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Namibia

If you’re travelling to Namibia, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.

 

Get travel and medical insurance

Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.

Overview

Security status

We advise you to exercise normal precautions in Namibia.

Emergency assistance

Because there is no Irish Embassy or Consulate in Namibia, we’re limited in the help we can offer you in an emergency. However, if there is an emergency, or if you need help and advice, you can contact our Irish Embassy in Lusaka in Zambia or our Consular Assistance Unit at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Dublin on +353 1 408 2000.

We suggest you learn as much as you can about Namibia before your trip from travel agents, tour operators and guide books. The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems when you’re in Namibia, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.

You can contact the emergency services in Namibia on:

  • 1011 for police.
  • 2032276 for ambulance.
  • 2032270 for fire department.

Other EU embassies

You can contact the Embassies and Consulates of other EU countries represented in Namibia for emergency consular assistance, advice and support.

Our tips for safe travels

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities
  • Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly in an emergency, such as a natural disaster or a family emergency
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates
  • Read our Topical ‘Know Before You Go’ guide

 

Safety and security

Terrorism

Although the threat from terrorism in Namibia is low, there is still a global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by tourists and expatriates. 

Crime

Most visits to Namibia are trouble free but you should take sensible precautions to avoid crimes such as muggings and car thefts: 

  • Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place
  • Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home
  • Avoid showing large sums of money in public and don’t use ATMs after dark, especially if you’re alone. Check no one has followed you after conducting your business
  • Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, and arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible
  • Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places such as internet cafés, train and bus stations
  • Don’t enter townships at night unless you’re accompanied by someone with local knowledge
  • Stay with your group/guide when visiting parks and game reserves

Serious crime

There’s a growing level of violent street crime affecting foreign tourists in Windhoek, even in daylight, with gangs approaching vehicles at busy road intersections. To protect yourself, keep car doors locked and windows up at all times.

Reporting crime

If you’re a victim of a crime while in Namibia, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Lusaka if you need help.

Driving

If you’re planning to drive in Namibia, be extremely careful. When driving outside towns, wildlife and stray livestock can pose a serious hazard, particularly at night. If you want to drive, follow these basic guidelines:

  • Bring your full Irish driver’s licence and your international driving permit and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and you risk being detained, fined or banned from driving if caught
  • Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags kept out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you’re stopped at traffic lights
  • Make sure you have identification with you, as you’ll be asked to produce it at regular road blocks
  • Stick to the well-travelled routes if you’re driving the Caprivi Strip
  • Don’t use a mobile phone when driving

Taxis

We advise against using taxis hailed on the street. Ask your hotel or accommodation to call a reputable company for you.

Hiring a vehicle

If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

Local laws and customs

Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or may even be illegal.

Illegal drugs

Drug taking and/or smuggling are criminal offences in Namibia and the punishments are severe.

Personal identification

Always carry identification with you – a photocopy of the relevant passport page is sufficient.

LGBT

Homosexuality is legal.

Photography

While there are no formal rules limiting photography at public buildings, be cautious. If the army or police are protecting a building, check with them before taking a photograph.

 

Health

Get travel and medical insurance

Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.

Medical facilities

Medical facilities are good but you may be expected to pay for treatment up front even if you have insurance. Make sure you’re fully aware of the conditions in your insurance policy and what cover is provided should you become ill or involved in an accident whilst in Namibia. 

Malaria, rabies and cholera

Malaria, rabies and cholera are common in Namibia and pose a serious health risk. The most recent cholera outbreak to be reported is in the Kunene Region (Jan 2014).  Please take extra precautions if travelling to this region.

HIV and AIDS

HIV and AIDS is prevalent in Namibia with current prevalence estimates at 13.1% of the adult population.

Water

You should only drink or use boiled or bottled water. If you suffer from diarrhoea during a visit to Namibia, get immediate medical attention.

Vaccinations

Check what vaccinations you may need for your trip at least eight weeks before you travel. We can’t advise you on vaccinations, but you can get information about vaccinations from your local GP or an International Health and Travel Centre.

Evidence of vaccination (in the form of a certificate) can be a requirement for entry to some countries.

Medication

Make sure you bring enough medication for your entire trip and for any unexpected delays. You may wish to also bring copies of your prescription in case you lose your medication.

Additional information

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

If you are unsure about the entry requirements for Namibia, including visa and other immigration information, ask your travel agent or contact the country’s nearest Embassy or Consulate

You can also check with them how long your passport must be valid for.

Passports

It’s advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you when travelling to Namibia and you should carry a photocopy of your passport at all times during your stay.

If your passport is lost or stolen while you’re abroad, we can help.

What we can do:

  • Issue you a replacement passport that will let you finish your trip, or;
  • Issue you with an emergency travel document to get you home.

We’ll do our best to help you as quickly as possible but this can take some time. Your location and circumstances may limit the help we can give you. As Ireland does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Namibia there may be additional complications in processing and application for a new passport.

You should contact the Irish Embassy in Lusaka in Zambia to find out what you need to do to apply for a passport. They will also be able to advise you on the fees which apply.

Money

The Namibian Dollar is tied to the South African Rand which is also legal tender in Namibia.