Banking and Currency
The currency of Namibia is The Namibian Dollar (NAD; symbol N$) is in note denominations of N$200, 100, 50, 20 and 10. Coins are in denominations of N$5, N$1, 50 cents, 10 cents and 5 cents. It is linked to the South African Rand (R) on a 1:1 basis (South African Rand = 100 cents). The South African Rand is also acceptable as currency in Namibia.
The import and export of local currency is limited to N$50,000. The import of foreign currency is unlimited, provided sums equal to or exceeding NAD5,000 are declared on arrival. Export of foreign currency is unlimited up to the amount imported and declared.
Banking hours: Monday – Friday 09h00 to 15h30 and Saturday 08h30 to 11h00
Banks are found in most towns, with most being closed on Sundays and public holidays. Most of them offer foreign exchange services – with cash, bank and credit cards as well as travellers cheques.
American Express, Diners Club, Mastercard and Visa are accepted. Credit cards are not usually accepted at petrol
stations, so bear this in mind when you visit the ATM.
Setting aside an emergency petrol cash fund is a good idea if you’re planning to drive.
You can also obtain cash from many of the ATMs. Several international banks have branches in main city centres.
Always advise your bank that you are travelling outside of the country as they might block your purchases if they have not been informed.
To avoid additional exchange rate charges, take traveller’s cheques in US Dollars or South African Rand. In general, you can expect a better exchange rate for traveller’s cheques than for cash.
Travel, Transport and Getting Around
Public transport in Namibia is geared towards the needs of the local people and is confined to main roads between major population centres. Although cheap and reliable, it is of little use to the traveller as most of Namibia’s tourist attractions lie off the beaten track.
It is easy to travel around Namibia by car, and a 2WD vehicle is perfectly adequate for most journeys. However, long distances, poor mobile phone coverage outside of main towns and infrequent petrol stations that only accept cash mean that planning ahead is vital.
There are major airlines that fly into Windhoek and Swakopmund. Other destinations are reachable by car or charter flight.
Namibians drive on the left and all signposts are in English. Seat belts must be worn at all times and talking on a mobile phone while driving is prohibited. The general speed limit is 120km/h on tarred roads outside of towns and 100km/h on gravel roads. In built-up areas, the speed limit is 60km/h.
Food, Drink and Cuisine Advice
Traditional Namibian cuisine is rarely served and so the food at restaurants tends to be European in style and is, generally, of a very high standard.
Namibia is very meat-orientated, and many menu options will feature steaks from various animals. However, there is
usually, a vegetarian and seafood option on offered at most camps and restaurants.
In the supermarkets, you’ll find pre-wrapped fresh fruit and vegetables (though the more remote the areas you visit, the smaller your choice), and plenty of canned foods, pasta, rice, bread, etc. Most of this is imported from South Africa.
The water in Namibia’s main towns is generally safe to drink, though it may taste a little metallic if it has been piped for miles. Natural sources should usually be purified, though water from underground springs and dry riverbeds seldom causes any problems. However, filtered and bottled water is readily available in most towns, camps, lodges and hotels.
Clothing and Dress Recommendations
Namibians have a somewhat relaxed attitude to dress codes. A jacket and tie are very unusual. In fact, long trousers and a shirt with buttons are often quite adequate for a formal occasion or work wear. A pair of sensible shoes, jeans
and a t-shirt is recommended.
During the day it is generally hot, so pack lightweight loose-fitting clothes in natural fabrics, such as linen or cotton, that will keep you cool and are easy to wash and dry.
Avoid blue clothing – the tsetse flies are drawn to the colour blue, and their bite can give you African Sleeping Sickness.
Long-sleeved shirts and long trousers will protect you \against mosquitoes at night.
Telecom Namibia offers a service called wi-space. You can purchase a wi-space voucher that allows you to connect to Wi-Fi wherever you see the wi-space logo (about 40 locations in Namibia).
Alternatively, good WiFi access is available at most holiday accommodation venues across the country (free / paid).