WHAT YOU NEED TO PACK FOR NAMIBIA: A COMPLETE GUIDE
You’ve booked your once in a lifetime, bucket list trip to Namibia but are faced with the dilemma of what you need to pack for Namibia. Unlike, many other destinations in the world, if you need to purchase something you may have left off your packing list, Namibia is very different. A lot of the time Namibia day to day itinerary locations are remote, arid landscapes which have the odd fuel points and snack stops if that. Thus it is even more important to pack all the necessary items to cover medical emergencies, breakdowns, if self-driving like a large majority of travellers to Namibia do, as well as clothing for game drives, time at lodges and travelling through the country.
Knowing what to pack for Namibia will ensure you can fully concentrate on your trip and be fully prepared for whatever you may come across along the way.
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- What You Need To Know Before You Pack For Namibia
- Weather in Namibia
- Entry Requirements For Namibia
- What You Need To Pack for Namibia: A Complete Guide
- Shop For Similar Items As Those Featured in This Guide
- Other Useful Namibia Roadtrip Accessories
- Photography Equipment
- Toiletries & Medications To Pack For Namibia
- Clothing to Pack for Namibia
- Footwear To Pack For Namibia
- Outfit Ideas For Different Activities
- Accessories to Pack for Namibia
- Other Things To Pack For Namibia
- Colour Palettes To Consider When You Pack For Namibia
- Do I need to Purchase certain items specifically for Namibia
- Sustainable Products For Your Trip
- Things Not To Pack For Namibia
- Be-lavie Top Tips on What NOT to Pack for Namibia
- A Guide To What To Pack For Namibia Round-Up
- Related Articles To What To Pack For Namibia
- Travel Planning Resources For Your Trip
- Pin & Save
What You Need To Know Before You Pack For Namibia
These are a few basic points that will give you an overall idea of Namibia and what to consider:
- There is no such thing as a dress code in Namibia. Namibians wear Western clothing as well as traditional tribal attire. Even in some of the more fancier restaurants in the capital, Windhoek, you can rock up in anything casual
- It’s good to note Namibia is a pretty casual country and fancy dresses, high heels. Suits and jewellery will not get worn so it’s best to leave these at home and not waste precious packing space.
- During the day especially between May-November, you can wear shorts, t-shirts, summer dresses during the day but ensure you have something warm for the evenings as this time is also the coldest during the evenings and nights. Take long trousers, a fleece, warm jumper for the early mornings and evenings and especially when on early morning wildlife game tours as well as coastal activities.
- Take clothes with you that you don’t mind getting dirty. Everything will be covered in dust and sand from top to toe. You’ll be cleaning out sand from your luggage for a while once you get back home!
- In places like Windhoek and Swakopmund, opportunistic crime does occur. As mentioned previously don’t bring valuable and expensive jewellery.
- At all times ensure your luggage is locked in the back of your vehicle and never left on display. Cars are still being smashed to steal anything that is in sight. When staying at lodges, make sure you remove all the luggage from your car and take it to your room. It’ best not to leave anything in the car at all.
Weather in Namibia
Namibia is a place that can be visited all year-round but your visit depends more on where you’ll be heading and what you want to see in terms of safaris and animals or more landscapes.
When it comes to clothing and especially if you’re road-tripping through the country during April-November, you will need to consider sun dresses, cargo pants, T-shirts (long and short), tank tops. Any coastal visiting to places like Swakopmund, Wallis Bay or the Skeleton Coast will require a warmer fleece style jacket as well as scarves that are great for a multitude of purposes, tame hair flying round as well as stopping sand getting in the mouth and eye.
If you’re headed to Namibia between December and March, the evenings can literally be freezing temperatures and you’ll need much warmer base layers to supplement the bush babies (hot water bottles) you get at the lodges. It’s a good idea to always pack a warm coat/jacket as Namibia’s climate as with the rest of the world is rapidly changing.
Wildlife viewing is the best from May-October as this is considered the dry season and wildlife will tend to congregate around watering holes.
For in depth weather information, The Best Self Drive Namibia Itinerary gives a great round-up based on regions.
Entry Requirements For Namibia
A 90 day visa is issued at the airport on arrival to citizens from the UK, United States of America, South Africa, Germany, Australia, Japan, Australia dn Canada.
Check Visa requirements for your country
What You Need To Pack for Namibia: A Complete Guide
Shop For Similar Items As Those Featured in This Guide
The majority of the items in this or similar can be located at John Lewis. A trusted well-known UK based department store which ships overseas. John Lewis sells a selection of high quality homewares, appliances, furniture, clothing, footwear, beauty, children’s attire as well as baggage and electricals. This makes it the perfect as your first port of call for travel and lifestyle products.
