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.

Safari Medical Concerns

Medical Concerns In this age of instant litigation if anything goes wrong, the last thing that we are going to do is to give you detailed advice on medical precautions, immunisations, vaccinations and so on. What you must do is to visit your own doctor in plenty of time before you travel (some vaccinations need to be applied in several doses over an extended period of time), and ask him what medical precautions you need to take, for the countries that you are intending to visit. Your doctor will then look up what is required – usually on a constantly updated website – and arrange the treatment that is required. This said you might find the following observations to be useful. (Photo by NEA Healthy Futures)

• Bilharzia – We don’t want to delve too deeply into the myriad other tropical diseases that you might encounter, but bilharzia (or schistosomiasis) is worth mentioning. Quite nasty, although curable, this disease can be picked up from small infected snails whilst bathing in freshwater lakes and streams. Unfortunately, this includes the otherwise idyllic Lake Malawi – in theory, a strong rival to the Indian Ocean resorts, such as Zanzibar), although it is possible to find resorts here that are claimed to be bilharzia-free.

• Cholera – Cholera is mainly a product of poor sanitation but can be guarded against by prior vaccination if your doctor so recommends. Worth a Note is that this vaccination is not regarded as all that effective by some medical authorities.

• DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) – DVT is the formation of potentially dangerous blood clots, usually in the veins of the legs, caused by inactivity. This may be accentuated during a long-haul flight, where the combination of low cabin air pressure, stress, fatty food, caffeine and alcohol can result in a significant increase in blood coagulation, making DVT that more likely. It is claimed that one in ten to one in thirty long-haul passengers may be at risk from this condition – which may not make its effects evident until several days, weeks or even months, following your flight. The advice given for avoiding this condition includes wearing loose-fitting clothes, drinking plenty of fluids, although avoiding alcohol, tea and coffee, which all have a diuretic effect, and – most of all – performing physical stretching exercises, both whilst seated, and on walking around the cabin. For example, whilst seated, you can try repeating the following exercises (5-10 times each):

(a.) hold the arm-rests, whilst slowly lifting your knees simultaneously, holding for a few seconds (b.) hold one knee and bring it up towards your chest, holding it there for 15 seconds, repeating with the other knee (c.) contract your thighs and perform a sitting ‘march on the spot’ (d.) lift foot, point toes outward and rotate foot in a circular motion, repeating with the other foot (e.) with heels on the floor, lift toes upwards as far as possible, holding for 30 seconds (f.) with the balls of your feet on the floor, lift up your heels as high as possible, again holding for 30 seconds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

These giraffes won’t get DVT! (Photo from Reddit)

In the past taking aspirin has been recommended – for its blood-thinning properties – but current medical opinion is that it is of no value in avoiding veinous blood clotting, and it can also cause stomach irritation or even gastric bleeding in susceptible people. A natural alternative that is recommended is garlic (in the form of odour-free tablets!). Other recently introduced ‘natural’ products include Zinopin, which contains pine bark and ginger, and ‘Flite Tabs’, which are somewhat similar. But do research these yourself first, for example on the internet, and, as always, get your doctor’s approval. It is also possible to buy specially designed compression stockings from most pharmacies, which may be particularly recommended for those with varicose veins.

• Hepatitis A – Transmission of Hepatitis A virus can occur through direct person-to-person contact; through exposure to contaminated water, ice, or shellfish harvested in contaminated water; or from fruits, vegetables, or other foods that are eaten uncooked and that were contaminated during harvesting or subsequent handling.

• Hepatitis B – You can become at risk from Hepatitis B if you are exposed to blood or body fluids, for example, if you have sexual contact with the local population, but you can also be at risk as a result of emergency medical or dental treatment if infected blood or instruments are used.

• Jet Lag – Although the flight from Europe to sub-Saharan Africa can be a very long one, the difference in time zones is normally only an hour or two, and therefore jet lag as such is not a problem.

• Read one of our past Blog Post’s on 37 free travel hacks

• Malaria – Malaria is not strictly a matter of immunisation or vaccination, but rather of prophylaxis, or preventative measures. Sub-Saharan Africa is a high-risk area for Malaria, spread by bites from infected mosquitoes. All visitors to this region should adopt the following two-stage process. Firstly try to reduce the chances of being bitten, by covering up with clothing such as long sleeves and long trousers especially after sunset, using insect repellents on exposed skin and, when necessary, sleeping under a mosquito net. Mosquito nets and room sprays will be provided, where needed, by your hosts. Insect repellents should ideally contain a minimum of 50% DEET and should be applied to all exposed skin – always on top of sunscreen. Secondly, take the anti-malarial medication prescribed by your doctor, remembering to start the treatment the appropriate number of days before you travel, in addition to continuing it for the correct period of time after you return. Although, as already stated, we cannot recommend any particular treatment, let me just make the following remarks regarding anti-malaria treatments. Many international visitors make use of Malarone – it isn’t cheap (costing about £2.50 per day), is prescription-only, and can have side effects with some people (as can all medications), but it generally shows positive results. The principal alternatives are Mefloquine (Lariam), which, again, is prescription-only, and which, quite frankly I wouldn’t even go near, since it can have appalling psychological side effects, which can sometimes be fatal; Doxycycline, again prescription only, and which can cause adverse reactions in the presence of sunlight (of which there is quite a bit in Africa); Chloroquine and Proguanil (or in combination), which are non-prescription, but which may also be less effective, as resistance to these drugs has built up over several years’ usage. Which is best for you may depend on which countries you are visiting, and other factors, such as pregnancy etc. It’s up to you (or rather your medical practitioner!). Regardless to mention is that none of these treatments can be regarded as 100% effective, which is why the avoidance of bites, as discussed above, is crucial. Incidentally, it is claimed that you are more likely to be a target for mosquitoes if you consume bananas (not sure why this phenomenon)! The initial symptoms of malaria can be quite mild, and easy to confuse with flu. If you are in any doubt, contact your medical professional immediately, and tell them that you have recently returned from a malaria-risk zone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Historical Poster regarding Malaria and Quinine (by Pinterest)

