Travel Information for Namibia and Botswana
1. Immigration Requirements
Visitors to Namibia and Botswana must be in possession of a passport with a validity of six months beyond the intended stay in the country and with at least four unused pages for entry and exit stamps.
A tourist visa is granted free of charge on arrival. While tourists to Botswana are only granted a visa for a maximum of 90 days, a tourist visa to Namibia may be renewed at any office of the Ministry of Home Affairs for another period of 90 days.
Minors travelling to Namibia and Botswana require a child passport. Botswana and Namibia also requires from minors under 18 years of age to produce an original birth certificate or a certified copy of the unabridged birth certificate stating the parents’ name. In the event that only one parent or any adult other than both parents are travelling with the child, the other parent’s affidavit or legal guardian consenting to such travel should be presented. In the event that parents are not entitled to custody, proof of legal custody by court order or any other official proof of legal custody has to be presented in its original form or a certified copy thereof.
With an average of 300 days of sunshine per year, a dry climate prevails throughout the year in Namibia and Botswana.
Cotton clothing is recommended for the warm summer (October – March) and can be purchased at local safari outfitters.
During winter (April – September) evenings, nights and early mornings can be very cool with temperatures below zero, making a pullover or jacket and long trousers essential. Warm clothing and a windstopper jacket are recommended for the Namibian coastal area which can be cool and windy during all seasons. Dense coastal fog is possible in the mornings.
Leisure wear is primarily needed for an outdoor holiday in Southern Africa. Since formal wear is only required in luxury hotels and de-luxe trains, travelers are recommended only to take along the bare necessities.
A maximum of 23 kg luggage per person is permitted on independent- or private safaris with Safari 24. Soft bags are preferred for lodge safaris, however hard protective cases may also be used.
On group tours with Safari 24 a maximum of 20 kg luggage per individual is permitted.
Such luggage requirements may appear to be limiting, however lodges and hotels have a laundry service so that only a limited amount of clothing should be brought along.
4. Recommended Equipment List
- Travel documents (passports, flight tickets) and cash
- Contact lens wearers and spectacle wearers should bring along glasses and reading glasses respectively
- Medication: pain medication, sticking plaster, antiseptic agent, anti-diarrhea agent, antihistamine cream or gel, prescribed medicine
- Sun protection (hat, sun glasses with UV protection factor, sunscreen agent with sun protection factor 50)
- Moisturizing cream
- Lip balm
- Insect repellent
- Antibacterial hand wipes
- Sober-coloured bush hat
- Walking or hiking boots
- Swimwear and bath towel
- Camera with sufficient film material or memory sticks and replacement battery
- Bird identification guide for Southern Africa
- Torch or headlamp
5. Means of Payment
The Namibian dollar (NAD) is the official currency in Namibia. The South African rand (ZAR) is also accepted as currency, however the Namibian dollar is not accepted as medium of exchange in South Africa. Business travelers from abroad and tourists are permitted to enter Namibia with infinite amounts of foreign currency, however specific amounts at a certain level have to be registered when entering the country.
There is bureau de change at Windhoek International Airport as well as in all banks and in many hotels. Traveler’s cheques and foreign currencies can be exchanged in banks. All documentation relating to a money exchange should be retained until the end of the trip.
Before departure an exchange from Namibian dollar to euro is only possible after passing airport passport and security controls at a bureau de change where proof of the original money exchange from euro to Namibian dollar has to be presented.
Mastercard and VISA are commonly accepted in Namibia, whereas American Express and Diners Card are seldom used. Cash withdrawals at ATMs in the amount of N$3000.00 (€200.00) are possible with EC Maestro Cards. A cash withdrawal in the same amount can be done on the same day. Each transaction costs approximately €4.50.
The pula (BWP) is the official currency in Botswana, where Mastercard and VISA are widely accepted in towns and cities. Traveller’s cheques are rather uncommon and should be denominated in euro or US-dollar. ATMs are available in larger towns. Cash withdrawals with Maestro Cards are possible at ATMs, however the amount of withdrawable cash is frequently limited to between approximately €100.00 to €500.00 per card and day in local currency.
When using automated teller machines in both countries, special attention should be paid to possible ATM fraud. At the end of month there are usually long waiting queues in banks and at ATMs. Shortages of hard cash are possible.
In Namibia malls are open on Saturdays and supermarkets on Sundays. Banks and post offices are open on weekdays from 08.30 a.m. until 05.00 p.m., and on Saturday until 01.00 p.m.
