Living in Namibia?
Transportation in Namibia
Despite the vast distances between cities, most people travel around Namibia by car, not plane. Part of this is due to Namibia’s extensive and well-maintained road network. Traffic in Namibia moves on the left. Only major highways are paved, and driving on gravel roads, even if they are well graded, holds potential dangers. Many people inexperienced with driving in Namibia don’t take the 60-120 km/h speed limit seriously on gravel roads, resulting in sometimes fatal accidents.
Driving after dark is not recommended. This is due to the danger posed by other drivers (drunk driving is a major problem) and animals on the road. If you do have to travel at night, for your safety, try not to stop along the road or at rest stops between towns. Other dangers include low visibility and slippery roads along the coast caused by dense fog and seasonal flooding in some parts of the country.
If you plan to visit some of Namibia’s more remote regions, be sure to plan accordingly. Always inform someone of your itinerary, and plan to check in with that person occasionally so they know where you are if something does not go as planned. If you plan on driving in the countryside, it is recommended to bring spare tires, at least five liters of water per passenger, and a satellite phone — as cell phone reception is patchy away from the major towns and highways. Gas stations are few and far between, so top up your tank whenever you see one. Most gas stations only accept cash. Tipping gas station attendants around 3-5 NAD is common, as they usually also perform extra services like checking the oil, water, and tire pressure.
If you don’t have your own car, so-called “combis”, or shared minibus taxis, run frequently between busy population centers. They vary in comfort and safety, although they make up for it in price, costs start at about 16 NAD per 100km.
Long-distance buses also operate between major cities. They are faster than trains, but have limited connections and departure times. Check out the Intercape Mainliner or the Town Hoppers Shuttle Service websites for more information.
Passenger train services are offered by the Starline Passenger Service — part of the TransNamib railway company — and connect all major destinations in Namibia. Trains are quite slow, as they stop frequently, but are a bit less expensive than long-distance buses. Railways in Namibia are used primarily for freight, although more routes are planned to be built in the future with the hopes that more people will switch from using buses to trains.
Windhoek Hosea Kutako International Airport (WDH) is Namibia’s main international airport. It is located 45 km east of the capital. Windhoek Eros Airport (ERS), the hub for domestic flights, lies 5 km south of the city center. Air Namibia operates flights there to Rundu, Katima Mulilo, and Ondangwa. Most domestic destinations can be reached within two hours, but tickets are quite expensive.
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