Travel to Namibia: Pets and Vaccinations

By | June 9, 2021


Import and export

The importation of dogs (and cats) into Namibia has become more complicated than it was a few years ago. The procedure is too complicated to explain in detail here. Three different permits are required for import, which can only be obtained one after the other. In addition, the dog or cat may be inspected at the airport in Windhoek after entry and must then also be presented to a veterinarian on site within the first few days.

In addition to various proofs that the dog does NOT have certain diseases, the dog must also be given various prophylactic drugs. All of this must be done in a precisely defined time window shortly before departure. Veterinarians in Germany can only help to a limited extent with the procedure, as they are usually not familiar with the Namibian regulations in detail. In addition, in Germany, in addition to your ‘own’ vet, the official vet must also be involved.

Fortunately, there are various German-speaking veterinarians in Windhoek who are well versed in the formalities, e.g. in the Windhoek Veterinary Clinic. It is therefore recommended to get in touch with one of these vets and then, if necessary, establish direct contact between the vet in Namibia and your ‘own’ vet in Germany. In any case, you should initiate the export process very early on (a few months before departure) and carefully observe the complicated and very strict deadlines.

According to ehangzhou, the actual transport from Germany to Namibia and vice versa is also becoming increasingly difficult. You should make sure that the dog or cat is not sent as ‘cargo’, but is checked in directly with your own luggage and as ‘excess baggage’ for the same flight with which you are flying. That is quite expensive, but then you get your dog / cat handed over to you with your own luggage on arrival.

Currently (as of December 2019) the ‘check-in’ of a pet for a direct flight from or to Windhoek is apparently only possible with KLM from or to Amsterdam. Air Namibia now only sends dogs / cats as freight. As cargo, the dog / cat is not delivered with the luggage on arrival in Frankfurt, but after a time-consuming administrative process with several stations crisscrossing Frankfurt airport, it finally has to be from the so-called ‘Animal Lounge’ in the cargo area (Gate 26) to be picked up. The whole process took several hours and then cost another € 140, in addition to the actual freight costs. In Windhoek, however, this should be far less complicated, since the airport is much smaller and clearer.

Other airlines, which offer direct flights from Frankfurt to Windhoek, unfortunately only fly code-sharing with Air Namibia and are therefore in fact also Air Namibia flights. This applies, for example, to Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa / Condor. Eurowings also flies directly to Windhoek, but according to my information does not take any animals on the route to Windhoek (not even as cargo). As a direct flight option for pets as ‘luggage’, there is currently only KLM to / from Amsterdam. However, this can change again at any time (even at short notice).

On-site supply

The local supply situation for pets is very good, at least in the larger towns. In Windhoek, Swakopmund and other larger places etc. there are good veterinarians (many also speak German). Dog and cat food from various manufacturers is also available (including special food). Dogs are also taken care of during vacation etc. There are various options here, including boarding houses for dogs.

Vaccinations and precautionary measures

Due to the altitude, large parts of Namibia have a very healthy climate with pleasant temperatures and low humidity. There are probably only a few places in Africa that have such an extremely pleasant climate all year round as, for example, Windhoek, which is at an altitude of about 1600 m.

Most of the country is also largely free of malaria, so that – apart from a few areas in the north – no malaria prophylaxis is necessary. In the north of the country (especially in the Zambezi region) you should consider malaria prophylaxis for shorter stays during and especially shortly after the rainy season. The Namibian doctors know the country very well and can therefore assess when and where malaria prophylaxis is to be recommended far better than the doctors in Germany.

Since there is a high number of tuberculosis cases in Namibia, the TBC protection should definitely be checked and renewed if necessary. Otherwise, all vaccinations are recommended that a ‘vaccinated’ European usually received anyway. In addition to the TB vaccination, this also includes tetanus and polio. Hepatitis A and B vaccinations won’t hurt either. The author was also recommended to be vaccinated against rabies and meningococci before leaving the country.

A yellow fever vaccination is not necessary for Namibia (itself). However, it can be useful and, if necessary, absolutely necessary when traveling to Zambia. Suddenly in 2011 South Africa suddenly asked for a yellow fever vaccination from all travelers from Namibia who were in Zambia shortly before leaving for South Africa. This also specifically applied to transit passengers who flew from Namibia via Johannesburg to Germany and had to change trains in Johannesburg.

At this point it should be pointed out once again that this is and cannot be vaccination advice! All information is to the best of our knowledge, but without any guarantee! Professionally qualified vaccination information can be obtained from your family doctor or a tropical medical examination center.

Finally, it should be remembered that Namibia is one of the countries with the highest HIV infection rates in the world. About 15% of the population of Namibia (based on the proportion of the population between 15 and 60 years of age) is infected with HIV, in the Zambezi region (Caprivi Strip) the infection rate is up to 40%! The risk of infection is significantly higher than in Germany, so you should behave accordingly.

Further information can also be found in the relevant information from the Federal Foreign Office and travel medical information portals.

Travel to Namibia