Many of teh clothing pieces in the article have been selected from Baukjen (B Corp sustainable Certified) as well as other brands who working towards sourcing sustainably with their materials. Examples included, Hush, Mint Velvet, AND/OR, and Boden. These are all available at John Lewis & partners both in store and online.
Suitcase/ Duffel Bag
If your itinerary involves self-driving through Namibia, then you can bring a regular medium suitcase (30 x 45 x 67 cm) on wheels for ease.
Be-lavie Tip: Opt for a suitcase that has a cover as even though it will be travelling in the back of your 4WD dust will cover it via the back wheel. An extra layer of protection means you’ll be able to wipe it off and ensure longevity of your case.
If you are taking internal flights within Namibia then a smaller duffel bag, such as the one pictured or similar could be a great option. Although if you like to travel light this would also be great in the back of a 4WD, and bouncing around on gravel roads won’t make your clothes dusty.
Many fly-in safaris involve flights in tiny places on local runways so total luggage allowance is anywhere between 15 kg-20 kg. This includes everything from clothing to any camera equipment you have so it’s best to plan accordingly. Less is more. 3-4 outfits and interchangeable pieces is key.
With road trip itineraries, there is no luggage allowance as you can store the baggage in the back of your 4WD. One medium sized suitcase is all you need. Just note your international flight allowance regulations,
If you’re familiar with packing cubes, you’ll know they’re a game changer. They come in even more useful for Namibia as you can split your luggage contents into different outfit packs for example, travel, undergarments, safari clothing etc as well as organise your toiletries and cables etc for electrical items. Clothing can be tightly packed into these cubes by rolling and usually store with minimal creasing too.
They can be bought from many luggage stores as well as Amazon and are reasonably good value for money too.
Small Across Body Bag & Card Holder
A small across body bag can come in handy with a credit card holder especially if you’re heading to dinner in cities like Windhoek or Swakopmund. You don’t really want to be carrying your back pack around with you everywhere full of valuable camera equipment, especially in the evenings. The small bag can be easily stored and will hold the basics like some cash, cards, keys and a mobile phone.
A photography backpack is essential if you’re planning to take shots of landscapes and wildlife. It’s a good idea to have your photography backpack double up as a daily bag so you can also carry a refillable water bottle, snacks, binoculars as well as a camera, lenses, spare batteries etc.
A sturdy back pack that also looks great and blends in with a safari environment is a bonus but not essential. With regards to the backpack we use, the lower half opens to reveal adjustable camera gear sections perfect for your camera and lenses as well as other electrical cables and leads. The top portion is useful for carrying snacks, extra layers etc, and there’s a section at the back that can carry a tablet or laptop quite easily. There are two side pockets which are handy for a tripod and water bottle. The bag also has a waterproof covering that fits over the top of the whole bag and protects against showers.
Other Useful Namibia Roadtrip Accessories
Some travellers will opt to purchase a SIM card in Namibia, however we decided against this. Firstly because we had a an emergency phone loaned from our on-ground service provider but also we didn’t need to be making any calls as we were on holiday.
Instead, we downloaded Google maps to all the places of interest as well as routes for our 14 days in Namibia. Additionally we travelled with our trusty Lonely Planet Guide. You can also purchase detailed Namibia maps too, although you can pick these up in Windhoek – it’s best to be prepared!
Although it’s possible to charge your devices at lodges and campsites, you may need to charge things like mobile phones etc whilst driving, especially if you’re using your phone for videos and looking at maps. It is quite difficult to locate charging points in Namibia.
UK or US travel adapters will not work in Namibia and prevent you from charging any of your electronic devices. Many of the usual travel adaptors you’ll encounter don’t have the option to work in Namibia. There are two associated plug types, types D and M. Plug type D is the plug which has three round pins in a triangular pattern and plug type M is the plug which has three round pins. Namibia operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz.
Be-lavie Tip: We found that Type M, was more commonly used at all the lodges and guest houses we stayed in.
If you don’t already have a power bank, it’ll be a good investment for your Namibia road trip. Most likely you’ll be using Google maps all day when driving as well as taking umpteen videos and photos on your smart phones so best to never run out of charge. There are a lot of power banks on the market. Try and purchase one that’s compact but also can charge your phone a couple of times before having to be re-charged.
