Driving in Namibia the very first time is daunting - there is lots to know and stay aware of. We've come up with a comprehensive listing of everything we learnt on our Namibia excursion, to help you have the most effective and safest experience possible. Dunes, safaris, mountains, canyons, ghost towns, big towns, small towns; driving in Namibia is an incredible approach to experience this original and utterly beautiful country.
For a first-timer, driving in Namibia might be tough; there is lots to know and become aware of. That's why we've created a comprehensive number of our a little gem for driving in Namibia - to help you hold the best Namibian journey experience possible. Bellow are the essential tips to know before driving in namibia:
HIRE A 4X4 IN NAMIBIA, JUST TO BE SAFE
A question many people ask is "do I need a 4x4 for Namibia?". Technically, no. The road system in Namibia, save for remote locations, includes well maintained tarred or gravel roads and many of the main tourist sites might be reached and not using a 4x4 specifically (but something robust is suggested). We were able to drive most of america with our all-wheel-drive Mitsubishi ASX with only 1 scary situation - a really sandy road involving Fish River Canyon and Sossusvlei. A 4x4 vehicle makes driving in Namibia a whole lot more comfortable. You're higher up, so clearance has never been an issue, and also the larger tyres provide considerably more grip when driving on gravel or sand roads, ideal for when visiting Sossusvlei and Deadvlei, Etosha National Park, and anywhere down the Skeleton Coast. The 4x4 campers will also be a great approach to save money, since you can sleep inside tent above your car or truck, and utilize the kitchenware housed in the vehicle.
RENT AND DROP OFF YOUR VEHICLE IN WINDHOEK
This might sound obvious, but we recommend you are renting and drop off your motor vehicle in Windhoek. Why? Because in case you take your automobile across borders, you will be slugged with cross-border charges which could end up helping the overall cost of the trip. Crossing into Namibia from neighbouring countries will definitely cost N$277 (new nowadays 2017), payable when entering Namibia. As far as we're aware, this should be paid in cash, so prepare yourself. You will also have to have the applicable documentation including:
Valid passport on the driver
Certified copy with the vehicle registration papers
Letter of authority in the registered owner/hire company
Motor insurance certificate - obtainable in the border clear of charge
If originating from South Africa, a ZA sticker
DISTANCES ARE LONG, DRIVE TIMES EVEN LONGER
Namibia isn't called the land of endless horizons for nothing - it's vast! In fact, Namibia contains the second lowest population density within the world after Mongolia, with only 2.2 million inhabitants. On one day, we spent time driving with the Namib desert without seeing another living soul - not an animal. Therefore, you'll want to note that distances are long. Drive times might be even longer after you
account for the gravel/sandy roads which you'll probably encounter.
DON'T SPEED, ESPECIALLY ON GRAVEL ROADS
Namibian roads are long and empty so it might be tempting to speed. Don't. The answer may be obvious, but we can not emphasise enough value of sticking to the street rules. If you're unlucky enough a great accident, it usually is hours/days until someone finds you, if you are being severely injured, medical help could possibly be hours away. Speed limits in Namibia are the following:
Tarred roads | 120 km/h
Gravel roads | 80 km/h
Urban areas | 50-60 km/h
The penalties for exceeding the area speed limits are really severe, and law enforcement officials is wide-spread. The roads in Namibia vary in condition - some tarred roads are wonderful (those labelled with all the letter 'B' on maps), although some gravel roads ('D' or 'C' prefixes on maps) utilize sand in a short time and can bring about accidents. Punctures may also be a possibility on gravel roads (we can not tell you what number of we saw) and speed could raise the likelihood.
HAVE THE RIGHT DRIVING LICENCE
To use a car in Namibia you should be 23 years or older, and possess held your full licence for a minimum of 1 year, however, this definitely does depend within the supplier, and we've generally found the trucker must be 25 years or so of age or maybe more. Those between 21-25 could possibly be required to pay for an additional insurance fee. If your licence isn't in English, you should have a world driver's licence.
AVOID DRIVING AT DUSK
If possible, avoid driving later in the day or at nighttime outside the cities or larger towns, as there exists a much higher potential for an incident occurring. Animals are a lot more lively currently of day, when it's in some places that road lamps are certainly not common, those less fortunate walk home around the shoulder in the road and therefore are almost impossible to find out. If you are doing drive later in the day or evening, takes place high beams and drive slower compared to speed limit.
WATCH OUT FOR ANIMALS
Unsurprisingly, Namibia is filled with animals, even inside least expected places. When driving in Namibia, always be within the lookout for animals, it doesn't matter what type of road you're on and what sort of day it's, as they're considered to be startled and run across the front of vehicles. Fortunately, you'll find road signs which indicate when you ought to be cautious, so don't ignore these.
