Traveling to Namibia soon and looking for the best way to stay connected in world's second least densely populated country? Buying a sim card in Namibia or getting an e-sim cards is the best way to avoid high roaming costs and get high speed mobile data on your phone.
This is a complete guide for buying a sim card for Namibia including the best 4G network in Namibia, where to buy a sim card in Namibia, the best e-sim cards for Namibia, up to date prices as per May 2023, buying a sim card at Windhoek Airport, a vlog about my experiences and arrival and everything else you need to know.
My first time traveling to Namibia was unreal. I had an incredible flight experience with Qatar Airways as I flew their new business class in the A350. Qatar Airways definitely lived up to its slogan: First in Business! But on arrival at Windhoek Airport I came back to the real world: the free WiFi on Windhoek Airport was not working and my pick up was not there either! I had my drivers WhatsApp number but no internet on my phone.
First things first! When arriving to a new country I immediately look for the best way to get connected. That is often by buying a local prepaid sim card or nowadays getting an e-sim card. Because I am also trying to visit every country in the world I have made it to many countries and airports already and therefore on Traveltomtom you can find more than 200 sim card guides from all over the world: South Africa, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Zambia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Congo Brazzaville, Germany, Frankfurt, Europe, USA, New York, Hong Kong and many more.
So next time you are planning your adventure abroad come check out Traveltomtom for the latest prepaid sim card and e-sim card advice. Bookmark me!
Traveltomtom recommends an MTC prepaid sim card for Namibia simply because they have the most extensive mobile internet network in the country. A prepaid sim card with data is cheap and you can buy it at Windhoek Airport on arrival.
Normally Traveltomtom also always recommends e-sim cards, but there is only 1 e-sim card for Namibia available and it is not recommended for traveling in Namibia. Why not? See below.
Arriving in Windhoek and spending your first days of your trip to Namibia here? What about a lunch with giraffes or a sundowner at a skybar? Check out my list of the 19 Best Things To Do in Windhoek.
Am I a specialist for traveling in Namibia? Nah, definitely not, but I have traveled around Namibia 4 times and discovered some really cool places. Here is my Namibia itinerary for 7 days that I would suggest or have a look at my Namibia travel blogs below for some more inspiration.
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E-sim cards for Namibia
The easiest way to stay connected when traveling to Namibia in 2023 is an e-sim card. You order one online, no more visiting a shop, you will receive a QR code, no more swapping sim cards, you follow the instructions and within less than 2 minutes you are connected. Check out the following e-sim card deal for Namibia:
- 1 GB data for 7 days = $9.5 USD
Click here to directly order an e-sim card for Namibia online.
However, the above Nama sim card operates on the Telecom Namibia network, which is very weak. See below for more info about the 4G network coverage in Namibia. If you travel to Windhoek only then this Namibia e-sim card is worth it. But for traveling around Namibia Traveltomtom does not recommend this Nama e-sim card.
Mobile internet providers Namibia
Since Namibia is the second least densely populated country in the world I did not expect it to have a competitive mobile internet market. There are only two mobile providers in Namibia:
- Telecom Namibia
Both mobile providers have a shop at Windhoek Airport were travelers can buy a Namibian sim card on arrival. MTC was the first mobile provider in Namibia and it is said that they have the best network, but more about that later. Telecom is supposed to be cheaper, let's see.
How to go around in Namibia? That is a little complicated! I went hitchhiking in Namibia to give it a try. How that went? Hilarious! See the video in the link.
Where to buy a Namibia sim card
In Windhoek city center, close to the Wernhill Park Mall, I had a look at the MTC shop and the Telecom Namibia shop. Trust me I can strongly encourage you NOT to buy your Namibia sim card in the city of Windhoek at one of these stores.
It was a Monday afternoon and both shops were packed with people. When I asked in the MTC shop how long the wait was they said about 20 minutes, African minutes for sure! LOL. Trust me, simply buy your Namibia prepaid sim card on arrival at Windhoek Airport.