There is an ancient rumour that apparently a drink of Gin and Tonic could also act as a measure against Malaria. Hence this is a debated statement, here is what The Travel Doctor has to say:

“Travellers often joke about drinking gin and tonic to prevent malaria, and here is an interesting answer to the question of how many G &Ts would need to be consumed to deliver a preventative dose of quinine?

Short Answer: 67litres per day!!

The Long Answer, for those interested, is according to Meshnick’s chapter in “Malaria: Parasite Biology, Pathogenesis and Protection (1998, ed Sherman) that modern tonic water contains 15mg/L quinine, and so has a little antimalarial effect. However, Meshnick also mentions that drinking a glass of a decoction of Cinchona bark (made by soaking the bark in brandy or gin for 5 or 6 days) two or three times a day would have provided at least 1-2g quinine per day. Meshnick says that this would have protected against malaria.

Therefore, consuming 67 litres of tonic water would provide 1g quinine. That means a lot of G&T’s, and there are definitely easier ways to prevent malaria.” (taken from the link)

• Read one of our past Blog Post’s on Malaria and it’s symptoms

• Meningitis – Meningitis is inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord and can have either viral or bacteriological origins. Epidemics do periodically occur in sub-Saharan Africa, and hence protection is advised.

• Medication & First Aid Kits – If you are taking medication of your own, then, given the possibility of luggage going astray, it may be a good idea to carry it in your hand luggage (provided it meets current anti-terrorist regulations!) or split it between hand and hold luggage, if its use is important to you. You might also like to take a small first-aid kit with you as well – obtainable from large pharmacies. Useful contents include plasters, bandages, tweezers, possibly a sterile needle kit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A complete Safari First Aid kit available at Survivaloutdoor.com. Prices range from N$549.- up to N$1,099.- (prices may change without prior Notice) 

• Pre-existing Medical Conditions – If you have any pre-existing medical conditions, you should certainly seek advice from your GP to discuss the suitability of your proposed trip. You must also tell your Travel Insurer about your condition: if you don’t and you become ill while you are away (even from something quite different), you run the risk of losing your cover. If necessary carry a copy of a letter from your doctor with you, together with details of any prescriptions. Finally, to ensure that you carry sufficient medication to cover any delays.

• Rabies – Since rabies is a potentially deadly disease, found throughout most of the world, you are well advised to be vaccinated against this – especially if you are prone to making friends with every stray pussy who crosses your path. Rabies is a virus that is usually spread by the bite or scratch of an animal. By the time the symptoms appear, it is generally too late to save the patient. However, a person who may have been exposed to rabies can usually be treated effectively if they seek help at once. Symptoms include neurological problems and a fear of light and water.

• Tetanus – Tetanus is found all over the world, so it’s a good idea to make sure that your tetanus jabs are kept up to date. Polio A one-time booster used to be recommended for any adult travellers who completed the childhood series but never had polio vaccine as an adult, although you are more likely now to be offered a combined tetanus, polio and diphtheria vaccine.

• Tsetse Fly Bites – A relation to the horse-fly, but ten times more vicious, the tsetse fly is both a nuisance and a benefit to safari travellers. The bite itself can be extremely painful, and can sometimes result in huge swollen red areas on the legs and arms (the reaction found varies greatly between individuals, and even from occasion to occasion). However, the tsetse fly also gives rise to sleeping sickness in cattle (although not usually in human beings, at least not the variety found in Zambia) and hence keeps the best game viewing areas free from human encroachment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The revered Tsetse Fly (Photo by DSW)

Nevertheless, in some areas, there may be areas of intense tsetse fly activity to be traversed into and out of camp. These little nasties can inflict highly painful bites even through clothing, socks or head-gear. Some camps proudly exhibit ‘tsetse fly traps’ around their boundaries. These consist of a jar containing something sickly sweet that is irresistible to tsetse flies, contained within a blue canvas structure (for some reason, the colour blue attracts tsetses). This is designed to trap all such visitors. If you are someone being of an enquiring mind then go to examine one of these traps more closely. Guess how many tsetse flies you will see trapped in it? Thousands? Hundreds? The answer is ‘not one’! If you are bitten there are a number of possible treatments. Applying, for example, a hot mug of tea, to the bite can give immediate relief hence the increased blood flow will wash the poison away from the site more quickly, in addition to breaking down the anti-clotting agent that such bites often contain. Another treatment is to apply a ‘zapper’ – a piezoelectric device that, when triggered against the skin, produces a short electrical shock to the site, which can also give rapid relief. We were told recently that a mixture of 50% Dettol/50% water is an excellent repellent – although only if you want to smell like a hospital ward! However, none of these treatments work all the time, or with all people. A small tip: Should you catch one of these nasty’s it is generally recommended to decapitate this insect hence they are such tough beings. Many times by simple squashing this insect won’t do the job. These little creatures are indeed very robust.

