We would love to have our friends and family visit us here in Windhoek. Due
to the current exchange rate, travel here in Namibia is quite affordable right
now. The most expensive part will be the airfare.
- While in Windhoek, you can probably stay with us. We have a house with a
guest room and an additional unfurnished room.
- When traveling to other parts of Namibia (and South Africa), you can get
B&B accommodations for 1/3 to 1/2 the cost in the USA ($30 per couple
per night). Hostels (pensions) can be found for less. The
Lonely Planet guide can help with this.
- Groceries cost about the same as they do in the United States.
- Restaurant meals cost much less than they do in the USA. In fact restaurant
meals cost only slightly more than the groceries cost. A nice dinner out for
two can be $10-$15. A very nice seafood dinner including wine, appetizer,
desert will probably be $25 rather than the $60-$80 in the Washington DC area.
- Meals tend to be heavy on meat and light on vegetables; and just like in
the USA, they tend to have too much fat and salt for everyday consumption.
- Here is the menu from a restaurant in Windhoek called African
Roots. The prices are in Namibian dollars (typically 10-1 with the US
dollar). These tend to be large meals just like in the USA, so Phoebe and
I often split an appetizer, salad and entree and add a desert if we are not
- Car hire (rental) is generally a little more expensive than in the USA.
- Petrol (gasoline) is roughly the same cost as in the USA. Currently at N$3.86/liter
- We can take you places in our car (4 seater) when you are here in Windhoek.
- You can hire a car (rent-a-car) at either airport or around town, but you
should have a booking (reservation) before you come or you may find yourself
out of luck.
- When we were first here, I hired a VW Citi Golf (a VW rabbit in disguise)
from AVIS at the EROS airport for US$130 for the week.
- I think that a 4X4 is around US$50 per day.
- Your Gold or Platinum Visa or
probably covers the Collision Damage Waver (CDW) and the Theft Loss Waver
(TLW). Check with them before you leave to be sure.
- Neither your major credit card nor your USA based auto insurance policy
is likely to cover the Personal Accident Insurance. Get this from the agency
where you hire the car.
- Many people say you will want a 4x4 to get to places off the paved roads.
This depends quite a bit on what you plan to do.
- Some common cars to hire are:
- Compact car - VW City Golf, or Toyota Corolla.
- 4X4 double cab pickup - Toyota Hilux Double Cab Bakkie.
- A mini-van type thing - Toyota Venture.
- Combi - Generic term for a passenger van.
- Namibia's attractions are widely dispersed, so you are likely to have some
long drives while you are here. We highly recommend books on tape.
- In order to not stand out and make yourself a target, wear your normal clothing.
You probably don't have to buy anything new. NO PITH HELMETS, PLEASE!!!
- I have found that blue jeans can be a problem because the back pocket doesn't
button to protect your wallet. I wear khakis or shorts most of the time.
- Bring sunglasses, a hat that shades your ears, sunscreen
- Many people wear shorts and sandals (or bare feet) in the city.
- Many people wear shorts and sandals in the game parks, but I recommend long
pants and comfortable walking shoes (sneakers or hiking boots). This is what
I wear when I hike in the USA.
- You might bring a $2 watch and leave the Rolex at home.
- You should consult a good travel medical clinic for the latest advice on
vaccinations. The CDC web
site is very informative, but it clumps Namibia in with all of Southern
- There is a good South African site www.travelclinics.co.za
with information that is more accurate for Namibia.
- There is no malaria in Windhoek.
north of Windhoek is a malarial area from Dec through Apr. Malarone
($35/week+$35 at end) is the newest and best antimalarial. Mefloquine
(brand name Lariam) ($9/week + $45 at end) is the traditional antimalarial
for Southern Africa. Both are available from www.drugstore.com.
- Namibia can have breakouts of Meningococcal
Meningitis. Get the vaccination. You can get the vaccination here for
- You probably don't need any other vaccinations other than the ones recommended
for the USA.
- Make sure your health insurance covers you for foreign travel, if not get
travel medical insurance. Phoebe has used and liked Medex
in the past.
- Some people take a daily multi vitamin when traveling to help combat travel
- We are 7-10 hours ahead of USA, so try to get to bed a few hours earlier
than usual to help combat jet-lag.
- I have found the health care here to be quite good.
- All needles in Namibia are SINGLE-USE, so they are quite safe.
- Except in very rural areas, the tap
water in Namibia is safe and drinkable. However, short-term visitors can
drink bottled water to help avoid upset stomach from differences in the water
- The US Dept of State travel
site has current information on travel to Namibia.
- There is not much violent crime in Namibia. Most crime is for money or valuables,
not to harm you.
- Namibia has one of the world's greatest disparities between the few rich
and the many poor. This results in much theft, but not drive-by-shootings.
- Follow the same guidelines as you would anywhere in the world.
- Don't bring flashy jewelry or clothes, you don't want to stand out as a
- Keep your wallet in a buttoned pocket or your front pocket.
- Don't bring anything that is extremely expensive or that you could not bear
to have stolen.
- While a backpack/waistpack is useful for hiking, it will make you a target
in the city. A tote bag or a plastic shopping bag goes unnoticed.
- Lock your suitcase - especially if you are flying through Jo'burg.
- Your ATM card is your best friend. The BOB ATM's all around Namibia (and
South Africa) give you local currency (Namibian Dollars or Rand) directly
from your US bank account.
- Don't accept help from strangers at the ATM! They may be helping themselves
more than helping you. Ask anyone standing too close to move back, or let
them go first.
- Many places take VISA and MasterCard...but not all.
- You should probably bring some travelers checks, but you will not likely
have to use them. We have not used any yet.
- Namibian Dollars and South African Rand work in Namibia. Only Rand work
in South Africa.
- The Namibian Dollar exchange rate is tied to the South African Rand. It
has been 8-12 Rand per US dollar over the last year. You can see the current
exchange rate in the lower right-hand corner of
- Passport and airplane ticket
- ATM card, credit card and travels checks
- Photocopy of passport, drivers license, travelers check receipts
- Emergency numbers (NOT 800 numbers!) for bank cards, travelers checks, health
insurance, other insurance.
- 1-800 numbers WILL NOT WORK from Namibia, because there is no way for the
phone company to bill it. Try to find call-collect numbers for your bank,
etc., if they have them.
- Medications you need: malaria pills, allergy pills. I have not found Pepto-Bismol
- Bug dope (mosquito netting if you are traveling to a malaria area)
- Good walking shoes (sandals or hiking boots if you like)
- Long pants and shirt (lightweight during summer) are a good protection from
sun, bugs and snakes
- Many people wear shorts and sandals in town
- Rain/wind jacket
- Oct - Mar: light jacket (fleece?) for cool evenings
- Apr - Sep: warm jacket. Yes it is Africa, but does get cold here! Winter
nights in Windhoek are usually in the 30's - and it is nearly as cold inside
as it is outside
- Swimsuit (and goggles if you like)
- Hat and sunglasses
- Camera and film. - Clean and test BEFORE you come
- Binoculars - Clean and test BEFORE you come
- Hand cleaner - like purell
- Mailing addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses of friends
- Backpack/waistpack/tote bag
- Suitcase locks
NOTE: Don't panic if you forget something, you can purchase almost anything
you would need here. You will not get the ridiculous number of choices for the
same type of product as you do in the USA, but there are usually enough choices.
Many items are priced similarly to the USA prices. Clothing is usually about
1/2. Cameras are 1-1/2.
- Your cell phone. Your US-based cell phone won't work here
- A pith helmet... as per Phoebe's request.
- Anything that you could not stand to have stolen.