It often isn’t easy to pack the right things for your next trip. A look at Namibia’s weather data shows that it constantly changes – between summer and winter, day and night, the country’s interior and the coast …are all very different. While it is hot in the desert every day of the year, it often cools down at night.
During the European summer months, it can freeze at night in Namibia. Namibians love the always fresh and cool climate of the coast, the region around Swakopmund is an especially popular resort. Thick clouds often cover the sky and the sun cannot warm the air as quickly as anywhere else.
What should be in your suitcase for your Namibian holiday and what can you leave at home?
More layers are better than not enough. I had a thick Merino sweater for the flight in January and I wore it in Swakopmund quite often. In other places have a thin vest to wear in the evening. A thin, long trouser is the right attire for hikes.
Safari-Look or Africa chic?
If you are travelling along one of the self-drive safaris and have planned day trips, you might need to capture the entire safari look.
Thin shirts are practical (also against the sun), a hat, sun glasses (that stretch along the sides to protect your eyes from sand and dust) and shoes with a firm sole (thorn bushes are everywhere, without exception).
In the evenings, you can dress up if you’d like – but it isn’t necessary.
The best is to be at the gate by sunrise (when the park opens) and the cooler hours of morning will be in your favour.
Shoes with socks are recommended, but you can manage the climb up Big Daddy, barefoot or with flipflops. However this depends on the heat of the sand, as soon as the sun is up it does not take long before the sand becomes hot enough to burn your feet.
Otherwise, things to keep in your backpack: at least 1 litre of water, snacks, a camera, hat and sun block.
The Cool Coast and Rainy Season
A rain jacket never hurts, in the rainy season anyway (even if the rain barely lasts a few minutes). At the coast it also protects against the wind.
I coped well with light ankle-high walking shoes, sandals and a pair of ballerina pumps.
First-aid travel kit
This topic caused a lot of headaches. We finally solved it so that we didn’t take any prophylaxis and were fully committed to a variety of resources from home and from Namibia. By the way, the areas south of Windhoek have a minimal risk for malaria.
If you are sensitive, you will quickly get nose bleeds in the dry climate, nasal ointment helps. For sensitive eyes and contact lenses, eye drops work as well.
Traveling by car
The great distances between sights can be entertaining, fill the time with music and perhaps some or other audio book (get all this together before your trip).
We also always had a few soft drinks and snacks with us (Typical for Namibia: Biltong – dried meat of all kinds – dried fruit, nuts and crackers). Chocolate and Gummy bears will be cheaper if you bring them with you from home.
Namibia is one of those countries that does not offer a European plug and therefore you will need your own adapter. The best would be to bring one from home.
All the Gondwana properties offer European adapters in the rooms, but sometimes they only offer one and it is not beside the bed (i.e. pack enough cables and multiple plugs to suit all your devices).
WIFI and Cell phone Reception
WIFI is mostly available in the reception and main buildings of the Gondwana properties, but not always in the room. Cell phone reception is cool, a SIM card from MTC can be purchased directly in the arrival hall at the airport and the appropriate airtime and data packages as well.
All in all it costs not even 6€ for fourteen days. The phone reception is remarkably good and available almost everywhere.
Ambitious photographers – I would advise you bring along a 300mm zoom lens, I (with a 200mm and full-frame camera on the road) would have loved to have one.
Practical: a pair of binoculars! Also an adapter for your mobile phone, you can take amazingly good photos of animals. For night photographs and patient wildlife photographers: Tripod.
Also useful, is a small camera cleaning kit to clear away sand and dust in the evenings.
A mix would be ideal: Euros, in small bills when needed, and a credit and debit card. ATM’s are available in many of the larger places, the charges vary 2-3€ depending on the bank. For petrol stations and permits to National Parks, you always need cash!
Lea Hajner is a Travel Blogger. On her Blog, Blog Escape Town she writes about outdoor adventures and lifestyle. The thing she found most beautiful in Namibia, was to watch the sunset with biltong and a cold beer in hand.