• Typhoid fever – Typhoid fever can be caught through contaminated drinking water or food, or by eating food or drinking beverages that have been handled by a person who is infected. Large outbreaks are most often related to faecal contamination of water supplies or foods sold by street vendors.

• Yellow Fever – Yellow Fever is spread by mosquito bites. It is uncommon in tourist areas but can cause serious, often fatal, an illness so most people visiting risk areas should be immunised. Indeed, as we saw above, some countries make it an entry requirement to have a valid immunisation certificate, and since this requirement may suddenly be introduced if there is an outbreak elsewhere, it is probably a good idea to have this anyway.

 

Searching for reforestation

Dear reader, we would love to point out that this informational Blog Post is of vital importance to all of mankind. Therefore we ask you politely to read and watch this post till the end in order to understand the magnitude of the literature and information provided and respond accordingly. Don’t worry, your reaction is not going to cost you a single cent. So, without further due let us look at the following starting with the World Wide Web itself. With the daily growing Internet “digital library (eg. Web pages, Blogs, Online Shops etc.)” and an estimated 3.6 Billion users, the importance of search engines is basically on top of the list regarding general day-to-day internet services. In a simple explanation, a Search engine is a web software program or web-based script available over the Internet that searches documents and files for keywords and returns the list of results containing those keywords. Today, there are numbers of different search engines available on the Internet, each with their own techniques and specialities. In essence, Search engines are the workhorses of the world wide web, returning billions of potential and diverse Information or services to billions of queries on an hourly basis, with some of the major search engines being Google, Yahoo, Shodan, Ask, WebCrawler, Dogpile, Bing and others. To give you an idea of how big the Internet actually is the “Millforbusiness-Website” gives a decent up to date estimate of the ever-changing numbers. (Image by Pixshark.com)

Currently, this all might sound somewhat confusing, and what does this have to do with reforestation(?), but do yourself the favour and keep on reading to gain clarity.

In the 2018 survey, they found that there are 1,630,322,579 websites currently online which compared to the year 2008 a count was reached at 186,727,854 websites.

If you look at the data on the Millforbusiness-Website and minus the amount from the year 2017 from the website count of the year 2018, we get a total count of 5,212,899 new websites created.

If you divide the 5,212,899 newly created Websites with 365 days this equals up to 14281 websites day, that’s a whopping 571 new Websites coming online every hour! In order to find these Websites, all Search Engines are a vital online Tool to find these Websites for whatever reasons (Information, a Service, an online Purchase etc.) If we look at the Search Statistics from Google alone, an insane number of approx. 3.5 Billion search queries are made daily. That’s a total of 1.2 trillion searches a year just from the Google Search Engine alone!

So what exactly does this have to do with our Website sharing Information on Tourism, Wildlife or Fauna and Flora??? Don’t be concerned, this is not a dry Blog on Website tutorials or alike. We just want to introduce you to a Search Engine which is putting up a lot of effort to reforest the globe. This is something worth a Nobel Prize in our humble opinion.

Very simple, we want to make the public aware of the Ecosia Search Engine which doesn’t just fill their pockets like the other big greedy competitors. Ecosia returns to mother earth by every search made. This undertaking deserves the utmost respect and support. Ecosia is a Search Engine which plant’s trees. In their own Words “Ecosia users have planted 40 million trees just by searching the web. Trees are vital to fighting climate change. Scientists agree that halting deforestation is just as urgent as reducing emissions. Protecting and restoring forests could reduce worldwide emissions of CO2 by 18%.” – from the Ecosia Website – The Ecosia Search Engine works just like any other Search Engine, plus they have a nice feature of a live running counter of how many trees have been – or are up for planting below the search box. With the funds collected they evaluate selected locations for the next area where planting trees are of importance and which can provide the highest survival rate for the trees as such (see video clips below for more insight). They prefer to plant Acacia trees (see link below or click here) and have a separate Bank Account to help Woman start their own business. As a cherry on top of the cake, they don’t sell your private information to other third parties (like 90% of all Search Engine providers) and do not force you to accept Internet cookies or trackers. Utmost Respect for eliminating the “online dodgy stuff” and the financial support towards female self-empowerment!!! In writing this, there are a helpful more of aspects which I can write about but we try to keep things short (the Video clips below will explain more).

Have a look at their Introduction Videos below:

A clip on how Ecosia decides on how and where to plant new trees (the human value behind this is stunning):

One clip on the impact Ecosia already had in Madagascar (more clips can be found on the Ecosia Website or via YouTube):

If you have a closer look at the facts as for how many trees are cut down each year, IntactForests.org concludes that intact forest landscapes from 2000-2013 were reduced globally by 70,000 square kilometres per year (about the size of Costa Rica) for a total of 919,000 square kilometres. As to the “number of trees” this represents, it’s impossible to get an accurate count. In regards on the Tree density in primary forests varies from 50,000-100,000 trees per square km, so the math would put this number at 3.5 billion to 7 billion trees cut down each year. Symbolically speaking, we are cutting down the “lungs of the earth” at an alarming rate. That’s why we support the use of the Ecosia Search Engine by all means necessary.

