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Namibia

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Summary

  • Exercise normal safety precautions in Namibia. 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. See Health.
  • Drive carefully. 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. It provides limited consular services. 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

You can visit Namibia for tourism purposes for up to 3 months a year without a visa. For other visits you'll need to get a visa in advance.

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 up-to-date visa and other travel information.

Make sure the correct visa and entry period is stamped in your passport, even if you are just transiting. Check your visa before leaving the immigration counter. If you don't comply with your visa conditions or other immigration requirements, you could face detention and/or fines.

Other formalities

You'll need a valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate to enter Namibia if you're arriving from an area or country where yellow fever occurs. More information: Yellow fever risk and certification requirements (by country, WHO)

To prevent the spread of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) into Namibia, authorities screen all passengers travelling from EVD-affected countries.

If you're travelling to or from Namibia through South Africa (including transiting), read the 'Entry and exit' section of South Africa. South Africa has specific documentation requirements for children and does not accept provisional travel documents. Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate requirements apply.

Passport

Make sure 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.

Be aware of attempts to obtain access to your passport by deception. If you are forced to hand over your passport, contact an Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate for advice.

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

Money

The local currency is the Namibian dollar (NAD). The South African Rand (ZAR) is also legal tender. Declare all amounts in excess of NAD50,000 on arrival and departure.

Credit cards and ATM facilities are available in major centres. Do not expect these facilities to be available in remote areas. Contact your bank to make sure your cards will work in Namibia.

Safety and security

Crime

Pickpocketing, purse snatching, theft from motor vehicles and other petty crime occurs. Some criminals use distraction techniques, such as offering assistance, before stealing victims' money or other valuables. Car break-ins are common, especially in major urban centres such as Windhoek, Swakopmund and Walvis Bay.

Violent crime, including muggings and robberies targeting foreigners, can happen in Windhoek and Swakopmund. Tourists have been the victim of robbery after stopping for people seeking help or hitchhiking.

There have been reports of foreigners being robbed by taxi drivers. Risks are highest with unmarked taxis and those hailed on the street.

The risk of crime increases at night.

There have been reports of credit card copying and skimming.

  • Carry only what you need. Leave other valuables in a secure location.
  • Don't tempt thieves – avoid displaying expensive watches, jewellery, phones and cameras.
  • Avoid walking alone in large towns, particularly at night.
  • Keep vehicles doors locked, windows up and valuables out of sight at all times, including when moving.
  • Don't leave valuables in your car.
  • Never offer a lift to strangers.
  • Only use taxis displaying the Namibia Bus and Taxi Association logo or organised through a reputable hotel or taxi company. Don't hail unmarked taxis on the street.
  • Be alert at ATMs.
  • Do not let your credit card out of your sight when making purchases. Check your statements carefully for possibly fraudulent payments.
  • Due to the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, if you are a victim of violent crime, including rape, seek immediate medical assistance.

Civil unrest and political tension

Demonstrations and other large public gatherings could turn violent. 

  • Avoid protests, demonstrations and other large gatherings.
  • Monitor the media for reports of planned or possible unrest. Avoid affected areas.
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities.

Terrorism

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

Local travel

Landmines

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

Tours and adventure activities

The safety standards you might expect of transport and tour operators may not be met, especially for adventure activities. Recommended safety precautions and maintenance standards may not be followed. Safety equipment such as lifejackets and seatbelts may not be provided.

If you plan to participate in adventure activities:

  • first talk to your travel insurer to check if the activity is covered by your insurance policy
  • check operators' credentials and safety equipment before booking
  • use only reputable, registered tour operators
  • don't be afraid to ask about or insist on minimal safety requirements
  • always use available safety equipment, even if others don't
  • if appropriate safety equipment is not available, use another provider.

Road travel

You're four times more likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident in Namibia than in Australia. 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.

Roads between main urban centres tend to be in good condition but roads in rural areas are usually unsealed. Gravel and sandy roads, flash flooding and water damage to roads can create additional driving hazards.

Tourists have had single-vehicle accidents because of excessive speed and lack of familiarity with local road conditions. Most vehicle insurance policies don't cover accidents unless other vehicles or animals are involved.

  • Check you have adequate insurance cover, including for accidents on unsealed roads and single vehicle accidents, before you drive.
  • Familiarise yourself with local traffic laws and practices before driving.
  • Be alert to possible hazards at all times.
  • Beware of animals and pedestrians straying onto roads.
  • When travelling in desert areas, always travel with sufficient supplies of fuel, water and emergency provisions.

Driver's licence

You can drive in Namibia with a valid Australian driver's licence and an International Driving Permit (IDP). You must obtain your IDP before departing Australia.

Motorcycles

Check with your travel insurer whether your policy covers you when using a motorcycle, quad bike or similar vehicle. Your policy may not cover you for accidents that occur while using these vehicles. Wear, and ensure your passenger wears, a correctly fastened and approved helmet.

