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Namibia is a country of compelling beauty, abundant sunshine and unconfined space. The wide horizons, the clear unpolluted skies and low population density generate a sense of freedom. Along the coast the fiery red dunes are in perfect contrast with the cool blue Atlantic water. An endless choice of activities makes Namibia a top tourist destination.

CLIMATE

Namibia has a dry climate typical of a semi-desert country where droughts are a regular occurrence. Days are mostly warm to very hot, while nights are generally cool. Average day temperatures in the summer vary from 20°C - 34°C and average night temperatures in the winter vary from 0°C - 10°C. There are vast differences between the arid southern desert and semi-desert areas and the tropical north-east with its abundant summer rains. The best time to visit Namibia is Apr-Oct.

SHOPPING

Woodcarvings; basketry; pottery; fur coats & jackets, especially Swakara; gold jewellery; individually-designed hand-woven carpets and wall hangings made from karakul wool; Namibian semi-precious stones and diamonds; Herero dolls.

CAPITAL

Windhoek

CURRENCY

1 Namibia Dollar = 100 cents.
Rands are accepted as legal tender. Traveller's cheques are accepted almost everywhere. German Marks, USD or Swiss Franc traveller's cheques are recommended.

In general, credit cards are accepted by most hotels as well as in Namibia Wildlife Resorts where MasterCard, Visa, (Diners Club and Amex not always), Namibian Dollars, Rand traveller's cheques and bank guaranteed cheques are accepted. Credit cards aren't accepted for fuel.

CUSTOMS

Duty Free Allowances
- 50 000 Namibian Dollar's worth of goods (including value of imported duty-free items)
- 400 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250 g of tobacco
- 2 litres of wine
- 1 litre of spirits
- 500 ml of perfume
- 250 ml of eau de toilette

Prohibited Goods - Handguns
- Hunting rifles (unless with a permit issued by customs when entering the country)

Special Notes
- Only travellers over 16 years of age may bring alcohol and tobacco.

(NB! For full information, please contact the nearest Embassy of Namibia.)

ELECTRICITY

220 volts, 50 Hz. Plugs are 3-pin round.

HEALTH

A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over 1 year of age coming from infected areas.

Visitors are advised to take pre-arrival precautions against malaria (risk exists Nov-Jun in the northern regions such as Ovamboland and the Caprivi Strip as well as in Omaheke and Otjozondjupa and throughout the year along the Kavango and Kunene rivers), hepatitis A, polio and typhoid. Tap water is safe.

POPULATION

2.1 Million

HOURS

Office Hours 8 am-5 pm Mon-Fri
Shopping Hours 8.30 am-5 pm Mon-Fri; 8.30 am-1 pm Sat; big supermarkets are open 11 am-1 pm & 4 pm-7 pm Sun
Banking Hours 9 am-3.30 pm Mon-Fri; 8.30 am-11 pm Sat

LANGUAGE

English is the official language. In shops, hotels and restaurants, Afrikaans and German are often spoken.

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

New Years' Day (1 Jan); Independence Day (21 Mar); Good Friday (9 Apr); Easter Monday (12 Apr); Labour Day (1 May); Cassinga Day (4 May); Ascension Day (20 May); Africa Day (25 May); Heroes Day (26 Aug); Goodwill Day (7 Oct); Human Rights' Day (10 Dec); Christmas Day (25 Dec); Boxing Day (26 Dec)

SOCIAL CONVENTIONS

There is a Christian majority. Western customs and courtesies are observed. Business suits are worn in winter; in summer, safari suits are acceptable.

TIME DIFFERENCE

GMT+2 (GMT +1 during Apr-Aug)

TIPPING

10 percent of the bill is customary.

GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE

Namibia is famous for the Namib Desert. It follows the 1600 km Atlantic coastal belt and is one of the driest places on earth: hyper-arid desert. Inland - a deeply incised escarpment rises to an altitude of 2000 m before giving way to the mid-altitude plateau that merges with the Kalahari Desert in Botswana.

Climate: Hot and dry with much colder night temperatures. Summer is between December and March. There is frequent overnight mist along the coast until morning. Namibia is bordered by Angola, Botswana, South Africa and Zambia. Natural hazard is drought. They have limited fresh water supplies.

GETTING THERE

Fly to the capital, Windhoek or drive north from Cape Town.