Cool Box Or Cool Bags
Cool boxes are a really great idea especially as it’s quite difficult to find shops when on the road. It’s a good idea to do a supermarket shop of snacks, fruit and water which can then be stored in the cool box whilst you are on the road. Big towns such as Windhoek and Swakopmund will have many supermarket style shops. It’s a good idea to stock up anytime you do pass a shop on the road. If you have booked your trip through a agent, the ground operators in Namibia will provide a cool box but other wise its a good idea to get a soft-sided cool box.
If you’re planning to visit some of the national parks by yourself, without a guide from your lodge, such as Etosha then having a pair of binoculars can help with spotting animals hidden by vegetation.
The iPhone, came in very handy for taking videos of landscapes as well as animals. A mobile phone is also very useful with downloading Google maps when driving.
Camera & Lens
A good camera such as a DSLR or mirrorless camera will make all the difference in getting some fantastic quality images, especially of the wildlife.
The Nikon Zfc is a great mirrorless option with a vintage camera feel and is light too. The Nikon Z 24-70mm F4 S Lens is great as a grab and go everyday lens but also takes fantastic wide angle images.
A telephoto lens is highly recommended for wildlife photography, especially in places such as Etosha where animals can be some distance away. The Sigma 100-400mm f5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens is perfect with the Nikon Zfc mentioned above and will require a Sigma 100-400mm f5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens – Nikon Fit and Nikon FTZ II Mount Adapter to ensure a snug fit.
Wildlife photography with a telephoto lens reduces shake and captures sharper images with a tripod. Try and search for a lightweight tripod. Manfrotto generally have a great range of tripods.
Memory Cards & Spare Camera Battery
Remember to take a battery charger as well as a spare camera battery with you. You don’t want the camera battery to die in the middle of a wonderful wildlife scene!
Take a few memory cards with you such as the SanDisk Extreme PRO 64GB SDXC Memory Card up to 170MB/s, you can end up filling these fast in Namibia because the wildlife and landscapes are such great photo opportunities.
As a guide you may be taking around 300 photos a day especially when on game drives so make sure you are prepared. You cannot buy memory cards so easily in Windhoek or Swakopmund.
Toiletries & Medications To Pack For Namibia
Many of the lodges do have shampoo, conditioner, body wash as well as soap and the more luxury ones definitely do as well as towels and clothes washing soap
Be-lavie Tip: Many of the lodges in Namibia have a laundry service which is often included if you are staying with them on full board basis includes a full laundry service.
- Sunscreen, High SPF 30-50
- Skincare kit (cleanser, toner, face cream, eye cream, face SPF 30 plus)
- Body lotion
- Shampoo & conditioner (optional)
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss/interdental brushes
- Feminine hygiene products
- Hairbrush/headband/ hair ties
- Personal medications
- Malaria tablets (Depending upon which areas of Namibia
- First Aid Kit (plasters, bandages, antiseptic cream, safety pins, scissors, painkillers/anti-inflammatory tablets such as paracetamol and ibuprofen)
- Insect repellent (preferably with 10-20% deet)
- Make-up (no need to put on a full face everyday but concealer, eyeliner, mascara is a good call)
- Lip balm or chap stick
Be-lavie Tip: Many places like Etosha National Park do not allow plastic bags, so take hessian/cotton reusable bags instead that you can fold up and store in your backpack.
Clothing to Pack for Namibia
This list is for a 14 night trip in Namibia between May-October with accommodation in mid-range to luxury lodges and guest houses.
This list assumes a laundry service will be provided at your accommodation.
** Please note: list may be more pertinent to females but please substitute and dismiss as relevant.**
- A Jacket – waterproof & Windproof is ideal.
- A Fleece – This will come in super handy on early morning game drive for when there’s a chill in the air.
- A Bodywarmer/Gilet – These are the mid-way between a jumper and a fleece and good for layering
- 1 Jumpers/sweater – great for layering up for a day on the coast or long drives
- 2 or 3 pairs of long trousers – Cargo pants, jeans, outdoor trekking pants, leggings
- 2-3 pairs of shorts – great for the hot dry heat and perfect for road trips
- 3 x vest tops – these can be layered up with shirts
- 5 T shirts – a long sleeve jersey tops & 2 short-sleeved t-shirts
- 2 shirts/blouse – cotton are best. 1 for the evening and 2 to use as layers for during the day
- 2 dresses – to wear in the evenings or when at the lodges. Adds a bit of safari glamour.
- 1 jumpsuit – wear to restaurants/rooftop bar or at the lodge in evening.
- Underwear (bras/knickers/boxers) for number of days travelling. To lighten the load, you can always wash smalls
- Socks – as per type of shoes you intend to be wearing and for the number of days of travel. These can always be washed by hand.