If we take a closer look at the scenario, it is well documented that the earth Oxygen levels are dwindling. According to this article from the Dailymail UK, it states that we experienced a drop of 0,7% drop of the earth’s Oxygen levels due to CO2 emissions, general consumption and deforestation. This value is expected to grow in near future. To simplify the matter, each person uses around 550 litres of oxygen per day (according to howstuffworks). So with the estimated amount from the year 2018 of 7.7 Billion people on planet earth that’s a usage of  4235,000,000,000 litres of Oxygen per day. In general, one fully grown tree at 30 meters (100 feet) produces around 118 litres of Oxygen per year (according to AAAtreeserviceny). At the deforestation rate of 7 billion a year that’s an Oxygen supply loss of 82,600,000,000 per year. If one does further calculations from these statistics one will clearly see that we are heading for a global disaster regarding our air-supply alone (disregarding food supply’s, clean water supply’s etc.).

Just to understand the terminology, Reforestation is not the same as afforestation, though both are directed towards propagating greenery. Afforestation is the endeavour to forest an area which originally had no tree cover what so ever. It is the effort to create a new forest in a previously unforested area or a part of the land that was not under forest cover. The Ecosia Search Engine doesn’t handle the effort under “afforestation”, which is well explained in the Video clips above.

Reforestation simply means the effort put in by repopulating an area which has lost its tree population due to human intervention or natural disasters. It is an initiative different countries are undertaking to maintain ecological balance as beautifully explained in the Madagascar Video clip above.

 Have a look at this Website from The World Counts just to see how fast we are currently destroying our own life-support. The live online measurements will leave you literally “gasping for air”.

Some of our past Blog Posts with similar field of interest:

• Conservation of Namibia’s Ecosystem

• Namibia’s Bush Encroachment Issue

As a closure, we would love to leave you with a simple insight. If for eg. Ecosia reaches a reforestation amount of 1 billion planted trees (per year) at a success rate of 40% survival of each Tree (Percentage is taken as an example) this means that this enterprise has given 400,000,000 trees back to nature by the simple support of your online searches. From the estimated 7 billion trees cut down yearly, this has an impact of 5,7% of reforestation to deforestation. This means that according to the statistics and specific to this example only – at 5,7% success rate, it will take Ecosia 17,5 years to reforest a one-year calculation/count/estimate of deforestation statistics. Another thing to take into account is that it takes multiple years for a tree to reach it’s full growth, meaning that before a tree reaches a considerable minimum size (not fully grown) to make an environmental impact on the global atmosphere, could take up a minimum of 3 years (only true for fast-growing trees – click for the general encyclopedia). For one tree to help with the maintenance of our atmospheric gasses and the global warming problem, this is a relevant fact which is very often forgotten or overseen. With our current technology, cutting down beautiful age-old trees takes a matter of minutes. Replacing them is an entirely different ball-game. The Ecosia Search Engine Project is difficult, complex but remarkably beautiful. Please Note: This specific example excludes other non-mentioned “Reforestation Projects”.

Some short clips on deforestation:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwqvSE0UV0w

It isn’t in our control in which manner you understand or think about this Blog Post and is up to each individual themselves. But a wise person once said: “These current problems do not burden us, however, the next generation(s) will thank us for the mess in which we left them behind.” -unknown-

         Nevertheless, you do the math on the Information given above – definitely, something to think about…

Your support is vital:

Go to the Ecosia Search Engine 

Go to the Ecosia Facebook Page 

Other reforestation Project links:

• The Eden Reforestation Project

• The Carbonfund Reforestation Project

• The UNFCCC Project (.pdf document)

• The Andes Reforestation Project

11 cool outdoor Cellphone Apps

Almost every visitor going on a real African Safari owns a cell phone and why not make the best use of some of the available Apps out there. Here are our hand-selected choices which we believe could be of help, just for fun or even a lifesaver. Let’s be honest about the fact that before you enjoy that cup of coffee every morning, chances are high you’ve already turned to a mobile app to start off your day. No matter if it’s finding you a route to your next location, logging your holiday diary, or even adding the cost of your current experience to your weekly budget, one thing is clear – Apps are now an integral part of our daily micro-moments, with people spending an average of 30 hours per month in them*. Apps play a huge role in those I-want-to-know, I-want-to-go, I-want-to-do, I-want-to-buy moments in daily activities. So with, we have listed 11 of our favourite Apps for you to make use of before and while on Safari. Some are free, some not! Furthermore, we made sure that the compatibility of Android and iOS have been adhered to.

     So in no specific order or Rank:

+ No.1 Spyglass (Android, Free; iOS): Spyglass (Android, iOS) is a multipurpose GPS navigation and augmented reality viewfinder app that serves as a heads-up display with navigation details, a smart compass, and map display all rolled up into one mobile package. Users can download offline maps, navigate toward waypoints, get coordinates and find their way to locations. You can track your GPS location data, with altitude, course, and speed, track the sun and stars, use a rangefinder feature, and take measurements with the sextant, angular calculator and inclinometer tools. The app is premium on iOS (currently selling for US$5.99), while a free version exists on Android. (In-app purchases unlock app features.)

+ No.2 Seek: This App is an excellent “all-rounder”. Drawing from millions of wildlife observations on iNaturalist, Seek shows you lists of commonly-recorded insects, birds, plants, amphibians, and more in your area. Use our maps and charts to determine what you want to look for and snap a photo when you think you’ve found it. Our image recognition software lets you know if you got it right and, if it’s a match, adds it to your collection. Drawing from millions of wildlife observations on iNaturalist, Seek shows you lists of commonly-recorded insects, birds, plants, amphibians, and more in your area. Use our maps and charts to determine what you want to look for and snap a photo when you think you’ve found it. Our image recognition software lets you know if you got it right and, if it’s a match, adds it to your collection.

+ No.3 Tracks4Africa Overland Navigator App for Namibia and Botswana: This App is almost a must for the modern day and age of mobile communication. Highly recommended for all Self-Driver Visitors out there. If your GPS fails, this App will definitely back you up for sure.

+ No.4 Butterfly Collection: Roam the world from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch to explore diverse species of butterflies and moths. Butterfly Collection showcases 240 members of the fascinating and beautiful order of insect known as Lepidoptera (ancient Greek for “scale wing”), using photographs of actual insects. You can scroll through gallery screens, showing butterflies and moths sorted alphabetically, and click on thumbnails to view an image of the insect. But that’s not all. Butterfly Collection uses OpenGL to animate the insect’s wings and provide a gentle, life-like fanning motion.

+ No.5 The Namibia App: Namibia is your comprehensive travel guide to Namibia, featuring accommodation, activities and adventure, amenities and services, car hire, tour operators, camping and self-catering facilities, conferencing, restaurants and leisure. Each region features extensive information about its places of interest and peculiarities, also showcasing maps, galleries and all accommodation establishments in surrounding towns and tourist areas. Furthermore, the app presents interesting travel tips, special routes to take and also gives you a take on Namibia’s people, history and demographics. Travelling with the Namibia app in the palm of your hand allows you to make calls and bookings from anywhere in the country. It’s the perfect planning tool. You may even be so lucky as to win one of our dream holiday competitions.

+ No.6 Merlin Bird ID App: This one is for our Bird-Watching enthusiasts out there. Many individuals underestimate the huge variety of species available in southern Africa. Click here to read our past Blog Post on conservation for more clarity. Regarding the App, once installed, you just answer five quick questions and the app comes up with a list of possible species — and with a good deal of accuracy. It uses more than 70 million observations recorded in the eBird citizen science project to make its educated guesses. It also provides bird sound recordings and tips for identifying species.

+ No.7 MyNature Animal Tracks: Sometimes the only thing you spot are animal tracks, but that doesn’t mean you have to go on wondering what kind of animal left a certain paw print. This robust app helps you match a set of tracks to a species through seven track categories and five scat categories. Perfect for visitors attending hiking trails in a remote location like eg. Namibia’s Caprivi Strip (click here for more Info). Use the illustrations to figure out the species as well as even the gait the animal was using as it travelled. It even has a built-in ruler for measuring track sizes and gives tips for tracking animals.

 + No.8 Circa: This next App is ideal for Business Travellers and Visitors with a very busy holiday itinerary. If you’re travelling through multiple countries in a short period, it can be a little tricky to keep track of the time. Circa is a beautiful and simple time zone tracker that lets you check what time it is where you are, and where you’re heading. You can also add your home time, in case you want to keep in touch with people back home. The app will show times that overlap when both parties should be awake. You can also use the app on the Apple Watch and it’s now available on Android.

+ No.9 Snakebite Institute App:  This one is our favourite App for this specific Post.  This App can become a lifesaver in an unfortunate event of a snakebite. We recommend this App to every Tour Guide and visitors/holidaymakers planning to attend multiple-day bush hikes, camping, deep bush excursions or more. This free App Includes first aid information, snake identification features, snake removals information, free snake posters, and more.

+ No.10 UVLens (Android, iOS: Free):  Most of us know the brutality of the Namibian Sun. It is very often underestimated by first-time visitors to Namibia. The Designers of the Namibian Flag knew exactly what they were doing when they placed the Sun on top of the Namibian National Flag. The Sun’s ultraviolet rays can be a cause of skin diseases and cancer, so it’s important to protect your skin with sunscreen to prevent stinging sunburns and reduce the risks of overexposure to the sun. UVLens (Android, iOS) is a feature-packed UV index forecast app and sunscreen calculator that lets you create a personalized skin profile for more accurate estimates of their sunburn risk, including the estimated time before getting a sunburn on a given day, as well as recommended precautions. A UV index forecast can help suggest the best times of the day to be out, and a sunscreen reminder notifies you when it’s time to reapply your sunscreen.

