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Driving in Namibia

Ohope, New Zealand
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50 posts
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Driving in Namibia

We have planned a trip to self drive - 4WD in Namibia and are now hearing some unnerving stories. Is it safe - we have booked to visit Erongo,Okaukuejo and Okonjima in June. We have travelled extensively in other countries but this will be our first time to Africa.

Thanks for any comments!

Naracoorte
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1. Re: Driving in Namibia

I cannot imagine what sort of stories you have heard? I have never heard anything negative about self-driving in Namibia! Absolutely nothing to worry about. Normal commonsense rules apply - no different to UK, US or Oz. You will have a great time. We have been on self-drive trips in Namibia, Bots, Zimbabwe and South Africa several times with NO problems whatsoever.

Naracoorte
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2. Re: Driving in Namibia

Another thought: the only thing re driving people will warn you about is taking care of dirt/gravel roads especially if you usually only drive on good tar. Take it slowly particularly around bends. The only trouble you DO hear of is people rolling their vehicle due to going too fast! Also don't get too close behind people on roads with loose surfaces as stones/rocks can flick up and crack your windscreen. Don't worry, normal, careful driving and you are fine.

London
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3. Re: Driving in Namibia

Tryhard is absolutely right: you have nothing to worry about. Just use common-sense and you will have a wonderful time. Perhaps you could find this trip report on our own self-drive trip - to some of the same destinations - reassuring?

tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g293820-i9680-k4…

Stanley, Falkland...
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4. Re: Driving in Namibia

What are the stories and where are they coming from?

I'd rather know if they have any basis in fact before wasting time refuting or agreeing with them.

Driving is very easy, albeit very different from what you might be used to. Long, long straight gravel roads, where you might see less than 20 cars per day. Very easy to go too fast, watch the scenery, and not notice a dry river bed or a corner, and then you need assistance....

Crime very rarely happens, but it would be foolish to say "never". But I would guess there is less crime there than in most countries in the world.

Earth
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5. Re: Driving in Namibia

We spent a month touring Namibia by car starting at the eastern edge of the Caprivi Strip and driving to Etosha, then further South to Windhoek and Sossusvlei and Walvis Bay without ever once feeling unsafe. Biggest difference is that most of the roads are gravel, and you can go for miles and miles without seeing another car.

Most of the problems we saw on the roads were tire related. When you pick up your truck, check the condition of all of its tires including the spare and make the vendor replace them if they are in bad condition or even marginal condition. Also be sure you understand how to access the spare and all tools for changing a tire are in the truck.

We found Okonjima a bit disappointing. The rooms were great but the food was the worst we had in Africa and the game viewing was very limited. Cats were collared with radio transponders so that made it easy to find them but certainly not as exciting as seeing them in the wild in South Africa.

Oxford, United...
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6. Re: Driving in Namibia

Four years ago we drove from Jo;burg accross to Fish river Canyon in the south. From there we criss crossed up through the country finishing at Etosha. We were on gravel roads all the time, which were empty and good.

We were self driving and self catering and that was fine. We just rang ahead each day to see if there were vacancies.

We felt perfectly safe all the time and the hardest thing was finding a mini market to stock up at. What looks like a decent size village/town often turned out to be a shack selling sausages and potatoes next to single petrol pump, but we loved this...away from the rat race. Do try to go to Omaruru Game lodge where the wild animals come each evening for food ( no fences round!) You can stay in a variety of houses. We were in a simple Rondavel and that was good value. There is a restaurant or you can just sit with a drink and watch all the animals come right up to the wall, even Rhino.

Bon Voyage, Julie

Birmingham, United...
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7. Re: Driving in Namibia

Hi I live in Birmingham England and have just returned from a months driveing around Namibia,I can honestly say with no dout in my heart that it was the most pleasant ,and easy driveing i have ever done,The people are fantastic ,scenery second to none,wild life in abundance, what more can you ask,I wish you all the best in your trip, its worth every penny good luck

All the very best

Keith

Isle of Man, United...
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8. Re: Driving in Namibia

Not sure why Karpow has not returned with the info on his/her 'stories' but just to add to the others. Back from 7,000km with only a blown tyre (on Christmas DAY!!!) to disrupt progress.

Do check you know how to access the spare wheel with the long handle. Try a dry run in the Hire Yard. At the roadside is no fun at all.

And yes, those Backies with a high Cof G will roll over if pushed around a corner too fast. 80kmph max on Gravel and if the signs says, 40 comply!

Ohope, New Zealand
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9. Re: Driving in Namibia

Thank you all so much for your reassurance. We are really looking forward to our trip and it sounds like everyone has had a wonderful experience. Some of my concern was crime related and I know this can happen in any country.

Thanks again.

London
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496 posts
5 reviews
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10. Re: Driving in Namibia

mfuwe, you're so right about mastering the HiLux spare wheel/long handle technique. We did practice at the car hire depot - but even the guy teaching us found it pretty tricky, so we weren't at all confident. Luckily, we never needed to put our prowess to the test - but I can certainly feel for you learning a new skill at the roadside on Christmas Day....

Edited: 15 January 2012, 23:12