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Travel Security Advice for Namibia

Namibian_National_Flag

namibia_mapNaminia_Overview 


COUNTRY DESCRIPTION:  

Namibia is a southern African country with a moderately developed economy. Facilities for tourism are good and generally increasing in quality. The capital is Windhoek. Read the Department of State Background Notes on Namibia for additional information.



REGISTRATION / EMBASSY LOCATION:

U.S. citizens living or traveling in Namibia are encouraged to register with the  U.S. Embassy in Windhoek via the Department of State’s travel registration page in order to obtain updated information on local travel and security.  U.S. citizens without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.  Registration is important; it allows the State Department to assist U.S. citizens in an emergency.  

Local embassy information is available below and at the Department of State’s list of embassies and consulates.

The U.S. Embassy Windhoek


Located at:14 Lossen Street, Ausspannplatz, Windhoek
Mailing address: Private Bag 12029, Windhoek, Namibia
Telephone: (264-61) 295-8500
Consular Section: (264-61) 295-8527
Fax: (264-61) 295-8603 ; i.e., or via
After-hours emergency line: (264-81) 127-4384
Email the
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ENTRY / EXIT REQUIREMENTS:

A passport and visa are normally required.  Bearers of U.S. passports who plan to visit Namibia for tourism for less than 90 days can obtain visas at the port of entry and do not need visas prior to entering the country.  Travelers coming for work or study, whether paid or voluntary, must obtain a work or study permit prior to entering Namibia.  Passports must have at least six months of validity remaining beyond the traveler’s planned date of arrival in Namibia

All travelers traveling to or from Namibia via South Africa are strongly encouraged to have five or more unstamped visa pages in their passport.  Travelers merely transiting South Africa (those not stopping over or exiting the international terminal in South Africa) should not require visa stamps and may require fewer blank pages for travel.  South Africa and Namibia both require at least two unstamped visa pages – one for the entry stamp and one for exit.  Visitors who do not have enough blank visa pages in their passport risk being denied entry and returned to the U.S. at their own expense.

Visit the Embassy of Namibia's website for the most current visa information.



HIV/AIDS RESTRICTIONS:

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to, or foreign residents of, Namibia.

Information about dual nationality and the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website.  For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page



SAFETY AND SECURITY:

U.S. citizens wishing to cross into Angola from Namibia should do so only at official border crossing areas and should consult the State Department's Country Specific Information for Angola.

U.S. citizens should avoid street demonstrations.  However, such events are rare in Namibia.  U.S. citizens traveling in Namibia are urged to contact the consular section of the U.S. Embassy in Windhoek for the latest safety and security information.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs’ web site.

Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. and Canada or, for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas.  For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State's information on traveling safely abroad.



CRIME: 

Crime is a serious concern in Namibia, but visitors who employ common-sense preventive measures normally enjoy an incident-free stay.  Incidents of violent crime directed specifically against Americans or other foreigners are rare, but the number of overall incidents continues to increase.  The most common crimes are property-motivated crimes of opportunity, including pickpocketing, purse snatching, vehicle theft, and vehicle break-ins.  Taxi drivers have robbed several American passengers; if taxis must be used, radio taxis that display the NABTA logo (Namibia Bus and Taxi Association) are the most reliable.  Violent crimes are less frequent than non-violent incidents.  Common sense measures such as being alert to one's surroundings, avoiding isolated areas of town, not leaving valuables in parked cars, keeping car doors locked and windows up while driving, safeguarding purses, wallets and especially cellular phones are the best deterrents against becoming a victim.  Drivers should exercise caution at rest stops outside of towns or away from gasoline stations.



INFORMATION FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME: 

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate (see the Department of State’s list of embassies and consulates).  If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance.  The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred.  Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

The local equivalent of a “911” emergency line in the city of Windhoek is 211-111.  If calling from a mobile phone, dial 061-211-111.

Please see our information on victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.



CRIMINAL PENALTIES:

While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law.  Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offences.  Persons violating Namibian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned.  Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Namibia are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.  Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Americans should avoid purchasing diamonds and other protected resources outside of licensed retail establishments.  The penalty for illegal dealing in diamonds in Namibia is stiff – up to U.S. $20,000 in fines or five years in prison -- and the courts generally impose the maximum sentence.  The purchase and exportation of other protected resources, such as elephant ivory, may also be prohibited by Namibian, international, and/or U.S. law.



SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES:

Wild animals may pose some danger.  Travelers are advised that, even in the most serene settings, animals are wild and can pose a threat to life and safety.  Travelers are cautioned to observe all local or park regulations and heed all instructions given by tour guides.  In addition, tourists are advised that potentially dangerous areas sometimes lack fences and warning signs.  Appropriate caution should be used in all unfamiliar surroundings.

Namibia does not recognize dual citizenship for adults over the age of 18.  Therefore, despite the fact that these individuals possess U.S. citizenship, they must enter and exit Namibia bearing a Namibian passport.  Namibia recognizes dual citizenship up until the age of 18; however, such children must enter Namibia on their Namibian passport and may face questioning by an immigration officer before being permitted entry.  Please see our Customs Information.



MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION:

Windhoek has a small number of private medical hospitals and clinics capable of providing emergency care and performing many routine procedures.  Doctors, both general practitioners and specialists, as well as dentists, generally have training and facilities that are comparable to U.S. standards.  Facilities outside the capital vary widely.  Several large towns have well-equipped facilities similar to those available in Windhoek, while smaller towns generally do not.  Malaria is prevalent only in the north of the country.  Malaria prophylaxis is not required in Windhoek, but is suggested for travel to the north.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC’s web site For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the infectious diseases section of the World Health Organization (WHO) website.  The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.



MEDICAL INSURANCE:

The Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to consult their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to determine whether the policy applies overseas and whether it covers emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.  For more information, please see our medical insurance overseas page.



TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS:

The information below concerning Namibia is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

In Namibia, driving is done on the left-hand side of the road.  Many of Namibia's rural roads are gravel.  Although these roads are generally well maintained, controlling a vehicle on gravel is significantly more difficult than on pavement.  Drivers should not drive in excess of 80km per hour (45 mph) on gravel roads, should reduce speed significantly for curves or turns, and should heed all warning signs.  Hitting a sand patch or driving around a curve too fast can easily result in a rollover or spinout.  Many accidents on gravel roads occur when tourists exceed safe speeds on corners or in areas recently damaged by rains.  Visitors are reminded that motor vehicle accidents are one of the primary causes of injury and death in Namibia, and drivers are therefore strongly urged to drive with caution.

For those driving outside the capital, distances between cities can be considerable, and often gasoline is only available at a few service stations along a route.  Fuel availability can be affected by power outages as well.  All travelers are encouraged to plan their route to ensure a sufficient supply of fuel, and are recommended to bring five liters of water per person when traveling on dirt roads to guard against dehydration if an accident should occur.

Turning at a red traffic light is not permitted in Namibia.  Seat belts are required for all vehicle occupants.  Motorcyclists are required by law to wear protective helmets.  While child car seats are not required, they are recommended.

To drive legally while in Namibia, visitors staying more than a few weeks need an international driving permit.  International driving permits must be obtained prior to leaving the U.S. and are available from either the American Automobile Association or the American Automobile Touring Alliance.  Short-term visitors do not need an international driving permit; a valid U.S. driver's license is sufficient.

Roads in Namibia are generally well maintained.  However, few have shoulders or “pull-off” lanes for broken down vehicles.  Wildlife wandering on roads is a special driving hazard in Namibia, especially at night.  An encounter at high speeds with antelope or cattle can be fatal.  The salt-surfaced roads at the coast can also be deceptively dangerous, especially when they have been made slick by morning or evening mist.  Robberies have occurred at roadside "rest stops," so motorists are advised to take rest breaks in towns and/or at gasoline stations.  Embassy Windhoek has a policy against driving after dark outside Windhoek. This is due to the dangers of other vehicles, gravel roads, intermittent flooding, crime, and animals on the main highways.  American visitors to Namibia are encouraged to drive only during daylight hours.

Most major roads are undivided with one lane in each direction.  Drivers should remain alert for passing vehicles and exercise caution when passing slow moving vehicles.  Accidents involving drunk drivers are an increasing problem on major roads where there are high speed limits.  Driving under the influence is illegal in Namibia.  A charge of culpable homicide can be made against a driver involved in an accident resulting in death.

Roadside assistance and emergency medical services outside Windhoek may be unreliable or non-existent.  Assistance on main roads that link Namibia's larger towns, however, is generally good due to high quality cell phone networks.  Emergency services contact numbers vary from town to town.  The Namibian telephone directory has a list of emergency contact numbers at the beginning of each town listing.  It is recommended that Americans maintain a list of contact numbers for the area in which they plan to drive.  Telephone numbers may change, and 24-hour availability of these numbers is not guaranteed.

Public transportation is not widely available outside the capital.  Taxis and municipal buses are the only forms of public transportation in Windhoek.  Schedules and routes are limited.  Car rentals or radio taxis are generally the best means of transport but may be relatively expensive.  The Embassy has received reports of foreign citizens being robbed by drivers of taxis hailed on the streets of Windhoek.  The Embassy has not received any such reports regarding radio taxis.

Flashing of high beams and similar signals could mean anything from a friendly greeting to a warning.  When encountering a motorcade, motorists are encouraged to make way immediately and follow promptly any instructions given by the officials present.

Because of the possibility of intoxicated and/or reckless drivers, the poor mechanical condition of some motor vehicles, and the high incidence of single-vehicle rollover accidents, Americans are urged to avoid hitchhiking in Namibia.

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.  Also, we suggest that you visit the website of the country’s national tourist office and national authority responsible for road safety.



AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT:

As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Namibia, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Namibia’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards.  Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.



CHILDREN'S ISSUES:

Please see our Office of Children’s Issues web pages on intercountry adoption and international parental child abduction.

This replaces the Country Specific Information for Namibia dated March 5, 2009, to update sections on: Registration/Embassy Location, Entry/Exit Requirements, Threats To Safety and Security, Medical Facilities and Health Information, Traffic Safety and Road Conditions.


The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office also has information regarding Namibia HERE........

Looking for an Embassy ?, You can also check out our World Wide Embassies Listings Section HERE (For US Citizens) or HERE (For UK Citizens).......

There is also a Malaria Warning for Namibia HERE.....

Regards

The SW Team.......

 

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