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Moving to Namibia

Expats moving to Namibia will find a paradise of natural beauty. Home to two deserts, spectacular coastlines and populous national parks, the country boasts unique wonders. 

Namibia, a former German colony, was annexed by South Africa after WWI and remained a South African province until the country's independence in 1990. Namibia’s economy is based primarily on agriculture and mining, specifically diamonds. Its many natural attractions have resulted in a thriving tourism sector.

Most expats moving to Namibia settle in its capital, Windhoek, which is the social, political, cultural and economic centre of the country.

Thanks to the country's large desert terrain, Nambia is one of the least densely inhabited countries in the world. As a result, expats can easily escape the city for a weekend getaway to some of Namibia's more isolated areas.

While some public transport is available, getting around Namibia is easiest by road. The primary roads are paved and in good condition, but expats looking to drive on the more rural roads should consider a four-wheel drive vehicle. Caution should be maintained when driving at night, as animals can frequently be found crossing the roads. 

Having access to healthcare in Namibia is vital, especially as the northern part of the country is a malaria risk zone. In the capital and some of the bigger towns, there are good medical facilities with well-trained staff, but as treatment can be expensive, medical insurance is advised. Namibia has both private and public hospitals, with the latter being more prevalent and serving most of the country's citizens. The standard of the public hospitals, in comparison to the private hospitals, is below average in many areas. Outside of the main towns, medical treatment is scarcer.

Education in Namibia is compulsory from the ages of 6 to 16 years old. The government provides free primary education at public schools for all children, but uniforms, books, hostels and school improvement fees must be paid for by parents. There are roughly 1,500 schools in Namibia, 100 of which are private. The schools are predominately English, but there are also Afrikaans and German schools, as well as schools following international curricula.

Finding a job in Namibia can be difficult, as the government tends to hire locals over expats because of the country’s high unemployment rate. Conducting business in Namibia, as well as the dress code that accompanies it, is relatively formal but socialising and drinking are considered important parts of building good work relationships. English is the language most spoken in business, along with Afrikaans and German.
Those relocating to Namibia will probably not experience a huge culture shock. Namibian society is a blend of traditions and cultures set against an astoundingly beautiful landscape. Those living in Namibia should embrace the desert and all that it brings. 

Essential Info for Namibia

Official name: Republic of Namibia

Population: 2.5 million

Capital city: Windhoek

Geography: Namibia is mostly arid desert, with some plateau areas and a rocky escarpment region near the coast. 

Neighbouring countries: Namibia is bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana and Zambia to the east and Angola to the north.

Political system: Unitary presidential constitutional republic

Major religions: Christianity

Main languages: English, Afrikaans, German and local Oshiwambo dialects

Money: The currency is the Namibian Dollar (NAD), which divided into 100 cents. ATMs can be found in all but the most remote areas and expats should be able to open a Namibian bank account with their passport, visa and a minimum deposit.

Tipping: When eating out, tip 10 percent if no service charge has been included. Many tour guides and game rangers rely on tips for their income – the size of the tip is up to one’s own discretion.

Time: GMT +2

Electricity: 220 volts, 50Hz. Three-pin plugs are used.

Internet domain: .na

International dialling code: +264

Emergency contacts: 10111 

Transport and driving: Though there are some train and bus systems, public transport in Namibia is not very well developed, and expats will most likely need a car to get around. Driving is on the left-hand side of the road.

Public Holidays in Namibia




New Year’s Day

1 January

1 January

Independence Day

21 March

21 March

Good Friday

10 April

2 April

Easter Monday

13 April

5 April

Worker’s Day  

1 May

1 May

Cassinga Day  

4 May

4 May

Africa Day        

25 May

25 May

Ascension Day

21 May

13 May

Heroes’ Day    

26 August

26 August

Human Rights Day 

10 December

10 December

Christmas Day

25 December

25 December

Day of Goodwill

26 December

26 December