Candice Buchan is a big fan of Namibia, and here she answers frequently asked questions about this Southern Africa destination. Ring her for a chat if you’d like some first-hand advice – 020 7666 1250.
Tell me why I’d should go on holiday in Namibia?
For me the defining characteristic of Namibia is its enormous landscapes. I've travelled from north to south and I love the changing contrasts, its rocky deserts and thirst-quenching salt pans, its deep rugged canyons and huge sand dunes, and finally its wind swept coastlines, battered by treacherous seas. If you enjoy being on the move and love vast scenic vistas, Namibia is probably the perfect destination for you.
What's the best way to get to Namibia?
The most popular route is to fly via Johannesburg to the capital, Windhoek. There are daily flights from London and this gives you the option of extending your holiday to other Southern African countries using good-value add-on air fares. Air Namibia also flies six days a week from Frankfurt to Windhoek, and we can arrange a connecting flight from the UK. Unfortunately there's no longer a direct flight from the UK.
What's the best way to travel around the country?
The most popular way to see the country is by hire car, staying at lodges and hotels along the way. You drive on the left as you do in the UK. Most times of the year a standard 4-door saloon car is fine although you may prefer a Nissan X-Trail style car which has higher road clearance, whilst still being a 2WD. The roads are well-maintained and even on gravel roads you don't need four-wheel drive.
We'll suggest routes and work out the best Namibia tour itinerary with you, there are taking account of your particular interests and time available. Our team on the ground will meet you at Windhoek airport and give you a full briefing along with maps and emergency back-up information.
If time is tight and budgets allow, taking light aircraft flights between the major highlights maximises what you can fit in and gives you a wonderful birds eye view of the vast landscapes.
There are a number of excellent small group tours that travel by road and take in all Namibia's highlights. These range from semi-participatory camping trips to tours where you stay in small hotels and lodges. Group tours can be very sociable and immense fun. If you want something in between, we can arrange a self-drive with a vehicle that has a pop-up tent on the roof.
See our selection of Namibia holidays and tours.
Are there specific things we should consider when self-driving in Namibia?
Yes – I always pass on the following tips:
- Fill up with fuel at regular intervals and travel with cash, as many of petrol stations don't accept card payment.
- Keep well hydrated and take a good selection of music or other form of entertainment for some of the longer journeys.
- In the wet season, a car with higher road clearance similar to a Nissan X-Trail is advisable, but a four-wheel drive is not usually necessary in the main tourist areas.
- Avoid driving at night, not least because animals are attracted by the warmth of the tarmac and often sleep there overnight.
If there was one thing I shouldn’t miss, what would you recommend??
If you have the time to get down to the far south, the Fish River Canyon and the forgotten mining town of Kolmanskop, which has been partly reclaimed by the sand, are fascinating places. I'd personally always want to stop over at Okonjima to support the brilliant work they do with the rehabilitation of African cats. Sand board down a dune, not for every one but do try to climb one, just for the view. That's three things and I'd also add, sample an ice-cold German beer!
Can I drink the tap water?
It’s generally safe to drink tap water but bottled water is available everywhere.
Is English widely spoken?
Yes, its widely understood and spoken. Before independence, Namibia was a German colony and then annexed to South Africa, so German and Afrikaans are widely spoken as well as a number of local languages. All road signs and general tourism information is printed in English.?
Should I expect very basic facilities in Namibia lodges??
Namibia has everything from basic camping facilities and small guest houses, to boutique hotels and high-end luxury private lodges.
What is the food like?
Namibia cuisine is heavily influenced by its Germanic and South African history, from bratwurst to braai (BBQ). Most places will serve European style meals as well as local delicacies. The fish by the coast is good and there are usually vegetarian options although these may be a bit unexciting.
Can my holiday in Namibia contribute to the local economy and conservation?
Many of the lodges and hotels we use contribute to community development and conservation projects. They employ people from the local community and ensure their training programmes are rigorous and help people to continually develop their skills. Ask us for details.
Do I need to get any vaccinations ahead of travel and/or malaria tablets?
Malaria is only an issue in the northern parts of Namibia, such as Etosha and the Kunene River area. Do contact your doctor or travel clinic at least six weeks ahead of travelling for up to date information on suggested precautions.
I am pregnant, can I travel to Namibia?
If you avoid the northern malarial areas, this would be possible, but you should always consult your doctor.