Namibia

Packing List

This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in-country and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that each experience is individual. There is no perfect list! You obviously cannot bring everything on the list, 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 there is a 100-pound weight limit on baggage. And remember, you can get almost everything you need in-country.

Baggage & weight limit: The Peace Corps limits the size and weight of baggage and will not pay to transport baggage that exceeds these limits. The allowance is two checked pieces of luggage with combined dimensions of both pieces not to exceed 107 inches (length + width + height) and a carry-on bag with dimensions of no more than 45 inches. Checked baggage should not exceed 100 pounds total with a maximum weight of 50 pounds per bag.

Peace Corps Volunteers are not allowed to take pets, weapons, explosives, radio transmitters (shortwave radios are permitted), automobiles, or motorcycles to their assignments. Do not pack flammable materials or liquids such as lighter fluid, cleaning solvents, hair spray, or aerosol containers.

General Clothing

Appearance is valued in Namibian culture. Clean and neat is important... And stylish is admired! I.e. jeans (especially skinny) are quite in fashion! Dressing fairly modestly is advised, but it's not overly emphasized here. Exposed knees, shoulders, etc. is mostly acceptable casually, but not in professional, work settings. Weather will likely range from very hot to quite cold but it depends on your site and the time of year. Layers make a nice alternative to packing heavy sweaters or a coat. A light jacket or fleece is good to have, and you may need a hat and scarf for winter, even though it doesn’t last very long. If you like hoodies, bring one. Do keep in mind that lighter-weight materials dry more quickly and are easier to wash by hand. It’s good to pack clothes for all temperatures and climates, as you will likely travel to places with different climates than your site during your service.

  • Men: dress pants, button down long- and short-sleeve shirts, ties
  • Women: dress pants, capris, or skirts below the knee. Nice tops that cover the shoulders
  • Casual clothes for around your site, visiting your shopping town, going on holiday, etc. 
  • Versatile clothing that can be dressed up for work or down for casual are always good. Don't forget clothes for sleeping/ lounging
  • Hat and/or sunglasses

Shoes

  • Dress shoes for work (not all schools permit open-toed shoes for women)
  • Casual shoes or sandals that are comfortable for doing a lot of walking some days
  • Chacos, Tevas, or other hard rubber-soled shoes are very commonly worn by Volunteers (when appropriate) because of their comfort, durability, and long life, protection from thorns, ease to clean and get the sand out of, and they tend to be waterproof. Also great for hiking, if that's your thing
  • Hiking shoes/boots if you enjoy the outdoors. (Already worn-in is even better!)

Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items

Deodorant may be the top one to bring in bulk from home unless you are not very picky. Tide pens are nice (and travel-sized ones can be found at Target in their small bins). As for the rest of the basics, bring at least a few weeks’ supply, but you can buy the necessities in town or you can buy them at better prices and with better selection in Windhoek when you go a few weeks after arriving.

  • Three-month supply of any medications, to last through pre-service training; copy of prescriptions
  • If you wear glasses, bring two pairs (contact are not recommended due to elevated rates of eye infections and contact solution is hard to find)
  • Women: Pack a good supply of tampons and/or pads. Quality here may not be to your satisfaction. Diva Cup comes highly recommended by many female volunteers.

Miscellaneous

  • Nalgene or other durable water bottles (2 are recommended)
  • Travel-sized umbrella or poncho
  • Swiss army knife or Leatherman multi-tool
  • Flashlight(s) (consider solar-powered ones, the ones you shake to recharge, or rechargeable batteries)
  • Zip-lock bags in multiple sizes
  • Duct tape
  • Wristwatch
  • Driver's License (in case you rent a car for approved leave during holidays)
  • Credit & debit cards
  • USD of $120 or more (there’s no set amount you should bring; it’s whatever you feel comfortable handling, and no need to convert yet).
  • Memorabilia: Photos, etc. to remind you of home
  • Sheets and towels
  • Pad locks (small-medium)
  • Spices (specialty and Mexican-type spices are tougher to find in Namibia)
  • Coffee (…But instant coffee can also be nice to receive in care packages)
  • Host family gifts such as photos, candy, stickers, t-shirts, mugs, and souvenir-type things relating to the U.S. in general or, more specifically, where you're from. Remember to keep both adults and kids in mind, and that you will likely have two host families: one during training and one at your permanent site. Also, it is possible to take a photo with your host family, print it at a Kodak-type machine in Windhoek, and put it in a frame as a very nice gift.
  • Outdoor gear: It is possible to buy everything you need here. If you are a gear junkie or you already have a tent, sleeping bag, pad, stove, etc. that is easy to pack it may be best to bring it. But you can buy it here if you are more concerned about packing space/weight than quality, selection, and bang-for-your-buck.

Electronics

  • Laptop
  • Camera
  • Flash drive(s)
  • MP3 Player
  • Headphones
  • Batteries are a bit pricey in Namibia so you may want to pack a bunch and/or get your hands on some
  • Rechargeable batteries (and don't forget the charger!)
  • Cell phone which takes a SIM card, but do check with your cell phone provider if it will be compatible here. Volunteers are required to have a cell phone and Peace Corps gives you an allowance for this after you arrive. Most Volunteers buy basic cell phones quite cheaply in Namibia (and many internet-capable phones also fall into this category). 
  • E-reader (ex. Kindle)
  • External hard drive (1-2 TB is not unreasonable)
  • External speakers, and all chargers/accessories
The last few things may not seem crucial, but many Volunteers share and consume a lot of movies and TV, even the ones who were never very into it before. As for an e-reader, you may or may not necessarily want to go out and buy one for Peace Corps, but if you have one or are an avid reader then consider bringing it. Volunteers share a lot of books, too, and do know that there are great libraries of hard copy books in the office in Windhoek and the regional work stations.