11th to 17th of February, Naija Nomads conquered the first destination on the Nomad calendar. Nomads in Namibia was one of those experiences that will be deeply ingrained in our memory for a long time! Quadbiking (check), Sandboarding (check), sky diving (check)…we surely ticked off a lot of activities from our various bucket lists! The group, though small, gave us ego-boosting feed backs and we are pumped and ready for our next NOMAD EXPERIENCE!
I loved the memories from this trip. I wont forget it. It was a trip of many firsts for me. Sky diving, riding a quad bike, cooking while on holiday, going to a club I actually enjoyed while on holiday. Eating an oyster, being in a right side driving country, seeing real life pelicans and seals, sand boarding ( even though mine was an epic fail), the list is endless and the crew was the absolute best.
As we all know, nothing in this world is perfect, even when you have everything carefully planned and curated. On this trip, we had a bit of challenges which this post is all about. We’ll be sharing 5 lessons we learnt and we hope you’ll enjoy reading them and our tips will help you plan better when going to Namibia.
BE AT YOUR BOARDING GATE ON TIME
This year, we decided to do something different by giving free lounge passes to the Nomads. To avoid nomads sitting on the hard chairs in the Murtala Muhammed airport which is super uncomfortable, we decided to gift all our nomads (flying from Murtala Muhammed International Airport) free access to Oasis Lounge so they could eat, drink and relax before jetting out of the country.
After everyone was done with immigration, we all proceeded to the lounge. The Lounge is a really nice place to rest before your flight and if you are not careful, you will might just miss your flight. We almost did. Entering the lounge, we had a very nice reception, showed them our boarding passes before going in so they could notify us when they call us for boarding. This is the norm but for some odd reason this day was different.
We decided to leave 15 minutes (before the scheduled time) before the lounge receptionist even made attempt to notify us of our boarding. Getting downstairs, we saw some of the airline officials looking around for us and calling our names (the plane was actually waiting for these 6 Nigerians) for boarding. Apparently, our boarding gate had changed, hence the search for the last set of passengers.
Do not wait for the receptionist to announce to you before you leave the lounge. Always check your time so you know the right time leave. If possible, leave 30 minutes before your flight. You really do not want them calling your name and looking for you all around the airport.
WHEN TRAVELLING WITHIN AFRICA, PRINT OUT ALL YOUR DOCUMENTS
If you want to save enough energy to enjoy your holiday in Namibia or do not want to start giving Immigration officers at the Airport a million reasons why technology has made things easier, just make sure you have EVERY required document printed.
We landed Hosea Kutako International Airport, Windhoek in the early hours of the morning. However, the immigration officers at the arrival hall did not welcome us warmly into the country. For over 2 hours, the immigration officers kept us waiting in the hall for no other reason than being Nigerians. After interrogations that yielded no result, the boss on duty asked the lead curator to show her the confirmation of the group’s visit to Namibia which she had on the phone but the officers did not accept to check anything on the phone. She requested for a printed copy. As much as the lead curator tried to explain things to her, she just wouldn’t listen.
Why did I say the reason we were delayed was because we’re Nigerian? While sitting and waiting, beside the toilet, for them to approve our entry into the country, a group of white people arrived (about a 100 of them, if not more) and we watched how many of them showed the officers details from their phones, which they didn’t accept from us.
It is 2019 and a lot of things have changed. You should not have to carry printed documents around when you can just show on your phone. But for the sake of saving yourself time at the airport, we advise that you print out ALL your documents (especially when traveling within Africa). If that’s what would not let them grant your entry immediately, why not show/give them all you necessary information on paper.
ASK QUESTIONS BEFORE TAKING A TAXI
If you are not the type that likes to ask questions when you’re not sure about some things, in a new destination, Namibia will change you. So we had an encounter with a taxi driver in Windhoek. First, we’ll agree and take the fault for not asking him the right questions. After having breakfast at one of the malls in Windhoek, we decided to take a taxi back home as our designated driver was unavailable.
It took a long walk before getting one taxi. To avoid staying extra minutes waiting for another taxi, we decided to fit into one taxi. We asked for the cost to take us to our house and he gave us N$24. We asked, “can you car fit 6 people?”, he said yes and lastly we asked for the cost he repeated N$24 and that was how we thought 6 of us were paying that price in total. (How did 6 people sit in the car? We had 1 person in the front seat and 5 at the back (2 were sat on each other). Upon arrival at our destination, the driver requested for N$24 each from everyone. The shock on our faces! We disagreed because he didn’t mention earlier that it’s N$24 per person.
We realized our mistake (we did not ask if the N$24 was per person or for all the passengers) and gave him payment for 4 people. He rejected it saying we had to pay for 6. He also changed the price from N$24 to N$36 per person. After minutes of arguing and an “almost” fight, we let the whole thing slide. We were visitors in the city and did not want to end up having a bad holiday.
If you will be taking public transport (taxis), please ask the driver for his rate. Namibian taxis usually have rate sheet in their cars. Ask for it before leaving wherever he is picking you from. Agree on the cost to pay before you leave, not until you get to your destination.
DO NOT WEAR LONG FLARED PANTS IF GOING QUAD-BIKING
The day we went quad-biking was the day for the group’s photoshoot and on this trip the colour for the shoot was black. Everyone dressed gorgeously. I put on a ‘new’ jumpsuit (reason why I’m still hurt…lol) which was not flared at the lower part. Unknowingly, the breeze in the desert had blown my jumpsuit to the bike’s engine which burnt the lower part of the dress.
When going quad-biking, I’ll recommend a more fitted cut to avoid such mishaps. If you’ll be wearing a flared dress/pant, you should roll it up while riding so it doesn’t get burnt like mine. You can also wear shorts (depending on the weather at the time you will be visiting).
GIVE YOUR TOUR COMPANY THE EXACT TIME YOU NEED THEM
On some of our previous trips, if we need to set out of our accommodation at 10:00am, we usually give our guide 9:30am so he doesn’t arrive late. In Namibia is was pretty different. We were to leave for Quadbiking at 10:00am but as usual, we told the company’s driver 9:30am, so he could arrive on time. Thinking we were stepping out at exactly 9:30am, the driver came 20 minutes earlier to pick us. While waiting for us, the driver complained that we were keeping him waiting; but we tried to explain why we gave him an earlier time. Lesson learnt there.
Most tour companies in Namibia stick strictly to time. Any time you give them to arrive for pick up, they get their at least 20 minutes earlier. Do not panic about being late for your tours, just give them the exact time you’ll need them and be sure they’ll show up before your time.
The purpose of sharing these lessons with you is because we want you to have a seamless travel experience when you visit Namibia. We hope you picked one or two things from the lessons?
If you would like to visit Namibia, here are the essential things to help you plan your trip.