+ No.11 First Aid – American Red Cross (Android, iOS: Free): The American Red Cross’ First Aid app (Android, iOS) is a free (and ad-free) app that provides a wealth of basic first aid information for burns, injuries, and other medical emergencies that might arise. Don’t be fooled by the Title “American…”, this App will also come in handy regardless of where you are in the world. A “Learn” mode lets you read up on a type of injury, basic first aid treatment, and a Q&A section, while an Emergency mode dispenses with the extra information while providing concise first aid instructions in a single page, sometimes accompanied by videos and diagrams, as well as a one-button shortcut to call 911. Additional links allow you to sign up for first aid courses, buy first aid kits, donate or volunteer for the American Red Cross. Even if you do not donate anything, very useful App to have while on an African adventure.

Image rights owned by each mentioned App provider. 

Click here for our past Blog Post regarding the diversity of Namibia’s Wildlife Conservation.

37 free Travel Hacks for international fliers

For many international visitors, not just to Namibia but globally, we would love to share our insider Tips to get the most out of your money to the value of each flight. Below are 37 of our personal best hacks needed to make your Airfare as comfortable as possible. Make sure to view the very last Video at the bottom of this Blog Post, some of the best Tips and Tricks are explained accordingly. Furthermore, this Blog Post is trying to cover the general Hacks available globally. Certain Airlines or countries might not carry value for our advice presented here. One of the biggest Problems which should be taken into account is Point No.21. Ignoring Point No.21 is the most frequent and also the most expensive one hence one will have to buy new Flight tickets in order to be allowed travelling on the next day, should you travel back home to collect the required documents(!). Plus, if you have a strict Safari itinerary your entire booking plan is subject to failure. So your Travel Agents will have to shift each accommodation by a day (or more) without any return for your funds which have been paid in advance. Almost no Lodge or Hotel will give you a refund on a “one-day” in advance notice.

     + So without further due, here we go:

