Many rental cars I saw on the roads were new, and I saw no one having any problems, so I assume they are serviced regularly and are reliable - as ours was. We rented our car from Advanced Car hire ... good value for money, excellent condition, excellent service ... and did I mention it was brand new?? :-)
If you decide on self-driving keep 4 things in mind:
* In Namibia you drive on the left side (Like in Britain)
* Punctures are a way of life so make sure you know how to change one! It is also best to ensure you have 2 spare wheels and if you get a puncture get it immediately repaired. Do not change the inner tube if it is not repairable, buy a new tire instead.
* you will probably require an international driving licence so it is best to enquire beforehand. Many car rental companies don't require this, but officials will. The best rule of thumb is that if your driving licence is not in English then you definitely need an international one.
* Check the insurance coverage you will be offered very, very carefully. There will be various tiers of rental prices based on access to be paid. If you do not pay any access, you will be required to leave a hefty deposit in case of damage, and will have to pay any damage caused. Paying full access will mean paying more for the rental and leaving no deposit and paying nothing should an accident occur. There are also options in between. Enquire and make sure you understand the conditions well. Accidents are supposedly common (what I heard, not what I experienced) so think this through well. Ask if any damage to windshields and windows which are common due to the gravel roads, will be insured.
(For more info refer to the link I have posted in the above tip)Related to:
- Road Trip
When travelling around Namibia, for peace of mind and to reduce the likelihood of becoming stranded, a 4 x 4 is a great option, particularly if travelling to the Skeleton Coast area.
Make sure you request more than one spare tyre, you will get punctures. Do not accept that there are no more than one spare tyre available, there will be some somewhere.
Carry plenty of water at all times.
Sometimes you can use a kind of car that is open .... when we went to see cheetahs we went at this open car ... so we where really near the animals .... I can imagine that cheetahs after eating are not very dangerous and that is why we where at this kind of cars ..
You have to cover yourself correctly when you go in this kind of cars cause at day you will burn your skin and when sun goes you will have coldRelated to:
- Theme Park Trips
- National/State Park
Kalahari Ferrari, a slow and easy method of travel
It's not really an effective way to travel long distances, but if you'd like to share a little time with the locals in Damaraland, you can take a ride in one of their (so-called) "Kalahari Ferraris". Generally, these desert roadsters are made from discarded car axels, and are powered by one or two donkeys.
It's not luxury travel, but when in Namibia, it's a way to get somewhere when the battery in your car dies, or you run out of gas.
LTU International Airlines
There are only two airlines offering NON-STOP service to Namibia from Europe. They are Air Namibia and LTU International. At the present time, both fly out of Germany.
The LTU flights occur twice a week, with the actual day(s) varying by season. (Check the website below) LTU uses a modern fleet of Airbus jumbo jets for the ten-hour flight to Hosea Kutako airport in Windhoek. The LTU flights depart from and return to Franz Josef Strauss airport in Munich.
Leaving from North America? Go through Europe!
Namibia is not an easy place to access from the US or Canada. There are no non-stop flights, and most "direct" flights involve going to South Africa, and then on to Windhoek, via South African Airlines. These flights tend to be very pricey.
My advice? Book separate flights, travelling through Europe. (Germany) Be sure to schedule a day or two in between your flight to Europe and the continuing trip to Africa. For flights on to Namibia from Europe, LTU International and Air Namibia offer non-stop service. (I've flown both, they're quite good). And, from almost anywhere in Europe, you can get a decent fair to Windhoek, connecting through J'burg in South Africa. I know that British Airways, South African Airways and Lufthansa all have these connecting flights.
How much will you save? Here's what it meant for us to split the trip...
My fare quote from Atlanta, Georgia to Windhoek, Namibia, via SAA....$2800 US.
Splitting up the fares....We flew from Fort Myers, Florida to Germany for $500, and then two days later, we flew from Germany to Namibia for $900. That's half price, folks. And, since I bought 3 tickets, I saved $4200. That's not insignificant in my book. And, it more than takes care of the slight additional expense of spending a few nice days in Europe going and coming.
One last advantage. ......you get to skip that 15 hour ride from the US to South Africa, splitting it up into more manageable flights.
