Private Bag 13346, Windhoek, Namibia
Tel: (61) 284 0111. Fax: (61) 221 930.
Ministry of Environment & Tourism
Private Bag 13346, Swabou Building, Independence Avenue, Windhoek, Namibia
Tel: (61) 284 2111. Fax: (61) 229 936.
High Commission for the Republic of Namibia
6 Chandos Street, London W1M 0LQ
Tel: (0171) 636 6244. Fax: (0171) 637 5694. Opening hours: 0900-1700 Monday to Friday.
Address as High Commission.
Tel: (0171) 636 2924. Fax: (0171) 636 2969. Opening hours: 0900-1300 and 1400-1700 Monday to Friday.
British High Commission
PO Box 22202, 116 Robert Mugabe Avenue, Windhoek, Namibia
Tel: (61) 223 022. Fax: (61) 228 895.
Embassy of the Republic of Namibia
1605 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20009
Tel: (202) 986 0540. Fax: (202) 986 0443.
Also deals with enquiries from Canada.
Embassy of the United States of America
Private Bag 12029, 14 Lossen Street, Windhoek, Namibia
Tel: (61) 221 601. Fax: (61) 229 792.
Canadian High Commission
1103 Arcadia Street, corner of Hilda Street, Hatfield 0083, PO Box 26006, Pretoria 0007
Tel: (12) 342 6923. Fax: (12) 342 3837.
The commission deals with enquiries relating to Namibia.
AREA:824,268 sq km (318,250 sq miles).
POPULATION: 1,426,711 (1991 estimate).
POPULATION DENSITY: 1.7 per sq km.
CAPITAL: Windhoek. Population: 142,000 (1991 estimate).
GEOGRAPHY: Namibia is in southwest Africa. It is a large and mainly barren country sharing borders with Angola to the north, Botswana to the east, South Africa to the south and, in the Caprivi Strip, a narrow panhandle of Namibian territory jutting from the northeast corner of the country, with Zambia and Zimbabwe. To the west is 1280km (795 miles) of some of the most desolate and lonely coastline in the world. The port of Walvis Bay, situated roughly halfway down Namibia's coast, was returned by South Africa to Namibian jurisdiction in February 1994. Along its entire length, the vast shifting sand dunes of the Namib Desert spread inland for 80-130km (50-80 miles). In the interior, the escarpment of a north-south plateau slopes away to the east and north into the vast interior sand basin of the Kalahari. In the far northwest the 66,000 sq km (25,500 sq miles) of the Kaokoland mountains run along the coast, while further inland lies the Etosha Pan (a dried-out saline lake), surrounded by grasslands and bush which support a large and varied wildlife. The Etosha National Park & Game Reserve is one of the finest in Africa, in that it remains, to a large extent, free of man's influence.
LANGUAGE: English is the official language. Afrikaans, German, Herero and Owambo, amongst a variety of tongues, are also spoken.
Religion: Christian majority.
TIME: GMT + 1 (GMT + 2 from April to August).
ELECTRICITY: 220/240 volts AC. Outlets are of the 3-pin type.
COMMUNICATIONS: Telephone: IDD is available. Country code: 264. Outgoing international code: 09. Fax: Most hotels have facilities. Telex/telegram: Good facilities to all major centres. A telegraph service is available in every town. Post: Good postal service. Airmail to Europe takes from approximately four days to two weeks. Press: Newspapers are printed Monday to Friday. English-language dailies include The Windhoek Advertiser and The Namibian; weeklies include New Era and The Observer.
BBC World Service and Voice of America frequencies: From time to time these change. See the contents for more information.
MHz 17.88 15.42 6.190 3.255
Voice of America:
MHz 21.49 15.60 9.525 6.035
Regulations and requirements many be subject to change at short notice, and you are advised to contact the appropriate diplomat or consular authority before finalising travel arrangements. Details of these may be found at the head of the countrys entry. Any numbers in the chart refer to the footnotes below.
Passport Visa Return Ticket
Required? Required? Required?
