Travelling to Namibia

Brief overview of Namibia

Namibia, a former German colony, is located on Southern Africa, bordering with South Africa, Angola, Zambia, Botswana and the ocean. It produces some of the world's highest quality of diamonds and in some areas you might be told off from the police including in some surfable beaches. 

Namibians, like many other African countries do distinctions between races and because of the apartheid in South Africa, it’s an issue that you’ll come across. However, most races get along and highly unlikely that you'll notice any tension.

The major cities are

  • Windhoek is Namibia's capital and largest city. 
  • Lüderitz is one of the most popular coastal towns and it was from the German Colonial era.
  • Swakopmund is another famous Coastal town, and where most surfers and Namibians go on holiday.
  • Walvis Bay has many desert sports and also some worth visiting surf spots.
  • Skeleton Coast is the northern part of the Namib desert, named after dozens of ships that wrecked here. This area is also home to the most famous wave in Namibia.


Travelling to Namibia

Most waves between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund and also around Luderitz can be accessed generally by a normal car, but if you’re planning to go beyond this area, to places such as the Skeleton Bay, then you’ll need a 4x4. You can also rent a car with Surfinn or request transfers.

After booking with Surfinn, you'll receive the exact directions and best way to get to the surf camp that you've booked.

Getting there by plane:

The main airport, Hosea Kutako International Airport, is located 45 min from Windhoek.

Getting there by car:

The majority of tourists will get to Namibia by car from one of the borders rather than airplane. There are 9 popular borders with neighbouring counties. If you want to get to Namibia through a foreign country it might be better via bus from Cape Town.

Get around:

If you want to rent a car you’ll need to have cash to fill up the tank and in Africa it does not matter if you just stopped to fill up the tank! Fill it up again and whenever possible, because you never know where the next gas station is and if it is working.

Most primary roads in Namibia are overall good. The secondary roads are often ok too, unless there was some serious rainfall. Be careful as you’ll need a 4x4 if you want to reach the Skeleton Coast. Driving at night is very dangerous due to the wildlife on the roads.


Where to stay

One of the best places to be based in Namibia is in areas like Walvis Bay or Swakopmund. You’ll have plenty of accessible waves between the two towns. You can check here the surf camps in Namibia


What to bring to Namibia

Being a remote surf destination means that there’s not many equipment to buy or surf shops around Namibia. We’d recommend you to bring your own gear for your surf holidays, such as spare sets of fins, leashes, wax, more than one board and different wetsuits (3.2 mm and a 4.3 mm).

You should know that the Benguela currents are cold and sometimes having booties and gloves will be a good idea.

You might be able to buy some equipment in Swakopmund, but we highly recommend to rely on your own stuff to Namibia.


VISA 

Visa is not required for most visitors including Europe, USA and most Commonwealth countries. Most visitors from Eastern Europe need visa. Most nationalities will have a visa free policy for up to 90 days and some others up to 30 days.

All visitors will need a 6 month valid passport to enter and exit Namibia.

IMPORTANT!!! A typical scam when you enter Namibia is done by the officers themselves by stamping wrong dates on your passport so that they can fine you for overstaying and these fines are not small.


Climate in Namibia

Namibia has a temperate and subtropical climate best described by warm and dry conditions with little rainfall along the coast explaining the deserts you’ll see. In the capital Windhoek, the average annual precipitation is 360 mm.

You might experience summer rainfall between October and March especially closer to the coastal towns and areas.

Average temperature range from 6º to 20º C in July to 17º to 29º C in January.


Language

English is the official language and you should be fine and get away in talking English in most areas, despite only 7% of the population have English as their native language. Namibia has many languages and dialects. The most widely spoken are Oshiwambo dialects (48%), Khoekhoe (11%), Afrikaans (11%), Kwangali (10%) and Herero (10%).


Health and Travel Insurance

Recommended vaccinations: Tetanus, Rubella, Diphtheria, Measles, Pertussis and Mumps. A Yellow Fever vaccination certificate will be required for those coming from a country where there’s risk infection.

Malaria is prevalent especially in the north of the country, so anti-malarial pills are recommended. You should double precautions and use mosquito repellent during the day and night.

Water from the tap is not drinkable and since you’ll be surfing and sometimes the closest medical facility is far, you should bring a first aid kit.

Travel Insurance in Africa is always highly recommend and you can buy it with Surfinn when you make a booking with us.

The HIV infection rate in Namibia is around 25% so be extra careful with regards to unprotected sex with locals.


Currency

The Namibian Dollar (N$) is 1:1 to the South African Rand (ZAR). Both the Namibian Dollar and South African Rand are accepted in Namibia, yet you’ll be given change usually in N$.

IMPORTANT: It is advisable to carry with you the ATM receipt especially when you’re leaving the country so that police understand that the money you’re taking out was money that you withdrew and not by selling or doing any business.

IMPORTANT: Credit and debit card fraud is a major problem in Namibia which is another reason why you should keep your ATM receipts.


Cuisine

Like in South Africa, Namibians do eat a lot of meat so portions are usually big. Namibians also eat a lot of rice, peanuts, beans, tomatoes, potatoes, corn, bread, and pasta. The most common fruits are bananas, oranges, pineapples and kiwi.

On bigger cities, such as Windhoek, Swakopmund and Oshakati, Namibia's nightclubs are always open until late


Safety

Namibia is a peaceful country and there are no current civil wars. Nevertheless, Namibia does have a relatively high crime rate, hence be careful next to ATMs, avoid driving or walking alone at night.

Most reported cases take place outside city centre and in many cases taxi drivers are involved.


Communication & Country code

Namibia's country code is 264. There are Internet cafes in most cities like Windhoek, Swakopmund and Opuwo. Surf camps and hostels often have Internet access as well.