Normally Traveltomtom always recommends buying international sim cards for traveling as well. I even compared the best ones in the link. However, even the best ones are NOT recommended for traveling in Namibia. There are pretty much no international prepaid sim cards that cover Namibia. Or if you are willing to pay $49.90 USD for 50 MB (not GB) data then here is the link for buying this international Namibia prepaid sim card from Orange.
Buying a sim card for Namibia at Windhoek Airport
This is how the MTC store looks at Windhoek Airport, it is on your left hand side when entering the Arrivals Hall.
Buying a sim card on arrival at an airport is the most convenient place to get instantly connected when arriving somewhere new. But for that convenience you mostly pay a little extra. That is also the case at Windhoek International Airport, but luckily we are talking about $5 only.
The opening hours for the stores at Windhoek Airport are as follows:
- MTC: 7.00 am till 7.00 pm
- Telecom: 6.30 am till 6.00 pm
Opening hours may vary depending a little on incoming international flights.
At both stores you can buy a Namibia sim card with your international credit card. There are also a bunch of ATM's and exchange offices in the Arrival Hall at Windhoek Airport.
To not waste your precious Namibia holiday time I recommend you to buy a Namibia sim card at Windhoek Airport. There is an MTC shop on your left hand side when you come in to the arrivals hall and on your right there is a Telecom Namibia shop. Staff in both stores are very friendly and helpful.
Prices prepaid Namibia sim card in 2023
At Windhoek Airport the sim card prices are displayed at both the MTS and Telecom Namibia shop at the counter.
Prices below are in Namibian Dollar and per May 2023: $1 USD = 14.89 NAD and 1 NAD = $0.0067 USD.
These are the prices that you can expect when buying an MTC sim card in Namibia. For more info check out the MTC Namibia website.
Most interesting for prepaid data plans for tourists are probably the following:
- 235 N$ ($16 USD) = 1.5 GB data
- 353 N$ ($24 USD) = 3.0 GB data
If you feel like calling I recommend you to just add a couple dollar credit to your prepaid sim card. Calling rates are much cheaper than data plans in Namibia.
However at Windhoek Airport tourists have more options when buying a sim card on arrival. An MTC prepaid sim card for Namibia costs 10 N$, which is like 70 cents.
As per April 2023 MTC also offers the following prepaid packages for tourists at Windhoek Airport:
- 40 N$ = 1 GB data + 100 minutes - valid for 1 week ($2.70)
- 65 N$ = 3 GB data + 700 minutes - valid for 1 week ($4.40)
- 410 N$ = 3 GB data - valid for 2 months ($27.50)
- 1230 N$ = 15 GB data - valid for 2 months ($82.40)
Top up with MTC is easy. You can buy credit in convenient stores, gas stations, etc. You scratch a prepaid card, follow the instructions and enter the code. Once you got the credit, you dial 13400 and you choose option 1 and again 1 to confirm for topping up with an extra data plan.
As you can see even the prices for prepaid sim cards for tourists at Windhoek Airport are an extra indication to get your sim card for Namibia straight after you land.
Telecom Namibia is cheaper, but also has a much weaker network. More about that later. Above you can find the prepaid data plans and internet bundles for Telecom Namibia sim cards that you can get in any Telecom shop around Namibia.
- 15 N$ = 1 GB data ($1 USD)
- 69 N$ = 5 GB data ($4.6 USD)
For more info check the Telecom Namibia website.
However, the Telecom Namibia store at Windhoek Airport is offering a couple other packages that could be great for tourists. A Telecom sim card costs 7 NAD, which is $0.50 USD.
- 300 N$ = unlimited data for 1 week ($20 USD)
- 1000 N$ = unlimited data for 1 month ($67 USD)
Here are all the packages at Windhoek Airport for Telecom Namibia.
Based on these prices I would say Telecom Namibia is the best sim card in Namibia for tourists, but wait till I show you the network coverage.
