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Holidays in Namibia

Understanding Namibia

Inhabited from the dawn of time by the San, also known as the "Bushmen", invaded by the Bantu, colonized by the Germans who called it "South West Africa" and taken over by South Africa after WWI, Namibia is in many ways quite similar to South Africa Since it was ruled under the apartheid system, Namibia also has many of the problems resulting from that system

It is important to be aware that race is a common part of Namibian discourse That is to say, Namibians will refer to the race of others more frequently than travellers from places where race is typically not an issue, would expect Because of apartheid, race is an issue in many spheres of life, so it comes up a lot In spite of this, the various races do get along well in Namibia, and it is fairly uncommon to find racial tensions flaring Apartheid was never implemented as strictly in Namibia as in South Africa, so racial tensions are generally lower

Namibia is similar to South Africa, and if you're used to travelling in one country, travelling in the other country is quite easy There are some subtle differences For example, in South Africa a non-white person may choose to speak English rather than Afrikaans as a political choice whereas among Namibia's mixed-race population who call themselves 'colored' in Namibia and South Africa Afrikaans is a proud part of their culture, and many people still speak German Overlooking these differences isn't going to cause offense, but they're handy to know

The public holidays in Namibia are:

  • January 1 New Years' Day
  • March 21Independence Day
  • Easter weekend"Good Friday", "Easter Saturday", "Easter Sunday" and "Easter Monday": a four day long weekend in March or April set according to the Western Christian dates
  • May 1Workers Day
  • May 4Cassinga Day
  • May 25Africa Day
  • August 26Heroes' Day
  • December 10Human Rights Day
  • December 25Christmas Day
  • December 26 Day of Goodwill Family Day

Talking in Namibia

Major Indigenous languages include Oshiwambo, Herrero, Nama, Damara, various San languages,and Silozi

English is the official language and is widely spoken However the majority of older Namibians those educated before independence only speak English as a third language, and therefore the standard is fairly poor English is more widely spoken in the North, as it was adopted as a medium of instruction earlier than in the South Older Nambibians in the South are more likely to speak Afrikaans or German

Afrikaans is spoken by many, and is the first language of the Coloureds as well as the Afrikaners English is spoken as a first language by the remaining English families, and German is spoken by the Namibians of German descent, who tend to be in Windhoek, Swakopmund and various farms scattered through the country German is one of the leading commercial languages as well Portuguese is spoken by the immigrants from Angola

What to see in Namibia

Namibia is a country with great national parks where you can see some of the finest African flora and fauna and you can see some mammals that have adapted to the extreme heat In the northern part of the Kunene region you can see the rare desert elephants

Buying stuff in Namibia

Namibia along with Lesotho, South Africa and Swaziland is a member of the Southern African Common Monetary Area and as such the Namibian Dollar NAD is pegged 1:1 to the South African Rand ZAR Both the Namibian Dollar and South African Rand is legal tender in Namibia though change will usually be given in Namibian Dollars

Banks in Namibia will convert Namibian Dollars for South African Rand and vice versa without charge or paperwork Since any bank or currency exchange outside Namibia including other members of the Common Monetary Area will charge a substantial service fee to change currency, it is advisable to make use of a Namibian Bank before leaving the country

It is also advisable to carry proof for example ATM receipts that money you are taking out of the country is money that you brought into the country in the first place

Rough conversion rates January 2010 are: 7:1 USD, 11:1 EUR and 13:1 GBP Current official exchange rates are available from the Namibian Central Bank 8

Automated teller machines are available in Windhoek, Swakopmund, Luderitz, Tsumeb, and other towns and cities It is best to use only teller machines that are inside a mall or other building Always be careful to make sure no one is watching you enter your PIN, and be vigilant about typical scams eg machines that seem to eat your card and won't give it back after you enter the PIN

Prices in shops are fixed, but prices in open markets or from street vendors are open to barter

In most towns you will be approached by many locals to buy souvenirs, when this happens a 'no thanks' will usually suffice and they will leave you alone It is common to haggle Try to buy as much as possible from small shops instead of bigger ones, it's the best way to help the poor local population

Food and eating in Namibia

Vegetarians need not apply Namibians have a very high intake of meat It is possible to be a vegetarian in Namibia, however, as there are some Peace Corps workers who live there for two years and remain vegetarian throughout

  • Fruits and Vegetables you will find in Namibia avocados, bananas, mandarin oranges, oranges, pineapples, kiwi, peanuts, beans, rice, couscous, millet, tomatoes, corn, bread, onions, pasta, potatoes, and celery Many of these foods are imported and may be expensive and limited to seasonal availability

