It’s some of the most exciting news we’re heard in a while – Namibia is now open for international tourism! This vast country has seen some of the world’s lowest Covid-19 cases and deaths, and with a low population density and wide open spaces perfect for social distancing, it’s a dream post-lockdown destination.
Namibia is a vast country of more than 825 square kilometres – 3.5 times the size of the UK and 2.5 times the size of Germany. Yet it has a population of less than 3 million people – less than 4 people per square kilometre. This compares to 280 people per square kilometre in the UK and 233 in Germany. Namibia has first-class health infrastructure with medical facilities and hospitals which meet high international standards of hygiene and treatment. The country has seen less than 100 deaths from Covid-19.
It is the perfect country for a safe, socially distanced travel experience!
On September 1st 2020 Windhoek’s Hosea Kutako Airport re-opened to international tourists. Our three projects in Namibia are all now open – the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary and Carnivore Research Programmes are open now, and the Elephant Conservation Programme is running its first project in October. We couldn’t be more excited!
The Namibian government have implemented a number of tourism requirements:
? Entry must be via Hosea Kutako Airport in Windhoek. Walvis Bay Airport is not yet open for international tourist arrivals.
? All travellers must have a negative PCR Covid-19 result not older than 72 hours before boarding their flight to Namibia.
✍? All travellers must complete an epidemiological questionnaire, which is to be handed in to the health staff on ground at the airport (we will send you this form before your departure).
?? Upon exiting the airport, tourists go straight to their pre-booked volunteer programme, where you are able to participate in all the normal volunteer activities, where you must stay for a minimum of a week.
? On day five, you must undergo a further test which will be done at the project. On day seven you will receive the result of the swab test and if the result is negative, you are free to enjoy the rest of your stay, hassle free! If the test is positive, you will be taken to a Ministry of Health & Social Services facility for isolation and treatment as required. Treatment and accommodation is at your own cost and will be administered according to national case management guidelines.
What does this mean specifically for our Namibia projects?
Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary / Carnivore Research Programme
Volunteers will transfer directly by project vehicle to the sanctuary. The project have limited the number of passengers in transfer vehicles to allow for spaces between volunteers. All vehicles are equipped with hand sanitiser. Volunteers and drivers must wear masks when in vehicles, and volunteers are expected to bring an adequate supply of appropriate masks.
On arrival at the sanctuary, all volunteers will receive temperature screening and will need to complete the contact tracing form.
On day five, you will be retested for Covid-19 on site by the sanctuary doctor. Test results will be given on day seven, after which you will be permitted to travel onwards, or travel to one of the Carnivore Research Sites. On-site testing will incur a cost, paid locally, of N$1,700 per person (around US$100).
If the results are positive, volunteers will need to stay in a government isolation facility – at your own expense. Luckily, the sanctuary is a government registered isolation facility, so any isolation period can be done on site. Should you need medical care, the sanctuary is close to some of the best medical facilities in the country.
All volunteers must get a Namibian telephone number for contact tracing purposes. SIM cards and top up credit can be purchased at the sanctuary on arrival.
While you are at the sanctuary, you can participate in all the normal activities. The normal minimum stay at the sanctuary is two weeks, but to give you more flexibility, you can now stay for a week if that works better for you! Note that if you do stay for a week, you may not get to experience all the normal sanctuary activities as these are run on a two-week rotation.
Health and safety procedures – please ask for clarification or more details on any of the points below, we are very happy to help!
- Hand sanitiser will be available at all times in any location where volunteers will be present.
- All vehicles will have a supply of spare masks, however we do expect people to have and use their own masks.
- Restriction to the number of passengers in our vehicles to allow for spaces between guests (all vehicles have hand sanitiser).
- No more than 4 people to sit together at meal times.
- Plates of food will be dished up by kitchen staff for volunteers, instead of self-service.
- There will no longer be daily housekeeping. For the first seven days only the volunteer is permitted in their own tent. after the 7th day with a negative test result, housekeeping will clean the tents.
- All staff have received training on the new procedures and strict hygiene rules are in place which are monitored by management. This particularly applies to the kitchen and housekeeping staff due to an increase in sanitising requirements.
Elephant Conservation Programme
Volunteers will transfer directly from Windhoek HK Airport to Swakupmond. The transfers services adhere to the guidelines from the Namibian Tourist Board, keeping a space seat between passengers, having a supply of hand sanitiser and masks on board. The driver will advise volunteers to sanitise their hands on every entry and exit to the vehicle.
On arrival at your guesthouse
Volunteers must complete a medical and travel declaration upon check-in and there will be temperature checks of all volunteers every morning. Sanitiser will be available throughout the accommodation and enhanced cleaning procedures have been put in place. Housekeeping will only clean rooms which are empty.
On the project
There are two designated staff members who are responsible for implementing and monitoring the project’s Health & Safety Policy. It is compulsory to wear masks when interacting with communities and use hand sanitiser frequently. Close interactions with the local community will be limited. Volunteers will be issued with an eco bag upon arrival which will contain their own plate, cup, bowl and utensils to be used through the duration of their time on the project. This is much easier to manage given the camping nature of the programme.
Health and safety procedures – please ask for more details or clarification on any points
- Game drive vehicles will be cleaned twice a day and be stocked with supplies of hand sanitiser and spare masks.
- Volunteers will choose a seat on the vehicle and keep to this for their entire stay.
- Volunteers are required to bring masks / buffs for the entire stay and adequate supplies of hand sanitiser.
- There must be one spare seat between each passenger
- Temperatures will be taken each morning and prior to departing camp by a trained staff member
- Tents will be available for people to sleep on their own
Should a volunteer test positive or is suspected of being infected, they will be isolated and taken to a medical facility in an open vehicle. The rest of the team will remain isolated with each other.
Although the precautions being put in place seem daunting, we know that they will not impact your enjoyment of the programmes at all. Our projects want to ensure that you feel personally safe and secure, so you can concentrate on having an amazing time and making a real impact.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
We’re seeing a steady stream of enquiries for 2021, which looks set to be a busy year for travel. With Namibia opening already, now is definitely not too early to book your place on any of our projects. To book with peace of mind, we are offering refundable deposits and flexible booking terms – secure your place with a deposit of just $300.
Please get in touch for more information about any of our projects or click to book your place!