Windhoek Travel Information
Local time is GMT +1.
Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. Round three-pin plugs are standard.
English is the official language, but many people also speak Afrikaans and German. There are also several indigenous languages spoken, mainly in the rural areas.
Typhoid, hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccinations are recommended for travel to Namibia. Safety regulations in Namibia require all visitors to have a yellow fever certificate if arriving from an infected area. There is a malaria risk in the northern region of Namibia during the rainy season (January to April). HIV/AIDS is prevalent and precautions are essential, although travellers are seldom at risk unless engaging in unprotected sex with locals. Cholera outbreaks do occur and visitors should drink only boiled or bottled water, and avoid ice in drinks. There has been an increase in the incidence of rabies among dogs in Windhoek; travellers at risk of animal bites should consider a rabies vaccination.
There are good medical facilities in Windhoek, but medical insurance is essential as treatment is expensive. Outside of the main cities medical treatment may be hard to come by. Travellers to Namibia should seek medical advice at least four weeks prior to departure. For peace of mind it is best to take prescription medications along when travelling; medicines should be kept in their original packaging and accompanied by a signed and dated letter from a doctor detailing why the medication is needed.
Tips of 10 percent are expected where a service charge has not been included in the bill. Tour guides, game rangers and trackers rely on tips for their income and should be tipped accordingly.
The majority of visits to Namibia are safe and trouble-free, but beware of increasing street crime and pick-pockets in Windhoek and other town centres. Theft from vehicles, especially from service stations, is common and valuables should be kept out of sight and the car locked. Avoid using taxis if possible and never take one alone. Care should be taken when travelling in the Caprivi Strip; travel in daylight hours only (livestock wandering onto roads at night cause many accidents), and stay on the main tarred highway as there is a risk of landmines remaining from the Angolan civil war. Namibia is considered at very low risk of terrorism, and no major incidents of violence against foreigners have been reported. Travellers should carry identification, such as photocopies of their passport, at all times.
It is best to check before taking pictures of State House or properties where the President is residing, as well as any buildings guarded by the army or police. Homosexuality is criminalised in Namibia, although these laws may not always be enforced.
Business in Namibia is conducted somewhat formally, although drinking and socialising are an important part of building good working relationships. Standard business etiquette applies; dress tends to be formal with more lightweight materials worn in the hotter seasons, punctuality is important, people shake hands on greeting and leaving and should generally be polite and professional. English is the language of business, though German and Afrikaans are widely spoken. Business hours are usually 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.
The international access code for Namibia is +264. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0027 for South Africa). City/area codes are in use, e.g. (0)61 for Windhoek. Most towns are covered by a GSM 900/1800 mobile network. Internet access is available from some hotels and Internet cafes are available in Windhoek and Walvis Bay.
Travellers to Namibia over 16 years do not have to pay duty on 400 cigarettes, 50 cigars and 250g of tobacco; 2 litres wine and 1 litre spirits or liquor; 50ml perfume and 250ml of eau de toilette; and gifts to the value of N$50,000.
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