Republic of Namibia
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.
Yellow fever, if traveling from a yellow fever endemic country.
Requirements for Entry:
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.
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).
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.
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).
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.
Transport crimes: Violent assaults on taxi passengers are common; petty theft is prevalent and occurs on trains, buses, and taxis.
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.
Local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
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:
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.
Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:
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.
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.
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 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.
Pull to the side of the road as far as possible and promptly follow instructions given by the officials present.
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.
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.