- 1 x belt
- 2 Sports Bras – for comfort on bumpy game drives
- 1 swimsuit or swimming trunks – for your afternoons post game drives to lounge by the pool. Most pools in Namibia are not heated so they’re cold but great for paddling!
Be-lavie Tip: Leave caps at home as they don’t protect your neck from the harsh sun.
Footwear To Pack For Namibia
- 1 pair of trainers – pretty sufficient for whole trip, even with hiking, These are also perfect for getting in and out of the safari vehicles. Ensure they are closed toes and have a good tread for the varied terrain
- 1 pair of walking/hiking boots – if you would like more protection during hikes – walking boots really weren’t required for our itinerary and are an unnecessary weight to carry around. Check if your activities really do require them. Footwear really is down to personal choice and comfort. If you are travelling in rainy season, boots may well be required for good tread.
- 1 pair of Birkenstocks for driving days and for around the lodges.
- 1 pair of flip flops for shower, use around the pool
Outfit Ideas For Different Activities
Accessories to Pack for Namibia
A wide-brim sun hat is essential as the sun is very intense at certain times of the day. The wide brim protects the neck and shoulders from the heat. A crushable hat is a great idea so you can pack it into your luggage or bag easily and one with a strap will come in handy for windy safari 4×4 rides.
A scarf will protect against the dust blowing into your nose and mouth, especially during safaris when the 4x4s are open.
These are a must and try and pick a polarised pair or one that have good UV protection. These are imperative if you are driving in Namibia too.
Across Body Purse
A small across body bag to store your necessities is a good call for eating out in Windhoek or Swakopmund – you won’t need this around the lodges
Other Things To Pack For Namibia
- Credit Cards (let your bank know you’ll be heading out + any extra fees)
- Check with your mobile network provider of any charges you may incur for using your phone abroad
- Driving Licence – especially if you’re hiring a car
- Safety pins
- Sewing kit
- Laundry detergent or clothes washing soap
- A small brush which will help clear sand off your boots and shoes as well as your bags and luggage.
- Reliable water bottle – Choose from a great range at &keep
Colour Palettes To Consider When You Pack For Namibia
You will be told at your pre-safari briefings at your camps that bright colours are not advised as these are a distraction to animals and could make them harder to spot. The may also stay away from the jeep area so it won’t be as easy to spot them in the bush.
The types of colours advised are khaki green, stone, whites (although this can get mucky quickly-save for when you’re at your lodge), beiges, grey tones and generally muted colours. This is definitely recommended when you’re out doing safari but the rest of the time you can where whatever colours you wish.
Some colour palette inspiration for Namibia
Be-lavie Tip: In order to keep luggage to a minimum, it’s a great idea to build your clothing for Namibia around certain colours so you can mix and match everything. For example, I choose the classic safari colours and wore them in different combinations throughout the trip. On cold days, add multiple layers, for evenings add a scarf.
Do I need to Purchase certain items specifically for Namibia
The answer to this is in short is not really. Many people will go out and buy a whole outdoors wardrobe and lots of things that they would generally have already.
Here is what you should consider paying close attention to when you pack for Namibia and if you are thinking of spending your money wisely, check out these tips…
- Footwear – A good pair of shoes are a good investment. Decide upon the activities you will be doing before you splash out on a new pair of shoes be they combat boots, hiking boots, running or track trainers
- Good zoom lens – You are only in Namibia once, well that’s the case for most of us. A zoom lens (preferably 200mm-500mm) will mean you will have some incredible photography. A lot of the wildlife is in the distance and in our opinion, this was a game changer for us.
- Hat & Sunscreen – These are a very important things that require consideration. The sun is very intense so a good wide brim hat as well as a high SPF sunscreen is vital together will plenty of hydration and being sensible in the sun.
- Decanting toiletries – You really don’t need full-size toiletries, so decant these into smaller 100ml-150ml bottles or take solid shampoo/conditioner and soap with you. This mini on the go wash kit has all the solid alternatives to help keep decanting other items to a minimum
Sustainable Products For Your Trip
- Plastic free natural hair and body wash starter kit Each beautiful drawstring jute wash bag contains a 100g soap, a 70g shampoo bar, a 60g conditioner bar, a 15 g travel-size cream deodorant and a soft organic cotton washcloth.
- Reusable soft velvet bamboo and cotton make-up pads Soft washable bamboo alternatives to disposable cotton pads. Come in 5, 10, 15 or 20 pads.
