You arrive in Namibia after a long flight. After a few frustrating hours you clear customs and get your rental vehicle. You are finally on the road and heading to one of Namibia’s prestigious National Parks. Upon arrival at the gate you find out the booking you made and paid for online did not include all the costs. You have mixed feelings, both surprised and annoyed. Surely, it is a scam? No, it is not. This post will help you calculate the true cost of national parks in Namibia.
The Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) manage tourism facilities within the protected areas of Namibia. This includes accommodation, restaurants, guided hikes and game drives etc. That is where their mandate stops. The government, 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. When you book at a NWR office the extra charges are explained clearly. However, you might miss it when booking online.
How to calculate the true cost of national parks in Namibia
To calculate the true cost of national parks in Namibia, you need to include four separate costs:
Accommodation is per person per night. You book online (latest price list) at NWR.com.na, via phone +264 61 285 7200 or by visiting a NWR office in Windhoek or Swakopmund.
Park usage fees
Park usage fee is 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
Vehicle usage fee is 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.
At the end of 2020, the Namibian government announced a new conservation fee which would result in new park fees in Namibia. It commenced on 01 January 2021.
The conservation fee is applied separately depending on your nationality. That is Namibian, SADC residents and other international tourists. It is important to note that it applies to both individuals as well as vehicles.
Procedure when arriving at a National Park
Stop at the gate. Complete your visitors permit. This will include some personal information, how many days you intend to stay and your vehicle information. Present your photo ID to confirm your nationality. Your permit is issued. Payment is done at the nearest camp and not the gate.
Once you arrive at reception you will hand over your permit and booking confirmation if you have one. They will calculate your park and vehicle usage fees. Then your booking will be processed and payments made. 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 🙂