Windhoek. Safer than they say.
A look at the sign on the wall in my hostel might put a lot of people off sampling the delights of Windhoek (see photo).
Not one to be detered, I ventured out and found..............a very clean,friendly, dull capital city.
Not one bad situation, the opposite in fact. Helpful, friendly people. I remain good friends with the sister of the owner of La Marmite restaurant.
Driving on gravel roads
When driving in Namibia, on unsealed roads keep your speed down to 80km/h or less and drive with care. This is what happend in this photo. The van was going to fast to take the sharp bend in the road. This photo was taken in Etosha NP About 1km from a leopard sighting, there are also lions in this areaRelated to:
- Family Travel
- National/State Park
- Road Trip
Watch out for wildlife!
As well as the danger of skidding on the gravel road surface, there’s an additional hazard to be aware of when driving in Namibia – animals! This is particularly true in Etosha of course, but you’re liable to see different types of deer and smaller animals anywhere. On our first day in the country, just 15 minutes drive from the airport, we spotted our first kudu, so don’t think you’ll need to be miles from anywhere to encounter this hazard. There are very few fences and the quietness of the roads means that animals are likely to regard them as a simple extension of their usual territory.
Drive on the wrong side
One thing to remember, in Namibia they drive on the wrong side (on the left) so coming from mainland Europe it took me some hours to adjust to it. Well, at list there is not traffic in Namibia so it was not that big problem.
Have enough water with you
Obviously in a dry desert country you have to be sure that you carry and have enough water with you. Even in the winter season it can get hot above the 30 Celsius so I can imagine the summer heat. Be sure that you have not only water for drinking but also for you car in case it gets over heated.
Big animals on the road
The only real danger I could think of in Namibia is car accidents and, big animals.
Read my transportation tips regarding the roads and speed. Other danger was this that I was a little bit too close to this elephant crossing the road, well, he did not took a look at me and did not wave his ears, if he would do so, I was just in reverse gear to escape out of his way.
Namibia has got one of the highest HIV infection rates in the world, with estimation that one in three black Namibians have the virus today. Hence use prevention; else you probably play Russian roulette with a fully loaded gun.Related to:
- Business Travel
- Study Abroad
Be Safe ...
You should have no problems driving in Namibia if you follow a few basic rules
* Gravel roads are so good & smooth you might give in to the temptation to overspeed - be careful, no matter how good they are they the car is prone to skidding at curves. So keep an eye on the road and avoid any sudden swerves or braking. It is very easy to lose control of the car on a gravel road!
* Do not drive close to the car in front of you in a gravel road as the front may be damaged by gravel-blasting
* when you pass another car from the opposite direction reduce the speed and put your hand on the windsreen. This will help to absorb the shock of the impact of any stones which may otherwise shatter it. Many insurances won't cover damage to the winscreen so better safe than sorry
* Always beware of animals in the road, even in the middle of the desert
* Be prepared for punctures, they are a way of life on such roads
* Drive slowly when there are people walking near the road, to avoid them any injury due to flying stones
* If you can, always get the advice of a local about the state of the roads especially if travelling in the rainy season or exactly after it. It is common for the gravel roads to be damaged or swept away.
* Always keep an eye on the car temperatureRelated to:
- Road Trip
Do not drive at night
Firstly, watch your speed on the dirt roads, think of them as icy roads as the problems driving on them are similar. A sensible speed is required at all times, the gravel can change and one dirt road needs a different type of driving to another one.
Keep alert, wild animals come out of nowhere before you realise it and especially do not drive of a night as animals are more difficult to spot and breaking down during the night is much more problematical. Nature comes alive and you never know what is out there.
Also take care with being mesmerised by the roads, some are long, dusty and never ending, with the sun beating down too, this can cause sleepyness and thus an accident, try to keep alert and cool.Related to:
- Road Trip
It is true that you are advise of snakes and scorpions ... but you never really think you are going to find one in your way.
It did happend to me. I was walking in Aus Klein Vista Camp before sunset with John and Shona and suddenly we founded this big snake in our way. It was a strange snake because she didn't move waving and was a little flat. We did get near to make pics ...
It was a very dangerous snake, a mortal one, ... I don't remember the name, but we learn after how dangerous it was
This is what JohanJume have comment at my page:
"JohanJume Sat Jan 29, 2005 13:36 CET
... The snake in the pic is known as a Puffadder (Bitis Arietans). Only one of the most venomous snakes in Namibia. Though it seems lazy and will try to keep away from humans, it will kill if confronted "
So I was wright in put it at Warning tips and not at other :))) Thanks JohanJume :)Related to:
The Jackal thief
lots of black-backed jackals are around the camp at night.
DON'T LEAVE YOUR SHOES OUTSIDE YOUR TENT.
(despite the advise SirRichard gave me before going "don't leave your shoes out the tent or the jackals will still them" ... I did and that is what did happened.. a jackal took one of my shoes ... my only good walking shoes ... but ... thanks god I did find it after a while ... I was very lucky)Related to:
- Theme Park Trips
Wildlife - yes not only the big 5
Although you must be very lucky (or unlucky) to actually meet one of these scorpions (see picture) or a snake, especially, if you are not camping outside overnight, there still IS a chance.
This really wonderful exemplar of a scorpion was discovered by my boyfriend after he moved the bedside table in our bungalow room in Gross Barmen.
I am not sure whether it is poisonous or not, but we decided to put it outside, since I for sure didn't wanted to share my room with it. :-)
Anyway, I think it was as afraid of us as we of it....Related to:
- Budget Travel
Warning Wild animals
All along Namibia you will find different traffic warning of different kinds of animals. One of my favorites is this one ... cheetas warning ... great :))) more if you are sleeping near it at a camp with any kind of fence:)
The real animals that will get near your tent at night are the jackals ... they will still your shoes if you left them outside
Toilet - what toilet?
It can happen: you are in the wild and ...Nature calls ...
and no toilets around
So what to do?
This is the right procedure if you have to go:
Take with you:
a shovel: so you can make a hole
a flash-light : when its night.
toilet paper - no, you will not find any leaves.
a lighter - to burn the toilet paper ( burying it is no good, since it is so dry, it will not decompose).
And remember: there are quite a lot of snakes (and scorpions?) around here.
In the Etosha Ntl park you better try to "plug it" until the next toilets (yes, here there are some)Related to:
- Adventure Travel
Childrens gangs at the gas stations
Not from personal experience, but I have heard, that you should be careful, when filling up your car in Keetmanshope (goes for other towns as well).
There a children gangs around.
Always keep all doors closed and keep both sides of the car in sight.
Don´t let your car stand there without anyone watching.Related to:
- Road Trip
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If you want a good campsite at Sossusvlei (Sesriem campsite) you need to book in Windhoek and/or...more
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