The post is efficient and reasonably reliable. A postcard to Europe or the US costs N$2.50, and an airmail letter N$2.60 (N$2.80 to the US); delivery to Europe takes about a fortnight. For larger items, sending them by sea is much cheaper, but it may take up to three months and isn't recommended for fragile items.Telephone, fax and email
Dialling into Namibia, the country code is 264. Dialling out, the international access code is 00. In both cases, omit the first 0 of the area code. You can dial internationally, without going through the operator, from any public phone box, provided you've enough coins or a phonecard (although note that most public phones take only cards). Phonecards (Telecards) are available in denominations of N$10, N$20 and N$50 from post offices and several shops, including many supermarkets.
Namibia's telephone system has been almost entirely upgraded, with many remote areas converted from old manual exchanges to direct-dial numbers. Generally three-digit area codes – like 061, 064 and 063 – are exceedingly easy to reach, whilst some of the remaining manual country exchanges, and party lines, can prove a nightmare.
If faxing from abroad, always dial the number yourself, with your fax machine set to manual. Wait until you are properly connected (listen for a high-pitched tone), and then try to send your fax.
Note that 'a/h' written next to a phone number means 'after hours' – ie: a number where the person is reachable in the evenings and at weekends. Often this is included for emergency contact, not for casual enquiries. GSM cellphones
will work in many areas of central Namibia, though not in the more remote corners of the country. You may need to 'enable' this function with your service provider before leaving home.Email
is common, but don't expect swift responses to all your emails to Namibia. There are plenty of internet cafés
in major towns, and many hotels and backpackers' lodges have internet facilities too.
There are no official press restrictions in Namibia, and generally there's a healthy level of debate and criticism in some of the media, although that's not to say that important issues don't sometimes escape public scrutiny because of powerful pressures on editors. In short, it's just like back home!
There is a choice of about seven commercial newspapers, which are easiest to obtain in the larger cities. Getting them elsewhere often means that you will be a few days out of date. The Namibian and the Windhoek Advertiser are probably the best during the week, and the Windhoek Observer on Saturday is also good. One or two of the others are written in Afrikaans and German.Radio and TV
The government-sponsored Namibia Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) accounts for most of the radio and all of Namibia's normal TV stations. They broadcast radio in six languages from Windhoek, and in three languages from transmitters in the north of the country.
There are currently two local commercial radio stations in Windhoek: Radio Energy and Radio 99. Away from Windhoek and the larger centres, the radio and public TV can be difficult to receive. If you're travelling around in a car, make sure you bring lots of music tapes.
NBC broadcasts one public TV channel, and there are several commercial networks on offer. These satellite channels offer a variety of international news, sport and movie channels – the same the world over. By far the most common is the South African based Mnet TV, which is installed in many of the larger hotels.
Sockets usually supply alternating current at 220/240V and 50Hz. The plugs are the old standard British design, with three round pins. These are available in all the towns, though adapters are less easy to find. Often taking a screwdriver to rewire your appliance on to a local plug is the easiest way to ensure that it will work.