In cities such as Windhoek and Swakopmund many shops specialize in souvenirs like wood carvings from the Okavango, handmade Herero dolls, leather items, semi-precious and gem stones, jewelry and wool carpets. There are also renowned goldsmiths and furriers. Such specialty stores are usually closed on Saturday and Sunday afternoons as well as on public holidays.
All products and services in Namibia entail value added tax amounting to 15%. Visitors to the country can apply for VAT reimbursement at custom authorities at Hosea Kutako International Airport, Windhoek regional airport Eros and Walvis Bay airport. For more information contact the Ministry of Finance (Telephone: +264 61 209 2405, Fax: +264 61 209 2001).
When purchasing luxury items such as jewelry and fur coats a 30% luxury tax is remitted if tourists present their passports and flight tickets before making a payment transaction.
On trips with Safari24 through Botswana there are shopping possibilities in Maun, Kasane and in the Zimbabwean border town Victoria Falls.
In Namibia the official language is English, however German and especially Afrikaans are widely spoken. In Botswana the official language is English, however Afrikaans is also spoken in the western part of the country.
Delivery time for airmail from Namibia to Europe can last up to two weeks. Mobile telephone SIM cards are available for only N$10.00 at mobile telephone shops such as MTC or Telecom, post offices and supermarkets. Direct international calls are possible with Namibian SIM cards.
Please consult your family doctor by all means before travelling to Southern Africa. Please also consult your nearest institute for tropical diseases about any changes in health requirements.
In Namibia there is a world-class private healthcare system with general practitioners and medical specialists as well as private clinics and pharmacies available, in case a medical treatment might be necessary during your trip.
In remote parts of the country there are government clinics which provide an above-average primary medical health care when compared the other countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
Tropical diseases typical of countries with higher rainfalls do not occur at all in arid Namibia, which is why only a malaria prophylaxis is recommended.
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8.1. Malaria Prevention
Malaria infections are registered only in Northern Namibia. The peak season of malaria lasts from January until March. Due to very limited rainfall in Namibia, malaria usually poses no problem. In Botswana however there is a high infection risk during the rainy season from November until May in the Northern Okavango Delta, Chobe National Park with its regional Centre Kasane, Ghanzi, Ngamiland, Tutume Sub-District and Moremi Game Reserve.
Pregnant women are explicitly advised not to travel to high-risk areas as malaria infections during pregnancies can lead to serious health issues for both mother and child.
Mosquito bites can be prevented by using mosquito repellants generously. A locally- produced repellant is available in most supermarkets, however clients should also bring their own repellant. Since 95% of all malaria infections occur between 08.00 p.m. and 06.00 a.m., long-sleeved shirts and long trousers should be worn in the evenings. Rooms or tents should be sprayed with an environment-friendly insecticide to kill off any mosquitoes that may exist. Mosquito nets should be used if available. A tent’s zip fasteners should be closed completely especially at night to lock out bugs and insects. For a trip to Northern Namibia we recommend mosquito coils for outdoor use that can be purchased in supermarkets.
It is recommended to bring along an antimalarial medication as immediate-effect drug. Antimalarial drugs, which are available without prescription at pharmacies in Namibia, should only be taken in suspected cases and not as prophylaxis.
Malaria can also occur after the use of a prophylaxis, especially in areas where chloroquine resistance has been registered. Both chloroquine-resistant and normal strains of malaria occur in Northern Namibia and in Botswana.
In case of illness upon your return to your home country, please consult your family doctor immediately and inform him about your stay in a malaria area.
In contrast to Botswana tap water is drinkable in Namibia, although its chlorinated and mineral taste is conspicuous to travellers from Central Europe. It is recommended to drink at least two or three liters of water per day to avoid dehydration.
8.3. Sun Protection
Due to the high altitude of many regions especially in Namibia and the proximity of both countries to the equator, sun exposure is extremely high, making sun protection absolutely essential.
8.4. Food Intolerance and Illness
Travelers should inform Safari24 about any existing food intolerances and serious medical conditions before commencing a journey.
9. Insurance Coverage
We recommend a comprehensive international medical insurance and travel cancellation insurance. Health insurance should cover medical treatment as well as emergency evacuation and repatriation. Baggage insurance is meaningful when travelling with camera equipment. Articles of value should always be carried with hand luggage.
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