Travelling Namibia with Minors

Whether you and your children plan to travel Namibia together – or your child will be travelling alone, prepare well in advance to ensure a safe and happy trip. Prepare your Child’s (or your Children’s) Travel documents thoroughly. Check the entry and exit requirements of Namibia, generally provided for you from the specific Airline which you will be embarking on. Travelling with Minors needs more than just a simple Visa!   Contact the embassy or consulate of each country you plan to visit to check their entry requirements. All children should carry a valid passport when they are travelling or living abroad. Children under the age of 16 can sign their own passports, but if they do not, leave the signature block on page 3 blank. If you sign it on behalf of the child the passport will be invalid. If you or your children are dual or multiple citizens, always travel with your passport from your country of residence. Always present yourself as an individual from your current country of residence towards foreign authorities, especially when entering and leaving the country of your other nationality, unless you must enter and exit the country using that country’s passport. (featured photo by Southern Destinations)

      + Please take Note of the following:

• Guardians (family member, friend) travelling with the child(ren) must provide affidavits from both parents giving permission for a child(ren) to travel, in addition to the valid birth certificate(s). Certified copies of their parents/ legal guardian’s passports must be available upon request.

• Both parents travelling with the child(ren) under the age of 18 have to produce a full/unabridged birth certificate for the child (both parents’ details must be on the birth certificate). Certified copies of the birth certificates are also accepted. It is no longer sufficient to merely have a statement pertaining to the child(ren) in the parent’s passport.

• One parent travelling with a child(ren) when the other parent has passed away, must produce a certified copy of the death certificate of the deceased parent.

• One parent travelling with a child(ren) must have consent from the other parent in the form of an affidavit (no older than 4 months from the date of travel) or custody agreement, confirming permission to travel with a child(ren). A certified copy of the absent parent’s passport must also be available for presentation upon request.

• A minimum of six months prior expiration date needs to be shown clearly on every Passport before the expiry date of the Travel Document/Booklet.

• At least three free pages (clean without Stamps) inside the individual’s Passport.

• Proof of return air tickets is a must.

• Birth Certificates from each minor is highly recommended.

•  Medical documents are highly recommended in case of medical allergies or similar. In the rare case for the need of a specific medication, it is very likely that the medication for the minor will be very different from the medication available than from the country of residence. Especially when prescription medication plays a role! Also, take into consideration, should the child(ren) eg. break a leg during horseplay by falling from of a Tree (or similar), difficulties could seriously become a massive bourdon for everyone. This will create a beautiful Vacation into an unimaginable nightmare.

     + Video clip with International Travel Tipps

Furthermore, we recommend carrying supporting identification for each child, such as a birth certificate, citizenship certificate, divorce papers, consent letters, custody court orders or a death certificate, if one or both parents are deceased. This will help prove your citizenship, residency and custodial rights when you return to your country of home residence. Make sure you have a consent letter or a court order if a child is travelling abroad alone, with only one parent or guardian, or with friends, relatives or a group (see our download section below). A consent letter proves that the child has permission to travel abroad from parents or guardians who are not accompanying him or her. The consent letter should be signed by any person or organization who is not travelling with the child and who has the legal right to make major decisions for the child, including anyone with access rights, custody rights, guardianship rights or parental authority. Make sure the letter includes the date on which the child is to return home. It may also help to have the letter certified by a commissioner of oaths, notary public or lawyer so that border officials will be less likely to question it. Speak with a lawyer if you are involved in a custody dispute or if a dispute might develop while the child is abroad.

Travelling Namibia with Minors (photo from Travelstart)

If you already have a custody order or agreement, make sure that it permits the child to travel outside the specific country of residence. If you travel to Namibia (or abroad in general) with the child without the legal right to do so, you could be accused of parental child abduction. Human trafficking is a big topic for the international society and should be monitored by all means necessary. In regards to Namibian custody orders are not automatically recognized or enforceable in other countries without going to court. Check with your country of residence, (if established) at the Namibia embassy or consulate if you have any questions. If your child has been abducted or retained without authority abroad, contact the Namibian police or the nearest embassy or consulate of residence abroad. For more information on Child abduction and custody issues view the selection of our .pdf downloads below or get in contact with the professionals listed below.