Best 4G/5G Network in Namibia in 2023
In a country so vast as Namibia and with just 2.5 Million inhabitants don't have high expectations about the mobile internet network. As prices for Namibia prepaid sim cards are pretty much the same the network coverage strength is what will make the difference.
Normally I only look at the 4G/5G coverage maps to compare the mobile internet providers, but not in Namibia! There is definitely NO 5G in Namibia, there is hardly 4G to be honest.
MTC Namibia 3G/4G network coverage map
Telecom Namibia 3G/4G network coverage map
As you can see even 4G did not really make it to Namibia yet as of 2023, so be prepared to deal with slower internet speed than you are probably used to. When looking at the 3G/4G network coverage map of Telecom Namibia you think I must be joking. Just kidding! But it says it all... that is why Traveltomtom does also NOT recommend the Nama e-sim card for Namibia above as they operate on the Telecom Namibia network.
It leaves no doubt that MTC has the best mobile data network in Namibia in 2023. For more detailed maps of the mobile internet coverage in Namibia have a look in the link. OR check the MTC network coverage map on their own website.
I also did volunteering in Namibia at Oana Flora & Fauna is located all the way in southeast Namibia. There was no phone reception at all, not even with an MTC sim card.
Best sim card for Namibia in 2023
Finding a conclusion after comparing the international sim cards and the e-sim cards for Namibia is very simple. There are pretty much no international sim cards for Namibia available. Only Airalo offers an e-sim card for Namibia. However, this Namibia e-sim card from Nama operates on the network of Telecom Namibia network and as you have seen above there is pretty much no network coverage around the country, only in Windhoek city center and Swakopmund city center.
Prices for data packages are expensive in Namibia compared to other countries. But there is no doubt that MTC is the best sim card for traveling in Namibia in 2023.
My experience buying a sim card in Namibia
On both trips to Namibia I ended up buying a Namibia sim card at Windhoek Airport from MTC. First time in 2017 I paid N$307 for the package including N$7 for the sim card itself and got 1.5 GB data.
I got the weekly package with 3 GB and 700 minutes for $65 + $10 for the sim card, which is a total of a little over $5 USD. Great deal. The prices for data and prepaid sim cards in Namibia have gone down a lot in the last years.
Most of the time the tourist destinations in Namibia I visited had NO 3G signal at all. At places like Sossusvlei, Deadvlei, Namib Desert, Skeleton Coast, Fish River Canyon and Etosha National Park I was happy with an E signal.
This is an example of my internet speed test of my 3G connection in Windhoek, the capital in Namibia.
In the end I still used all of my 1.5 GB because during the long drives on the main North-South road there is mostly a 3G signal. Namibia is one of those countries where you can easily switch off from being online!
Here is also my vlog about my arrival at Windhoek Airport and buying a sim card for Namibia.
Where to stay in Windhoek
Looking for a place to stay in Windhoek before you start your adventure around Namibia? Have a look at Chameleon Backpackers! Not just a hostel, they have a private rooms as well and a swimming pool, a communal area and a tour agency. Chameleon Safaris have loads of multi day tours around Namibia. If you are a solo traveler this is where you want to crash, meet people and make plans with fellow solo travelers.
Related: 19 Things To Do in Windhoek!
I hope the above tips for buying a prepaid Namibia sim card were helpful for your upcoming Namibia holiday. In case you have any additional questions please don't hesitate to leave me a comment below. I am happy to help, also with Namibia travel tips.
Curious what it looks like trying to visit every country in the world? Go check out my Instagram account @traveltomtom and follow along. As of April 2023 I have visited more than 150 countries, so still a long way to go.
Enjoy your trip to Namibia!
Some links in this article about the best sim cards for traveling in Namibia are affiliate links. If you buy any of the products after using an affiliate link I will earn a small commission. Don’t worry this is at absolutely no extra cost to you.