LEARN THE MAPS, AND ASK FOR DIRECTIONS FROM LOCALS
Before your journey, we absolutely recommend choosing a Namibian roadmap and thoroughly researching the most beneficial routes to adopt. It's another great idea to download an offline map of Namibia on your phone, simply to be safe. We also recommend conversing with locals and confirming your route. They know the roads the very best and is going to be able to give you the right directions. Buy a Namibia roadmap (you can aquire here), download the Namibia offline map on your phone, and do not get lost.
FILL UP WHEN YOU CAN
The general general guideline in outback Namibia is always to always fill if you pass a petrol station, while you never know if the next opportunity to fill will occur. In our experience, unless you're driving in far reaches in the Skeleton Coast national park, you have to be able to get a petrol station fairly regularly. Petrol stations in Namibia aren't self-service, which means you will be greeted using a petrol station attendant which will fill your automobile, and gives to clean your windscreen. It's customary to tip around N$5 after the attendant has filled up the car.
ALWAYS BE PREPARED
In Namibia, it’s imperative that you prepare for the worst and expect the very best. After all, you're about to adopt off a multi-day journey with an extremely dry and wild desert - being ready for whatever that adventure throws at you can be a must. If you’re heading off-road alone, we simply cannot emphasise enough how important it really is to always pack additional items including food, water, and warm clothing. To give you a notion, we always stood a minimum of 10L of water inside back of our car, and enough food to last us 2-3 days when the need arose. Tyre punctures can be extremely common in Namibia, so get ready with an extra tyre (or two). And in the event you don't know already, be able to change a tyre prior to depart. In our 10 days on the highway we was without a single puncture, however, we had three punctures in a afternoon. If you drive slowly avoiding potholes or large stones, you will be okay.
GET INSURANCE, AND THEN SOME
We're in the belief that you need to never travel without holiday insurance, ever. But should you don't always employ it, you need to for a Namibian journey. There a multitude of potential conditions that may arise while self-driving in Namibia, including accidents and minor harm to vehicles, theft and muggings, and health concerns. When booking your vehicle, give you the most comprehensive insurance and pay more to relieve your excess. It could be expensive, but accidents are a great deal more likely on Namibian roads due to different driving conditions. It's worth noting that most rental car agencies in Namibia don't cover you for night driving or 'off-piste'. When looking at travel and safety in Namibia, grab the normal precautions you'd probably anywhere, like never leaving valuables or bags unattended in your car or truck, and being watchful about those surrounding you at ATMs. In some areas, it is recommended that you don’t wander alone or catch taxis late through the night (particularly after 9pm) concerning have been reports of armed muggings and theft of tourist's backpacks.
DRIVE ON THE LEFT
Namibian's drive within the left-hand side in the road, which for many people Aussies, is totally normal. However, we realise it is not normal for the majority from the world and it is something to be mindful of when leasing a car in Namibia. If you're worried, it could be best to rent an automatic car in order to avoid any gear change/braking/turning at the same time issues (we're there when driving in Europe!)
FOLLOW THESE SIMPLE SAFETY PRECAUTIONS
To stay safe and sounds when driving in Namibia, apply these simple security precautions:
Don't pick-up hitchhikers, whether or not they look lost or innocent. There are actually many reports of car-jackings due to picking up fake hitchhikers.
Don't ever leave valuables on show with your car after you leave it unattended, and also lock your motor vehicle. If you have valuables like cameras, phones etc, drive them with you when leaving the auto.
Know which areas to stop, especially townships.
Always drive using the doors locked and windows finished up, particularly major towns and around traffic.
Try to park your automobile in a secure compound, or using a busy, well-lit street.
DRIVING IN NAMIBIA - FOLLOW THESE GENERAL RULES
Keep your lights on always as this makes the car easier to spot, even from the best of weather.
Flash your hazards whenever you pass another driver. This provides a thank you.
Namibia drivers are often very courteous (understand the point above), so function as same.
Slow down when approaching other cars on gravel roads to prevent stones being thrown up by tyres. We can't show you how many times we'd stones hit our windscreen.
Seat belts when driving a hire car in Namibia are mandatory.
Drivers will carry continually while driving, a legitimate driver's licence, registration documents and insurance documents.
Don't count on phone reception, as from the most remote areas, even 3G is just not available.
PLANNING YOUR ROAD TRIP AROUND NAMIBIA
To start your Namibia excursion, you first of all have to get to Namibia. International flights will reach Hoseo Kutaki International Airport, Windhoek. Book your flights to Namibia using Skyscanner, that's in our opinion the most beneficial flight online search engine.
Namibia has a exhaustive variety of accommodation options, with everything from high-end lodges right through to campsites. For this sort of large country, accommodation may be found almost anyplace, if a sleepy roadside town from the middle in the desert, or incredible lodge inside heart of Etosha. If you desire hotel or safari lodge accommodation in Namibia and never know where do you start, we recommend using Hotels Combined, the earth's best hotel comparison site. You may also use Booking.com to discover accommodation you're looking for with the lowest possible prices.
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