     + Document Downloads and various Legal Information

• Affidavit Document for International Visitors 

• The protection of children’s rights in Namibia: Law and policy

• Child Protection Policy (outline from Child Line Namibia – 2011)

• Legal Namibian Visa Application for Tourist’s with Minors

• The Namibian Gazette CHILD CARE AND PROTECTION ACT, 2015 (279 Pages)

• Namibian Police

     + Help with Visa Documents

Should you have any unclarity with such a matter than our recommendation would be to get in contact with Mr David Viljoen right here in Windhoek, Namibia. Contact him at Tel: +264-81-270-8680, or Mrs Vissie Viljoen at Tel: +264-81-122-0523 (paid service). Office hours are from Monday to Friday btw. 07hoo – 13hoo and 14hoo – 17hoo (CAT). From our experience, their service is very professional and they will gladly help you out. Their Office in Windhoek works directly with the Namibian Ministry of Tourism and they are always true to all Visa deadlines. English and Afrikaans only! Otherwise feel free to give us a call at our Office Head-Quarters.

Desert of the Skeletons (Full Documentary)

Huge deserted beaches surrounded by dunes, where boat masks have forgotten the company only the remains of unfortunate creatures are called skeletons Coast. This side of the Atlantic, east of Namibia, is the gateway to the Namib Desert, which follows the Kalahari. There we find groups Bushmen and Himba, atavistic residents of these arid regions. The Bushmen demonstrate their integration in the most hostile of friendly means by hunting and gathering techniques. (featured Image from Naankuse Lodge)

Joining them pursue their prey poisoned arrows wounds on an expedition lasting several days and observe the survival of an entire clan in the harsh dry season. The Himba us their nomadic life, in which everything revolves around the goats and cows grazing. Among its strongest features see the symbolism of their hair and body ornaments, his main artistic expression, know the rules that govern the formation of polygamous marriages and will attend the rituals “esuko” where women gain maturity within the tribe. (by New Atlantis Full Documentaries)


Traditional Namibian Song and Dance

In Namibia, traditional music is mostly found in the villages and less practised and enjoyed in urban areas. Local and foreign contemporary music in its multiple forms is notorious in all the corners of the country. Traditional music in rural areas contributes to diverse functions linked to rituals at birth, death, marriage, healings, before and after hunting and fishing, circumcision, social evenings, stories telling, cattle exhibition naming of places, animals and babies, including many other activities. Music in rural areas is the reflection of all aspects of the life of the people where it is created, performed and even dies, contrary to the contemporary music in the urban areas which only cater for entertainment in clubs, bars, functions, shops and hotels. (featured Image Kuru San Dance Festival – Bushmen of the Kalahari by Afrika Calls)

Because of its isolation in the past with the rest of the world, Namibia under the South Africa rule has known only the music from that country. The censorship enforced at the time did not favour the hatching and blooming of the local music and dance. The music from other African countries, especially from the central, Eastern and Western Africa was linked with the word terrorism in Namibia. All those who listened to this music were called terrorists. This music was considered to be dangerous for Namibians to be exposed to, especially when the masters of the time could not understand the message in the songs. The American and British music was well established without any difficulty. That is why many artists from these two countries are well known in Namibia. Nineteen years after independence, Namibian artists did not come up with tangible Namibian contemporary music. They keep on being influenced most by the artists from the countries above mentioned and South Africa. Some attempts on the Namibian contemporary music creation took place before and after independence, but because of lack of support, those who were involved got discouraged. After independence, a lot of new genres of music have penetrated the Namibian arena.

Now, according to Francois H. Tsoubaloko Traditional Song and Dance here in Namibia is classified and should be understood under the following terms below:

     + Traditional dance

Traditional music and dance in Africa are most linked to rituals or social functions, as the immediate reference to human being, to a moral being, to a spirit, to conscience, to human traditional and rural life, transmitted from generation to generation. Dance is part of the culture, which is acquired and developed through informal education. All these performances are linked to the core of a specific world of ideas and beliefs. They also reveal a certain outlook of the world and life for certain human structure, the understanding of which brings it closer and makes it easier for us. It is a lineage of knowledge through practice, training and self-access. There exists a very good developed system of music and dance in place, most are on a special rhythmic system. The following given names of dances are the dominant ones in the country, but they might be some out there that are not yet discovered, linked to rituals, healings, social gatherings etc.