  • If visiting Windhoek you will find local and international cuisine in the many diverse restaurants and cafes Pretty much anything you want, you will find here

Drinking in Namibia

Namibia's nightclubs are always happening and always open late pretty much until the last person leaves They are mostly located in bigger cities: Windhoek, Swakopmund and Oshakati There are not many bars, though there is very good beer, and there are a lot of shebeens The flagship beer of Namibia is Windhoek Lager 9, an easy-drinking filtered beer, not dissimilar to many German brews

  • Christel Boltman P O Box 12 Gochas South east from Mariental 063250200 18h00-22h00 NS 220 pp 3 course gourmet dinners on red dune under the stars accompanied with staff entertainment

Accommodation in Namibia

Accommodation ranges from inexpensive guesthouses and backpacker orientated accommodation through to some of the most expensive resort accommodation in the region


Hotels in Mozambique are generally ungraded and, particularly in the less traveled parts of the country, have not been updated since independence In some cases you can pay up to $50USD a night for a hotel room that should be in the $5 - $10 range based on facilities On the other end of the scale Mozambique hosts some of the most incredible, and expensive, hotels and resorts in the world

Backpacker Lodges

Maputo, Tofo Beach, Vilanculos and Pemba have several backpacker lodges each and are geared up for the budget traveler There are some backpacker options elsewhere in the country but often the only option for a budget traveler will be transient labor guesthouses or cheap hotels

Self Catering

Where they are available facilities are often extremely lacking If you do bring your own gas based cooking equipment keep in mind the typical backpacker lindal valve gas canisters are not available anywhere in the country

Camping and caravaning

Dedicated camp sites with security are available in almost all coastal towns and you can often camp in rural areas with a village chief's blessing If you do decide to use this option a small offering such as food, liquor or cigarettes can be very useful

If taking a caravan keep in mind that a great deal of roads in Mozambique degenerate in to sandy paths that require 4WD, it is advisable to only stick to popular areas along the EN1

Purchasing land or property

If someone offers to "sell" you land in Mozambique walk away immediately it is a scam Private ownership of land in Mozambique is impossible, all land is owned by the government and will only be provided for foreign use, under a 99 year lease, under very specific circumstances

Working in Namibia

It is extremely difficult for foreigners to get work permits in Namibia With 40% unemployment, the government is not enthusiastic about letting people in who would take jobs from Namibians It is possible to get a work permit to volunteer, though this requires going through the same drawn out process as the normal work permit

Cities in Namibia

arandis  aranos  bethanien  eenhana  gobabis  grootfontein  henties bay  karasburg  karibib  katima mulilo  keetmanshoop  khorixas  luderitz  maltahohe  mariental  okahandja  okakarara  omaruru  ondangwa  ongandjera  ongwediva  opuwo  oranjemund  oshakati  oshikango  otavi  otjimbingwe  otjiwarongo  outjo  rehoboth  rundu  swakopmund  tsumeb  usakos  walvis bay  warmbad  windhoek  

What do you think about Namibia?

How expensive is Namibia?
(1 ZAR = 0 USD)
Meal in inexpensive restaurant90.96 ZAR
3-course meal in restaurant (for 2)416.3 ZAR
McDonalds meal59.1 ZAR
Local beer (0.5 draft)14.4 ZAR
Foreign beer (0.33 bottle) 16.36 ZAR
Cappuccino23.03 ZAR
Pepsi/Coke (0.33 bottle)7.98 ZAR
Water (0.33 bottle)8.36 ZAR
Milk (1l)15.15 ZAR
Fresh bread (500g)9.63 ZAR
White Rice (1kg)20.38 ZAR
Eggs (12) 25.95 ZAR
Local Cheese (1kg) 88.67 ZAR
Chicken Breast (1kg) 53.4 ZAR
Apples (1kg) 22.2 ZAR
Oranges (1kg) 18.58 ZAR
Tomato (1kg) 21.08 ZAR
Potato (1kg) 13.12 ZAR
Lettuce (1 head) 18.17 ZAR
Water (1.5l)15.86 ZAR
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) 49.91 ZAR
Domestic Beer (0.5 bottle)13.97 ZAR
Foreign beer (0.33 bottle) 16.09 ZAR
Cigarettes32.2 ZAR
One way local bus ticket9.95 ZAR
Monthly pass for bus202.42 ZAR
Taxi start9.99 ZAR
Taxi 1km8.54 ZAR
Taxi 1hour waiting22.73 ZAR
Gasoline (1 liter) 12.19 ZAR
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend) 88.48 ZAR
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre 12.2 ZAR
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre 11.06 ZAR, your travel companion

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