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Travel Namibia 55

56 Travel Namibia Olweendo Tourists are running out of fuel after a remote petrol station closes Mary Askew Running dry The fuel station at Kongola in the Eastern Caprivi has closed and many travellers are running out of fuel along the road. If you are heading out that way make sure you fill up at Bagani near Popa Falls and at Katima Mulilo. Tourist numbers The overall number of tourists visiting Namibia increased by 11 per cent last year – from 833,345 in 2006 to 928,912 in 2007. Visitors from France increased by 25 per cent, Germany by 14 per cent, Belgium by 71 per cent and Portugal by 30 per cent. Motorcycle journey Fancy sightseeing around Namibia on two wheels? A new book of motorbike routes details a ten- day trip from Windhoek to Etosha National Park. Great Motorcycle Journeys of the World by Colette Collman was released by New Holland Publishers in October 2008. Internet cafe Leading Lodges has opened an internet cafe for tourists at its Windhoek tourism centre on Independence Avenue. The centre will have a luggage storage facility and will also hire out satellite phones and GPS systems. Walvis Bay flight A ir Namibia will be providing services to and from Walvis Bay en route to Johannesburg and Cape Town. The flights, scheduled for Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, will start in October 2008. Travel shorts NAMIBIA FACTFILE n Lananguage: English ( official), Afrikaans, German and several ethnic languages n Timeimeime zonene: GMT+ 2 n Intnt diallinialliniallinialliniallinialling code: + 264 n Visas: Not required for UK and Ireland passport holders n Moneney: Namibian dollar ( N$), currently tied to the South African rand, which is widely accepted for cash payments. Banks are capable and efficient. Travellers' cheques in UK£ and US$ are both accepted. Most hotels, restaurants and shops accept credit cards; petrol stations require cash. ATM machines ( BOB tills) will accept foreign cards: you must select ' credit card account' regardless of actual account type. n GettinGettinGettinGettinGettinGetting thereereere: Air Namibia ( www. airnamibia. com. na) flies direct to Windhoek from London Gatwick three times a week. British Airways ( www. ba. com) and South African Airways ( www. flysaa. com) fly from London Heathrow to Johannesburg and offer good connections to Windhoek. n Internalnternalnternalnternalnternalnternalnternal flifliflights: Air Namibia operates a limited service. Small reliable, privately- run 4- 6 seater light aircraft link lodges and bush airstrips all over the country. Flying is the only way to access the northern Skeleton Coast. n SelfSelfSelfSelf- driveriveriverive: Roads are excellent, the traffic lights and signposting clear, making driving a pleasure. The trunk roads are very good tarmac, but most others are smooth gravel: stick to 80kmph on these as going faster frequently leads to accidents. A 2WD is ideal unless visiting in the rains or heading to off- beat areas like Bushmanland or Caprivi. n Placelacelacelaces to statay: Hotels are generally clean and safe. Private guest farms welcome visitors nationwide. Stylish lodges and bush camps are the norm in the wilds. Good, clean campsites are nearly everywhere. n SafetSafetSafetSafetSafety: Namibia is generally a very safe country. n HealtHealtHealtHealtHealth: Malaria occurs in the northeast and central Namibia - principally in Caprivi, Kavango, Owambo, and Northern Kunene. It does not occur in all these areas throughout the year and it's best to consult a travel clinic for the appropriate precautions a few weeks before you leave. Your tetanus, hepatitis A, polio and diphtheria jabs should be up to date. www. fitfortravel. scot. nhs. uk is a good source of information. n Peoplepleple: The Himba are probably the best- known ethnic group in Namibia, but the tribe make up just one per cent of Namibia's culturally diverse population. A large proportion of the population are Owambo, with smaller numbers of Kavango, Damara, Herero, San Bushmen, Topnaar and Tswana. Around 12.5% are White Namibians or mixed- race, mostly of Afrikaner or German descent. n GEOGOGRAPHYHY: Namibia is essentially a desert country, but it also has some widely contrasting landscapes including the thorn bush savannah and rugged mountains of the Central Plateau, the open plains of Etosha Pan and the lush flood plains of Caprivi. n FIND OUOUT MORE: Namibia Tourist Board www. namibiatourism. com. na A different view. Take a private small aircraft between lodges WolWol we d ans