Not really. Namibian roads are generall very good. The main ones are tar and the main gravel ones are quite smooth.
You may get bounced a bit on the very minor ones but this is only for an hour or two at a time. Even in National Parks like Etosha the roads are graded quite smoothly.
Thanks for the reassurance. Although, based on what I read in another post about flooding and inaccessible roads, I'm glad I'm not traveling there this week!
Me too. Looks a bit dramatic. I hope it has all got sorted before I get there.
It really depends what time of year you are coming and what you will be driving.
The heavy rains seem to have finished finally (fingers crossed) and the graders are back out again, so the main routes will be starting to be sorted out a bit. If you are going off the beaten track then those roads get looked after less often, so will be bumpier.
I also suffer with back problems so if I am doing a lot of driving on gravel roads I prefer a vehicle with better suspension to deal with the corrugations etc. So generally I will use a 4x4 or at least something with bigger wheels and higher clearance as they tend to deal with the roads better as well. Also I find sitting on a cushion helps. If you have back problems then I would certainly not consider any of the dinky toy cheaper rentals like Toyota Yaris, Hyundai Getz, Citi Golf etc. They have tiny wheels and you will feel all the bumps.
Gemma Dry - Owner - Discover Namibia SafarisEdited: 10 May 2011, 11:26
Thanks for the reply, Gemma. I'll be traveling in early September w/ Wildlife Safaris. I believe I asked what type of vehicles they used and they indicated 4X4s. Hope you are drying out!
It is also important to let the air pressure of the tyres down a little which helps with road stability and a softer ride on unpaved roads. Your car hire agent should be able to advice you on the pressure.
I will reduce my tyre pressure if stuck to get a bigger footprint. I never advise letting them down for a better ride.
1. They are designed to run at a certain pressure/temperature.
2. The vehicle's roadholding is designed around that pressure.
3. You risk damaging the tyre walls due to extra flexing.
4. They are a PIA to reflate when you rememer to do so on gaining the tar.
It is probably illegal too. It is in a lot of countries.
My experience in outback Australia is that lowering tyre pressures greatly reduces the chance of a puncture as the tyre will deform away from the object. Think of a balloon, a little air in it and it is hard to punture, fully inflate it and it will pop easily. The increase in comfort is a side benefit.
Lowered pressures (within reason) are no problem at reduced speed, but you must re-inflate as soon as you increase speed on smoother roads. Here, in Australia, I usually drive on gibber roads (gravel roads with lots of sharp stones) at around 24 psi and keep speeds below 80 km/h. I drop to 16 or even less on sand, but drive even slower.
I have a 14 day trip planned in Namibia in September and I have requested a tyre air compressor as part of the vehicle hire.
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