International Driving Permit Namibia

What is an International Driving Permit or License?

An International Driving Permit or License is a document that allows foreigners to drive private or rented vehicles in a foreign country. However, an IDP is not an independent document and has no legal strength on its own. Rather, it is your local driving license translated into twelve (12) most widely used languages all around the world. The languages in which your valid driving license is translated at the time of issuance of IDP include English, Spanish, Russian, Italian, Arabic, Chinese, German and French.

Anyone who holds a valid driving license issued by the local authorities of his/her country/state is eligible to apply for the issuance of an IDP after payment of a nominal fee.

What is the difference between an International Driving Permit (IDP) and an International Driver’s License (IDL)?

International Driving Permit (IDP) and International Driver’s License (IDL) are alternate terms without any specific difference in meaning. In some countries, the term IDP is used while other countries prefer the term IDL. However, IDP is considered a more appropriate term because there is no independent driving license that is issued for international use. Rather a driving permit is issued temporarily, for a limited period, enabling the holder of the permit to drive vehicles outside the boundaries of one’s own country/state, while the basic document remains the local driving license issued by the relevant authority of your country of residence.

How does an IDP work in Namibia?

Namibia is a contracting party to the International Convention for Road Traffic. Hence, the country is bound to accept valid IDPs issued by other countries. In addition to this, the nationals of Namibia are also eligible to apply for an International Driving Permit if they hold a valid driving license issued under the Namibian Road Traffic and Transport Laws.

The foreigners visiting Namibia must have a valid international driver’s license issued by the relevant authority if they intend to drive vehicles in the country.

What Do You Need To Apply for an IDP in Namibia?

You may be thinking that the process of applying for an IDP must be long or hectic but on the contrary, it is very simple and hassle-free. Anyone who holds a valid driving license issued by the domestic authority of one’s country or state is eligible to apply for an international permit. A list of documents required for the issuance of IDP is given below for your convenience:-

  • Copy of your valid Passport or National Identity Card
  • Complete details of your national driving license
  • A legible scanned image of your domestic driving license
  • Recent passport-size photographs of yourself
  • A fee of USD 49/- for the issuance of an IDP with a validity period of one year

United Nations Agreements on Road Traffic:-

The country of Namibia is a contracting party to the International United Nations Convention on Road Traffic for decades. The authorized officials of the Namibian Government ratified the Geneva Convention on Road Traffic, 1949 on October 13, 1993. Being a contracting party to the Geneva Convention, Namibia is bound to devise and enforce traffic rules and regulations according to international standards.

The rules and regulations prescribed under the Convention include the implementation of proper procedures for the issuance of driving licenses to its citizens, making it mandatory for every citizen to attend driving courses both theoretical and practical, and pass required tests for the issuance of a valid driving license.

In addition to the above, the Namibian Government is also required to allow tourists to drive vehicles around the country if they hold a valid international permit issued by any other country.

Benefits of Carrying an IDP in Namibia:-

If I already have a valid driver’s license and an international permit is only the translated version of my domestic license, why do I need an IDP in the first place? This question pops into the mind of many, however, the answer to your questions lies in the following benefits of carrying an international driving permit in Namibia:-

Proof of Identity in a Foreign Country:-

An International Driver’s License not only allows you to drive vehicles in Namibia but also serves as proof of your identity during your trip. We all find it cumbersome to carry multiple documents while exploring a foreign country, however, if you have a valid IDP with you, no other identity document may be required by the traffic police to confirm your identity.

Evidence of Your Local Driving License:-

An IDP is issued to only those who have a valid driving license issued by the relevant authority of their country/state. Hence, your IDP serves as evidence of the fact that you hold a valid driving license and are legally allowed to drive vehicles within the boundaries of your country as well as a foreign country.

Legal Document:-

International laws have been framed for the safety of everyone irrespective of their nationality and to allow people to explore the world without any difficulty. The issuance of IDP is just another yet important step, in the process of making international traveling more convenient and hassle-free. The international driving permit is a legal document backed by international treaties which allow foreign travelers to drive vehicles outside the territory of their country.

Eligible to Rent a Car:-

A valid International Driver’s Permit doesn’t only let you drive private vehicles in Namibia but also makes you eligible to hire vehicle(s) for rent. The car rental agencies do not rent motor vehicles to tourists unless they present a valid IDP along with a copy of their passport.

Peace of Mind:-

Having a valid International Driver’s Permit gives you peace of mind that you are eligible to drive vehicles during your visit to Namibia as and when required. Even if you have a local driver with you, in case of any unfortunate event or any emergency, you don’t need to depend on anyone else and can take matters into your own hands.

When should I get a Namibian Driver’s License?

