Guide to Driving in Namibia: 10 Useful Self-drive Important Tips

Guide to Driving in Namibia – Choosing a self-drive safari in Namibia promises an authentic African adventure like no other. With its well-maintained road network and comprehensive infrastructure, Namibia offers the ideal setting for immersive exploration. Here, travelers can draw closer to the country’s captivating landscapes, encounter unique wildlife, and engage with a diverse array of cultures.

The self-drive experience in Namibia is incredibly versatile, catering to adventurers of all levels. Whether you seek thrilling escapades or serene journeys, Namibia allows you to tailor your safari to your preferences, making it a truly personalized adventure. It serves as an excellent introduction to the freedom of navigating the open road on your terms, offering unparalleled opportunities for exploration and discovery.

As you traverse Namibia’s vast expanses, you’ll be captivated by the raw beauty of its deserts, mountains, and savannas. From encountering majestic wildlife to immersing yourself in the rich cultural tapestry of the region, a self-drive safari in Namibia promises unforgettable experiences and memories to last a lifetime.


1. Do I Need a 4WD for a Self-drive Tour in Namibia?

The suitability of your vehicle for a Namibian self-drive safari depends on your chosen destinations. For most routes, a 2WD vehicle suffices, as major destinations are accessible via sealed roads, with well-maintained gravel roads connecting others. However, thorough research is essential. Remote areas like the river valleys of Damaraland, the northwest, Khaudum National Park, or certain parts of Sossusvlei and the Namib sand seas necessitate a 4WD vehicle. While renting a 4WD is pricier, it grants access to more remote locations, expanding your exploration possibilities.

2. What Preparation Do I Need For Self Drive In Namibia?


If opting for a 4WD vehicle, consider taking a beginner or refresher course in 4WD driving. While many of the skills taught, like safe water crossing and navigating soft sand, may not be immediately applicable in Namibia, the confidence gained is invaluable for handling various situations.

Familiarize yourself thoroughly with your vehicle. Most rental companies provide a briefing upon vehicle pickup. Take your time during this briefing, as rushing through it could lead to crucial gaps in your knowledge. Ensure you understand essential details such as the vehicle’s fuel requirements and how to change a tire. Punctures are relatively common on Namibian roads, so being prepared is essential for a smooth and safe journey.

3. Is Driving Myself in Namibia Safe?


Namibia is often referred to as ‘Africa for beginners’, and for good reason. With low crime rates, excellent infrastructure including roads, and sparse population densities resulting in light traffic. It offers a safe and comfortable environment for travelers. While accidents can occur, it’s important to understand local conditions and drive accordingly, as is the case anywhere in the world. However, the risk of driving in Namibia is notably lower compared to many other countries globally.

4. What Should I Consider When Planning My Self-drive Safari?


Namibia’s vast expanse requires careful planning to avoid overwhelming your experience, particularly when traveling with family. Research the distances between your desired attractions and set realistic expectations. It’s better to thoroughly explore a few places than rush through numerous destinations and spend most of your time on the road.

Ensure you pack an ample supply of food and water, as well as emergency provisions. Namibia’s remote areas mean help may take time to arrive if you encounter difficulties. Additionally, consider obtaining insurance coverage to safeguard against unforeseen emergencies, providing peace of mind during your travels.

5. What Do I Need to Be Careful Of?

Driving at night in Namibia is strongly discouraged due to poor or non-existent street lighting, as well as poorly maintained vehicles with unreliable headlights. Additionally, both wild and domestic animals frequently roam onto the roads, posing significant hazards. While during the day you may have time to react to these obstacles, at night they can appear suddenly, increasing the risk of accidents.

Furthermore, gas or petrol stations can be few and far between, so it’s advisable to refuel whenever possible. Don’t assume there will be a fuel stop within the next 200 kilometers; it’s better to fill up when available to avoid running out of fuel in remote areas.

6. What Are Road Conditions Like for Self-Driving in Namibia?


While there are occasional exceptions, particularly in remote regions, Namibia boasts generally excellent road conditions. However, some roads are so well-maintained that it’s easy to inadvertently exceed the speed limit. Always monitor your speed carefully, especially on gravel roads. Speeding on gravel roads can quickly turn a memorable trip into a disaster. One moment you’re enjoying the journey, and the next, a minor mistake can have serious consequences. Therefore, exercise caution and adhere to speed limits to ensure a safe and enjoyable travel experience in Namibia.

7. On which side of the road should I drive?

In Namibia, driving is done on the left side of the road, consistent with neighboring countries like South Africa, Botswana, and Zambia. However, Angola, which borders Namibia to the north, drives on the right side of the road.

8. Do I Need an International Driver’s License?

Foreigners driving in Namibia for less than 90 days are not required by law to carry an International Driving Permit (IDP). Rental companies typically accept your home driver’s license. Tis comes with the exception being if your license is in a language other than English. In such cases, it’s advisable to carry an IDP to avoid any potential difficulties when renting a car or interacting with law enforcement.

9. hat are the speed limits for driving in Namibia?

The general rule of thumb is that the speed limit is 60km/hr in urban areas, 120km/hr on sealed roads outside urban areas, and 100km/hr on gravel roads. However, there are two important exceptions to consider. Firstly, always adhere to posted speed limit signs, as they may vary depending on local conditions. Secondly, on gravel roads, the posted speed limit serves as an upper limit, and it’s highly recommended to drive at a considerably slower pace for safety reasons.

10. What Equipment Should I Carry With Me To Namibia?

While rental companies usually provide necessary equipment, it’s prudent to create a checklist beforehand to ensure nothing essential is overlooked. Imagine renting a 4WD camper only to find yourself in the desert without cutlery or a spare gas bottle. It’s a situation best avoided. Some items, like extra blankets, a torch, ladder for the rooftop tent, or a lighter for the gas stove, enhance comfort. Others, such as a tire pump or jack for changing tires, are critical.

Equally important is the GPS unit. If included in your rental, request it to be set up with Tracks4Africa, a reliable program with regularly updated route descriptions. For remote adventures, consider renting a satellite phone for added safety and communication capability.

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