Full British Yes No Yes
Australia Yes No Yes
Canadian Yes No Yes
USA Yes No Yes
Other EU Yes 1 Yes
Japanese Yes No Yes
PASSPORTS: Valid passport required by all. Passports must be valid for a minimum of 6 months after the date of departure from Namibia.
VISAS: Required by all except:
(a) 1. nationals of EU countries (except nationals of Greece who do require a visa) for a stay up to 3 months;
(b) nationals of Angola, Australia, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Cuba, Iceland, Japan, Kenya, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Mozambique, New Zealand, Norway, Russian Federation, Singapore, South Africa, Swaziland, Switzerland, Tanzania, USA, Zambia and Zimbabwe for a stay up to 3 months.
Types of visa: Tourist, Business and Transit. Cost: All visas- £10.
Validity: 3 months. Extensions for a further 3 months are available from the Ministry of Home Affairs in Windhoek.
Application to: Consulate (or Consular section at High Commission). For addresses, see top of entry.
Application requirements: (a) Valid passport. (b) Completed application form. (c) 2 passport-size photos. (d) Return ticket. (e) Company letter if on business.
Working days required: 2 working days.
Temporary residence: Apply to the High Commission or Embassy (addresses at top of entry).
Currency: The Namibian Dollar (NAD) has been introduced, in note denominations of NAD100, 50 and 10. Coins were also introduced in 1994 in denominations of NAD5 and 10. It is linked to the South African Rand on a 1:1 basis (South African Rand = 100 cents). The South African Rand is also acceptable as currency in Namibia.
Credit cards: Access/Mastercard, Diners Club, American Express and Visa are accepted. Check with your credit card company for details of merchant acceptability and other services which may be available.
Currency restrictions: All currency must be declared at port of entry. The import and export of local currency is limited to NAD500. The import of foreign currency is unlimited. Export is limited to the amount imported and declared on arrival.
Banking hours: 0900-1530 Monday to Friday, 0830-1100 Saturday.
The following may be imported into Namibia by persons over 16 years of age without incurring customs duty:
400 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco; 2 litres of wine and 1 litre of spirits; 50ml of perfume and 250ml of eau de toilette; gifts to the value of N$1000, but including value of imported duty-free items.
Controlled items: Hunting rifles need a permit which should be issued by customs when entering the country. Handguns are not allowed.
Jan 1 '97 New Year's Day. Mar 21 Independence Day. Mar 28-31 Easter. May 1 Workers' Day. May 4 Casinga Day. May 8 Ascension Day. May 25 Africa Day, Anniversary of the OAU's Foundation. Aug 26 Heroes' Day. Dec 10 Human Rights Day. Dec 25-26 Christmas. Jan 1 '98 New Year's Day. Mar 21 Independence Day. Apr 10 Good Friday. Apr 13 Easter Monday.
Regulations and requirements may be subject to change at short notice, and you are advised to contact your doctor well in advance of your intended date of departure. Any numbers in the chart refer to the footnotes below.
Yellow Fever Yes 1
Cholera No No
Typhoid & Polio Yes -
Malaria 2 -
Food & Drink 3 -
1: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers arriving from infected areas. Those countries or parts of countries that were included in the former endemic zone in Africa and South America are regarded by the Namibian authorities as infected. Travellers with scheduled airlines whose flights have originated outside areas regarded as infected but have passed through such areas in transit are not required to possess a certificate provided they have remained at the scheduled airport or in the adjacent town during transit. All passengers with unscheduled airlines whose flights originated or passed in transit through an infected area are required to possess a certificate. The certificate is not insisted upon in the case of children under one year of age, but such infants may be subject to surveillance.
2: Malaria risk exists in the northern rural regions from November to May/June and along the Kavango River throughout the year. The predominant falciparum strain is reported to be resistant to chloroquine. A weekly dose of 300mg of chloroquine plus a daily dose of 200mg of proguanil is a recommended prophylaxis.
3: Mains water is normally chlorinated, and whilst relatively safe may cause mild abdominal upsets. Bottled water is available and is advised for the first few weeks of the stay. Drinking water outside main cities and towns may be contaminated and sterilisation is advisable. Milk is pasteurised and dairy products are safe for consumption. Local meat, poultry, seafood, fruit and vegetables are generally considered safe to eat.
