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Sunrise road trip Namibia

How To Road Trip Namibia: An Epic Journey

Want to road trip Namibia and experience the best of Africa?
Rent a 4×4 and set out on an epic journey that will deliver one hell of an enriching adventure. Seriously, there is nothing like the feeling of driving yourself through the beautiful and insanely diverse landscapes, seeing wildlife that you have only ever experienced in zoos, the freedom and the truly enriching experiences. It actually ranks among my top 5 travel experiences. So here are my tips to help you plan your journey.
Sunset road trip Namibia

 

Namibia: This is my country of choice. Namibia is safe, and has such a crazy diversity of landscapes and wildlife. Namibia is home to Etosha National Park where you can set up a base camp at one of several sanctioned camps and take day drives through the park where you will respectfully experience zebra, lions, elephants, giraffe, and a whole lot more. Stop at a remote watering hole, park and be amazed as you watch an orchestrated wildlife symphony as groups of animals pass right in front of your eyes.
Because you have your own vehicle, you are free to quietly sit and enjoy without the burden of camera snapping tourists elbowing you for position for photos or a tour guide firing up the bus right as that elephant you’ve been eyeing decided to put on a show. Return back to the safe, fenced in camp at night, put up your roof top tent and listen to the wildlife around you (yes, it is a bit unnerving at first to hear lions roaring but trust me, it is truly awesome and safe within the protected campgrounds). Can you tell I REALLY enjoy driving & camping in Namibia?
Here are some photos to inspire your adventure!

Sitting and watching the wildlife at a watering hole in Etosha NP.

Respect the wildlife! Don’t ever get out of your vehicle and leave plenty of space between you and the wildlife. (This car is too close to this elephant!). Be respectful and you will be rewarded with one of the best wildlife shows on earth, all at your own pace.

I’ll never forget the first time I saw a zebra in the wild.

A lion in the middle of the road. I stopped, turned off the engine and just took in the moment. Beautiful.

Roof top tent. There is something powerful about falling asleep to the sounds of lions and wildlife around. Note: The established camps in Etosha NP are protected by fences and as such safe.

Namibia is also the place you get to experience landscapes like this! (Sossusvlei) Your Instagram will become quite popular from this trip 😉

If you plan to drive to Sossusvlei (beyond the paved road) be sure you are experienced in 4×4 driving. My truck had an air compressor that allowed for deflating the tires. Getting stuck is common and will cost you a lot of money and aggravation. If unsure, park at the end of the road and hike in.

 

There are quite a few 4×4 rental agencies in Windhoek, Namibia (capital city). All of these cater to self-driving safaris.

A couple things to consider to ensure an awesome journey:
– Make sure to triple check your vehicle when picking it up. Pay particular attention to the tires. Make sure they have plenty of tread and also make sure you have TWO full size spares. I got a flat in the literal middle of nowhere and was glad to have another spare. Note, flat tires are common in Namibia and you can have a flat repaired in most
villages/towns.

flat tire namibia

Flat Tire #1 somewhere in the literal middle of nowhere

– Understand the insurance details. You will be driving on many, many gravel roads & there is a good chance you could get a crack in your windshield. Make sure you are covered as some of the stipulations are confusing and you could end up in quite the pickle.
– Most trucks will come with two fuel tanks. You want two tanks as fuel stations can be quite a distance away from each other.
– NEVER pass a fuel station without filling up your tanks. Most stations take a credit card but be sure to have cash on you.
– Driving position is on the right (British).  Don’t panic, it is pretty easy to adapt but if this is a different side of the road for you, consider paying a little extra for an automatic vehicle so you don’t have to worry about shifting.
– I rented a satellite phone and recommend it for emergencies. You can also rent a GPS which was helpful given the lack of cell service making my usual google maps ineffective.
– Be EXTRA careful driving early mornings and evenings when wildlife is on the move. Actually, be extra careful at all times.

I know all this sounds complicated but it really isn’t if you follow these few simple steps. Aside from a flat tire, I had no other issues my entire road trip in Namibia and drove a LOT of miles all around this wonderful country.
Again, seriously, do this trip! 🙂