Travel to Namibia

Flying to Namibia

Namibia is relatively hard to get to with only one direct flight available from Europe. As that flight, operated by national carrier Air Namibia (www.airnamibia.com.na), goes to and from Frankfurt, multiple stops are necessary for everyone else. Other flights to Namibia from Europe and the USA go via Frankfurt with Lufthansa (www.lufthansa.com), or with South African Airways (www.flysaa.com) via Johannesburg. Flights cost around £700 return, regardless of who you fly with, and are most expensive during the peak game viewing season which runs from May to September, and over the Christmas period.

Air notes:

Namibia’s main airport is Hosea Kutako International. Unless you’re travelling direct from Frankfurt, it’s worth having your bags wrapped in order to avoid problems while changing planes. Thanks to the tight connection time on the British Airways/Air Namibia route, taking a change of clothes in your hand luggage is also handy – it isn’t unusual for bags to arrive a day behind their owners.

Flight times:

Travel time from London to Windhoek is approximately 11 hours 15 minutes, not including connections. From New York, the same journey would take approximately 14 hours, 30 minutes, although that doesn’t include the time taken up by the multiple stopovers required.

Air passes:

Air Namibia offers an airpass to international travellers using the Frankfurt route. Along with the main flight, the pass includes a minimum of two additional flights to internal destinations. Little information is available on the website; for full details call the airline on 0870 774 0965. If you are travelling to more than one African destination, the Star Alliance Africa Airpass (www.staralliance.com) is worth investigating. Destinations covered include Windhoek (although not Walvis Bay etc), most South African cities and other capitals across the continent. British Airways offers a One World Africa pass (www.oneworld.com), which covers flights to Namibia and other South African destinations via its subsidiary, ComAir.

Departure tax:

None.

Other airports in Namibia

Windhoek Hosea Kutako International Airport

Airport Code: WDH. Location: The airport is 42km (25 miles) from the city (journey time - 30 minutes). Website: http://www.airports.com.na. Public transport description: Shuttle services carrying two or more passengers at a time go to the city. Private taxis are also available.

Rail:

Travel by rail

Although the rail service that connected Keetmanshoop with Upington in South Africa is currently suspended, the train operator Trans Namib (www.transnamib.com.na) has replaced rail services with a regular bus run by Intercape (www.intercape.co.za). From Keetmanshoop, connections to Windhoek are available, while on the South African side, onward trains to Johannesburg and Cape Town on the Trans Karoo line run frequently. See Trans Namib (www.transnamib.com.na)and South African Railways (www.southafricanrailways.co.za) for more information and timetables.

Rail passes:

None.

Driving to Namibia

From Cape Town, the N7 freeway runs all the way up the Western Cape into Namibia, crossing the border at Vioolsdrift (also known as Noordoewer).

From Johannesburg, follow the N14 to Upington and connect with the N10 freeway leading to Grunau in Namibia, brushing past the Augrabies National Park en route. Other border crossings include those at Vellorsdrif, Ariamsvlei and Klein Menasse.

The Trans-Kalahari Highway links Walvis Bay and Windhoek with Gaborone (Botswana) and Gauteng, (South Africa).

It’s also possible to enter Namibia from Botswana via the Mata Mata gate in Kgadigadi National Park, provided that you plan to spend at least two nights within the park and stop for immigration at Twee Rivieren.

The Trans-Caprivi highway runs through the Caprivi strip and via Botswana into Zimbabwe. An entrance fee of N$110 per vehicle applies to passenger cars will be payable at the border, and trailers are charged N$70.

Coach travel is available on the Intercape Mainliner (www.intercape.co.za). Routes run to Windhoek from Cape Town and Johannesburg (via Upington) four times a week, as well as to and from Livingstone (Zambia) and Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe).

Getting to Namibia by boat

By water:

Namibia’s main ports are Walvis Bay and Lüderitz.

Cruise ships:

The country’s two main ports regularly feature on cruise ship itineraries – especially Walvis Bay, which has a deep water harbour.

Ferry operators:

Namibia’s border with Zambia runs alongside the Zambezi River and there is a pontoon ferry crossing into the country from Wenela on the Zambian side.

Edited by Jane Duru
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