Photo above: San dancing around evening camp fire (from African Crafts Market)

Outjina and Omuhiva: Among the Herero community, outjina is danced by men and omuhiva by females. The two take place during celebrations and social evenings.

• Okunderera: This military marching type of dance takes place during celebrations, especially on the 26th of August, which is the National hero’s day and at the same time as Herero day. The Herero community celebrates this event at Okahandja seventy kilometre north of Windhoek. This day for the community serves to pay tribute to chief Maherero and the other Herero fallen heroes in the history of the liberation struggle.

Oudano or Uudhano: Within the Owambo people, this dance is a very common one. It is danced in two versions: The first performed by adult women, using slow motion, men are welcomed if they wish so, the second performed by girls with fast motion.

Omupembe: This dance among the Aangadjera people was forbidden in the past by the South African regime of occupation, for its nature that resembles military training practice. Young men during this dance jump over other people’s heads.

Ondjongo: Among the Ovazemba and Ovahimba communities, this dance is performed at any social celebration. It involves both men and women, songs are also known as ondjongo.

Okankula and Onkandeka: The first is play performed by elder people in a seated position, the second is also a fighting play performed by young people.

• Omutjopa: Accompanied by two traditional drums, omutjopa is also a dance performed by the Ovazemba community.

Shipero: This dance involves also drums and danced during social recreation functions, in north-east Kavango.

Epera: Three drums of different sizes are involved in this dance that takes place at the royal family’s functions, it is also being used during other rituals.

Ukambe, Kambamba and Nondere: The first dance is known as rain season dance, second is a quick dance with feet and the last one last one as hand and neck dance, all from Kavango region.

Kayote, Niakasanda, Liyala: In the Caprivi region, three names of dances take place during healing functions.

• Divare: This dance takes place during the healing rituals. Below a 9 minute clip about the San “Healing Dance”. This beautiful clip also shows the background of the “Healing Dance” (also read our past Blog Post on “The beauty behind African Storytelling” to gain a deeper understanding).

      + Our personal entertainment recommendation:

There are a bunch of various traditional Song and Dance performances available all throughout Namibia. Dates of performances may vary accordingly. However, for the individual who is interested in a traditional showcase (approx. 45 minutes), we highly recommend the “Showcase Namibia” which is performed daily from Monday to Friday at the Warehouse Theatre in Windhoek. What makes this Show ideal is the time which it is being performed. The show starts off at 15h30 CAT hence making it the ideal event for guest’s looking for some “afternoon entertainment” (for other afternoon entertainment please download our Adventure Collection .pdf). Even if you are returning home after a beautiful Namibian Vacation and are boarding an evening flight back home, gives this very original showcase a try if you have some time to spare. It will leave you refreshed, energized and in a positive mood before heading out to Hosea Kutako International Airport, guaranteed. My personal favourite throughout the Show is the drumming session and most definitely the kwaito dance session at the end. It definitely grabs hold of the viewer when embracing the entire theatrics behind this stunning show. Very impressive indeed!!!

Image: Showcase Namibia flyer (by the Warehouse Theatre in Windhoek)

• Location: Warehouse Theatre, 48 Tal Street in Windhoek City Centre (Tel: +264-61-402 253). ⇐ click for Google Maps

• Details: Show Start at 15h30, Refreshments available at Theatre, daily performance from Monday to Friday, very fresh/new musical performance (since 2019), traditional and non-traditional musical Instruments, semi-traditional garments, nice “Skit” elaborating on some of the diverse cultures and languages present throughout Namibia. Rember to also check out the links shown on the flyer for more information!

• Entrance fee: N$170, oo (booking not mandatory)

     + Our second recommendation:

The Joes Beerhouse Drumming Circle also is a very favoured event which is very interactive. As the event states “Drumming Circle” they even encourage you to bring your own traditional drums. So should you own some Bongo’s (or similar), then take them along. Although an evening Event, still well worth it. “This weekly drum circle was recently declared as “one of the 25-MUST-HAVE-Experiences in Windhoek” by The Namibian’s columnist Martha Mukaiwa!”

