Namibia travel advice

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Risk level

Namibia - Exercise a high degree of caution

Exercise a high degree of caution in Namibia due to the high level of crime.

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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.

Landmines

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).

Crime

Petty crime

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing, bag snatching and cellphone theft, occurs regularly.  

Theft is frequent in:  

  • popular tourist areas
  • crowded places, including urban shopping areas
  • vehicles, especially unattended vehicles at gas stations and
  • ATMs and surrouding areas

During your trip to Namibia: 

  • ensure that your personal belongings, including your passport and your other travel documents, are secure at all times 
  • avoid showing signs of affluence or wearing expensive jewellery 
  • avoid carrying large sums of cash or unnecessary valuables 
  • never leave personal belongings unattended in a vehicle, even in the trunk 
  • be extra cautious when withdrawing cash from ATMs

Violent crime

Violent crime occurs, particularly in Windhoek. Incidents include :

  • muggings
  • burglaries
  • carjackings

During your stay:

  • avoid walking alone after dark
  • keep your accommodations doors and windows locked at all times 
  • keep your car doors locked and windows closed, especially in heavy traffic 

Demonstrations

Demonstrations are rare and occur mostly 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

Mass gatherings (large-scale events)

Fraud

Cases of attempted fraud are frequently reported in Namibia.

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

Overseas fraud

Wildlife viewing

Wildlife viewing poses risks, particularly if you are on foot or at close range.

  • Only use reputable and professional guides or tour operators 
  • Always maintain a safe distance when observing wildlife 
  • Only exit a vehicle when a professional guide or warden says it’s safe to do so
  • Closely follow park and warden’s advice  

Road safety

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.

Public transportation

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.

Air travel

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

Information about foreign domestic airlines

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Entry and exit requirements

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 the Foreign Representatives in Canada.

Passport

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.

Official travel

Passport with “X” gender identifier

While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

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 foreign representative for your destination.

Useful links

Visas

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.

Children and travel

Learn more about travelling with children.

Exit and entry requirements for minors under 18

When travelling to an international destination, underage traveller must present:

If travelling with both parents

  • A valid passport
  • A long-form birth certificate

If travelling with a single parent

  • A valid passport
  • A long-form birth certificate
  • A letter of consent from the other parent or a copy of a death certificate when applicable

If travelling with other adults

  • A valid passport
  • A long-form birth certificate
  • A proof of consent from the biological parents or legal guardians in the form of a sworn affidavit for the child to travel internationally
  • Contact information of the child’s parents or legal guardians

If travelling alone

  • A valid passport
  • A long-form birth certificate
  • A proof of consent from one or both parents or legal guardians in the form of a sworn affidavit for the child to travel
  • Contact information of the child’s parents or legal guardians
  • A letter from the person who is to receive the child containing the residential address and contact details where the child will be residing
  • A copy of the identity document of the person who is to receive the child. This could be: 
  • a valid passport and visa
  • a permanent residence permit

If you are transiting by road through South Africa with children under the age of 18, consult the entry/exit requirements for South Africa.

Yellow fever

Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).

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Health

Relevant Travel Health Notices

This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.

Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.

Routine vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccinations, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date before travelling, regardless of your destination.

Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.

Pre-travel vaccines and medications

You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary. 

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.

Risk

  • 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.

Recommendation

  • Vaccination is not recommended.
  • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
  • Contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of your trip to arrange for vaccination.

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.

Hepatitis A

There is a risk of hepatitis A in this destination. It is a disease of the liver. People can get hepatitis A if they ingest contaminated food or water, eat foods prepared by an infectious person, or if they have close physical contact (such as oral-anal sex) with an infectious person, although casual contact among people does not spread the virus.

 

Practise safe food and water precautions and wash your hands often. Vaccination is recommended for all travellers to areas where hepatitis A is present.

Measles

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.

Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.

Hepatitis B

 Hepatitis B is a risk in every destination. It is a viral liver disease that is easily transmitted from one person to another through exposure to blood and body fluids containing the hepatitis B virus.  Travellers who may be exposed to blood or other bodily fluids (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) are at higher risk of getting hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all travellers. Prevent hepatitis B infection by practicing safe sex, only using new and sterile drug equipment, and only getting tattoos and piercings in settings that follow public health regulations and standards.

COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.

Before travelling, verify your destination’s COVID-19 vaccination entry/exit requirements. Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.

Influenza

 The best way to protect yourself from seasonal influenza (flu) is to get vaccinated every year. Get the flu shot at least 2 weeks before travelling.  

 The flu occurs worldwide. 

  •  In the Northern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs from November to   April.
  •  In the Southern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs between April and   October.
  •  In the tropics, there is flu activity year round. 

The flu vaccine available in one hemisphere may only offer partial protection against the flu in the other hemisphere.

The flu virus spreads from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Clean your hands often and wear a mask if you have a fever or respiratory symptoms.

Malaria

Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease that is caused by parasites spread through the bites of mosquitoes.
 
There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this destination. 

Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic before travelling to discuss your options. It is recommended to do this 6 weeks before travel, however, it is still a good idea any time before leaving. 
 
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times: 
• Cover your skin and use an approved insect repellent on uncovered skin. 
• Exclude mosquitoes from your living area with screening and/or closed, well-sealed doors and windows.
• Use insecticide-treated bed nets if mosquitoes cannot be excluded from your living area. 
• Wear permethrin-treated clothing. 
 
