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Namibia
Official Name:

Republic of Namibia

Last Updated: December 14, 2016

Embassy Messages

Further Safety and Security Information

Travel Warnings: Issued when Protracted situations make a country dangerous or unstable. Defer or reconsider travel.

Travel Alerts: Issued when short-term conditions pose imminent threats. Defer or reconsider travel.

Embassy Messages: Issued when local security issues arise.

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Windhoek

14 Lossen Street, Ausspannplatz
Windhoek, Namibia

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Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

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Six months

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

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Six pages

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

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Yes

VACCINATIONS:

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Yellow fever, if traveling from a yellow fever endemic country.

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

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Not applicable

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

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Not applicable

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U.S. Embassy Windhoek

14 Lossen Street, Ausspannplatz
Windhoek, Namibia

Telephone: +(264)(61) 295-8522

Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(264)(81) 127-4384

Fax: +(264)(61) 295-8603

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Namibia for additional information on U.S. – Namibia relations.

Requirements for Entry:

Visas:

Tourist visas are available at the port of entry. Other visa types must be obtained before traveling. Visit the Embassy of Namibia's website for the most current visa information. Overseas inquiries should be made at the nearest Namibian Embassy or Consulate.

Check your visa before leaving the immigration counter. Make sure the visa stamp is valid for your visit (up to 90 days) or transit through Namibia and that immigration officials have given you a correctly dated entry stamp, as this stamp will be checked upon departure. Overstaying the time granted or having an incorrect or missing entry stamp can result in detention, arrest, and fines.

Passports must have at least six months of validity remaining beyond your planned date of departure. At least six completely blank pages are required for entry. If you are traveling with minor children to Namibia via South Africa, be aware that additional documentation is required.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to, or foreign residents of Namibia.

Find information on dual nationality, prevention of international child abduction, and customs regulations on our websites.

Namibia-Angola border: There is a risk of banditry in this area, including the region of Kavango in the northeast and the western half of the Zambezi region (formerly known as Caprivi).  

Precautions:

  • Use official border crossing areas only to enter neighboring countries.
  • Travel during daylight hours and stay on main roads.
  • Keep your passport containing valid visas and current driver’s license secure with you at all times. Photocopies are not acceptable. Keep copies of original documents in a secure location.
  • Avoid demonstrations and large gatherings. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities, monitor local news broadcasts and consular messages.

Adventure activities: Climbing areas, 4X4 trails, hiking trails, and rivers are unpredictable and dangerous. They are often located in isolated areas without access to communications and away from any medical assistance. Dozens of people, including U.S. citizens, have been injured or drowned. 

  • Leave a copy of your identification, travel documents, and an itinerary with the hotel reception desk when you go on excursions to assist the coast guard and police/rescue teams in the event of a problem.
  • Bring sufficient water and supplies, including a satellite phone preprogrammed with emergency numbers. 
  • Provide a detailed travel plan and return date to family and friends in the United States before your excursion.

Checkpoints: Police set up checkpoints approximately 9 miles (15 km) outside of main cities and all major highways. During the holiday season, additional checkpoints may be established along the Windhoek-Swakopmund highway (B1).

  • Remain inside your vehicle with doors locked and open the window slightly to communicate.
  • Be prepared to produce vehicle registration documents, personal identification (passport, Namibian identification cards), car rental contracts, and/or drivers’ licenses.
  • Proceed only when waved through.

CRIME: Non-violent crimes of opportunity are the most common incidents reported by foreigners and include pick pocketing, purse snatching, ATM card skimming, and vehicle thefts and break ins. Criminals sometimes brandish knives and guns. Violent crimes, including murder and rape, and property crimes increased in Windhoek over last year. Robberies occur at roadside rest stops. Residential break-ins are prevalent. 

  • Dress conservatively.
  • Avoid walking alone, especially after dark, and displaying cash and valuable personal property.
  • Make sure your hotel room or residence is well secured, including windows.
  • Keep your credit card in your sight at all times while it is being processed. Consider using prepaid credit cards with limited funds when traveling.
  • Take rest breaks in towns and/or at gasoline stations.

Transport crimes: Violent assaults on taxi passengers are common; petty theft is prevalent and occurs on trains, buses, and taxis.

  • Be aware of criminals using remote key fobs to unlock vehicle doors in parking lots.
  • Drive with doors locked and windows closed.
  • Keep valuables out of sight and do not use cell phones or laptops while stopped in traffic; bandits may use smash and grab tactics to steal valuables.
  • Hire taxis through a hotel or retain the services of a reputable private transport company.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

VICTIMS OF CRIME:

Report crimes to the local police at 112 and contact the U.S. Embassy at + (264) (61) 295-8522.

Tourist Protection Units (TPUs) assist tourists victimized by crime in Windhoek and Swakopmund.

Please contact:

  • Tourist Protection Unit – Windhoek (Windhoek Main Police Station) at 061-209-4345
  • Tourist Protection Unit – Swakopmund at 064-405-558
  • The Motor Vehicle Accident Fund at 081 9682 can help with ambulances, police, and tows. 

Local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the United States
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical
  • support in cases of destitution
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a stolen or lost passport

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.

For further information:

Consult the CDC website for Namibia prior to travel.

