Expats moving to Namibia will find a paradise of natural beauty. Home to two deserts, spectacular coastlines and populous national parks, the country boasts unique wonders.
Namibia, a former German colony, was annexed by South Africa after WWI and remained a South African province until the country's independence in 1990. Namibia’s economy is based primarily on agriculture and mining, specifically diamonds. Its many natural attractions have resulted in a thriving tourism sector.
Most expats moving to Namibia settle in its capital, Windhoek, which is the social, political, cultural and economic centre of the country.
Thanks to the country's large desert terrain, Nambia is one of the least densely inhabited countries in the world. As a result, expats can easily escape the city for a weekend getaway to some of Namibia's more isolated areas.
While some public transport is available, getting around Namibia is easiest by road. The primary roads are paved and in good condition, but expats looking to drive on the more rural roads should consider a four-wheel drive vehicle. Caution should be maintained when driving at night, as animals can frequently be found crossing the roads.
Having access to healthcare in Namibia is vital, especially as the northern part of the country is a malaria risk zone. In the capital and some of the bigger towns, there are good medical facilities with well-trained staff, but as treatment can be expensive, medical insurance is advised. Namibia has both private and public hospitals, with the latter being more prevalent and serving most of the country's citizens. The standard of the public hospitals, in comparison to the private hospitals, is below average in many areas. Outside of the main towns, medical treatment is scarcer.
Education in Namibia is compulsory from the ages of 6 to 16 years old. The government provides free primary education at public schools for all children, but uniforms, books, hostels and school improvement fees must be paid for by parents. There are roughly 1,500 schools in Namibia, 100 of which are private. The schools are predominately English, but there are also Afrikaans and German schools, as well as schools following international curricula.
Finding a job in Namibia can be difficult, as the government tends to hire locals over expats because of the country’s high unemployment rate. Conducting business in Namibia, as well as the dress code that accompanies it, is relatively formal but socialising and drinking are considered important parts of building good work relationships. English is the language most spoken in business, along with Afrikaans and German.
Those relocating to Namibia will probably not experience a huge culture shock. Namibian society is a blend of traditions and cultures set against an astoundingly beautiful landscape. Those living in Namibia should embrace the desert and all that it brings.
Are you an expat living in Namibia?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Namibia. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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