Namibia Health Care and Vaccinations

Title Special precautions
Diphtheria

Yes

Hepatitis A

Yes

Malaria

Yes*

Rabies

Sometimes

Tetanus

Yes

Typhoid

Yes

Yellow Fever

No**

* A small malaria risk exists in the entire northern third of the country (Oshana, Oshikoto, Omusati, Ohangwenga, Otjozondjupa and Omaheke) from November to June and along the Kunene river and in Kavango and Caprivi regions throughout the year. Although visitors who plan to remain in the southern part of the country (Sossusvlei, Windhoek, Walvis Bay etc) do not need to take anti-malarial drugs, they are recommended for those travelling further north.

** Namibia is not an infected area but does border countries that are. As a result, a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over one year of age arriving from an infected area.

Because Namibia’s size medical facilities are spread out, with most lodges offering little more than basic medical care. As a result, serious accidents will require an expensive transfer to hospital in Windhoek, or in extreme cases, to medical facilities in South Africa. As a result, travel insurance is essential, and taking out a comprehensive policy is worthwhile. This is doubly the case if you’re planning to take part in sports such as quad biking or off-roading.

While Namibia isn’t plagued by the tropical diseases that afflict its northern neighbours, it does experience the occasional outbreak of malaria, while dysentery (most often seen in campers who haven’t properly treated their water supply) can also occur. It is advisable to consult your doctor well in advance of travelling about immunisations and assembling a first aid kit if you’re planning to drive long distances or stay in a remote area.

Food and drink

Mains water is normally chlorinated and, while safe, may cause mild abdominal upsets. Bottled water is available and is advised for the first few weeks of the stay. Drinking water outside main cities and towns may be contaminated and sterilisation is advisable. Water taken from lakes and rivers is generally a bad idea and cannot be regarded as entirely safe to drink without prior boiling. Milk is pasteurised and dairy products are safe for consumption. Local meat, poultry, seafood, fruit and vegetables are generally considered safe to eat.

Other risks

Vaccinations against meningococcal meningitis, tuberculosis and hepatitis B are sometimes recommended. The measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is also recommended for travellers born after 1956 who have not previously received the inoculation. A rabies vaccination is sometimes required, particularly if your plans involve some degree of interaction with wild animals.

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