  1. Check all flights properly. In our experience, many get to save a lot of money by booking two one-way flights instead of a flight round-trip.
  2. In case of an emergency, always be aware of the fact that you have a 24-hour period for a refund.
  3. Almost all airlines offer a Booking-App making your check-in a lot easier. Some famous airlines always causing turmoil are AirNamibia and Ukranian Airways. The counters of these specific airlines always have a long line in front of the check-in counter. Nevertheless, being top Airlines the counters need some upgrade with the management of their check-in counters. By checking in via the App one can simply drop off the luggage at the Business Class counter where the line is mostly not present.
  4. Avoid Jet-Lag by adjusting your meals and sleep hours accordingly before embarking. Especially on flights which include long hours of transit periods.
  5. Products like Red Bull, Coffee, heavily processed foods, greasy foods, sugary Soft Drinks or similar will dehydrate you, so with making your Jet-Lag even worse. Have some water or a real fruit smoothie which will make things a lot easier to cope with.
  6. Ordering meals at the Airport which are less favoured will most of the time get you served a lot faster (eg. Vegetarian, Halaal etc.). This comes in handy when in a rush and want to grab a quick snack/meal.
  7. Most forgotten items include Cellphone charger, prescription glasses or sunglasses and the famous Laptop mouse. Keep these in the back of your mind!
  8. Never lose your luggage check-in number. Bags get misplaced or forgotten more often than you think, especially when travelling through transits.
  9. Make sure your bag is tagged with your Name and contact details. Should you wrap your bag, ensure that your tag is visible and easily accessible and readable. If you have a messy handwriting we guarantee that in the unfortunate event of the misplaced/late luggage will take a lot longer or not show up at all. Especially in countries which aren’t managing things on the European alphabet (eg. China).
  10. Whoever takes you to the Airport, ensure that they arrive early in order to avoid the line in front of the check-in counter. In our experience, we had situations of power outages at diverse Airports where every flight ticket had to be written by hand.
  11. If possible, wrap your luggage. Getting access to your gear is easily accessible by thieves working inside the loading area.
  12. Keep the most expensive belongings inside your hand baggage. Remember, no liquids allowed inside hand baggage, valid for all airlines.
  13. If you bring souvenirs of liquid nature (eg. Wine) while returning home, pack them in the middle of your bag to avoid breakage.
  14. Behave when on the flight. Should you cause problems on a flight because you are in a bad mood or drunk expect to be collected from the Airport Police once on arrival. So if you think you are someone special and try to change seats from the economy class to the business class, guaranteed you will be held accountable for it. Officers will enter the Airplane before anyone embarks, even in Namibia… with hand-cuffs. If you are supposed or sitting in the back of the Airplane you will take the walk of shame down the Airplane lane with the Airport Security while all eyes are on you. (please view the last Video at the end of this Blog Post)
  15. If you need specific medication, ensure to pack enough supply. Nothing creates a bigger headache when in search for specific medicine needed inside a foreign country. The Pharmaceutical Industries often vary from country to country. Also remember to pack them accordingly, especially when in liquid form. Big reminder for individuals with thrombosis. Watch this very clear and short video below!
  16. To get a chance for a Seat upgrade, try to Book an economy seat with a Standard or Budget listing (some Airlines listed as Y or B) in the case of an overbooking option. (view last Video below for more Information)
  17. Save money on international calls when calling your loved ones by sending Whatsapp voicemails. Especially if you don’t have a SIM Card yet, once upon arrival.
  18. Many airlines or travel agents offer stop-overs to avoid transit hangouts. If you have time this is a nice one to broaden your horizon by spending a couple of days at the specific locations. Take some photos! Also, very important is to speak to your Travel Agent just to ensure everything is in order in regards to VISA’s, Passports etc.
  19. Always remember that your Passport has a valid VISA and has a decent expiry date exceeding a minimum of three Months. Also, make sure that your Passport is in proper condition. If the Passport Control gets a worn-out Passport which gives the impression that it has been “fumbled” with, entry into your country of destination could be declined.
  20. Some Airports give you the offer to buy a ticket for a “hang-out Lounge”. This is recommended for long transit periods or early arrivals at Airports. A good insider for long flights!
  21. The biggest Problem these days is travelling with children. Due to the increasing global human-trafficking issue many Airline Company’s requests a birth certificate once checking-in. Qatar and Emirates are some Airlines who are stone cold and very harsh on these rules. We met many people who where declined their check-in without the proof of these documents. So if travelling with children below 12 – sometimes16 years of age it is a very high matter which to pay attention to. (see Video below)
  22. Try to exchange some of your currency at your local Bank with a currency exchange. Although many Airports have diverse currency exchange Banks on site, the chance that they might be closed (especially when arriving late at night), sold out or have a huge line in front of the counter. Worth mentioning is that you could get a much better exchange rate at your local Bank so with giving you more “bang for your buck” and one could save a lot of time and stress. Research ahead of time on the exchange! A good one is http://www.xe.com …
  23. Prepare your Documents! Always pack a print-out of your Hotel/Guesthouse bookings should you book via an Online-Portal. Many Hotel Bookings get cancelled when a guest doesn’t arrive at Hotel check-in times. You need to show the proof on arriving, especially should you arrive late in the evening. Remember, if you disembark at eg. 23:40 it could still take you another 45min. with a Taxi to reach your Hotel. Many Hotels do not take this in to account making things somewhat difficult for travellers not using a Travel Agent. A cancellation received from diverse Online Booking Platforms will hence often get cancelled without prior notice. So a print-out of your Online Booking Platform could save your stay over.
  24. If you travel by yourself, share your Booking Print-Outs with a family member or a loved one. In a worst case scenario, it could happen that your luggage gets lost or stuck in transit. In such a scenario you can at least contact a family member who has the information which you need (eg. Street Name, Hotel Name, Suburb, Booking Number). Should you visit a country where you are not a master of the countries official language you could have a serious problem (eg. China, Russian, Hebrew, Hindi, Punjabi, Japanese etc.). So coming prepared is recommended! How else will you tell your Taxi Driver where to go?
  25. In regards to catching a Tube or the Rail, personally avoid booking Train tickets ahead of time. We are very serious about this one! It came to our attention that many Rail-Road tickets have been rejected because they do not conform to Rail-Ticket numbers provided. On getting Rail-Tickets we personally recommend getting them on site. Many Travel Agents have big problems with rejections on pre-booked Rail-Tickets taking one from the Airport to the City of destination. This, however, is not true for visitors embarking on a multiple days Rail-Road vacation (which are not available at the Airport but only at Rail Company offering the experience).
  26. If you get offered the choice, try to get a flight on a 767. They offer more space inside the economy class. Good if you want to stretch your legs in an unoccupied middle row.
  27. Pack your bag with thought behind it. Leave some free packaging space for souvenirs which you love to bring back home. Use space wisely by eg. stuffing your socks inside your shoes. If you pack your Koffer to the brim, guaranteed you will leave some things behind just to get your material memories (eg. Souvenirs or Curios) back home. Pack lightly! (see video below)
  28. Don’t take the first Taxi driver! The best example is Dubai, UAE. Take your time and speak with Taxi drivers. Often the first Taxi Driver approaching you will lead you directly to the VIP-Taxi’s costing you double. Also in our experience, should you travel to Germany, if your Hotel is close by with a short distance from the Airport many Drivers will curse you because of the short ride. This is because the German Taxies follow a “waiting-in-line” customer acceptance system. Many wait for hours in line to be allowed to take the next visitors to their destination. If the ride has a fare of only 10 Euro’s the driver might harbour resentment. So take note!
  29. If travelling with Sports Gear, many Airlines sell a surplus weight licence sometimes up to 85kg(!). Just ensure that your licence is valid for all Airlines should you change Airline Company’s while in Transit. If this is not cleared with proper Documents expect to pay extra at the Check-In counter (which is not cheap). Recommended is to check-in your Snowboard, camping equipment or Surfing Gear directly within the transit luggage handling.
  30. Always pack your own Bag, unless you seriously trust the person packing your Bag(s).
  31. If you have booked a rental Vehicle, please be aware of these facts stated in one of our past Blog Post’s regarding AA-International Driving Permits (click for Info).
  32. Pack your own headphones. The headphones provided by most Airlines often have a poor sound quality or are sometimes literally rubbish. You don’t want to spoil your entertainment when on a 14-hour flight. (please view the last Video at end of this Blog Post, – some of you will be up for a surprise)
  33. Always pack your own Pen! Many Airports require you to fill in diverse forms. Don’t rely on available pens at every Airport. You will just extend your time wasted throughout the Passport Control procedure.
  34. If possible, avoid packing natural products like meats, seeds, animal products (furs, taxidermy etc.), botanical products or similar. Most liqueurs or tobaccos are fine but unprocessed natural products are always an issue subjected to a fine. Some of the most hardcore Airports adhering to this rule are Australia and New Zealand.
  35. Know how much Cash you are carrying on you. Many Airports require you to state the exact amount brought in by international visitors. If you are being caught with a stack of bills which haven’t been declared, expect consequences.
  36. Arrive fresh! Nothing worse when sitting next to someone who is sweaty and who just came out of a Pub. The Airline reserves the right to remove you accordingly should a complain be listed regarding your personal hygiene.
  37. Always be kind and humble towards the Airplane Staff! Chance is that they will be at your service notably faster on request. Your good behaviour will be noted, especially if you are a frequent flier making use of specific Airline Companys.

