Frequently Asked Questions
1. Travel insurance - is that necessary?
Yes, insurance whilst travelling with Chameleon Safaris is essential. All clients must be insured to cover aspects such as repatriation, medical expenses, personal accident, cancellation and curtailment. Proof of insurance can be requested and Chameleon have the right to refuse clients onto their safari without refund should the client not have insurance. In Southern Africa, many emergency services will not send a rescue service until proof of insurance has been issued so should you injure yourself you may end up without medical assistance, something not to be taken lightly. For more information click here.
2. What type of person travels with Chameleon and I am the right type of person?
A wide range of people from all walks of life and various countries join us on safari. We have no upper age restriction but we do ask clients to have a "sense of adventure" and be a team player, our minimum age is 5 years of age. The groups are made up of single travellers, couples, friends and families. However, when travelling together in a group each individual needs to have a degree of flexibility and patience.
3. We plan on doing a self-drive in Namibia -- can you help us?
Of course, we can help plan your itinerary, book campsites or accommodation and will be on hand to offer a meet and greet service when you arrive to go through your itinerary step by step with you and ensure you are happy before you depart for your trip. For information click here.
4. The roads in Namibia, what are they like?
Generally they are in excellent condition. Most of the roads and towns are well signposted. Major roads are tarred, the rest are gravel. Please, however, be aware that the conditions can change during the rainy season - please refer to our car rules and regulations for additional information. If you book a self drive we will ensure that you receive a map to help you find your way around.
5. On these safaris, what do I need to bring along?
We will provide you with a pre departure list before you travel - often it depends on the type of trip you are doing and the time of year you are travelling.
6. What can we expect typical Namibian weather to be like?
We have 2 main seasons, Winter - from May to September which is dry but can get very cold particularly at night during June/July/August and occasionally temperatures fall to freezing, during the day time it can reach 25c or so, depending on the location. Summer - October through to April is also the rainy season, temperatures increase significantly and it is not unusual to reach 35c or sometimes higher. The early rains (to December) are sporadic but January through to April can bring heavy rains which can occasionally last 2 or 3 days which also provide a welcome relief to the dry desert landscape.
7. Should I tip the guide or camp assistant & how much?
Tipping is certainly not compulsory but if you feel your guide/apprentice guide/camp assistant has done a good job and offered you an enjoyable and knowledgeable trip then rest assured they will always be happy to receive a tip. A guideline is N$20/day/person for your guide and N$10/day/person for your driver/camp assistant.
8. What are the Minimum and Maximum age limits?
No there isn't as long as you are prepared to come along with a "young at heart" attitude, be keen to be a team player and also aware that occasionally families can be joining you on safari, then this is for you. We do however ask that anyone over the age of 70 years provide us with a Medical Form from their doctor stating they are in good health as these are adventure trips. Minimum age on scheduled departures is 5 or 12 years of age (please check with us prior to confirming your booking if travelling with children), but we can quote on a private guided or self drive trip for the family if you are travelling with young children.
9. Will I need to bring a mattress or sleeping bag?
For camping safaris 5cm thick high density mattresses are supplied. Sleeping bags can be hired at a rate of N$20/day and are rated 3 seasons. In the winter months we give an additional blanket free of charge with each sleeping bag rental on Chameleon Safaris departures only. Clients travelling with Chameleon Safaris also get a small camping pillow for their camping adventure. Check your Safari Voucher to see which company you are travelling with prior to travel and perhaps you might like to carry a small camping pillow with you.
10. Should I expect changes to the issued itinerary?
Generally speaking each itinerary has had a lot of work put into it to ensure that you get to see the highlights of the country and the safest and best way. However, sometimes, there are factors beyond our control, which means that the itinerary may change and each tour operator reserves the right to do this. Generally these changes are minor and your tour operator will do their best to advise clients but occasionally this will happen whilst on the road, this is the time to make the most of it and enjoy the adventure of being in Africa.
11. Is Namibia a malaria area? What about other health issues?
Areas north of Windhoek pose a small risk of malaria, which increases during the wet season, however, the further east you travel (Caprivi Strip) or into Botswana or Zambia the risk increases. The best way to prevent malaria is to not get bitten by wearing long sleeves/pants, putting on repellent and ensuring that your tent is zipped up to prevent mossies getting into the tent. Please seek the advice of a specialist health centre or visit your doctor prior to your trip to give you up to date advice on prophylactics but please be aware that this still does not give you 100% protection. Your doctor will also give you advice on other health requirements.
12. Can you cater for vegetarian dietary requirements?
This is no problem as long as you advise us in advance what you do and do NOT eat. This is equally important if you suffer from any food allergies etc.
With regards to specific diets such as vegetarian and vegan, we will do our best to accommodate you but again please realise that the choice of foods here in Namibia may not always be the same as you will be able to purchase at home. If you have very specific requirements please liaise with us asap and discuss what the best course of action will be for you and if you may need to bring something from home if our shops do not supply them.
We also find an increasing trend towards Veganism and Flexitarian eating plans which may be more difficult for us to cater for in group travel as food is pre-purchased before the safari. Lots of communication with our office PRIOR to travel should help us identify the food types that you can eat and ensure that your stomach is satisfied for the duration of your tour.
13. Will I have WiFi whilst on safari?
In most of the camp sites and some bush lodges WiFi is nonexistent, however, in towns such as Windhoek & Swakopmund you will easily be able to get back online and tell everyone how much fun you are having. If having an internet connection is very important then you can also consider buying a local MTC sim card for your cellphone, however the data connection in some parts of Namibia may not be very stable.
15. Will I be able to recharge my electrical devices?
Our newer trucks now have USB charging ports on board so you can charge as you travel. Adaptors for our unique 3point plugs can also be purchased in our Activity/Curio shop prior to travel to charge overnight either in your room or campsite.
16. What's the best way for me to take money with me?
Travellers Cheques are no longer valid. If you bring cash with you, (US$/Euro/GBP/AUD) ensure you change at the airport on arrival or in Windhoek the day prior to your safari departure. Small amounts of cash are needed for drinks/snacks en-route but credit/debit cards are widely accepted (Visa/Mastercard symbols required) and ATM machines are accessible in all major towns.
17. Can I book pre and/or post safari accommodation?
Check your itinerary to see if pre-safari accommodation in Windhoek is included on the 1st night of your safari. For those traveling on the scheduled camping options or our fabulous adventure accommodated trips, we love our clients staying with us at Chameleon “all star” Backpackers, so we can get to know you before you head out on safari. If your comfort level is a little higher we are also happy to book accommodation elsewhere within the City Limits to enable your collection the following morning to be present at the Pre-Departure meeting held at Chameleon Backpackers prior to your vehicle departing on safari. Airport transfers can also be organized with your Chameleon consultant or through our safari office for your arrival and departure flights.
18. Can I combine my safari with a volunteer project?
There are several really interesting volunteer projects in Namibia and depending on what your interests are there is surely something to suit. The options range from spending time at an animal orphanage, to conservation work tracking and monitoring desert elephants, to medical placements working with the San people or more social welfare minded projects in the township. Depending on the project that you choose, some may be more structured than others, however there is always the option to combine this with a short or longer safari. Just let us know before you book and we can give you as many options as possible.
20. Can you help us, if we are a couple of friends travelling together?
Just let us know which safari suits you and how many people – including children under 12 – that are traveling together. Depending on seat availability you can travel on the scheduled departure and groups of more can qualify for a group discount. If there is enough of you travelling we maybe able to offer a departure as a private departure but this is normally associated with additional cost, contact us for more information if you are a group.
21. We cannot travel on the dates for the safari that we like departs - is there anything you can do about this?
Depending on what your dates are and how many people travelling we will look first for scheduled options that suit you, however if there are none we can quote on a private departure using the same or similar accommodation depending on what is available. Contact us with more information so we can provide the best solution for you.
22. Is there a cell phone reception?
Again, in the towns and in some rural locations there will be cell phone reception but be aware that being in some remote areas will mean that there is no cell phone or landline reception. For any family emergency at home please use the Chameleon Safaris office number +264 61247668 which can be used to ensure that we will get a message through to the guide as fast as possible.
24. Is Namibia a child and family friendly destination?
Yes, it's a safe country and often regarded as a great place not only for first time travellers to Africa but also for families. The infrastructure is good, water is generally safe to drink and there is plenty to keep everyone of all ages occupied. You can either join one of the scheduled safaris, have a tailor-made safari prepared for you or enjoy a self-drive holiday.
25. I'm a solo traveller, can I still book your safaris?
We love solo travelers and they make up a large segment of our safari clients. Check our Safari pages as we sometimes run specials or recommend specific trips more suitable to our solo travelers and their pockets. On many of our trips (camping and accommodated) there is no additional supplement for single travelers when booking on a ‘willing to share’ basis so enquire with our office as to which options are the ‘best value’ for solo travelers.
26. I would like to see the Himba people when I am in Namibia - Where and how can I do this?
The Himba people mainly live in the North West part of Namibia. Please remember when you visit the tribes to show respect to them and their cultures and views. They are also changing to the environment that they are living in today so do not be surprised to see them in modern clothing or occasionally clutching a cell phone! Please also be aware that whilst we endeavour to arrange walks and meetings with the tribes they choose what and when they wish to do things and this occasionally can be out of our control. Northern Adventure & Namibian Explorer both include a visit to the Himba people. Also the Dunes and Wildlife and Namibian Circuit have a short cultural exchange with a Himba Community en-route between Etosha and Swakopmund. If you are keen to incorporate a cultural experience and you are looking for a tailor-made safari then please advise us when you make your enquiry and we can incorporate this into your trip.