Image above: Graphical Media about the event (from Joes Beerhouse)

• Location: Joes Beerhouse, Nelson Mandela Avenue, Windhoek (Tel: +264-61-232 457) ⇐ click for Google Maps

• Details: Show Start at 18h00, Refreshments available at the Venue, Wednesday, 06.03.2019 (ends 18.12.2019), very interactive Showcase, traditional and non-traditional musical Instruments, semi-traditional garments, great for bigger groups. Rember to also check out the links shown on the flyer for more information!

• Entrance fee: None (however, booking recommended)

     + Other links:

• For the love of Dance (Namibian Sun Newspaper Article)

• Namibian Tales – 11 pages .pdf Document about the San musical culture (and more), great read!

• A study of Sipelu Music and Dance among the Masubia People of the Zambezi Region of Namibia (111 pages .pdf Document).

The African Mbira/Kalimba

The mbira has been an important instrument in sub-Saharan Africa and has played a part in African culture for 800 years. Although it can be a solo instrument, it is more commonly used as an accompaniment to singers, musicians and dancers. It is not uncommon for the native African instruments to allow solo harmonization, but typically, harmony in African music serves as a variation to the theme being performed. Many versions of the mbira exist with tribes creating distinctive performance styles and names for the instrument. They vary widely in appearance, size, materials, and tuning from the smallest 6-note models of the Kalahari Bushmen to the sophisticated 33-note instrument found in Zimbabwe (intro photo showing a traditional Mbira relic from northern Namibia, taken by Manfred Werner).

The name mbira is known throughout much of Africa, but regionally, the name mbira is more commonly used in Zimbabwe, while the name Kalimba is used in Kenya, the name ikembe is used in Rhuanda, and the name “likembe” is used in the Congo, while other names are bit less common such as sanza, sansa, marimba, marimbula, there are more generic names of finger harp, gourd piano, and thumb piano that are often used in the west. The mbira is also known as the thumb piano because one’s thumbs are used to pluck (or more accurately depress and release) the metal strips (tongues or lamellas) that sound particular notes. It is common for two mbiras to play together where one covers the melodic accompaniment of the singer while the other plays the bass line (or bourdon). Some mbiras have few tongues and others have many. Some of the more sophisticated instruments have two sets of tongues for one performer to play melody and harmony, or melody and bass line on the same instrument. In the 1920s, Hugh Tracey came from England to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) to help his older brother run a tobacco farm. He became fascinated by the local music culture and created the Kalimba, a version of the mbira. Introduced by Tracy in the early 1960s, Kalimba was the registered trademark for his diatonic instrument that soon became popular around the world.

Above a selection of beautiful Mbira Instruments (taken from Wikipedia)

The word kalimba literally means little music. It was well suited for Western music and made it easy for the performer to play harmony using both thumbs. Today, versions of this African instrument can be found in most parts of the world, with wide use in parts of Asia, the Middle East, North and South America. Much of this popularity is due to the work of Hugh Tracy, but the simplicity of the instrument’s design and construction and the relative ease by which one can learn to play it has added to its wide acceptance throughout the world.

+ Physical Description:

The basic mbira is a simple soundboard or sound box with wooden (typically cane) or metal keys or tongues (called lamellas) attached on the top. The sound box is typically made from a calabash (gourd) or wood, and often the metal keys (tongues) were made from old spoon handles, bicycle spokes or spring wire that were cut and hammered to the desired shape. The keys (tongues) are plucked with the thumbs, or with combinations of thumbs and fingers. The keys usually consist of 6 to 33 metal keys (tongues) mounted across two bars (or wooden dowels) at one end attached to the sound box with another wooden dowel holding them in place. The bar closest to the sound hole serves as a bridge, the other to provide a means for the dowel to hold the keys (tongues) in place. The free ends of the keys (tongues) are positioned at different lengths to produce the variety of pitches. The length of the vibrating end of the keys (tongues) determines the pitch (a shorter key or tongue produces a higher pitch, and a longer key or tongue produces a lower pitch). Many of the mbiras with sound boxes have holes drilled in the sides of the sound box. When the instrument is held in both hands with the thumbs plucking the tongues, the index fingers on each side can cover and uncover these side holes to change the resonance and can provide a tremolo effect. The mbira often has several rows of keys (tongues) positioned like multiple manuals (or rows of keys) on a keyboard. The lower manual (typically longer tongues and lower pitched notes) often represent the men’s voices, while the upper manual (typically shorter tongues with higher pitched notes) represent the young men’s voices, or are split with one side of the upper manual representing the young men’s voices and the other representing the women’s voices. The tuning and arrangement of the tongues are varied.

