Most visitors to Namibia arrive by air, the majority flying via Johannesburg in South Africa, since the only direct flight to Namibia from Europe is from Frankfurt, Germany, and there are no direct flights from either North America or Australasia.
International flights arrive at Windhoek’s Hosea Kutako International Airport, 42km east of the capital. The Johannesburg route to Namibia is more popular as you’ve a greater chance of getting a cheaper last-minute deal to Johannesburg provided you’re prepared to shop around online, scour newspaper ads and/or make more stops on the way. What’s more, there are numerous daily connections between Johannesburg and Windhoek. In contrast, the Frankfurt–Namibia route is only operated by Air Namibia, the country’s national carrier, and only offers one daily flight. Seats are generally more expensive and more heavily subscribed during the high season (July–Oct), as well as over the Christmas and New Year holiday period. That said, low-season prices are not particularly low. Generally, the further in advance you book, the cheaper the ticket – as with anywhere else in the world. However, you can cut costs by completing the last leg of the journey from South Africa by long-distance bus. It’s also possible to reach Namibia by bus from other countries in southern Africa.
Flights from the UK and Ireland
There are no direct flights from either the UK or Ireland to Namibia. The easiest route is via Johannesburg by one of several carriers from the UK. Virgin, British Airways and South African Airways offer daily direct overnight flights to Johannesburg, with the latter two offering onward connections via their partner airlines, BA Comair and South African Express, respectively. Fares from the UK (generally Heathrow) are inevitably pricier in high season. A slightly longer route, but also with only one stop, now operates four times a week with Qatar Airways via Doha, at competitive rates. Cheaper options are available if you are prepared to travel more circuitous routes with two stops, on less popular airlines (such as Ethiopian Airlines via Addis Ababa), which also involve longer layovers.
Travelling from Ireland, you can either transfer in London or in one of the other major European cities that have carriers operating flights to Johannesburg, such as Air France in Paris, or KLM in Amsterdam. Alternatively, there are cheap flights from Dublin to Frankfurt, where you can connect with the Air Namibia flight to Windhoek.
Flights from the US and Canada
None of the US or Canadian carriers offers direct flights to Namibia, though several US cities, such as New York (just under 15hr) and Atlanta (just over 15hr), have direct flights to Johannesburg, either with US carriers or with South African Airways. Since Canada has no direct flights to South Africa, the best bet is to connect with a US carrier in the States that offers direct flights from there.
Flights from Australia and New Zealand
The most direct way to reach Namibia from Australia is to take one of the Qantas or SAA nonstop flights to Johannesburg from either Sydney (13hr) or Perth (around 11hr) and change there. From New Zealand the easiest route is via Sydney.
Flights within southern Africa
There are several daily direct flights to Windhoek from Johannesburg and Cape Town with Air Namibia and South African Airways, operated by South African Express, as well as with Comair, on behalf of British Airways. SAA and Air Namibia both operate daily flights to Walvis Bay from Johannesburg and from Cape Town. Air Namibia also offers nonstop connections with: Gaborone, Botswana; Luanda, Angola; Lusaka, Zambia; and Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
Overland by car
The main entry points for vehicles from South Africa are on the B1 at Noordoewer (the Cape Town route), and at Ariamsvlei on the B3 (the Johannesburg route); both borders are open 24 hours. From southern Botswana the Trans Kalahari Highway enters Namibia at Buitepos, 315km east of Windhoek; travelling from northern Botswana, the main border posts are at Ngoma and Mohembo, both in the Zambezi Region. The Wenela Bridge across the Zambezi at Katima Mulilo – usually shortened to Katima – hosts the main border post with Zambia, whereas Oshikango is the main entry point from Angola. There are several other border crossings into Namibia, from South Africa and Botswana in particular, often at the end of a dusty road with more limited opening times.
If you’re driving to Namibia from one of these neighbouring countries, border procedures are fairly straightforward, though if you are not driving a Namibian-registered vehicle you will need to pay road tax, which allows you to bring your vehicle into the country for a maximum of three months. If coming for business, you’ll face additional charges. What’s more, if you are driving a rental car, then you’ll need to have arranged that with the company beforehand at extra cost, and have the papers handy to prove you have their permission to take it across the border.
If you are a visitor from Western Europe, including the UK and Ireland, or from the US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia or South Africa, you do not need a visa to enter Namibia. Otherwise you should check with the Namibian diplomatic mission in your country. Even if a visa is not necessary, you do need a passport valid for six months after the entry date with at least two blank pages for stamps, and you should be able to show proof of onward travel (by air or bus), though this is unlikely to be requested. On arrival in Namibia your passport will be stamped for up to ninety days; visa extensions can be obtained from the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration in Windhoek, on the corner of Kasino Street and Independence Avenue.
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