With epic sand dunes, incredible wildlife and vast open roads, Namibia is a road-tripping dream. However, this friendly and safe country is often overlooked as a self-drive destination, with many travellers opting for organised group tours.
Don’t be daunted by driving in Namibia – it’s by far the best way to see the country and it will bag you a real adventure to boot. Here are Milly’s top six reasons to hit the road in Namibia.
While South Africa is world-famous for self-drive routes, its little-known neighbour Namibia is far less popular with UK tourists. This is a huge shame, as Namibia really is a road-tripping dream! When it comes to driving, Namibia is just as easy - if not even easier - than South Africa. With incredible wildlife and stunning desert landscapes, it's a superb destination to explore with your own four wheels. Here's why...
One huge benefit of a Namibia road trip is the freedom to mix up your accommodation. By driving instead of joining a tour, you can be far more flexible with your accommodation, as you don’t have to stay in hotels or lodges that cater for big groups. Think tiny B&Bs, luxury lodges, local campgrounds – there are so many kinds of accommodation to enjoy throughout the country.
This means that you can choose to stick with 3* hotels for most of your trip but splash out on a beautiful safari lodge in Etosha National Park, as the icing on the cake. This is something that can be tricky (or even impossible) to achieve on a tour, as all your hotels will be pre-arranged and around the same level in terms of quality.
Travel Nation’s Jonny recounts his trip to Namibia – “We did get stuck twice in the middle of nowhere, both times our fault trying to drive in sand. We had to figure out how to dig ourselves out and get the wheels turning again using whatever we could find nearby (usually leaves and twigs!). We also helped dig out some other people along the way. One 4WD was really stuck and a passing overland truck with a rope and tow bar came to the rescue. It’s all part of the adventure! As there are so few roads somebody will pass eventually.”
Namibia is one of the safest countries in Africa, so there's no reason to feel intimidated about hiring a car. It has a tiny population and even the capital city, Windhoek, is more like a large town than a huge metropolis. Of course, you'll need to take the same precautions you would anywhere, but the stigma of Africa being unsafe definitely does ont apply here.
The driving here is easy – to be honest, I’d say it’s harder to drive in Los Angeles than it is anywhere in Namibia. Big wide roads, very little traffic and sturdy 4WD vehicles are all factors that help make this country such a road-trip friendly one. The roads are sometimes bumpy, but certainly, nothing to worry about in terms of safety. We always recommend hiring a 4WD, but this is more for comfort than anything else.
When you’re driving, if you see an oryx out of the window or spot a giraffe in the distance, you can hop out to take a photo whenever you like. It’s much harder to do this on a group tour when there are miles go and no time to stop whenever you fancy. It’s one of my favourite things about self-driving – some of my best photos have been taken after suddenly spying some amazing wildlife out of the window!
But don’t worry! Doing a self-drive doesn’t mean you have to do it all yourself! In Namibia, you’ll have the freedom to drive between lodges but once you arrive we can include a professional game drive where a guide will take you out in a jeep to look for wildlife. This is the perfect balance between DIY and being looked after by the experts - guaranteeing you a laid-back holiday.
Setting off on a road trip through Namibia is exciting! Heading into the African sunset along endless roads is the thing of dreams - but it can easily become a reality.
Loads of us here at Travel Nation have taken Namibia road trips ourselves, so we can offer first-hand advice about planning your trip. Simply call us on +44 1273320580 or get in contact with us via email and we can take it from there!