If you develop symptoms similar to malaria when you are travelling or up to a year after you return home, see a health care professional immediately. Tell them where you have been travelling or living. 

Rabies

In this destination, rabies is commonly carried by dogs and some wildlife, including bats. Rabies is a deadly disease that spreads to humans primarily through bites or scratches from an infected animal. While travelling, take precautions, including keeping your distance from animals (including free-roaming dogs), and closely supervising children.

If you are bitten or scratched by a dog or other animal while travelling, immediately wash the wound with soap and clean water and see a health care professional. In this destination, rabies treatment may be limited or may not be available, therefore you may need to return to Canada for treatment. 

Before travel, discuss rabies vaccination with a health care professional. It may be recommended for travellers who are at high risk of exposure (e.g., occupational risk such as veterinarians and wildlife workers, children, adventure travellers and spelunkers, and others in close contact with animals). 

Safe food and water precautions

Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.

  • Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
  • Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
  • Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs. 

Travellers' diarrhea

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

Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.

Travellers visiting regions with a risk of typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation, should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.  

Schistosomiasis

There is a risk of schistosomiasis in this destination. Schistosomiasis is a parasitic disease caused by tiny worms (blood flukes) which can be found in freshwater (lakes, rivers, ponds, and wetlands). The worms can break the skin, and their eggs can cause stomach pain, diarrhea, flu-like symptoms, or urinary problems. Schistosomiasis mostly affects underdeveloped and rural communities, particularly agricultural and fishing communities.

Most travellers are at low risk. Travellers should avoid contact with untreated freshwater such as lakes, rivers, and ponds (e.g., swimming, bathing, wading, ingesting). There is no vaccine or medication available to prevent infection.

Cholera

Risk

Cholera is a risk in parts of this country. Most travellers are at very low risk.

To protect against cholera, all travellers should practise safe food and water precautions.

Travellers at higher risk of getting cholera include those:

  • visiting, working or living in areas with limited access to safe food, water and proper sanitation
  • visiting areas where outbreaks are occurring

Vaccination may be recommended for high-risk travellers, and should be discussed with a health care professional.

Insect bite prevention

Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:

  • Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
  • Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
  • Minimize exposure to insects
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed

To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.

Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.

Chikungunya

There is a risk of chikungunya in this country.  The risk may vary between regions of a 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.

Dengue
  • In this country, risk of dengue is sporadic. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
  • Dengue can cause flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to severe dengue, which can be fatal.
  • The level of risk of dengue changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. The level of risk also varies between regions in a country and can depend on the elevation in the region.
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
Rift Valley fever

Rift Valley fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can be fatal. It is spread to humans through contact with infected animal blood or tissues, from the bite of an infected mosquito, or eating or drinking unpasteurized dairy. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from insect bites and avoid animals, particularly livestock, and unpasteurized dairy. There is no vaccine available for Rift Valley fever.

Animal precautions

Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may increase your chance of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.

Closely supervise children, as they are more likely to come in contact with animals.

Person-to-person infections

Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette, which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:

  •  washing your hands often
  • avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
  • avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness 

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV, and mpox are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners. Check with your local public health authority pre-travel to determine your eligibility for mpox vaccine.  

Tuberculosis

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.

HIV

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.

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.

Travel health and safety

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.

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Laws and 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.

Drugs

Penalties for drug offences are severe and include lengthy prison sentences.

Drugs, alcohol and travel

Identification

Carry a copy of your passport at all times.

Exports

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.

Photography

Do not photograph military sites or government buildings. Ask permission before taking photographs.

Culture

You should dress conservatively.

2SLGBTQI+ travellers

Namibian law prohibits sexual acts between individuals of the same sex.

2SLGBTQI+ travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Namibia.

Travel and your sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics

International Child Abduction

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. It does not apply between Canada and Namibia.

If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Namibia by an abducting parent:

  • act as quickly as you can
  • consult a lawyer in Canada and in Namibia to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
  • report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre

If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.

Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.

Useful links

Driving

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.

International Driving Permit

Money

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.

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Natural disasters and 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.

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Need help?

Local services

Emergency services

Dial 264 (61) 10111 for emergency assistance.

Consular assistance

Windhoek - Honorary consul of Canada
Street AddressCorner of Jan Jonker and Lazarett Street, Ausspannplatz, Windhoek, NamibiaPostal AddressCorner of Jan Jonker and Lazarett Street, Ausspannplatz, Windhoek, NamibiaEmailwindhoek@international.gc.caInternethttps://www.Canada.ca/Canada-And-NamibiaFacebookHigh Commission of Canada in South AfricaTwitter@CanHCZA
Pretoria - High Commission of Canada
Street Address1103 Arcadia Street, Hatfield, Pretoria, 0083, South AfricaPostal AddressPrivate Bag X13, Hatfield, Pretoria, 0028, South AfricaTelephone+27 12 422 3000Emailpret-consul@international.gc.caInternethttps://www.Canada.ca/Canada-And-South-AfricaFacebookHigh Commission of Canada in South AfricaTwitterCanada in SAConsular district

South Africa, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritius, Namibia

For emergency consular assistance, call the High Commission of Canada in South Africa, in Pretoria, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.

Disclaimer

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, expressed 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.

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