Rabies may be present. For those at high risk, vaccination before arrival should be considered. If you are bitten abroad, seek medical advice without delay. For more information, consult the contents for theHealth section.
Bilharzia (schistosomiasis) is present in Kavango and the Caprivi Strip. Avoid swimming and paddling in fresh water in these regions (also because of the presence of crocodiles). Swimming pools which are well chlorinated and maintained are safe.
Health care: Anti-bite serums for snakes and scorpions are advised. Health insurance is essential.
TRAVEL - INTERNATIONAL
AIR:Namibia's national airline is Air Namibia (SW), which provides thrice-weekly direct flights from Heathrow to Windhoek, all three via Frankfurt/M. South African Airways , Lufthansa and LTU also serve Namibia.
Approximate flight time: From London to Windhoek is 12 hours (including a stopover of 2 hours and 35 minutes in Frankfurt/M).
International airport: Windhoek (WDH) (Windhoek International Airport) is 42km (26 miles) from the city (travel time - 35 minutes). Airport facilities include restaurant, bar, snack bar, post office, currency exchange and car hire. A bus service to the city meets all flight arrivals. Return is from the terminus at the corner of Independence Avenue and Peter Müller Street, 90 minutes before flight departure, with pick-ups at Eros Airport and Hotel Safari.
SEA: There is a modern deep-water harbour at Walvis Bay. There is also a small port at Lüderitz.
RAIL: The railway network linking most towns in Namibia to Windhoek is joined to the RSA rail system at De Aar, South Africa. There is one train per week, with connections from Cape Town and Johannesburg as follows: Johannesburg-De Aar-Keetmanshoop-Windhoek and Cape Town-Noordoewer-Windhoek.
ROAD: A tarred road runs from the south through Upington in South Africa to Grünau, where it connects with the tarred road from Cape Town. The untarred road from the east from Botswana to Gobabis is currently being upgraded as part of a new trans-Kalahari highway.
TRAVEL - INTERNAL
AIR: Flying is the quickest and often the most economical way to travel around the country. Air Namibia links all of the major towns in the territory.
RAIL: The main rail routes in Namibia are Windhoek-Keetmanshoop-De Aar, Walvis Bay-Swakopmund-Windhoek-Tsumeb and Lüderitz-Keetmanshoop. First- and second-class carriages are available on these routes. Light refreshments are offered on some services. On overnight voyages, seats in first-class compartments convert to four couchettes and those in second-class to six couchettes. Local passenger and goods trains run daily. Children under two years of age travel free and children 2-11 pay half-fare.
ROAD: Traffic drives on the left. Roads are generally fairly well maintained. There are 42,600km (26,500 miles) of road, of which 5000km (3100 miles) are tarred. Bus: Services are not well developed and there is no transport except taxis in Windhoek. A luxury bus service exists between Windhoek and all major centres in Namibia and South Africa. Car hire: Self-drive cars are available at the airport and Windhoek city centre, as well as some other major centres. Documentation: An International Driving Permit is required.
HOTELS: There are good quality hotels both in Windhoek and Swakopmund, and some scattered throughout the country. The 4-star hotels in Windhoek (The Safari Court Hotel and the Windhoek Country Club) and the 4-star Mokuti Lodge (at Etosha) all provide modern conference facilities. In Swakopmund there is the 4-star Swakopmund Hotel and Leisure Centre. 3-star hotels include the excellent Safari Hotel in Windhoek, the Hansa Hotel in Swakopmund, and the Canyon Hotel in Keetmanshoop. Hotel accommodation is limited and visitors are advised to book well in advance. For further information, contact HAN (Hotel Association of Namibia), PO Box 11942, Windhoek. Tel: (61) 234 218.
Grading: Hotels are classified on a scale of 1 to 5 stars.
Lodges: In the Etosha National Park and other game reserves there are well-equipped rest camps with comfortable accommodation. Further information is available from the Han-Hotel Association (address above).