The image on top of Blog Post by Airport Terminal Operations Ltd – Mauritius

Videos linked via youtube.com

• Read our past Blog Post on European Driving Licence’s within Namibia

• Read our past Blog Post on Namibian Border crossing via a rental Vehicle

 

European Driving Licence in Namibia

This is a very frequently asked question from European clients visiting Namibia who are embarking on a Self-Drive or Guided Self-Drive tour within Namibia or included parts of southern Africa. How do rental companies handle European driving licences and are they legal? Please be aware that we are only touching base on European – and not other International Licences here, like U.S.A, India, China or similar. So included are countries like Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, France, Spain, England, Belgium, Luxemburg and furthermore. This Blog Post will make things easier for everyone seeking clarity on this matter.

So first matter at hand, a foreign or international driver’s license is invalid, unless:

• The license has been issued in English; or

• The license contains a photograph and signature of the card holder

• In the case that your driver’s license is not in the English language, please note that both the national and international driving license have to be brought along at all times. The international driving license is valid only in conjunction with the national driving license.

So what we are trying to point out is the following:

No matter where you come from, your driver’s licence (no matter card or booklet) must have the English translation “Driver’s Licence” somewhere on the card or booklet. If no translation is shown one is forced to obtain an AA-Approved Co-Licence from an AA-Approved outlet. Normally they are quite easy to get and also available in Namibia. Namibia has many cultures and many languages roaming within the country but English is a given standard when it comes to legal documents. Documents in Italian or Spanish will bring you no good here, once requested. Hence Namibia was a former Colony of Germany the German language is very well known here and travelling without any AA-Documents one will still run into problems hence it is handled as illegal. Bigger problems come in to play once any Border-Crossing occurs eg. from Namibia to Botswana. Things will look very different then and a crossing denial is to be expected.

Have a look at the samples below for a better understanding:

Looking at the two Sample Driving Licence’s above one can find the English document-explanation listed within the heading on top of each driving licence card. If the simple Text of “Driving Licence” is readable on the card, no problems for driving within Namibia should be of concern (depending on your country of origin*).

Sample two:

Above is the standard German “Führerschein” as issued throughout Germany. No English translation of the Word “Führerschein” to “Driving Licence” is anywhere visible. So as a visitor to Namibia this will be much of an issue hence if no English translation is visible makes it illegal throughout all of southern Africa. So in general, Namibia will be a problem but on a Self-Drive Tour, an AA-Document is recommended which can be requested online by clicking this link. Another option would be to visit your nearest AA-Outlet to get such a document established for you on site.

Above is a sample on what to expect for a temporary AA-Driving Licence. If you go to an approved AA-Outlet, make sure to take clear ID/Passport Photo’s along.

One thing is for certain that International driving permits which are issued via the AA Namibia-Outlet are issued according to the terms of the International Convention relative to Motor Traffic of 1949 and to holders of valid driver’s licenses issued in Namibia. So for international visitors please have a look at the link listed above.

Although International Driving Permits are recognized internationally, holders should carry their valid driver’s license when travelling abroad or inside Namibia. Most countries throughout the world recognize visitors national driving licences, but an AA Driving Licence is recommended nevertheless.

One good thing about an AA-Permit is that the document is multilingual, thus convenient for use in non-English speaking countries. It is generally familiar to law enforcement officers and some car rental companies may insist on customers having an international driving permit. While AA-Outlets take in-depth precaution to ensure that the information supplied is correct, the Company does not accept any responsibility or liability in this regard. Some locations are just out of the ordinary, but in regards to Namibia, a general AA-Permit is 99,9% of the time acceptable. Like we mentioned above, Border crossings could become an issue without one and driving without any English IDP’s is considered illegal in Namibia.

Distinguish the following:

There are two types of AA-Permits available according to the AA-Enterprise…

  • A 1949 Convention IDP/permit is usually issued and is recognised in most countries.
  • A 1926 Convention IDP/permit is required for the following countries: Brazil, Burundi, Iraq, Nigeria and Somalia.

There are some general outlines which one should be aware of pin-pointing each diverse licence as such. Please have a look/read on this link from the AA-Organisation itself.

Our recommendation – Visit this Site “International Driving Permit” to get a once of solution. They will help you out instantly, just to save you the headache of all the Website’s out there.

Image above: AA-Permit for Namibia

So before you embark to Namibia for your vacation, kindly make certain that these requirements are adhered to in order to ensure that the insurance is valid in the terms of the rental agreement from the Company which you are hiring from. Vehicles cannot be handed over to clients who do not comply with these regulations mentioned above. Make sure to speak to your Rental Company who will gladly give you the best information needed.

• Also, read our past Blog Post on “Border Crossing Namibia”