All You Need to Know Before Travelling to Namibia

Namibia is rated as one of the best holiday destinations in the world. The country offers many attractive sights such as Sossusvlei, Etosha National Park, Spitzkoppe or Damaraland, and breath-taking sceneries that make Namibia stand out as a tourist destination.

There is so much to see, and so many options to consider in terms of the route, timing, hotels, camps etc. But don’t worry! Planning your holiday to Namibia will be fun, and here are the fundamental things to consider before you start planning your amazing trip to Namibia;

1- Check how many days you want to spend in Namibia:

The first thing we had to do when planning our travel to Namibia was to extend our trip.  For a real Namibia experience, one should spare at least 2 weeks to be able to see all the touristic highlights which involve a bit of wildlife, a bit of desert and of course a lot of nature.

2- Check if you need a visa:

People from the visa-restricted countries will need to apply for a touristic visa in their home country at the Namibian representation. Should there not be any representation in your country, you can contact an immigration agent in Namibia who will obtain on your behalf a “letter of approval” which will be used to enter into Namibia.

People with German, British, American, Canadian, Japanese, South African and Australian passports don’t require to get a touristic visa for Namibia, however, the other nationals like myself will need to prepare the documents and apply at a Namibian representation unless you prefer to go for the below option.

Below option is hassle-free, the cheapest and the quickest!

If you need a touristic visa and don’t want to deal with all the hassle, just contact Raymond Bere from Roncook Tours on raymond.bere@roncooksafaris.com

You may start thinking it is a scam, but it is not! I sent my passport scan, home address, flight tickets copy and it took 5 days for me to get an approval for my visa. And we paid only 130 €!

You can also consult Raymond for a Namibian self-drive package or a customised tour if you wish to do so.

3- Decide on a route:

Namibia is huge and you will not want to just stay in Windhoek! Considering the most popular Namibia itinerary is Windhoek—Etosha National Park—Swakopmund—Sossusvlei—Windhoek (or the reverse) and one can drive this route in 10 days, you will need more than 10 days to actually be able to relax, enjoy and maybe add another interesting place such as Damaraland or Okonjima.

Remember that it is always about the experience, so you may also want to experience staying inside Etosha National Park and watch all the animals gathering around a water hole at nights, after the others leave the park. Alternatively, stay in Damaraland’s remote hotels (or even tents) to experience a romantic night by encountering the milky way under a clear sky. Have a look at Booking.com for hotel options, or check out my post about Namibia and see where we have stayed.

We have planned a 14 days self-drive tour for the following itinerary: Windhoek – Sossusvlei – Twyfelfontein – Etosha South (outside the park) – Etosha Park (Halali Camp) – Etosha East (outside the park) – Okonjima – Windhoek. This itinerary basically lets you relax every two days and drive 3 to 5 hours from one place to another.

4- Decide if you want to do a self-drive tour or a package tour:

A self-drive road trip through Namibia is an incredible way to see the country, so we decided to go for this option after thinking about it for a long time! (We actually ended up making the hotel and rental car bookings at the last minute!)

Tour agencies in Namibia offer customised tours as well as accommodation and car rental depending on your needs. As long as you know where you wish to go and stay, booking yourself will save you some money and the hassle of making bookings and payments ahead of your travel. Plus the self-drive option will allow you to discover the hidden sights of this magnificent country. I definitely recommend a self drive tour as long as you know how to drive on gravel roads.

Just to give an idea, accommodation in mid-upper range hotels and a 4X4 car rental for 14 days cost around 1,500-2,000 USD per person.  This can naturally be decreased by going for a camping option, smaller car (which we don’t recommend) or booking way earlier for the lower season.

If you go for a self-drive option, make sure to install Google Maps on your phone and download the offline map of Namibia to use it as a GPS. This way you won’t need an additional GPS or a map.

Google Maps is such a handy app that we always use during our travels. All you need is to download the offline map of the country and use it as a GPS even if you don’t have reception or internet! As it uses a satellite GPS positioning, you won’t have any issues at all.

5- Check the weather, it may be freezing at nights in winter time:

As Namibia is in the Southern Hemisphere, the winter time is between May/June and September. During this time, expect some pleasant days and freezing cold nights which may fall down to minus degrees. In May, we’ve seen 0 Celcius during sunrise and it increased to 25-26 Celcius degrees in the afternoons.

Not all hotels provide heating or a fireplace, and considering you will want to wake up at the sunrise to catch a glimpse of beautiful scenery, you will need warm clothes and maybe even a hot water bottle to keep you warm.

6- Prepare the Namibia Packing List and Start Shopping:

Here is your packing list for Namibia:

  • Passports and visas
  • Vaccination certificate (not necessary as they don’t ask)
  • International drivers licence (they never asked us but get it just in case)
  • Travel insurance

Clothing:

  • Warm clothes for the night
  • Hats
  • Swimsuits 
  • Neutral coloured clothing for safari
  • Closed shoes or trainers
  • Flip flops
  • Scarf to be protected from the sand
  • Backpack / Rucksack to take on safari rides or hiking

Electronics and others:

  • Flashlight (or use your phone’s flashlight)
  • Phone charger for the car
  • Electrical adapter (South African – Type D and M)
  • Binoculars
  • Portable Mp3 Player
  • Kindle or an ebook
  • Medicine and a first aid kit
  • Camera, external drive, lenses, charger and tripod if you are into photography
  • Headphones
  • Memory cards
  • Drone (you will need to register it but no one asked us anything at the customs)
  • Cooler
  • Sunscreen and sunburn lotion
  • Insect repellent (Etosha is a low malaria risk zone)

If Camping:

  • Toiletries
  • Trash bags
  • Tent
  • Sleeping bags
  • Brush to clean the sand
  • Mattress
  • Pillow
  • Headlight
  • Toilet paper

Shopping will not end before you travel because if you are heading on a road trip, you will need to stock up water and food when you are in Namibia.

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