windhoek, Namibia
Telephone: +264 61 300194
Mobile: + 264 81 2834629
Facsimile: +264 88 640002
Email: australian.consulate.namibia@gmail.com

You can obtain full consular assistance from the Australian High Commission in South Africa:

Australian High Commission, Pretoria

292 Orient Street
Pretoria
Republic of South Africa
Telephone: +27 (0) 12 423 6000
Facsimile: +27 (0)12 342 8442
Email: pretoria.info@dfat.gov.au
Website: southafrica.embassy.gov.au

See the High Commission website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

In a consular emergency if you are unable to contact the High Commission, you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information

Additional resources