On these pages you will find some useful information for your travel plans.
Do you have more questions? No problem!
You are more than welcome to contact us with your questions at any time.
The entire southern Africa presides left-hand traffic. The roads (asphalt, gravel, salt) are mostly well passable, however the crossing of animals, humans or unexpected flooding can often lead to accidents. Countless people have accidents on Africa’s roads as a result of speeding. Speeding is especially risky on gravel roads, as the car can easily begin to slide or skid due to bumps, potholes, rocks and streams in the roads. In these cases the overturning/rolling of a car is often unavoidable. Furthermore – on all roads always count on dangerous overtaking of oncoming traffic as well as dust clouds and flying stones from oncoming traffic or other overtaking vehicles. Also always be sure to keep enough distance from other vehicles driving in front/ahead of you.
We generally recommend distances of no more than 350km per day. Be sure to always depart in time as the distances are far and one usually has to reckon with an average speed of 60 – 80 km/h. Avoid travelling at dusk or after sunset and always keep in mind: You are on holiday, not on the run!
According to law the lights of a vehicle must be switched on 24 hours, especially when driving outside of a town/city!
With the handover of your rental vehicle – always ensure that a spare wheel as well as the necessary tools are present. A flat tyre on the gravel roads is nothing out of the ordinary.
Most rental companies require an International Driver’s License. Even the police can demand an International Driver’s License when passing through a road block.
Make sure to always fill your vehicle’s tank whenever you get the chance. In the rural regions there is always the possibility that the filling stations are out of fuel. For this – also always make sure to carry enough cash on you to fill-up your vehicle. Not all filling stations accept payments by credit card.
Lead no one into temptation! Always lock your vehicle and leave no valuables lying around in your vehicle.
Always be careful if someone signals you from the roadside, asking for help. When in doubt – rather keep driving.
An old rule: Never drive anywhere in Africa without sufficient water supply!
That much is for certain: On the basis of minimum traffic, driving through Africa’s unparalleled landscapes will be an amazing experience!
(subject to specifications of booked rental company and chosen insurance cover)
In Namibia, a vehicle insurance is not a legal requirement. Thus, insurance companies generate their funds from a relatively small amount of monthly contributions, therefore their financial capabilities are quite limited. Therefore, the conditions of an insurance cover in case of damages are very different compared to the European standard of insurance. Comprehensive (all-risk ) insurance policies as known in Europe are not available. Damages due to own fault or negligence are NOT covered, neither are underbody-, water- or sand damages and damages to rims and hubcaps. Extra services such as tow-in service are also charged and for the renter’s own account as well as the costs of a replacement vehicle.
The following violations will, for example, cause a loss of an insurance cover:
Most rental companies have an internal tracking system build into the vehicle and these are often used to assess the damages and why the damages are caused. Alternatively, a police report can provide clarification for insurance purposes.
For a more comprehensive insurance cover, there are other options available in your home country. Please enquire at your own insurance back home.
IMPORTANT: Valid driver’s licenses are any driver’s license in English and EU driver’s licenses that state “Driver’s License” in the English language. National driver’s licenses in any other language than English must be accompanied by an international driver’s license or an officially certified translation in English.
The power grid of southern Africa is aligned on an alternating current od 220/240 volt. In Namibia three-pole plugs are used (identical to the ones used in South Africa). The appropriate adapters can be bought at any larger convenience store in Namibia. Most accommodations have adapters which they borrow out to their guests during their stay, and some ever have Euro-Norm sockets.
Attention: The “World Travel Plug Sets“ that can be bought usually don’t contain the appropriate three-pole plugs that you would need in Namibia!
The electricity on Guest Farms is usually provided by generators due to being out of range for open/public power grids. These generators only run during day time. At night time they make use of candle light, petroleum lights and torch light. In other words – remember that cell phones, cameras and other electronic devices can only be charged during the day!
The currency in Namibia is Namibian Dollar (NAD). The Namibian Dollar is linked (1:1) to the South African Rand (ZAR). This is why both currencies are accepted in Namibia to the same value. (Attention: The Namibian Dollar is however not accepted in South Africa!). 1 Euro corresponds to approximately NAD 15.00.
The Namibian banks exchange foreign currencies in the form of cash and Traveller’s checks to Namibian Dollars. The larger bank branches also offer ATMs (Automatic Teller Machines)/cash machines, at which one can exchange and draw Namibian Dollars with your credit card, and sometimes also with Maestro/EC Cards (best chances are at the Standard Bank).
Tip: Not all banks in Germany have Namibian Dollars immediately available. In most cases the currency will first need to be ordered. The exchange rate is far worse when exchanging at a bank in Germany. In addition – only a maximum of NAD/ZAR 2000.00 per person may be imported to Namibia. We therefore recommend that you rather exchange your money once in Namibia.
The common credit cards like American Express, MasterCard and Visa are accepted at all banks. Also most of the accommodations, shops and restaurants are connected to a credit card system. Shops or filling stations in rural areas generally only accept cash payments though. We therefore recommend to always carry enough cash with you.
Please prevail the usual caution when proceeding with payments or drawing money with your credit card. Make sure to always keep an eye on it!
Only the South African Rand (ZAR) is a trading currency allowed on the worldwide banking system. In the case of a transfer to Namibia your amount must always be given in ZAR, and not in NAD.
The currency in Botswana is the Botswana Pula (BWP). There is no limit to the amount of Pula that may be imported into the Country. Any amount exceeding 10.000 Pula should be specified upon entry into the Country.
Automated Teller Machines can be found in almost all major towns. With Credit Cards an EC-Cards (Important – only “Maestro” -System) plus PIN Cash can be withdrawn from most ATM’s. Please note however that there is often a limit to Cash Withdrawals of approx. EUR100-300 per day per card. When using an ATM special precaution should be taken by ensuring that the Machine has not been manipulated. Long queues and partially Cash shortages can be encountered towards the end of the month (payday).
Credit Cards (especially VISA and Mastercard) are widely accepted. Traveler’s Cheques should be issued in Euro or US Dollar.
Many accommodation establishment accept USD as means of payment. However often they do not use the current rate of exchange when converting the currencies.
Since the Zimbabwe Dollar disappeared off the market in 2009 due to hyperinflation, all Services and Products are paid by Cash. Preferred Currencies are the US-Dollar and the South African Rand (ZAR). Since both currencies barely use coins, most Invoices are rounded up. It is therefore advisable to have an adequate supply of small Bills (1 USD, USD5). Only a few Stores have change for bigger Bank Notes or are prepared to offer change for them. Carrying around large amounts of Cash increases the risk of Theft. It is therefore advisable to deposit larger Cash amounts in the Hotels Safe upon arrival.
In Zimbabwe, mainly Visa Cards are accepted, rarely Master Cards. Cash Exchange from Euro to USD is possible in all major Bank Branches. There is a growing network of Automated Teller Machines (ATM), however they are not always fully functional.
Credit Cards are accepted as means of payment at major tourist facilities (Hotels, Lodges, Restaurants) as well as in mall shops. In smaller towns and their accommodations, Cash is the accepted form of payment. Service Stations and Entrance Gates of National Parks do not accept electronic payments.
Traveller’s Cheques are also not widely accepted and a lower exchange rate can be expected.
Gratuities are always seen and should also be given. Each gratuity is of course at own discretion and depends on how satisfied one is/was with the given service. The following amount are just to give you a rough guideline:
In a Restaurant the usual gratuity given is about 5% - 10% of the bill. At accommodations, where your meals are already included, one normally does not give gratuities for the meals, but rather leaves it at the reception upon departure.
Gratuities of NAD 3.00 – NAD 5.00 per luggage item are recommended. This could also be more with “bulky” luggage.
If you have not handed out any gratuities during your stay, it is recommended to leave a gratuity of NAD 100.00 – NAD 150.00 at the reception. This will then be divided up between the employees.
The presence of a car guard prevents break-ins and damages to your vehicle. Sometimes the car guards even help you when reversing in and out of your parking space. The common gratuity lies between NAD 2.00 – NAD 5.00.
A gratuity of NAD 2.00 – NAD 5.00 is usually given for services such as the refilling of your vehicles and the cleaning of the windscreens.
Helpers at convenience stores help to pack your shopping into plastic bags, and sometime also help carry (or push in a trolley) the shopping to your vehicle as well as help you with loading your shopping into your vehicle. For the packing of the shopping into the bags itself no gratuity is given. However, a gratuity of NAD 2.00 – NAD 4.00 is recommended for the help of bringing the shopping to your vehicle.
Local tour guides, rangers or pilots usually receive a gratuity of NAD 20.00 per person per day/activity. This is however just a rough guide line and can strongly differ depending on the quality of the service, group size as well as location/value of the tour.
Like in Namibia, tipping in Botswana and Zimbabwe is advisable. Tour Guides, Drivers, Waiters and Hotel Personnel may be rewarded for good service according to your own discretion.
The risk of Malaria exists in various area of Namibia. The main areas affected, however, are the northern regions of the country (Etosha and upwards) as well as the Caprivi strip. A higher risk occurs during and after the rainy season (November – June). Botswana and the regions around the Victoria Falls are also included. The cities, coast or southern Namibia, on the other hand, are seen as the “Malaria-free zones”. The predominant “Malaria type” is Malaria Tropica (Plasmodium falciparum). The symptoms are high reoccurring or periodic fever, chills, discomfort in the Gastrointestinal tract and cramps.
The frequently asked questions about the Malaria prophylaxis (Chemoprophylaxis) are best answered by a consultation with your family doctor. Considering of the drug side effects and the personal health situation (pre-existing conditions, immune status, etc.) – the use of a Malaria prophylaxis, compared to the weight of the risk should best be determined with medical assistance. Instead of the use of Malaria prophylaxis it can, in certain circumstances, also be sufficient to just take along some medication for in the case of an emergency. This stand-by medication can aid your own immune system in the case of sickness. To protect yourself from mosquito bites we generally recommend the usual precautions like long-sleeved shirts, mosquito repellent (spray or cream), mosquito nets for mosquito free sleeping areas as well as the use of soaps and deodorants with little fragrance. Anopheles mosquitoes, the carriers of the Malaria parasite, usually only sting at dusk, dawn or at night.
No matter whether using a Malaria prophylaxis, a stand-by treatment or none of the 2 – medical advice should be obtained in the case of any unclear fever, whether during your trip of even for some time after returning back to your home land. The possibility having being infected with the Malaria virus can quickly be determined by a simple blood test. Avoiding or ignoring treatment for the Malaria Tropica can be fatal.
Gin Tonic against Malaria? The legend, of regularly drinking Gin Tonic to protect from Malaria, still holds today. The reason for this is the bitter aroma Chinin that is used for the Tonic Water and Bitter Lemon. Unfortunately the concentration of Chinin in a Gin Tonic drink is way too little to be used a protection for Malaria. However, do not let the fact that a Gin Tonic drink is not Malaria protection stop you from enjoying this drink during your holiday! From our side it is always a “thumbs up” for a Gin Tonic, even without Malaria protection.
Please take thorough precautions, to guarantee your health and well-being during your travel. Should you be taking any medication – please consult this with your doctor prior to your trip to ensure that your prescriptive medication is sufficient for this trip.
Sunburn is commonly found with travellers in Africa. Protect yourself thoroughly with the use of sun hats and sun screen with a high UV protection factor. In the case of sunburn be sure to drink a lot of water and apply an After-Sun lotion. Should you suffer from vomiting and/or fever due to a sun-stroke make sure to seek immediate medical attention! Sunburn is not only common in summer, but also in winter as the sun rays are still strong, even in the cooler temperatures.
Pay attention to always take in at least 2 – 3 litres of water per day, besides the other drinks such as tea, coffee, cooldrinks and alcoholic drinks.
Snake and scorpion bites are rather rare and usually as a result of unintentional misbehaviour of humans. Always keep your eyes open and pay attention as to where you take your next steps. Besides this, also preferably ware closed shoes. Most snake and scorpion bites occur by accidentally stepping on the animals. In the case of a snake encounter – do not react with “hectic” movements. Snakes have a poor eyesight and usually disappear if they don’t feel threatened. In the case of a snake or scorpion bite – stay calm, try remembering what the animal looked like and seek for the closest possible first aid medical help.
In the interest of your health and well-being – let yourself be given medical advice by your family doctor prior to your holiday. General vaccination against hepatitis A and B, Typhus, rabies (found in domestic and wild animals), tuberculosis diphtheria, tetanus and polio are under the circumstances recommended.
Diarrhoea commonly occurs, especially on Safaris with restricted hygienic conditions. With an appropriate “food and drinking-water hygiene”, diarrhoea can easily be avoided. One should in any case purely drink water of a safe origin (e.g. Bottled water). In case of need – filtered, disinfected or scoured water can also be used.
HIV/AIDS is a common disease in southern Africa. A high infection risk basically exists through sexual contact, by the use of drugs or by blood contact.
Without a doubt – the up-close encounter with Africa’s fascinating Wildlife counts as an absolute highlight in any holiday! Travellers in the wild should pay attention to a few ground rules:
You’re are a guest to the wildlife – not the other way around!
The Namibian climate is mostly dry with a relatively low humidity and therefore generally very well tolerated. Although Namibia is easily visited all year round, the best traveling time is between the months of April to October. As the seasons of the southern hemisphere, compare to the northern hemisphere, are reversed, one would then be travelling in Namibia’s winter time. Characteristics of the Namibian winter are pleasant temperature throughout the day, cold by night (partially night frost) and low precipitation. These months are recommended to travellers due to the drought and less lush vegetation, which is profitable for wildlife viewing. In the months of drought – more wildlife gathers around the few waterholes and therefore makes is great for more viewing. Our summer months (November to March) are known as our rainy season where travellers can reckon with Thunderstorms and showers. This rainy season can cause our dry rivers to turn into short term raging streams overnight, and within just a few days the parched country transforms to a wonderful lush green. The Namibian summer months become very hot! Temperatures often rise to above 40 degrees Celsius. Namibians often use this time of the year to travel to cooler destinations – mainly Swakopmund at the coast. Here one must often count with the sea breeze bringing in a lot of fog/mist. This, however, usually clears around mid-day.
Namibia is no typical destination for beach holidays at the coast. Due to the cold Benguela current – the ocean water is too cold for bathing during most of the year, and the temperatures at the coast during the typical winter months are not very inviting for bathing at the beach.
Every Season in each of Botswana’s region offers its own appeal. The temperatures barely drop below 20 degrees all year round. Winter in Botswana lasts from May to November and promises dry weather, blue skies and pleasant temperatures ranging between 20 and 25 degrees. At night however, temperatures may drop to as low as Zero.
The driest months last from September through November. Vegetation drops to a minimum, Colours change to brown/grey, parched soil and withered trees dot the landscape. This time of the year promises Travelers to the Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park better Game viewing opportunities, since the view is better through this withered vegetation and low grass. Animals gather around the last waterholes and can also be seen close to the camps. It is also around this time that the Kalahari shows its True Character, air shimmers, hot Desert wind swirls off Dust, soils have dry cracks, the landscape seems inhospitable and offers real Desert Atmosphere.
December is the Begin of the Raining Season. This Vegetation period that completely changes the landscape lasts until March. During this time, Botswana’s Landscape is very appealing. Hot temperatures between 30 and 35 Degrees, Thunderstorms and frequent rain showers are typical for this time of the year. The Vegetation in the Delta and along the Linyanti and Chobe are lush, high grass and flowering plants appear. Here Rainfalls are at their highest and water levels rise. Numerous placeswithin the Delta can no longer be reached by roads and are only accessible by boat or small planes. This lush Vegetation offers especially Bird Watchers and Anglers the best opportunities. Even the Kalahari transforms into a flowering landscape during rainfall. The Pans fill up with Water and offer habitat to numerous Bird Species. The sight of the Flamingos during this time of the year is a unique experience. Herd Animals and their Hunters roam the pans and river valleys in great numbers and can be observed in the Vastness of the landscape.
Victoria Falls is a great Destination all year round. Its location in the northern part of Southern Africa means mild winters. The Summer Months from October to April are generally hot and humid. During the day short, strong Thunderstorms may occur and Rain Clouds move throughout the skies, which in turn can lead to beautiful Sundowners. The Winter months are characterized by long sunny days with temperatures dropping drastically at night and warm clothing (Jacket, Cap and Scarf) is needed. As a General Rule, some Activities may not be possible during the Rainy Season (January-April) due to the elevated Water Levels of the Falls.
Your suitcase should contain clothing to the “onion principle“. Light and breathable clothing is best suitable for the Namibian climate, which is easily added to with a warm sweater and windbreaker jacket. In the Namibian winter months the mornings and evenings can become rather chilly, but even in the summer months warm clothing is a must in your suitcase. Due to the dry air and the height in the central areas of the country (around 1.600m above sea level) – nosebleeds are a common occurrence in the first few days. This however quickly settles as your body gets used to the climate. Dry skin will also take a few days to get used to our climate, therefore some moisturising crème and lip balm is one of the most important items in your suitcase. More important items in your suitcase are sunglasses, sun screen (UV protection factor if 30 or higher) and sun-protective head gear like hats.
IMPORTANT: For questions regarding these travel requirements and references we suggest to contact the embassy of the respective countries directly. Only they will be able to provide you with the “legally correct” information in this regard.
To the present day – national residents of many European countries (including Germany, Switzerland and Austria) do not need a visa to enter Namibia, provided they don’t exceed their stay to more than 90 calendar days and don’t take up any occupation. Free entrance is granted at all official border crossings.
A residency permit is usually issued for the exact dates of your actual intended stay, which is determined by your arrival and departure flights. An overdraft (even if unintentional) of this residency permit can lead to serious penalties (even a prison sentence). We therefore strongly recommend to check the number of days on your residency permit immediately upon arrival! This rule also counts for Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia. The passport must be valid for six months past the return date. Children, no matter of what age, require their own travel documents. A visa is essential for intended employment or unpaid work such as an internship, volunteer services, study and research purposes. This visa will have to be applied for at the Namibian embassy early enough before arrival.
A visa for “tourist“ purposes is given free of charge at the border posts for residents of Germany, Switzerland and Austria. A “road usage” fee will however be charged when entering Botswana with a rental vehicle (cross border permission letter from the vehicle rental company required!). Your stay is limited to 90 night days per calendar year, and your passport must be valid for another 6 months after the date of your return.
Residents from Germany, Switzerland and Austria will be charged for a Visa (valid for a 90 day “touristic” stay) upon entry at either the airport or border post control. The fees for tourist visas currently stand at USD 20.00 for day visitors and USD 50.00 for “easy entry”. Should you enter into Zimbabwe with a rental vehicle (cross border permission letter from the vehicle rental company required!), further Liability Insurances and Road Usage fees will be charged. Your passport must be valid for 1 month after your departure/return. Important: Make sure to have enough USD in cash with you for crossing the border. As a rule they do not accept any other methods of payments or any other currency!
CAUTION: Recently, so called “Border Customs Agents“ show up at the border post control to Zimbabwe, and offer their help to clueless travellers with completion of their paperwork for the border crossing. Please reject these “well-meaning helpers” and only carry out your border crossing with the uniformed border officials, to avoid being charged obscurely high fees.
German residents can receive their ”Tourist Visa” when entering to Zambia. The current fee for an “easy entry” visa to Zambia is USD 50.00, and the current fee for a “Day Tripper’s Visa” is USD 20.00 (valid for 24 hours). When entering Zambia with a rental vehicle (cross border permission from the vehicle rental company required!), a “vehicle liability insurances” as well as a carbon tax will be charged. These fees will depend on the size of the vehicle. Your return ticket/next flight ticket may sometimes be requested upon entry. Your passport must be valid for 6 months after your return. Children, no matter of what ages, require their own travel documents.
