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A great start end ending to your Namibia holiday

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Lying level with Central Europe
  • Namibia is ahead of Europe when it comes to abolishing the time change

    Namibia is ahead of Europe when it comes to abolishing the time change. Graphic: Daniel FR, Plenz, Wikipedia

Ondekaremba does not really have guests who are struggling to cope with jet lag. The majority of Namibia tourists arriving at the airport come from Central Europe. The time difference is one hour. And as from now on, for six months a year the watches do not need to be reset after the landing at all...

With his signature under the amended time act, President Hage Geingob officially abolished the winter time. By passing the amendments, parliament followed the overwhelming outcome of hearings held throughout the country.

The Namibian winter time (UTC +1 instead of UCT +2) lasted from the first weekend in April to the first weekend of September. It was introduced in 1993, mainly for children to be able to go to school in daylight. However, many have lessons in the afternoons. Due to the winter time they had to walk home in the dark. The economy complained about losing four mutual office hours with South Africa – one hour in the morning, one hour in the evening and two hours at lunchtime.

Namibians and Central Europeans having business or private relationships should breathe a sigh of relief, too. Combined with the summer time in Europe, the winter time in Namibia caused a time chaos: Europe and Namibia turned the watch hands in opposite directions – and at slightly different points of times. So at times Namibia was one hour ahead of Central Europe, at times it lied level and at times it was one hour behind.

Thanks to Geingob, this chaos is now largely cleared. In Namibia normal time (UTC +2) applies throughout the year. Since Europe switched back to normal Central European time (UTC +1) on the last weekend of October, tourists from countries from Spain to Poland will have to put their watches forward one hour after the landing in Namibia. As soon as the Central European Summer Time (UTC + 2) starts end of March, Namibia will be lying level with Central Europe for six months.

Ondekaremba does not really care. If a guest has booked a transfer, he will be picked up at the airport on time, regardless of whether he puts his watch forward or not.

Shortened queues at the airport
  • Long queues at the departure counters at Hosea Kutako International Airport near Windhoek

    Picture of the past: Long queues at the departure counters at Hosea Kutako International Airport near Windhoek. Photo: Stefan Fischer, Allgemeine Zeitung

Namibia holidaymakers can breathe a sigh of relief: The waiting time at the entry and departure counters at the International Hosea Kutako Airport near Windhoek has been significantly reduced. Since end of September the officials waive part of the procedure of the new biometric identification...

The electronic system consisting of scanning the face and the hand of travellers had been introduced on 1 September. Arriving and departing passengers had to queue for more than two hours. Apparently the recording of fingerprints and handprint lasted several minutes per person.

Meanwhile, only the iris is scanned. In addition, the ministry of home affairs is now deploying ten officials at the arrival counters instead of eight as before, and at the departure gates six instead of four.

This is also good news for guests of Ondekaremba. Instead of having to be at the airport three hours ahead of your return flight, a buffer of two hours is sufficient. So our guests can relax longer by the pool or stretch their legs on a hiking trail through the African bush savannah.

Touchdown for Eurowings in Namibia
  • Ceremonial reception of the maiden flight of Eurowings at the International Hosea Kutako Airport near Windhoek

    Ceremonial reception of the maiden flight of Eurowings at the International Hosea Kutako Airport near Windhoek. Photo: Eurowings

Since mid-July, visitors to Namibia from Europe have another airline to choose from: Eurowings. The maiden flight from Cologne/Bonn to Windhoek took place according to schedule on Wednesday evening, 12 July. The first crew could even spend a long weekend in Namibia...

... because the return flight after the first landing on Thursday morning was only scheduled for Monday evening. According to the airline this is quite common, when you start a new long-distance route. On the first plane all 306 seats were booked. Eurowings is known for its reasonable flights.

As from now on, the Lufthansa subsidiary will depart from the airport Cologne/Bonn every Wednesday and Sunday in the evening and arrive at Windhoek early in the morning. The return flight takes place on Thursdays and Mondays; take-off is in the late evening and touch-down at Cologne/Bonn in the course of the morning. As from next summer, one of the two flights will depart from Munich.

Ondekaremba, just a 10 minute drive from the airport, is the ideal first stop after the landing and the last stop before the return flight. On the hiking trails through the African bush savannah you can stretch your legs after or before the long flight.

Qatar Airways flies to Namibia more often
  • On the route Frankfurt - Windhoek the Boeing Dreamliner will be replaced by the Airbus 330-200 at the end of March

    On the route Frankfurt - Windhoek the Boeing Dreamliner will be replaced by the Airbus 330-200 at the end of March. Photo: Julian Herzog, Wikipedia

Just in time for the peak season in Namibia, there are about 780 more plane seats available per week: Qatar Airways announced in March that the number of flights from Frankfurt to Windhoek will be increased from four to seven as from July 2. In addition, from the end of March another aircraft will be used on this route.

All seven flights take place at night, with a stop-over in Doha. The decision shows that Namibia is popular as a long-haul destination, especially since Eurowings will also fly to Windhoek as from July 12 and will offer direct flights on top. Qatar Airways had added Windhoek to the list of its 150 destinations only last September.

At the end of March Qatar Airways will replace the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner with the Airbus 330-200. The airline 's Dreamliner has space for 254 passengers, the Airbus has 260 seats. The main reason for this decision was probably the increased demand for cargo hold.

After the long flight, Ondekaremba (only 7 km from the airport and offering transfer services) is the ideal place to spend the first night in order to start your tour in your rental car the next morning fully relaxed.

Hiking map with background
  • Ondekaremba hiking map

    Graphic: Ondekaremba

What is the groundsill for? What about the "Western Windmill"? How to get to the viewing tower? These and further questions are answered by the new little hiking map that is available for guests of Ondekaremba. Many make use of the hiking trails in order to stretch their legs before or after a long flight.

The map is not only for better orientation, but also gives a bit of background about the former farm at the airport. At a leisurely pace, you need an hour and a half for the circular path through the African bush savannah, a detour to the groundsill included. There is also a hide with a view to the trough for the game; with a little luck you can observe red hartebeest and kudus.

The hiking trails are also available to day visitors (booking possible with or without a room) who stay at Ondekaremba on the day of their departure.

Eurowings will fly to Namibia
  • Eurowings will fly to Namibia

    Eurowings will also fly to the International Hosea Kutako Airport near Windhoek as from July 2017. Photo: Wikipedia

Good news for Namibia holidaymakers in Europe: As from mid of July 2017, Eurowings will also be offering affordable direct flights to Windhoek. The Lufthansa subsidiary is known for its affordable flights.

Eurowings will depart from the airport Cologne / Bonn every Wednesday and Sunday in the evening and arrive at Windhoek early in the morning. The return flight takes place on Thursdays and Mondays; take-off is in the late evening and touch-down in Cologne / Bonn in the course of the morning.

Ondekaremba, just a 10 minute drive from the airport, is the ideal last stop before the return flight and even more so in this case: With a day visit (with or without room reserved) and a transfer to the airport you can enjoy the pool, the walking trails in the bush savannah and a nice dinner before you mount your plane.