The citizens of Namibia can apply for a learner license at the age of seventeen (17) or above which remains valid for eighteen (18) months from the date of issuance. After the lapse of the relevant period, the holder of a learner’s license becomes eligible to apply for a regular driver’s license. However, for the issuance of an International Driver’s license, the minimum age limit is twenty-three (23) years. The application process for issuance of a driver’s license in Namibia involves the submission of the following documents:-

  • A valid identity document
  • An application form duly filled with complete particulars
  • A visual test proving that you are eligible to drive
  • Payment of government fees
  • Individuals above the age of sixty-five (65) are required to submit a medical certificate along with the documents listed above.

The maximum validity period of an International Driver’s license is three years. Hence, if a foreigner’s stay in Namibia exceeds three years, he/she may be required to apply for a Namibian driving license.

In addition to the above, individuals who wish to buy a vehicle in Namibia are also required to produce a valid Namibian Driver’s License along with proof of employment exceeding six months in the country.

Renewing Your IDP or Original Driver’s License While in Namibia:-

If your International Driver’s license expires during your visit to Namibia, you can easily apply for the renewal of said license by contacting the relevant authority which issued your original IDP in the first place. In most countries, the online process of renewal of IDPs is available and can be easily completed through the relevant website or mobile application.

However, while traveling abroad, travelers should keep in mind that the document based on which an IDP is issued is your local license. Hence, your IDP expires as soon as your local license expires and the expiry of your domestic license makes your IDP invalid. Hence, make sure that the validity period of your domestic license is not going to lapse while being on a foreign visit. However, if your domestic license expires during your trip, contact the issuing authority of your local license and go through the process of renewal.

For the citizens of Namibia, the process of renewal of a Namibian driving license depends on the submission of the following documents before the Roads Authority Namibia:-

  • A Driving license renewal notice or renewal application, as the case may be.
  • Certified copy of Namibian ID or copy of Namibian Driving license
  • Expired Driving license in original.
  • In case the original expired driving license is not available, the applicant is required to submit an affidavit in this regard.
  • As per the laws of the country, a request for the renewal of a license must be submitted within 12 months of expiry. However, in case of delay in submission of the request, an explanation of such delay must be submitted along with the renewal application.
  • Payment of renewal fee.

Car Rental in Namibia:-

Multiple car rental agencies are working in Namibia which offer different types of vehicles as per the requirement of individuals. However, keeping in view the condition of roads it is advisable and preferred to hire a 4×4 for your road trips in Namibia. The car rental agencies also provide traveling equipment such as water-resistant rooftop, cookware, propane tank, camp chairs table, lantern, etc., first aid kit, maps, car equipment, and many more for rent in addition to renting vehicles.

If you are wondering about insurance options, car rental agencies offer different kinds of insurance depending on your budget, vehicle, and the area you are going to visit, however, in most cases, the insurance will not cover everything.

Foreign travelers cannot hire vehicles for rent unless they produce a valid IDP having a validity period of a minimum of six months along with the following documents:-

  • Passport-size photograph of the individual taking the car on rent
  • The contact number of the individual
  • Complete particulars of valid driving license
  • Copy of valid ID card, passport, or VISA

The minimum age to hire vehicles in Namibia is twenty-four (24) years and an additional surcharge is payable by persons below the age of twenty-four (24) even if car rental agencies agree to provide services to an under-age person.

Driving and Safety in Namibia:-

Just like any other country, traffic rules and regulations have been implemented in the country of Namibia which are as per International standards. If you wish to drive vehicles around the country of Namibia, you should be aware of the following:-

Drive on the Left Side of the Road:-

The first and foremost thing you should be aware of is that Namibians drive on the left-hand side of the road. If you are a resident of a country where vehicles are driven on the right-hand side, you may end up mistaking your windshield wipers as your turn signals.

Keep the headlights on throughout the day:-

You may find it strange, however, as per Namibian traffic laws, you have to keep the headlights of the vehicle on throughout the day. In case of non-compliance, you may have to face heavy fines.

Use of Seat Belts is Mandatory:-

Unlike some countries where the use of seat belts is mandatory only for drivers and passengers sitting in the front, in Namibia all the passengers are required to wear seat belts at all times.

Avoid Driving at Night:-

During your stay in Namibia, avoid taking any trip at night because while traveling at night you may come across animals crossing the road which is highly dangerous for your safety as well as risks the well-being of animals.

Documents to carry while driving:-

The drivers in Namibia are required to carry their valid driver’s license, vehicle registration documents, and insurance documents with them at all times.

Condition of the Roads:-

Most of the roads in Namibia are rough, unpaved, and bumpy, due to which it will take longer to reach your destinations, and on top of that, your vehicles will be quite dusty at all times.

Maximum Speed Limits:-

The maximum allowed speed limit is 60 KPH in towns, 120 KPH on highways, and 100 KPH on gravel roads. However, you don’t need to memorize these speed limits as allowed speed limits have been properly marked on the roads of Namibia.

Visibility of Road Signs:-

The official language of the country is English and the highways of Namibia have clear traffic signs on display. While driving around the country, keep in mind the possibility of coming across animals all the time and keep your focus on the road. If you find a road sign having an “S” with a slash “/” through it, remember that it means “no stopping“.