Various modern Mbira’s (Kalimbas) – from Kalimba Magic

     + Sound Properties:

The mbira produces a haunting, fluid percussive sound that is considered tranquil and enchanting. Since you can play either simultaneously or alternate between both thumbs, harmonic and rhythmic effects are possible. An important feature of mbira music is its cyclical nature, with each new repetition of a theme varying slightly from the last and incorporate numerous interwoven melodies, with contrasting and syncopated rhythms. Mbira music lends itself to rhythmic and melodic diversity and entails a great deal of improvisation, qualities common to African traditional music. The compositions usually consist of a main melodic part (kushaura), and a secondary melodic part (kutsinhira). Special attention should be paid to the combination of quadruple (4/4) and triple 3/4 meters within the rhythmic structure of the music. Most compositions can be thought of as a sequence of four 12-beat phrases. Those 12 beats can be divided into three groups of four or four groups of three. While the Mbira can be an effective solo instrument, it is rarely found by itself at traditional Shona religious ceremonies. It is ordinarily accompanied by hosho players, handclapping, and singing. The persistent array of complex rhythms and variations of the melodies provides a rich source of sounds that captivates listeners. Many effects can be employed by plucking up or down on the keys (tongues). The sound can also be altered by wrapping the tongues with wire or adding a mirliton device. This adds an additional buzzing or humming character to the sound of the instrument which is an important sound in many of the tribal cultures. Often, snail shells or metal bottle caps are often attached to the soundboard or the sound box to create or enhance the rich buzzing sound. The buzzing is thought to clear the mind and allow the listener to focus totally on the music. These buzzing effects are not commonly used on the diatonic versions of the mbira or outside of the African tribal cultures. Most recordings do not include these effects as they tend to favour the pure sounds of the instrument. Mbira tunings are numerous, and usage depends on personal preference. Mbira players usually settle on a particular tuning and use it consistently. Some of the more common Mbira tunings are Nyamaropa (click for YouTube Video), Gandanga Dongonda, Gandanga (or Mavembe), Nyuchi, Dambatsoko, Katsanzaira, Mande, Nemakonde, Nyamaropa Dongonda, Samsengere, and Saungweme (below a short YouTube clip of an ethnic family in Zimbabwe playing multiple Mbira’s).

   + Links:

• Build your own Mbira (Kalimba) instructions with photos

• Build your own electrical Mbira (Kalimba) instructions with photos

• Build your own Mbira (Kalimba) instructions with photos (pdf. document – 1 page)

• Hugh Tracey collection of 22 various african musical downloads including various african traditional musical Instruments (going back up to the year 1952)


Namibia, The Shining Diamond of Africa (Full Documentary)

“Namibia is called “Africa’s Best-Kept Secret,” and at Diamonds International, we have worked hard to maintain this special country’s way of life while working with its people to develop unexpected designs, cuts, and stones to offer the world. The time and effort are worth it: stunning in its own right, featuring sweeping vistas of extreme contrast, Namibia produces some of the most stunning diamonds on earth. Diamonds International has sourced its stones from some of the most fascinating places on the planet, and in this video, Hon. Pohamba Shifeta speaks to the wonders of Namibia – from the warmth of its people to the greatness of its landscape. (photo by Namibian Mining News)

Celebrating its 10 year anniversary in Namibia, Diamonds International parent company ALMOD is being recognized by industry leaders, DeBeers and the Namibian government for its contribution to the beautification of the local communities and for its dedications to skills transfer. Crown of Light diamond, Diamond’s International signature diamond brand is primarily cut in Namibia. This short documentary shows how the growth of the Crown of Light diamond impacted the personal and professional growth of the employees in Namibia as well.”  – YouTube Intro –