As with most explorations into an unknown territory, it is important to consider the necessary formalities before starting your journey. Namibia has many a different type of adventure on offer, but luckily there are still some essential items you would probably find of use no matter which type of Namibian adventure you are preparing for.
As you know, travelling to Namibia entails crossing a border into a foreign country. As a South African citizen, you would need your current passport. No travel visa is required, but you must ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months post your departure date. For visitors under 18 years of age, you will need their unabridged birth certificate along with their valid passport. There are also requirements when travelling with only one parent that you need to be aware of (as with all international travel from South Africa).
If you are taking a road trip to Namibia, you are in luck! Not only do Namibians also drive on the left side of the road, your South African driver’s license is accepted in Namibia too. But be sure to take with certified copies of your car’s registration papers. If you are not driving your own car, you need a letter of authority from the bank or the owner (with travel dates).
Of course, you can also visit Namibia via flights, but with the amazing landscapes and scenery along the way, we recommend driving between destinations. If you only have a short visit, you would have to consider the time it would take from one destination to the next – then a quick flight may be the better option.
Money, money, money…
Yes, Namibia has its own currency, the Namibian Dollar. But the good news is that it trades the same as the South African Rand, and you should be able to pay with South African Rands at most places. If not, just use your MasterCard or Visa.
Beware the sun in the desert. The harsh sun is not for the sensitive-skinned and the open stretches of sand in desert areas make it more intense. But uncomfortable sunburn and skin damage are easily avoided by using some good sunblock. A big hat to keep the sun at bay is an added way to stay comfortable and of course, make sure to pack some moisturizing lotion as the air can be quite dry.
No matter what activities you plan during your trip, packing a good pair of walking or hiking shoes is always a good idea. Namibia has so many great places to explore on foot, and you wouldn’t want a bad pair of shoes to keep you from doing so.
Keeping it cool
Ok, Namibia means plenty of deserts and lots of heat! Pack smartly – a light, long-sleeved cotton shirt, for instance, provides more protection from the sun and aids in keeping your skin’s moisture intact. And while the day temperature may be sky high, desert climate can reach freezing temperatures at night! So be sure to pack a warm thermal jacket and a warm pair of pants.
To stay hydrated, it is always a good idea to pack a proper water bottle and fill it up with water before you venture out for the day. You can drink the tap water in Namibia, but if you are prone to traveller’s tummy, you can also buy bottled water in local shops.
While there are good private hospitals on hand, a medical-kit is always great when you travel. Pack the basics, antiseptic ointment, bandages, plasters, antihistamines, painkillers, after sun and so on. This will prevent the need to rush to a pharmacy during your travels for something as silly as a mosquito bite. Also, make sure to pack some insect-repellents and anti-malaria pills if you are travelling up north in Namibia.
And last, but not least, remember your sense of wonder! Namibia’s magical landscapes and colours will inspire you and if you are open to it, will push your boundaries.
For more travel resources on how to prepare for your trip to Namibia, read our travel resources guide here.