CAMPING: Some of the national parks have camping facilities, notably the Etosha National Park & Game Reserve. There is also camping at Ai-Ais, a hot-spring area towards the South African border, Hardap Dam in the south, Gross Barmen near Okahandja, Popa Falls in Kavango, in the Namib-Naukluft Park and at various places along the coast.
RESORTS & EXCURSIONS
Windhoek is the attractive capital of the country and surrounded by mountains. Like other towns in the country, it has several examples of German colonial architecture, including the Christuskirche, the Alte Feste and the Tintenpalast (Ink Palace), the former colonial administrative building.
The delightful little seaside resort of Swakopmund is situated in the middle of Namibia's coastline, surrounded by desert and sea. Lüderitz is a small port in the southern Namib region, with much charm and atmosphere from bygone days of diamond prospecting. Ai-Ais and Gross Barmen are hot-spring resorts. The Brandberg/Twyfelfontein area has some very ancient rock engravings and paintings of which the White Lady of the Brandberg is the most well known. The petrified forest and the Welwitschia mirabilis plant are other attractions.
Namibia's many attractions include ten national parks, under the control of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism. Some of them are listed below.
The Etosha National Park is one of the most famous game sanctuaries in the world and remains largely free of human influence. Its 22,270 sq km (8599 sq miles) are located in the north around the Etosha Pan. This depression is 1065m (3494ft) above sea level, forming a huge, salty hollow which is only occasionally filled with water and surrounded by grasslands and bush. There are vast stocks of wildlife, particularly elephants, lions, zebras, giraffes, wildebeest, springboks, kudus, gemsboks or oryxes, hyenas, jackals, leopards and cheetahs. It is open throughout the year. There are well-equipped camps with comfortable rondavel accommodation and camping facilities. Waterberg Plateau Park, Namibia's only mountain resort with its striking red sandstone cliffs, is home to many rare and endangered species of game and is a popular stopover for visitors on their way to Etosha National Park. There are good facilities here for game viewing and a number of hiking trails. Also en route to Etosha is Lake Otjikoto, 24km (15 miles) northeast of the mining town of Tsumeb. Once fabled to be bottomless, it is now known to be 55m-deep (140ft) and contains some rare fish. Northeast of here is Kaudom Game Reserve in Kavango, where there are two camping areas and blue wildebeest, elephant, lion, cheetah, leopard and various species of antelope wander. Further northeast, the Popa Falls rest camp, where crocodiles and hippos bask in the water, is a popular haven on the banks of the Okavango River. About 12km (7 miles) to the south is Mahango Game Reserve, catering to day visitors only, with elephants, buffalo and lechwe. Heading still further northeast is East Caprivi, bordered by the Kwando, Linyanti, Chobe and Zambezi Rivers. This region of swamps and flood plains has several safari lodges and offers boat trips, fishing, hiking and game viewing, particularly in the Mudumu and Mamili National Parks. The town of Katima Mulilo, on the banks of the Zambezi River, has an Arts Centre where visitors may purchase various handicrafts such as baskets, bracelets, malachite and soapstone carvings. There are also game-viewing cruises down the Zambezi River on the Zambesi Queen, a 56m (142ft) riverboat which departs from Zambesi Lodge. Flights to Victoria Falls, less than an hour's flight away, are available from Katima Mulilo.
Fish River Canyon is in the south of the country and only second in dimensions to the Grand Canyon. Situated between Seeheim and Ai-Ais, the gigantic cleft stretches for 150km (17 miles) and is up to 27km (93 miles) wide and up to 550m (1804ft) deep in parts. Trips are best arranged from Keetsmanshoop. Situated on the Fish River is Hardap Dam. The Kokerboom (Quiver Tree) Forest, located 14km (9 miles) northeast of Keetmanshoop on Gariganus Farm, features kokerbooms which belong to the aloe family and grow up to eight metres and were often used by the San people to make quivers for their arrows (thus 'quiver trees'). The trees create a bizarrely elegant effect and are now a protected plant in Namibia.
