You arrive in Namibia after a long flight. You battle for a few hours to clear customs and filling out paperwork at the car rental agency. You are finally on the road and heading to one of Namibia’s prestigious National Parks. You arrive at the gate only to find out the booking you made and paid for online did not include all the costs. You are surprised and annoyed at the same time and most likely feel like you are being scammed. Trust me, you are not.
Namibia Wildlife Resorts, or NWR as we refer to them, are mandated by law to run the tourism facilities within the protected areas of Namibia i.e. accommodation, guided tours, hikes etc. That is where their mandate stops. The state, specifically the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, remains the custodians of all National Parks in Namibia and hence the extra charge/park and usage fees on arrival. The extra charges are usually explained very clearly when you book and pay at a NWR office, but often is missed when booking online.
So when visiting a National Park you can expect three charges:
1. Your accommodation, which is charged per person per night. This is booked online (latest price list) at NWR.com.na, via phone +264 61 285 7200 or by visiting a NWR office in Windhoek or Swakopmund.
2. Park usage fee, per person per day (latest fee list). Paid upon arrival at reception at your camp. The fee ranges from N$80/day for international visitors to N$30/day for Namibians. This is per day, so if you are a German tourist in Etosha for 5 days, it will be N$80×5. Per day is equal to 24 hours starting from the time you enter the gate.
3. Vehicle usage fee, per vehicle per day. Paid upon arrival at reception at your camp. These start at N$10 per car per day. Again, if you spend 5 days in the park it will be N$10×5. Per day is equal to 24 hours starting from the time you enter the gate.
Procedure when arriving at a National Park
Upon arrival at the gate you will be stopped and asked to complete your visitors permit. This will include some personal information, how many days you intend to stay and your vehicle information. Photo ID is required to confirm your nationality. You will be issued a permit and instructed to pay at the reception of the camp you will overnight at. No payment is made at any of the NWR gates.
Once you arrive at reception you will hand over your permit and booking confirmation if you have one. Your park and vehicle usage fees will be calculated and paid. Then your booking will be processed, and payment made if needed. At larger camps these are done at two separate desks. You will be issued with receipts for all transactions and of course your room key to enjoy your stay.
The payment of fees at two different desks often confuses people and leads to suspicion. It is 100% normal and the reason is simply because there are two different government entities involved. I hope this short blog eases planning and avoids any further surprises and frustration when visiting National Parks in Namibia. Enjoy your stay in Namibia 🙂