The unique landscapes of Namibia are dramatic and diverse. Located in south-west Africa, it is the place of the world’s tallest sand dunes, coastlines scattered with shipwrecks and desert-adapted wildlife. Whilst the towns and cities reflect the German architecture from its colonial past, in the remote landscapes you will still find the nomadic Himba tribes who survive in some of the world’s harshest environments.

Namibia is a land of contrasts. It is home to some of the largest diamond mines in the world yet over half of the population is in poverty. Those with an interest in the great outdoors and environmental studies will not be disappointed.

Volunteering

With over half of the population in poverty, NGOs are in need of assistance for community and social welfare based projects. There are teaching English opportunities in rural areas.

Environmental Studies and Wildlife Conservation

Namibia’s breath-taking scenery is one of its biggest draws so look for environmental study projects. With many endemic species and animals that have adapted to their harsh environments there are opportunities to participate in scientific research.

Adventure Travel and Backpacking

Namibia is a great destination to travel around and most visitors travel by road to appreciate the incredible scenery. There are mini bus services between the main towns although you may prefer to rent a car. Some of the sites are accessed by gravel roads but in some areas a four-wheel drive is necessary. It is illegal to hitch within the national parks. The Sperrgebeit National Park stretches from the southern part of Namib Naukluft Park to the border of Namibia and South Africa. This area is strictly out of bounds as it is an area of diamond mining. You will see it marked on maps as ‘Restricted Diamond Area’ and trespassers will be prosecuted.

So you’ve made your mind up on a gap year in Namibia, what can you expect when you get there?

Cost of Living in Namibia

Namibia is currently a relatively cheap destination, particularly with the weakening of the South African rand which can be used. You can find a range of hostel and backpacker accommodation throughout the key towns but expect to pay more in Windhoek.

Culture and Etiquette in Namibia

Learning a few words of German and Afrikaans may assist you. Avoid taking photos of government buildings such as the State House. Ask permission before taking photos of army or police officers.

Health and Safety in Namibia

Please visit your medical practitioner at least eight weeks before your planned trip to ensure you have the necessary vaccinations. A yellow fever certificate is required if coming from an endemic country.

Be aware of the changing temperatures. Desert temperatures can be excessively hot during the days and freezing at night.

Tourists and visitors have been victims of crime in the capital, Windhoek so ensure you do not carry large sums of cash or have cameras or phones on show. Thefts from vehicles at service stations have occurred. If you are planning to drive around Namibia many of the roads are dirt or gravel and punctures are common so ensure you have at least two spare tires and plenty of water. Avoid driving at night as livestock and wildlife may be on the roads. Do not enter townships at night.

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If you are planning to try some of the many adventure sports available in Namibia such as dune boarding or quad biking, ensure your travel insurance covers you for this.

Contributed by Kay Durden

Gap Year Programs in Namibia

Displaying 1 - 3 of 3 programs
The Leap
Wildlife, Reserve Conservation, & Adventure in Namibia
Namibia
10 •8 reviews

For a conservation experience you can't beat this pioneering...

British Exploring
BSES - Gap Year Program in Namibia
Namibia

Spend your gap year in Namibia, an unforgettable experience that will...

Gap Year Volunteering in Namibia

Volunteering is a great way to experience Namibia on your gap year
  • Worldwide Experience
    Worldwide Experience: Conserving Wildlife in Namibia
    Namibia
    10 •1 review

    Take up this opportunity to contribute to conservation, rehabilitation...

  • Edge of Africa
    Community & Conservation Projects in Africa
    Multiple Countries
    9.46 •13 reviews

    Community, Medical & Teaching: In South Africa you can assist with...

  • Bhubesi Pride
    Volunteer and Teach Ruby Throughout Africa
    Multiple Countries
    9 •6 reviews

    After a hugely successful 2014 project in which we worked with 46...

  • College for International Co-Operation and Development
    Fight for the poor throughout Africa, 21 month volunteer program - from £350
    Multiple Countries
    10 •2 reviews

    CICD has taken an active stand to some of the most burning issues of...

  • CICD
    Volunteer in England, Africa and India with CICD!
    Multiple Countries
    10 •2 reviews

    Ready for new challenges? Then our programme is for you! CICD in...

  • Pod Volunteer
    Pod Volunteer - Elephant Conservation in Namibia
    Namibia

    Join an award winning elephant conservation team to help protect and...

  • NamIntern
    Volunteer Experiences in Namibia with NamIntern
    Namibia

    NamIntern facilitates a variety of volunteer opportunities in one of...

  • Natucate
    Volunteer Abroad Namibia – Elephant Conservation
    Namibia

    As a volunteer in this unique elephant conservation project you will...

  • The Great Projects
    Carnivore Conservation and Research in Namibia
    Namibia
    8 •1 review

    It is estimated that Namibia is home to one-third of the world’s...

New Jobs

View the latest job postings on our job board. A great way to earn work experience during your gap year!

What People Are Saying

I miss waking up at camp every morning surrounded by an incredibly special group of people, knowing that each day would start with a new adventure and end watching the insane Namibian sunset. Red and...

Lunar Eclipse at Basecamp

Such an incredible month. Would 100% do it all again. It really was an experience that I will never forget and this was all down to Andrea and Red. They made the trip so enjoyable and everything we...

Last hike of the trip.

I had the most incredible time in Namibia even though it flew by. We achieved so much in a short month. The conservation activities were fun and fascinating to be a part of. A particular favourite of...

Oana

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