- Truthbrush Bamboo Toothbrush with plant based-bristles This is made from fast-growing bamboo. The natural antibacterial and antifungal properties of bamboo mean the Truthbrush is hygienic too. Bamboo is resistant to natural pests, which means it is farmed organically. The bristles are made with 100% castor bean oil
- Fragrance free shaving bar Made using olive, coconut and castor oils, carefully blended with kaolin clay and soy wax, you’ll get a wonderfully comfortable shave that leaves you extra smooth.
- Natural Deoderant (can be used as refill too) Containing the moisturising ingredients of shea butter and coconut oil, this Lavender & Vanilla deodorant has a fresh botanical aroma in which aromatic lavender is complimented by Ylang & Clove with a Soft Woody Vanilla backdrop.
- Scence Natural vegan zinc sunscreen SPF 30 The SPF30 formula includes a natural zinc suspension to ensure even coverage and broad spectrum protection to keep you and all the family safe from harmful UVA and UVB exposure.
- Refillable vegan lip balm stick This newly reformulated product is now vegan, using organic acacia flowers wax, organic carnauba wax and organic castor oil as an effective replacement to beeswax.
Things NOT To Pack For Namibia
- Jewellery: Any expensive jewellery, diamond rings, anything valuable, it’s best to just leave it at home. Namibia is pretty safe but its best not to attract attention.
- Perfume: You really won’t need to take things like perfumes and a huge cosmetic bag full of products. The climate is very hot and it’ll just melt off you, plus it’s just so dusty and sandy, you don’t want make-up smearing all over your face.
- Fancy Clothing – Namibia is a very casual country so you won’t need very fancy clothing to go out. You can wear a casual dress or shorts and even you cargo pants with sandals.
- Hairdryer – This will take up extra baggage and your hair in Namibia will dry so fast naturally in the heat. It may be better to take some frizz serum if you are prone to frizzy hair.
- Shoes – Ladies, there is no need to take ballet flats, kitten heels or high heels. They will be so impractical. Take flat sandals instead and the shoes mentioned previously.
- Dinner Jackets – attire for the men for dinner also doesn’t need to be smart at all. You will be ridiculously overdressed. Shorts, cargo pants and a polo t-shirt is great in almost all places.
- Suitcase/Backpack – DO NOT take your newest suitcase or bags as these will just get very dusty from the gravel roads and constant sand flying around.
Be-lavie Top Tips on What to Pack for Namibia
#1. Try not to wear too much white as it will soon turn a shade of pale yellow especially on safari. You can wear anything white whilst your at the lodge relaxing or when you’re in the larger cities like Windhoek and Swakopmund.
#2. Sports Bras are a must if you are a C cup or larger, when on safari. The bumpy drives can cause discomfort. This advice was from a fellow traveller so I cannot speak from experience but something to consider.
#3. Certain laundry services (more remote) do not handle undergarments. This has something to do with cultural beliefs, therefore it’s best to take some hand wash soap with you so you can do this yourself. Most lodges have a drying space in the shower area.
#4. A scarf will be your god send. They are great for covering your mouth and nose with all the flying sand.
#5. Use packing cubes to separate out clothing into tops, smalls, trousers, dresses etc. This will save you time and will help you prepare for those early morning wake-up calls for game drives. No one wants to be deciding what to wear at 6 am!
#6. Take a dust bag/ waterproof bag for your camera and lenses when they’re out on game drives. Make sure the lens cap is replaced as soon as possible after shooting! The last thing you want is a load of sand in the intricacies of the lens.
#7. If you have long hair, it’s a good idea to keep it tied up as it will become very knotty and full of sand.
#8. Leave your animal print clothing at home, and especially don’t wear this when you’re out on a game drive or wildlife encounter. It can cause the wildlife to become somewhat confused or draw unwanted attention from them.
A Guide To What To Pack For Namibia Round-Up
This comprehensive guide is intended to act as an aide memoir whilst you are researching and putting together your packing items for travelling to Namibia. Although it’s great to be prepared and ready for an adventure to Namibia, the most important thing is to have a wonderful time and enjoy every minute of your once in a lifetime experience. If you’d like to search and purchase some of the products featured in this guide on how to pack for Namibia, head to John Lewis
Related Articles To What To Pack For Namibia
- How to Plan The Best Self-Drive Namibia Itinerary
- What You Need To Know Before Driving In Namibia
- The Best Eco-Friendly Lodges in Namibia
- How To Best Spend 24 Hours in Windhoek
- A Complete Guide on How To Best Visit Sossusvlei
All these companies are used be Be-lavie personally to plan and book travels.
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