Taxis

Use only registered taxis, preferably those arranged through your hotel. Avoid hailing taxis on the street. Do not share taxis with unknown passengers. Always sit in the back seat.

Public transport

Avoid public transport, where possible. Local buses do not follow permanent routes and are often poorly maintained.

Air travel

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're subject to local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.

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.

If you're 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 Pretoria, South Africa, or the Australian Consulate in Windhoek.

Drug laws

Penalties for drug offences are severe and include lengthy prison sentences. More information: Drugs

Other laws

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. More information: Wildlife trade (Australian Department of the Environment)

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

Australian laws

Some Australian criminal laws apply overseas. If you commit these offences, you may be prosecuted in Australia. Laws include those relating to:

  • bribery of foreign public officials
  • child pornography
  • child sex tourism
  • female genital mutilation
  • forced marriage
  • money laundering
  • terrorism.

More information: Staying within the law

Dual nationals

Namibia does not recognise dual nationality. This may limit the ability of the Australian Government to provide you consular assistance if you're an Australian-Namibian dual national and you're arrested or detained. Travel on your Australian passport at all times. More information: Dual nationals

Local customs

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

 

Health

Travel insurance

Take out comprehensive travel insurance before you depart to cover overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. Make sure your policy includes adequate coverage for any pre-existing conditions.

There have been reports of some Namibian medical and emergency facilities not recognising some travel insurance policies. Confirm with your insurance provider that Namibian medical and emergency facilities recognise their product before you sign up. Carry a copy of the insurance papers and the insurer's emergency contact numbers with you.

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. This can be very expensive and cost you many thousands of dollars upfront.

Confirm:

  • what circumstances and activities are and are not covered under your policy
  • that you are covered for the whole time you will be away.

More information: Travel insurance

Physical and mental health

Consider your physical and mental health before travelling, especially if you have an existing medical condition.

  • At least eight weeks before you depart, see your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and implications for your health.
  • Get vaccinated before you travel.

More information:

Medication

Not all medications available over the counter or by prescription in Australia are available in other countries. Some may be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.

Before you leave Australia, check if your medication is legal in each country you're travelling to and find out if any quantity restrictions or certification requirements apply. Consult your doctor about alternatives well in advance of travel

Take enough legal prescription medicine with you to last for the duration of your stay so you remain in good health. Carry copies of your prescription and a dated letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you'll take and that it's for personal use only.

More information: Prescription medicines

Health risks

HIV/AIDS

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.

Insect-borne diseases

Malaria occurs in the northern regions of Namibia. Other insect-borne diseases (including filariasis, leishmaniasis and sleeping sickness) also occur.

Protect yourself against insect-borne diseases:

  • ensure your accommodation is insect proof, including with treated mosquito nets
  • take measures to avoid insect bites, including using insect repellent and wearing long, loose fitting, light coloured clothing
  • consider taking malaria prevention medication
  • seek medical advice if you have a fever, muscle pain, rash or severe headache.

Other infectious diseases

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.

  • Use good hygiene practices including frequent handwashing.
  • In rural areas, boil all drinking water or drink bottled water
  • Avoid ice cubes.
  • Avoid raw and undercooked food.
  • Don't swim in fresh water to avoid exposure to certain water-borne diseases.
  • Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering diarrhoea.

Medical facilities

Outside major urban centres, the standard of medical facilities is generally limited.

Doctors and hospitals usually require cash payment, regardless of whether the patient has travel insurance.

If you become seriously ill or injured, you'll need to be evacuated to South Africa or another destination with appropriate facilities. Medical evacuation can be very expensive.  

Natural disasters

The rainy season is November to April when flooding may occur. Roads can become impassable.

If severe flooding or another natural disaster occurs:

  • secure your passport in a safe, waterproof location or carry it on you at all times (in a waterproof bag).
  • closely monitor local media and other sources such as the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System
  • consider moving to higher ground if your safety could be at risk
  • follow the advice of local authorities
  • contact friends and family in Australia with regular updates about your welfare and whereabouts.

Where to get help

Depending on what you need, 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.

Emergency phone numbers (from a mobile phone)

  • Fire: phone 112
  • Medical emergency: phone 112 or go to the nearest hospital
  • Police: phone 112 or visit the nearest police station

Emergency phone numbers (from a landline)

  • Fire: phone +264 61 211 111
  • Medical emergency: phone +264 61 211 111 or go to the nearest hospital
  • Police: phone +264 61 211 111 or visit the nearest police station

Always get a police report when reporting a crime.

Tourist Protection Units (TPU) are available in popular tourist areas:

  • in Windhoek, the TPU is located inside Windhoek Main Police Station (Tel: +264 61 209 4345)
  • in Swakopmund, the TPU can be contacted on +264 64 405 558

Tourism products and services

For complaints relating to tourism services or products, contact your service provider directly.

Australian Government

Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.

Australia has a Consulate in Windhoek, headed by an Honorary Consul. It provides limited consular services. You can get full consular services from the Australian High Commission in Pretoria, South Africa.

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

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

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

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

Additional information

Additional resources