Travel.State.Gov > International Travel > Learn About Your Destination > Namibia International Travel Information
Requirements for Entry:
Parents traveling to Namibia with minor children should be prepared to produce unabridged birth certificates for their children demonstrating their parental relationship. Birth certificates should be original or certified copies of the original. When one parent is traveling alone with a child, he or she should present the unabridged birth certificate, plus a notarized consent from the other parent listed on the birth certificate authorizing him or her to enter/depart from Namibia with the child. Alternatively, the parent could also present a court order granting him or her full legal custody of the child, or the death certificate of the other parent named on the birth certificate.
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.
Road Travel: Namibia has thousands of miles of unpaved roads. Road accidents, particularly on gravel roads, pose the most serious threat to visitors. Many gravel roads are well-maintained and can provide unaccustomed drivers a false sense of security, with road conditions shifting dramatically in certain areas. See recommendations below on road safety in Namibia.
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 the last year. Robberies occur at roadside rest stops.
Transport crimes: Violent assaults on taxi passengers are known to occur; petty theft is prevalent and occurs on trains, buses, and in taxis.
Checkpoints: The police maintain 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).
Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance. 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 are encouraged to contact the Embassy for assistance.
Tourism: The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is typically available only in/near major cities. First responders are generally unable to access areas outside of major cities and to provide urgent medical treatment. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities, prior to practicing or operating a business.
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 U.S. dollars 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 including fines up to 1.1 million U.S. dollars and 15 years in prison. Furthermore, it is illegal to kill or capture any protected wild animals without appropriate permits.
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, 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 only in urban areas. It is possible to purchase a SIM card locally and use a U.S.-compatible cell phone.
Currency: The Namibian dollar (NAD) is the official currency. It is pegged to the South African rand, which is also legal tender in Namibia. Carefully inspect ATMs for skimming technology before using. 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, leopards, elephants, oryxes, rhinos, hippos, and crocodiles have critically injured and killed individuals in the region.
Baboons live throughout Namibia and commonly scavenge the belongings of travelers. Baboons in camping areas are quite bold in approaching and taking items that interest them; they can be aggressive. Keep your belongings and food in secure containers.
Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Although counterfeit and pirated goods are prevalent in many countries, they may still be illegal according to local laws. You may also pay fines or have to give them up if you bring them back to the United States. See the U.S. Department of Justice website for more information.
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.
Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:
LGBTQI+ Travelers: Homosexuality is not illegal but sodomy between men is criminalized, though the ban is not enforced. Many Namibians consider all same-sex sexual activity taboo.
Travelers with Disabilities: The law in Namibia prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual or mental disabilities, and the law is enforced. Social acceptance of persons with disabilities in public is as prevalent as in the United States. The most common types of accessibility may include accessible facilities and information to services. Expect accessibility to be limited in public transportation, lodging, communication and general infrastructure. Contact the US Embassy in Namibia to receive a list of providers.
Women Travelers: There are frequent reports of rapes, particularly in informal settlements. Only a small fraction of rape cases are prosecuted and fewer still result in conviction. 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.
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.
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
The following diseases are prevalent:
Use the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended mosquito repellents and sleep under insecticide-impregnated mosquito nets. Chemoprophylaxis is recommended for all travelers even for short stays.
HIV/AIDS: The United States works in partnership with the Government of Namibia to fight HIV/AIDS while promoting sustainable national ownership and leadership of HIV/AIDS programs. (Through PEPFAR, USAID and the Ministry of Health and Social Services). PEPFAR is the largest commitment by a single nation towards an international health initiative and in Namibia, PEPFAR has contributed over US$1.1 billion for HIV/AIDS activities since its inception in 2003.
Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Resources for Travelers regarding specific issues in Namibia.
For emergency services in Namibia, dial Police; +264(63)10111. E-Med Rescue 24, dial 081 924 (from Cell), 061 411 600 (landline); AEMS Ambulance Services, dial 081 963 (from Cell), 061 300 118 (landline).
Ambulance services are:
Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
Air Quality: Visit AirNow Department of State for information on air quality at U.S. Embassies and Consulates.
The air quality varies considerably and fluctuates with the seasons. It is typically at its worst in the Spring. People at the greatest risk from particle pollution exposure include:
The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of doctors and hospitals. We do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic.
Health facilities in general
Medical Tourism and Elective Surgery
Road Conditions and Safety: Most major roads are generally well maintained, though many rural roads are gravel and fatal accidents are not uncommon. (The road from Windhoek to Swakopmund is paved, but also the site of many fatal accidents, particularly between Usakos and Arandis). Tourists are often involved in single vehicle roll-over accidents. Sand, salt, and gravel roads become very slippery when wet and more dangerous at night. Animals easily visible by day become treacherous hazards in roadways at night. Do not exceed 45 mph (80km) on gravel roads. Many rental vehicle agencies void insurance policies if an accident occurs while speeding. Tire punctures are common as are accidents involving drunk drivers. Other driving hazards include excessive speed, lack of street lighting and shoulders, inadequately maintained vehicles, erratic driving habits, and pedestrians.
The Embassy does not recommend traveling after dark anywhere outside Namibia’s cities. Travel in desert areas or via the Trans-Caprivi Highway between Rundu and Katima Mulilo should only be undertaken during daylight hours. Carry water, 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 (taxi service called in advance through established companies) are generally the best means of transport but may be more expensive. The Embassy has not received any such crime 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.
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Namibia should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings website select “broadcast warnings”.