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As with all of Africa - the sun sets fast and then is is VERY DARK!
There are bad roads, drunken people staggering to their villages, big animals, small animals, other vehicles (on occasion!)... there is not a lot of fun driving in Africa in the dark and it is quite dangerous and tiresome. So, set off in good time, know where you are going and when the sun starts to sink.... you must race against it :-D
Written Dec 30, 2009
There are some wonderful and cheap purchases to be made in Namibia, especially near to the borders... I thought the little craft stops 2 minutes from Botswana would have been pricey - captive audience... instead I had the Botswana (sun-glassed) lady officers raiding my recent purchases and demanding to know prices... then not believing how cheap I had got them for!
HOWEVER - Do be aware - these sunglasses-clad officers were however, raiding my car to make sure I had nothing "dirty" because fott & mouth is a huge issue and.... yup... my kids new, little drum had a leather top and so HAD to be destoyed. Horrifed small persons face reduced the sentance to "remove dirty leather from drum" which was never going to happen as, as cheap as this drum may have been it was very well made and nothing was going t destroy it!). A few tears and "but I love my drum" later the official in her sunglasses turned her back on us and walked away with a "hasta la vista" (or the African equivalent of it). Hurriedly we pushed the little drum into the middle of my backpack, covered it in dirty t.shirts and when she returned "have you anything 'dirty'... like a drum?" "no,no good lady officer, nothing like that!".... "ok you may go"
Be aware you may not get the nice, smiley officer in sunglasses... you may get tutting, frowning, bad tempered mate! So, anything you are not wishing to so edclare... hide!
Written Dec 30, 2009
If you are entering Namibia with a foreign vehicle you will have to pay a nominal road tax... it is a good idea to have small denomination notes for this - they may not always have change for you... if it is an amount you are happy to write off, fine but if it is a larger sum of money and you want your change you may to wait for the next person to come along!
Written Dec 30, 2009
Firstly this is a country where you simply MUST drive yourself. It is that simple and it is that easy and it is incredible!
You really want a 4x4. But, if for whatever reason you don't get one or cannot get one then you certainly want a high clearance 2-wheel drive and a tow rope. The roads are not a total disaster but it is better to be over prepared than stuck in the middle of nowhere ill equipped! Likewise ensure you do have at least one spare tyre. I never needed it but I bet had it I would have done!!!
You can take a hired car from Namibia into Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe because they all share the same insurance. However, mention Zimbabwe and all companies go into melt down and say NO NO NO! If you beg very nicely they will agree to you taking the car across to Zimbabwe to the town of Victoria Falls ONLY and on a strict NO OVERNIGHT POLICY!
Fill up with petrol at EVERY given opportunity... really, you can NEVER have enough petrol in your tank!
Always carry more water than you will ever be able to drink and foods that are not going to perish are a good thing to have about you too.... just in case.
Never get cockey on the roads... they really are all mostly dirt roads, built with uber German efficency but in vary states and just because you feel comfortable, you never know and can never see when that next KABOOMP in the road is going to be. You can never predict which animal will run out suddenly in front of you. It is impossible to realise that the next section of roads is heavily sanded and therefore twice as slippy.... GO EASY! I shall admit now to spinning my car a lovely 100 degrees much to the horror of my 9 year old son. My husband managed to take us on a little unintentional off-roading because he lost control on a particularly sandy bit of road. It happens!
The driving is LONG LONG LONG... and despite being a most wonderful and beautiful country, hours and hours across a desert and same-same looking landscapes can grow tedious. Coupled with the various states of the roads... be realistic in how far you can get in a day. The longest drive I did was a 7 hour killer... it was ncessary but not something I would recommend!
MAPS - Make sure you have a good map. I used one by a company called Mapstudio and it was perfect - totally up to date with most roads marked.
SATNAV - I had downloaded the whole of Southern Africa onto my TomTom, never having used it abroad befoer I thought it would be a prudent accessory for our mammoth journey... I probably relied a lot more heavily on the road maps than "Sheila" as we called her who got a little confused at times and didn't seem to know all the roads. Overall, a mixture of Sheila and map worked nicely.
Written Dec 30, 2009
The trans Kalahari line departs at 06 AM. This is the main bus from Windhoek to Johannesburg via the Kalahari desert. The route: Windhoek-Gobabis-Boitepos (Botswana border)-Ghanzi (people to Maun can go off and change bus here)-Gaborone-Johannesburg.
Updated Oct 9, 2009
The south African company "Intercape" have buslines through the south western part of Africa. One of the buslines goes from Windhoek to Victoria Falls, through the Khomas region, Otjozondjupa region, Okavango region, caprivo region. It is 1250 km on the Caprivo highway. The main stop before the Zambian border is Katima Mulilo.
Departure from Windhoek every second day. Book your ticket some hours in advance at the Windhoek office/garage. The bus will leave from the garage 04 PM, but will stand still and wait for passengers at the parking area in front of the Supreme Court before it leaves at 5.30 PM. Arrival at Shell station in Katima Mulio, 09.10 AM. The price is 400 N$. It's a luxury bus with OK seats and a toalet.
There are some few stops on the way at petrol stations where you can buy something, but there are many other people standing in queue. It's best to buy some food and drinks before you leave Windhoek.
You will enter Caprivo region in the morning. This is a game reserve with a lot of elephants. Have your camera ready.
Written Oct 7, 2009
Phone: +264 61 227 847
Air Namibia is the national airline. It's a little airline with only one inter-continental route to Frankfurt, Germany (Airbus 340-300). The rest are routes to the bordering countries Angola, South-Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe.
Updated Oct 6, 2009
Phone: +264-61-299 6000
I can recommend www.advancedcarhire.com
Michael which is the owner took good care of us, we been picked up from the airport and also back to our return flight. The car was perfect, almost new, and when we return it there was no hassle what's so ever.
Ask to have two spare tyres just in case, we had one puncture during our trip which is about the average :)
Written Feb 26, 2009
Many people find it safe enough to hire a vehicle and drive Namibia themselves. The roads are not bad at all and it is a relatively safe country at the moment. The dangerous areas have forbidden access and permits are needed for other areas.
I therefore booked a tour and would highly recommend it.
The company was SWA Safaris based in Windhouk and they took care of everything.
Our guide Sylke, was professional and gave us good insight into the country and it's wildlife.
Only downside is that you have to spend near enough 24/7 with the tour group, eating meals together etc.
Written Feb 10, 2009
Phone: +264 (61) 221193
Before you get really excited about travelling around Namibia by train, let me lower your expectations now. The train system is primarily designed for shipping freight and agricultural products. They travel VERY slowly and don’t go to many places. You may need more than one book to read. Notably they do go to Swakopmund, Walvis Bay, and Tsumeb. Unless you have a lot of time you may want to hire a car or take a bus instead.
*WRITTEN IN RESPONSE TO A TRAVEL FORUM QUESTION*
Updated Jan 21, 2009
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