A limited number of Gas Stations:-

The distance between two locations is quite long and most of the time, no gas stations are available on the way, hence, make sure to get your gas tank full at the start of your journey to avoid discomfort later.

Safety Conditions in Namibia:-

The country of Namibia is considered very safe, however, there are considerable incidents of car theft. Hence, while traveling around the country, keep your valuables safe and don’t leave expensive items unattended.

Driving under the influence of Alcohol:-

Driving under the influence of alcohol is strictly prohibited as per the laws of the country and may attract heavy fines in case of violation.

Top Five Destinations to Visit in Namibia:-

Namibia is a beautiful country in South Africa having a population of approximately 2.1 million citizens. The official language of the country is English while the official currency of Namibia is the Namibian Dollar. The country is famous for its diverse wildlife and highest dunes in the world. Here is the list of five most wanted destinations in the country:-

Kalahari Desert:-

Kalahari desert is one of the largest deserts in Africa which is a mesmerizing combination of warm colors. The desert is famous for its red desert dunes, African wildlife, Quiver Tree Forest, game drives, and Mesosaurus Fossil Site. The interesting fact about the Kalahari Desert is that it is spread over the neighboring countries of Botswana and Namibia.

The national parks and reserves of the Kalahari Desert serve as a home to antelope, giraffe, elephant, meerkat, cape fox, bat-eared foxes, several bird species, and many other kinds of predators. If you love to see wildlife in the wild, the Kalahari Desert is worth your visit.

Fish River Canyon:-

Fish River Canyon is the largest canyon in Africa and is located in the south of Namibia. The hiking trail of the canyon is one of the most famous hiking trails in Southern Africa for its immense scale and rugged terrain. The total area of the hiking trail is approximately 90 kilometers which can take up to two hours to complete.

Tourists can visit Fish River Canyon only after obtaining the required permit from Namibia Wildlife Resorts. The said permits are issued from May 1st to September 15th each year due to floods and extremely hot summers. Further, the hikers of the canyon are required to present a recent medical certificate and an indemnity form to start the hike.

Sossusvlei:-

The sand dunes of Sossusvlei are one of the highest dunes on earth. Sossusvlei is considered one of the most beautiful and mesmerizing sites in Namibia for delivering the most incredible photographic opportunities to visitors.

On your visit to Sossusvlei, you will get to visit the incredibly beautiful Deadvlei, you can climb Dune 45 i.e. 350 meters, or Big Daddy i.e. 1150 feet high. In addition to these, you can also enjoy the hot-air balloon safari and make lifetime memories.

Etosha National Park:-

Etosha National Park is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Namibia. As per several safari aficionados, Etosha National Park is one of the greatest wildlife reserves in Africa which is situated in the north of Namibia. The roads of the park are so good that it is considered a self-driver’s paradise.

The total area of the park is 22,270 square kilometers, which is home to elephants, lions, rhinos, leopards, giraffes, and cheetahs. The best time to visit the park is between May to October. The good news for visitors of the park is that adjacent private reserves offer excellent accommodation as well.

Damaraland:-

Just like the rest of Namibia, Damaraland is also home to unique wildlife including but not limited to desert-adapted elephants, giraffes, oryx, black rhinos, etc. However, Damaraland is considered one of the most scenic areas of Namibia which offers a unique and memorable experience to the people who want to watch wildlife closely in its true essence.

Frequently Asked Questions:-

Do I need an International Driving License in Namibia?

If you are a foreigner visiting the country of Namibia and intend to drive a vehicle on your own or hire a vehicle from car rental agencies, getting an IDP is a must.

Is a learner license holder eligible to apply for an international driving permit?

No, a holder of a learner license is not eligible to apply for IDP. To apply for an IDP, you must have at least a one-year-old valid driving license issued by the country of your residence.

Is the use of a seat belt mandatory for passengers in Namibia?

Yes, all the passengers of vehicles are required to wear seat belts at all times while traveling around the country.

What is the maximum validity period of an International Driving Permit?

The validity period of IDP ranges from six months to three years. However, in most cases, IDPs are issued for a maximum of one year. Further, if the local driving license expires before the expiry of the IDP, the IDP also expires immediately.

Are road and traffic conditions in Namibia safe?

Namibia is one of the safest countries in Africa. However, most of the roads are rough, unpaved, and bumpy. Hence, 4×4 is considered the most appropriate vehicle for traveling around the country.

What is the legal driving age in Namibia?

The legal driving age in Namibia is eighteen (18) years. However, the minimum age to rent a car is twenty-four (24) years. An additional fee is charged by car rental agencies while renting a vehicle to underage drivers.

On which side of the road vehicles are driven in Namibia?

In the country of Namibia, vehicles are driven on the left-hand side of the road.

Is it safe to drive at night in Namibia?

Driving at night is never advisable in Namibia and should be avoided at all costs because animals may be crossing the road at night.

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