Last updated: ET
Still valid: ET
Latest updates: Thorough review and update of the entire travel advice content.
Namibia - Exercise a high degree of caution
Exercise a high degree of caution in Namibia due to the high level of crime.
Safety and security
Safety and security
Border with Angola
Peace in Angola has improved the security situation along the Namibia–Angola border. Due to the risk of banditry, however, you should exercise caution when travelling to this area, including Kavango Region in the northeast and the western half of Zambezi Region (formerly known as Caprivi). Use official border crossing areas only to enter neighbouring countries.
Petty crime such as pickpocketing and purse snatching is prevalent.
Vehicle theft and break-ins also occur.
Violent crime, such as muggings and robberies targeting foreigners occurs, particularly in Windhoek.
- Be alert to your surroundings
- Ensure that your personal belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times
- Avoid the townships and remote areas after dark
- Avoid walking alone after dark
Thefts from vehicles occur at service stations. Keep your vehicle doors locked and windows shut, to deter carjacking and theft. Do not keep valuables in your car.
You should be cautious of persons ostensibly looking for assistance by the side of the road. Unsuspecting tourists have been victims of armed attacks.
Demonstrations are rare and are concentrated in Windhoek. They can disrupt traffic and business.
Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
There are landmines in the border area from Katwitwi (a village on the Okavango River in Kavango West Region) to Kongola (a town in Zambezi Region).
Avoid night-time driving outside urban centres.
Be particularly careful when driving on rural roads, many of which are gravel with sloping sand shoulders.
Road conditions are generally good, but much of the country is covered by desert. Overland travel takes considerable time. Sand, salt and gravel roads become very slippery when wet.
Tourists are often involved in single-vehicle accidents. Do not exceed 80 km/h on gravel roads. Excessive speed and animals on the roadway pose hazards.
Emergency and roadside assistance is unreliable or non-existent outside Windhoek.
If you must travel overland via the Trans-Caprivi Highway between Rundu and Katima Mulilo, do so during daylight hours only.
Avoid stopping at roadside rest stops, where robberies have been known to occur.
If travelling to desert areas, do so with sufficient water and fuel supplies and two spare tires. Travel by convoy if you plan to go to the desert.
Buses and taxis operate in the capital. Public transportation is limited outside Windhoek.
Foreigners have been robbed by taxi drivers. The Namibia Bus and Taxi Association (NABTA) regulates taxi drivers by allocating registration numbers (one letter followed by a two-digit number). Use registered taxis (displaying the NABTA logo) only or arrange for a taxi through a reputable hotel.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Cases of attempted fraud are frequently reported in this country.
Credit card copying in some hotels and lodges occurs. When paying by credit card, keep your card in view at all times. Be extra vigilant at ATMs, as criminals may attempt to distract you or offer assistance with the aim of stealing your money. Don’t accept any offer of assistance and cancel your transaction if you become suspicious.
- Pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others
- Use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business
- Avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
- Cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
- Check for any unauthorized transaction on your account statements
General safety information
Avoid visiting townships unless accompanied by someone with local knowledge.
When visiting parks and game reserves, remain with your group and observe all local or park regulations and instructions given by tour guides, as wild animals pose risks. Potentially dangerous areas may lack fences and warning signs.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the Namibian authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for a minimum of 6 months after the date you enter Namibia.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest diplomatic mission for your destination.
Tourist visa: Not required for stays up to 90 days
Business visa: Not required for stays up to 90 days
Student visa: Required
Employment visa: Required
Ensure that your passport has sufficient visa pages for travel to Namibia and neighbouring countries for the entire duration of your trip.
At least 2 completely blank pages are required for entry into Namibia.
Make sure the visa stamp is valid for the duration of your stay (up to 90 days) and that immigration officials have given you a correctly dated entry stamp, as this will be checked upon departure.
Authorities are very strict regarding visa validity. Overstaying the time granted or having an incorrect or missing entry stamp could lead to detention, arrest and fines.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
If you are transiting by road through South Africa with children under the age of 18, consult the entry/exit requirements for South Africa.
- There are no updates at this time.
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health professional about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world.
Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from or have transited through an airport of a country where yellow fever occurs.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
- There is currently a shortage of the yellow fever vaccine in Canada. It is important for travellers to contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of their trip to ensure that the vaccine is available.
About Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in Southern Africa, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, hepatitis E, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Southern Africa. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Schistosomiasis can be spread to humans through freshwater sources contaminated by blood flukes (tiny worms). The eggs of the worms can cause stomach illnesses like diarrhea and cramps or urinary problems. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Avoid swimming in freshwater sources (lakes, rivers, ponds). There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among pediatric travellers, travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives or travelling for a long period of time. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
In some areas in Southern Africa, certain insects carry and spread diseases like African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, chikungunya, malaria, Rift Valley fever, and West Nile virus.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is currently a risk of chikungunya in this country. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
Zika virus infection
Zika virus infection is a risk in this country. The mosquito that spreads the virus is found here.
All travellers should protect themselves from mosquito bites and other diseases spread by insects.
- There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in enclosed air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider pre-treating clothing and travel gear with insecticides and sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet.
- Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in Southern Africa, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).
High risk activities include anything which puts you in contact with blood or body fluids, such as unprotected sex and exposure to unsterilized needles for medications or other substances (for example, steroids and drugs), tattooing, body-piercing or acupuncture.
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care professional.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
Medical services and facilities
Medical facilities are relatively modern, particularly in the capital. Well-equipped facilities are rarely available in smaller towns.
Upfront payment is generally required, even if you have medical insurance.
Ensure that your insurance policy covers all the activities that you plan to undertake, particularly in the case of extreme sports.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
Laws & culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
Carry a copy of your passport at all times.
Illegal or restricted activities
Diamonds and other protected resources should be purchased from licensed shops. If you are convicted of illegally dealing in diamonds, you could face heavy fines and/or imprisonment. The purchase and export of other protected resources, such as elephant ivory, may be subject to restrictions.
Penalties for drug offences are severe and include lengthy prison sentences.
Do not photograph military sites or government buildings. Ask permission before taking photographs.
You should dress conservatively.
Namibian law prohibits sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. LGBTQ2 travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Namibia.
Traffic drives on the left.
You can use an original Canadian driver’s licence printed in English, but you should also carry a valid international driving permit.
If renting a car, pay particular attention to the insurance coverage provided. Ensure you have comprehensive insurance.
It is illegal to use a cellular telephone while driving or to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The use of a seatbelt is compulsory for the driver and all passengers.
A charge of culpable homicide can be made against a driver involved in an accident resulting in death.
The currency is the Namibian dollar (NAD). The South African rand (ZAR) is also accepted.
Major credit cards are accepted and most ATMs are linked to international networks.
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters & climate
The dry season extends from April to October, and the rainy season extends from November to March. Unpaved roads may become impassable during the rainy season. You should follow regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.
Dial 264 (61) 10111 for emergency assistance.
Windhoek - Consulate of Canada
Pretoria - High Commission of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the Canadian High Commission, in Pretoria, South Africa and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services.
- Date modified: