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XYZ Consular Info: Namibia
Namibia Consular Information Sheet
U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Washington, DC 20520
April 9, 2002
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Namibia is a southern African country with a
moderately developed economy. Facilities for tourism are good and generally
increasing in quality. The capital is Windhoek.
ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: A passport and visa are normally required.
Bearers of U.S. passports who plan to visit Namibia for tourism for less
than ninety (90) days can obtain visas at the port of entry and do not need
visas prior to entering the country. Travelers coming for work, whether
paid or voluntary, must obtain their visas prior to entering Namibia.
Travelers should obtain the latest information from the Embassy of Namibia
at 1605 New Hampshire Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20009, telephone (202)
986-0540, or from the Permanent Mission of Namibia to the U.N.
at 135 W. 36th St., New York, NY 10016, telephone (212) 685-2003, fax (212)
685-1561. Overseas, inquiries should be made at the nearest Namibian
In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have
initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring
documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel
from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having such documentation
on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.
SAFETY AND SECURITY: The U.S. Embassy in Windhoek alerts American citizens
to the potential for the Angolan civil war to adversely affect the security
situation along the Namibia-Angola border. American citizens should
exercise caution and maintain security awareness at all times when traveling
near the Namibia-Angola border.
The U.S. Embassy urges American citizens to avoid travel to the Kavango
Region. Fighting between the armed forces of Angola and the National Union
for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) has at times spilled over into
Namibia in northern Kavango Region. UNITA has staged violent cross-border
raids and planted land mines in this area. For the same reasons, the
Embassy urges American citizens to avoid travel in the western half of the
Caprivi Region, from Bagani town to Kongola town, or west of the Kwandu
(also known as Cuando, Moshi, Linyanti, Chobe) River. The Embassy urges
American citizens traveling to Katima Mulilo, the capital of the Caprivi
Region, to do so by airplane or through land border crossings with Zambia or
Botswana, rather than by road through the western half of the
American citizens should avoid political rallies and street demonstrations.
American citizens traveling in Namibia are urged to contact the Consular
Section of the U.S. Embassy in Windhoek for the latest safety and security
CRIME INFORMATION: Incidents of violent crime directed specifically against
Americans or other foreigners are rare, but the number of criminal
incidents, both violent and petty, is increasing. The most common criminal
offenses committed in the capital are non-violent crimes of opportunity,
including pickpocketing, purse-snatching, vehicle theft, and vehicle
break-ins. Common sense measures such as not leaving valuables in plain
sight in parked cars, safeguarding purses, keeping wallets in front pockets,
and being alert to one's surroundings are the best deterrents against
becoming a victim of criminal activity. In addition to the uncertain
security situation along the Angolan border, banditry remains a problem in
that region of Namibia.
The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately
to local police and to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. U.S. citizens
may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet,
"A Safe Trip Abroad," for ways to promote a more trouble-free journey. The
pamphlet is available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government
Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at
http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs
home page at http://travel.state.gov.
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Medical facilities are relatively modern, especially in
the capital city of Windhoek.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to
consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to
confirm whether their policy applies overseas and if it will cover emergency
expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom
cover health costs incurred outside the United States unless supplemental
coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not
provide payment for medical services outside the United States. However,
many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will
cover health care expenses incurred overseas, including emergency services
such as medical evacuations.
When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans should consider
that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to
providing service and that a medical evacuation to the United States may
cost well in excess of 50,000 dollars (US). Uninsured travelers who require
medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties, whereas travelers who
have purchased overseas medical insurance have found it to be life-saving
when a medical emergency has occurred. When consulting with your insurer
prior to your trip, please ascertain whether payment will be made to the
overseas healthcare provider or if you will be reimbursed later for expenses
that you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for
psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.
Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas
insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau of
Consular Affairs brochure, "Medical Information for Americans Traveling
Abroad," available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or
autofax: (202) 647-3000.
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations and other health
precautions may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention's hotline for international travelers at
1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747), fax: 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or
via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign country, U.S.
citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those
in the United States. The information below concerning Namibia is provided
for general reference only, and it may not be totally accurate in a
particular location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: Fair
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Excellent
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Fair
In Namibia, driving is done on the left-hand side of the road. Many of
Namibia's rural roads are gravel. Although these roads are generally
well-maintained and graded, controlling a vehicle on gravel is significantly
more difficult than on pavement. Drivers should not drive in excess of 80
km. per hour
(45 mph) on gravel roads, should reduce speed significantly for curves or
turns, and should heed all warning signs. Hitting a sand patch or driving
around a curve too fast can easily result in a rollover or spinout. Many
accidents on gravel roads occur when tourists exceed safe speeds on corners
or in areas recently damaged by rains.
Turning on a red traffic light is not permitted in Namibia. Seat belts are
required for all vehicle occupants. Motorcyclists are required by law to
wear protective helmets. While child car seats are not required, they are
recommended. To prevent carjacking and theft it is advisable to keep car
doors locked and windows up.
In order to drive legally while in Namibia, visitors staying more than a few
weeks need an international driving permit. International driving permits
must be obtained prior to leaving the United States and are available from
either the American Automobile Association or the American Automobile
Touring Alliance. Short-term visitors do not need an international driving
permit; a valid U.S. driver's license is sufficient.
Roads in Namibia are generally well maintained. However, few have shoulders
or breakdown lanes. Wildlife wandering on roads is a special driving hazard
in Namibia, especially at night. An encounter at high speeds with antelope
or cattle can be fatal. The salt surfaced roads at the coast can also be
deceptively dangerous, especially when they have been made slick by morning
or evening mist.
Most major roads are undivided with one lane in each direction. Drivers
should remain alert for passing vehicles and exercise caution when passing
slow moving vehicles. Drivers should always maintain a safe following
distance. Accidents involving drunk drivers are an increasing problem on
major roads where there are high speed limits. Driving under the influence
is illegal in Namibia. A charge of culpable homicide can be made against a
driver involved in an accident resulting in death.
Roadside assistance and emergency medical services outside of Windhoek may
be unreliable or non-existent. Assistance on main roads that link Namibia's
larger towns, however, is generally good due to quality cellphone networks.
Public transportation is not widely available outside of the capital. Taxis
and municipal buses are the only forms of public transportation in Windhoek;
schedules and routes are limited. Vehicle rentals or radio taxis are
generally the best means of transport, but they may be relatively expensive.
Flashing of high beams and similar signals could mean anything from a
friendly greeting to a warning. When encountering a motorcade, motorists
are encouraged to make way immediately and follow promptly any instructions
given by the officials present.
Emergency services contact numbers vary from town to town. The Namibian
telephone directory has a list of emergency contact numbers at the beginning
of each town listing. It is recommended that Americans maintain a list of
contact numbers for the area in which they plan to drive. Telephone numbers
may change, and 24-hour availability of these numbers is not guaranteed.
Because of the possibility of intoxicated and/or reckless drivers, the poor
mechanical condition of some motor vehicles, and the high incidence of
single-vehicle roll-over accidents, Americans are urged to avoid hitchhiking
For additional general information about road safety, including links to
foreign government sites, please see the Department of State, Bureau of
Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html. For
specific information concerning Namibian driver's permits, vehicle
inspection, road tax, and mandatory insurance, please contact the Namibia
National Tourist Organization offices in New York via the Internet at
http://www.namibia-tourism.com. Also, for more information on driving in
Namibia, please see the U.S. Embassy Windhoek web site at
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service at
present, nor economic authority to operate such service between the United
States and Namibia, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not
assessed Namibia's Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with
international aviation safety standards.
For further information, travelers may contact the Department of
Transportation within the United States at telephone 1-800-322-7873, or
visit the FAA's Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa. The U.S.
Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers
for suitability as official providers of air services. For information
regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the DOD
at telephone (618) 229-4801.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject
to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly
from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available
to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be
more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons
violating Namibia's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or
imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs
in Namibia are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and
Americans should avoid purchasing diamonds and other protected resources
outside of licensed retail establishments. The sentence for illegal dealing
in diamonds in Namibia is stiff -- up to $20,000 (US) in fines or five years
in prison -- and the courts generally impose the maximum sentence. The
purchase and exportation of other protected resources, such as elephant
ivory, may also be prohibited by Namibian, international, and/or U.S. law.
DANGERS POSED BY WILD ANIMALS: Travelers are advised that, even in the most
serene settings, the animals are wild and can pose a threat to life and
safety. Travelers are cautioned to observe all local or park regulations
and heed all instructions given by tour guides. In addition, tourists are
advised that potentially dangerous areas sometimes lack fences and warning
signs. Appropriate caution should be used in all unfamiliar surroundings.
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For information on international adoption of children
and international parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet
site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone (202)
REGISTRATION/EMBASSY LOCATION: U.S. citizens living in or visiting Namibia
are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in
Windhoek and obtain updated information on travel and security within
Namibia. The U.S. Embassy is located at 14 Lossen Street, Ausspannplatz,
Windhoek, telephone (264-61) 22-1061, fax (264-61) 22-9792. The mailing
Private Bag 12029, Windhoek, Namibia.
* * *
This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated May 11, 2001 to update
the sections on Safety and Security and Crime Information.