Safe and Responsible Travels
Responsible travel is all about leaving a positive impact on both the environment and the people we will meet in the places we visit. The result being a more ethical and responsible trip when it comes to travelers' impacts, and also a more genuine and culturally immersive experience.
Avoid extended driving
We suggest to drive no more than 4 to 5 hours per day and enjoy the rest of the time exploring the areas and relaxing. Driving offroad is tiring, and tiredness undermines the safety of your adventure. On the tar, an estimate of 35 to 40 mph (55-65 km/h) is realistic. As soon as the sealed road will finish, then the estimate goes down to 15 mph, excluding stops. When preparing the itineraries for our clients, we do take these estimates into consideration.
This will help you spot animals, and it will keep you safe. Most of the accidents happen because of the speed, especially on gravel roads, where it seems there are no obstacles.
Stay close to your comfort zone
Driving offroad is surely more tiring than driving on tar roads, be very honest with yourself and if you do not have the skills, our suggestion is to avoid looking for challenging obstacles and the likes. On top of this, you will probably be driving in remote areas, totally unknown to you. While for some Guests this is exactly what they look for, please make sure to ask yourself if this is what you are looking for in your next adventure. We will be happy to organize for you a guided self-drive. The company founders are very active in guided itineraries, and they normally organize at least one trip they guide themselves.
Rent a solid and reliable vehicle
The last thing you want to have in Africa is a vehicle breakdown. The reliability of your vehicle is extremely important. The road conditions need high clearance, very good tires, and above all, a carefully serviced vehicle. After each vehicle return, we do a complete check of the car, and we replace each and every component that is not right. We also follow a very tight preventive maintenance program to anticipate any possible problems. You will surely find cheaper options on the market. However, please be aware of all the possible risks.
Avoid driving at night
In Africa, vehicles move around often without lights. Furthermore, opposite to what we do in the Western world, people do walk on streets to move around the villages, they often move their cows and donkeys in the dark to avoid the heat, and you can’t see them while driving. This is the reason why we plan the itineraries to avoid the night driving.
Be cognizant of where you are - and engage with a reliable operator for the planning
GPS technologies are fantastic, and mobile coverage is improving fast. However, this does not necessarily mean that they will work everywhere in Africa. We strongly recommend to familiarize with the area, use the traditional paper maps, and keep close control of where you are, and where you want to go. Doing basic training on the use of a paper map and a compass is a wise idea.
Choose carefully what you buy. Avoid buying hardwood, products made from endangered species and so on. Look for local products, and always check the legality of what you are buying.
Respect people and cultures
When visiting villages, always check if it is appropriate to take pictures. If the answer is yes, please make sure to show people the pictures you take. They love it! Also, as a gesture, after you return from your trip, you may consider sending to the village a printed copy of their pictures. Furthermore, please dress appropriately, and avoid making unnecessary noise.
Clean, safe drinking water is scarce in Africa. Please do your best to use it very carefully, and avoid any waste. The best gift you can give to a group of kids on the road is a bottle of clean water.
Consider the animal danger
Camping in the wild does imply very often a close interaction with the wildlife. An incredible experience, that needs to be treated carefully.
Whatever happens, never (ever) start running away. You immediately become prey. Slowly moves back up, and try to get into the car as gently as possible.
Stay always close to the car
Keep the distance, especially from hippos and elephants. Make sure they have a safe escape line to walk away from you. If they don’t, they may charge. Never drive closer than 65 ft (20 m) to larger mammals, elephants, and buffalo in particular.
Before going out of the car, check the area, and see if there is any move, sound, or smell that indicates the presence of wild animals. If this is the case, please stay in the car, and make sure you are not along the line and close to a footpath, especially from elephants and hippos.
When allowed, you will pick up the firewood for your bush fire. Kick the logs before touching with your hands to make sure snakes, scorpions, spiders and the likes will walk away.
