The US Center For Disease Control maintains an updated list of medical advice for those travelling to Namibia
The CDC recommends being up to date with all your regular shots. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot
They also suggest being vaccinated for hepatitis A. There is also some advice about protection for hepatitis B and rabies – but this depends to some degree on where you are heading and what you are doing.
There is a high risk of malaria throughout the year in the Caprivi Strip, Kavango and Kunene regions. For further information see NaTHNaC’s information sheet.
Cholera is known to occur in Namibia.
Additionally, malaria, yellow fever, zika virus, chikungunya virus and dengue fever are a risk in Namibia so avoiding being bitten by mosquitos is advised. Also, ticks can carry diseases so when going through forested areas or long grass protect yourself by wearing long trousers and shirts.
Some people suffer skin problems and/or dehydration due to Namibia’s hot and dry climate. Make sure you carry a good supply of drinkable water.
Namibia has one of the highest prevalence rates of HIV in the world. In 2019, UNAIDS Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic estimated that around 210,000 adults aged 15 or over in Namibia were living with HIV; the prevalence percentage was estimated at around 11.5% of the adult population compared to the prevalence percentage in adults in the UK of around 0.2%. You should exercise normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS.
There are good medical facilities in Windhoek. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation. Even with fully comprehensive travel insurance, private hospitals in Namibia may insist on proof of payment (cash or credit card) before starting treatment. They may also insist you pay upfront, reclaiming from your insurer at a later date. Some travel insurance policies are not recognised by some Namibian hospitals, you should check with your provider if their product is accepted in Namibia before you travel and seek alternative coverage where necessary. Medical evacuation from remote areas can take time.
As always when you travel you should take out the necessary travel insurance coverage. We always use World Nomads but there are plenty of other insurance companies that offer travel insurance
Only eat food that is cooked and served hot. Eat fruits and vegetables that you have personally washed in clean water or peeled yourself. Never eat food sold by street vendors. Only drink boiled water that is sealed and has been filtered and disinfected. Prefer carbonated drinks, hot coffee or tea, and pasteurized milk.
- Petty crime is common including pickpocketing and vehicle break-ins. Security risks increase after dark, especially in tourist areas and city centres.
- Stay alert to your surroundings. Avoid walking alone or travelling after dark. Keep vehicle doors locked, windows up and valuables out of sight, even when moving.
- Thieves sometimes follow people after they withdraw money from ATMs. Avoid using ATMs at night and be vigilant of your surroundings as you withdraw money.
- Commercial fraud scams are common in Namibia. Don’t send money to anyone in Namibia until you’ve undertaken proper checks.
- Drug taking and smuggling is an offence. Punishments can be severe.
- Homosexuality is not illegal in Namibia. Some sexual relations between men are criminalised, but generally not enforced. There are no legal protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation. Conservative attitudes towards LGBT individuals persist, especially in rural regions, and many people in Namibia consider LGBT relationships to be taboo. It is advisable to avoid public displays of affection such as kissing and hand-holding and avoid discussing LGBT topics in public. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.
- It’s illegal to buy, sell, kill or capture any protected wild animal or trade its parts without a licence. Namibia is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which bans trade in ivory and rhino horn. Anyone caught buying or trafficking these goods will be prosecuted and could receive a prison sentence or fine.
- There are no formal rules limiting photography by tourists in Namibia, but some people have been detained for taking pictures of State House and properties where the President is residing. Parts of Namibia require a permit to enter (eg the Cape Cross Seal Colony) and you should check about photography when applying for permits. If the army or police are protecting a building or place, check before taking any photographs. If in doubt, don’t take pictures.
Useful emergency numbers
Official contact numbers:
Namibia Police Emergency|+264 (61) 10111**
City Police – Crime Prevention Unit (24 hrs) |+264 (61) 290 2239 / 290 2018**
City Police – Fire Brigade (ambulance, accidents and injuries)|+264 (61) 211 111A
City Police – Traffic Division|+ 264 (61) 290 2722 / 258 473**
Crime Stoppers – (anonymous information to police)|+264 (61) 254 299**
Aeromed|+264 (61)249 777 / 230 505**
MedRescue|+ 264 (61) 230 505/6/7**
Medi-Clinic Windhoek|+264 (61) 222 687**
Windhoek Central Hospital|+264 (61) 203 9111**
Roman Catholic Hospital|+264 (610 237 237**
Rhino Park Private Hospital (day hospital only-no casualties)|+264 9610 225 434**
Vehicle breakdown services
Northern Breakdown Services|+ 264 (61) 230 823 / 240 733**
Valley Recovery Services|+ 264 (61) 227 164**
Town Tow-in Services|+ 264 (61) 210 779**
Road Guard Emergency|+ 264 (61) 210 780**