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.Add to your Trip Planner
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
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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 outsideAdd to your Trip Planner
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
Namibia road conditions and offensive driving
I am for sure not the first, nor the only one who says this, but:
Namibias roads can be dangerous.
Not because of the bad road surfaces. This might be gravel, but it is actually quite good driving on it. Too easy, actually. After a while you tend to drive too fast for the conditions. Stopping on gravel takes longer than you think.
Often there are long distances where you only drive straigth ahead, you get used to it and suddenly there is a curve! Oups, brakes! steer! and you are rolling over (because your car has a higher center of gravity than you are used to)
It happens all the times, mostly to tourists.
The other things such as broken windows (from stones of other cars) or flat tires (because of the gravel) or animals on the road (mostly you have fences on every side of the road) come after this.
You should also be warned because often the insurance makes troubles if that happens (it is your fault always, that?s clear).Related to:
- Road Trip
Dangerous creatures - scorpions
I don't intend to be a scare mongerer, in fact, after travelling in the tropics off and on for almost 10 years, it was only last year that I encountered any dangerous creatures at all - and of course, then became fascinated. While on our bush safari to visit the Himba tribe, we were sitting around the campfire telling tall tales (as one does), with only the light of the fire and one or two torches.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw a sand-coloured “scuttle”. I announced the gathered assembly that we had a scorpion in our midst, but was met with ridicule, it being patently obvious that a Scot working in an office in Brussels was hardly in a strong position to diagnose danger in the African bush. Nevertheless we all went hunting, and sure enough, there was a tiny sand-coloured scorpion beside my stool!
To avoid unwanted surprises, make sure that when you camp, you close your tent up properly at all times. Also “close” your boots when you’re not wearing them, by covering the top with a sock or seaking them into a bag, knotted at the top.Related to:
breaking down in the desert
Namibia is a country that lends itself to getting away from it all and touring around by car. However its desert roads and civilised cafes can be deceptive. You’ll need to think ahead to be sure that, if the worst happens, you are properly prepared.
We blew a tyre on the long road towards the Skeleton coast. Although this road is one which is mentioned frequently in the guidebooks to Namibia (along the way you have the opportunity to see some rare plants etc) this does not mean that traffic is frequent. For the hour or so that we spent replacing the tyre, not one car passed!
Even if you are adept at changing a tyre, bear in mind that the ground underneath is not solid on the desert roads, and your jack is likely to sink into the sand – a few rocks are needed to stabilise the jack, and to ensure that the vehicle doesn’t roll forward while you are underneath.
Tyre blowouts are relatively common due to over heating and also from driving too fast on roads with lots of sharp stones
A second mishap befell us on the road. A stone, kicked up by a springbok shattered a side window. Tape and cardboard meant that we could continue on our journey without too much inconvenience.
Car hire insurance rarely covers burst tyres or windscreen damage (check the small print).
Some general advice about driving in Namibia can be found in the website below.Add to your Trip Planner
And remember, if you're driving, take the car
A driving holiday in Namibia is a great easy to get away from it all. there are some wonderful mountain roads, and You can drive for hours without meeting another vehicle or even another person. With this freedom however comes a set of warnings.
Most places that you would want to visit are accessible only by taking gravel roads. Driving on gravel roads is a specialised skill, and in hiring a car, you will be drilled on some basic points. Before setting off, make sure you have plenty of drinking water: refreshment stops are few and far between, and if you break down somewhere, you will probably have a long wait before another vehicle appears.
You’ll need to adjust your expectations of the amount of ground you can cover: we drove just over 200 km between Windhoek and Sessreim: it took the better part of the day (4 hours) and at times we were down to first gear and 5 kmh! Generally you should not exceed 60 kmh on gravel roads: faster than that and you risk skidding, running into some poor animal or generally being unable to manage an obstruction in a controlled way.
You also need to take the weather into account: rain will inevitably cause flooding on low points in the road: you may not be able to reach your destination. If you’re very unlucky, you may be stuck until the water subsides. Many people spend money needlessly on hiring a 4x4. Unless you are planning to go far off track, it is unlikely that you will need to engage the 4 wheel drive: during our 6 day safari they were engaged twice: once when we were driving across a sandy river-bed and got stuck, and once when the incline of a road was too steep for the heavily laden bus and trailer. That having been said, you should discuss your planned route with the representative of the hire company to ensure that your vehicle is appropriate in terms of power and also in terms of clearance.
The URL below will take you to a webpage that covers everything you need to think about when you drive in Namibia.Related to:
- Road Trip
We only stayed for one night sadly, as on our return to Windhoek we travelled on to a game farm. But...more
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