If you have trouble finding help getting decent fares (in the US) for the Europe-Africa flights, I suggest that you contact www.ebookers.com. They are a European online travel agency. They gave us excellent service.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Air Namibia, the national airline of Namibia
Air Namibia is the national airline of Namibia. For flights within Namibia, it's really the only choice. And, it's one of only two choices for non-stop travel to Namibia from Europe (Germany). (The other is LTU International)
Air Namibia flies a huge B747-400 combi on its flights from Germany to Windhoek, operating twice a week. The service is truly outstanding, and reflects the tourist-friendly attitude of Namibia as a whole. The food is above-average, and the airline prides itself on offering a bit more legspace in coach than usual. THIS IS NOT A TYPICAL AFRICAN NATIONAL AIRLINE. Their service and safety record is good, as is their pilot and attendant training.
We flew Air Namibia to Windhoek from Germany, and highly recommend it. It can be tough to make reservations on the 'net in the US or Canada for Air Namibia. I'd suggest dealing with www.ebookers.com. Their service is excellent.
Get a 4WD with a pop-open roof!
If part of the reason you're going to Namibia includes viewing and photographing game, then you really do need to have a vehicle with some sort of "pop top". The only way to get real 360 access to everything that happens around you will be to pop up through the roof. Working around windows will result in many, many missed photo opportunities.
And, I'd suggest 4WD if you're really going out in the wild.
We actually traveled with a guide, who brought her own company vehicle. But, such vehicles are available for hire, and are best obtained in Windhoek. For this type of vehicle, book early.Related to:
- Adventure Travel
THE MAIN AIRPORT
Namibia’s main International Airport (Windhoek Hosea Kutako International) lies about 45 kilometres from the city of Windhoek. It has the flowing Airlines and destinations
Air Namibia (Cape Town, Frankfurt, Johannesburg, London-Gatwick, Luanda, Maun, Victoria Falls)
Air Botswana (Gaborone)
British Airways operated by Comair (Johannesburg)
LTU International (Düsseldorf, Munich)
South African Airways (Johannesburg)
South African Airways operated by South African Express (Cape Town)
TAAG Angola Airlines (Luanda, Lubango)
The terminal has a few shops, 1 restaurant, tourist information and ATM’s that dispense Namibian Dollars.
Airside is a VIP and a Business Lounge, Duty Free shop, gift shop, jewellery shop, a cafe and VAT refund.
The following car rental companies can be found when you arrive:
Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz and ImperialRelated to:
- Business Travel
- Family Travel
- Luxury Travel
taking that ride to nowhere, we'll take that ride!
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.Related to:
- Road Trip
HAND HELD TELEPHONES AND SEAT BELTS
It is against the law in Namibia to drive while holding a telephone. It is also mandatory that all passengers wear belts and children be in appropriate seats. This is not just the law, it’s smart. In Windhoek and Swakopmund you risk a fine from the Police and it’s very easy to detect when your are violating either of these laws. Across the rest of Namibia violating either of these laws could easily get everyone seriously injured or dead. Roads can be rough and suddenly dip. Train crossings have no gates. And then there are animals. Wild animals love to run out in front of cars, especially at night. These are the big ones that can destroy cars and you. Don’t do it. Drive safe and smart and stay alive.Related to:
- Family Travel
- National/State Park
- Road Trip
WINDHOEK TO SWAKOPMUND
This should be straightforward, but its not. The most direct roads between the 2 are not paved and are a hard hard drive. If you are not experienced on long stretches of gravel I would suggest you stay on the sealed roads to get to the beach from Windhoek. Take the B1 North and then the B2 West. This is certainly not the country to try and learn how to drive on gravel. I met a guy who flipped his car and put a passenger in hospital. Drive to stay alive and take the long way round. It’s a good road.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Business Travel
The best way to see Namibia is by your own car. Main roads are tar and great. Other roads are gravel and still good conditions. A normal car will be able to take you almost anywhere beside the rough part of the dunes in the desert where there you must have a 4WD.
Remember to tank your car when ever possible, we never had a problem anyway.
Also, must have at list two spare tyres as punctures are common, luckily I got only one.
I do not think that public transport is a good way to travel and see Namibia as I did not see any. if you do not want to drive your own, I guess the other option is to join a safari tour, this way you do not need to worry about finding your way or miss any special attraction, but you will be compromise on your comfortability and flexibility.
Driving in Namibia is on the left hand side of the road. That’s the rule for paved roads. For salt, sand and gravel roads you drive where ever you need to in order to avoid car-killing rocks and animals. Keep a watch out for other cars coming towards you on unpaved roads. They are also trying to avoid animals and rocks which destroy instead of looking out for you.Related to:
- National/State Park
- Road Trip
- Business Travel
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