Meet face to face the friendliest country in Africa.

A great country to travel at your own pace, with your own vehicle and choosing your own unique route.

Traveling to a remote and exciting destination is a big decision and it’s not always easy to determine the best option and how to approach the trip. Fortunately for the discerning international traveler looking for that special memorable trip for their well-deserved vacation, Namibia offers all the adventure of a wild African country, the spectacular and diverse landscape of deserts, bushlands and forests, but also the safety and comfort that makes it an option suitable for the whole family.

With direct flights from Europe to its capital, Windhoek, or just a short flight from the nearest international gateway of Johannesburg and Cape Town in neighboring South Africa, Namibia is a relatively cheap and safe destination, ideal for car enthusiasts. -drive, or those who want to try a self-drive holiday for the first time.

A self-drive holiday is the perfect way to make your holiday special in terms of your own preferences and schedule. An organized tour is great if you only have a short break, can’t drive yourself for some reason, or aren’t interested in going off the regular tourist trail. However, autonomous driving is the ultimate adventure to try that unique and special experience that only the autonomous tourist can experience and, best of all, in Namibia it is also a safe option.

namibian background

Namibia is a country located in the southwestern corner of Africa, with neighboring countries Angola to the north, Botswana to the east, and South Africa to the south. The Atlantic Ocean bathes its shores in the west. Namibia also shares a small portion of its border with Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The country has just over 2 million inhabitants consisting of 13 different tribes, spread over its 824,269 square kilometers, and its capital is the city of Windhoek. The climate is quite mild during the winter and hot during the summer, with mainly summer rains, a green African forest in the northeast, savannah grasslands with thorny scrub and trees in the central areas, a semi-desert in the south, and two deserts. namely the Namib Desert along the Atlantic Ocean in the west and the Kalahari Desert in the east bordering southern Botswana and South Africa.

The country gained its independence from South Africa in 1991 after a 20-year liberation struggle, and was also a former British and German colony. From the colonial past, the German impact is most visible in the architecture and language, while the South African influence is clear in its economic and cultural links with its neighbor. The official language is English, but many more local languages ​​are spoken by the various tribes, including Oshiwambo, Otjiherero, Afrikaans, Nama, Damara, German, Rukwangali, Khoi San, Setswana, and others.

The people of Namibia are very friendly, earning the country the nickname “The Smile on the Face of Africa”, and tourists leave with mostly positive memories of every personal interaction.

Namibia’s road infrastructure is well developed, but some areas require experienced drivers. The country has 5,450 km of paved roads and 37,000 km of gravel roads in good condition.

Some requirements for autonomous driving

Before coming to Namibia, it is important to find out what the requirements are for your country in terms of visas, access and obtaining an international driver’s license. If you bring a vehicle registered abroad, you must be in possession of proof of ownership of the vehicle, the license and the police record certificate. The police will check the engine number, chassis number, trailer number and license details. A cross-border fee must be paid upon entering Namibia for the vehicle and trailer, so please inquire at the Namibian Embassy or High Commission in your country, or ask your local travel agent for confirmation.

Adequate insurance coverage is also important when planning your epic Namibian driving adventure. Make sure you have coverage for your vehicle, loss or theft of your belongings, and health insurance.

Vehicle options for self-drive safaris in Namibia

The country offers fantastic scenery, but also great distances between highlights, so when choosing your vehicle you should keep in mind that you will spend a lot of time driving. Sedans are less expensive than 4x4s, but keep in mind that long distances will be on gravel roads, and more remote locations may only be accessible with an all-wheel drive (4×4) vehicle.

Your budget and preferred route will obviously also be important factors when choosing a vehicle, but the advantage of an all wheel drive vehicle is access to more remote areas, a smoother and safer ride due to larger diameter tires reducing vibration on the road. undulating gravel roads and ensuring greater stability, availability of camping gear and more luggage space on larger vehicles, and improved tire safety. During the rainy season, some of the good gravel roads can become undrivable with a sedan. However, keep in mind that these come at a higher price, so the decision on the type of vehicle should take all aspects into account. In summer, air conditioning is a must, but most big-name rental companies now offer air conditioning as standard, even on most smaller rental vehicles.

Vehicle types available for rent include sedan, single cab 2×4 pick-up truck with roof, and single or double cab 4×4 pick-up truck with roof or station wagon.

When renting a vehicle, keep in mind that there are related insurance costs to consider, such as collision damage waiver, theft loss waiver, excess, etc. Be sure to ask your rental company or travel agent to include everything in your rental quote.

Rules and road safety

Namibia is a country where you drive on the left, so if possible try to include some practice before your trip to get used to driving on the other side of the road if you are coming from a country where drive on the opposite side of the road. Also, if you bring your own left-hand drive vehicle, it will be even more important to practice.

The speed limit on the open road in Namibia is 120 km per hour. In the city, the speed limit is 60 to 80 km per hour. Some roads with more challenging conditions will have lower speed limits. Seat belts are mandatory for all passengers in a vehicle, drivers must be in possession of a valid driver’s license at all times, and the use of cell phones while driving is prohibited. Between sunset and sunrise, your vehicle’s headlights should be on, but it’s also a good idea to use your headlights on the open road during the day, as it increases visibility and safety.

Many tourists who drive on Namibian roads are unfamiliar with gravel road conditions and are therefore at a higher risk of accidents. It’s important to slow down on gravel roads and rather give yourself more time to complete the trip. Watch out for rocks that could burst a tire, passing vehicles throwing rocks at your windshield, and also be prepared for possible flash flooding during the rainy season when crossing rivers. Another danger that many tourists are unaware of is the risk of vehicle fire when driving on dry grass due to grass build-up around the exhaust system or near the engine.

Watch for animals, domestic and wild, on the roads, especially at night.

Another important factor to remember is that you are not allowed to drive anywhere off the main roads as you may be in a National Park and could cause damage to ecologically sensitive areas such as lichen fields in the desert.

If you plan to go to more remote areas, it is important that you let someone know of your planned route and expected arrival time, and have regular contact along the way where you can. Also order extra spare wheels from your rental company, or bring them with your own car, and make sure you have enough emergency supplies in your vehicle in case you get stuck somewhere. In your supplies, include enough water and food, as well as extra fuel and medical/first aid supplies.

itinerary ideas

Each of the different areas of Namibia offers a unique attraction for the solo traveler, so your choice of itinerary will depend on your preferences and interests. From the expansive views and unique natural attractions of the South, such as the majestic Fish River Canyon, the specialized fauna and flora of the Namib Desert and its unforgettable attractions, such as the Sossusvlei dunes, to the Central Highlands with their mountain ranges and opportunities for camping and hiking. From the arid and remote Skeleton Coast in the northwest corner, to the river systems of the northeast and the African forests, Namibia offers many options. Of course, wild animals roam free in many of these areas, making your Namibian experience even more special.

You can choose to take just one more special itinerary if you’re on a shorter trip, or combine all the highlights into one grand trip if you have more time available. Options for adventure travel, photography tours, or other specialized tours are also available.

When planning your own trip, make use of the wealth of information available online, especially using the national websites of the Namibia Tourist Board, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, and the Namibian Hotel Association. These websites will give you more ideas and show you the main places of interest to visit, as well as providing you with accommodation options to suit any budget or preference.

Using a travel agent can help because your itinerary can be streamlined according to your needs, and you can take the guesswork out of car rentals, lodging reservations, and documentation requirements for your trip, but you can also do the most of your planning and reservations online. also.

Most of the establishments that offer accommodation in Namibia are open all year round, but the best time to visit depends on each one. Summers are generally very hot, and early spring and summer rains can interfere with the best self-driving plans. Winters are quite mild, although cold nights are often a reality for self-employed drivers who like to camp.

Whichever season you choose, whatever vehicle and itinerary options you prefer, you’re guaranteed a vacation you’ll always remember. The land of the wide open spaces, Namibia is ready to welcome you on your journey. Sitting by that campfire at night, after an exciting day filled with the most amazing sights and sounds, you will realize that Namibia is a country that will always call to you. And of course, you can come back as many times as you want.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *