Find out the answers to many of your questions, including the best time to visit Namibia, whether malaria is a concern, whether you need to hire a car and more. Any more questions, please get in touch.
Booking your Namibian holiday
Online bookings – via websites or email, now make planning a Namibian holiday much easier. Keep in mind that Namibia is a vast country, and distances should not be underestimated. Google Maps gives quite accurate estimates for driving, but can underestimate how long some of the routes on gravel roads take to drive. If you’d rather rely on inside knowledge, then there are plenty of good travel agents who can organise your holiday for you.
It’s possible to pay by credit/debit card at most places now in Namibia, including most lodges, guest farms (check first), inside Etosha National Park, and at filling stations, so you shouldn’t need to carry too much cash. Namibian dollars and South African Rand (interchangeable in Namibia) are the preferred and accepted currency across the country.
Lodges and guest farms are now capable of dealing with most dietary requirements and preferences. The key is to let your hosts know in advance!
It is advisable to seek advice from your general practitioner or tropical medicine institute. From a local perspective we can advise that if you are visiting during the dry winter months (May to September), risk of malaria is almost null, since mosquitoes are not active. During the rest of the year, the risk is also low, except for in the north-eastern areas of the Kavango and Caprivi (Zambezi region), where malaria is endemic, and prophylaxis precautions should always be taken.
Most lodges, guest farms and reserves now have free Wifi access, but the quality is very variable. Wifi access may be limited to the reception/lounge/dining area. At some lodges you may have to pay to use more than a set daily GB allowance. Cellphone reception is also widespread, but also patchy in the more rural areas.
It may be that you’re restricted because of school holidays or other commitments. But if you’re able to choose when to come to Namibia, there are a few points to consider, including Namibian weather:
- If you prefer cooler temperatures and you do not tolerate heat well, then avoid the hot midsummer months (November-February).
- To avoid the crowds, and the high season rates, visit in the quieter low season months (January-March, and June).
- If your priority is wildlife, the dry winter and spring months are best for viewing animals (June-October).
- If you’ve been to Namibia in the dry season, then consider coming back for a visit in the green season, when the country is completely transformed by the rain (February-April)
Find out more in our blog on the seasons in Namibia to help you decide when the best time to visit Namibia is for you.
Driving in Namibia
Do I need to hire a car to visit Namibia?
Yes, you will probably need to hire a car, as public transport in Namibia is extremely limited.
What are the roads like in Namibia?
The main routes (B-roads and most C-roads) are tar roads, which are good quality and rarely busy. Secondary roads are all gravel roads of varying quality. Entry roads to some lodges and farms are often just dirt tracks.
Do I need to hire a 4×4 vehicle to drive around Namibia?
No, for the normal tourist routes, you will not need to hire a 4×4 vehicle. You should only be driving on tar and gravel roads and the occasional short dirt track. These can all be driven by smaller sedan vehicles or 2×4 SUVs. You would only require a 4×4 vehicle if you were planning to drive off the beaten track (e.g. in the Damaraland river systems, or in Bushmanland). Such journeys are only for experienced 4×4 drivers, and only in convoys of at least two vehicles. You would also need a 4×4 if you are including the Kavango and Caprivi regions in your itinerary during the rainy season, as the National Parks in this area can get quite muddy.
Would a 4×4 vehicle not be more comfortable to drive though?
The advantage of hiring a 4×4 vehicle is comfort and driveability, but you can also get this with small SUVs, as they have better tyres and suspension than sedan cars.
How fast should I drive on the gravel roads?
Any gravel roads that are corrugated, or have many bends, rises or dips, should never be driven at more than 60 km/h. Even on good, smooth gravel roads, do not attempt to drive faster than 60 km/h until you are comfortable and confident with how the car handles on that specific type of gravel road. In Etosha National Park, the speed-limit is 60 km/h – please keep to this speed limit!
Medical facilities in Namibia
Namibia has fairly good medical facilities in every town and city. The only problem in Namibia is that you may often find yourself a long way from such towns. Bring the basics, in case of minor illnesses e.g. for cold, flu, headache, stomach upsets, small grazes. If you need to buy other over-the-counter medicines, there are pharmacies in most of the larger towns. There are also private doctors (and dentists), with whom you can usually make an appointment for the same day or the next. Just speak to the lodge or guest farm manager.
Most lodges and other accommodation (even the smaller guest farms) have staff on hand that are trained in first aid. They also usually have the phone number of their local doctor so they can get instructions on caring for an injured guest and where to take them for further treatment. In a serious emergency there are also ambulances and medical helicopters that can transfer patients to the nearest hospital.
Namibia does have malaria-carrying Anopheles mosquitoes, but these are almost exclusively in the north-east Kavango and Caprivi regions. If you are visiting these areas, at any time of year, it is definitely advisable to take medical prophylaxis prescribed by a doctor, cover up with long clothes in the evening, and use insect-repellent spray. For the rest of the country, malaria-carrying Anopheles mosquitoes are scarce (although the equally-irritating Aedes aegyptii bush-mosquitoes still occur). This means the risk is minimal, but please take advice from your doctor. Wherever and whenever you are travelling, always take insect-repellent spray with you and use it if you see or hear any mosquitoes.
In the Kavango and Caprivi areas, where malaria is endemic, then lodges generally have mosquito nets over the beds. Through the rest of the country most rooms have mosquito nets, or fly screens on windows to keep mosquitoes out. If there are no nets or fly screens, then this is usually an indication mosquitoes are not a concern in that area.