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NAMIBIA - Exercise a high degree of caution
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Namibia. However, you should exercise a high degree of caution due to the high level of crime.
Safety and security
Safety and security
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 the region of Kavango in the northeast and the western half of the 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, has increased, particularly in Windhoek. Remain alert to your surroundings, ensure that your personal belongings and travel documents are secure, and avoid the townships and remote areas after dark. Avoid walking alone after dark. Keep your vehicle doors locked and windows shut, to deter carjacking and theft. Do not keep valuables in your car. There have been reports of thefts from vehicles at service stations.
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. You should exercise caution and avoid large crowds and demonstrations.
Be aware of the presence of landmines in the border area from Katwitwi (a village on the Okavango River in Western Kavango region) to Kongola (a town in the Zambezi region).
Traffic drives on the left. Avoid night-time driving outside urban centres. Careful driving is particularly important 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. Overland travel via the Trans-Caprivi Highway between Rundu and Katima Mulilo should be undertaken during daylight hours only. Avoid stopping at roadside rest stops, where robberies have been known to occur.
An original Canadian driver’s licence in English is accepted, but a valid International Driving Permit (IDP) is recommended. If hiring a car, pay particular attention to the insurance coverage provided: ensure you have comprehensive insurance.
Road travel to desert areas should be undertaken 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. There have been reports of foreigners being 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.
The Government of Canada does not assess foreign domestic airlines’ compliance with international aviation safety standards. See Foreign domestic airlines for more information.
Cases of attempted fraud are frequently reported in this country. See Overseas Fraud for more information.
There have been reports of credit card copying in some hotels and lodges. When paying by credit card, keep your card in view at all times. Be extra vigilant at automated banking machines (ABMs), 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.
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.
Carry a copy of your passport at all times.
It is the sole prerogative of every country or territory to determine who is allowed to enter or exit. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry or exit requirements. The following information has been obtained from the Namibian authorities and is subject to change at any time. The country- or territory-specific entry/exit requirements are provided on this page for information purposes only. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, information contained here is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada assumes no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided. It is your responsibility to check with the High Commission of the Republic of Namibia and its consulates for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
To visit Namibia, Canadians must present a passport, which must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of entry. Before you leave, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules. An onward or return ticket and proof of sufficient funds are required upon entry to the country.
Temporary passport holders may be subject to different entry requirements. Check with diplomatic representatives for up-to-date information.
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 two 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.
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. See Children for more information.
Consult the South Africa Travel Advice page if you are transiting by road through South Africa with children under the age of 18.
See Health to obtain information on this country’s vaccination requirements.
- Measles: Global Update - July 28, 2016 00:00 EDT
Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider 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 Vaccination
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.
|* 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.|
|Country Entry Requirement*|
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, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Southern Africa. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Cholera is a bacterial disease that is most often spread by drinking water or eating food that has been contaminated. It causes diarrhea and in severe cases it can lead to dehydration and even death.
Most travellers are at very low risk. Travellers at higher risk include those visiting, working or living in areas with limited access to safe food, water and proper sanitation, or to areas where outbreaks are occurring. Travellers at higher risk should discuss with a health care provider the benefits of getting vaccinated.
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 at high risk visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care provider 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 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 provider 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 provider.
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. However, 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.
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 are subject to local laws. See Arrest and detention for more information.
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.
The laws of Namibia prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. LGBT travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Namibia. Consult Homosexual, bisexual and transgender travel for more information.
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.
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 ABMs 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 assistance after hours, call the Canadian High Commission to South Africa, in Pretoria. Listen to the full message and follow the instructions. You may also make a collect call to the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at +1 613 996 8885.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad. In the event of a large-scale emergency, every effort will be made to provide assistance. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
See Large-scale emergencies abroad for more information.
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