Packing list for Namibia
From Peace Corps Wiki
This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in Namibia and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that experience is individual. There is no perfect list! You obviously cannot bring everything we mention, so consider those items that make the most sense to you personally and professionally. You can always have things sent to you later. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind that you have an 80-pound weight restriction on baggage. And remember, because of Namibia’s proximity to South Africa, you can get almost everything you need in Namibia at prices comparable to those in the United States.
Note: It is important that you bring 10 passport-size photos of yourself for identification cards, work permits, and visas. We will ask for them shortly after your arrival in Namibia. They may be black and white or color, and photo-booth prints are acceptable.
Namibians place an importance on professional dress in the workplace, and dressing “smart” is seen as a sign of respect for others. Dress slacks and skirts or dresses are required in the classroom and are the norm in most other situations.
Tennis shoes are not appropriate at work. While jeans and T-shirts are increasingly acceptable as casual wear, it is more common—especially in rural areas—to see men wearing shirts with collars and casual slacks and women wearing casual dresses or skirts and shirts. Short shorts, short dresses, and tops that show a lot of skin, (e.g., halter tops, spaghetti straps, etc.) are inappropriate for women in both towns and villages. All clothing should be clean and well mended.
You should bring professional washable clothes for classroom teaching and meetings. For men who will be classroom teachers, bring wrinkle-free business casual slacks and 3-4 ties. For women, dresses and skirts. A few pairs of dress slacks, sandals, and comfortable closed-toe dress shoes are appropriate for work. Shorts (at mid-knee or longer) can be worn after work, weekends and holidays. Other items that are recommended are: hiking boots (if you like to hike), flashlight, sleeping bag, rechargeable batteries, music and pictures. You will need to bring a set of unfitted (flat) double bed sheets and a towel to use during your homestays. A small pillow might also be nice to have and can be purchased upon your arrival. While it is impossible to bring everything on the packing list, may items area available in Windhoek. Also, even though the temperature in Namibia will be warmer by November, we recommend you bring along some warm clothing for the winter months. The temperature can drop into the 30 degrees Farenheit range at night during the three months of ”winter”’ (June–August). You’ll be much more comfortable if you bring along a fleece jacket, some sweaters, warm socks, winter cap that covers the ears, scarf and gloves. Also remember to bring along some suntan lotion or any kind of skin moisturizer.
Shoes are key. Everyone will walk many miles every week. Volunteers recommend four pairs of shoes. Bring newer shoes as your shoes will wear out quickly. The Volunteers also recommend more expensive footwear, just because it’s better and lasts longer. Some female Volunteers say one pair of trendy sandals or shoes is also nice,as there are chances to go out and dress up a bit in Windhoek.
A suggested list of shoes for men and women includes:
- Closed walking shoes for teaching and meetings or comfortable dress shoes or nice sandals for work
- Athletic shoes, tennis shoes, or other casual shoes
- Waterproof hiking boots
- Shower sandals/flip flops (these are available all over Namibia at a very reasonable price. It might be easier and cheaper to purchase them in Namibia than carry them over from the United States.)
- Sandals (e.g., Tevas, Birkenstocks, etc).
Note that people with large feet (especially men with size 11 or bigger) should bring an extra pair or two of shoes or sandals, as larger sizes can be difficult to find in Namibia
Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items
Bring enough of your favorites to get you through your first five or six weeks. Volunteers have also suggested bringing good-quality body and facial lotion for dry skin and a pumice stone. Sunglasses are a must, and if you wear prescription glasses, you should bring prescription sunglasses. Remember that you can get almost everything you need in Namibia at prices comparable to those in the United States.
You can easily buy most kitchen supplies here—dishes, pots, glasses, and utensils. Plastic food containers and storage bags are very useful. Also, a basic cookbook can be useful once you get to your permanent site. Peace Corps/Namibia provides you with a locally appropriate cookbook.
- Camping equipment such as a backpack, sleeping bag and foam pad, and small tent (if you like to camp); a small camping stove is nice, but it should burn several types of fuel
- Camera and film (a telephoto lens greatly enhances photos of game, and a good camera bag helps keep out the dust)
- Radio or shortwave radio, cassette player, or CD player with speakers; it should be both battery operated and able to run on 220 volts (if it does not, you will need to bring a converter)
- Music tapes, digital music or CDs (available in Namibia but expensive)
- Good quality batteries (AA are expensive and 9V can be hard to find in Namibia)
- Back-up (spare) watch since locally available models are generally not of good quality
- Small candle lantern
- Crayons, colored markers, colored paper
- Craft idea books
- Duct tape
- Song books
- Swiss army knife or Leatherman tool
- Travel-size clock
- Small flashlight or headlamp and extra bulbs
- Guidebooks about the region
- Maps, pictures, and wall hangings to decorate your home
- Dictionary and thesaurus (keep in mind that people in Namibia use British English)
- Inexpensive gifts to give to your hosts and to children
- U.S. postage stamps for sending mail with Volunteers who are traveling to the United States
- Digital camera
- iPOD/CD Player
- Two sturdy water bottles (e.g., Nalgene)
- A jump/flash/pen/USB drive (it’s a whole lot easier than using disks)
- For women, feminine hygiene items like tampons, pads, Diva Cup, the Keeper, GladRag, etc.; they can be expensive here
- Favorite recipes
- A few books (you can have some sent, trade with other Volunteers, buy them here, or make use of the Peace Corps’ in-country resource center)
- Small book bag or backpack for work and weekends
- Enough stationery to last you during pre-service training Packing Advice Directly from Volunteers
Things we shouldn’t have brought
- Too many toiletries (too mouthwash, dental floss, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, etc.; they can all be purchased in Namibia)
- Pots/Pans (as you are coming in, other Volunteers are leaving and they will pass their pots/pans on to you at a very reasonable price)
- Can opener
- White clothes and clothes that require dry cleaning or cannot be washed by hand.
- Mosquito net (Peace Corps/Namibia gives you one)
- An electric adapter (you can’t get the right one if you buy it elsewhere)
- Too many formal clothes.