Namibia at a Glance
Living in Namibia
The Housing Search
Finding housing in Namibia can be difficult, especially in Windhoek, and standards vary widely. You should wait until you have arrived in Namibia and can actually view apartments or houses before you sign a rental contract. Most expats live in 3-4 bedroom houses, many with a pool. If you are living in Namibia on a short-term contract, you can rent corporate serviced apartments on a monthly basis.
Before you begin your life in Namibia, you can start searching for accommodation at property.com.na. You can get in touch with real estate agents directly through this site, which will speed up your housing search considerably once you arrive. Another option is to get in touch with the expat community living in Namibia and see if anyone is leaving, as the turnover rate is quite high among expats.
When negotiating your rental contract, try to have your utilities included in the monthly rent. Water in particular is very expensive, as it is a scarce commodity. All terms of rental agreements can be freely negotiated between landlords and tenants, including the length of the lease and the initial deposit, although a one-year contract and a deposit of one month’s rent are customary.
Setting Up Your Household
Most expats employ one or more locals as a housekeeper/maid, gardener, or nanny. It is unusual to have a cook, and almost no one has a driver. Most hired help is not live-in, and employed on an hourly basis as opposed to full time. If you hire full-time domestic employees, they must be enrolled in the social security system at your expense and receive at least 24 days of paid leave per year.
In Windhoek, armed robberies do occur, so expats usually live in houses or compounds with electric fences or high walls and bars on the windows and many have security systems. You will see less of these types of safety precautions as you move outside the capital. In general, life in Namibia is much safer than in neighboring South Africa and many other African countries in this regard.
Rental Prices and Buying Property
It is a landlord’s market at the moment in Namibia, and prices have increased considerably over the past few years. Expats from Western European countries will likely still find the housing prices quite reasonable and be able to get good value for their money. Rental prices generally range from NAD 10,000 - 40,000. These prices vary widely, however, based on quality, location, size, and other factors. Some single expats choose to share an apartment or house to cut costs while they are living in Namibia.
There are no restrictions on expats buying property in Namibia. Property in Windhoek usually sells for around NAD 5,000 per square meter in the city center and NAD 3,600 per square meter outside of the center. These prices are lower in Namibia’s smaller cities and towns.
The high price of certain items in Namibia may surprise you, but this is because many things need to be imported from South Africa or farther abroad. Therefore, you will find yourself paying a pretty penny for cars, furniture, electronics, and many foods. Depending on where you lived before coming to Namibia, you also might need to adjust to the lack of variety. Most items are available, but the selection may be much less than you’re used to.
If you’re living in Windhoek, there are three shopping malls and several major South African supermarket chains, but in smaller cities and towns, you will find considerably less variety. If you are a meat eater, however, you’ve come to the right place, as meat is a major part of the Namibian diet. Most grocery stores and restaurants carry quality meat, from beef to zebra and oryx, at very reasonable prices. Some foods may be limited due to seasonal availability. Normal business hours are 8:30 - 17:30 from Monday to Friday. Most stores close at 13:00 on weekends. The sale of alcohol on Sundays is forbidden.
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