The Namib Desert appears more like the surface of the moon with its towering sand dunes (some of them 300m/1000ft high), and is believed to be the oldest desert in the world. Namib Naukluft Park, at 49,768 sq km (19,215 sq miles), is the fourth-largest conservation area in the world. There are campsites in the Namib Desert at Sesriem, where the Tsauchab River disappears down a deep gorge in the plain leaving pools of water where many animals feed, and in the Naukluft. The nearby Sossusvlei area is an ocean of sand dunes up to 300m (762ft) high, stretching as far as the eye can see and is home to countless water birds in the rainy season and oryx, springbok and ostriches during the dry season.
The Skeleton Coast is a strange desert shoreline with massive dunes and treacherous rocks, the name relating to the number of ships wrecked and lost in the vicinity. The cold Benguela current keeps the coastline cool, damp and rain-free for most of the year, with a thick coastal fog.
Namibia has ample opportunities for the self-drive tourist and many local tour operators and travel consultants offer interesting packages or arrange tailor-made tours covering a variety of areas. More information on tours and excursions can be obtained from the Namibia Tourism Office (address at top of entry) or the Tourist Information Centre in Windhoek; Tel: (61) 226 119.
POPULAR ITINERARIES: 5-day: (a) Windhoek-Sesriem-Swakopmund-Etosha-Windhoek. (b) Remote Northwest (accessible by plane): Windhoek-Northern Skeleton Coast-Kunene River. 7-day: (a) South: Windhoek-Quiver Tree Forest-Fish River Canyon-Ai-Ais-Lüderitz-Sesriem-Sossusvlei. (b) Northwest: Windhoek-Swakopmund-Skeleton Coast-Twyfelfontein-Etosha-Otjikoto Lake-Waterberg. 10-day: Northeast: Windhoek-Etosha-Okavango River-Mahango Game Reserve-Caprivi-Mudumu and Mamili National Parks-Katima Mulilo-Zambezi River-Victoria Falls.
FOOD & DRINK: Restaurants and cafés reflect the German influence on Namibia and most dining rooms offer a reasonable choice of local and continental cuisine. They are found mainly in the major cities. A speciality of Namibia is game in all variations; worth a try are biltong (air-dried meat) and Rauchfleisch (smoked meat).
NIGHTLIFE: In the central area of Windhoek there are restaurants, cafés, a cinema and a theatre.
SHOPPING: Windhoek has a selection of fashionable shops. Local crafts can be bought in some specialised shops and at the Windhoek Street Market, held every second Saturday. Good buys include diamonds and semi-precious stones, Herero dolls, hand-carved wooden objects, jewellery, karosse rugs, liqueur chocolates made in Windhoek and Swakara garments. Shopping hours: 0830-1700 Monday to Friday, 0830-1300 Saturday. Some bigger supermarkets are also open 1100-1300 and 1600-1900 Sunday.
SPORT: Northwest of Usakos, rising out of the Namib, is the 2000m (6562ft) Spitzkoppe where there is good mountaineering. Some of the coastal and river areas provide good opportunities for fishing, especially in the waters of the northern Caprivi strip. There are several hiking trails in the Fish River Canyon, the Waterberg Plateau Park, the Naukluft Mountains and the Ugab River.
SPECIAL EVENTS: Jan 16 '97 Franco-Namibian Cultural Centre. Feb 13-16 3-day cricket match, Namibia v Border. Mar 7-8 Namibia Motor Show. Mar 21 Independence Day celebrations. Apr 1 Cassinga Commemoration. Apr 18-27 WIKA - German Festival. Apr 23-26 The 7th Namibia International Trade Fair. Jul 25-27 The Ideal Home and Office Expo.
Social conventions: Western customs prevail; normal courtesies should be shown when visiting someone's home. Tipping: 10% is customary.