Medical facilities in the capital of Windhoek and in large towns are capable of providing emergency care and performing many routine procedures. Doctors and dentists are generally well-trained. Well-equipped facilities are rarely available in smaller towns. Carry prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription. Be sure to verify with the Namibian Ministry of Foreign Affairs that your medications are legal before you travel.

You are responsible for all medical costs. U.S. Medicare does not cover you overseas. Most care providers expect payment in cash before treatment is performed, even with medical travel insurance.

Medical Insurance: If your health insurance plan does not provide coverage overseas we strongly recommend supplemental medical insurance and medical evacuation plans.

The following diseases are prevalent:

  • Malaria

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

CRIMINAL PENALTIES: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Diamonds: Do not purchase diamonds and other protected resources outside of licensed retail establishments. If you are convicted of illegally dealing in diamonds, you can face up to $20,000 in fines and/or five years in prison. 

Wild animal parts: Unlicensed purchase of or trading in endangered wildlife parts such as ivory and rhino horn is illegal and carries severe penalties. Furthermore, it is illegal to kill or capture any protected wild animal.

Arrest Notification:   If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.

Photography: It is illegal to take pictures of government buildings, military installations, and key infrastructure such as ports, train stations, and airports and along border areas. You could be fined, have your photographic equipment confiscated, and risk detention and arrest. Do not take photos of people without their permission.

Phone Service: Cellular phones are the norm, as landlines are non-existent. It is possible to purchase a SIM card locally and use a U.S.-compatible cell phone.

Currency: The Namibian dollar (NAD), pegged to the South African rand (also legal tender in Namibia), is the official currency. Carefully inspect ATMs before using for skimming technology. Credit cards are generally accepted.

Wild Animal Parks: Heed all instructions given by guides or trackers. Use common sense and maintain a safe distance when approaching wildlife. Even in the most serene settings wild animals pose a lethal threat. Lions, elephants, oryxes, and rhinos have critically injured and killed individuals in the region.

Baboons are encountered throughout Namibia and commonly scavenge the belongings of travelers. Baboons in camping areas are quite bold in approaching and taking items that interest them.

  • Keep your belongings and food in secure containers.

Faith-Based Travelers:  See our following webpages for details:

LGBT RIGHTS:

Homosexuality is not illegal but sodomy between men is criminalized though the ban is not enforced. Many consider all same-sex sexual activity taboo, however. Windhoek’s only openly gay bar is regularly shut down by drug squad raids.

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

ACCESSIBILITY: Persons with disabilities face limited access to transportation, public buildings, hotels, and communication accommodations. There are few sidewalks and no curb-cuts, and most buildings lack elevators.

Students:  See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: Only a small fraction of rape cases are prosecuted and fewer still result in conviction. Many rape cases are heard by traditional authorities rather than in government courts. Gender-based Violence Protection Units intervene in cases of domestic violence, which is widespread. Units are staffed with police officers, social workers, legal advisors, and medical personnel trained to assist victims of sexual assault. A privately run shelter operates in the Khomas region and there are government shelters in other regions.

See our travel tips for Women Travelers

Road Conditions and Safety:

Most major roads are generally well maintained though many rural roads are gravel and fatal accidents are not uncommon. Tourists are often involved in single-vehicle accidents. Sand, salt, and gravel roads become very slippery when wet and more dangerous particularly at night and during the rainy season. Do not exceed 45 mph (80km) on gravel roads. Tire punctures are not unusual. Accidents involving drunk drivers are common. Other driving hazards include excessive speed, lack of street lighting and shoulders, inadequately maintained vehicles, erratic driving habits, pedestrians, wildlife, and livestock.

Travel in desert areas or via the Trans-Caprivi Highway between Rundu and Katima Mulilo should be undertaken during daylight hours only. Carry additional fuel, spare tires, and provisions. Fuel availability can be sporadic. Professional roadside assistance outside Windhoek or off main roads is unreliable or non-existent.

Traffic Laws:

Traffic drives on the left. You may use a U.S. license for up to 90 days or obtain an international driving permit prior to leaving the United States through either the American Automobile Association or the American Automobile Touring Alliance. It is illegal to use a cell phone while driving. Seat belts are required for all vehicle occupants. Motorcyclists are required to wear protective helmets. You may face a charge of culpable homicide if you are driving and are involved in an accident resulting in death.

Motorcades:

Pull to the side of the road as far as possible and promptly follow instructions given by the officials present.

Public Transportation:

Public transportation is not widely available outside the capital. Taxis and municipal buses are the only forms of public transportation in Windhoek. Schedules and routes are limited.

Avoid the use of public transportation and hire private transport from a reliable source. Any form of public transportation is unregulated, unreliable, and generally unsafe.

Taxis: The Embassy has received reports of foreign citizens being robbed by drivers of taxis hailed on the streets of Windhoek. Car rentals or radio taxis are generally the best means of transport but may be expensive. The Embassy has not received any such reports regarding radio taxis. U.S. citizens are urged to avoid hitchhiking in Namibia due to the high level of personal risk.

Most insurance policies will not cover accidents that do not involve other vehicles or animals.

See our Road Safety page for more information. Visit the website of Namibia’s national tourist office and national authority responsible for road safety.

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Namibia, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Namibia’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

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