Namibia information

Namibia general information

What time is it in Namibia? What is Namibia's currency? How can I make a call to or from Namibia? These are just some of the questions travellers have, when going on holiday to Namibia for the first time. Below we've tried to answer the most frequently asked questions.

Time in Namibia

During the winter months, lasting from the first Sunday in April to the first Sunday in September, Namibia is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+1), and one hour behind the time of its neighbouring countries South Africa and Botswana. During the summer month, from the first Sunday in September to the first Sunday in April, Namibia is two hours in advance of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+2); Central African Time applies for Namibia in summer. The exception to this is the Caprivi Strip, which is two hours ahead of GMT all year round.

Currency in Namibia

Namibia's currency is the Namibian Dollar (NAD), and this has been interchangeable with South Africa's Rand for many years. Note that South African Rand notes can be used in Namibia at face value; whereas in South Africa Namibian Dollar notes are worth fractionally less than Rand notes.

At the time of writing the exchange rate is currently (Feb 2011) £1 = N$11, but see www.oanda.com for the latest rate. Foreign currency may be exchanged at banks; most shops, hotels and restaurants take credit cards (Visa & M/card), although petrol stations require cash. Credit and debit cards can also be used to withdraw cash at bank ATMs.

Namibia's International Dialling Code

The International Dialling Code for Namibia is +264; area codes are also used (e.g. (0)61 for Windhoek, or (0)64 for Swakopmund). Calling from Namibia, you dial 00, followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the UK, or 001 for the USA). Calls from Namibia to UK landlines with Telecom Namibia currently (Feb 2011) cost N$4.31 (peak time) or N$3.57 (off-peak) per minute (to UK mobile: N$5 and N$4.20 per minute).

Food in Namibia

In Namibia, high-quality food is inexpensive – steak and seafood (oysters on the coast!) are particularly good. National specialities include Biltong (air-dried meat), Rauchfleisch (smoked meat), Potjiekos (one-pot bush stew), and game meat cooked on a braai (e.g. antelope, zebra or ostrich) – although many restaurants serve international cuisine. Local beer (Tafel or Windhoek lager) and South African wine are cheap and excellent.

Driving in Namibia

Distances are great, but the region has some of the finest roads in Africa. Traffic is light; driving is on the left and normally a pleasure. The main roads are tarmac and the gravel roads in more remote areas are well maintained. Expert Africa includes route maps, directions, general information and full itineraries with your travel documents.

Health in Namibia

Namibia is generally a healthy country to visit. Several vaccines are sensible (typhoid, polio and tetanus), though none is required. Malaria is not widespread, but if you are travelling to the north of the country, or from December to March, then take a course of anti-malarial tablets. Always check the latest recommendations with your doctor or travel clinic before you travel. (The Scottish NHS site is a useful resource for travel info on Namibia.)

AIDS is prevalent in Namibia; HIV infection rates are high. For travellers, this is usually not an issue, but they should always be aware of the situation, and take similar precautions to avoid infection which are wise in most countries. We understand that private hospitals have been screening their blood supplies carefully for many years.

Language in Namibia

English is the official language, but German, Afrikaans, Oshiwambo and many tribal languages (including Kwangali, Lozi, Nama and Tswana) are also spoken. About half of all Namibians speak Oshiwambo as a first language; most of the white population speaks German or Afrikaans as a first language.

Visas for Namibia

Travellers with British passports (as well as visitor from the USA), staying less than 90 days, do not currently (2011) need a visa when travelling to Namibia – but check with the Namibia High Commission for the latest info.

Weather and climate in Namibia

Namibia's climate is generally very hot and dry, with little rain, so it's good to visit all year round. Please see our separate weather and climate in Namibia page for more information.