ECONOMY: The newly independent Namibia has bright economic prospects. Mining has been the mainstay of the economy under South African control. Namibian mines produce diamonds, copper, lead, zinc and uranium - the Rossing uranium mine is the world's largest; the sector contributes about 35% of the national product. A smaller but nonetheless valuable proportion comes from agriculture and fisheries. Livestock dominates the agricultural sector, although a sizeable proportion of the population is engaged in subsistence farming of crops such as wheat, maize and millet. Agriculture is becoming increasingly difficult as the years pass and the desert encroaches on previously fertile soil. It has also been seriously damaged during the early 1990s by the drought afflicting the whole region. Namibia enjoys some of the richest fishing grounds in the world, although catches of pilchard - the main species in the area - have been depleted by uncontrolled fishing before Namibian independence. Commercial shipping, a potentially lucrative business, may receive a boost now that South Africa has returned Walvis Bay, the best deep-water port in Africa on the Atlantic side, to the Namibians. The problem facing the new government in managing the economy is how to meet the expectations of the poorer black population while not alienating the white-run multinational companies which control most of Namibian business. Most of the country's trade is with South Africa: raw materials are exported in exchange for manufactured goods. This pattern is likely to continue for the forseeable future although there will be some growth in trading links with other countries.
Business: Suits should be worn in winter, safari suits in summer. Prior appointments are necessary. English is widely spoken in business circles. The best times for business are February to May and September to November. Office hours: 0800-1700 Monday to Friday.
Commercial information: The following organisation can offer advice: Namibia National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, PO Box 9355, Windhoek. Tel: (61) 228 809. Fax: (61) 228 009 or Conference Link Namibia, PO Box 9870, Windhoek. Tel: (61) 251 014.
HISTORY & GOVERNMENT
Namibia has a strong cultural character of its own and the people have retained their distinctive identities even though most of their original traditions now only survive in remote rural areas. The history of Namibia from the foundation of the United Nations in 1945 to Namibian independence in 1991 was dominated by the repeated refusal of the South African government to convert their League of Nations mandate to administer the country (which was granted after the First World War) into a UN trusteeship, or indeed to recognise that the UN, or any other organisation, had a legitimate interest in the region. In 1977 the five Western members of the Security Council began negotiations aimed at bringing about the implementation of Resolution 435, providing for UN supervised elections. Progress was very slow, but in 1988, the South Africans and Cubans agreed to withdraw their troops from Angola (see Angola entry) as an essential preparatory step before a Namibia settlement, which quickly followed. Despite some initial problems with the demobilisation of SWAPO and the South African forces in Namibia, the peace process developed more or less as planned. Elections were held in November 1989, with SWAPO taking 57% of the votes, sufficient for an overall majority but less than the two-thirds for which the party was hoping to enable them to rewrite the UN-sponsored constitution. The main rival to SWAPO, the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance led by Dirk Mudge, made a strong showing amongst whites and in areas populated by groups nervous of the Ovambo dominance of SWAPO. Although there have been some complaints about alleged inefficiency and corruption, SWAPO has clearly jettisoned its revolutionary rhetoric, knowing that NamibiaÕs future prosperity depends on overcoming the former divisions between different elements in the country. For that reason, as much as anything else, social transformation has been slow: in particular, the economy has remained largely in the hands of its previous white ownership. The continuing weakness of the opposition means, however, that SWAPOÕs position is not under threat. That, ad the popularity of land reforms introduced by the government guaranteed a large SWAPO majority at the presidential and legisltiave elections held during December 1994. Nujoma began his second term of office the folowing March, while SWAPO holds 53 of the 78 national Assembly seats. As much else, NamibiaÕs foreign relations are dominated by South Africa. The outstanding post-independence territorial issue between the two countries was the status of Walvis Bay, which South Africa maintained posession of. Following negotiations with Pretoria over the port was returned to Namibian jurisdiction on February 28, 1993. Similarly, the dozen offshore islands which Namibia also claimed have been ceded.
GOVERNMENT: Under the Constitution which took effect upon independence in March 1990, executive authority rests with the President, who is directly elected for a 5-year term. Legislative power is vested in the National Assembly with 78 members, 72 of whom are elected for five years while the remainder are presidential nominees.
The cold Benguela current keeps the coast of the Namib Desert cool, damp and rain-free for most of the year with thick coastal fog. Inland all the rain falls in summer (November to April). Summer temperatures are high while the altitude means that nights are cool. Winter nights can be fairly cold, but days are generally warm and pleasant.
Required clothing: Light cottons, with slightly heavier cottons or light woollens for evening. In inland areas, shoes are essential during the day as the ground is so hot.
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