If you are traveling with children, make sure they stay very close to the group and keep constant control over them.
Avoid camping near the water. The chances of interfering with footpaths are too high, and crocodiles are also a relevant danger.
Last but not least, respect the wildlife
We are visitors who happened to visit their “home”, and not vice-versa. If you respect the wildlife, they will respect you.
Learn about wildlife through quiet observation
Do not disturb wildlife or plants just for a better shot. Stay on track.
Observe wildlife from a distance so they are not scared or forced to flee. Large groups often cause more damage to the environment and can disturb wildlife so keep your group small.
If you are in a larger group, divide into smaller groups if possible to minimize your impacts.
When you are back home
Please share with us and with your social network any of the actions you have taken during your adventure to promote the safe and responsible travel. This will help the entire community to gain insight into such an important topic.
Located in southwestern Africa, Namibia boasts a well-developed infrastructure, some of the best tourist facilities in Africa, and an impressive list of breathtaking natural wonders. Visitors can explore the capital of Windhoek and discover the lovely coastal town of Swakopmund boasting remnants of the country’s German influence, reflected in the architecture, culture, cuisine and the annual Oktoberfest celebrations. To properly appreciate this extraordinary country, you will have to venture out of the cities to explore the remarkable natural landscapes Namibia has to offer. These include: the impressive Fish River Canyon; the vast Etosha National Park teeming with abundant wildlife, such as lions, desert-adapted elephants and the Hartmann's Mountain Zebra; the hauntingly beautiful Kalahari Desert; and of course the Namib Desert stretching for over 2000 km along the magnificent Atlantic Coast. Namibia is an ideal destination for travellers seeking an unforgettable African experience in a uniquely beautiful untamed wilderness.
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 Satuday 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 populace, 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 adaquate 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 in 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 section offered by 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 are readily available in most towns and all camps, lodges and hotels.
Climate and Weather
Partially covered by the Namib Desert, one of the world's driest deserts, Namibia's climate is generally very dry and pleasant – it's fine to visit all year round. Namibia only receives a fraction of the rain experienced by countries further east. Between about December to March some days will be humid and rain may follow, often in localised, afternoon thunderstorms. These are more common in the centre and east of the country, and more unusual in the desert.
April and especially May are often lovely months in Namibia. Increasingly dry, with a real freshness in the air, and much greenery in the landscape; at this time the air is clear and largely free from dust.
From June to August Namibia cools down and dries out more; nights can become cold, dropping below freezing in some desert areas. As the landscape dries so the game in the north of the country gravitates more to waterholes, and is more easily seen by visitors. By September and October it warms up again; game-viewing in most areas is at its best, although there's often a lot of dust around and the vegetation has lost its vibrancy.
November is a highly variable month. Sometimes the hot, dry weather will continue, at other times the sky will fill with clouds and threaten to rain – but if you're lucky enough to witness the first rains of the season, you'll never forget the drama.
Clothing and Dress Recommendations
Namibians have a somewhat relaxed attitude to dress codes. A jacket and tie is 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 light weight loose fitting clothes in natural fabrics, such 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 your against mosquitoes at night.
Telecom Namibia offers a service called wi-space. You purchase a wi-space voucher that allows you to connect to WiFi 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).
Electricity and Plug Standards
Electrical sockets in Namibia are Type M (SABS-1661). If your appliance's plug doesn't match the shape of these sockets, you will need a travel plug adapter in order to plug in. Travel plug adapters simply change the shape of your appliance's plug to match whatever type of socket you need to plug into. If it's crucial to be able to plug in no matter what, bring an adapter for all types.
Electrical sockets in Namibia usually supply electricity at 230 volts AC / 50 Hz frequency. If you're plugging in an appliance that was built for 230 volt electrical input, or an appliance that is compatible with multiple voltages, then an adapter is all you need. If your appliance isn’t compatible with 230 volts, a voltage converter will be necessary.