Important: Make sure to have enough USD in cash with you for crossing the border. As a rule they do not accept any other methods of payments or any other currency!
Children will require a passport with photograph as well as an unabridged birth certificate for their entry to South Africa (even if just in transit). This certificate must be written and certified in English. The best would be to apply for and international birth certificate at the citizen office of the relevant Town/City. The same passport regulations as for adults apply for children. To avoid difficulties during arrivals and departures in further countries of southern Africa, like Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia, it is advised to always carry with you the child’s international birth certificate, or rather if need be a certified copy/version of the necessary documents translated to English.
Minors, who are travelling with only 1 parent/guardian, must present a written letter of consent/oath insurance, approved and signed by the absent parent, as well as a passport copy and contact details of the absent parent together with their other documents.
Should a person be travelling with a minor that is not their own – this person must present a letter of consent/oath insurance, passport copy and contact details of both parents together with the unabridged birth certificates of the children.
Minors, travelling unaccompanied, must furthermore be able to present the following documents throughout their travel:
An Oath insurances/letters of concent may be certified by commissioner of oaths. Presenting English documents and official papers, or rather translations is strongly recommended. The “short notice” changes to provisions or different interpretations by individual departments may not be excluded. Detailed and mandatory information can be received by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration or the diplomatic mission of your residence.
South Africa accepts exclusively only ”machine-readable“ passports. Should a passport have been manually extended or amended (especially those for kids) – these passports will no longer be valid.
With the Independence Namibia, as the only country in southern Africa, introduced the winter time. During the winter time Namibia finds itself in the same time zone as South Africa. This special feature, in comparison to Middle Europe – depending on season and with regard to Namibia’s change-over to winter time – leads to equal time for a short period, but otherwise to a time difference of +1 hour or -1 hour, except got the eastern Caprivi region. The eastern Caprivi region has South African time all year round. Time change always takes place on the first Sunday of April and September.
There is no time difference between Winter and Summertime in Botswana, therefore time change in Winter is + 1 hour, in Summer Central European Time is applicable.
There is also no time difference in Zimbabwe between Winter and Summertime, therefore time change in Winter is + 1 hour, in Summer Central European Time is applicable.
Network coverage is given in all larger towns, their vicinities as well as the most important/common national roads. In the more remote areas one cannot always count on phone reception. The network operator MTC Namibia has a roaming agreement with many European and all German mobile operators, however roaming is an expensive delight. The traveller who wishes to better control his/her costs can also purchase a PrePaid Card from MTC called MTC Tango. The Tango – Starter Kit and MTC Recharge Cards can be bought at any MTC shop (amongst others at the International Airport) as well as at most filling stations and larger convenience stores. Remember to save your phone numbers with the corresponding/appropriate country code (e.g. +49… for Germany).
Most accommodations have, either in the main area or at the reception, a PC with internet connection. WiFi can be found at most accommodations/lodges, however it is not a common find at smaller Guest Farms are accommodations in the rural regions.
In all major Towns and Hotels (where people live) Internet Connections and Cafes are available. In the secluded wilderness areas Cellphone Reception is not available. Roaming is a problem. Since Botswana is not known for mass tourism, only a few European network operators offer roaming contracts. So called pre-paid cards are also available in Botswana, to be reachable by a local number as long as there is reception.
Major Hotels and Lodges offer the possibility to make international calls and to log into the local Wi-Fi network. Roaming with a German mobile operator is possible, but extremely expensive. Even SMS’ are quite costly. Therefore, high costs can be expected for longer phone calls, alternatively a Pre-Paid card can be purchased in order to be reachable. Cellphone reception is generally good in major Towns. Near the border however like the Victoria Falls, caution should be taken to choose the correct network and not accidently log into the neighboring countries network.