Travelling to Namibia and the H.E.S.S. site

This page collects travel information. Please also check the safety instructions for travel in Namibia and in particular for work on the H.E.S.S. site. The travel to HESS checklist describes how to plan and arrange your work on the H.E.S.S. site. 

Additional information - including health and safety issues - can be obtained, e.g., from the Namibia pages of the German Foreign Office. See also the official tourism pages.

Climate and weather

Temperatures on the H.E.S.S. site vary in winter between 0 and 10 oC during the night, and reach 15 to 25 oC during daytime. In summer, daytime temperatures reach 20 to 35 oC. Summer nights can be relatively cool, down to 10-15 oC. Between November and April, the sky can be cloudy, with occasional short but violent rain storms. A hat for protection against the sun is essential.

Entry rules and visa

A visa is only required if you intend to work in Namibia (such as for H.E.S.S.). Tourists from most EU countries can enter Namibia without a visa.

If you are visiting Namibia in order to work for the H.E.S.S. experiment you need to hold a passport which is valid for at least 6 months and an official visa before you enter Namibia. Members of the H.E.S.S. collaboration may obtain this visa via MPI-K.

Typically, the visa is issued for a period of 2 years and allows for multiple entries to Namibia as "Seconded Scientist".

In order to apply for the visa through MPI-K, please contact Ruth Crespo at least 8 weeks before the intended date of entry, and supply a scan of your passport and last entry stamp along with the visa application form.

When you enter the country, indicate "Seconded Scientist for the H.E.S.S. project" on the entrance form.

Note that under no circumstances should you enter Namibia as a tourist (or with another type of visa), and then try to obtain the "H.E.S.S." visa during your stay in Namibia!

Travel between the airport and Windhoek

Windhoek International Airport is located about 50 km to the east of Windhoek. Shuttle services and a bus (N$ 40-50) connect the airport and the major hotels as well as the city center. Most car rental companies are prepared to arrange pickup at the airport. The drive from the airport to the city takes about 40 min.

Travel from Windhoek to the H.E.S.S. site

The distance from Windhoek to the H.E.S.S. site on Farm Goellschau is 104 km, on a gravel road in a southwesterly direction. The road is maintained in regular intervals, and road quality varies with time since the last maintenance. The drive takes about 1 1/2 hours from the city center. Leave the city on Mandume Ndemufayo Avenue, passing the University of Namibia, and take road no. C26 to Walvis Bay. After 32 km, turn left to continue on C26 for another 72 km. The access to the H.E.S.S. site is through a gate about 0.5 km before the entrance to the farm, on the right hand side. Follow the farm road for about 5 km, until you reach the site. Note that the site and the farm are not open to the public. H.E.S.S. members who prefer not to drive can contact Toni Hanke to arrange pickup in Windhoek or at the airport (at extra charge).

Cars and car rental

To drive to and on the H.E.S.S. site, a normal car is sufficient, although a model with large tires and good ground clearance will provide increased comfort on the gravel road. Four wheel drive is definitely not required under normal conditions. The same holds - under normal conditions - for the road leading from the H.E.S.S. site via the Gamsberg pass through the Namib-Naukluft park to Walfis Bay and Swakopmund. In the rainy seasons, parts of this road may be closed.

Note that South Africa and Namibia have left-hand traffic.